HANOI, VIETNAM — I am not fond of staying in budget hotels, and I only tried hostel once but since I am traveling solo here, and I’d like to unleash the adventurer in me, I decided to stay in one.
Besides, who would not want to save on accommodations, right?
Upon a recommendation of a friend, I checked out Hanoi Panda Hotel, communicating only through their Facebook page. It was its part-owner Philip whom I talked with while still in Manila, and since he’s given me a nice package for my five-day stay, I booked for my room without second thoughts. It is better to have a local friend, I told myself, as this trip needs to be flawless, if not perfect, as it is my birthday trip.
Cebu Pacific’s lone flight from Manila to Hanoi leaves at 10:15 in the evening, and arrives Hanoi past midnight, after more than three hours of air travel. Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, the hotel’s driver was waiting for me. Though Hanoi is relatively safe compared with other Southeast Asian countries, I decided to take their private car service to lessen the possible hassles.
Thirty minutes later, I found myself checking in at the hotel. I was greeted by their staff, Alex, who was friendly enough to assist me in the middle of the night, making me feel more at home.
They don’t have an elevator but it didn’t give me any difficulties despite my room is at the fifth floor, as the ceiling wasn’t too high. For travelers who love modernity, this will not make the cut. Hanoi Panda Hotel provides an old feel, seemingly antique-old feel, especially the wooden furnitures, but I appreciated it more because hello, I am in the previously war-torn city, and I am here for a deeper dive on its unique culture and experience.
Not a hostel, Hanoi Panda Hotel is a budget hotel less the amenities big hotels offer but the room I stayed in was relatively big for a solo traveler. Not to mention that their bed is big and its comfortability? Comparable to 4-star or even 5-star hotels. Costing only $18 (around Php920) per night, staying here is really a great deal, especially that rates include daily Vietnamese breakfast.
Located in the heart of Hanoi, accessible to everything one needs at the Old Quarter, Hanoi Panda Hotel was a great choice. When not on tours, I let myself explore the city proper on foot, tasting every food I wanted to try by the mini-restaurants by the side walk. Money changers, banks, and bargain outlets are just around the corner. Though Uber and taxi rides do not cost much here, exploring the area on foot made me appreciate this trip even more. Besides, there are a lot of foreigners roaming around the area.
Since they are also a travel agency, I got the whole package including the city tour and cruising Halong Bay (which I shared on this post) for only around $250 (around Php12,750) for my five days and four nights of stay. These include private car transfers from and to the airport, thus, value for money. All-in-all, I only spent a total of P20,000 including airfare, transpo, and meals for this trip.
What I loved most about staying in this hotel however is the assistance Philip and Alex freely given. Their hospitality made me feel a bit sorry for not being able to give in to Philip’s invitation for dinner and some drinks because I’m too busy ticking off my to-do list here. The gesture however was really appreciated. I’m definitely going back to Hanoi for that.
HANOI PANDA HOTEL
Address: 09A Hang Mam, Hoan Kiem , HN
Telephone Number: (+84) – 1645791999
Hotline: (+84) – 01645 791 999
Some photos are owned by the hotel.