Sidewalks are practically nonexistent and motorbikes speed by at uncomfortably close distances. Hawkers balancing goods in bamboo baskets weave between the streets as people and vehicles symbiotically flow in whichever direction their hearts desire. Sounds echo around your head from a fruit vendor on one side, scooter horns on the other, and shopfront bellowing EDM its from speakers. Colorful plastic stools full of squatted patrons fill any remaining space and scents of savory foods fills your nostrils. If there was ever a place you could experience everything a city has to offer from a single street corner it very well could be in Hanoi.
We didn’t have to do much more than walk the city blocks to experience Vietnam's capital. It’s where we watched locals haggle with each other in the early morning markets, drank freshly brewed beer to cool off in the evenings, and found richly flavored but dirt cheap Bahn Mi for dinner. Every one of our senses was constantly put to use when visiting this bustling city, and it left us in a dusty haze of wonderment at how despite the chaos, everything about Hanoi just works. ◆