May 31, 2023

Places and Foods

Family Lifestyle Food and Travel Blog

Homestay in Hoan Kiem with

We recently travelled to Hanoi and Halong Bay on our own. It was our first trip to Vietnam and we intended to go budget. We heard quite a number of negative remarks on traveling in Vietnam and most of them are untrue. Maybe they were talking about Saigon (Ho Chin Minh) but Hanoi is one of our best trips ever.

For the first night in Hanoi, I chose to stay in Hoan Kiem or the Old Quarter with At first, we planned to head straight to Halong Bay but after speaking with a few hosts, we were advised to stay a night in Hanoi before moving to Halong Bay on the next day.

We spoke to a few hosts and we chose Mike’s on Our stay for a night was only RM 58 (US$20) per room per night for two persons. In short, it was only RM 29 (US10) per person for a night in Hanoi, what a steal!

Hanoi Vietnam.

We asked Mike arranged our transfer from the airport. The transfer cost us US$25 and it was slightly higher than others offered but he arranged someone to wait for us near his home. We didn’t mind to pay a little bit extra for the services. The journey from the airport to the city took us more than half an hour. We were complimented with the laid back scenery of Vietnam during our journey to the city and it was the opposite as we reached the city. Even though there were not as many high rise buildings like Bangkok but it was packed and busy.

We reached Hoan Kiem and Mike’s brother was at the main road to pick us up. The homestay was only a few steps away from the main road. We walked through small alleys and it was an eye opener. There were small individual buildings inside the alley and we were sure they don’t have a parking space for a car.

We reached Mike’s  with a huge white grill. The buildings here had a similar characteristic with the ones from Thailand. The houses were usually in small land area but they are usually four or five storeys high. Land must be dear in Hanoi.

Living room at Mike’s.

We didn’t count how many storeys were Mike’s, ground floor was the kitchen, first floor was the living room with computer, Internet, WIFI and TV and the floors above were for rentals. We settled down quick asking some vital questions from Mike’s brother and it was important to have a local to provide us the best tips and best places to visit. That was the advantage of staying in a homestay.

Our room was not luxurious and it was not cheap either. We were expecting a crappy room but instead we had a decent room. It came with a Queen size bed, air cond/heater, water heater, bathroom and towels. The room and the bathroom were neat and clean. We didn’t spot any dirty marks or stains and for the price we paid, we couldn’t ask for more.

Mike’s is near many attractions and restaurants. The nearest would be the Hanoi train station.  Sadly we only stayed a night at Mike’s place as we head to Halong Bay on the next day.

We met Mike in the evening and he was a nice chap. We went out to a local jazz bar nearby and had a couple of beers. He also helped me to get my Vietnamese micro sim card (remember to do it in airport!) as I forgot about it in the airport.

If you want a splendid homestay, we recommend’s Mike’s at He is a friendly guy and you can get much information from him. Remember to rate him after the trip, there is a new rating system in We would like to thank him for his personal tips, mini guide book and all the helps we needed. You can also review easily using review system at

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