Wednesday, April 24, 2013

HanoiKids, Great Ambassador of Hanoi

When we heard HanoiKids for the very first time, we couldn't hold our imagination. None of what we had imagined came close to what we met in Hanoi. They are young university students, friendly, energetic, helpful, good English, and they could get along with our family members very well. On top of that, they work voluntarily. It means, we are not obligated to pay for their service.

We had experienced taking a free service, which ended up with a merry-go-round of expensive merchandise outlets and souvenir shops. Once we met with handsomely paid tour guide who couldn't communicate effectively. A few others, good service with equal weighting of payment. Of course, once in a while, we stumbled onto those who offered excellent service with relatively low payment.

How about excellent service with zero cost? You must be crazy. Well, that's what we had in Hanoi.

As usual, before we departed to Hanoi, we had done our homework. Tripadvisor, Lonely Planet, Wikipedia, blogs, official websites, none escaped. Information was captured, and plans were drawn. What could be better than getting a local guide as companion? Well, instead of one, we had a team of two. We took two trips with the members of HanoiKids.

The first trip, day 1, afternoon. We strolled around our hotel at the old quarter. By foot, we visited Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Thap Rua Tower (Turtle Tower), the Opera House, Vietnamese Women's Museum, St. Joseph Cathedral, and Ly Quoc Su Pagoda. The second trip, day 2, starting at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in the morning, followed by Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh's house, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature. Then, in the afternoon, we visited Hanoi Citadel for about two hours before heading back to our hotel at 5 p.m.

During the trip, the members of HanoiKids guided our way, explained everything they could recall about places, helped us to call for taxi, worked as our translators, and tried very best to accommodate everything in our to-do list. They were good in recommending nice places to stop for lunch and dinner as well. The best part of being together with HanoiKids members is, they were more like friends than tour guides to us. We chatted a lot down the street and have learned invaluable information about the life in Hanoi.

Smile (pink shirt) and Thu (green shirt) with our family in front of Ngoc Son Temple. They told us the story about the turtle reservation in the temple later on.

Taking ice lemon tea beside St. Joseph Cathedral. Thu told us that resting on the small kid bench in front of the shops while enjoying the food and drinks is a part of Hanoi's life. Well, we like it!

Duc (right) and Thi (left) with us in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We have to express our highest appreciation to them for keeping up with our tight schedule- visiting many places in such a short period of time.

Thi was explaining something to Livien and Bryant.

We would like to express our highest gratitude to HanoiKids, especially to Thu, Smile, Thi, and Duc. Thank you very much for making our Hanoi trip a great experience for our family. You all are really great ambassadors of Hanoi. Keep up the good work. All the best and keep in touch.

More information about HanoiKids are available at http://hanoikids.org/

More sharing about our experience at Hanoi is available: Food in Hanoi.




5 comments:

  1. i heard something like that when i was in Danang, Vietnam. In Danang, they have Danang Kids, if i'm right, where they'll bring you around exploring the city for free. I guess it's quite normal in Vietnam to have these local guides.

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    1. From what we learned, only Hanoi and Danang have so far initiated the programme, which HanoiKids are much more established and well managed. Really hope that this programme will be carried to other attractions in Vietnam.

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  2. Three most famous organizations for free tour in Vietnam are Hanoikids (in Hanoi), Hoian Free Tour (in Hoian Old town) and Saigon Hotpot (in Ho Chi Minh city). I have never heard any club offering free tour for travellers in Da Nang. Note: Hoian town belongs to another province althought it is quite near Danang city.

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  3. i hope to join Hanoikids one day. :D

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    1. For sure you can join them in future. Hope to meet you in Hanoi.

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