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Where to Go: 4 Awesome Hidden Treasures of Hanoi

Editor and fashion designer Natalia Ishihara is all about high-low luxuries. She shares her favourite spots in Hanoi. 


From Vladisvostok, Natalia lived in Singapore before moving to Hanoi about five years ago, following her Japanese husband’s job.

Now, the mom of an 11-year-old daughter juggles two more roles: Chief Editor of the ASIA Vietnam Journal and designer of clothing brand From Mr. Ishihara. Using eco-friendly, locally sourced mulberry silk, Natalia creates simple, yet elegant slip dresses and blouses with a palette inspired by the seasons of Japan, Vietnam and Russia.


1. Caffeine Fiend

“I am a coffeeholic!” admits Natalia. Lucky she lives in Hanoi, whose Vietnamese drip coffee is famed around the world. “Recently, I have been in love with KOK coffee, which doesn’t use any additives.”


2. Day Tripper

There is a wealth of side trips to do outside Hanoi, says Natalia. “We are lucky to have lovely provinces like Ninh Binh with all the colorful mountains and caves, Halong Bay – a world heritage site with breath-taking views – and Sapa, the mountain province with unique villagers like the Red Zyao and Black Khmong people.” 


3. Street Eats

What Natalia craves: pho bo (rice noodles with beef soup) and bun cha (dry rice noodles with grilled pork and greens). “My favourite street food restaurant is on Tu Ngoc Van Road at the Essence Hotel in the Tay Ho district – such a cosy, warm place.”


4. Blast From The Past

To take in some of Hanoi’s historical European influence, head to the Metropole Hotel, Natalia says. “It is legendary, like The Raffles Hotel in Singapore. I love it because you can experience the atmosphere of colonial times: There is jazz music, good food and drinks. It’s very classy.” 


By Aimee Chan of www.suitcasesandstrollers.com
Photos: 123RF.com, Natalie Ishihara, Metropole Hotel 


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