Hanoi Trip

Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea. China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, etc...

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Aug 27th 14 3:01 am
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Hanoi Trip

by JRS22 » Aug 27th 14 3:01 am

I'm going to visit my son in Thailand in October. We're planning to spend a few days in Hanoi, visit Halong Bay, and then head off to Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang.

Hanoi is so close to China that I'm wondering if anyone can recommend tea &/or tea ware shops to visit while we're there.

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Aug 27th 14 3:44 am
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by Tead Off » Aug 27th 14 3:44 am

Hanoi is a nice city, one of the nicer cities in SE Asia. The French colonial architecture can still be seen and many pleasant walks to be had. But, as far as tea shops go, I didn't see anything. To be fair, I wasn't looking for tea there. Keep asking people at hotel, shops, & restaurants if they know where you can buy Chinese tea.

If you have time, visit some places near the border of China. Not far, and you can easily book transportation from the tourist areas. Many travel shops.

Sounds like you have a nice trip planned. Come and say hi if you are in Bangkok. :D

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Aug 27th 14 10:04 am
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by jayinhk » Aug 27th 14 10:04 am

Try the local tra xanh (green tea) at streetside stalls. Definitely a Hanoi experience! As far as Chinese tea goes, anything imported goes at a premium; buy local. They are into their green tea, big time.

I would say teaware is a better buy, although high grade lotus stamen green tea is nice. Tea drinking is going through a resurgence in Northern VN, so I'm sure you'll find something interesting! IMO the local green tea is much better than the local oolong.

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by ethan » Aug 29th 14 2:33 pm

JRS22, Hope you are allowing at least 2 days for Ankor Wat. Luang Prabang is really a great place to relax. Never had tea there but Laos coffee seems to me like the best Columbian & goes well w/ the very, fresh perfect baguettes & beautiful scenery. Haven't been there in > than a decade but memory of it still makes me happy.

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by JRS22 » Aug 29th 14 2:51 pm

We've been busy revising our itinerary and it looks like it'll be 3 days in Bangkok, 4 days in Hanoi, a 5 day 4WD trip around Northeastern Vietnam, then 2 days in Siem Riep. After that we return to Thailand to the little backwater town where my son is teaching now for a few days of seeing what its really really like to live on the edge of nowhere, but with an internet connection.

I might bring some tea with me this time because the town where my son is living is actually not as hot as other parts of Thailand, but when in Hanoi I'll drink the local brew.

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Aug 30th 14 3:46 pm
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by jayinhk » Aug 30th 14 3:46 pm

Might be nice to pick up a teaset if you're in Northern VN! Bat Trang is the place.

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by JRS22 » Aug 30th 14 4:15 pm

Would I be looking for porcelain or is there a native clay to watch out for that would be good unglazed?

I buy occasionally buy from Serrv, which is a fair-trade organization and they often have beautiful porcelain rice bowls from Vietnam.

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by jayinhk » Aug 30th 14 11:06 pm


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Aug 30th 14 11:54 pm
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by JRS22 » Aug 30th 14 11:54 pm

good information and photos. thanks

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Sep 4th 14 10:10 pm
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by JRS22 » Sep 4th 14 10:10 pm

I'm so excited about this trip: 4 1/2 days in Bangkok partly to recover from jet lag, and partly to wait for my son to get off work. Then 4 days in Hanoi and 5 days on this 4 WD trip around northeastern Vietnam, where we'll be close enough to China to see it. Then 3 days in Siem Reap and then off to Phu Rua, Loei Province, Thailand for a week. I don't think there are tea shops in the area near china that we'll be visiting, and the airport near my son's home doesn't have flights north, just to Bangkok. So once again no trip to Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, and not much tea unless I bring it with me.

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by JRS22 » Sep 4th 14 10:12 pm

Tead Off wrote:Hanoi is a nice city, one of the nicer cities in SE Asia. The French colonial architecture can still be seen and many pleasant walks to be had. But, as far as tea shops go, I didn't see anything. To be fair, I wasn't looking for tea there. Keep asking people at hotel, shops, & restaurants if they know where you can buy Chinese tea.

If you have time, visit some places near the border of China. Not far, and you can easily book transportation from the tourist areas. Many travel shops.

Sounds like you have a nice trip planned. Come and say hi if you are in Bangkok. :D
Do you have a shop in Bangkok?

You recommended a pizza place in Bangkok about a year ago, and now my son stops in every chance he gets, which isn't often.p, for his pizza fix.

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Sep 5th 14 12:57 am
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by jayinhk » Sep 5th 14 12:57 am

You're going to see tea everywhere up north. Everyone drinks it, it's grown there, it's served everywhere and every little market will have a tea dealer!

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by john.b » Oct 16th 15 2:58 am

I just ran across this looking for something else. I was in Hanoi last December and did find some really interesting teas. Later I talked about tea online in an expat forum and found even better ones through that discussion, sold out of a shop in HCMC / Saigon (their other main city, but in the South).

It took some doing to get the lay of the tea shops in the areas we were in but there was a concentration not far from where we stayed, which wasn't really in the part of the city most tourists would stay (something like the Old Quarter), but not far from there.

It raises an interesting point about vacationing and finding shops in advance or while there--how? Asking here or on different forums doesn't work well--I've tried that extensively, for a few cities in Asia, and at best you'll hear of the same one or two shops Google will bring up. Google Maps isn't a bad approach to try since there may be shops right where you already are, but it wouldn't hurt to be searching using the description "tea shop" in Vietnamese in Vietnam, or older shops may even be a bit under the radar online even if you were using the local language.

I just found a great tea shop in the Bangkok Chinatown and the only way you ever could know of it, aside from walking down all the Google Maps tea shop references in the area, is by specific mention online in a tea-themed group, or at least two years into trying that's what finally turned it up. They have a Facebook page but online search for related Facebook pages doesn't really work, especially since 1000 places are selling bubble tea in Bangkok and it's sort of a different thing, just the same keyword. As for the Tea Map function here or on Steepster, as far as Asia goes, forget it. References like Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet aren't likely to be really helpful either; it's too specific, and through a glitch in what Trip Advisor covers if the shops don't sell food technically they can't be listed.

After all this I'd like to say something about where to get tea in Hanoi, so I looked up a shop in the general area where there were others, which really doesn't stand out as a place to go from any online search I tried:

https://goo.gl/maps/XN994KZ3X4K2

I didn't go to that specific shop, only to one a number of blocks away in essentially the same neighborhood closer to where we stayed, but zeroing in on that block and the surrounding few would probably be fruitful. To buy really good tea online just look up Hatvala, a name that may sound familiar since Wha-Cha sells their teas, which are sourced from local sources (hill-tribe producers and such; really local).

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Oct 16th 15 4:21 am
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Re: Hanoi Trip

by jayinhk » Oct 16th 15 4:21 am

Hatvala is pretty cool. I spent all day there a few weeks ago and tried a good number of their teas over six hours! Made some new friends too, and took home some really good green tea from the far north of VN. They are set up for PayPal payments as well. Definitely worth stopping by if you're in HCM!

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Re: Hanoi Trip

by john.b » Oct 28th 15 3:59 am

I tried a number of the Hatvala teas and Red Buffalo was my favorite, a medium roasted rolled-style oolong. I'd never had really good luck with that style of tea, and always loved Wuyi Yanchas as a favorite, so it seemed they should work out better than what I've tried has.

It's odd that clicked in a tea from Vietnam, since it's more associated with Taiwan, and every tea under the sun seems to have origins in China, unless terrain is too much a factor for that to compare, as with Darjeeling. I just bought it for the second time this and have samples of other types so maybe I'll run across another favorite. Oddly I also liked their black tea, Wild Boar, when Vietnam is really all about green teas. I like Vietnamese green teas too, green tea just isn't my favorite, and I like the Chinese Longjing style more, a smoother, nuttier / toasted rice flavor profile over mineral and vegetal based more typical of Vietnam.