Old Quarter is popular among travelers and backpackers for several reasons; really cheap accommodations, great location and cheap beer. There was not a single sign of Starbucks in Vietnam when we were there so it was the Highlands Coffee in Old Quarter area that we used to go to a few times a day whenever we feel like having a dose of caffeine. The hotel we stayed in was just 10 to 15 minutes walk to this place so coffee is very accessible. It was in one of the cafes in Old Quarter where I tasted a very strong coffee.. the strongest I’ve ever had so far. I felt like I was having a mild heart attack after just one cup. I was being a little adventurous and of course I wanted to try something local, like what I normally do when I travel, so I ordered a cup of Vietnamese black and white coffee. It was basically espresso and condensed milk but the espresso was so strong and thick. I thought I have a high tolerance on caffeine but that was really something…. that I don’t want to try again 🙂
The photo below is one of the places in Old quarter where travelers normally hang out day and night. I think in this place they serve freshly brewed beer for about $1 for 10 glasses. Well, I’m not 100% sure about it as I didn’t try it, I just read it from somewhere. We passed by this place a few times while wandering around Old Quarter and there were always men and sometimes women drinking beer day and night.
I shot the photo below while exploring the narrow and crowded streets of Old Quarter. This house was decorated with lanterns and pink flowers for the celebration of Tet or Vietnamese new year; kumquat tress (with fruits) and flowers are the traditional Tet decorations.
I noticed that the Tet flowers in Ho Chi Minh were yellow while people in Hanoi used pink flowers. The kumquat tree, with its many fruits, symbolizes fertility and prosperity that they wish for the coming year.