Hanoi is rich in culture and one thing that you shouldn’t miss is their food. If you had visited here in the past, you probably tried the famous Pho or sipped the delicious egg coffee. But the gastric adventures here don’t just lie on fancy restaurants. The streets are bustling with local treats to pacify a growling stomach. One way to enjoy this is to join a Hanoi street food tour organized by the HanoiKids. They offer free city tours including one where you get to taste some local delights.
HanoiKids started in 2006 and is run by students to help promote their local culture. It’s a give-and-take setup as you patronize the city’s products and you have a tour guide as a company. All of their tours are held in groups so as to save time and to make every session interactive for each tourist.
So if you’re planning to contact them for a day or night tour, here’s the first you should do:
Book in advance!
As you know, HanoiKids is a very popular organization and they accept hundreds of thousands of booking requests monthly. They have over 200 volunteer guides but if you want to skip the delay of waiting for a tour slot you can join, go to their site and select a tour. It’s up to the volunteers to fulfill the request.
Just remember that if your visit is time-bounded, you should contact them even before you arrived. One to two weeks is the suitable time allowance so you can be accommodated based on your schedule.
Hanoi Street Food Tour Schedules
It might be a little delaying but HanoiKids’ tours don’t have fixed schedules or itineraries. They let the tourists, or “travel mates” as how they call it, dictate the timing and location. If you’re looking for a tour provider in the city, HanoiKids is one of the most flexible organizations. Just brief them about your choice of itinerary and the length of tour and they will adjust for you.
You can also choose from either a half-day tour or a full-day tour. Full-day tours aren’t available during Mondays. Also, their Street Food Tour is very popular that will make it harder to land a booking.
The Pick-Up Point
Once a volunteer agreed to be your guide, they will show up to your accommodation on the scheduled day. A solo tour can happen if there aren’t many tourists but you don’t have to worry as multiple guides would be assigned to a large group. From there, you can either ride a motorbike with them (this is faster because of the traffic in Hanoi) or ride a cab if you’re joined by other tourists.
After the tour, they will also accompany you on your way to your accommodation.
Food Tour Package
HanoiKids offer different tour packages on their list. You don’t have to pay for anything aside from the food, transportation, and other fees that you’ll incur while eating or visiting places. They have four itineraries under the food tour which is like menus where you can choose the foods you want to taste. All the itineraries have five to six meals in it with very affordable prices.
For the Hanoi Street Food Tour, you can choose between 8:30 AM, 2 PM, and 5:30 PM. It will also cover about five to six foods with no definite restaurants to go to. They would surely brief you about this while the tour is ongoing.
In case you want to experience more than the local food, you can also ask them to tour you to the famous attractions of Hanoi. HanoiKids volunteers can accompany you anywhere in the city but if you want to be sure with the timing, you can select destinations on their website.
They have 8 AM to 5 PM tours in the Hoa Loa Prison and Museum of Ethnology as well as different schedules for the Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature, Thang Long, Old Quarter, and the Ceramic Village. Keep in mind that some of these attractions have entrance fees.
Of course, you’re free to provide them with the itinerary you wish to accomplish.
A Few Reminders
When booking with HanoiKids, be as specific as you can when providing details about your expected tour. Provide them the exact time and date as well as the menu or itinerary you wish to experience or visit. They might assign a guide that has more expertise to the place but there’s no guarantee on this one.
Don’t put your expectations too high as well since this is just a casual Hanoi street food tour. It would also pay to be patient when booking especially if you’re visiting during the peak season as tour requests get really in –demand.
The HanoiKids volunteers aren’t expert tour guides. They will just provide you with the information they know and the fact they do this for free (in all-smiles) means you have to be nice. Don’t expect them to lecture like a museum curator whenever you’ll visit a place or eat local foods. HanoiKids’ aim is to provide you with firsthand experience of the culture and not to give you bookish information.
One more thing that you can do is to share your life story with the guides. They are good listeners and they will be more than willing to maintain a conversation. All of them don’t expect to receive any fee or gift from you but it will be a good act of to treat them on a meal or give them a souvenir as your way of thanking them.
HanoiKids is one of the top choices if you want to experience a Hanoi street food tour. They are very accommodating and the guides are very easy to get along with. So if you’re planning to go around Hanoi, check their website and book a free tour. What do you think of HanoiKids? Let us know in the comment section!