February 2020 – Travel & Income Report: Life in Hanoi

At a glance
  • moving from Da Nang to Hanoi
  • going through Lifebook personal development program
  • apartment Hunting in Hanoi
  • dealing with Air Quality & Corona in Hanoi
  • doubling eCom sales in February
Expenses
€1323.31
Online Business
$332.79

By the end of January, I left Da Nang and spent the last month in Hanoi.

I’ve been in Hanoi around the same time last year and I honestly didn’t expect to come back so soon.

There are still so many places on my bucket list and since I’ve been to hanoi so many times before, I wasn’t planning to come back any time soon.

However, Andrea had some friends coming over from the US and my family needed some attention, so we decided to come to Hanoi a little bit earlier.

Here is a quick recap of the last month:

hanoi hoan kiem lake at night

After living in Da Nang for a month and being so close to the beach, it was a bit hard for us to leave this lifestyle behind and moving to a big noisy city.

Our mood was a bit damped when we landed at Hanoi Airport. Andrea was asking me if the weather was bad, but I knew it was the lovely smog. I blamed the fog and humidity anyways ?

arriving at nobai airport

After arriving, we spent the first few days staying at my aunts house. I really enjoyed seeing my family again, but because staying in a small room at my aunts house was not a long term solution, we started to look for an apartment quickly.

Searching for an apartment in Hanoi was not as difficult as I expected. The process is similar to Da Nang where you can find apartments on facebook easily. With the difference that Hanoi is a much bigger city and we didn’t really know in which area to stay. The number of available apartments was just overwhelming and so I decided to contact estate agencies on facebook to save us time.

I gave them our preferences and we got very quick responses and recommendations straight via Whatsapp.  We found our lovely apartment right in the center of the city in no time.

whatsapp apartment hunting hanoi
Everything is easy peasy through Whatsapp.
apartment hunting hanoi
We found this lovely bright top floor apartment right in the city center. The owner was an old lady who negotiated harder than she appeared at first 😀
apartment hunting hanoi 2
We had a great vision with the rooftop terrace. Working out and so on. Well, now we only use it for laundry. But always set the ambitions high, guys…☝️

I’ve been to Hanoi multiple times before and in general, I really like the city apart from some annoyances like the heavy traffic and the shitty air quality.

In the past, I always stayed with my family so it was a welcome change to have my own place this time from where I can explore the city.

February was a fairly unspectacular month. After moving into the apartment, I’ve been focusing mainly on client work for the last few weeks and going through a personal development program called Lifebook.

This was my first time purchasing a personal development program. So far, I’ve been reading a lot of books about personal development, but I never invested in a course.

I spend a lot of time going through the material and working on creating my life vision. I never took time to sit down and think about what I want in life, but since this program had a price tag ?attached, it forced me to sit down and go through the exercises. One of my goals for this year was to invest more in myself and this was a good start.

lifebook areas
Lifebook includes 12 areas of life. In each area, you have to go through 4 sections: Beliefes, Vision, Purpose and Strategy. In the end, it helps to get a clearer vision of how you want to live your life.

Since coming to Hanoi, my workout routine almost completely stopped. While I used to go for a run and work out on the beach in Da Nang almost every day, I mainly reduced it to small body workouts at home. I hate running on the busy streets in Hanoi, especially with the chaotic traffic and all the construction work.

Hence, I had no choice but to enjoy life and eat my way through all the goodness that hanoi has to offer ?(what a great segue for all the following food pics)

hanoi food best ramen
Probably the best ramen I had in Vietnam and Thailand so far.

hanoi vietnamese food

hanoi food roots
I’m actually surprised by how many vegan restaurants are available in Hanoi now. It’s a welcome change to the meat dominated dishes in Vietnam.

hanoi vegetarian food

hanoi banh choi dessert
Banh troi nong – Vietnamese dessert
hanoi sen buffet 1
But then, there are days where you just have to go all in…at the best buffet in town…
hanoi sen buffet 2
More food than you can try…
hanoi sen buffet 6
Food is freshly prepared in front of you.
hanoi sen buffet 8
A buffet for 15$ and fresh sea food ??‍♂️??
20200222 192434
The days when I said I’m 90% vegan are definitely over…
hanoi sen buffet rips
?

Hanoi is a great city to get fat. I wish I had more photos of what we ate, but after a while, foodporn photos just become boring….


The good old air quality problem in South East Asia

Another reason, why I don’t want to spent too much time outside is the non-optimal air quality with the air index constantly hovering around the 150 mark. Besides the lovely air quality is the current corona thing that is going on these days, which directly impacts our daily outfit:

hanoi filter maskshanoi wearing masks

hanoi bad air quality
There was an extreme weekend with the index going beyond the 300 mark. Luckily, it went down after two days to the “normal” 150-level.

Admittedly, the air quality is not bad all the time. There are days where it’s actually very nice, but then it can change from one day to the other. To show what difference it makes, here is a shot before and after:

hanoi clear sky
Sunny…
hanoi air quality
Still sunny but with smoke


 

Everyone is scared about the corona thing…

Let’s quickly touch on this topic. I’m not watching the news or whatsoever, but here and there I stumble across posts on facebook or hear from people how bad it is. Maybe it is, but maybe it isn’t. I don’t want to downplay the fact, that this virus is spreading more aggressively than any virus that we’ve seen in the last decade, but we also need to be aware that stressing out about it will certainly not improve the situation.

While media reports the most dramatic stories about the corona virus world wide, we actually don’t feel much about it here.

There is a certain anti-chinese sentiment in Vietnam, but aside from restaurants posting “We don’t serve Chinese Customers”-signs, we barely felt any impact of the virus.

I have to admit that Vietnam is doing a good job of containing the outbreak by distributing free masks and hand sanitizers everywhere (on top of limiting incoming flights from other countries).

So far, everyone is behaving normally and going on with their lives. Considering that Vietnam is right next to China it’s almost a miracle. Or they simply just hide everything from the public to avoid mass panic.

Well, nevertheless, life is normal and good, so no need to panic.


giphy


Meeting good old (and new) friends

Hanoi is usually not the top city for fellow nomads, but to my surprise, a fellow german friend happened to pass by. Shoutout to Christoph and Olga here, who spiced up our daily routines.


hanoi friends

I’m always happy to see familiar faces in Hanoi. Especially hearing from friends that Da Nang is run over by Chiang Mai Bromads, I can only encourage anyone to come up here 😀


Online Business

February has been a better month regarding my online business. In fact, I didn’t put any time and effort into growing my eCom store, but it still generated double the sales in less time compared to January.

While I’m not a millionaire just yet, it’s nice to have an income stream that can buy some coffee ?☕️

Here are my stats for the last months:

Recap January 2020

traffic january 2020


February 2020

traffic february 2020
February has been a better month than January, even though my traffic went down. My conversion rate is also goin up.


January and February 2020

traffic jan and feb 2020
Since January, my traffic is all over the place. Since I didn’t make any profound changes, I can only imagine that Etsy is tweaking the algorithm.
revenue all time

At first, it may seem disappointing to see the traffic and sales going down since the beginning of the year. However, when I look at the big picture, I still made huge progress compared to the beginning of last year.

Another thing that worked for me lately, is removing my non-converting Pinterest traffic. I removed all the listings that where not generating any sales but still getting a lot of traffic from Pinterest but NOT Etsy itself. Even though these listings are gone, I still get some Pinterest traffic that impacts my conversion rate. I hope over time Pinterest will remove pins with broken links.

As a result, my conversion rate is slowly going up and I hope this is going to affect my ranking in a positive way.

While Pinterest doesn’t work in my particular case and my current setup, I still believe it’s a wonderful organic traffic source. During the month of January, I started to experiment a bit more in a different niches and grew my traffic very quickly.

pinterest

However, due to the lack of consistency, it went down as quick as it grew.


Expenses

This month, I almost doubled my expenses compared to January. The biggest contributer for this month was the rent. As I didn’t pay any rent in January because Andrea paid for our apartment, I took over the rent for February. Living costs wise, Hanoi is almost the same compared to Da Nang. I even think that Da Nang is a bit more expensive based on looking at the food category. However, I have to use GRAB way more often in Hanoi than in Da Nang. This month, we also splurged a little for a weekend trip to Sa Pa. Updates will follow in the next monthly update.

expenses february 2020food february 2020


Wrapping up

hanoi cong coffee with a view

February seemed to fly by very quickly. In general, I feel that my time in Vietnam is going by very fast and it is hard to believe that it’s been over two months in Vietnam already. I just remember writing down my goals for 2020 and now we are almost about to enter Q2.

March will be another full packed month and at the same time also my last month in Vietnam. I am currently writing this article while sitting in a coffee place before heading to Sa Pa in the evening. After two months of almost only grinding, we decided to actually take advantage of our stay here and go out to see a bit of the country. Stay tuned for the next update.

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Hi, I'm Ninh

I’m a UX Designer, Online Entrepreneur and World Citizen.
I currently travel around the world, build lifestyle businesses and help others to hack their creativity, personal growth and entrepreneurial mindset.

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