In between the expensive Summit Lounge and tacky 6 Degrees is Co Ngu Quan, an alternative rooftop from which to see the West Lake sunset.

One of the older cafes in Hanoi, Co Ngu Quan turns 20 this year – and it shows. Virtually everything is out of date, from the cheesy hotel lobby music to the ugly mismatch furniture. But that’s all part of the appeal, as Co Ngu Quan proves that location and surroundings often trump money and investment. The reason to come is the view, which is not just enjoyable for the expanse of water that rests before you, but also the eclectic mix of Hanoi rooftops that surround. You’ll also have a spectacular view of Tran Quoc Pagoda abstractly reflected in the rippling lake.

Apparently the café has always overlooked West Lake, but presumably it has had to add an extra floor each time a neighbor obstructed the view. The result is a café set over three disorganized levels, with the lower sections empty almost all of the time. The top floor is the place to be, and early evening is the time to come, so you can watch the Hanoi sun sink into the Hanoi haze with the novelty swan boats drifting on the surface of the lake in the foreground. Why not bring a date? That’s what everyone else is doing.

Address: 8 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho, Hanoi

013 012 011 010 009 008 007 006 005 004 003 002

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