For the last century, Hanoi has survived through the invasions and occupations of Japan and France as well as the Indochina and Vietnam Wars to emerge as the booming capital city of a reunified Vietnam. Located on the banks of the Red River in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is a large city offering more than 1,000 years worth of history and culture now blended with modern attractions, dining, shopping and nightlife.
At the heart of Hanoi is its Old Quarter, an open-air museum of historic Asian and French colonial architecture that has largely remained intact despite the bombings of the Vietnam War. Here among scenic tree-lined boulevards, tourists can browse busy markets, sip coffee at quaint cafes and visit prominent sites like the Grand Opera House, the Presidential Palace and Saint Joseph Cathedral. Beyond the Old Quarter, the city is full of impressive temples and museums exhibiting the country’s eventful history.
Hanoi has many beautiful lakes surrounded by parks and green spaces with the most popular being Hoan Kiem Lake. A good way to experience the local culture is to attend a live performance of Ca trù, a traditional form of Vietnamese music, or to see history and folklore demonstrated at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. One of Asia’s top shopping cities, Hanoi is teeming in malls and shopping centers.
Hanoi’s dining scene is vibrant from numerous market stalls and street vendors selling traditional dishes like Pho Bo (Beef noodle soup) and Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup) to fine restaurants serving a variety of Asian and international cuisines. Nightlife choices are plentiful from karaoke bars and dance clubs to cinemas and theaters. The best options for getting around Hanoi are bus, taxi and motorbike taxi.