Hanoi is quintessential Vietnam, where the charm and rhythm of ancient Vietnamese culture blends harmoniously with the modernising, capitalist future of the country.
As a former French colony, Hanoi has a lingering Parisian feel that makes it noticeably different from almost any other major Asian city.
Unlike Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the south, Hanoi is more relaxed and regal. Even though its southern counterpart is larger and a more impressive commercial centre, Hanoi makes for an excellent capital city. It is overflowing with museums and other cultural curiosities. And the food here is some of the most special that you’ll find anywhere in Vietnam.
Why visit Hanoi?
The national dish of Vietnamese is Pho, and it’s arguably at its best in the capital city where you’ll find numerous restaurants and cafes
Visit the Old Quarter, the bustling centre with narrow streets and a lively atmosphere
Try Bia hoi – a pale, refreshing lager that is brewed fresh every day and sold in tiny street bars at even tinier prices
A complete lack of shopping malls means that Hanoi is always a vibrant and authentic shopping experience
Enjoy the French aesthetics lingering alongside the delightfully Southeast Asian culture