Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam


Dynasties fought for control of it, centuries of rulers left their mark on it and for one illustrious period it was deemed the jewel in the crown of the entire Indochina region, Hanoi still glimmers with the glory of its past.

Hanoi Lakeside

Hanoi is the second largest city in Vietnam, second only to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, and has been the country’s capital since the creation of the modern Vietnam. Throughout its history, foreign invaders including the Chinese, Japanese and the French have captured this jewel for their own, with the French so impressed with the site that the dubbed the city the capital of Indochine.


As the leaves turn, the invaders themself were invaded and as history repeats returned to wenst they came, but leaving their indelible stamp behind. Travellers now can catch a peak of the French in the Opera House on Tran Tien Street, museums dedicated to the nation’s resurgence against Japanese Fascism, and the intrinsically Vietnamese hustle in the Old Quarter on Hang Chieu Street.


Modern Hanoi is a juxtaposition of the seemingly uncontrolled rampage of motorbikes and scooters, swish new modern apartments, assortments of boutique shops and restaurants, against the consistent backdrop of Hoan Kiem River, hidden temples and ever present street vendors selling mysterious and somehow alluring foodstuffs.

Shopping is a must in Hanoi, with many travellers finding the pickings even more remarkable than that found in HCMC, with an assortment of markets in the Old Quarter, holding silks, ceramics, embroidery, wooden commodities and other goodies. Weekends or evenings are a particular delight, when the roads shut down and the stalls take over the rambling streets.

Vietnamese Food

Despite only being a little over 900km2, the city is home to the largest amount of cultural sites in the country including 600 temples and pagodas, like the famous One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature.

Vietnam’s tumultuous wartime history can also be found nearby, including the Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as The Hanoi Hilton, now a war museum, as well as the Army Museum perpetually guarded by the MiG-21 jet fighter and T-54 tank which are now stationed permanently outside, unused for decades.


After a hectic day exploring the city, travellers must sample some of the local cuisine, which incorporates large doses of vegetables cooked in flavoursome sauces and inclusions of tender strips of mean. After surveying a few of the restaurants, most travellers will find the ubiquitous noodle dish the locals call Ph, on nearly every menu, from the cheap to the more extravagant, the Vietnamese soup noodle dish made in a clear beef broth, is a hybrid mix of French and Chinese flavours.

As with most Asian travel destinations, there are the usual travel cautions of tourist traps, flouting of traffic laws by locals, haphazard street cuisine and ticket scalpers to main tourist attractions; but really, isn’t that really just part and parcel of the destination?

Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X; Image credit: Vietnam National Administration of Tourism
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