In Hanoi, tradition and vibrant city-life clash together to create a heady, energetic blend. The perfect place for the active explorer who enjoys the chaos of a big city in a developing country. As soon as you land in Hanoi you’ll get the sense that this city is trying to catch up with the world. And perhaps it is. The Vietnam War devastated this area and it’s not been picked up by the tourist masses yet, so it’s trying to make a lot of noise. And boy is it working!
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam; constantly buzzing with activity and always in a rush. However, if you squeeze down its narrow streets and head south, you’ll find a few peaceful spots to reflect on the hectic surrounds. Take a walking tour of the city with one of the local students. They’ll want to improve their English and will show you some of the lesser-known sites. They might even introduce you to some interesting street-food along the way.
Visit the Old Quarter and check out the locals hand-making bamboo baskets and other wares right there in the street! And, don’t miss the water puppets on Hoan Kiem Lake! The people of Hanoi are big on their shrines so go see the Temple of Literature and visit Confucius, then head to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to learn more about Vietnam’s famous communist leader.
Like anywhere, you’ll have to look out for the occasional scammer trying to take you for a ride. But, if you have your wits about you (and are prepared to haggle) you’ll have a great time. You can now get around the Old Quarter by electric car. They’re super eco-friendly and a fantastic way to find your way around the city. Just be prepared for an endless stream of motorbikes alongside you and a driver who honks his horn … a lot!
Jump out of the car if you spot a local food market, they’re well worth a browse. And, if you’re feeling indulgent, try some Pho Chien Phong (a delicious local soup, with fried noodles)!
There’s a huge contrast between this jam-packed, energetic city and the country’s peaceful, coastal areas – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Plan your trip to Hanoi today.