Hanoi (population: 7.08 million), the capital of Vietnam is still reeling from the ravages of the war and the effects of a government that kept it closed from the outside world until recently, but it is finally coming out of its shadows and revealing a glimpse into historic charms and traces left behind by the French and the Chinese. The capital city is also undergoing transformation at a rapid pace. The increase of tourism has led to the development of restaurants and eateries in each and every corner of the city while an evolving arts scene is another major highlight.
The Old Quarter is the perfect place to kick-start your explorations in Hanoi. Compact and congested, the place is teeming with old-world architecture, silk and embroidery products, candlesticks and flags. Ho Chi Minh’s body is also located close by in his mausoleum. The 11th century Temple of Literature is another must see. It is a rare example of well-preserved traditional architecture. While in Hanoi, you would also want to explore major museums such as the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Vietnam Military History Museum. And there’s always the Hoan Kiem Lake to enjoy exotic sunset views.
How to Get Around
Hanoi has an extensive bus network. You can easily pick a bus map and navigate your way through the city. Cyclos run within short distances and cover most major tourist areas in Hanoi.