Known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, Hanoi is the gracious capital and cultural heart of Vietnam. Located on the northern Red River Delta, Hanoi is dotted with scenic lakes and leafy boulevards, including tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake at the epi-centre of Old Hanoi, where residents gather at dawn to practice tai chi and enjoy light exercise. It is a city of fascinating contrasts - where Parisian chic meets Asian vigour. Brightly coloured pagodas and crumbling 11th century buildings, stand alongside modern high rises and grand French colonial style villas. Locals practice graceful tai chi in the parks, whilst cyclos and mopeds weave at high speed through city streets. Age old customs are retained in the winding streets and alleys of the Old Quarter and the city’s French colonial legacy remains evident. The pace of life in Hanoi is not as frenetic as Ho Chi Minh City in the south and whilst it has developed rapidly over recent years and embraced tourism, it retains a refreshing ‘old world’ charm.
Hanoi is a historic city with many acclaimed museums including the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, the History Museum and Ho Chi Minh Museum where you can learn all about the life of the country’s national hero. Whilst adjacent to the museum, at the Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, you can pay your respects to the founder of modern Vietnam himself, as he lies in state in a glass sarcophagus. Hanoi is also home to many beautiful temples and pagodas, including the spiritual Temple of Literature – dedicated to Confucius.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Hanoi, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Southeast Asia