One of the most interesting Asian cities to visit is Hanoi, which is the capital ofVietnam. There are close to 3.5 million residents, yet the charming Old Quarter retains a small-town feel to it. There are also plenty of wonderful sites to explore in the nearby region, such as beautiful Halong Bay and Sapa, which is a fabulous tribal hill station.
There are plenty of things to do and see in the city of Hanoi itself. Some of the most popular and interesting include taking a walk though the historic Old Quarter. Many of the narrow streets are filled with various trades and crafts workers, such asheadstone carvers, lantern makers and tinworkers.
Hoan Kiem Lake is also in the Old Quarter and is an ideal place to stroll around. You can always stop at a lakeside establishment to enjoy a cold drink or ice cream.
If you’d like to be entertained then you’ll probably enjoy the Old Quarter’s Municipal Water Puppet Theatre. This venue offers two shows each evening which feature water-borne marionettes and fireworks. The art of puppetry is hundreds of years old and the shows also feature some of the best Vietnamesetraditional music.
Those who are more interested in education will be amazed at the Temple of Literature, which is home to the oldest university in the country, dating back to 1070. The grounds and the architecture are simply amazing.
History enthusiasts will be interested in the Ho Chi Minh museum and mausoleum. You can get a glimpse of his body which is kept under glass here.
There are plenty of fashion shops to browse though in the Old Quarter, especially on Hang Gai Street. The clothing and accessories here are among the best in all of Asia. You’ll also be able to find a great selection of antiques and tribal crafts. The art galleries and museums are also among the top in the continent with several of them located in the city.
When it’s time to eat, you’ll find that Hanoi is a gastronomic delight. You can try out tasty local dishes at street stalls, enjoy a cold beer in a corner cafe, and down freshly-squeezed sugarcane drinks. There are dozens of excellent restaurants to choose from if you’d like to eat like the local residents.
When it comes to nightlife, Hanoi is relatively quiet and peaceful, which makes for a nice change of pace from some other large Asian cities. The hustle and bustle of the city streets disappear in most areas about 11pm. The town becomes quite serene between then and the next morning, when the excitement returns to the streets.
There’s a major international airport that serves Hanoi, which is called Noi Bai Airport. It’s about 20 miles north of the city and can be reached in just less than an hour by bus or car. Taxis are easy to find and there’s also a minibus that’s operated by Vietnam Airlines which takes passengers to the Old Quarter.