As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has established itself as both a major metropolitan area and a fashion centre. With a 1,000 year history, Hanoi features numerous well-preserved buildings. The French colonial city offers beautiful attractions, including many lakes and lush, verdant parks. Whether you are looking for major corporations or trendy fashion designers, Hanoi has it all!
Although most of the hotels within Hanoi are trustworthy and helpful, there are a small number of scam artists who are out to con unsuspecting visitors. Travellers should check the location of their hotel room before deciding to take it, as there is a high volume of motorbike traffic sounding horns at every opportunity. A room on the street side means that guests are exposed to this noise almost constantly.
Top Hanoi Attractions
For an experience that is truly unique, head to Quang Ba - an amazing flower market that is only open in the middle of the night. You can find some great deals on handfuls of roses, lilies, and virtually any other type of flower that you can imagine - but you will have to stay up late to do it. By 6:00 AM, everything is packed up and gone!
If you prefer to do your shopping during the day, you can do it in the Old Quarter, which is located in the Hoan Kiem District and has charming Buddhist pagodas, temples and colonial architecture.. A true shopper's paradise, , the Old Quarter is made up of 40 streets - all jam-packed with markets and booths. To make your shopping easier, each street sells a different type of product. You'll find people searching for bargains in the Old Quarter any time of the day or night.
You won't have to go far to see Hanoi's business side. The Hoan Kiem District - Hanoi's commercial center - is right in the middle of town. In it, you will find most of Vietnam's public corporations and bank headquarters. Hoan Kiem Lake has a small pagoda in the centre and both visitors and locals enjoy it as a place to relax.
If you're looking for something a little more laid back, head out to the Lake of the Restored Sword. The lake is perfect for either a daytime or a nighttime stroll. It's also home to an old temple that you are welcome to visit.
The Tran Quoc Pagoda is 1,400 years old and sits on the West Lake. There are several restaurants and bars next to it, with a walkway for easy access.
Ho Chi Minh was a popular Vietnam leader and his people called him 'Uncle Ho'. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum preserves his body within a glass case, albeit against Uncle Ho's wishes. The mausoleum's construction started back in 1973 and was modelled on that of Lenin in Moscow. Every year, the remains of Uncle Ho are sent to Russia, for maintenance and preservation work to be carried out. The mausoleum is therefore closed during October.
Hanoi accommodation includes hotels in the Old Quarter, which has countless cheap hotels, hostels and guesthouses that cater for the budget traveller. Remember that cheap hotels in Hanoi, which are located down alleyways, tend not to suffer from continuous traffic noise. Visitors should always check for any construction work going on nearby, as this could cause disruption and a disturbed night's sleep.