Located on the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is the delightful capital of Vietnam where the exotic style of old Asia blends with the dynamism of the new. With its ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, it retains the charm and allure of a beautiful provincial city, yet at the same time this is a thriving hub of commerce.
- Take a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter
- Visit the final resting place of the former Vietminh leader, Ho Chi Minh
- Watch a performance at the traditional water puppet theatre
- Try some local delicacies on a street food tour
- Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake
Key sites of interest are the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of ‘Uncle Ho’ resides. The lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda, built in 1049 by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong and resting on a single stone pillar is another highlight. The Temple of Literature gives an overview about Hanoian culture and appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture, whilst the Museum of Ethnology offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups.
Take a wander through the tangled web of streets in the Old Quarter, relax in a coffee shop whilst soaking up the hustle and bustle of local life and cap off your day by taking in a show at the water puppet theatre – a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of national history. Vietnamese water puppets were invented a thousand years ago by farmers in the Red River Delta region near Hanoi as entertainment when the rains flooded their paddy fields.