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Hanoi is one of Asia’s most atmospheric, energetic and exciting capital cities, with a history stretching back over one thousand years. Vietnam’s capital is characterised by broad tree-lined boulevards, lakes, parks, colonial buildings, elegant squares and some of the newest office blocks and hotels in Southeast Asia.
Hanoi has a wealth of historical sights lying as it does at the heart of a region rich in history and landscapes. The scenery around the city is some of the most attractive in the land. Excursions to the Perfume Pagoda and the temples and caves at Tam Coc are particularly worthwhile. Historical Hanoi offers a myriad of experiences from the past millennium. You can immerse yourself in the bustling Old Town, stroll along the boulevards of the French Quarter and relax by Hoam Kiem Lake. Then you can learn about the modern history of Ho Chi Minh before contemplating it all at the Temple of Literature.
Hanoi also has stylish shops and plentiful market stalls and increasingly diverse restaurants from French haute cuisine to Vietnamese street food. Much of its charm, though, lies not so much in the official 'sights' but in the unofficial and informal: the traffic zooming around the broad streets or the cyclos taking a mellow pedal through the Old Quarter, small shops packed with traders' goods or stacks of silk for visitors, skewered poultry on pavement stalls, mobile flower stalls piled on the backs of bikes, the bustle of pedestrians, the ubiquitous tinkle of the ice cream man's bicycle, and the political posters, now raised to an art form, dotted around the city.
Its location, nearly 100 km from the sea, makes Hanoi the perfect gateway to other highlights in the north of Vietnam, providing an easy escape from the city hustle and bustle! From here it’s easy to travel to the idyllic escape of Halong Bay where you can take a junk boat cruise on its emerald waters.
Like China when it was ‘opening-up’ to Western tourists in the late 1970s, the primary interest lies in the novelty of exploring a city which, until recently, has opted for a firmly socialist road to development and has been insulated from the West.
Hanoi offers a wealth of wonderful sights and experiences. What better way to explore them than on a Wendy Wu tour?
We all enjoy a good fact or two - here are a few useful ones about Hanoi:
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