Nicely sitting along the banks of the Red River, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the country’s second largest city and one of the rapidly developing cities in the Southeast Asia. Hanoi is a fine city that houses contrasting influences of the West and the East, combined with traditional Sino-Vietnamese culture and French traditions. The weather is impeccable, very ideal for touring whether be it day or night. Visitors find their gateway to Hanoi in Noi Bai International Airport, 35km north of the city. Despite the airport’s relevance to the country, its size remains to be modest which benefits the tourists as they can find their way with ease. From the airport, taxis, buses and private car rentals take tourists to the destination they prefer.
Visitors who plan for a whole-day Hanoi trip can take a taxi or rent a private car. This can be relatively expensive, but it assures the tourists of a less hassle way of looking for transportation when hopping from one place to another. For shorter trips, motorbikes and cyclos are the best way to go. Motorbike services can be found in almost all corners of Hanoi. Tourists benefit from its abundance because one can simply walk away if the fare is too high and go to the next motorbike driver. Pedicabs or cyclos are a safe alternative for that “more secure” feeling of touring the city. May it be taxis, motorbikes or cyclos, be very vigilant when negotiating with fares and service fees. For a scam-free way of going around, the bus is the best choice. Better yet, tour Central Hanoi by foot—it is easy to navigate around and it is the only way one can see the attractions, smell the street food, and hear the buzz of the center of Hanoi.
Hanoi is a city for an awesome homestay. Because Hanoi is one of the in-demand tourist destinations in Asia, hotels, B&Bs and specialty lodging are found in every corner of the city. For unparalleled hospitality and feel-at-home ambiance, B&Bs such as Viethouse Hanoi and Moon Garden Homestay can be considered. For high-end amenities, there are hotels like Hanoi Prince II Hotel and Hanoi Elegance Ruby.
Vietnamese cuisine is one of the prides of Hanoi and since the 90’s its line-up has grown in variation and taste. When in Hanoi, Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup) and Pho Bo (beef noodle soup) should not be missed. But there is more to Vietnam than noodle soups–street food is an attraction in its own way, and next to Beijing, Hanoi is considered the paradise of exotic foods. From cobra meat to lobster, from fast food chains to fine dining restaurants, the eclectic mix in Hanoi’s dining scene is simply amazing.
Tourists can travel to Hanoi in anytime of the year and each season has its particular beauty. Hoan Kiem Lake is a stunning place ideal for strolling and relaxing. Museums and temples are staples where, like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and The Temple of Literature where tourists can appreciate the culture, tradition and history of the city. Landmarks of Hanoi include The State Guest House, St. Joseph Cathedral, Park of Reunification, Long Bien Bridge and Tran Quoc Pagoda. Wartime sights and attractions, such as Hoa Lo Prison must be a part of the itinerary as well.
Hanoi festivals are worth the experience and it will be a delight to be a part of Cow Racing Festival, Tet Doan Ngo and The Master Pagoda Festival. With all these attractions, combined with the warm smiles and the resilience of the locals, touring Hanoi is surely a memory hard to forget.