Hanoi has seen it all over the past 1,000 years, from occupations and wars to, today, renaissance. Indeed, amidst an ongoing building boom and tourism surge it’s full steam ahead in Hanoi, which over the past few decades has transformed itself into a major centre of Southeast Asian commerce.
Prepare to have all senses fully engaged in Vietnam’s capital city. In the beguiling Old Quarter, for example, where life unfolds on the sidewalks amidst fading architectural relics of French-colonial rule, the droning buzz of motorbikes is all that breaks the otherwise sweeping old-world romance of it all. The Hanoian landscape is just as grand—though in a less chaotic jumble sort of way—in the stately French Quarter and around local hangout Hoan Kiem Lake.
The pungent smell of street food, the hearty laughter from bia hoi bars, the sight of tai chi practitioners at dawn—this is Hanoi. Take a deep breath; take it all in.