As the second largest city and capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is a vibrant city, bustling like any urban setting, but with a Southeast Asian flair. The city is highly influenced by the French and Chinese occupations that it endured throughout its history, demonstrating how resilient the city has been to still be standing today.
Lying on the right bank of the Red River in the northern region of Vietnam and about 90 kilometers from the coast, the ideal time to visit Hanoi is from October to December because the weather is quite cool and sunny, unlike its humid subtropical climate.
In terms of budget, Hanoi is a place where you can travel on as little as a few dollars a day to about $100 for luxury. It has consistently been voted as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 travel destinations since 2014. Because Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3000 BC and has survived throughout numerous dynasties, as well as the French colonial period, there is so much history to discover when visiting. Check out the 4 kilometer long Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, constructed in 2010 to mark the city’s millennial anniversary. The Old Quarter of Hanoi has areas with original street layouts and architecture and is home to the Bach Ma Temple. You can find many bars, clubs, and markets in the area too. The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, dedicated to Confucius, is the site for Vietnam’s oldest university.
Hanoi is also known as the city of lakes, and there are just so many to choose from! Most notably, check out Hoan Kiem Lake where the legend of the magic sword is said to have taken place. There is also West Lake, Hanoi’s largest lake featuring numerous temples, and Bay Mau Lake in Thongnhat Park where you can be sure to see cyclists and t’ai chi being practiced.
To experience modern Hanoi, head to Hanoi Landmark Tower, the tallest in Vietnam, measuring 336 meters. You can also go to the Lotte Tower Observation Deck to take in the skyscrapers filling the city since its recent construction boom.
When in Hanoi, make sure you taste some Vietnamese cuisine! Pho is an authentic Vietnamese dish, which is a rice noodle soup that you can add chicken, beef, or pork to. If your taste buds are on the daring side, try some dog, snake, or insects while in Vietnam!