INTRODUCTION TO HANOI
Vietnam has been the top choice for travellers in Southeast Asia for years. But before you head straight to the golden beaches of Nha Trang, make sure you spend a couple of days exploring the great city in the North: Hanoi. An epic mix of Chinese and French influences with a very Vietnamese twist, this bustling city isn’t just a jumping off point for trips to Halong Bay and Sapa – though it can definitely be that, too – it’s a journey into the roots of Vietnamese culture.
Start back in the early times, where young men saved princesses from snakes and magic swords sent the Chinese invaders packing. You’ll find that cultural mythology still has a very big part to play in Vietnam, which you can discover during the Le Mat Festival, the Chem Temple Festival, and at Hoan Kiem lake.
Heroic stories get a little more factual when it comes to the Vietnamese Revolution. Learn about the life and achievements of communist party leader Ho Chi Minh at the Ho Chi Minh Museum, before paying your respects to loveable Uncle Ho during a visit to his mausoleum. Learn about the contribution women made to the war effort at the Women’s Museum, before discovering the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.
When it comes to finding the best bites in the city, we’ve got you covered. Knock back some warm pho for lunch and crunch on some banh xeo come dinner. Looking for snacks? You’ll be binging on loads of flavoursome coi cuon. And you won’t have to go looking for a Starbucks here – Hanoi’s insane coffee culture will get you packing tins of condensed milk to pour into your cup of brew once you get home. If you love history, food and a whole lot of amazing storytelling, you’ll have plenty of things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam.