Vietnam’s graceful capital is steeped in history, atmosphere and culture. The heart of Hanoi is its ancient Old Quarter with its maze of historic streets brimmed to bursting point with hawkers, shops, Pho and street food stalls. Historic and cultural highlights include Hoan Kiem Lake, home to a legendary turtle who’s over 100 years old, and the ancient Ngoc Son Temple that sits atop the lake; the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where you can pay respect to the nation’s beloved former leader; the National Museum of Vietnamese History where intriguing ancient collections are housed in elegant architecture that fuses Chinese and French design; Hoa Lo Prison Museum, infamously named the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ where US POWs were detained during the War; and the serene Temple of Literature, dating back to 1070 and where Vietnam’s first university was founded.
Hanoi is famous for its sensational street food and an essential part of your Hanoi experience is to hit the street-stalls of the Old Quarter to sample the best local (Pho and Bun Cha) and regional specialties. As is expected of a capital city, Hanoi has a lively nightlife scene, ranging from street-side Bia Hoi joints, beer clubs and cafes to Western-style pubs, bars and clubs.