Ha Noi, the Indochina Old Dame, has a special appeal with exotic colors, sights, sounds and smells. The labyrinthine Old Quater streets lined with boutique shops, the cries of hawkers and the historic temples, all will leave you beautiful memory.
Situated on the bank of Red River, Hanoi is considered a pearl of Southeast Asia. With historic temples and pagodas, well-preserved colonial structures and exquisite cuisine, Hanoi becomes the epitome of Vietnamese culture.
Hanoi is best known for the emerald Hoan Kiem Lake and the vibrant Old Quarter with a myriad of boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. There are also a number of not-to-miss sites stamped with Oriental or French architecture: the National History Museum, Hanoi Opera House, French Quarter, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Temple of Literature, to name just a few.
Come to meet Hanoians, who are always friendly and sometimes curious. They will try to know your name, your marital status, your jobs, etc, things considered privacy to western norms. They do it for no specific purpose, just their way to make friends with you. And usually, they speak bad English but with intimacy, you will end up understanding.
Come to taste Hanoi food, which is original, refined and delicious. The best dining experience is not in 5 star hotels but street food: “Bun cha”, “banh mi”, “pho”, “nom bo kho”, “banh cuon”, all are not to be missed. If you love hangout, head to the Ta Hien Street for some or many cups of Vietnamese draught beer, “Bia Hoi”. Remember the word for “cheers” in Vietnamese is “tram phan tram”.
Also, come to visit Hanoi as it is: a two-faced and two-paced city with an intoxicating blend of oriental and western culture, of rural tranquility and urban motion. What strikes you most is the chaotic traffic of Hanoi, where you will find the most daring experience: crossing Hanoi street in rush hour. No worry, just walk slowly but steadily toward the other road side. Locals will know how to avoid you for sure.
A brief history:
Ha Noi is the ancient capital of Vietnam with a thousand year old history. Hanoi used to be called Thang Long, literally the “Rising Dragon” City. The myth was that in 1010, King Ly Cong Uan while visiting this land saw a dragon flying into the sky. The King took this as an omen that the area was suitable to settle the capital for his reign. This was also a flourishing period of Vietnamese Buddhism with many temples and pagodas constructed. The city was then renamed Tay Do (Western Capital) in 1400, Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital) then Hanoi (literally “inside the river”) in 1831 when the Nguyen dynasty moved capital to Hue.
Hanoi was given back its former status during the French Rule from 1887 to 1954. In 1902, Hanoi was crown the capital of Indochina colony. The French brought with them French cuisine and French architecture with gorgeous ochre buildings. Regretfully, half of these buildings were demolished when the French left. The city was evacuated many times during Vietnam-American War and after a turbulent time, Hanoi continued to be the capital of Vietnam until now.