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Hanoi Vietnam

As one of the world’s most ancient capitals, Hanoi has that ineffable sense of enchantment that only gets better with age. Its charm emanates from its thriving Old Quarter, filled with food stalls, inviting cafes and market vendors.

To really soak up the atmosphere, Hanoi’s Old Quarter is best explored on foot. You’ll come across expert tradespeople selling quality trinkets such as hand-embroidered garments, bamboo products and stationery made from the famous local ‘do’ paper. You can experience some authentic North Vietnamese culture by taking in a water puppet show at the Thang Long Theatre. Performances are accompanied by a live orchestra and usually portray ancient village life and mythical creatures. Take some time to recharge in the peaceful grounds of the Temple of Literature, a rare example of traditional Vietnamese architecture amongst the French-inspired offerings such as St Joseph’s Cathedral and Long Biên Bridge.

Hanoi specialises in the national dish of pho (beef noodle soup), as well as bun cha (grilled pork with noodles) and banh mi (thin baguettes stuffed with cold cuts, pâté, mayonnaise and pickled carrots). If you’re in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, order a traditional egg coffee – egg yolk whisked together with vanilla essence, condensed milk and robusta coffee, topped off with a hand-stencilled design made of chocolate syrup.

The most common and convenient way to get around Hanoi is by hiring a motorbike. For a sightseeing tour, hop on a cyclo – a three-wheeled bicycle taxi found almost anywhere in the Old Quarter.


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