STAYING IN HANOI
At just over 1000 years old, Hanoi can claim its place as one of the world's oldest capital cities. Hanoi's rich and sometimes turbulent history can be seen in the city's many cultural, historical and spiritual sites, which make for excellent sightseeing and help visitors understand more about the unique make-up of Vietnam's capital.
Life in Hanoi is less frenetic than in Ho Chi Minh City to the South, yet there's so much to see and do you'd hardly notice. Down every street and laneway, visitors are sure to find something to inspire and entice. Call into a streetside café for a caffeine hit of Vietnamese coffee, and soak up the chaotic bustle as scooters race down the street and vie for position with the constant blaring of horns. Or, enjoy a delicious Pho for breakfast while admiring the French-colonial, Chinese and Vietnamese co-mingling of history and architecture in Hanoi's Old Quarter.
Beyond the obvious candidates like the Old Quarter and French Quarter, there is much more for visitors to experience. The Vietnamese government's continual improvement of the national capital has created flourishing boroughs throughout Hanoi that remain relatively undiscovered by the international tourist set, like the Chua Boc district close to Hanoi's two leading universities, and the Hai Ba Trung district with its thriving boutique fashion houses.