Also known as the City of Lakes, Hanoi is home to about 100 natural and man-made lakes. As one of the major scenic spots in Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake sees both locals and tourists making their way here to relax or catch a glimpse of the Turtle Tower, a legend-linked small tower in the middle of the lake. Many interesting facts and folklore are linked to the lake – rumour has it that the lake has never run dry through the ages!
In the centre of the city sits West Lake, the largest in Hanoi. Surrounded by many gardens, restaurants, hotels and serviced residences, its surrounding luxurious yet buzzing Tay Ho district attracts the wealthy and expatriates to take up residence here.
If there’s time to spare, not far away from Hanoi is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the stunning Ha Long Bay. Featuring emerald waters and numerous limestone structures and caves, the bay is a popular site for day trips out of Hanoi. For those who wish to stay longer to experience all the natural wonder has to offer, opt for overnight cruises that will take you deep into the bay for hiking, fishing, kayaking and swimming activities accompanied by sumptuous meals and cooking classes onboard.
Keen to experience village life? Hanoi is also where you can learn to embrace the trend of slow travel. Jump into a farmer’s garb and work at the paddy fields, learn how to cook a typical Vietnamese lunch and attempt to fish with traditional nets – all within a day trip from Hanoi city.
Unwind in an Ancient City Teeming with Nightlife
A perfect evening in Hanoi should start around sundown at one of the city’s numerous rooftop venues. Current hot spots include Twilight Sky Bar – which offers expertly made cocktails with a spectacular outlook over Hoan Kiem Lake – and Tadioto, a bar, café, event space and meeting spot founded by Mr Duc, a familiar name in the contemporary art scene and an astute social commentator. Fancy something livelier? Live shows and DJ sets are not hard to find here. Hanoi Rock City and Savage are some popular spots for local, regional and even international acts to take the stage.
And when you’re ready for a truly local experience, continue the night with some of the cheapest beer in the world. In the same area you’ll find Bia Hoi Junction and Ta Hien Beer Street, offering the quintessential Vietnamese beer experience: think freshly poured draft beer and snacks laid out on small stools and tables by the roadside. While lower in alcohol content compared to its western counterparts, Bia Hoi beer is incredibly cheap, going at an average of VND6,000 (US$0.25) for a tall glass!
With its rich heritage, vibrant contemporary culture and myriad nooks and crannies, Hanoi is a place that rewards those with scope to dig a little deeper. Make the most of your stay at the luxurious Fraser Suites Hanoi. With a prime location within the scenic West Lake district, the serviced residence offers travellers a home close to the city’s heartbeat. And yet, also, a tranquil repose from the hustle and bustle of the capital.
Adapted from Fraser Cachet Issue #35 © Frasers Hospitality and SPH Magazines