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HaNoi Overview

Imagine a city where the exotic chic of Old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new Asia, where the medieval and modern co-exist.

Imagine a city where the exotic chic of Old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new Asia, where the medieval and modern co-exist. A city with a blend of Parisian grace and Asian pace, an architectural museum piece evolving in harmony with its history, rather than bulldozing through like many of the region’s capitals. Hanoi is where imagination becomes reality.


A mass of motorbikes swarms through the tangled web of streets that is the Old Quarter, a cauldron of commerce for almost 1000 years and still the best place to check the pulse of this resurgent city. Hawkers in conical hats ply their wares, locals sip coffee and Bia hoi (beer) watching life (and plenty of tourists) pass them by. Witness synchronised t’ai chi at dawn on the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake while goateed grandfathers tug at their wisps over the next chess move. See the bold and beautiful dine at designer restaurants and cut the latest moves on the dance floor. Hanoi has it all: the ancient history, a colonial legacy and a modern outlook. There is no better place to untangle the paradox that is modern Vietnam.


The grand old dame of Asia, Hanoi lay in a deep slumber after Vietnam’s partition in 1954 until the effects of economic reforms kicked in four decades later. The city survived American bombs and Russian planners to emerge relatively unscathed in the early 1990s as an example of a French-conceived colonial city. Huge mansions line grand boulevards, and lakes and parks dot the city, providing a romantic backdrop to the nonstop soundtrack. There are still moments of Paris, as the smell of baguettes and café au lait permeates street corners.


Known by many names down the centuries, Thang Long (City of the Soaring Dragon) is the most evocative, and let there be no doubt that this dragon is on the up once more.


Hanoi travel guide includes delicious food, museums and religious sites. Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and it is an important political center. It is situated on the banks of the Red River. In this vibrant city there is a fusion between traditional values and modern development. Visitors can enjoy traditional Vietnamese culture while enjoying the luxury of modern amenities.



Hanoi people are for the most part gracious, polite and generous and will try to make guests feel comfortable in their city. As with the rest of Vietnam, the languages spoken here are many and varied. There are in excess of 100 languages spoken in the whole of the country. The national and official language is Tieng Viet (sometimes called Viet ngu) Many years ago the Vietnamese used Chinese characters, then around the 13th century, they developed their own alphabet called Chu nom. Change came again during French colonial times, as the Romanized Vietnamese alphabet (Quoc ngu) became popular for spoken Vietnamese. This was further developed in 17th century by Catholic missionaries. It became popular as it brought real literacy to the population.


Many other languages are spoken by minority groups in the country. The most common of these are H’Mong, Khmer, Tay, Muong, Nung, and Chinese. French is still spoken by some older Vietnamese as a second language, but is losing popularity. Russian and even German, Czech, and Polish, are occasionally spoken by some. In recent years, English has gained popularity as a second language and is now mostly obligatory in schools. Chinese and Japanese continue to grow.