Words by Bev Malzard
Head into the Old Quarter to see the bustle of Hanoi at its most chaotic. There are wonderful shops, food stalls and cafes, where you can hang out, drinking a Vietnamese coffee or cold beer, and watch the passing parade.
Ha Long Bay
With a name that means descending dragon, this spot is a three-hour drive from the city but an essential Indochine experience. It is revered for its limestone towers and emerald waters, and there are many overnight cruises where you can enjoy
a glorious sunset.
Temple of Literature
Also known as the Temple of Culture, this picturesque site is an ancient Confucius temple in the city. Built in 1070, it hosts the Imperial Academy, Vietnam’s first national university.
Splurge on afternoon tea at the famous Metropole Hotel Hanoi for the history, hospitality and amazing cakes. Ask to do the ‘bunker’ tour, it’s fascinating.
St Joseph’s Cathedral
Dating back to 1886, St Joseph’s is the oldest church in Hanoi. As per the French influence, it closely resembles the neo-Gothic architectural style of Paris’ Notre Dame.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
When popular Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh (Uncle Ho) died, his body was preserved and placed in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This historic site is one of the most visited in Hanoi, with both locals and tourists joining the steady queue.