Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a beautiful, historic city in the north of the country, which is distinctly Asian, but with a little French flair added to the mix. The remnants of the French colonial days are everywhere, from the cobbled streets of the Old Quarter, to the baguettes you'll wolf down at lunchtime. This, combined with the Asian-style pagodas and temples, gives the city a unique ambiance. Book a stay in one of the top-quality Hanoi hotels to experience a bit of that certain je ne sais quoi.
After disembarking your flight to Hanoi, head to your hotel and get some rest—you've got some busy days ahead! Start at the National Museum of Vietnamese History to get a feel for the country's past. The Ho Chi Minh Museum is a showcase of the life of Vietnam's favorite son, and is next to the impressive Presidential Palace. You can even see his embalmed body at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum! The Temple of Literature is the site of the country's first university, and also has a wonderful garden area. Most of the cheap hotels in Hanoi are in and around the Old Quarter, which surrounds the stunning Hoan Kiem Lake, and is a warren of narrow, cobbled streets packed with shops, bars, and restaurants.
You can't take more than a few steps in the Old Quarter without coming across a restaurant or street food vendor serving rice and noodle-based dishes. The most popular dish is noodle soup, with either chicken (Pho Ga) or beef (Pho Bo). There are lots of bars and hole-in-the-wall establishments that serve bia hoi, fresh beer straight off the tap. The best hotels in Hanoi also have high-class restaurants with French and Asian fine-dining menus.
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