The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is situated on the delta of the Red River in the North of the country. Although less populous than Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is nevertheless the true cultural heart of Vietnam, with its many temples, pagodas and parks which lend the city its traditional charm.
Founded in 1010, Hanoi celebrated its 1,000th birthday in 2010. All year round, numerous festivals ensure an animated cultural life and have made Hanoi a tourist destination of the first order.
Visiting Hanoi will immerse you in traditional Vietnamese culture which remains ever-present in places such as the Quan Tanh Temple, the Imperial City of Thang Long, the Chua Môt Côt buddhist temple and the Confucian temple of Van Miêu.
Stay a while longer in Hanoi and enjoy some of the more unusual sides of the city, such as at the Festival of Flowers in Hanoi or the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival which will transport you with the magic of nature.
Among the great traditional Vietnamese festivals, the Tet or New Year festival is a major event, ideal if you are visiting Hanoi with the family. Another family idea, the International Puppet Festival is an original and unusual event.
Although Hanoi has kept its traditional charm which is delicately distilled throughout the city, this capital has equally developed a cultural life which is resolutely contemporary.
The Vietnam Film Festival puts Hanoi on the map in terms of international cinema while Hanoi Soundstuff encourages the local electronic music scene.
Whether your stay in Hanoi is oriented towards traditional or contemporary culture (or both!), an essential ingredient remains Vietnamese food. Among the local culinary specialities, phô, a noodle soup with beef, and banh cuon, a kind of rolled rice crêpe, should definitely be on your menu. The vivid flavours of Hanoi almost jump off your plate…