Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, is the second biggest city in the country. It is over1,000 years old and has an interesting mix of East and West. It is also a popular destination for travelers hopping around Southeast Asia.
In recent years, Hanoi has been striving to build itself into a green and modern city.
There are at least five things you should not miss here.
The Old Quarter./ CGTN Photo
1. The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter has 36 streets of old traditions and lots of things to experience.
You probably won’t have enough time, eyes and ears to see the area completely.
But, exploring the streets, the shops, the markets, the bars and the street food, and you’ll fall in love with the Old Quarter.
The night market./ CGTN Photo
2. The night market
Locals strongly recommended that I stroll through the night market. Hanoi is a completely different city when night falls as lots of scooters disappear.
Locals and backpackers go into the Old Quarter to dine and to enjoy their nights and more shops and bars open their doors than daytime.
Hoan Kiem Lake./ CGTN Photo
3. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is considered the center of Hanoi, not only physically but also iconically.
There is a legend about the lake: King Le Loi came across a shining metal bar when he visited his friend.
Le Loi understood that the sword was a gift from heaven and used it in battle against a neighboring country.
In 1428, he visited the lake and there was a tortoise rising above water, shouting: “Please return the sword to the Dragon King.” Without hesitation, the king threw the sword to the lake. The tortoise took the sword and dove into the water.
One-Pillar Pagoda. /CGTN Photo
4. One-Pillar Pagoda
The One-Pillar Pagoda, literally meaning “long lasting happiness and good luck," is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi. It is regarded as one of Vietnam's two most iconic temples.
The Pagoda stands on just one pillar. Built by Emperor Lý Thái Tông during his reign of 1028-1054, it was renovated in 1105 by Emperor Lý Nhân Tông.
As legend has it, aging Emperor Ly Thai To of the Ly Dynasty, who had no children, used to come here to pray for a son.
Street snacks in Hanoi./ CGTN Photo
5. The street foods and coffee
Hanoi, like Bangkok and other big Asian cities, is filled with little street food places.
The food is enormously cheap and is probably the most delicious you’ll taste in the region.
Another thing is to pick a Vietnamese-style cafe as you hang around the blocks and gently dip into the Vietnamese-style coffee as the city goes by busily on two-wheelers.
And finally, adventure time. There are so many motorbikes on the roads and according to locals, every household has at least one. During rush hour in particular, you will see them filling the streets everywhere. Cross a street holding your hand up high, but be watchful…