Based just a hop, skip, and a jump over the Chinese border, Vietnam provides the perfect excuse to extend your China trip. As Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi is a great place to visit and the ideal way to top off your carefully planned itinerary. There are a number of reasons why Hanoi is an incredible place to visit in its own right – here are just 13 great reasons to visit Hanoi.
Here, you’ll find our essential guide to this amazing destination, whether it’s your first trip or 31st trip to this stunning part of the world.
The ancient city of Hanoi
Based on the banks of the iconic Red River, Hanoi is one of the most stunning ancient capitals on the planet. You’ll find tradition here that you may not find in Chinese cities like Beijing and Hong Kong, which makes paying it a visit a truly authentic experience for those looking to dig a little deeper into Vietnam’s history and heritage. The past is weaved beautifully into the present in Hanoi, with travellers able to take in preserved colonial buildings, unique museums and ancient pagodas throughout the city centre.
A multicultural community
Despite its traditional air, Hanoi benefits from a multicultural community. With Chinese, French and Russian influences present here, Hanoi provides an interesting insight into Vietnam and the best street food in the country. Lonely Planet gives us a glimpse into the thriving street food scene beyond the three Bs (bun cha, beef pho, and banh mi) Hanoi is known and loved for:
“Forget chicken soup and grilled cheese – snail noodle soup is Hanoi’s classic comfort food. A standard bowl comes with rice noodles (bun), tofu, sometimes beef and crab meat, and a heaping plate of the greens that accompany most Vietnamese dishes. Key ingredients in the broth are tomatoes, wine vinegar, and pepper, giving it a nice kick. This dish can be found all over Hanoi, but a bowl at 13 Hoe Nhai in Ba Dinh District is a little spicier and more flavourful than other varieties. You can also select the size of your snail: big or small.”
It never sleeps
It’s not just its food and drink that takes millions to Hanoi every year. It is a city that never sleeps, and Hanoi is just as interesting after dark as it is in the day. Bia Hoi Junction is at the centre of the action with its bar scene enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. The area also has an unexpected obsession with jazz. Minh’s Jazz Club, which is named after a famous Vietnamese jazz performer, is one of the best places to see Hanoi’s finest musicians and the greatest live entertainment.
Those looking for a hip scene should head to The Bank, which just happens to be the city’s biggest nightclub.
Looking to extend your trip further? Add a visit to Halong Bay to your Hanoi itinerary to enjoy the natural beauty of the region.