Peaceful lakes, ancient pagodas and serene beauty
Hanoi is a charming city with tranquil parks and low-rise buildings. Many areas were built during the French colonial era and there are wide boulevards and grand buildings as well as traditional Chinese-influenced architecture. Vietnam’s capital city is set on the banks of the Red River and the serene Hoan Kiem Lake is at its centre. In the early morning people head to the lakeside to perform Tai Chi, while the streets around the area fill with bicycles and mopeds, cyclos and vendors. To the north of the lake lies the Old Quarter, with its streets named after the trades taking place there and its numerous stalls and markets. Nightlife is low-key in Hanoi, but with a wonderful choice of relaxed bars, clubs, puppet theatre and restaurants, there’s certainly enough excitement to round off your day.
Travel to Hanoi for the tranquil lakes, beautiful pagodas and temples, the bustling Old Quarter, the allure of being in an elegant Asian capital, and the grand colonial buildings and boulevards. Hanoi is a captivating city that rewards all of the senses.
When to Go?
The best time to visit Hanoi is from mid September to early December when the humidity and heat of the summer months has subsided. During these months the temperature averages 20°C and is very pleasant. The heaviest rain occurs during the summer months from May to September. Winters are cool and dry; spring brings warmer temperatures but lots of drizzle.
How to get there?
There are no direct flights from the UK to Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). Indirect flights go via Asian hubs such as Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong, and via Paris. The airport is around 21 miles from the city. Taxis to Hanoi’s centre are available from the terminal building and drivers will suggest hotels where they get a commission. Public buses and shuttle buses are also available.
Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which holds the Vietnam leader’s body. Enjoy the tangled streets of the Old Quarter and if you’re looking for a new suit, one of the tailors can create a bespoke item in 24 hours. Head to Hoan Kiem Lake in the early morning and see the elders doing Tai Chi. Walk to West Lake further along the trail. There is a beautiful temple, lovely small pagoda and a little restaurant where you can eat delicious banh tom prawn cakes with dipping sauce at Hoan Kiem.