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Vietnam's capital of Hanoi is a fast paced city; motorbikes stream along the streets, people hurry along the pavements, and the atmosphere is vibrant and exciting. It manages to effortlessly blend old and new, and is a meld of East meets West. With whispers from the days of French rule mixed evocatively with traditional Vietnamese styles, it is a captivating city.
There are numerous sights and attractions to keep everyone busy in Hanoi. Interesting museums include the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the nearby former leader's mausoleum, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Vietnamese Women's Museum. In addition, Hanoi Museum, the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution, and the National Museum of Vietnamese History house interesting exhibits and displays. For an insight into the Vietnamese military, visit the Army Museum and the Air Force Museum. The quaint One Pillar Pagoda is worth a stop, but it can be very busy.
Hoan Kiem Lake is a great place for people watching. Try and spot the legendary giant turtle that is said to lurk in the watery depths! On the edge of the lake you can visit the popular Ngoc Son Temple, with beautiful artwork and an enormous mummified turtle. There are several nice parks scattered across the city, and some very pretty temples.
For some, albeit skewed, wartime history, visit the so-called Hanoi Hilton. The proper name was Hoa Lo Prison, and it was where American captives were held during the war.
Whilst in Hanoi, watch a traditional and entertaining water puppet show. The art was developed by farmers in the rice paddies, but you can watch comfortably from the seats in the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
There are many places to stay in the city, and an abundance of places to eat and drink. Local beer is cheap and plentiful, and pastries and breads are delicious remnants left behind by the French.
Hanoi has an international airport, Noi Bai, and there are train services to and from China. International routes serve China and Laos. The long distance buses are one of the best ways to move around within the country.
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guides for further details and hot travel tips. Country travel information is available at our Vietnam
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