Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city by population (1st is Ho Chi Minh City). From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Hue, the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802–1945), but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam, and it became the capital of a reunified Vietnam in 1976, after the North’s victory in the Vietnam War.
Hanoi is sometimes dubbed the “Paris of the East” for its French influences. With its tree-fringed boulevards, more than two dozen lakes and thousands of French colonial-era buildings, Hanoi is a popular tourist destination. Since 2014, Hanoi has consistently been voted in the world’s top ten destinations by TripAdvisor. It ranked 8th in 2014, 4th in 2015 and 8th in 2016. Hanoi is the most affordable international destination in TripAdvisor’s annual TripIndex report.
Ha Noi Location
The city lies on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is 1,760 km (1,090 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City
Hanoi is located in northern region of Vietnam, situated in the Vietnam’s Red River delta, nearly 90 km (56 mi) away from the coastal area. Hanoi contains three basic kind of terrain, which are the delta area, the midland area and mountainous zone. In general, the terrain is gradually lower from the north to the south and from the west to the east, with the average height ranging from 5 to 20 meters above the sea level. The hills and mountainous zones are located in the northern and western part of the city.
The city was occupied by the Imperial Japanese in 1940 and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam. However, the French returned and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954.
During the Vietnam War, Hanoi’s transportation facilities were disrupted by the bombing of bridges and railways. These were all, however, promptly repaired. Following the end of the war, Hanoi became the capital of a reunified Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on July 2, 1976.
As the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand years, Hanoi is considered one of the main cultural centers of Vietnam, where most Vietnamese dynasties have left their imprint. Even though some relics have not survived through wars and time, the city still has many interesting cultural and historic monuments for visitors and residents alike. Even when the nation’s capital moved to Huế under the Nguyễn Dynasty in 1802, the city of Hanoi continued to flourish, especially after the French took control in 1888 and modeled the city’s architecture to their tastes, lending an important aesthetic to the city’s rich stylistic heritage. The city hosts more cultural sites than any other city in Vietnam, and boasts more than 1,000 years of history; that of the past few hundred years has been well preserved.
Ha Noi Old Quarter
The Old Quarter, near Hoàn Kiếm Lake, maintains most of the original street layout and some of the architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century Hanoi consisted of the “36 streets”, the citadel, and some of the newer French buildings on the south of Hoàn Kiếm lake, most of which are now part of Hoàn Kiếm district. Each street had merchants and households specializing in a particular trade, such as silk, jewelry or even bamboo. The street names still reflect these specializations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. The area is famous for its specializations in trades such as traditional medicine and local handicrafts, including silk shops, bamboo carpenters, and tinsmiths. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here also. A night market (near Đồng Xuân Market) in the heart of the district opens for business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.
Some other prominent places are: The Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu), site of the oldest university in Vietnam 1010; One Pillar Pagoda (Chùa Một Cột) which was built based on the dream of king Lý Thái Tông (1028-1054) in 1049 ; Flag Tower of Hanoi (Cột cờ Hà Nội). In 2004, a massive part of the 900-year-old Hanoi Citadel was discovered in central Hanoi, near the site of Ba Đình Square.
Ha Noi Cuisine
Hanoi has rich culinary traditions. Many of Vietnam’s most famous dishes, such as phở, chả cá, bánh cuốn and cốm are believed to have originated in Hanoi. Perhaps most widely known is Phở—a simple rice noodle soup often eaten as breakfast at home or at street-side cafes, but also served in restaurants as a meal. Two varieties dominate the Hanoi scene: Phở Bò, containing beef and Phở Gà, containing chicken. Bún chả, a dish consisting of charcoal roasted pork served in a sweet/salty soup with rice noodle vermicelli and lettuce, is by far the most popular food item among locals. President Obama famously tried this dish at a Le Van Huu eatery with Anthony Bourdain in 2016, prompting the opening of a Bún chả restaurant bearing his name in the Old Quarter.
Vietnam’s national dish phở has been named as one of the Top 5 street foods in the world by GlobalPost.
Hanoi has a number of restaurants whose menus specifically offer dishes containing snake and various species of insects. Insect-inspired menus can be found at a number of restaurants in Khuong Thuong village, Hanoi. The signature dishes at these restaurants are those containing processed ant-eggs, often in the culinary styles of Thai people or Vietnam’s Muong and Tay ethnic people. Hanoi is also home to much of the dog eating culture of Vietnam, with several restaurants offering the dish in the Old Quarter and surrounding areas.
Bia Hoi, a local take on a Czech style beer allegedly introduced by guest engineers in post-liberation Hanoi, is also a local specialty. This beer is light, gassy, with a very neutral pallet which agrees with the local diet quite well. It contains no preservatives and is therefore “fresh” beer. It is usually purchased for around 5-10,000 dong per glass or around 25 to 40 cents. The beer is produced by a variety of the local breweries and is the tent pole item for many local eateries generally referred to as “bia hoi” which serve a variety of local dishes.
Ha Noi Transport
Hanoi is served by Noi Bai International Airport, approximately 15 km (9 mi) north of Hanoi. The new international terminal (T2), designed and built by Japanese contractors, opened in January 2015 and is a big facelift for Noibai International Airport. In addition, a new highway and the new Nhat Tan cable-stay bridge connecting the airport and the city center opened at the same time, offering much more convenience than the old road (via Thanglong bridge). Taxis are plentiful and usually have meters, although it is also common to agree on the trip price before taking a taxi from the airport to the city centre. Another way, you can pre-book a Ha Noi airport transfer service