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In the thousand years since its founding, Hanoi has seen imperial dynasties, colonisation, wars and powerplays come and go. One thing that hasn’t changed over the centuries though is its appeal to visitors, and affordable flights to Hanoi today make it a good base for getting to grips with Vietnamese culture. Fly to Hanoi with Qatar Airways and you’ll experience a tropical climate, Asia-meets-Europe architecture and a friendly welcome from the locals.
If you want to learn about the history of Vietnam during your trip to Hanoi then a good place to start is the National Museum of Vietnamese History on Trang Tien Street. For more recent historical events, visit the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution on Tong Dan Street.
You don’t have to visit a museum to get a better understanding of the country and its capital, though. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a good example of Hanoi’s living history, as are the city’s many temples, some of which date back almost a thousand years. Explore the streets of the Old Quarter and you’ll discover Hanoi as it was over a century ago.
Your trip to Hanoi will give you the chance to explore the rich culture of Vietnam, and a visit to a water puppet theatre such as the one on Dinh Tien Hoang Street is a must. Water puppet shows blend traditional music and folklore with puppetry and more up to date special effects.
If you want to attempt to recreate Vietnamese cuisine on your return home then try taking a cooking class in Hanoi. To see more of the city at your own pace you can rent a bicycle or motorbike from one of the many rental firms in the city.
Vietnam is famous for its noodle soup, and Hanoi is no exception. These filling soups provide a real flavour of the country’s cuisine and are available in an extensive range of combinations, including ‘pho bo’ (beef) and ‘pho ga’ (chicken). Savoury and Sweet Street foods are in ample supply, but be aware that hygiene standards can vary from vendor to vendor.
Hanoi also has a wide range of restaurants to suit a variety of tastes in the Old Quarter and elsewhere. Menus are renowned for being particularly long, and unusual delicacies on offer.
If you’re looking for traditional Vietnamese fashions and crafts to keep as mementos of your travels to Hanoi then head to one of the city’s numerous markets, such as Hang Da or Dong Xuan. For shopping later in the day, try the Night Market. Be prepared to barter as most market sellers will begin by asking for a higher price than they actually expect to receive, particularly when dealing with tourists.
Flights to Hanoi arrive at Noi Ba International Airport, a little over 20 miles from the city.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Hanoi please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND)
Voltage: 220 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type A / C / D
International dialing code: +84