Four Nights in Hanoi

As the capital city to two different regimes, Hanoi is a vibrant city with an eccentric mix of architecture influenced by French and Vietnamese. Spending five nights in Hanoi, we could see the integration of foreign lifestyles in an Asian setting. Similar to Macau, also a former colony with Portuguese influences, it is an common site to see European styled buildings and cafe’s. From the government buildings to living quarters, it is almost like an Asian “Montmarte” with tight streets and lane houses. In the city center, the tiny streets branch out into large lanes with extravagant night lights adorning the side walk. Taking a bicycle trip around Hoàn Kiếm Lake almost feels like I am in a European city, especially seeing the Vietnamese Banh My street side vendors.

The true beauty of Hanoi is in its natural landscapes. Two hours away by bus, the shores of Halong Bay awaits. Limestone structures appear out of the ocean, looking like nature’s sculpture gallery. Once cruising on Halong Bay, you can explore the caves inside the limestone structures and see the beautiful formations.

There are also water villages within an hours drive away from downtown Hanoi. These water villages also has underground caves. Although not as peaceful as Halong Bay, it is worth a visit. Hanoi is a beautiful place to visit. Get a dose of history by visiting the Hanoi Museum. See the Chinese heritage with a stop at the Confucian Temple.

Vibrant and colorful, from architectural gems to the natural sites it is a true magical journey.

Maneuvering around the little streets

Banh My vendors

Natural sculptures in the ocean

Natural interior design

Rowing through a cave

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Originally published at journeydiva.wordpress.com on February 5, 2011.

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