Choosing Hanoi, which is only a two-hour flight from Hong Kong, author Ed Peters remarked that tourists can enjoy the experience of being in a foreign country while still maintaining their Asian essence.
The author observed that the lives of the Vietnamese capital’s citizens primarily unfold right on the sidewalks, where activities like getting a haircut, cooking, and open-air workshops are common.
For him, Hanoi resembles a vibrant and expansive village, adorned with French colonial architecture.
|Tourists take a jeep tour in Hanoi. Photo: SCMP|
In the heart of the city is the picturesque sight of Hoan Kiem Lake, surrounded by banyan trees and low-rise buildings, attracting hundreds of local residents at daybreak for exercise, stretching, or Tai Chi practice.
Hanoi offers a peaceful urban landscape with a variety of accommodation options, ranging from luxury hotels like the Sofitel Legend Metropole, where nightly room rates average around US$400, to more affordable guest houses near the Old Quarter.
These guest houses are equipped with modern amenities and spas, with prices typically around $60 per night.
In bustling areas around the city, tourists can easily hear the cheerful jingling of cyclo bells.
The cost for each cyclo ride should be approximately $8 per hour with successful negotiation.
The experience is enjoyable and offers unobstructed views, perfect for capturing memorable photographs.
|A tourist takes a ride in a cyclo in Hanoi. Photo: SCMP|
The author also highly recommends Vietnamese cuisine in Hanoi.
Street food has also been recognized by the prestigious French dining guide Michelin, signifying excellent food at affordable prices.
Despite the potential changes brought by Michelin, long-standing establishments continue to enjoy immense popularity.
Visitors to the Vietnamese capital with shopping in mind should be prepared to haggle and negotiate.
In addition to souvenirs, tourists can find high-quality lacquerware, silk, and hand embroidery in the mainstream shops around the Old Quarter and neighboring districts.
|The ground floor of Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. Photo: SCMP|
Dong Xuan Market, the city’s largest market located just a few hundred meters away from the Old Quarter, is a multifaceted, three-story center of organized chaos.
Its aisles are so narrow that they barely accommodate two people passing each other, with traders perched atop their merchandise.
The ground floor features a fountain and seating, and on weekends, the street outside is transformed into a night market.
In the end, the news outlet concludes that immersing oneself in the atmosphere of Hanoi is the ultimate reason to savor a visit to the historic Vietnamese capital.