Riverside Hanoi serves up a generous dose of evocative historic sites and shrines, fantastic cuisine and the chance to catch a glimpse of real life in Vietnam’s busy capital city, all in equal measure. A walk through Hanoi’s 13th-century Old Quarter is the perfect place to start, as open thoroughfares and tight alleyways of French colonial buildings have since turned into a myriad of street food vendors, restaurants and ramshackle outlets peddling all manner of authentic wares. It’s a heady travel experience here in Hanoi, so be sure to take it all in.
None of this is for show, however, as while the hum of Hanoi’s Old Quarter is exciting to visit on street level, the upper floors of these dilapidated colonial buildings (complete with original stone balconies) are usually inhabited by local residents. Think hanging laundry and pot plants, satellite dishes and a tangle of telephone wires lining the way.
There is then so much else to uncover while touring this top Vietnamese city, with highlights of Hanoi including the ornate Opera House; Hoan Kiem Lake with its famous island temple and bridge; Thang Long Imperial Citadel; the National Museum of Vietnamese History; Bach Ma Temple; and Tran Quoc Pagoda, a 6th-century Buddhist shrine on the banks of Hanoi’s West Lake, to name just a few.
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