The Vietnamese capital has been presenting visitors with a history made up of traditions, exoticism and easy living for over a thousand years. Fuelling the economic heart of Vietnam, the city does however remain youthful and people-friendly. This nerve centre of South East Asia is littered with ancestral back alleys which see the emergence of everything from sellers to street peddlers.
It is within these roads, filled with history, that you are able to discover the authentic Hanoï, the chess players and the stalls serving pho, a tasty and great-smelling soup. You would have exhausted the senses upon arriving in the 36 roads district.
The capital also plays a more poetic role, notably, when strolling along the peaceful lakes with the pagodas, just like Hoan Kiem Lake. Not far from the old city, this elegiac enclave bestows a sense of eternity and serenity with its temple, Ngoc Son. Come here to breathe in the scents of exotic wood, or for the early-risers, surprise those doing tai-chi first thing...
Almost reflecting this part of the fragile yet frenetic city, the Hô Chi Minh mausoleum provides the city with a spectacular base. A majestic and essential site within contemporary Vietnamese culture, at night, it is possible to admire the colourful lighting or the changing of the guard as per the famous British tradition. Drawing from Soviet influence, the Hô Chi Minh mausoleum is not the only cultural establishment representative of the cultural exchanges of the country, we must mention the incredible neo-Gothic cathedral of Saint-Joseph. A Western bubble which, surrounded by luxurious vegetation, makes you feel like you are in Europe.