Wrap your taste buds around the flavours of Vietnam

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Wrap your taste buds around the flavours of Vietnam
Wrap your taste buds around the flavours of Vietnam
Wrap your taste buds around the flavours of Vietnam
Wrap your taste buds around the flavours of Vietnam

Hanoi is the face of old and new Asia. It’s worn the title of capital for more than 1,000 years and has seen a thing or two during that time.

One of Vietnam’s most-visited historical sites is in Hanoi: the Temple of Literature. It’s the country’s first university, built in 1076. For a grizzly historical insight, visit Hoa Lo Prison – the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ (as dubbed by American prisoners during the Vietnam War). Re-emerge into today’s Hanoi: street hawkers, buzzing hordes of motorbikes, the slow rhythms of tai chi in the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, all with a backdrop of pockets of French colonial architecture.

The French didn’t only make an impression upon the buildings, of course, their influence has resulted in some fine bakeries – a prize for bread-lovers in Asia – and excellent food can be found in the street stalls. Hunting for bargains is popular too: silk, silver, embroidered goods are specialties. Like the accommodation here, you can get a lot for a little. The Old Quarter is chocked full of hotels, hostels, night markets and water puppets; it’s also colonial heartland. So, whatever you think a holiday in Hanoi might be like, you can’t be sure until you’ve seen this place for yourself. Come on over.