Hanoi – A Taste of the Capital in 24 Hours

By: John Brooksbank

Hanoi, unlike many other Southeast Asian capitals, “goes to bed early” – most restaurants and bars, with notable exceptions, close their doors well before midnight, so surviving 24 hours here requires stamina, imagination and a few million dong! What do you do when you have just one day in Hanoi? Here’s our guide to getting to know the city in the fast lane.

Wake Up Early!

5:00 a.m.-6:00 a.m.: Walk down to Hoan Kiem Lake just after dawn to watch (and perhaps join in) the tai chi, calisthenics, samba or line-dancing activities of mainly older people who choose this cool hour of the morning for their daily routine.

hanoiImage source: baomoi.com

6:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.: After such exercise , it’s time for a typical Vietnamese breakfast – this has to be bun cha, available in a multitude of larger cafes or ‘holes in the wall’ where you sit on plastic kindergarten chairs. The dish contains pieces of grilled pork in a soup with rice noodles and herbs – just delicious!

Check Out the Old Quarter

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.: You can walk or take a pedicycle to slowly cruise around the Old Quarter. As its name implies, it’s the oldest part of the city – a rabbit warren of narrow streets crammed with shops selling all manner of goods, which often spill out onto the pavement. Sidewalks here are also used as a motorcycle parks, so you will have to walk down the roads themselves.

Negotiate the traffic, a seemingly disorderly and chaotic mess of motorcycles, bicycles and the occasional car. But don’t worry – think of it as wading through a flowing stream. Just walk to wherever you want and traffic will flow around you.

The many shops here are ideal to buy curios for friends back home. There are also a few local temples – interesting havens of peace and all well worth visiting.

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.: Keeping to the historical theme, walk through the courtyards and see the ancient stone stelae at the Temple of Literature, established in 1076 as the country’s first university. Just up the road is the World Heritage-listed Citadel, the reconstructed remains of the ancient imperial city of Thang Long dating back 1,300 years.

Get to the Sky

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.: Want to get a bird’s eye view of the city? Head down to the Observation Deck at the Lotte Center Hanoi. The deck offers 360º of unrestricted, stunning views of the capital with state-of-the-art technology such as interactive touchscreen street maps to locate places of interest and a photo counter if you really like taking pictures.

Skydeck

Grab a Motorcycle !

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: To put the history of Hanoi in context, it is interesting to cross the Red River. The river and its immediate floodplain is really, really wide but distinctly brown in colour! The most exciting way to do this is on the back of a motorcycle. You can either bargain with one of the motorbike taxi drivers (xe om) who sit on street corners waiting for customers or book one through Grab or Uber.

hanoiImage source: baomoi.com

Not game enough to take a motorcycle? There are many small green and metered Mai Linh cabs, so the ability to speak Vietnamese isn’t critical. Just make sure you know where you are going!

Quan An Ngon for Lunch

12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.: Time for lunch! This is your perfect chance to check out Quan An Ngon restaurant – not hard since there are four in the city to choose from (Vincom Royal City, Hoang Dao Thuy, Phan Boi Cham and on Phan Dinh Phung across the road from the Army Hotel). All locations serve Vietnamese specialities catering to every taste. Quan An Ngon’s popularity is evident from the mix of local and international patrons who pass through their doors most hours of the day and night – a sure sign of a quality product!

hanoiImage source: ngonhanoi.com.vn

Go to Prison!

1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.: The visit is not complete until you visit the Hanoi Hilton – officially called Ho Loa prison. Start a sobering afternoon at this infamous French colonial prison, complete with an operational guillotine. It’s where many Vietnamese nationalists were incarcerated in what would today be considered horrendous conditions. It achieved its hotel moniker when it was used to house American airmen shot down during the American War, famously including former presidential hopeful John McCain.

A chunk of the original prison disappeared when the Hanoi Towers complex was constructed, but what is left has been sympathetically curated. For a very modest entrance fee, Ho Loa provides an insight into the horrors of imprisonment and war.

2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.: A regular stop on all package tours is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – where the embalmed father of the nation can be seen. Even if you do not have time to queue up for this view, this part of the city is home to embassies and government offices.

Coffee with a Bomber

3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.: Land for an afternoon coffee at the B52 Café, located next to a small lake, the centrepiece of which are the remains of an American bomber shot down over Hanoi during hostilities. The local filter-style coffee drips into your cup, either hot or cold. Asking for a white coffee means that some condensed milk is placed in the cup under the filter – when stirred, the colour changes from black to very dark brown. This is strong stuff indeed!

hanoiImage source: tripadvisor.com

4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.: Take a motorcycle, taxi, pedicycle or go on foot for a last tour around the Old Quarter before nightfall, taking in architectural icons such as the French-inspired neo-gothic Hanoi Opera House and the classic Catholicism of St Joseph’s Cathedral. If you have a moment, there is a swag of museums like the Vietnamese Women’s Museum and the National Museum of History to visit too!

Where Hanoi Goes Out to Play

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.: As the sun sets, the place for a preprandial stroll is Hoan Kiem Lake, especially during weekends when the surrounding streets are barricaded. The lack of bikes and cars during these blessed moments creates a huge pedestrian precinct around this iconic lake. It is the place to see and be seen. Families take the kids and experience a lot of simple pleasures – balloons, clowns, driving electric cars, listening to street singers and dancers or perhaps having an artist draw your portrait. It is a place to promenade and have your photo taken in an ao dai, Vietnam’s traditional dress. Do join the crowd for a quick circumnavigation of the lake.

6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.: For an evening meal in a pleasant, unpretentious surrounding, grab a taxi to Andochin Restaurant. Occupying a historic colonial mansion on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Andochin serves delicious Vietnamese dishes, all consisting of local and organic ingredients.

Night Theatre

7:15 p.m.-9:30 p.m.: For a taste of modern Vietnamese culture, catch the free shuttle bus that leaves at 7:15 p.m. from 3B Le Thai To Street and takes you to the Star Galaxy Theatre, returning at 9:30 p.m.

hanoiImage source: ionah.vn

The current productions in the 300-seat theatre are the Ionah Show - a mixture of dance, theatre, circus and music that tells the story of a young girl’s journey inside her soul to face the struggle between good and evil taking place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and A O Show by Lune Productions that skillfully combines circus and dance.

Both shows feature some of the best acrobats and circus performers in Vietnam, accompanied by a blend of Western electronic and Vietnamese traditional music with theatrical effects that have been likened to the famous Cirque Du Soleil. The shows will appeal to audiences of all ages and no prior knowledge of the Vietnamese language is required. Depending on which day you’re in Hanoi, feel free to catch either of these shows.

Drink in the Views!

9:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.: Back to the Old Quarter and it’s time to find a quiet place with suitable refreshments and a great view. Head for a rooftop bar – there are a few to choose from. There’s always the Summit Lounge at the rejuvenated Pan Pacific Hotel: select a speciality cocktail and take in serene and picturesque views over the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi (the Trấn Quốc Pagoda, perched on a small island in the middle of the West Lake).

Alternatively, The Rooftop on Ly Thuong Kiet Street offers stunning views paired with stylish decor. The interior resembles a Big Apple lounge whilst the outdoor terrace has comfy white cushions and a relaxing view over the city centre. You can also try the Top of Hanoi – 65 floors up on top of the lavish Lotte Hotel, featuring neon colours, music and a sleek design. The menu may be overpriced but with a breathtaking view, it’s worth the splurge at least once.

Night Owl Haunts

11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.: Inclined to find a late night bar? There are plenty in the Old Quarter allowed to stay open until 2:00 a.m. from Friday to Sunday, whereas for most nights the curfew is midnight. For something different, visit Savage in the West Lake area, which doesn’t usually close until 2:30 a.m. during weekends.

hanoiImage source: vinalo.com

1:00 a.m. until ‘whenever’: Last stop has to be Puku Café & Sports Bar at 16 - 18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem. It’s an establishment that seems to buck all the regulations and stay open 24 hours a day – more importantly, it’s also renowned for its breakfast!

 


Halloween in Hanoi 2014: Ready for a walking dead live experience?

By: Thoai Chau

Halloween Festival 2014 in West Lake Water Park

Traffic safety with Halloween twist is the main theme of the Festival which is taking place on October 31 in West Lake Water Park. Paricipate in a costume parade, enjoy the exhibition of old motorbikes and cars collection and challenge ghost-themed attractions. There will also be music performances and a Halloween fashion show. The party kicks off at 8pm and rocks to 10pm. The event's purpose is to raise youth's awareness about the danger of illegal bike racing, which causes lethal accidents.

Ticket: VND 80,000++

For more information, please visit: West Lake Water Park

First photos of Halloween Festival 2014 on October 18, 2014 in press conference and parade (Source: West Lake Water Park):

Halloween ra quân

Halloween west lake park

Halloween west lake park


Bar Déjà Vu, Sheraton Hanoi

One of the craziest parties of the Year – Halloween party at Bar Déjà Vu, Sheraton Hanoi on 31st October from 9.00pm to 2.00am. Creative décor and costumes, fun activities, the spin music from the DJs will bring you the impressive night that you never forget.

Price: VND150,000/ticket (including 01 glass of wine or soft drink)

For more information: K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho D, Vietnam. Tel: +84 24 3719 9000

Or Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/bardejavuhanoi

halloween bar deja vu


Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi Halloween Event

Halloween menu: no tricks + just treats. This October, the culinary team is ready to surprise you with a variety of enticing and frightfully fun treats, from Bloody Eyes, Blood Orange salad to Dead Woman meatloaf and the Dark Side. A special welcome drink Scarytini is offered to whoever comes with Halloween costumes. Our dedicated kids room are ready for your children to enjoy a number of Halloween-themed activities with new friends.

movenpick hanoi hotel

The “Halloween menu: no tricks just treats” is priced at VND 530,000++ for adult. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 dine for half price, while those under the age of 6 are free of entry.

Available only on October, 31st at the Mangosteen Restaurant located on the 2nd floor of the Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi.

For more information or reservation, please call +84 243 822 2800 ext: 6201 or email at: anh.nguyen@moevenpick.com.

Add: 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Str., Hoan Kiem Dist.,Hanoi. Tel: 04 3822 2800


Happy Halloween in Hanoi Club Hotel

Hanoi Club Hotel is going to organize a Halloween Party consisting of Halloween Buffet, games and Haunted House from 6:00 PM on October 31, 2014. You will get the chance to win prizes for best dress contest.

Price: VND350,000++/kid under 12 years ols. VND 450,000++/adult. Tickets are available at the Front Desk.

For information or booking, please call 38238115/ 38293829.

Add: 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho.

Hanoi Club Hotel


Hanoi Rock City: Hanoi Masquerade Ball Party

Special treatments for Halloween are an eclectic selection of live music, DJs, and a fantastic fun night with "trick or treat" decoration, mysterious masks and sexy twisted visuals.

Bring your mask or let the party's wizards 'magicize' your face.

Only one night on October 31, 2014

Hanoi Rock City, 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi.

Ticket: VND100K. Free entry before 9PM.

Further Information, visit here or https://www.facebook.com/events/282959018581905/

hanoi city masquerade ball party


RockStore Hanoi: Halloween Horror Party #2

Step by step to the Hell in this occation, you can see the palace of Lucifer right here in Rockstore. Prepare your creepy costume and join others in the scariest costumed party in town with music from Dj Size-O and Dj Alarm, a diverse party rocker. Alarm brings an intoxicating mix of Hip-Hop & Funk grooves all the way to Twerk, Trap & House bangers.

Reservation: 01.653.336.087

RockStore Hanoi 61 Ma May Street Hanoi

Further information, visit here or https://www.facebook.com/events/933204690027205/

More photos from Horror Party #1 (By: Rockstore Hanoi)

Rockstore Hanoi

rockstore hanoi party


Emel Mathlouthi to Thrill Hanoian and Saigonese

By: Quang Mai

Hanoian and Saigonese will be thrilled with joy this weekend since Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian - French star and Arabian music symbol, is coming to HCMC and Hanoi setting in her global tour. Her unique voice, an authentic Tunisian sound in harmony with Arabic and Latin American music, will lure audiences with folk music, psychedelic rock and Arabian songs at IDECAF (HCMC) on Sept 6th and L' Espace (Hanoi) on Sept 8th.

Violinist Zied Zouari, percussionist Imed Alibi and Emmanuel Trouvé who plays electronic musical instruments, will join the event.

Ticket Price:


IDECAF

L' Espace

IDECAF: 31 Thai Van Lung St., Dist.1, HCMC

VND 100,000/pax


L'Espace: 24 Trang Tien St., Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi

VND 120,000/pax

Personal Brief:

Born in 1982, Mathlouthi made her first steps into music at the age of 8. Since then, she has immersed herself in classical, Arabic and Latin American music through her father’s records. Her music is a successful mix of Arabian and Middle Eastern music.

She has performed all around the world and has become famous for her concerts inspired by Arabian music.

In 2006, Mathlouthi left a deep impression in the first edition of the Price RMC Middle East competition, where she ended as a finalist in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

 


Golf in the North of Vietnam

By: Simon Stanley

Within 2 hours Drive of Hanoi

There are a variety of golf courses to choose from in the northern area of the country. They are all semi-private clubs, with membership and well designed and worth playing. Weekends tend to be busy with members and their guests playing, but mid-week, especially early in the week, there are often special deals making for good value for money golf.

Within 2 hours drive of Hanoi, there are plenty of options.

Chi Linh Star Golf and Country ClubChi Linh Star Golf and Country Club is about one hour’s drive from Hanoi, on the way to Halong Bay and with 36 holes covering 324 hectares, it is truly a golf club of international standards.  This facility is set on a magnificent valley nestling beside a large lake and surrounded by a huge area of rolling forest hills.  Both 18 hole courses are well maintained and well worth playing.  The club first opened in late 2003 and has hosted many international tournaments.  The golf shop is well equipped, rental clubs and shoes are available and the club house offers an excellent international cuisine.  www.chilinhstargolf.com.vn

Kings Island Golf Club is another 36 hole facility, and arguably the most scenic golf course in the north of Vietnam.  It is only 36 kilometers from the centre of Kings Island Golf ClubHanoi and it takes less than an hour to reach the club.  The lakeside course completed 18 holes in 1997, so it is very well established.  The mountain course was completed in 2004.  There are many promotions on offer; therefore you should check the website to see what is on offer.  Kings Island is one of the few courses in Vietnam offering night golf.

Both courses suit players of all handicap ranges and they are amongst the most popular in Vietnam. The facility features a clubhouse with an excellent restaurant serving a wide range of cuisines. There is also a bar, which is a great place to relax at after your round. In addition to golf, the club also offers other activities including sailing and fishing on Dong Mo Lake and swimming in the club’s Olympic-sized swimming pool.  www.kingsislandgolf.com

Van Tri Golf ClubOn the way to the airport is Van Tri Golf Club, a Peter Rousseau design and always in great condition.  However, this is a private members club and it is only possible to play if you are signed in by a member.  If the opportunity to play arises, then take up the offer.  You will not be disappointed.  Be warned that even at member guest prices, fees are higher than most other golf clubs in the area.  www.vaantrigolf.com.vn

The golf course nearest to the airport is Phoenix Golf Course, offering 54 holes of golf.  Here you will envisage vistas of Halong Bay proportions.  Ron Fream of GolfplanQuite unique and it will be unlike any other golf course you have played. The courses are named Phoenix, Dragon and Master.  Phoenix is a links style of course, whilst the other two are more mountainous.  The most spectacular and the best is the Dragon course.

Ron Fream of Golfplan has designed some spectacular holes that you will talk about time and time again.  The clubhouse is huge and spectacular, however, it has a reputation for poor service and the facility falls short due to lack of maintenance.  You may want to consider returning to Hanoi for your “19th hole” and discussion about the golf.  www.hanoigolf.co.kr

hanoi golfOnly 20 minutes drive from the airport is Hanoi Golf Club, an 18 hole facility, opened in 2006.  It is a Japanese orientated club and well worth a visit.  The prices are very reasonable and you will be made very welcome here. 


On the front nine, the fairways are wide and lots of space between fairways.  The back nine is more undulating and challenging. The greens are large and also undulating.  The clubhouse is situated right in the middle of the course, offering a panoramic view of the whole facility.  www.hanoigolfclub.vn

In the same area is Dalai Star Golf and Country, owned by the same company as Chi Linh Star.  This picturesque course is set amongst the beautiful Ngoc Than Mountains and is one of the best settings in the north of Vietnam. Opened in 2010 this course has quickly established itself as one of the best in the north. 


Each hole has been carefully designed alongside the huge lake that is the feature of the course.  It is suitable for players of all handicap range, has a fully equipped clubhouse and rental clubs and shoes are available.  www.dailaistargolf.com.vn

A little distance further out than Phoenix and Hanoi GC is Heron Lake Golf Course and Resort.  It is designed by Pacific Coast Design, the same as Kings Island and Black Mountain in Thailand. The club was designed to create a unique golfing experience in a peaceful setting in harmony with its natural surroundings. Heron Lake Golf Course and Resort

The course, approximately 55 km from Hanoi and covering some 90 hectares, blends well with the lake which is the main feature of the entire complex. An abundance of palm and evergreen trees provide a picturesque setting to entice any golf enthusiast to challenge their physical and mental abilities.

You will also see sightings of native heron birds, hence the name of the club.  The clubhouse is well designed, very relaxing and also features an excellent international restaurant and a spa.  www.heronlakegolf.com

Tam DaoIf you are looking for a challenging golf course with spectacular views, the Tam Dao Golf Resort is the place for you to visit.  It is a journey of just under two hours from Hanoi, with the last part of the journey helped by the views of Tam Dao Mountain, which towers over the golf course

A word of warning – this is a very popular club, especially at weekends and prior booking is a must.  Designed by IMG, you will use every club in the bag on this well maintained golf course.  The clubhouse is well equipped, the staff very experienced and friendly and all in all, a great place to visit.  www.tamdaogolf.com


The latest golf course to open in the area is Sky Lake Resort and Golf Club, only 45 minutes from Hanoi.  Currently 18 holes, and soon to be 36, this Korean sky lakeorientated facility and aimed to be the best in Vietnam.  At 7,625 yards, the Lake course is the longest in Vietnam and offers a great challenge to all golfers.  There are grand lakes and mountain scenery to keep you interested all the time.

The impressive clubhouse is situated in the middle of the courses and offers everything imaginable, including a modern spa.    There will also be a luxurious five star hotel with 390 rooms, plus pool and lake villas.  The whole project will be completed by 2014, bringing a high-standard golfing experience and luxurious lifestyle for golfers and tourists.  Well worth a visit. www.skylakegolfclub.com


Climate

Hanoi has typical North Vietnam climate, with a cold and dry winter (when temperatures can drop to as low as 6°C – 7°C) and a hot and extremely humid summer (temperatures can climb up to a maximum of 35°C). Spring is characterized with light drizzles while the summers bring heavy rain.  Golf is available all the year round and you will need to bring warm clothes if you play in December and January.  The spring and autumn time are perfect for golf.

Getting there

As you would expect from the capitol of Vietnam, there is a first class international and domestic airport only 40 minutes from the city centre and a good choice of hotels.  It is recommended to book golf courses before you arrive.  All major hotels can book tee times and companies such as Golf Asian specialize in recommending and booking golf clubs – www.golfasian.com -


Holes-in-One for BRG Group

By: Simon Stanley


Holes-in-One for BRG Group



By Simon Tinkler


The golf industry in Vietnam has grown very quickly over the last 15 years, with over 30 golf courses now in operation. The current economic conditions have caused a slowdown and some golf courses are suffering as a result.

 

One group that has ridden the storm well and continues to make considerable inroads into the Vietnam golf industry is the BRG Group. Based in Hanoi and under the leadership of Chairwoman Madam Nguyen Thi Nga, the company will soon open its third golf course in the north of Vietnam.

 

Its first development is the well known Kings Island Golf Club, one of the first in Vietnam. With 36 holes, it is an extremely well designed and very popular golf course. Further down the coastline in Hai Phong is the second development, the Do Son Seaside Golf Resort, an 18-hole golf complex with an exceptional golf course and rated amongst the best in Vietnam.


King Island Golf Course
King Island Golf Course

 

Now the BRG Group has joined with the legendary Jack Nicklaus to construct the Legend Hill Golf Resort near Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport. This signature course will be unique in South East Asia because it features 18 holes and 36 greens, giving a multitude of varied tees to varied greens. Due to open in the near future, this golf course will very quickly be on the “must play” list of courses in Vietnam. I for one cannot wait to visit and play a round.


Madame Nga and Mr. Jack Nicklaus
Madame Nga and Mr. Jack Nicklaus

 

One area of golf that is often overlooked in Vietnam is junior golf, and here the BRG Group has taken the initiative by sponsoring the BRG Junior Golf Tour 2014. The first round has already been held at Do Son Seaside Resort and 30 juniors made the trip from Hanoi. Further rounds will be held in the Hanoi area and the champion will be the boy or girl with the most points over a minimum of six rounds.

 

It is encouraging to report a success story such as this about companies who have made a success in the Vietnamese golf industry. Golf will continue to flourish with developments such as the ones from the BRG Group.

 

In addition to the golf courses, the BRG Group has Hilton Hotels, one of the largest commercial banks in Vietnam, Honda dealerships and many other interests. The philosophy is very straightforward: each project must be sustainable and most importantly, must employ local labour. Of course, there is the need for professionals from outside of Vietnam to help with the running of the golf clubs and each person will pass on valuable knowledge to the Vietnamese. Do not expect to see ego-projecting buildings from this company – all developments are made for the business of golf and for community living.

 

The entrepreneurial Madam Nga also looks to the impact these projects have on Vietnam’s image. Her desire is that each development is seen from outside of the country as a sustainable and viable project, showcasing Vietnam as a place to invest for the future.

What to do Over the Weekend in Hanoi

By: City Pass Guide

Looking for something to do in Hanoi over the weekend, but worried about the rainy season dampening your day? Don't fret! There is much to see and do in Hanoi at any time of the year. Very much the cultural and artistic capital of the country, we have recommendations to keep you busy when the rains come. No matter what you favourite pastimes are, there will be something that takes your fancy. Whether you are into health, culture, shopping or eating and drinking, check out the best places to be this weekend.

Spa Treatments

Why not relax in the comfort of a spa? Pamper yourself in the type of venue that Asia does best. Le Spa Du Metropole at 15 Ngo Quyen - this is one of the best venues in the city for relaxing and forgetting about your cares. The spa has an extensive list of treatments and enjoys stunning facilities. This is the perfect place to chill out and spoil yourself. Alternatively, visit the Amadora Wellness and Spa at 250 Ba Trieu, in the heart of the city. This exquisitely furnished spa employs a combination of Champa art and modern Western themes to create a truly exotic location. Built over five floors, it includes 14 spa rooms just for skin care, two hair treatment rooms and a water based treatment pool. The highly trained staff at both of these venues offer many different types of treatments.

Le Spa Du Metropole

Dining out in Hanoi

If dining out is more your style, check out Don's - A Chef's Bistro on 16/27 Xuan Dieu, in Tay Ho District. Montreal-born chef Don Berger has created an impressive menu covering a range of specialities, from an oyster bar to fusion dishes of a sophisticated nature. An impressive wine cellar and cigar collection will complete your experience. For lovers of French dining, La Badiane at 10 Nam Ngu is a chic restaurant in the Old Quarter. The Australian beef tenderloin here commands the highest reputation in the city. The venue is a beautifully designed space in which to enjoy your meal.

La Badiane Restaurant

Culture and History

Culture lovers can catch a performance at the impressive 600-seat Hanoi Opera House. This French built colonial classic building is the spiritual home to the Hanoi Opera and the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra. The largest theatre in the country, it is a superb venue in which to watch a concert.

Of historical significance to the story of Hanoi, the “Hanoi Hilton” was the name given to the notorious Hoa Lo Prison by American POWs during the war. Built by the French in 1896 to house Vietnamese political prisoners, it once housed more than 2,000 of them in horribly cold, damp conditions. A small section of the jail remains today and is open to the public.

Hanoi Opera House

Shopping

Of course like any other capital city, Hanoi has plenty for shopaholics. Vietnam is famous for its silks and you have to go a long way to find better than at Tan My Design, “the first shop on Silk Street”. Their second shop is a much larger affair and one of the best places in the country to find quality homeware, high-end clothing, art and more. Another superb local craft is quilt making, and Mekong+ is one of the leading players in the country. Incorporating Mekong Quilts and Mekong Creations, this highly ethical company enriches the lives of 340 female employees, with all profits sent back to the Mekong Villages from where the quilts originate. For high quality jewellery, check out Huong’s Jewellery where the owner Ngo Thi Thu Huong has been creating her delicate works since she was 18 years old. She now employs over a dozen craftsmen and women, working with imported silver and locally sourced precious stones, plus Phu Quoc’s famous pearls.

Tan My Design

As you can see, there is always plenty to keep you occupied in Hanoi when the weather turns bad.

Header photo by David McKelvey

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