Vietnam is becoming a trendy destination. An increasing amount of cheap flights to Hanoi attract visitors to this charming capital city. There are direct international flights to Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport from many Asian cities. Most flights from Europe and the US connect via Ho Chi Minh City. Bangkok is a good starting point for affordable airfare to Hanoi. In Hanoi, regular bus services connect the airport to the city center. Taxis are also available outside the airport for those who are departing their Hanoi flights, but you need to request that the driver uses the meter or bargain hard. Make sure you have agreed on the fare with the driver before stepping into the vehicle.
Hanoi is smaller than the populated Ho Chi Minh City, and many visitors find it relatively more relaxed and easier to move around. Taxis are available, but the traffic is busy and the most popular way to move around is the cyclo (pedicab). As with taxis, always confirm the price of your journey in advance. Many locals get around the city on a bicycle and many hotels offer bicycles for tourists to hire for a day. The traffic can be chaotic, but cycling is a cheap and easy way to move around. Motorbikes are also available for hire.
Hanoi is known as the city of lakes and temples. The Hoan Kiem Lake in the middle of the urban area contains an island with a picturesque temple on its Northern end. The West Lake and the Truc Bach Lake are also attractive. There are many Buddhist temples in Hanoi, and these can be fascinating tourist attractions. Hanoi also has several interesting museums, many of which have exhibitions about the history of the Vietnam War. Hanoi is a good place to see a water puppet show, a traditional Vietnamese form of art.
Hanoi is an excellent place to have clothes tailored by a professional tailor. Handmade high quality suits and dresses cost a fraction of what they would cost back home. There is a wide variety of tailors and fabrics are very affordable. Other items to buy include local arts and crafts. Places to eat out in Hanoi range from five-star restaurants in luxury hotels to basic street food. Restaurants serve Vietnamese cuisine, international foods and French pastries and coffees as a legacy from Vietnam's French era. Thai food and other regional delicacies are also widely available and eating out is affordable.
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