History has endowed the Vietnamese capital with a colorful cultural character. The country’s second-largest city, this colorful metropolis brims with antique charm, with remnants of Chinese and French occupation everywhere you turn. Old Buddhist temples and pagodas sit alongside French colonial architecture, while steel and glass skyscrapers herald a Hanoi of ever-advancing modernity.
Hanoi cuisine also shows the influence of the city’s 1,000-year history. The famous noodle soup, phở, bears the marks of Chinese culinary traditions, while the ubiquity of coffee and baguettes hint at Hanoi’s colonial past. With an array of museums, monuments and even Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, Hanoi is a boon for the culture buff, with temples, lakes and parks providing plenty of opportunity to enjoy the city’s lush outdoors.