Hoan Kiem Lake & Hanoi Guide

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Hoan Kiem Lake & Hanoi Guide

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In bustling, tree-lined Hanoi situated in Vietnam, the bazaars will remind you of home as will many of the exquisite handicrafts. It helps to have a local guide for the historic spots, however, provided you get to pick and choose – the museums, for instance, are not particularly exciting, but the Temple of Literature is just lovely.Hoan Kiem Lake & Hanoi Guide

As for the rather pink, rather spooky embalmed remains of Uncle Ho, it’s a toss-up, especially since you will have to be on your best behaviour there or the uniformed guards will sush you for the merest whisper in Uncle Ho’s presence.

As far as taking a stroll around Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem Lake is concerned, its best on wintry days, mid-mornings with the warmth of the dappled sunshine filtering through spreading trees. On sultry summer days, early evening is when the light glints off the water, the breeze rustles through the leaves and Hanoians practise their tai chi by the lakeside.

Hoan Kiem Lake & Hanoi Guide

The lake is not just Hanoi’s most scenic spot, it is also the focal point from which radiate most of the city’s attractions – galleries, bargain bazaars, restaurants, heritage hotels and historic sites.What’s more, most are within a brisk walking distance. The mausoleum is one of the few visible vestiges of the long-drawn-out war with the US. Hanoi has moved on. But the erstwhile capital of French Indo-China retains much of its Gallic influences, especially in its galleries and architecture.

Art is everywhere in Hanoi, so if you happen to visit the place make sure you don’t leave the place without buying of the those beautiful artworks or without tasting Hanoi’s favourite dish, a filling broth called Pha Bo. That will certainly be a change from home.

Walk as much as you can, for Hanoi is a city that should be explored on your own. You can either hire a taxi, as it’s not too expensive or you can even get a pillion ride on a motorcycle taxi in this two-wheeler capital of the world. The cooler months of November, December and January are the best time to visit this sub-tropical Hanoi.

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