Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. The city was established more than 1,000 years ago (on October 10, 2010, it celebrated its 1,000th anniversary), and over the years had been an important political city in Vietnam. In the 19th century during the Nguyen Dinasty, the capital was moved to Hue, but in the 20th century Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina, then the capital of North Vietnam, and now the capital of Vietnam. Today Hanoi is one of the major ports of entry into Vietnam and it’s the second largest city in population. It’s a popular destination among tourists visiting Vietnam especially for those wanting to learn about the rich culture and history of the city and to taste some of the best street foods you can find in the world (the popular noodle soup dish phở is perhaps the most famous dish thought to originate from Hanoi).

We visited Hanoi twice during our trip to Southeast Asia at the bookends of our visit to Vietnam. Since we only had one week allocated for visiting Vietnam during this trip, we decided to spend it in the northern part of the country (since Kristi had been to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, and we didn’t have time to go to the central part of the country). We arrived in Hanoi in a flight from Siem Reap, Cambodia, and then spent several days in Sapa near the border of China, and in Ha Long Bay at the coast east of Hanoi. We went through Hanoi during the transit, and spent some time before and after the trips to these other areas.

It was winter time when we came to visit Hanoi in December, so the temperature was roughly in the 50s and 60s F when we were there. It was quite pleasant to walk around with light jacket on.

We stayed mostly in the Old Quarter part of Hanoi, and for the most part of our stay there we walked to the places nearby that we wanted to visit.

The photo below was taken near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum that we visited on our first full day in Vietnam. This monument commemorated the 1,000th anniversary of the establishment of the city of Hanoi. It’s quite impressive to think of how old this city is.

1,000th birthday

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