HANOI IN MY EYES
Someone used to say that Hanoi is the only place that carries the dreaminess of Da Lat, the energy of Sai Gon and also the antiquity of the Imperial city of Hue. No one can deny the charm that Ha Noi owns. For those who love travelling, it is high time to admire its hidden charm yourself.
Before going into details, let’s date back to the year of 1010 AD when Ly Thai To relocated the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (Ha Noi nowadays). In the past, Hoa Lu was a strategic citadel surrounded by mountains and marshland, which made it difficult for the attack of enemies. However, at that time, Hoa Lu was small, and it was hard for the economy to develop there. Knowing that Dai La was an ideal place for not only commerce but also transportation, it motivated him to move the imperial capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La whose name was later changed into Thang Long – Ascending Dragon. After over 1000 years of development made through effort, Ha Noi deserved to be paid more attention by the whole world.
One of the most attractive things here must be Hanoi cuisine including a wide range of top-notch dishes. This makes sense since the type of food throughout the S-shape country changes with climates. If the central cuisine gives you the flavour explosion in your mouth with an abundance of spices, the southern cuisine is lighter and smoother, the culinary of the food in the north is more delicate, frugal and a bit sour. Hanoi, in particular, is characterized by sophisticated delicious food.
Hanoi also offers many signature dishes like bun cha, bun thang, Banh Xeo, com, Banh Cuon, Banh My and pho – the national dish of Viet Nam. It is not by chance that ‘pho’ and ‘banh my’ are added into the Oxford dictionary. When eating these dishes, you need to use all of the senses to smell, taste and enjoy their flavour.
Citizens of Hanoi still keep the habit of enjoying food depending on the season. For instance, while crunchy fried shrimp cake is the best in winter, Hanoian chooses green rice flakes for their autumn. When summer is coming, it is the best option to wander on the sidewalk and try ice tea or maybe egg coffee – special beverage in Viet Nam in general and in Hanoi in particular.
Talking about the striking features of architecture in Hanoi, we can not skip the Old Quarter and French Quarter. With a total area of just around 100ha, the old quarter has experienced a long historical period since 11 th century. In the past, people flocked into the street every day for trading, which made the old quarter much busier and bustler. The Old Quarter has many streets whose names have the word ‘hang’ that means "item" followed by the name of the item that was sold in that street. In Hang Mam, for example, people sold fish sauce, while ironware was sold in Hang Thiec. This kind of trading still exists until now despite some differences in the items that they sell. On arriving at the Old Quarter of Ha Noi, you would be attracted to the long-standing ancient architectures lying next to each other. Despite the narrow roads, there is always a flow of people and vehicles
coming every day to buy something like street food. This is also the ideal place for shopping at night. It would be a great experience to walk along the Dong Xuan market to enjoy food or shopping for clothes, souvenirs and lots of others.
Wrapping up the Old Quarter journey, the next chapter would be the French Quarter. When it comes to the name, you might guess that the architectures are affected by the French. When invading Ha Noi, the French colony built a lot of infrastructures to meet the demand at that time. Up till now, there still remain some historical places like the Opera House, the Big Church or Hoa Lo Prison. It is possible to notice French architecture from the appearance of those places. For example, when you come to the Saint Joseph Cathedral (Big Church), you will be impressed by the Gothic style, tall windows with pointed arches and rib-vaulted
the ceiling in particular. If you are a person that is interested in history, it would be fun to visit these places. In addition, the French Quarter region also give you opportunities to visit some museums such as the National Museum of Vietnamese history or the Vietnamese Woman’s museum which pays the tribute to Vietnamese women through the years. There are also many other places that are worth checking out in Ha Noi like Chi Minh complex, Temple of literature or Thang Long Citadel.
Beside the ancient beauty of historical sites, the modern Ha Noi in the 21 st century is also worth admiring. Hanoians are completely proud of some modern and magnificent infrastructures that attract a lot of people. Coming to Thanh Xuan District, you will be immersed in a chain of tall buildings with three floors built underground for shopping. Not too far away from there, we have the tallest building in Ha Noi – Kangnam Tower located in Tu Liem District. On top of that, the impressive beauty of Nhat Tan Bridge – a cable-stayed bridge that connects Tay Ho to Dong Anh District will not let you down.
In Ha Noi, there are many kinds of transportation for you to choose for your trip. If you want to travel around the Old Quarter of Hanoi, riding a Cyclo or maybe walking is the best choice for you because the roads in the Old Quarter are quite narrow. In
Hanoi, riding a Cyclo is a fairly inexpensive method of transportation. Because it is a bit difficult to navigate through the busy traffic, Cyclos are there to help you solve the problem. All cyclo drivers are local people, so you do not have to be afraid of getting lost in the Old Quarter of Ha Noi.
For the French Quarter and other places, bus, taxi and motorcycle might be better options. However, it is best to walk so that you are familiar with crossing roads in Ha Noi because the roads here are quite busy and always crowded. Hanoi looks dazzling, especially at night. It is perfect to walk around the Quarter, drink some beer and enjoy music that is playing on the street.
PEOPLE IN HANOI
Ha Noi, the capital city of Viet Nam, with a long-running history, is regarded as the centre of economy, culture and politics of the nation. This explains the manner of people here that is different from those in other areas. In fact, Hanoian is very tactful as they show respect to their partners in each gesture. They are also very careful with words when talking to others. People in Hanoi are famous for their friendliness. If you come to Ha Noi for the first time, you will be welcomed and helped out by the local people.
In term of costume, Ao Dai is one of the typical attire of Hanoian. Every people in Hanoi have at least one in their wardrobe because they believe Ao Dai represents the charm and beauty of Viet Nam.
These factors are what make Hanoi so captivating and attractive. So why not arrange your schedule and book a trip to Hanoi? This place would absolutely blow your mind.