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Monday, July 29, 2013

Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is the cultural heart of Hanoi where the pulse of life has constantly beat for nearly 2,000 years. Daily routine starts early and builds to a friendly bustle. Streets have distinct character and are named after the crafts once made there - silver, ladder, silk, paper.

St. Joseph's cathedral rings for mass regularly throughout the day, follow the bells to check its Neo-Gothic style. Huyen Thien Pagoda is another of the many temples peppered around this part of town. The Old City Gate is one of four original entrances to the heart of the Royal City to survive over a thousand years.

Take time to sample the spirit, atmosphere and shopping on offer here - nothing says Hanoi like its Old Quarter.

Practical Information
Hanoi Old Quarter is a triangular area of approximately 36 streets centered next to Lake Ho Hoan Kiem. Areas by the lake itself are more touristy and expensive, head into its heart to find true local gems.


The Old Quarter gets very busy on weekends, why not do what the locals do and start early if you want to avoid peak crowds?

Halong Bay

Proudly claimed by locals as the eighth wonder of the world, Halong Bay is the most remarkable sight of natural beauty in all of Vietnam.

Limestone karats rise majestically from emerald waters to form thousands of islets. Tranquil waters are perfect for cruising at leisure through breathtaking scenery - coral reefs, mangrove forests, sandy cove beaches and magical grottoes make this a truly must-see destination.

There are activities on the larger islands - kayaking, bicycling etc. There is superb locally caught seafood, but many will be mesmerized just by the calming waters and the changing light across the bay that makes this such an unforgettable experience.

Practical Information

Located 170 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Hanoi, Halong Bay stretches covers 1,500 sq.km (600 sq.mi). By road the journey takes approx 3.5 hours.