With strong remnants of the French colonial influence, culturally-rich Hanoi is one of the most charming cities of the country and also known as the “bright Paris” of Asia. A rich blend of Old and New Vietnam, the city is known for its tree-lined, leafy boulevards, its many lakes and green open parks. All this entwined with a plethora of restaurants and bars, offering a delightful array of what Vietnam has to offer. It will captivate you by the charm of its people, its cityscape, and the atmosphere when we bring you around the capital of Vietnam. A perfect introduction to this thriving city with a French colonial feel.
After enjoying breakfast, your English-speaking guide will welcome you in your hotel lobby, ready to show Hanoi to you. Accompanied by a local driver with an extensive knowledge of the capital, the morning starts with a visit to Ba Dinh Square where silent sentries guard the marble and granite mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh lies in state. (Subject to opening times and annual renovation work at the Mausoleum - between October and December- the interior of the mausoleum can be visited). See the simple cottage where Uncle Ho lived and worked, Nearby, visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum, an extraordinary tribute in abstract form to the life of the 'father of the country' and the evolution of Vietnamese independence.
French architecture is a feature of Hanoi, and the nearby former Governor's Residence is a fine example. See also the One Pillar Pagoda, and hear the legend of its construction, born from the love of an emperor in the 11th Century and the Temple of Literature. The "temple" was founded in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, and is dedicated to the Chinese philosopher Confucius. Six years later, Vietnam's first university was founded here to teach the children of royalty and aristocracy (generally called mandarins).
Experience Hanoi's famous Old Quarter from a different perspective as you enjoy a local rickshaw ride. This densely populated corner of the city was once a center of commerce where goods were sold under the street name of a particular guild. Still a thriving community of sellers today, you will see street names such as Sugar Street, Tin Street and Paper Street. Ancient homes and temples are interspersed with stores, small cafes and quaint little restaurants in this souvenir hunter's paradise!Finishing off this day will be at the Water Puppet Show theatre – a uniquely Vietnamese traditional art form taking its roots from festivals and myths. This tradition dates back in the 11th century and has its origin in the villages of Northern Vietnam. The theme of the 45-minute show is rural and has a strong reference to Vietnamese folklore and makes a charming end to a perfect day out and about in Hanoi before we transfer you back to your hotel in Hanoi.
Hotel pickups commence prior to this time, you must contact the local service provider to verify your exact pickup time.