Hanoi is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the center of culture, politics, economy and trade of the whole country. Hanoi is also a very pleasant city to visit. A city of lakes, shady boulevards and green parks. Hanoi has inherited its colonial past and its Chinese traditions with a very rich architecture. The great colonial houses fringe the great avenues to the south of Hoan Kiem lake.

Today, the Old quarter of 36 trades is on the contrary constituted small and lively lanes where all bodies of trades are represented. Hanoi is not a city that is agitated at night on the contrary of Hochiminh City. It is a quite and relaxing city.

Hanoi in brief

  • Telephone Code: 04
  • Area: 3.324,92 sq. km
  • Population: 6,232,900 habitants (8/2008).
  • Administrative divisions:
  • - 9 urban districts: Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh,Dong Da,Hai Ba Trung,Tay Ho,Thanh Xuan,Cau Giay,Long Bien, Hoang Mai.
    - 2 cities: Ha Dong, Son Tay
    - 18 rural districts: Dong Anh,Soc Son,Thanh Tri, Tu Liem,Gia Lam (old Hanoi); Ba Vi, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Hoai Duc, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Thach That, Thanh Oai. Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa (former Ha Tay province) and Me Linh (a former district of Vinh Phuc province).
  • Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Muong, Tay, Dao...
  • Hanoi will celebrate its 1000th anniversary in 2010.

Geography
Hanoi is located in the Red River Delta, in the center of North Vietnam. It is encompassed by Thai Nguyen Province to the north, Vinh Phuc to the west and south, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Hung Yen provinces to the east and south-east. Hanoi means "the hinterland between the rivers" (Ha: river, Noi: interior). Hanoi's territory is washed by the Red River (the portion of the Red River embracing Hanoi is approximately 40km long) and its tributaries, but there are some other rivers flowing through the capital, including Duong, Cau, Ca Lo, Day, Nhue, Tich, To Lich and Kim Nguu.

When to go?
Perfect weather in Hanoi is the autumn, less humid and cool. It is recommended that you make your trip to Hanoi between September and November. This time also offers you opportunity to join the joyful Mid Autumn festival. However, many tourists make their choice of coming in Spring (Feb-Apr) to enjoy a warmer weather despite drizzle may come in order to experience Tet, the traditional Vietnamese lunar new year. Summer time (May-Sep) is quite hot ( 30-36°C; 86-97°F ) and sticky, but great to travel to beaches around Hanoi including: Ha long bay, Cat Ba island, Do Son Beach (Hai Phong)., Tay Thien Mau, Khoang Xanh, etc...

Getting there?

  • By flight: Most visitors will arrive at Noi bai international airport - one of the largest airports serving both international and internal flights. Airlines that operate flights from/to Noi bai includes Vietnam Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Tiger Airways, Thai Airways and many others.
    From the airport, you could reach the downtown (around 25 miles) by Taxi ($10- 20 USD) ), and Vietnam Airlines also offers a cheap and convenient minibus to the center of town.
  • By train: The Thong Nhat Express runs from Hanoi south to central Vietnam (Hue and Danang) then Ho Chi Minh city (over 30 hours). Moreover, there are northwest and northeast trains to China including popular overnight route from Hanoi to Lao cai.
  • By bus: With many bus stations, Hanoi is the starting point for open tour buses running from the North to the South Vietnam.


Tips: Traffic in Hanoi is overcrowded, so be "slowly" and watch out when you cross the street.

Highlights

See also:

>> Hotels in Hanoi

>> Tours in Hanoi