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SectionsHanoi Travel Guide Map Climate Sights Hanoi Accommodations Eating Out Shopping Internet Cafes Photo Gallery [Add Section] Location Location View EnlargementCity map   View EnlargementHanoi Travel Guide[edit this] Tailors of Hoi-AnTailors of Hoi-An photo by: Darrin James [Change image] | [Upload image] Hanoi is Vietnam s political capital and is located in the north of the country, about 1000 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City . It has a population of more than 3 million and is a strange mix of an Asian capital. It has broad boulevards, lush trees, ugly governmental institutions, and dozens of lakes and temples. Add a touch of French colonial architecture to that and you have quite a unique city, with a lot of charm.

The best place to start exploring the city is  Hoan Kiem Lake ( Lake of the Restored Sword ) which is right in the center of the city. Off and around this lake is the Old Quarter that is worth taking a long walking tour to enjoy and experience the hustle and bustle of this district. Each street ( Pho ) concentrates in doing business in one specialty, be it silk clothing, ceramics, motorbike seats, coffins and other art crafts. It also provides a very interesting insight into the Hanoians way of life.

Taking a ride in motorbike taxis ( xe om   ) is a must. Be sure to negotiate the price before you get on the motorbike. The drivers are known to severely overcharge tourists. A cyclo ride is also recommended although not during rush hours as the pollution from a myriad of motorbikes on the street can be a big letdown.

There are many museums in town related to the hero of the nation : Ho Chi Minh. He is much more present here than in the city that was named after him - Ho Chi Minh City , formerly known as Saigon . Warning to visitors of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Don't wear red - it may be taken as an insult.  

Contributors November 08, 2005 change by aimeecb

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