Did You Say “Hanoi”?

Yes, Hanoi has become a hot spot for senior travelers. Most of us have the name Hanoi in our memories associated with war. But today Hanoi has evolved into a traveler’s delight.  It is presently undergoing a huge building boom and senior travelers  will find that it is a city largely unscathed from the decades of war.

Ha Noi as it is called, is the capital of Vietnam and is filled with French flair. In 2010 Hanoi turned 1,000 years old.   Hà Nội  = “Between Rivers” or “River Interior”),  remains the center of Vietnam culture, history and tourism and one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam and Indochina.

Given the political and historical importance of Hanoi and its burgeoning population of over three million, it’s a surprisingly low-key city with a more intimate appeal than brash, young Ho Chi Minh City. The capital is one of the most beautiful of the colonial Indochinese cities and is often the start or end point of a trip to Vietnam, and what a great welcome or farewell it will be for you.

Know before you go is always good advice and Hanoi is no exception. Lonely Planet invites senior visitors to “Imagine a city where the exotic chic of old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new. Where the medieval and modern co-exist. A city with a blend of Parisian grace and Asian pace, an architectural museum piece evolving in harmony with its history.”

The Old Quarter Draws Senior Visitors

The Old Quarter is the primary reason Hanoi is a #1 tourist attraction, with its 36 streets and guilds. The Quarter is most popular for its history, architecture, and different products as well as the daily life of the locals that live there. The Old Quarter is a “cauldron of commerce” and the commercial heart since the 15th century.

Hanoi’s traffic is chaotic, with seemingly perpetual traffic jams, and a large number of almost suicidal motorcyclists and pedestrians and an intoxicating tangle of streets. One couple advises that you hire a Green Tourist electric car (US$7 for an hour) to drive around the Old Quarter.

Hanoi’s lively Old Quarter comprises narrow streets packed with shops selling all kinds of goods, each street named for its primary goods. Experienced visitors suggest the Water Puppet Theatre, the Temple of Literature, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison Museum (“The Hanoi Hilton”). So take your pick.

For every glitzy mall in Hanoi there’s an incense-filled temple nearby and cultural influences of the past are still part of the modern-day fabric. Temples and pagodas…more than six hundred hail from the original, eleventh-century city.

 The UK Telegraph has good travel advice on Vietnam and Hanoi. This travel blog was a joy to write. I could have continued for three more blogs… Hanoi is that kind of city.  So put it on your “travel bucket list”. Should make for a great adventure. jeb



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