City pass guide to Hanoi and Saigon

From hidden cosy coffee shops in aging buildings and an emerging contemporary art scene, to the luxury cars driving through the city’s intricate little streets, Hanoi truly knows how to welcome modernity while keeping true to its>Unlike its counterpart in the south, Hanoi experiences distinct seasons. The city is sticky and hot in the summer and wet and chilly in the winter. The additional greenery in Hanoi adds some cool relief in the summer, while the mist rising from the city’s enchanting lakes adds a dreamy touch to the winter landscape.

You are sure not to get bored as you explore Vietnam’s capital, from historical monuments to ancient pagodas and temples. There’s a treasure trove of French architecture and creative new development all around. Look for well maintained colonial houses coloured in the trademark yellow ochre, often repurposed as clothing boutiques or government buildings. From colourful street markets to trendy boutiques and upmarket modern shopping malls, the city also boasts a plethora of art galleries and shopping outlets.

Hanoi is a melting pot of delicious and affordable street food and fancier local and international fare. After lunch or dinner, it is customary to relax on little plastic stools in one of the cafes surrounding the cathedral. Check out the street scene or chat to some of the city residents. Warm up with some tra nong (hot tea) served in little glasses during the winter, or with the customary tra chanh (lemon iced tea) in the summer months. Nibble on some sunflower seeds and enjoy a true Hanoian local experience.

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