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Why Fly to Hanoi?
While cosmopolitan Saigon is Vietnam’s modern, westernised face then the capital Hanoi is the flipside – stately, staunchly communist, and unchanged for centuries. Its architecture harks back to its French colonial days. Wide open spaces and reserved residents make this city a quieter, more sedate experience. Walk the streets of Hanoi in the morning and you’re likely to see Tai Chi experts practising their craft by the lake and al fresco barbers clipping their customers' locks on the city’s street.
Tourists travel here to see the Old Quarter, whose busy alleyways lined with narrow shop houses and restaurants provide a start contrast to the more peaceful remains of the city. There you’ll find the White Horse Temple and the Dong Xuan Market, where vendors sell everything from spices to pythons.
Flying to Hanoi from the UK
It is currently not possible to fly direct to Hanoi from the UK. Instead, almost all regional airports around the UK fly to Paris from where there are services into Hanoi. You can also fly to Hanoi from London Heathrow if you do a stopover in one of a number of Asian hubs including Hong Kong and Bangkok.
Popular Flight Routes to Hanoi
Which Airlines Fly to Hanoi?
Vietnam Airlines operates direct flights from Paris but first you’ll have to catch a connecting flight out of almost all of the UK’s regional airports. A number of Asian airlines fly from London Heathrow via their hubs including Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines. If you need a cheap flight, Aeroflot operates from Paris to Moscow and onto Hanoi.
Mini Travel Guide to Hanoi
Both international and domestic visitors head for Ba Dinh Square, a shrine and pilgrimage site, to see the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum. The legendary leader addressed half a million Vietnamese from Ba Dinh Square with his Declaration of Independence Speech in 1945 and has been a hero ever since. Strict rules mean you must pay the utmost respect when entering the mausoleum with no talking, hand in pockets, touching the walls or loitering.
Nearby is the very peaceful Ho Chi Minh House On Stilts , the Presidential Palace whose glorious gardens are splashed with mango and banyan trees and fragrant frangipani and the tiny One Pillar Pagoda, an 11th century shrine said to have healing powers.
Another must-see is the concrete, lotus-like Ho Chi Minh Museum which has fascinating displays about the life and works of the leader, detailing how he came to lead the Vietnamese people.