You’ll start your trip in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries- old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade.
You’ll explore bustling Hanoi; admire the traditional and French architectures. You’ll visit the Temple of Literature, originally built as a Temple of Confucius, before heading to Hoa Lo Prison Museum where the former US presidential candidate John McCain was incarcerated for over 5 years. Next, learn about Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority people through the extensive display at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, which is widely acknowledged as the best in the country.
After lunch in the city center, we will hop on a cyclo for a one-hour ride around the French inspired “Old Quarter”. Stroll through narrow streets in the Old Quarter and browse for fantastic deals on almost everything from souvenirs in small shops to paintings at contemporary art galleries.
The Old Quarter (or Pho Co, old streets) is home to streets named after the goods that were traditionally sold on them. The names usually start with hang, which means “something you sell”, and then the thing itself. Some of these names may date back as far as 800 years, when trade guilds formed to market the goods they produced in outlying craft villages. Back then, the streets were just lines of makeshift stalls. When they eventually built on the land, they went deep and high because they were taxed by width of frontage – that’s the explanation for all those skinny buildings, with a shop kept upfront.