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A Perfect Day in Hanoi

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A perfect day in Hanoi begins in the early glow of morning and finishes as the city winds down in the wee small hours. In the quiet post-dawn period, watch graceful tai chi moves at the peaceful shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. Then pack your perfect day with an itinerary that includes storied architecture, street food favorites, classy lounge bars, and a night of Hanoi's best live music to round off proceedings.
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Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
A couple of blocks west of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake—meaning Lake of the Restored Sword—is one of Hanoi’s anchors. It contains a number of sites worth visiting, like Ngoc Soc Temple and the picturesque, red-lacquered Huc...
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13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
You’ll need some sustenance for a busy day, so after observing the early morning action at Hoan Kiem Lake, head to nearby Pho Thin for a warming bowl of Vietnam’s de facto national dish. Hanoians like their beef noodle soup fairly austere and...
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Hàng Nón, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
I stumbled into this authentic cafe in the French Quarter of Hanoi, where the coffee beans are extracted from the poop of the Asian palm civet. A strong distinctive cup of coffee for less than a dollar while enjoying the world pass by is a...
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55 Bát Sứ, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Situated to the south and east of Lake Hoan Kiem, the French Quarter has a different feel from the rest of Hanoi—one characterized by a profusion of space. The French began shaping this part of the city in the late 1800s (in part by knocking...
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Nguyễn Văn Huyên, Quan Hoa, Cầu Giấy, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Showcasing the heritage of Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups, this museum has an indoor exhibition space with a large collection of photographs and artifacts including clothing, jewelry, tools, military equipment, and items related to religious beliefs...
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15 Phố Ngô Quyền, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 010000, Vietnam
A landmark in Hanoi’s French Quarter since opening in 1901, this colonial building with distinctive green shutters and gleaming vintage Citroën Traction cars out front has welcomed presidents, ambassadors, and literary and cinematic...
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65 Huế, Bùi Thị Xuân, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội, Vietnam
This was one of my favorite restaurants to visit for lunch. My partner and I liked it so much that we visited again and again. This restaurant offers rough and ready local dishes, all brilliantly done and super tasty. Flavors abound in each dish,...
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Minh's jazz club is owned by one of Hanoi's most famous jazz musicians, Quyen Van Minh. Live jazz, performed by local and foreign musicians, including Minh's son, is the big draw here.
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5 Từ Hoa Công Chúa, Quảng An, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội 10000, Vietnam
The city’s largest lake, known locally as Ho Tay and situated just northwest of the Hanoi Old Quarter, plays home to this whitewashed hotel whose layout mimics the form of an open lotus flower. The main building houses about half the rooms,...