The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET HANOI -

Often called the Paris of the Ori­ent, Viet­nam’s charm­ing cap­i­tal, Hanoi, echoes with belle epoque vil­las, In­dochi­nese tem­ples, tree-lined boule­vards and the din of mo­tor­bike horns.

Viet­nam Air­lines in­tro­duced direct Syd­ney to Hanoi flights last year, in ad­di­tion to ser­vices via Ho Chi Minh City, and the route has be­come pop­u­lar for Aussies want­ing to ex­plore the cap­i­tal and nearby Ha­long Bay. A new high­way, opened in Septem­ber, has cut travel time to the UNESCOlisted bay in half, to 1½ hours.

“Ev­ery­one should go to see Hanoi if they go to Viet­nam,” says lo­cal guide, Nguyen Manh Cuong (aka David), who rec­om­mends ex­plor­ing on foot and try­ing street food. Pho (beef noo­dle soup) and egg cof­fee are renowned lo­cal spe­cial­ties, but David says they’re just the be­gin­ning of what you’ll find in the mar­kets.

“Street food in Hanoi is very spe­cial,” he says. “They have many dif­fer­ent dishes to try, from bánh cuon (steamed rice rolls with fish sauce and lo­cal ham) to deep-fried spring rolls. Or you can have roast fish in a fish noo­dle soup place. Ev­ery cor­ner of the Old Quar­ter gives you some­thing lo­cal.”


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