As the brand new location for a Formula One championship, all eyes have turned to Hanoi. We're going to cover some background information and list some of the best things to do there, in the hopes of answering all your questions about this enchanting location.
The name Hanoi means 'city inside rivers', and its historic name, Thang Long, means 'Ascending Dragon' which leaves us wondering, who will ascend to the top of the table in the 2020 race?
The capital city is one of the most ancient in the world, known for its centuries old architecture and rich cultural influences from Southeast Asia, China and France. It sits on the banks of the Red River, and is an excellent place to explore on foot. The capital of Vietnam is known for its two main neighbourhoods, the French Quarter and Old Quarter. Both are easily accessible on foot, you can explore shopping streets, colonial buildings, ancient pagodas and unique museums.
We've covered some of the 'musts' below to help you plan your trip to Hanoi, around the on track action!
The main airport in Hanoi is the Noi Bai International Airport, which is about a 30 minute taxi ride from the circuit.
Find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums all within the city centre. If historical cities aren't your thing, Hanoi's tranquil countryside is a short drive away, boasting lush parks and mountain views, and of course, the iconic Ha Long Bay.
Ha Long Bay means 'Descending Dragon' and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring 1600 islands and islets. Known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests, boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. The region is popular for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking in the Cát Bà National Park.
The Old Quarter is where you will find beautiful colonial buildings and ancient pagodas, the clue is in the name! The stunning Hoan Kiem Lake, in the heart of the Old Quarter, is surrounded by shopping streets and great local restaurants. Some of the best places to shop in Hanoi are in the Old Quarter. You’ll find local markets selling coffee beans, local handmade trinkets, fabrics and street food. Hang Gai Street is great for quality textiles and traditional custom-made clothes.
Famous landmarks like the Hanoi Opera House and Hoa Lo Prison are found in French Quarter, along with the high-end hotels, shopping centres and restaurants. It is a short 15 minute walk between the Old Quarter and French Quarter.
Hanoi is also famous for its varied cuisine and street food. Broadly speaking, you’ll find mostly local places in the Old Quarter, with higher-end international restaurants in the French Quarter. Not only can you enjoy authentic Vietnamese dishes like pho and banh mi, but the international tastes available include French, Japanese, Thai and Chinese food as well. Some favourites to look our for are Grill 63 Restaurant, La Terrasse Du Metropole and Cafe de Paris Hanoi.
The daytime hustle and bustle of the city continues on into the night, you'll find nightclubs at every turn and pubs and bars offering loud music and all sorts of booze. The most iconic nightlife area is Bia Hoi Junction, where you can sit by the road and enjoy local Vietnamese draft beer. If you prefer a classier setting, the French Quarter offers jazz lounges and hotel bars like Binh Minh's Jazz Club and Pharoah's Bar & Upper Hanoi.
Hanoi has a warm, humid subtropical climate. In April they will be heading into their Summer season so be prepared for hot and humid weather with abundant rainfall.