Hanoi
Vietnam
By Joshua H. Liberatore

You’ve been to Bangkok and the islands of Thailand. You pored over the splendor of Cambodia’s Angkor War. You’ve done the beaches of Bali. Now it’s time to dive into a city that hardly sleeps, a country widely misunderstood in the West, a culture that endures despite centuries of occupation, war, and political transformation. WhatsCheaper.com welcomes you to Hanoi, Vietnam’s colorful capital, a town that defies neat summaries and easy prescriptions.

As a city, Hanoi bears the influences of a glorious ancient past, French colonialism, and a burgeoning modern economy. Brand new, brightly colored town homes have sprung up around its prosperous, newer sections, while classic Chinese shophouse buildings remain the mainstay in the older districts. According to WhatsCheaper.com, these contrasts only serve to illuminate how cleverly Vietnam has straddled its vision of an independent future and its homage to a past fraught with external pressures and foreign invaders. Wandering the old market district at the city’s core for a few hours is the best way to wrap your mind around these competing forces in modern Vietnam’s hybrid development. As in China, Vietnam’s strict socialist political structure has not hampered the vibrant commercial spirit of its people. Everywhere you turn, deals are being made, goods are being bought and sold, and fierce market competition is readily in view.

Hanoi is host to many fine hotels and family-run guesthouses. Book rooms directly through the WhatsCheaper.com hotel search tool (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php). Many accommodations include breakfast, offering either authentic local fare or international options (typically eggs and toast), both served with excellent strong coffee.

A short bus or taxi ride from the main market district will take you to the splendid Temple of Literature, an ancient university campus designed along Confucian principles that recalls stunning analogues in Beijing. A small entrance fee gains you access to a placid array of outbuildings and sanctuaries, where Vietnamese scholars once competed for distinction and sat exams for coveted positions in the precolonial bureaucracy. Near the Temple, you can browse the many fine lacquer and craft shops for intricately designed platters and bowls, carved-stone candle lanterns, and sundry other treasures. Bargain for these purchases in dong. WhatsCheaper.com notes that even posted prices in established shops are negotiable.

Hanoi boasts one of the most exuberant food cultures in Southeast Asia, rivaling perhaps only Bangkok for variety and freshness in its street vendor offerings. The curbside favorite recommended by WhatsCheaper.com is undoubtedly pho, rice noodle soup made with beef  (bo) or chicken (ga) broth, savory bits of meat, and garnished with fresh greens, bean sprouts, and wedges of lime, and seasoned to taste and heat tolerance. Though familiar to many Westerners, Hanoi's local pho will impress any practiced gastronome with its staggering range of flavors and superb local ingredients. Each bowl is prepared with care, and for the equivalent of about a quarter, you can fill up on this delicious and nutritious snack at nearly any time of the day, from the predawn hours to very late at night. Another local snack meal is bun, which is very similar to pho in composition, but served “dry” (no broth). An additional Hanoi charm is the many establishments serving bia hoi, basically, “street beer,” which is poured directly from house taps and served at little tables (or to customers standing up) right on the sidewalk. According to WhatsCheaper.com's travel experts, it’s cheap, it’s refreshing, and it will bring you into close contact with a unique Vietnamese custom.

While in Hanoi, be sure to take in an authentic performance of water puppet theater. Purchase tickets at the main venue near Turtle Lake in the central historic district for daily evening performances. Specially trained water puppeteers manipulate a range of characters, both human and animal, connected by long poles held under standing water. In the estimation of WhatsCheaper.com, the effect is one of a kind: the narrative unfolds just above the water's surface, as brightly decorated figures dance about to traditional Vietnamese music.

From Hanoi, you can push off to other northern destinations: misty Sapa, breathtaking Halong Bay, or bustling Hue. Hanoi serves as a hub for both overland travel by bus and train and air connections through its Hanoi Airport Vietnam (HAN), where you can link up to Ho Chi Min City (Saigon), regional capitals, or other international destinations. Visit WhatsCheaper.com (http://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php) to book your flight to Hanoi, Vietnam, today.

MUST SEE IN Hanoi LIST:

  • 1. Old Quarter
  • 2. Temple of LIterature
  • 3. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • 4. Hoa Lo Prison
  • 5. Museum of the Revolution
  • 6. Hanoi Flag Tower
  • 7. Saint Joseph's Cathedral
  • 8. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
  • 9. Thanh Chuong Viet Palace
  • 10. Pineapple Cooking Centre

Hanoi EVENT CALENDAR:

  • 1. Tet Festival - February
  • 2. Co Loa Festival - February
  • 3. Dong Nhan Temple Festival - March
  • 4. Le Mat Festival - April
  • 5. Ho Chi Minh Birthday Celebration - May
  • 6. Chem Temple Festival - June
  • 7. Do Son Buffalo Festival - August
  • 8. Mid-Autumn Festival - September
  • 9. Vong Thi Festival - October
  • 10. Ha Thach Festival - November

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Sheraton Hanoi
11 Xuan Dieu Road, Tay Ho District, Hanoi, Vietnam
By Melissa McCauley

Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel is the perfect choice for the traveler who wants to be close to the city while enjoying a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere that lets you get away from it all. The hotel can provide various transportation options from the Noi Ban International Airport (HAN) including limousine, van and private car service. Upon arrival to Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, check-in using one of the hotel’s self-service kiosks for a fast and easy check-in experience.

The hotel offers 299 guest rooms, including 16 suites, featuring a blend of Vietnamese and French Colonial décor and the comfortable Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed. Look out over the Red River and West Lake through large floor-to-ceiling windows while relaxing in one of the hotel’s Deluxe or Grand Deluxe rooms. Reserve one of the Sheraton Club Rooms, which offer a spa-like feel with accommodations well-suited to compliment your business trip. Or, treat yourself by upgrading to one of the hotel’s majestic suites.

Enjoy the view of West Lake while taking a swim in our outdoor swimming pool or treat yourself to a massage at the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel’s Lily Relaxation Center. Allow the concierge and travel desk to arrange for tours of Hanoi or for you to attend one of many cultural or scenic landmarks the city has to offer.  Or, spend a night in with us and enjoy a fine meal at one of our featured restaurants, specializing in both Asian and Western cuisines, followed by a drink and live entertainment at Chime Bar.

When visiting the historical and beautiful city of Hanoi, Vietnam, consider booking your stay with the Sheraton Hanoi Hotel and allow their professional and accommodating staff to make your stay a memorable one that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and pampered. Reserve your room now through WhatsCheaper.com (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php). 

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Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi
20 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Distri, Hanoi, 10000, Vietnam
By D'Andra Galarza

The Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi Hotel is located in the heart of historic Hanoi City at the intersection of Hang Bai and Phan Chu Trinh.  Entertainment, restaurants, shopping and Hanoi’s business district are located minutes away.  Easily accessible from the Noi Bai International Airport, the Hilton Garden Inn is just over 35 minutes away. Self-parking is always available.

All the Guest Rooms and Suites feature the Garden Sleep System beds, a flat screen TV featuring HDTV complete with premium channels, a mini refrigerator, and coffee maker. Guest rooms also include an iron and ironing board, hair dryer, alarm clock and an in-room safe.  For family travel-cribs and highchairs are available upon request. The hotel offers complimentary high-speed wired and wireless internet service and a generous work station with ergonomic seating for comfort. Each room is equipped with a two-line telephone complete with voice-mail, data port and MP3 jack.

The Hilton Garden Inn offers many services and features. Among those are the 24-hour business center with complimentary remote printing, fax machine and audio-visual equipment. Concierge and valet service, automated teller, foreign currency exchange, safety deposit boxes and a 24-hour fitness center are available to all guests of the hotel. Meeting rooms and staff are available for business meetings, conferences or social events.

Freshly prepared made-to-order meals are served each day in the Great American Grill Restaurant. Room service is served up and delivered to the guests’ rooms by multi-lingual hotel staff members. Also located in the hotel is The Pavilion Pantry which offers ready-to-cook meals, microwave for guests use, assorted snacks, beverages and sundries. The Garden Lounge serves cocktails from a fully-stocked bar and light snacks. Catering services are available for conferences and special events.

Planning a trip to Vietnam?  WhatsCheaper.com can assist in all your travel needs ranging from airfare, to hotel and rental cars; book with us today (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php). 

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Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel
1 Le Thanh Tong St, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi, Vietnam
By Shaina Amienyi

The Hilton Hanoi Opera is an excellent hotel choice, especially for business travelers. It is a short walk from Old Quarter and the business districts. Check in after 2pm on your arrival day, and check out by noon on your departure day.

Guest rooms feature cable TV with premium channels, a mini bar, a mini-fridge, and a coffee maker. Marble bathrooms create a spa feel and come with plush bathrobes and a separate shower with a hand-held shower head. Stay in an Executive Room and have access to the complimentary breakfast and refreshments in the Executive Lounge. Suites also come with an in-room fax machine and a kitchenette with a full-size fridge.

The hotel offers a wealth of services for your convenience. Visit the guest activity/recreation desk for assistance setting up activities outside the hotel. The staff will be more than happy to help you arrange a tour. There is a barber shop, beauty salon, florist, and gift shop—all of which can be useful for romantic occasions.

Take a moment to unwind in the sauna or Jacuzzi. Swim in the outdoor pool while enjoying views of the Opera House. Exercise in the fitness center. Round up your friends for a game of pool. When it is time to eat, sample contemporary Vietnamese dishes or sip a cocktail and listen to live jazz music in the Lobby Lounge.

The hotel provides seven meeting rooms for corporate guests, including a ballroom and business center. In the business center, you can set up a business phone or rent a cell phone. Take advantage of the secretarial, copying, and express mail services. AV equipment is available for rent and includes video conferencing equipment.

The Hilton Hanoi Opera is a great choice for business guests who want premium meeting facilities and leisure guests who are looking for a soothing retreat. Book your stay at this deluxe hotel by clicking on the link (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php) to WhatsCheaper.com.

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