Cities in Vietnam are chaotic and charming all at once. Hanoi, the capital, has a maze of alleyways ripe for exploring. Hoi An, the country's cultural gem, has some of the best preserved colonial architecture in the country and streets lined with glowing lanterns. Ho Chi Minh City, the giant metropolis in the south, is Vietnam's most modern and international city with plenty of history too.
Also not to be missed are the coastal cities of Da Nang and Nha Trang, where beautiful beaches bump up against the bustling city streets. You'll find incredible seafood and other gastronomic delights in both these areas.
When the motorbikes, traffic, and noise begin to overwhelm, head to one of the many cozy street cafes for a Vietnamese coffee and a spot of people watching. Then, head out again to wander amongst the chaos and the crumbling colonial buildings and feel the pulse of life of a country with over 100 million inhabitants.
Vietnam's capital is chaotic and charming all at once. The chaos certainly comes first and then it often takes a few days for the city's charm to get under your skin. Something about the crumbling ochre buildings steeped in history, the tiny streetside cafés and restaurants full of delicious smells, and the on the go attitude of the locals is captivating.
The city's Old Quarter is the traveler's hub and boasts many of Hanoi's top sights. You could spend days getting lost in the myriad alleys, coming back time and again to Hoan Kiem Lake, and the peaceful temple and pagoda at its center.
Hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops are in abundance in Hanoi, offering all kinds of luxuries and experiences for all kinds of travelers. You can be eating a local meal on a tiny plastic stool one day and then fine dining in historic, luxury hotels the next.