Postcard From Hanoi, Vietnam
Ayumi Sakamoto’s travel guide to the Vietnam city.
Elizabeth Street Mom Ayumi Sakamoto, who splits her time between Tokyo and New York, loves visiting Hanoi, Vietnam with her husband and two-year-old son Alessandro because of the city’s charm and mix of “controlled chaos and serenity.” She says the people are friendly, the food delicious, and it’s a great place to shop for crafts, fabrics, and artwork. Hanoi is also a short trip away from the stunning beach resorts Da Nang/Hoi An and Nha Trang. Sakamoto shares her favorite places to visit, eat, and shop in Hanoi.
Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, one of the city’s most famous attractions, and then drive through the embassy area to the Ho Chi Min Mausoleum. From there, check out the Temple of Literature, a Confucian temple erected in 1070 which houses the Imperial Academy, Vietnam’s first university. End your day at the Water Puppet Show, where master puppeteers carry on this 10-century-old tradition.
Stroll through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Sakamoto suggests a visit to Thang Long Gallery for oil paintings, Ipa-Nima for hand-embellished bags, and Tan My for hand-embroidered linens. The small boutiques on Nha Tho Street (close to the Cathedral) are also full of unique finds.
EAT AND SLEEP
The Sakamoto family likes to stay at the Sofitel Metropole when visiting the city. “It never disappoints,” says Sakamoto. “I love the history of the hotel—one of the rooms we’ve stayed in was even used as the Italian Embassy at one point!” Sunday brunch at the hotel’s Le Beaulieu Restaurant is delicious.