Hanoi: Lonely Planet Travel Video
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Hanoi estimated population 6.232.940 (2008) , is the capital and second-largest city of Vietnam. From 1010 until 1802, with a few brief interruptions, it was the political centre of an independent Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huế during the Nguyen Dynasty as the capital of Vietnam, but Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam.
The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is located at 21°2′N 105°51′E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85Coordinates: 21°2′N 105°51′E / 21.033°N 105.85°E / 21.033; 105.85, 1760 km (1094 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called Saigon.
On May 29 2008, it was decided that Ha Tay province, Vinh Phuc’s Me Linh district and 4 communes of Luong Son district, Hoa Binh is merged into the metropolitan area of Hanoi from August 1 2008. Hanoi’s total area increased to 334,470 hectares divided into 29 subdivisions with the new population being 6,232,940. The Hanoi Capital Region (Vietnamese: Vùng Thủ Đô Hà Nội), a metropolitan area covering Hanoi and 6 surrounding provinces under planning will have an area of 13,436 square kilometers with a population of 15 million by 2020. October 2010 will officially mark 1000 years of the establishment of the city.
With its rapid growth and extremely high population density, several modern shopping centers have been built in Hanoi.
- Trang Tien Plaza, Hoan Kiem District
- Vincom City Towers, Ba Trieu Street, Hai Ba Trung District
- Ruby Plaza, 44 Le Ngoc Han Street, Hai Ba Trung District
- Parkson Department Store, Tay Son Street, Viet Tower, Dong Da District
- Luxury Mall, 01 Dao Duy Anh Street, Dong Da District (upscale shopping center specialized in high-end Italian brands)
- Big C Thang Long Supercenter, Cau Giay District
- The Garden Mall, Me Tri – My Dinh, Tu Liem District
- Vincom Shopping Galleries, Vincom Park Place, Hai Ba Trung District (grand opening in August 2009)
- Ciputra Mall, Ciputra urban area, Tay Ho District (currently under constrction)
- Yen So Shopping Mall, Hoang Mai District (currently under construction)
Hanoi has rich food traditions and many of Vietnam’s most famous dishes, such as phở, chả cá, bánh cuốn and cốm are thought to come from Hanoi. Perhaps most widely known is Phở, a simple rice noodle soup often eaten as a breakfast dish in the home or at streetside cafes, but also served in restaurants as a meal. Two varieties dominate the Hanoi scene: Phở Bò, containing beef, and Phở Gà, containing chicken.
Hanoi’s population is constantly growing (about 3.5% per year ), a reflection of the fact that the city is both a major metropolitan area of Northern Vietnam, and also the country’s political centre. This population growth also puts a lot of pressure onto the infrastructure, some of which is antiquated and dates back from the early 20th century.
The number of Hanoians who settled down for more than three generations is likely to be very small as compared to the overall population of the city. Even in the Old Quarter, where commerce started hundreds years ago and was mostly a family business, many of the street-front stores nowadays are owned by merchants and retailers from other provinces.
The original owner family may have either rented out the store and moved to live further inside the house, or just moved out of the neighbourhood altogether. The pace of change has especially escalated after the abandonment of central-planning economic policies, and relaxing of the district-based household registrar system.
Hanoi’s telephone numbers have been increased to 8 digits to cope with demand (October 2008). Subscribers Telephone numbers have been changed in a haphazard way.
Hanoi is served by Noi Bai International Airport, located in the Soc Son District, approximately 40 km (25 miles) north of Hanoi. Noi Bai is the only international airport for the northern regions of Vietnam.
There are two main highways linking the airport and city. The route to the city via Thang Long Bridge is more direct than Highway 1, which runs along the outskirts of the city. The main highways are shared by cars, motor scooters, with separate lanes by the side for bicycles. Taxis are plentiful and usually have trip meters, although it is also common to agree on the trip price before taking a taxi from airport to the city centre. Tourists also sometimes tour the city on cyclos especially in the Old Quarter.
Hanoi is also the origin departure point for many Vietnam Railways train routes in the country. The Union Express (tàu Thống Nhất) runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi station (formerly Hang Co station), with stops at cities and provinces along the line. Trains also depart Hanoi frequently for Hai Phong and other northern cities.
The main means of transport within the city are motorbikes, buses, taxis, and bicycles. Motorbikes remain the most common way to move around the city. Public buses run on many routes and fare can be purchased on the bus. For short trips, “xe ôm” (literally, “hug vehicle”) motorcycle taxis are available where the passenger sits at the rear of a motorbike.
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