Hanoi: Where East meets West

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Workers putting up the Vietnam and Philippine flags in preparation for the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte in Hanoi this afternoon. | Photo by Chito Fuentes
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Hanoi, Vietnam — Traveling on foot in the streets of Hanoi, with the sounds of vehicles of cars, bikes, and scooters greeting a first-time traveler, offers a pleasant and wonderful discovery.

The members of the media delegation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte got this first-hand experience as soon as they arrived in Hanoi yesterday.

Present-day Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is where East meets West. Chinese culture is very evident with the presence of many temples and pagodas and important symbols such as dragons, turtles, and lotus. The French likewise left their mark in Vietnam with colonial-inspired architecture dotting Hanoi giving the city a distinct charm and elegance.

The media delegation’s first stop was the city’s most famous cultural landmark, the Hanoi Opera House, a legacy of the French occupation. The Hanoi Opera House, embracing the European architectural style, is the venue of many arts and dance performances.

The members of the media next went to Hoan Kiem Lake. At the center of this lake is the Turtle Tower. According to a Vietnam’s legend, a Golden Turtle God appeared to an emperor who was travelling on board in the lake and reclaimed the magic sword of the Dragon King which was given to the emperor during his revolt against China. Thus, the name ‘Lake of the Returned Sword’ came to be.

Hoan Kiem Lake is considered the center of Hanoi. It is minutes away from the city’s Old Quarter where many hotels and shops are located.

From the lake, one can explore the streets and alleys of Hanoi, where tourists can go shop for souvenirs and other items like bags and jackets.

Street names in Hanoi’s Old Quarter appropriately start with ‘hang.” Hang in the local language means shop. From ready-made clothing to local handicrafts, a great deal can be made – just haggle – with some Vietnamese shopkeepers telling “mura” (cheap) — a proof that Vietnam is a tourist favorite for many of our tourists back home. | PR

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