The commercial core of Hanoi is Hoan Kiem District, home to the city’s banks, airlines and the GPO, plus most of the hotels, restaurants, shopping streets and markets. But there’s a lot more to the area, not least Hoan Kiem lake itself and the nearby temples, which date back to the earliest days of the city. Though you’ll want to spend time on these individual sights, it’s the abundant streetlife and architectural wealth that give the area its special allure.

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