By Le Diem, VNEconomictimes
Vietnam’s capital Hanoi has been listed among the top 25 destinations in the world in the annual Travelers’ Choice Awards from TripAdvisor.
The list was based on an algorithm that analyses the millions of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants, and attractions collected from TripAdvisor travelers over a 12-month period.
At 15th on the list, TripAdvisor wrote, the charming Vietnamese capital has aged well, preserving the Old Quarter, monuments, and colonial architecture, while making room for modern developments alongside, according to the site.
Hanoi may have shrugged off several former names, including Thang Long, or “Ascending Dragon”, but it hasn’t forgotten its past, as sites such as Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison attest. Lakes, parks, shady boulevards and more than 600 temples and pagodas add to its appeal, which is easily explored by taxi.
The Old Quarter, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology are all must-see places, it added.
Topping the list was London, which was believed to be an effect of the royal wedding last year, when there was a significant rise in bookings, TripAdvisor revealed, particularly tours to see the Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace, and Windsor Castle, which saw year-on-year increases of between 94 per cent and 231 per cent, according to the site. With the couple’s new baby due imminently, London may continue to reap the rewards into 2020, the site predicted.
Meanwhile, 2019 was the first year New York, which has been a long-time favorite with travelers, slipped out of the top 10, to 13th best-rated destination in the world.
Other destinations included Paris, Rome, Crete (Greece), Bali, Phuket, Barcelona, Istanbul, Prague, Tokyo, and Lisbon.
As capital for more than a thousand years, since 1010, Hanoi is considered the cultural center of Vietnam, where every dynasty has left behind its imprint. It hosts more cultural sites than any other city in the country, including hundreds of pagodas and temples. Influenced by the Chinese and the French, the city features an Asian – Western style in architecture and cuisine.
The Old Quarter, near Hoan Kiem Lake in the city center, still bears the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century it consisted of only 36 streets, most of which are now part of the Old Quarter. Each street at that time comprised merchants and households specializing in a particular trade, such as silk, jewelry, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specializations, though few of them remain exclusively in their original field of commerce. The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Many of its streets become pedestrian malls on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, offering tourists a great chance to discover the area at their leisure.
Hanoi attracted an estimated 7.5 million tourists in the first three months of 2019, including nearly 1.9 million foreigners, up 10.6 per cent and 15.5 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year, according to the city’s Department of Tourism. It welcomed over 26 million visitors last year, including over 5.7 foreigners, increases of 9.3 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.