Hanoi—no other destination better represents all the contrasts that exist in modern Vietnam. A French-conceived colonial city, Hanoi was the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. It boasts one of the most beautiful panoramas in the region and has more cultural sites than any other city in Vietnam, featuring more than 600 pagodas and temples. Many are drawn to its numerous lakes; in particular West Lake (Hô Tây), which is the largest lake in Hanoi and a popular gathering place. Hanoi’s Old Quarter displays the original streets and the predominant style of architecture from the early 20th century. Its colonial history is evident in buildings such as the Grand Opera House, State Bank of Vietnam and Presidential Palace. Home to several museums and many theaters, cinemas, karaoke bars and dance clubs, Hanoi is filled with entertaining sights and exciting experiences. You can even catch a glimpse of recent history by visiting the mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh—or “Uncle Ho” as locals refer to him—was laid to rest.