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    Hanoi among best March travel destinations

    Hanoi has been listed by Business Insider magazine as among the 13 best places to visit in March.

    The list is based on airfare trends, climate, and peak travel times, to determine which vacation spots should be on travelers’ radars.

    March is one of the best times to visit Vietnam’s capital, thanks to its pleasant weather of 17 to 23C. 

    Hanoi among best March travel destinations
    Photo by Dennis Jarvis  on wikimedia

    Along with a host of trees, flowers are also in full bloom during the month, providing a beautiful and fresh atmosphere, such as Hoa Sua (Dalbergia tonkinensis flower, a species of legume in the Fabaceae family) Hoa Buoi (Grapefruit flower), often sold by street vendors in March, and Hoa Ban (Bauhinia variegata), which often bloom in early March and fill the streets with delicate pink flowers reminiscent of orchids.

    As the capital for more than a thousand years, since 1010, Hanoi is considered to be 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. Prominent sites include the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu), the oldest university in the country, One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot), the Hanoi Flag Tower, the Grand Opera House, the State Bank of Vietnam (formerly The Bank of Indochina) building, the Presidential Palace, (formerly the Palace of the Governor-General of French Indochina), St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi University (formerly the University of Indochina), and the historic and iconic Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi hotel, among others.

    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 the city consisted of only about 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. 

    A night market, along Hang Dao Street, is also open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and delicious street food on offer.

    You could easily spend days roaming around the energetic and maze-like Old Quarter, packed to the brim with street vendors, open-air eateries and whizzing motorbikes, while Hoan Kiem Lake provides a peaceful respite from the frenzy, as do numerous Buddhist temples and pagodas, according to Business Insider. 

    When you need a break from the city, the stunning Ha Long Bay and the old hill town of Sapa are just short trips away.

    Hanoi was also selected as one of 2016’s ten most-popular travel destinations in the world by TripAdvisor.

    The number of international tourists arriving in the capital was estimated to rise by 30 per cent to 125,000 during the week-long Tet holiday in mid-February, according to the Hanoi Department of Tourism. 

    The capital welcomed nearly 24 million visitors last year, including 4.95 million from key markets such as China, South Korea, Japan, France, the US, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Canada, up 9 per cent and 23 per cent against 2016.

    Other destination on the Business Insider list included Austin, Texas; Palm Springs, California; St. Croix, US Virgin Islands; Cartagena, Colombia; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Chamonix, France; Cairo, Egypt; Tasmania, Australia; Mumbai, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Antarctica. - VN Economic Times

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