Its ideal riverside location has made Hanoi a coveted city since imperial times, attracting Chinese invaders and French colonisers. This rich historical background made the charming capital city of Vietnam a lovely city teeming with cultural gems and well-preserved heritage buildings in its Old Quarter and French Quarter. From the Temple of Literature dedicated to Confucius to Nha Tro Cathedral with its Gothic spires, Hanoi is truly a place where East meets West in perfect harmony. Take a peek into the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison, better known as the Hanoi Hilton, for some historical perspective. Part with your hard-earned cash shopping at Dong Xuan, HOM and Hang Da Markets and get your smile back at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. There’s Vietnamese coffee and food to be tasted for under a dollar, but if you’re keen to splurge, a dinner at Restaurant Bobby Chinn will set you back more than VND 1 million. One of the highlights of every trip to North Vietnam is a junk ship cruise of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 2,000 limestone islets. If you are so enamoured by the sight, you may want to spend the night on the “Bay of Descending Dragons”. Find yourself in Hanoi during Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and usher in a wonderful week of offerings and celebrations.