Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. It is located on the banks of the Red River, about 100km from the river's mouth. It is said that humans have inhabited the area as early as the third century B.C.
In 1010, King Ly Thai moved the capital to Dai La. On the way, the king saw a golden dragon ascending from the Red River. He then decided to rename Dai La to Thang Long, which means 'Ascending Dragon.' Thang Long is the city currently known as Hanoi. King Minh Mang gave the city its present name in 1831. 'Ha' means river and 'Noi' means within. Thus, the name of the city means 'within the river.'
The appeal of Hanoi lies in its perfect combination of the old and the new. The city features the exotic charm of old Asia and the face of the modern and contemporary Asia. Of course, the French influence still remains in the city many years after the French left Hanoi. Those who travel to Hanoi should not miss the Old Quarter, a web of bustling streets that has been a centre of commerce for almost a thousand years, as well as the History Museum.