Tuesday 4 December - Visiting Vietnam




Renee Wright visits Hanoi in Vietnam on this week’s United Travel Getaway. Hanoi is a city with a tough history of French colonisation and then the Vietnam War, but in more recent times it has embraced tourism, with visitors appreciating the city’s vibrancy and interesting mix of cultures.

Renee and her crew stayed at the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, one of the world’s most legendary hotels, established in 1901 during the French colonisation of Vietnam. The hotel has had many celebrity guests, including Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, and, more recently, Angelina Jolie. It featured in the movie The Quiet American, based on the Graham Greene novel of the same name. The Metropole is in the French Quarter of Hanoi, known for its French colonial architecture and wide, tree-lined boulevards, contrasting with the narrow streets of the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

“We filmed in both the French Quarter and the Old Quarter for our story,” said Renee. “They’re both amazing, but very different. The French Quarter has beautiful old buildings like the Hanoi Opera House, and a little more room to move. The Old Quarter is just chaos and madness, with the weirdest traffic system – well, there is no system really, just hundreds of motorbikes coming at you. You take your life in your hands every time you cross the road. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but when you get used to it, you see the nice side of the Old Quarter – the years of rich history and the intriguing little shops.” Also in the Old Quarter, Renee visited Cha Ca La Vong restaurant, famous for serving just one dish – a marinated and grilled fish. “It’s lovely little restaurant, very authentic, and the fish was delicious.”

Renee also attended the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, a popular entertainment with tourists and locals alike. The traditional puppet show is performed in water and is said to take its inspiration from an early flood when villagers saw religious icons from the churches bobbing in the water.

UNITED TRAVEL GETAWAY, Tuesday 4th December at 7:30pm

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