Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and also its second largest city, is a fascinating blend of East and West, with Chinese influence from centuries of dominance, and French je ne sais quoi from its colonial past.
It was largely unspoiled by the modern architecture of the 1970s and 80s, and is now undergoing a rapid transformation that makes it a rising star in Southeast Asia.
As you walk along the street, you may find that people start talking to you. It is a cultural norm there to make conversation with strangers. They might ask you where you are from and other general questions.
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