Art Vietnam showcases contemporary Vietnamese artworks (below), photography, videos and prints over three floors. Cuc Gallery represents the country’s emerging and established artists. It has also co-launched an art education programme for children in Hanoi. Volunteer-run, artist-led Nha San Collective is a proponent of new forms of expression, hosting lectures, workshops and all things related to performance art.
Visit the monumental Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Ba Dinh Square), where the former leader’s embalmed body lies in state. At the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (below), step into traditional communal houses to sample tea and sticky sweets while learning about the country’s 54 ethnic groups. At the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, see 1,000 artefacts testifying to the country’s matriarchal society across its exhibitions on women in history and their fashions.
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Tan My Design (below) – established during the post-war years when soldiers carried handkerchiefs sewn with messages from loved ones – is a treasure trove of hand-embroidered linens and Vietnamese designer apparel. La Hang (41 Phung Hung) makes gorgeous ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress) to order. For chic outerwear, leather bags and apparel inspired by traditional garb worn in the countryside, go to An Store (8 Ly Dao Thanh).
All Hanoians have their favourite hawker stalls. Try bun cha (grilled pork with rice noodles) along Hang Manh, and banh xeo (crepes with shrimp, pork and vegetables) along Hang Bo for lunch. Get these and more all in one place at Quan An Ngon, where street fare is served from cooking stations in a courtyard setting. Learn how to make the dishes at home through lessons at Highway4 (below).
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Hanoi is said to be an early-to-bed city, but there are definitely places to hang out from sunset till late. InterContinental Hanoi Westlake’s Sunset Bar is a great spot for a happy-hour aperitif over the water, while glitzy Angelina (below) is a favourite haunt among celebrities. Nest Lounge (9 Xuan Dieu, Westlake) is known for its deep house soundtrack, while Hanoi Rock City brings together art and live music.
– TEXT BY GEMMA PRICE
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.