VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Ha Noi

History - Orientation - Information - Dangers Annoyances - Sights - Activities - Walking Tour - Courses - Ha Noi For Childern - Tour - Festivals Events - Sleeping - Eating - Drinking - Entertainment - Shopping - Getting There Away - Getting Around - Around Ha Noi - Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum - Perfume Pagoda - Handicraft Villages - Thay Tay Phuong Pagoadas - Ba Vi National Park - Co Loa Citadel - Tam Dao Hill Station.

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinemas
Megastar Cineplex (tell: 974 3333; 6th fl, Vincom Tower, 191 BaTrieu) The international multiplex cinema arrives in Hanoi. This is a serious place, complete with the latest international films
Cinematheque (22A Hai Ba Trung; tel: 936 2648) The Cinematheque is popular with the Hanoi expat community thanks to its adventurous choice of films - from shorts to a mixed selection of arthouse films.
Centre Culturel Francaise de Hanoi (tell:936 2164; 24 Trang Tien) Set in the subtime L'Espace building near the Opera House, it offers a regular programme of French flicks.
Circus Troupes
Central Circus (Rap Xiec Trung Uong; admission US$2.50; shows 8-I0pm Tue-Sun, 9am Sun} The circus is one Russian entertainment tradition that has survived and thrived in Vietnam. Performers-gymnasts, jugglers, animal trainers - were originally trained in Eastern Europe, though today's new recruits learn their skills from their Vietnamese elders. Performances are held in a huge tent near the northern entrance to Lenin Park. A special show is staged for children on Sunday morning. However, animal lovers won't appreciate the conditions in which the animals arc kept.
Nightclubs
If you want to see the beautiful people of Vietnam cutting their moves, there are several local clubs to check out. Many of the aforementioned bars morph into clubs come the weekend. New clubs tend to blow hot and cold, so ask around for what's hot or not be fore venturing forth.
Apocalypse Now ( Pho Dong Thac; 8pm-1am) This place has lost some of its lustre since it remains a popular place of pilgrimage for Hanoi's hedonists. Definitely one of the more gay-friendly clubs in town.
New Century Nightclub (tell: 928 5285; 10 Pho Trang Thi) New places come and go, but the New Century remains the place to see and be seen for young Vietnamese ready to flash the cash. Dress sharp, as the beautiful people arc out in force.
1-Box (tell: 8288820; 32 Pho Le Thai Tho) Cafe-bar by day, with luxurious drapes and free wi-fi, by night it turns club with decent DJs and a throbbing dance floor.
Live Music
CLASSICAL

Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon; tell:825 4312;Pho Trang Tien) This magnificent 900-seat venue looks along Pho Trang Tien to Hoan Kiem Lake. It was built in 1911 and has been restored to its former glory. It was from a balcony on this building that the Viet Minh-run Citizens' Committee announced, on 16 August 1945, that it had taken over the city. Performances of classical music are periodically held here in the evenings and the atmosphere is incredible. The theatre's Vietnamese name appropriately translates to 'House Sing Big’ Check the listings in the Guide or Time Out to find out if anything is happening here during your stay.
JAZZ & MODERN
Jazz Club By Quyen Van Minh (Cau lac Bo; tell: 825 7655; 31-33 Pho luong Van Can; performances 9-11.30pm) The place in Hanoi to catch live jazz. Owner Minh teaches saxophone at the Hanoi Conservatory and moonlights here, jamming with a variety of musicians from his talented son to top international jazz players.
Piano Bar ( tell: 923 2677; 93 Pho Phung Hung) The Piano Bar is reborn after a long absence. There's a grand piano on the 1st floor to serenade couples while they wine and dine, and weekends see a string quartet join the action. Happy hour is from 5pm to 7pm daily.
R&R Tavern (tell: 934 4109; 47 Pho Lo Su) A reliable little venue for live music, the Vietnamese band here knows all the counterculture '60s classics. Drinks are very reasonably priced given the free soundtrack.
Seventeen Saloon (tell:942 6822; 98 Tran Hung Dao) Yee-haa! Welcome to the wild west. Cowboy bars are curiously popular in Asia and this place has live bands every night.
Terrace Bar (Press Club; tell: 934 0888; 59A Pho Ly Thai To) A popular place to be on Friday, when half of Hanoi's high-flyers .seem to descend here for the happy hour (6pm). Drink specials include access to the roving platters of finger food and a soundtrack of live music.
TRADITIONAL
The best places to catch live traditional music are upmarket Vietnamese restaurants in central Hanoi, like Cay Cau (tell: 824 5346; De Syloia Hotel, 17A Pho Tran Hung Dao) in De Syloia Hotel, Club Opera ( tell: 824 6950; 59 Pho ly Thai To), Dinh Lang Restaurant ( tell: 828 6290; 1 Pho Ie Thai Tho) and Nam Phuong ( tell: 928 5085; 16 Pho Bao Khanh). It's aimed at tourists, but close your eyes and the music is hauntingly beautiful. There is also live music performed daily at the Temple of Literature.
Water Puppets
This fascinating art form originated in northern Vietnam, and Hanoi is the best place to catch a show. Performances are held at the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre (Roi Nuoc Thang Long;tell: 825 5450; 57B Pho Dinh Tien Hoang; admission 20,000-40,000d, still-camera fee 10,000d, video fee 50,000d; performances 4pm, 5.15pm, 6.30pm. 8pm & 9.15pm). The higher admission price buys the best seats and you can take-home a CD of the music for US$2. Multilingual programmes allow the audience to read up on each vignette as it's performed. Check out the faces of en thralled Vietnamese kids in the audience they're magic. Try and arrange a ticket in advance, as shows are often sold out, especially during high season.