Hanoi, on the banks of the Red River (Song Hong), provides a complete contrast to bustling Ho Chi Min City. The capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is more like a quiet charming provincial town with its shady boulevards and pleasant public parks. Wander around the centre and you’ll see fine old buildings. The cafes, graceful lakes and ancient pagodas ... More>help generate a slower pace than that of thriving Saigon. For an insight into Vietnam, visit the History Museum which charts the evolution of the country, from pre-historic days to the rise of the Communist Party. Around 120 kilometres south-west of Hanoi lies the Cuc Phuong National Park - one of the last tropical primeval forest reserves on Earth which contains rare plants and animals, many of which are extinct everywhere else in the world.