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Hanoi — A romantic city of 3.5 million, Hanoi is the crown jewel of northern Vietnam. Smaller and slower than Saigon, the "Paris of Asia" is an instant charmer – lakes and pagodas dot its mesmerizing streetscapes, gorgeous French colonial villas line its classy tree-shaded boulevards, and its Old Quarter vibrates with a flurry of ancient trades. Throw in its burgeoning art scene, a host of notable museums, plus some of Vietnam's most notable cultural performances – and you're in for a real treat. Hanoi is also a great place to sample the best of Vietnamese cooking – dog meat is an ever-present specialty for the adventurous visitor.

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