The charming Vietnamese capital of Hanoi stands out from other Asian capitals as a graceful collage of cultural influences from the French and Chinese, yet it still manages to retain its local Vietnamese ways, as well as offering the chance to enjoy a very affordable vacation. Accommodation and food is extremely cheap and very high quality across the country. In Hanoi, the Central Hanoi Backpackers Hostel offers dorm rooms for just $5 a night – and, that includes breakfast, Internet and free beer in the evening.
There’s so much to see and do in Hanoi, much of it for free or on the cheap, including walking the well-preserved Old Quarter. This maze of streets that are over 1,000 years old are set between the city’s famed Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red River and the few walls that remain of the Hanoi Citadel along with monuments and colonial architecture tucked alongside modern developments. The city is also the only city in Southeast Asia with an embalmed leader on display. View the body of Ho Chi Men, which lies preserved in a mausoleum.