Streams of purring scooters and rickshaws run amok around serene Buddhist temples and holy lakes in the strange and wonderful Vietnamese capital. It's a perfect introduction to the country as a whole, centered on a vibrant Old Quarter where coffee roasters converge on ironmongers and trinket shops. Dotting that are curious museums chronicling the life of Ho Chi Minh (the father of the nation) and the imposing mausoleum of the revered leader himself. And when you're done with the fray of the town, be sure to head east to Ha Long Bay – an UNESCO wonderland of karst peaks that rises straight from the South China Sea. Cheap flights to Hanoi from New Zealand usually involve at least one stopover, with travel times typically in the region of 14-20 hours each way.
There are temples and mystical shrines dotting Hoan Kiem Lake, along with buzzy food markets spreading across the nearby streets.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the burial place of Ho Chi Minh himself. It's worth a visit to see its striking USSR-style construction.
A labyrinth of tree-topped avenues and alleys converges on the Hanoi Old Quarter. It's got markets, Vietnamese cookhouses, and bouncing beer bars alike.
No airlines fly direct between New Zealand and Hanoi.
Singapore Airlines is the best airline to fly between New Zealand and Hanoi.