The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is the second most populous city in the country with approximately 4 million people. The history and culture of Vietnam is clearly on display. Excellent Vietnamese cuisine, vibrant street-life, contemporary art galleries and French architecture combine to form a unique blend of old and new, Asian and European. Despite recent rapid development, the city has retained much of its traditional identity. Physically the lakes and Old Quarter still retain a wonderful sense of timeless grace and much of its population continues to observe centuries old customs and festivals.