• 7 ideas for the Trump-Kim Hanoi itinerary

    Street-side dining in Hanoi. Photos by Christian Berg

There’s a hint of anticipation in Hanoi’s spring air these days, as the city gets set to welcome President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un on February 27 and 28. And while the diplomatic discussions are expected to take centerstage, Vietnam’s captivating capital may just steal the show.

hoan kiem lake hanoi

Two days isn’t a lot of time to encounter multi-layered Hanoi (especially when you have questions of world peace to tackle) but that’s where deft travel planning comes in. These handpicked activities won’t just round out the Trump-Kim summit itinerary (and provide great photo opps) — any of them could cement the partnership between the two leaders.

Cyclo ride in the Old Quarter

hanoi old quarter

No visit to Hanoi — not even one between two world leaders — is complete without a look inside the capital’s amazing Old Quarter. Why not an eye-opening cyclo ride through the 36 craft streets, so President Trump and Chairman Kim can witness Vietnamese industry on the ground level? As a bonus, the leisurely pace means security details can easily keep up.

Local lunch on the sidewalk

banh cuon hanoi

What is Hanoi, if not a fabulous foodie destination? Barack Obama acknowledged this with his historic visit to a bun cha eatery with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. For the Trump-Kim menu, we suggest a delicious spread of banh cuon: a light, textural dish of soft rice noodles and pork meatloaf slices, sprinkled with crispy shallots and served with mint and mild fish sauce. 

Truc Bach Lake and the McCain Memorial

truc bach lake hanoi

Truc Bach Lake is a place where Chairman Kim and President Trump can readily contemplate the cost of war and the value of peace. This picturesque body of water is where John McCain's plane was shot down in 1967, before he was imprisoned in Hoa Lo. Today, a sculpture marks the spot on tree-lined Thanh Nien street separating West Lake and Truc Bach Lake.

Seaplane tour of Halong Bay

halong bay seaplane

When it’s time for a break from the meeting room, Halong Bay’s striking seascape is just 45 minutes away by seaplane. Hai Au Aviation's scenic spins over azure waters and jungle-clad limestone karsts is an ideal way for busy heads of states to unwind. On the way back, why not briefly touch down for a…

Round of golf in the countryside

golfing in hanoi

A classic course in easy distance from the capital, BRG Kings Island Golf Resort was designed by champion American golfer Jack Nicklaus. A nice local touch: the clubhouse is shaped like a non la conical hat, and access to the fairways is via a short boat ride. President Trump can have his pick of the Mountain View, Lakeside, or Kings Course — each enveloped by soothing greenery.

Morning stroll in the Temple of Literature

hanoi temple of literature

There are few visitors who don’t come away suitably impressed by Hanoi’s ancient Temple of Literature, or Van Mieu. Together, President Trump and Chairman Kim can tour the compound’s photogenic gardens, courtyards, and worship houses, some of which date back to 1070 and honour Chu Van An, a self-made scholar who contributed heavily to Vietnam’s educational system.

Shopping for the first ladies

hanoia house shopping

Even the leader of a nation is wise to return home bearing gifts. Vietnam’s long tradition of quality lacquerware finds a modern expression at Hanoia House. Each piece requires a minimum of 100 days to craft. Here, President Trump and Chairman Kim can pick up stunning lacquerware jewelry and homeware found only in Vietnam.

ALSO READ: 11 Must-see Attractions in Hanoi

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