If you have never been to Hanoi, Vietnam, you might be surprised to see how active this city is. It’s a mixture of both old and new cultural influences, especially western. Take the time to read about the interesting history of this city and of Vietnam in general. This country has a complex past with a lot of war and power struggles between countries such as Japan, France, China, the former Soviet Union, Cambodia, and the U.S.
A good place to start for a brief history of Vietnam from 1945 is the book East Asia: A New History, 5th edition, by Rhoads Murphey, published in 2010 (just nine pages on Vietnam since 1945). This is the same textbook that the instructors used last year in the MIM Pacific Rim history class (hint, hint – get a head start!).