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Despite being southwest of the winding Red River, Hanoi is known as a city of lakes. Daily life for much of the city centers around two of the city's four lakes, the diminutive Hoan Kiem Lake and the substantially larger West Lake. Hoan Kiem Lake is undisputed heart of Hanoi and is wedged between the original city—known today as the Old Quarter—and the colonial charm of the French Quarter. Not far to the northwest of the city center, West Lake is where many of the booming capital's newly moneyed residents and growing expat community eat, drink, and act merrily.
Traffic in Hanoi is notorious for its chaotic mix of cars, buses, motorcycles, and bicycle rickshaws, known as cyclos. There are several options for getting around, but taxis are generally the safest and most efficient, although a bit more expensive. Taxi scams are not uncommon, but can usually be avoided by riding only with a trusted taxi company—Mai Linh and Hanoi Taxi are two of the capital's most reputable companies.
Addresses in Vietnam often contain words such as district (huyen), road (duong), or street (pho). Odd- and even-number addresses are usually on different sides of the street. Sometimes one address is broken into several units (A, B, C, etc.)
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