Hanoi, capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a pleasant and even charming city, in large parts because of its famous lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks. The city centre is an architectural museum piece, its blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a peaceful and austere provincial town, contrary to the fast-living and bustling air of Saigon. The city is about 110 km. inland from the Gulf of Tonkin and 1,760 km. from Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is situated on the right bank of the Red River (Song Hong), with a population nearly 4,000,000.