"Hanoi is a small but charming city where you can always find a new and enchanting world," says good friend Robert Sheen when we reach Hoang Lan (orchid) Garden at the Vietnam and Russia Cultural Palace on the capital's Tran Hung Dao Street.
Hoang Lan Garden stocks a dozen or so different types of orchid, which is considered the queen of flowers in Vietnam. In olden times, with their special glamorous, diverse and durable beauty, orchids were considered the royal flower.
Another reason for ranking orchids at the top is the difficulty in nurturing them properly. In order to make orchids bloom every year, the temperature, humidity and light must be just so.
Hoang Lan displays beautiful orchid flowers in abundance, and from a distance the scene is like a colorful world of butterflies flittering in the shade of grand trees.
The orchid prices are quite reasonable and range from VND100,000 to several hundred thousand dong for one plant.
Taking care of orchids is a relaxing hobby for people of all ages - it rests the mind and brings nature into the home.
For those orchid enthusiasts who don't have the time to devote to their plants, Hoang Lan offers a special service whereby an expert