Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, arrived in Vietnam early Tuesday, as he prepared to meet with President Trump to discuss a range of thorny diplomatic issues, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

However the summit meeting turns out, Mr. Kim’s trip to Vietnam will be symbolic in other ways. That is partly because Vietnam and North Korea have a long friendship that includes cooperation during the Vietnam War, as well as complex relationships with China, their mutual neighbor.

South Korea and the United States also see Vietnam’s postwar reconciliation with old enemies — and its booming economic growth of the last few decades — as a potential model for Mr. Kim’s government to follow. His movements and comments in Vietnam may offer a glimpse of whether he agrees.

Mr. Kim arrived by armored train at the China-Vietnam border around 8:20 a.m. Hanoi time, and got into a motorcade heading south toward the capital. Here’s a rundown of where Mr. Kim may go in Vietnam, and the political and historical symbolism that would lie just below the surface.

One is the Government Guest House, the former residence of the colonial governor of Tonkin, the name for northern Vietnam during the French colonial period. The building became the headquarters of a transitional government led by the Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, who declared Vietnam’s independence from France in 1945.

Another option is said to be the colonial-era Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, where Senator John McCain of Arizona liked to stay and chat with reporters on his trips to Vietnam. (That is not to be confused with the “Hanoi Hilton,” the darkly comic nickname for the Hanoi prison where Mr. McCain was once held as a prisoner of war.)

One of the Metropole’s other famous guests was the American folk singer Joan Baez, who sheltered in the hotel’s underground bunker during the December 1972 bombing of Hanoi. The bunker’s exact location remained a mystery for years after the war — until 2011, when it was discovered by workers who were building a poolside bar.

The rest of Mr. Kim’s Hanoi itinerary is still shrouded in secrecy. But one logical stop would be the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a few blocks from the North Korean Embassy.

Ho is one of several Communist leaders to be embalmed in recent decades; others include Mr. Kim’s father and grandfather, Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung. The North Korean foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the mausoleum when he visited Hanoi in December.

And what about dinner? If Mr. Kim’s diplomatic entourage chooses to dine out, they might consider Pyongyang, one of several state-run North Korean restaurants worldwide, located in Hanoi. The restaurants have traditionally helped to raise hard currency for the regime. But critics say they are sites for money laundering, and waitresses occasionally defect.