Welcome to Hanoi!
Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Called also the City of Lakes because of its many lakes and rivers. What a rich place! History, architecture, culture, cuisine and that Bia Hoi on every corner. Yes, this is a city in Vietnam you shouldn’t miss. Enjoy that amazing food that has come and mixed in Hanoi from all the other regions. Enjoy the cheap and fresh Vietnamese beer in the Bia Hoi corner. And explore the city itself! Here is our TOP 5 Must-See in Hanoi that should help you to get around!
1. Stroll down the streets of the Old Town
The Old Quarter in Hanoi is very special one. Narrow alleyways and streets will bring you trough small shopping stalls where locals are selling handicrafts, spices, herbs, silk and so much more. You will pass buy many restaurants that offer traditional mouth-watering dishes from all around the country. And architecture here has been well-preserved from the colonial times! Movement and busyness on these tiny streets, day or night, is endless.
It is interesting that this area of the city has always been home to the powerful and for almost two thousand years traders from nearby villages have sold their goods here. It’s actually possible to visit these traditional handicraft villages like Ceramic Bat Trang Village and Van Phuc Silk Village if you take a tour from Hanoi. There are many attractions to see in the Old Town like Ly Trie Quoc Pagoda, St. Josephs Cathedral, Quan Su Pagoda to name a few. Just take a walk here and we are sure you will find many hidden gems on your own!
2. Explore the area of Ho Tay Lake
Ho Tay Lake, also called the West Lake, is surrounded by many important sites, so this could take a whole day to explore the area! Firstly, you can cross the lake by the road of Thanh Nien, and then you will be able to find Chua Tran Quoc temple located on a small island, reachable by the bridge. Follow the road and next you will see American War Memorial (in Vietnam the Vietnam’s War is called like this), and then Den Quan Thanh temple just at the end of the road.
And next is the Ho Chi Mausoleum and it’s complex – Stilt House, Museum (30.000 VND) and Chua Mot Cot Pagoda. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. And no wonder – this is the final resting place of the strong leader Ho Chi Minh, his embalmed body is kept here. Remember that if you wish to enter this complex, you have to dress properly and your bag will be checked as well. And besides the Mausoleum you will find many more attractions in the area, so just follow the paths that are allowed to be explored by visitors and get around this historically important place.
Very close to this complex is the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (30.000 VND) that is written in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Here you will be able to find many artefacts from 6th to 20th centuries. And another site you can include if you are in this area is the Temple of Literature (30.000 VND) or Van Mieu Mon. Long time ago it was actually an university, but now, as the buildings are so well-preserved, visitors come here to admire the finest examples of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.
3. Discover the area of Hoan Kiem Lake
The Hoan Kiem Lake is also called the Lake of the Returned Sword as per legend that says that an emperor was once given a magical sword which helped him to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. And after the victory he saw a Golden Turtle God returning into the lake. There is also a Turtle Tower that stands close to the lake in memory of this legend.
The area of Hoam Kiem Lake is also a popular destination because of the large squares around the lake where everyone is going for walk, for relaxing in the park and enjoying the views. The lake surrounds Den Ngoc Son Temple (30.000 VND) which is located on the small island, reachable by the bridge.
Near this lake you will also find many museums like National Museum of Vietnamese History (30.000 VND) and Vietnamese Revolutionary Museum (15.000 VND). Watch a performance in Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre or go for a show in Hanoi Opera House, which is actually the biggest theatre in Vietnam and is an excellent example of French cultural influences in Vietnam.
4. Go shopping in Hanoi markets
Dong Xuan Market is the main and the largest indoor market in Hanoi. Wow, and that’s truly huge! Here you will be able to find everything starting from souvenirs to clothing to different foods. And in the food area you can try different traditional dishes and drinks. Moreover, streets around the market are also full of goods, seems that selling and shopping is the main activity here!
Hanoi Night Market is near the main market building and starts every evening from six o’clock till about midnight. The main street where the craziness of shopping happens is Hang Dao. Jewelry, high-quality clothing for very low prices, handicrafts, accessories and so much more! Wow, and food, of course! Dishes found in Hanoi had been influenced by Chinese, French and Thai. Pho is considered as the national dish of Vietnam. And then the egg coffee comes – coffee with whipped egg and condensed milk. Night Market gives a wonderful shopping experience even if it can get very busy!
5. Take a walk along the Ceramic Mosaic Wall
This is a very special wall in Hanoi. The Ceramic Mosaic Wall was built in honor of the city’s 1000th anniversary in October 2010. The theme of the wall is “History through pictures”, so you can see so many various and interesting images! Artists from all over the World contributed in this work that has become something so perfect! This wall is even awarded as the world’s largest ceramic mosaic and written in the Guinness World Record Book! The length of the wall is more than 6 kilometers so you can imagine that long walk you need to take to see the whole artwork!
Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam. This bright place you will never forget! It is a city with a history that dates back at least 1000 years! And Hanoi continues to retain traditional Vietnamese culture therefore you will get that authentic feeling here. Amazing monuments, blue lakes and rivers, stunning religious buildings, rich cuisine and the best shopping experience. Enjoy Hanoi! It is truly a wonderful city!