Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the old and new Vietnam in one. It is one of the oldest capitals in the world, where travelers can find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas and unique museums in the center of the city. It has a bustling city center and there is always something to do. From the early hours until late at night, the streets are full of moving motorcycles. Everywhere in the city you have super tasty street food, which should definitely be tried!
Are you curious about the sights of Hanoi and what there is to do? Read our best tips and tricks below!

Index:


Top 15 things to do:

#1 Hoan Kiem Lake

For many people, Hoan Kiem Lake is the first place you visit when traveling through Hanoi. Hanoi has a lot of lakes, but Hoan Kiem Lake is in its cultural and historic heart. This is the place where the locals start their day in the morning with some ‘tai chi’ or a game of badminton. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the iconic Thap Rua (turtle tower) in the center of the lake and the bright red Huc Bridge leading to Ngoc Son Temple. It is a wonderful place to escape from the hectic traffic in this steaming metropolis. During sunrise and sunset it is wonderful to relax around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Tip! From Friday to Sunday between 19.00 and 24.00 a large part around the lake is closed to traffic, making it a very pleasant place to spend the evening.

Photographer: Cuong Le

#2 Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Located on Ba Dinh Square is one of Hanoi’s most visited attractions. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Vietnam’s most iconic and popular leader, Ho Chi Minh himself. Ho Chi Minh’s body is kept inside in a glass coffin. The building is where visitors can express their admiration and gratitude towards the common father/uncle of Vietnamese who has led the country to independence and reunification. Built over 2 years from 1973 to 1975, the Mausoleum is also a lively illustrator of national unity.

Tip! The entrance to the mausoleum is guarded by armed honor guards. In the middle of the morning, a showy changing of the guard ceremony is performed.

Photographer: Ajay Karpur

#3 Hanoi Water Puppet Theatre

Close to Hoan Kiem Lake is the famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Where you can see one of the oldest forms of entertainment in Vietnam, the Vietnamese Water Puppet Show. As the name suggests, it is a puppet show, in which a play is performed with wooden puppets. The puppeteers move the puppets under water via a bamboo stick. These shows date back to the 11th century and are accompanied by traditional music. There are several performances per day.

Photographer: Thomas G.

#4 Visit the Old Quarter

The Old Quarter in Hanoi is an intriguing neighbourhood, but has a quite village character. The center is cozy, with a mix of Vietnamese architecture, green spaces, ancient shops and fresh-as-it-gets street food. This neighborhood is more than 1,000 years old and the Old Quarter is still the heart of the city. And here you will find a range of hostels and guesthouses. The longer you wander, the more you’ll be rewarded with moments in hidden alleyways, secluded pagodas, and cosy coffee shops. It is lovely to stroll around, have some food and observe Vietnamese street life.

Photographer: Huy Phan

#5 The Hanoi Train Street

Hidden among the busy streets of Hanoi Old Quarter lies an exclusive street offering an incredibly surreal experience. The famous Hanoi Train Street cuts through a residential area of Hanoi. In just a matter two minutes, this Hanoi neighbourhood goes from a bustling hive of activity to an eerie ghost town. Many locals, who know the train timetable by heart, warn tourists when a train is approaching. Please note that trains do not always run on time.

Photographer: Matteo Imperiali
Photographer: David Emrich

#6 Hoa Lo Prison Museum

The Hoa Lo Prison Museum in Hanoi, also known as Maison Centrale, was used as a prison for political prisoners during the French colonial era and for American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. The Maison Centrale, housed up to 2000 prisoners in one night. You’ll be shocked as to how that was possible, given the size of the place. It’s a memorable experience.

Photographer: Lars Meijer

#7 Enjoy the streetfood of Hanoi

Hanoi is the best place to eat street food in Vietnam. The whole cuisine of Northern Vietnam is converged in Hanoi, with some interesting results. Walk through the busy streets of Hanoi and discover the different flavors. The street food stalls are all over the busy streets of Hanoi!

Photographer: Prince Photos

#8 Military History Museum

In the center of Hanoi stands the Vietnam Military History Museum which celebrates the Vietnamese victories of the 20th century, first over the French and then the United States. The Military Museum is easy to find, with a large collection of weapons and vehicles in front of the museum. The museum particularly interesting to see and important for those wishing to learn about Vietnam, because most of the country’s history is about war and fighting for independence. There are both indoors and outdoors sections

Photographer: Lars Meijer
Photographer: Lars Meijer

#9 Temple of the literature

The Temple of Literature is one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. The temple has served as a tribute to Vietnam’s intellectual elite for centuries. The grounds of the temple feel like a serene retreat, far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Tip! If you’re interested in the cultural history, a private tour may be your best bet.

Photographer: David Emrich
Photographer: Lars Meijer

#10 Saint Joseph Cathedral

The cathedral is situated west of Hoàn Kiếm Lake, in a small square within the Old Quarter. The Saint Joseph Cathedral is the oldest church in Hanoi and was modeled after Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral. The Church makes an impression on travelers by its ancient beauty of the bustling capital.

Photographer: Do Khoa

#11 NgocSon Temple

Right in the center of the Hoan Kiem Lake is Ngoc Son Temple, a prominent temple sitting on a small island, it is the best escape from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. It’s a lovely place to visit religious or not just to get a sense of culture and see a lovely bit of history.”

Tip! You can buy your ticket from the booth on your right as you enter the grounds and before you cross the bridge. Entrance fee is 3000 dong per person.

Photographer: Lars Meijer

#12 Vietnamese Women’s Museum

In het centrum van Hanoi ligt het Vietnamese Women’s museum. It is a gender museum with functions of research, preservation, and display of tangible and intangible historical and cultural heritages of Vietnamese women and Vietnam Women’s Union. The museum also features a hard-hitting exhibit on the role of wartime and an exploration of the much-neglected subject of family life and motherhood.

Photographer: Lars Meijer

#13 Hanoi Night Market

The beauty of Hanoi at night is a combination of two opposite beauties which express clearly the difference between an old capital and a new one. The night market is located on one of the busiest streets in Hanoi and stretches a whopping 3 km long; from Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square to Dong Xuan Market Gate. The night market takes place on every weekend evening 18.00-23.00 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On 20:00, all of the stalls are in full swing and the atmosphere is buzzin’ with locals and tourists rummaging their way through for a bargain.

Photographer: DucTuanNguyen

#14 Bia Hoi Corner

The capital of Vietnam is famous for not only peaceful poetic streets with white ancient houses standing quietly side by side under the yellow lights of street lamps. But also for the crowded streets at night and especially the Bia Hoi Corner.

It is ritual for locals and tourists to sit on a small plastic chair on the corner of the street and drink some locally brewed beer. Bia Hoi is locally brewed beer and often referred to as Vietnamese street beer. This is because the beer is often being sold on the street from 0,30 USD, making it the cheapest beer in the world!

Photographer: Frida Ahuilar Estrada

#15 Citadel van Thang Long

The Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long is a complex of historic imperial buildings in the center of Hanoi. It has been a World Heritage Site since the 1000th anniversary of the city. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century, on drained land reclaimed from the Red River Delta in Hanoi.

Photographer: TisiFo

Top 4 Restaurants

#1 The Hanoi Social Club

@hanoisocialclub

Hip cafe with a chill vibe offering health-conscious light fare & vegan options. Come and enjoy this creative space (including our terrace garden) and relaxed vibe, day or night. Regular live music events

Cuisines:
Bar, Cafe, European, Healthy, International;

See more: www.facebook.com/TheHanoiSocialClub

#2 Banh Mi 25

@banhmi25

What began as a humble sandwich cart has grown into one of Hanoi’s favorite spots for banh mi.

Cuisines:
Fast Food, Asian, Vietnamese, Healthy;

See more: www.banhmi25.net/

#3 Blue Butterfly Restaurant – Cooking class

@BlueButterflyRestaurant

Blue Butterfly has a beautiful ceiling with lamps in a historic house and a great value menu of Vietnamese classics.

Cuisines:
International, Vietnamese, Healthy;

#4 Kumquat Tree Speakeasy Bar

@kumquattreehanoi

Kumquat Tree is an East-meets-West speakeasy bar, where the voyage of time starts and endless stories about the golden age being told.

Cuisines:
Bar, Lounge, Cafe;

See more: @kumquattreehanoi


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