What to do in Hanoi ?

Imagine a city where the exotic elegance of old Asia blends with the dynamic face of new Asia. Where the medieval and the modern coexist. A city with a blend of Parisian grace and Asian pace, an architectural museum piece evolving in harmony with its history, rather than having the effect of a steamroller as in many capitals of the continent. Hanoi is where imagination becomes reality. Your stay here will be very nice, but only if you know what to do:

Old Quarter of Hanoi Vietnam

No trip to Hanoi would be complete without spending time in his old neighborhood, and fortunately, your hotel has a great chance to be in this area or nearby. The area is configured as to its origin with its streets and architecture of its own and is the last neighborhood merchants throughout Vietnam. It was founded under the Tran dynasty (1225-1400) and at the time there were 36 streets. Each of them has one of the corporations and bore the name of his business, which is still the case today. Hang Bac focuses goldsmiths and silversmiths,  Lan Ong you can buy all kinds of products based on medicinal plants and Hang Ca is the place for fishmongers. While these names do not necessarily represent what is being sold, it is still the best place in Hanoi to buy souvenirs or products of traditional medicine and Buddhist objects for example. Even if you’re not too “shopping” is ideal place to immerse yourself in Vietnamese daily life.

Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi Vietnam

Named after an old legend, the Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword) is the epicenter of old Hanoi and is a sort of focal point for the public life of the city. Early in the morning, you can watch some local practice Tai Chi on its shores.

It is also a popular spot for young couples who spend time on a park bench. Ngoc Son Temple is located on a small island at the northern end of the lake in which it is available during the day via an old red wooden bridge, the Pont du Soleil Levant. The pleasant surroundings of the lake will be for you a significant break after the tour of the old quarter. There is also the Tower Turtle located on a small island south of the lake.

The Temple of Literature and the University of Hanoi

About 2 miles west of Hoan Kiem Lake, you will find the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. It was built in 1070 and was dedicated to Confucius, whose influence still plays an important role in Vietnamese culture. The temple honors the best scholars and literary men of Vietnam. A few years later the first university of Vietnam was founded here. The temple is a perfect place to walk, relax and discover the many pavilions, pagodas, courtyards and gardens. Is not too busy, the temple is a good refuge from outside traffic.

The Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh

This is the place where the body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved. The mausoleum is an impressive building in Russian style always guarded by two soldiers dressed in white. It is located at the exact place where Ho Chi Minh made his speech of independence in 1945. You can visit for free, but the queues are long and you have to follow many rules by entering (respect, clothes, not bag or camera, etc …). But it is still the father of the nation of Vietnam … Attention, the mausoleum is closed from 5 September to 10 December each year.

Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison was built by the French in 1896 and was used to incarcerate “revolutionary anti-colonial.” After the French were ousted in 1954, the prison was used primarily to detain American pilots during the Vietnam War. It was then that the latter dubbed: the “Hanoi Hilton” in reference to the hotel chain. There are many photos and instruments of torture. Nothing, however, is translated into either French or English. Input: 10 000 VND

The St. Joseph’s Cathedral

The cathedral was built in 1886 by the French. Located right in the old quarter, a look at the neo-Gothic style worth the small detour. Sunday Mass is 11 am in French.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Certainly the most beautiful pagoda in Hanoi, but also the furthest from the center. Curiosity on the spot is his big red stupa 15 meters high and consists of 11 floors. Tran Quoc Pagoda is the race taxi or rickshaw from the center. This is a bit of a foot, see this map.

A cruise on Halong Bay And Lan Ha  Bay

Halong Bay is about 4 hours drive from Hanoi and can be done one day or over several days on site. This is a great destination in Vietnam so enjoy to be in the capital to get there. Read this site to learn how to cruise on Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, and how to visit Halong Bay without going through an agency.

How to go to Hanoi?

If you come from South Hue, it is best to take the train. It will drop you at the heart of the city. If you arrive by plane directly from France or other Asian countries, it is best to check on Skyscanner the cheapest flight tickets for Hanoi. Regarding the Trael budget for Hanoi and Halong Bay, everything is explained here (including how to get from the airport to the center or the reverse).

Please keep in mind that , to visit the country, you are required to get a vietnam visa on arrival or before arrival , so don’t forget this detail while preparing your trip to Vietnam

Where to stay in Hanoi

Prefer a hotel in the center, preferably in or near the Old Quarter Hoan Kiem Lake. This will facilitate your stay in Hanoi since everything is in the neighborhood or surrounding areas (either to visit or to find travel agencies, restaurants and bars).Have you been to Hanoi? What do you prefer?

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