We visited Hanoi on a whim with few days to spare in Southeast Asia. In that brief time, we discovered a plethora of issues to do in Hanoi, the colourful Vietnamese capital metropolis. Vietnam holds a particular place in our hearts. It’s nonetheless a type of locations on the earth that captures the creativeness of the traveler. It’s vibrant tradition, pleasant locals, tantalizing meals, and breathtaking landscapes beg to be explored.
Hanoi is a wild mixture of Chinese language and French influences with a chaotic Previous Quarter crammed with slender alleys, tiny outlets, and hundreds of eating places. Take a stroll alongside the road earlier than bartering for a brand new memento, consuming a recent meal, or having fun with a bia hoi with the locals. Hanoi is the sort of metropolis that bewilders vacationers and begs for a return go to — simply don’t overstay your time the chaos is nice briefly doses.
- 0.1 1. Hoàn Kiêm Lake & Turtle Tower
- 0.2 2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
- 0.3 three. Temple of Literature
- 0.4 four. Thăng Lengthy Imperial Citadel
- 0.5 5. One Pillar Pagoda
- 0.6 6. Hỏa Lò Jail Memorial
- 0.7 7. Presidential Palace
- 0.8 eight. Thăng Lengthy Water Puppet Theatre
- 0.9 9. Trompe l’œil Murals of Hanoi
- 0.10 10. B-52 Wreckage
- 0.11 11. Lotte Tower
- 0.12 12. Quan Son Lake
- 0.13 13. Quang Ba wholesale flower market
- 0.14 14. Day journey to the Fragrance Pagoda
- 0.15 15. Day journey to Bat Trang
- 1 Examine for those who want a visa for Vietnam
- 2 The place to remain in Hanoi?
1. Hoàn Kiêm Lake & Turtle Tower
Hoan Kiem Lake is a freshwater lake within the middle of the town, and the enjoyable, laid again temper of the world earns it a point out on the listing of issues to do in Hanoi. Also referred to as the Lake of the Restored Sword, its origin fantasy is an fascinating story: based on legend, the Heavens despatched the Emperor a sword to drive the Chinese language from Vietnam. It’s stated that after the following warfare, an enormous golden turtle swam to the floor and took again the sword to return it to its house owners.
There have been sightings of actual turtles on the lake for many years (considered one of two nearly-extinct species). Since they’re so uncommon, and being that the final recognized turtle dwelling within the lake died in 2016, think about it an indication of excellent luck for those who occur to identify considered one of these creatures. The lake has a 17th-century tower in its middle, referred to as Turtle Tower. There’s additionally the Temple of the Jade Mountain, with a purple bridge that takes guests throughout the water and into the temple.
2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Although the identify might be complicated for some, this specific spot is certainly in Hanoi. The mausoleum is the ultimate resting place of Revolutionary chief Ho Chi Minh (for whom the eponymous metropolis is known as) and is a big pillared construction situated in Ba Dinh Sq.. Its structure was designed to reflect the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow, however with Asian parts that embrace a sloped roof.
Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed physique lies in a glass case within the mausoleum’s central corridor, protected by a army guard. The corridor is open to guests every day; although considerably morbid, it’s an interesting attraction and supplies perception into the diploma to which this chief was commemorated.
three. Temple of Literature
Regardless of its identify, the Temple of Literature wasn’t all the time a temple. It was constructed in 1070 as a college devoted to Confucius and studying. Initially meant for the Aristocracy and aristocracy, it later opened its doorways to the overall inhabitants. The format was designed to imitate the temple in Qufu, Shandong, the birthplace of Confucius.
The grounds are considered among the many most visually engaging issues to do in Hanoi, and there are numerous totally different sights inside the temple space. Stone turtle steles show the carved names of each graduate, and pavilions, courtyards, and passageways are discovered throughout. Don’t miss the Properly of Heavenly Readability and its two flanking halls, which home treasures of the temple.
four. Thăng Lengthy Imperial Citadel
Vietnam has a wealthy and numerous historical past, and relics of this previous stay even at this time, which suggests it’s straightforward to seek out issues to do in Hanoi. The Thăng Lengthy Imperial Citadel is certainly a type of issues. Because of the vital discoveries made right here because the 2004 excavations—together with relics, artifacts, palace foundations, and even historic roads—it turned a UNESCO World Heritage Website. There have been even discoveries constructed from artifacts traced to different elements of Asia, indicating that Hanoi was closely concerned in commerce.
Through the Vietnam Struggle, the citadel was the official headquarters of the North Vietnamese army, with evacuation tunnels in case of sudden assaults. The location is open to guests daily besides Sunday, with an entrance charge of ₫30,000.
5. One Pillar Pagoda
The One Pillar Pagoda is just about precisely what it feels like: an historic picket pagoda sitting atop a single stone pillar stated to characterize a single lotus flower blooming upwards from its stalk. The legend goes that the heirless then-emperor dreamt that a deity seated on a lotus handed him a son; a short while later, his spouse bore him the kid from his goals. The pagoda was commissioned by the emperor for his gratitude.
The pagoda that sits right here as we speak shouldn’t be the unique; earlier than the French retreated in 1954, their final act was to destroy the traditional pagoda, which was reconstructed afterward. The encompassing gardens make this a tranquil and serene place to wander and chill out. There are stands close by promoting refreshments to take advantage of your time right here.
The temple is open day by day to guests, although keep in mind that as a result of it’s a sacred place, applicable apparel must be worn.
6. Hỏa Lò Jail Memorial
Although this specific attraction is emotionally heavy, it’s of nice cultural and historic significance and ought to be in your listing of issues to do in Hanoi, even when simply to pay respects for a darkish time in historical past. The Hỏa Lò Jail Memorial is all that’s left of the Hỏa Lò Jail, which stood right here and housed prisoners political prisoners through the French colonization of Vietnam, and later, US prisoners of struggle through the Vietnam warfare. Torture was a standard prevalence inside the jail partitions. There’s even a French guillotine on show, used to decapitate Vietnamese revolutionaries.
Many US Air Drive pilots have been held right here after their planes have been shot down; there’s an exhibit showcasing their experiences with the Military and in captivity.
7. Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace was initially constructed as a residence for the French Governor of Indochina, and Ho Chi Minh constructed himself a stilt home within the gardens. As with many buildings constructed throughout colonial durations, the constructing is decidedly European in design, that includes mustard-colored outer partitions throughout three tales.
The location’s lovely gardens are value a wander; you possibly can observe the stilt home and achieve perception into Ho Chi Minh’s life whereas he lived right here. The constructing, which hosts authorities conferences, shouldn’t be open to the general public however you possibly can go to its grounds for a payment of ₫40,000.
eight. Thăng Lengthy Water Puppet Theatre
Water puppetry is a standard artwork and type of theatre that dates again to the 11th century when villagers would wait out flooded rice fields by making puppets dance throughout the water’s floor. The puppets are made out of lacquered wooden; exhibits happen in shallow water with the puppets mounted on bamboo sticks within the water, giving the phantasm of the figures shifting independently. The Thăng Lengthy theatre performances additionally embrace stay music & singing, utilizing conventional devices, so as to add to the general storyline and audiovisual impact.
Tickets vary in worth from ₫100,000 to ₫200,000 and performances are usually out there all through the day, which means you’ll be able to match this right into a daytime schedule or add it to a night date night time.
9. Trompe l’œil Murals of Hanoi
French for “trick of the attention”, these murals are a joint road artwork venture between Vietnam and Korea to rejoice their shared diplomacy, with giant, life-like murals masking the clean stone partitions between practice station arches. Most of the murals are optical illusions, therefore the identify. Many are so skillfully painted that it may be troublesome to discern the place the portray ends and actuality takes over, as they’re slotted into the true panorama round them.
This invitations a really enjoyable alternative for pictures; you possibly can insert your self into the painted scenes and make it look as if you have been drawn into the unique portray.
10. B-52 Wreckage
The Huu Tiep Lake is residence to one thing you wouldn’t usually look forward to finding in a physique of water. The lake accommodates the wreckage of an American B-52 bomber aircraft that was supposedly charged with a failed bombing marketing campaign, and subsequently shot down by the Vietnamese military. The sobering monument is one in every of many all through the nation that commemorate the Vietnam Conflict, the lives it value, and its impact on each the Vietnamese and the US.
The monument is simply 20 minutes by foot, to the west of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, so it’s straightforward to lump these two in collectively to maximise your time on this space of the town.
11. Lotte Tower
For those who’re afraid of heights, this attraction won’t be for you. The Lotte Middle Tower is a skyscraper situated in Ba Dinh; it’s the second tallest construction in the entire of Vietnam. At 65 tales, the Lotte Middle Tower incorporates extra than simply workplaces; it additionally boasts a division retailer, residences, a 5-star lodge, eating places, and a high-end spa, to call a number of.
Simply its most intriguing side is the remark deck on the 65th flooring – referred to as “Prime of Hanoi” – that gives views throughout the town. If 65 tales aren’t sufficient, true daredevils can get on the elevator and journey up a further two tales to the 67th flooring, which has no roof (being the very prime of the constructing). Bonus: the flooring are clear glass, in case you weren’t exhilarated (or terrified) sufficient already.
12. Quan Son Lake
Ha Lengthy Bay is sort of a jaunt from Hanoi, however fortunately there’s an identical choice for many who can’t make it as much as Ha Lengthy. Quan Son Lake is roughly 50 km from the town middle, so the drive is usually not more than an hour and a half. It’s an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Rowboat leases can be found right here for a scenic tour of the lake, however in the event you want to maintain your ft on land, there are mountaineering and biking paths following the water’s edge. For additional magnificence, come between mid-Might and mid-June – lotus blossom season will probably be in full swing. If in case you have a candy tooth, you’ll be able to information your boat via the lotus pond to Hoa Qua Son island, well-known for its many fruit timber like lychee and oranges.
13. Quang Ba wholesale flower market
Quang Ba flower market is a singular addition to the listing of issues to do in Hanoi, not for its contents, however for its schedule. It’s one thing that many vacationers will miss because it hits its peak in the midst of the night time—between 2 and four am. Whatever the lack of your magnificence sleep, you’ll be glad you got here.
The flower market could be a bit overwhelming; tons of of stalls promote recent flowers left and proper, for what within the Western world can be thought-about extremely cheap. Even in the event you go simply to watch, the perfume infused in your complete space is in itself well worth the journey. Should you do determine to make a purchase order, right here’s an concept: present them to your lodge or homestay as a thanks for internet hosting!
14. Day journey to the Fragrance Pagoda
Situated solely an hour’s drive from Hanoi, the Fragrance Pagoda wouldn’t essentially qualify as a day journey if it weren’t for its monumental span. The Fragrance Pagoda is a large complicated of Buddhist temples constructed into the limestone Huong Tich mountains and cliffs. The complicated dates from the 15th century, although native legend means that it’s over 2,000 years previous, having been found by a meditating monk. The location itself is in a haven of pure magnificence; nestled within the mountains’ foothills, the encompassing setting is inexperienced and plush.
The Fragrance Pagoda itself is the very middle of the complicated, sitting inside a cave. The spot attracts tons of of pilgrims and vacationers looking for luck from the stalactites and stalagmites hanging inside the cavern partitions. These buildings are named for what they supposedly supply the wisher, with blessings starting from fertility to an excellent harvest.
15. Day journey to Bat Trang
Regardless that journey is extra about amassing reminiscences than objects, no one would blame you when you needed to take somewhat one thing house from right here. Bat Trang, also called the Ceramics Village, is a 14th-century village throughout the river from Hanoi that makes a speciality of conventional pottery and porcelain. It’s a fascinating factor to wander via the outlets and see the masterful creations made by locals.
However you don’t simply want to watch; there are literally pottery courses provided right here for a mere ₫60,000. The most effective of each worlds: created in a village steeped in custom and historical past, however nonetheless made by your personal exhausting work.
Examine for those who want a visa for Vietnam
Earlier than touring to Vietnam verify to see for those who want a visa (most guests do). People do want a visa and the method is complicated and inefficient. First you will have to use for an e-visa on-line earlier than getting into the nation. The method can take as much as three days to clear, though we received our letter of approval in two days. Be ready to pay $25 or extra for a one month visa in the event you use an agent for this beforehand.
Then when you arrive in Vietnam you will have to take your proof of e-visa (as it is just a letter of approval) to immigration. From there you’ll have to have both a passport sized photograph with you or have them take yours for $2. Additionally, you will have to pay one other $25 in money upon arrival to Vietnam in your precise visa. You may as well pay in Vietnamese Dong, however you’ll possible get a nasty change fee.
For us, the speed stored altering the extra I questioned it with the immigration officer. In the long run, we ended up paying 700,000 Vietnamese Dong plus 60,000 for the photographs per individual. Barely greater than I feel it ought to have been if we have been paying in USD – however we didn’t have USD on us. The entire course of is complicated and inefficient, however it’s lots higher than it was whenever you truly needed to go to an embassy to get a visa.
The place to remain in Hanoi?
Hanoi has some fabulous Airbnb’s to select from. To really feel extra at house we use Airbnb – you’ll be able to take a look at some ideas and skim extra about getting an Airbnb coupon code right here. Or simply take this coupon on your first keep!
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Oriental Central Lodge
That is simply one of many locations we stayed in Hanoi. It was centrally situated anf snug. The perfect factor about it was the pleasant and hepful employees!
Agoda.com Reserving.com Inns.com
Noble & Swan Boutique Lodge
One other lodge that’s situated within the previous quarter of Hanoi We stayed right here our first night time in Hanoi and loved the boutique allure and stylish loos!
Plan Your Journey to Vietnam