Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and second-largest city (after Ho Chi Minh City), located in the northern part of the country. The city has over a thousand years of history and is known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine.
As Vietnam's political and cultural centre, there are many museums, art galleries, and theatres to visit in Hanoi. Some top attractions in Hanoi include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, the Old Quarter, and the Hoan Kiem Lake. Visitors to Hanoi can also experience the city's bustling markets, street food vendors, and traditional music performances.
Put Hanoi on your list if you're interested in Vietnamese culture, history, and cuisine. To help you plan your trip, here are 14 things you can do in Hanoi.
1. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of the Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, who played a significant role in the country's struggle for independence. And yes, it's located in Hanoi.
2. Explore the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is famous for its narrow streets, traditional architecture, and bustling markets. It is a great place to experience the local culture and try Vietnamese street food.
3. Take a day trip to the ancient capital Hoa Lu
Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and Le dynasties in the 10th and 11th centuries. Located in Ninh Binh province, it is known for its ancient temples, pagodas, and royal palaces.
4. Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake
A picturesque lake in the heart of the city, Hoan Kiem Lake is surrounded by lush greenery and temples. It is perfect for a peaceful walk or a relaxing boat ride.
5. Learn about Vietnamese history at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has an impressive collection of artefacts and exhibits that showcase the country's diverse ethnic groups and traditions.
6. Enjoy a water puppet show
This traditional form of entertainment is unique to Vietnam, involving puppets performing on water. You can catch a show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
7. Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature was built in the 11th century and is dedicated to Confucius. This ancient temple is a beautiful and peaceful place to learn about Vietnamese culture and history.
8. Check out Tran Quoc Pagoda
Tran Quoc Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple on a small West Lake island. Founded during the 6th century and considered the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, it is known for its beautiful architecture, serene atmosphere, and charming views of the lake.
9. Shop at Dong Xuan Market
The largest indoor market in Hanoi, Dong Xuan Market has a wide range of goods, including clothing, electronics, and local produce.
10. Visit Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton”, was built by the French in the late 19th century and was used to hold Vietnamese political prisoners. During the Vietnam War, it also held American prisoners of war.
11. Take in the best views at Hanoi Sky Lotte Observation Deck
Hanoi Sky Lotte Observation Deck offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, including the Red River and historic landmarks like the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake.
12. Take a day trip to Ha Long Bay
This stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site is just a few hours' drive from Hanoi and features thousands of limestone islands and islets rising from the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.
13. Admire the views from Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge is a historic railway and roadway bridge spanning the Red River in Hanoi. It was built by the French in the early 20th century and played a significant role in the Vietnam War.
14. Visit the Perfume Pagoda, the biggest pagoda complex in Vietnam
Perfume Pagoda is a group of temples built into the Huong Tich Mountain and is accessible by boat and cable car. It is a significant pilgrimage site for Vietnamese Buddhists and offers amazing views of the surrounding natural beauty.
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