As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is well known for her ancient architecture tracing back to hundreds of years. The unique mix of Chinese, French and Southeast Asian culture has heavily influenced the city. At the center lies the Old Quarter, featuring narrow streets filled by trades. Small temples are scattered around the city, including Bach Ma, honoring a legendary horse. A popular district is the Dong Xuan market, which sells household items and also street food.
HANOI, VIETNAM, DECEMBER 21, 2014 : Large view on the NoiBai international Airport and the passengers queueing at the check-in counters of Vietjet airline in Hanoi, Vietnam (Stephane Bidouze / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – MAY 11, 2015: passengers check-in in Noi Bai International Airport. Noi Bai International Airport is the largest airport in Vietnam. (Sorbis / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – OCT 18: Girl on traditional boat in water lily river visit Huong pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam on October 18, 2015. Huong pagoda in hanoi have beauty landscape for traveler. (JunPhoto / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – NOVEMBER 25: Young girl buy daisy flower from vendor in a street in Hanoi on November 25, 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam. In Vietnam white daisy flowers bloom in November. (Jimmy Tran / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – FEB 3: Woman Vietnam sell TET decorations on the street on February 3, 2013 in Hanoi, Vietnam.TET is the most important holidays of the people of Vietnam. (John Bill / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM, JANUARY 28: Old master write ancient letters for a girl in Aodai costume on January 28, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam. This is a tradition of vietnamese people in lunar new year (Jimmy Tran / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – April 25, 2014: Girls in traditional Ao Dai dresses are waiting for the wedding ceremony on the street of Hanoi on April 25, 2014, Vietnam. (Elena Ermakova / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM. January 15, 2015 : Vietnam people pass Hanoi Ceramic Road. The ceramic mosaic mural wall are long 4 km. that builded for the millennial anniversary of Hanoi (Seree Tansrisawat / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam, August 29 2015: Life in vietnam- Cyclo beside Sword lake in hanoi, vietnam. Cyclo is the tourist’s farvourite vehicle transportation in vietnam (Bradley Audrey Ralph / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Apr 5, 2015: Unidentified female barber cut hair on street in Hanoi, Vietnam. Barber who doesn’t have a shop have to work on street. (Hanoi Photography / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – FEBRUARY 11: Police men in the old quarter on February 11, 2015 in Hanoi. The 36 old streets and guilds of the old quarter are a major tourist attraction. (Rolf_52 / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – FEBRUARY 19, 2013: Vietnamese uniformed sentries standing near the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum for the Changing the Guard Ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam. (salajean / Shutterstock)
Many People Vietnamese and Foreigner tourist Memorial Ho Chi Minh’s President at his Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi, Vietnam January 17, 2016. (MinhHue / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – JULY 30, 2015 : tourists visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam.(Zephyr_p / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Nov 22, 2015: Vietnamese girl serving sugarcane and fresh tropical fruit juice on a street in Hanoi capital. Hanoi is a well known destination for street food and drinks. (Asia Images / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Nov 1, 2015: Vietnamese girl serving fresh tropical fruit juice on the sidewalk of a street in Hanoi capital. Hanoi is a well known destination for street food and drinks. (Asia Images / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Aug 30, 2015: Railway passenger cars at Hanoi station. Vietnam Railways is the state-owned operator of the railway system in Vietnam (Hanoi Photography / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Nov 22, 2015: Front view of the old Hanoi Railway Station in Hanoi capital. Traveling by old and noisy train is one of the most favorite way of experience for foreign tourist. (Asia Images / Shutterstock)
Perspective view of railway running along narrow street with houses in Hanoi, Vietnam. Unusual solution of transport problem. Dangerous neighborhood for people. Travelling and tourism. (Copyright: Konstantin Yolshin)
HANOI, VIETNAM – JUNE 25: Front view of Hanoi Opera House in Hanoi capital, Vietnam on June 25, 2015. (Aoshi VN / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM – Nov 22, 2015: Unidentified Foreign tourists visit Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Hoa Lo Prison was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners. (Alvin Terry / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – July 28, 2015 : tourists visiting the main house of Van Mieu, Temple of Literature, a famous monument in Hanoi. (nbnserge / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM-AUG 17, 2015 – The One Pillar Pagoda is a historic Buddhist was built in 1049 by King Ly Thai Tong according to his dream of Bodhisattva seating on a lotus flower led him to the pagoda (Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Aug 23, 2015: Yard panoramic view of Tran Quoc temple. Tran Quoc is the oldest temple in Hanoi. (Hanoi Photography / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM-Nov 22, 2015: St Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi, Vietnam (Leotie / Shutterstock)
HANOI, VIETNAM-Nov 22, 2015: St Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi, Vietnam (Leotie / Shutterstock)
HANOI,VIETNAM – DECEMBER 01: Huc Bridge over the Hoan Kiem Lake on December 01, 2012 in Hanoi,Vietnam.The wooden red-painted bridge connects the shore and the Jade Island on which Ngoc Son Temple (Panom / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – May 2015. Hanoi Red Bridge at night. The wooden red-painted bridge over the Hoan Kiem Lake connects the shore and the Jade Island on which Ngoc Son Temple stands. Hanoi on May 8, 2015 (Lebelmont / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – Oct 10, 2014: Buddhists hold flower garlands and colored lanterns for celebrating Buddha’s birthday organised at Tran Quoc temple (Hanoi Photography / Shutterstock)
Hanoi, Vietnam – February 7: View of Ho Chi Min mausoleum at night in Hanoi, Vietnam. (R.M. Nunes / Shutterstock)
Sightseeing in Hanoi: A Traveler’s Guide
By Coco Del Rosario
Sightseeing in Hanoi is one of the things you should include in your bucket list. A beautiful city located in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is easily one of the best cities in Asia with its rich culture, magnificent architecture, scenic landscapes, and bustling city life. There are a lot of places to visit in Hanoi, and it will take you more than just a day to see all. This is where this guide comes in handy.
Get Acquainted with the Culture.
First thing you should do once you get to Hanoi is to acquaint yourself with the city’s rich culture. As the capital city, Hanoi is also the second most populated city in Vietnam. It has a long history-the earliest inhabitants were known to have settled around 3,000 BC-serving as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. One quick way to soak in the culture is to visit any of Hanoi’s many museums, including the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Vietnam Women’s Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, and Ho Chi Minh Museum to name a few. If museums are not your thing, you can also visit the Hanoi Opera House, if not to watch an opera, but to admire the structure’s architectural beauty.
Visit Parks and Gardens.
Aside from the many museums, Hanoi also has a number of nature parks and gardens that the whole family can enjoy. Cuc Phuong National Park, about 100 km south of the city, is the foremost national park in the country. Endangered species, millennium-old trees, and various flora and fauna are within the park, along with caves and hot springs. There are also bike and walk trails for the adventurous. Another park, but with a different theme, is the Thanh Cuong Viet Palace. There’s the Botanical Gardens located in the city. Offering a welcome escape from the city noise, the Botanical Gardens boasts of old trees, sculptures, and open spaces ideal for walking or having a picnic.
Take a Walk Near the Lakes.
Hanoi is a city built between two rivers, so it is no surprise that the city also boasts of a number of picturesque lakes. One of its famous lakes is Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Lake of the Returned Sword. It has a Turtle Tower in the center due to its association with the legend of a turtle that grabbed the emperor’s sword and then disappeared. Another famous lake is the West Lake, which is also the largest lake in Hanoi. A number of gardens, restaurants and hotels, and other entertainment places can be found surrounding the West Lake.
Eat, Eat, Shop, Shop!
Vietnamese cuisine has seen a rise in popularity as the years pass by, and there’s no better place to sample delicious local and fusion fare than in Hanoi. From the smallest eateries to the grandest restaurants, you are sure to find meals that will tickle your palate. One famous restaurant in Old Quarter Hanoi that you shouldn’t miss is the Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant, which has been operating for over a century. Of course, after you eat, shopping is a given. You can buy just about anything from small trinkets to expensive, exotic d�cor in one of Hanoi’s many markets. The Dong Xuan Market in the Old Quarter is a popular tourist shopping stop. You can visit the Van Phuc Silk Village, where the centuries-old art of weaving silk from silk worms is practiced.
Take a Walk, then Rest and Relax.
If you are looking for a more laid-back activity, all you need to do is walk around Hanoi’s less busy streets, visit a temple, or observe the bustling city from the confines of a quiet restaurant. After a long day of enjoying these Hanoi activities, you can simply relax in your cozy hotel in Hanoi, like Serenade Hotel, and maybe try that spa and get a well-deserved massage.
Try any, if not all, of the Hanoi sightseeing activities listed above, and you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time.
About the Author
Coco D is a freelance writer interested in just about anything under the sun: from fashion to food, travel to technology. With a background in Political Science, and more than six years of work experience, she is currently focused on returning to the academe.