Hanoi could be the vibrant capital of Vietnam which is also among the bright lights of cities in Asia. Vietnam, like many Asian cities, is transforming rapidly, but if you are looking for its historic heart then you’ll definitely certainly find it in Hanoi.
Besides the gorgeous architecture, a lot of which dates through the colonial period, you will also find an engaging clutch of museums that may fill you in on all of the history of this part of the country. It is possible to visit traditional Vietnamese monuments such as for example temples and pagodas, if you prefer photography then you will be spoiled for choice here.
Visit Hoa Lo Prison
A visit to Hoa Lo Prison is a moving experience and this old internment facility was once dubbed the Hanoi Hilton.
The prison was used to house prisoners of war from the United States through the Vietnam War.
With this in mind, there are galleries that tell a brief history through to the 1950s with regards to was used included in the Vietnamese struggle for independence.
Some of the grisly pieces on show here include a French guillotine that the colonialists used to execute Vietnamese activists and you may also find memorabilia related to American pilots have been incarcerated through the Vietnam War.
Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake could very well be the most famous spot in Hanoi and is particularly believed to be a mystical body of water.
The reason for this can be that the lake is believed to have a mythical resident turtle who is the hero of a Vietnamese legend.
Locals will say to you that the turtle still swims within the lake, although you will even spot a great many other real-life turtles here whenever you go to visit.
The main draw now is to take the pretty vistas across the water and this may be the perfect destination to decide on a day stroll in Hanoi.
Visit the Museum of Ethnology
One of the better museums in Vietnam could be the Museum of Ethnology that has a huge collection of items that are pertaining to the ethnic minorities in the united states.
Which means you are able to enjoy galleries of tribal art in addition to artifacts and handicrafts.
Other items when you look at the museum include amazing types of traditional village houses plus the museum even offers some excellent signage in a range of languages to fill you in on most of the cultural and historical significance.
Admire Bach Ma Temple
Nestled in the Old Quarter of Hanoi may be the pretty Bach Ma Temple which includes the claim to fame to be the temple that is oldest into the city.
It has been rebuilt over the years however and most of the renovation work now dates through the 18th century.
It might have already been originally built into the century that is 11th enough time of Emperor Ly Thai To in honor of a white horse this is certainly believed to have led him into the site of the building.
It is also the place where in fact the emperor decided to construct the walls associated with the city and there is also a statue of Confucius here that was built in 1839.
Visit Lotte Tower Observation Deck
If you would like take within the best views over Hanoi you will need to see the Lotte Tower Observation Deck.
Here it is possible to go to the 65th floor associated with the building where you can take in panoramic vistas over the city.
These include the Old Quarter which sprawls in every direction in the front of the eyes, and when you have drawn in the city from a height, you can also go to the rest of the tower.
Inside you will discover a hotel and well as restaurants and a scenic rooftop bar.
Tour the National Museum of Vietnamese History
The Museum of Vietnamese History dates from 1925 when it was built and used to be a school during the french period that is colonial Vietnam.
The building is an elegant mix of Chinese and French designs and some what to be aware of include bronze pieces that date through the 3rd century BC as they are the main Dong Son culture.
You will also find a quantity of Hindu statues through the Champa and Khmer kingdoms of old as well as galleries of ornate Vietnamese jewelry.
It is possible to tour galleries focused on the French colonial period and the Vietnam War.
Watch a performance at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
You absolutely mustn’t miss is a trip to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre when you are in Hanoi, one of the sights that.
Here you’ll find a theatre which includes a waist high pool of water that the puppeteers stand in.
Then they operate puppets that are fixed to long bamboo canes and it looks as if they are dancing at first glance of the water.
The shows here usually let you know the story of local legends and farming stories or myths that are vietnamese also common.
This sort of performance is thought to have begun in rural Vietnam if the rice fields flooded within the rainy season and locals would dance with the puppets from the water to entertain themselves.
Tour the Vietnamese Women’s Museum
Visitors often say that one of the greatest museums in Hanoi is the Vietnamese Women’s Museum which is focused on telling the story associated with role of women in local society.
The museum walks you through the real history and culture of women in Vietnamese society and you may find galleries linked to the role of women in wartime Vietnam.
You will also find gems such as colorful local costumes, tribal handicrafts and woven fabrics created by the different minority groups around Vietnam.
Stroll around the Imperial Citadel
The Imperial Citadel in Hanoi had previously been the seat of military power in Vietnam and might have been an important spot during the Vietnam War.
It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can enjoy some 1,000 years of history here.
One of several signature elements of the citadel may be the archaeological treasures which were uncovered including the foundations of ancient palaces.
You’ll also find bunkers here which date through the period of the Vietnam War and you will browse collections of weaponry and even see military maps.
Visit Memorial House
Memorial House is found in the Old Quarter in Hanoi and it is one of the best restored buildings in town.
The home would have been the previous home of a merchant and it has been beautifully preserved and is set around two scenic courtyards.
Here there are some gorgeous antique furniture and there are signature ‘high steps’ amongst the different rooms that are thought to stop the flow of negative energy from room to room.
Tour the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam
One of the more modern museums in Hanoi may be the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam.
This museum has signage in both English and French and is aimed at showing you the art work that is prettiest in the country.
A few of the items on show include paintings, sculpture and a good amount of ceramics, so if you like crafts and arts then this is certainly one spot not to ever leave the itinerary off.
Go shopping in the Old Quarter
Many visitors say that Hanoi may be the prettiest and most traditional city in Vietnam and much of this is right down to the clear presence of the Old Quarter.
Here you will find densely packed streets which still retain all of the charm of a tiny local neighborhood.
The names regarding the streets will tell you which shops there are there, so if you see one called Hang Gai then this means you will find Silk Shops all along that road.
Then this is the best place to do it and you will also find a wealth of delicious local eateries here if you are looking to pick up some local souvenirs or gifts.
There is a night that is local held in the Old Quarter each night from Friday to Sunday.
Take a trip to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a pilgrimage spot for many Vietnamese and you’ll find a complex that is huge which will be enclosed by pretty gardens.
The complex is the home for the tomb for the founder of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh.
During the mausoleum that is actual will discover a marble building which offers the embalmed remains of Ho Chi Minh which lie in a glass case.
On the same grounds, you will also find the Ho Chi Minh Museum which tells you all about the life span of the figure that is key Vietnamese history and you can find galleries filled up with his personal memorabilia.
Take in the views from Long Bien Bridge
Built from 1899 to 1902, the Long Bien Bridge was created by architects who came over from Paris.
It was the first steel bridge to span the iconic Red Bridge and it is one of several focal points of Hanoi.
It would have played an important role that is strategic the Vietnam War and is a spot of historical importance within the city.
If at all possible try to visit the bridge later in the day if it is illuminated from the inky sky that is vietnamese.
There is a pedestrian path that lets you walk on the bridge and street food carts selling tasty snacks abound.
Walk around the Military History Museum
Then make sure not to miss out on a trip to this famous museum if you are interested in Military History.
Here you will discover a wide range of iconic weaponry that includes planes which were down through the Vietnam War.
You will manage to find other planes, tanks and even a Soviet MiG fighter plane on show.
There are more galleries that take you through the history that is military information panels and smaller displays and you will also find a flag tower located outside.
Go boating at West Lake
West Lake gets the claim to fame of being the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi and contains 17 kilometers of pretty shore line.
This is one of the more popular recreation spots in Hanoi and you will take in idyllic historic spots here such as Tran Quoc pagoda that is situated on a tiny island in the center of the lake.
Other spots of interest nearby are the Quan Thanh Temple which dates through the 11th century and another of the finest activities to do listed here is hire a boat and go boating on the glassy lake.
Admire Tran Quoc Pagoda
The Tran Quoc Temple has got the claim to fame of being the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi and was built within the 6th century.
There is a historic stele here which tells how the pagoda came to exist and dates from 1639 when the building was erected into the period of Emperor Ly Nam De.
The pagoda is situated on an island in the exact middle of West Lake but you can get access to it via a causeway that is small.
One of many signature spots in the pagoda is a stupa which includes 11 floors and is full of statues covered in sparkling gemstones.
Visit the Temple of Literature
The most famous places in Hanoi is the Temple of Literature.
The temple dates from 1070 and it is section of a wider complex that includes the charmingly named Lake of Literature.
One of many highlights listed here is referred to as Stele of Doctors and you’ll find some 82 carved stone that is blue here which are considered to be holy creatures in Vietnam.
If you are a budding writer or publisher, then it’s customary to pray in the temple into the hope you will 1 day publish a masterpiece.
Visit the Perfume Pagoda
Then consider visiting the Perfume Pagoda if you fancy a day trip out of Hanoi.
The temple complex dates from the 15th century and is composed of an amount of Buddhist temples which were constructed on the medial side of a mountain.
It takes around 2 hours to arrive at the pagoda from Hanoi by road, and then you will have to take a quick boat that is scenic to your complex itself.
As you explore, you are going to climb over rocks and past idyllic mountain streams and this is just one of the best trips to take outside of Hanoi when you have time.