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Hanoi Attractions: Top 10 Places!

What sights of Hanoi are worth visiting if you are in the Vietnamese capital? In this post I collected the top 10 places in our opinion!

The city is very vibrant, pulsating, with a population of more than 7.5 million people - in this Hanoi is second only to Ho Chi Minh City. Thousands of thousands of bikes move through the streets, honking loudly, street cafes beckon with the smell of soup fo and the aromas of freshly brewed coffee ...

Hanoi traffic

Modern hanoi

Personally, Hanoi hasn’t really sunk into our souls, unlike Istanbul or Bangkok, for example. There are more interesting locations in Vietnam. Nevertheless, many people fly to the country precisely in the capital (or fly away), and since you are here, it’s worthwhile to allocate at least a day to get to know the city.

Read also:

Vacation in Vietnam : all useful information in one post

Sights of Vietnam : the best places throughout the country

Hanoi Attractions

For starters, useful information about when to go to Hanoi .

The best time to visit is from October to December. It will be quite warm and dry at this time. From January to April in Hanoi it is cool, and from May to September - the rainy season and very hot.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Hanoi was the capital of French Indochina, but in 1945, Ho Chi Minh made it the capital of the newly formed Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Then the city changed hands several times, was bombed by the US Army during the Vietnam War ...

Panorama of the old part of the city

Now in Hanoi, one can clearly see how French influence (in architecture and food), Soviet (mausoleum, giant buildings and wide avenues, monuments) and Asian, of course, were postponed. French-style buildings, a monument to Lenin and street vendors of juices and sausages are located almost in the neighborhood. Such a mix!

So what to see in Hanoi in 1 day?

Old Quarter

This web of narrow streets is the heart of the city. And although everything does not look very ancient, it’s still quite interesting to wander around and watch the local life in limited spaces. The names of some streets reflect the type of goods they sell there, although a lot has already been mixed up. For example, on the street with the temple, where mourning ceremonies are held, almost only related products are sold: coffins, candles and candlesticks, flags and more. There is a street with silk, with silver and gold, with beer and so on. In the evening, the quarter is very active, people gather in restaurants, immediately massage parlors, many hotels and travel agencies - I recommend staying overnight in the Old Quarter.

Cafes on the street in the old quarter

The best thing to do when you get tired of the endless bikes and the constant flow of people is to get yourself in a cozy street cafe, take Vietnamese coffee with a baguette and watch everything from the outside.

Here you can also see the oldest temple in the city of Bach Ma Temple, although now it is closed for reconstruction.

Street with train

A great location for pictures on your instagram, which has recently become very popular. The most picturesque place, I marked it below on the map, is a street just south of the main station of the city. Bangkok also has something similar, but there the train passes through the market, and here it is just a narrow street with cafes, which are becoming more and more. Most likely, getting to the streets and looking at the train will turn out only through one of the cafes, the owners will ask you to take something. But their prices are low, come a little in advance, wait for the train for a cup of coffee, sitting almost along the tracks.

Departure of trains from the main station at 06:00, 08:00, 08:50, 14:25, 19:25, 22:20. It’s best to come in the morning.

In fact, there are several such narrow streets in Hanoi. There are, for example, a little to the west of the old quarter. Look for train tracks on the map, I noted several locations at the bottom of the post.

Complex Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

A monumental complex in the best Soviet traditions with a huge desert area around. The complex includes the mausoleum itself, the museum, the house where Ho Chi Minh lived, the presidential palace and the pagoda on one pillar.

The place in all senses is symbolic and very important for the Vietnamese people, although certainly the attitude of the Vietnamese towards it is twofold, as we have with the Lenin Mausoleum. But for a tourist, this is definitely one of the main attractions of Hanoi. Interestingly, despite the presence of the presidential palace, built by the French during the time of colonization, Ho Chi Minh lived in a simple wooden house, and only received guests in the palace.

Opening hours: Mausoleum - 08: 00-11: 00 on Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun from December to August, the house of Ho Chi Minh - 08: 00-11: 30 daily and 14: 00-16: 00 Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun, museum - 08: 00-12: 00 daily and 14: 00-16: 30 Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun, pagoda - the house of Ho Chi Minh - 08: 00-11: 30 daily and 14: 00-16: 00 Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun

Entrance fee: the mausoleum is free, the house of Ho Chi Minh is 25 thousand dongs, the museum is 40 thousand dongs, the pagoda is 25 thousand dongs.

Lake of the Returned Sword (Hoan Kiem)

What to see in Hanoi? Hoan Kiem Lake

To the south of the Old Quarter is a picturesque lake - a favorite vacation spot of local residents. In the mornings, they practice tai chi here, and in the evening they walk along the lake and communicate, sitting on benches. Be sure to check out the Jade Mountain Temple on the island, which can be reached by the bridge. Entrance 30 thousand dongs, and working hours from 08:00 to 18:00. In the evening it is especially beautiful when the temple and the bridge are highlighted.

Temple of Literature

It would be more correct to call it a complex with a park, ponds and pagodas. The Temple of Literature was founded in the 11th century and became the first university in Vietnam. In the 15th century, students began to take exams, and the names of the most successful were carved on stone slabs, 82 such slabs have reached our time and almost all Vietnamese names are represented there.

The place is very revered by the Vietnamese as a symbol of education, and modern students from all over Vietnam come to pray for good grades on exams. And tourists are just curious to see the pagodas, sculptures, winding trees and statues of turtles - symbols of wisdom.

Opening hours: 08: 00-18: 00

Entrance fee: 30 thousand dongs (audio guide, including 50 thousand in Russian).

Citadel

Unfortunately, little remains of the Hanoi Citadel, except perhaps the Banner Tower and a few gates. The constant wars of the 19-20 centuries destroyed almost everything, and only recently have systematic excavations begun, and the object was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nevertheless, the flag tower is one of the main symbols of Hanoi.

Opening hours - 08: 00-11: 30 daily and 14: 00-16: 00 Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun

Entrance fee: 30 thousand dong

You can see how the royal palaces looked in the city of Hue .

Bridge Long Bien

Hanoi Attractions - Long Bien Bridge

A very old bridge, originally built between 1899 and 1902. During the Vietnam War, he was bombed several times by the Americans to interrupt the railway connection with the northern part of the country. But the industrious Vietnamese every time quickly restored it, and, as they say, when forced to do this by American prisoners of war, the bombing stopped. The bridge is considered a symbol of courage and perseverance of the people of Hanoi.

Hoalo Prison Museum (Hanoi Hilton)

The prison was built by the French colonialists at the end of the 19th century, and initially it contained Vietnamese opponents of French colonial policy. After France left, it came under control already to the North Vietnamese authorities, and was used during the Vietnam War to contain captured American pilots. They called the prison Hanoi Hilton. Interestingly, the future presidential candidate John McCain and Douglas Peterson, who will later become the US ambassador to Vietnam, were sitting here.

Now most of the prison’s buildings have been demolished, only a small part remains where the museum is located.

Opening hours: 08: 00-17: 00

Entrance fee: 30 thousand dong

Lookout at Lotte Center

Perhaps the best view of Hanoi from a height. On the lower floors of the complex there is a shopping center, then offices and a hotel, at the very top there is a bar where you can order something to drink and enjoy the view from the observation deck with transparent floor. You can come both during the day to better consider all the details, and in the evening after dark (at this time it’s just beautiful).

Opening hours: 09:00 - 22:00

Entrance fee: 130 thousand dong

Night market

A little north of Hoan Kiem Lake is the night market, which runs from Friday to Sunday after dark from approximately 6 p.m. until midnight. This is one street where you will find absolutely everything - from souvenirs and clothes to household appliances and antiques. At the same time, the prices are quite adequate, but do not forget to bargain well before you buy. We were here on our first visit a few years ago, bought Anya classic Asian pants with elephants, still wears. They took it in both Thailand and Indonesia ... they all broke, but these rush!

There are a lot of people on the market, but it’s worth to step aside a little, and is already much more spacious.

Here they are, the main attractions of Hanoi in our opinion, and you can well fit them all in one day. But in this case, it will turn out to be very saturated.

Here is an example plan for 1 day:

If you get up very early, you can join the townspeople and do tai chi on the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. Start your day with a cup of invigorating Vietnamese coffee on the train street and set off to explore the narrow streets of the old quarter. After a busy walk, it is quite possible to walk or take a taxi to the Long Bien Bridge. Time will come already in time for dinner, and it will be cool to eat soup with fo and spring rolls, for example, like many Vietnamese.

After lunch, follow to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, to the Temple of Literature and the Hoalo Museum and Prison (they are relatively close to each other). After such a cultural program, you can go to the bar in Lotte Center to look at the city from a height in the light of the setting sun, and then return to the old quarter to the night market for shopping if you are in Hanoi from Friday to Sunday.

Naturally, something can be crossed out so that it is not so intense, then there is someone who loves it.

Read also:

Halong Bay Cruise is a great idea for a 1-2 day trip from Hanoi

There Kok - a national park with stunning landscapes near Hanoi

Hanoi sights on the map

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