The 10 must-visit places for tourists
Being overwhelmed and don’t know what to do in Hanoi after your arrival? It is understandable, when there are countless tourist attractions and famous landscapes of the 1,000-years-old capital, of which some have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritages. Don’t regret missing the best places to go and the best things to do while you are here, by reading our free guide of the 10 must-visit places of Hanoi for tourists.
The wealth of Hanoi history is rich, epic and full of legends. This French-colonial used-to-be city is a cultural mix of Eastern and Western influences which are mirrored in the style of many architectural gems in Hanoi, from remarkably preserved colonial buildings, unique museums to the world’s heritage mosaic and ancient pagodas. Let’s list them out.
What to do in hanoi when you don’t have a clue? Read on the following 10 must-visit places while you still have time.
1. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 08:00 – 17:00
Address: 9 Hoang Dieu Street
Thang Long Citadel is an attractive monument of Vietnamese history and, has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as Hanoi Old Citadel, many antiques and items are from the middle. The 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including the foundations of old castles, ancient roads, ponds, and wells.
The relic has a total area of 18,395ha, including archaeological sites of 18 Hoang Dieu and other relics such as Doan Mon, Hanoi flagpole, Kinh Thien electricity, D67 house, Bac Mon,…If you visit on holidays, you can also enjoy special art programs such as water puppet theater, exhibitions, folk games.
2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 07:30 – 10:30, Saturday – Sunday 07:30 – 11:00
Address: 8 Hung Vuong Street
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at Ba Dinh Square is one of the most attractive attractions in Hanoi. It was Ho Chi Minh’s last resting place, Vietnam’s most famous leader, called “Uncle Ho” by his people. His body was preserved in a glass case at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (though contrary to his wishes). For travelers, a trip to Uncle Ho’s final resting place can be an extraordinary experience because it is not just an average attraction; It is part of a unique history.
The mausoleum was built to simulate Lenin’s tomb in Russia and was first opened to the public to visit in 1975. The granite building is of great significance to many locals because it ensures that Their beloved leader lives forever. Security is tight and visitors should dress respectfully (not wearing shorts, sleeveless tops, and short skirts) and everyone must deposit bags and cameras before entering. Visitors are not allowed to stop and have to move constantly because this place is quite crowded. Uncle Ho’s remains, sent to Russia every year for maintenance, are therefore closed from October onwards. You can get in for free.
3. Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple
Opening Hours: Daily, 08:00 – 17:00
As one of the landmarks of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake impresses tourists by tranquility and tranquility, away from the bustling urban life. The lake surrounds Ngoc Son Pagoda – the temple sits in the center on a small island. The temple was built to commemorate the of the 13th-century military leader Tran Hung Dao, famous for his bravery in the battle against the Nguyen.
The island where the temple located is called Ngoc Island. You can come here with The Huc Bridge or the Sun bridge with wood painted in charming red in the classic design of Vietnam. The lake and the temple are probably the most famous places in Hanoi to rest and admire great views.
4. Water Puppet Theatre
Opening Hours: Daily, 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00
Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street
The world-famous Thang Long water puppet theater in Hanoi originates from an art form dating back to the 11th century. Water puppet dancing has become a traditional art, a special creation of Vietnamese people. The tradition of the water puppet theater originates from the time when the rice fields are flooded and the villagers will entertain by standing underwater to the waist with puppets performing on the water. Using large sticks to support puppets, it appears as if they are moving on the water with puppets hidden behind the screen.
Currently, this type has been famous on stages around the world. The performance accompanied by a Vietnamese orchestra playing traditional music using drums, wooden bells, horns, bamboo flutes, and cymbals. There are also authentic Vietnamese songs that tell the story of the puppets taking place. Most programs recount Vietnamese folklore stories and legends with topics including a humorous rice harvest celebration described in a humorous way.
Most programs have the Legend of the famous King Le’s restored sword telling the story of Hoan Kiem Lake and the giant turtle. Live music is indispensable in the show and singers often shout encouraging words to puppets.
5. Hoa Lo Prison
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 7:30am-11:30am & 1:30pm-4:30pm
Address: #1, Hoa Lo Street
The prison was built by the French in 1896, on the site of what is now Hanoi’s downtown section. Originally named Maison Central, the prison was intended to contain only 450 people. The number of detainees grew to as much as 2,000 by the 1930s, most of who were Vietnamese political prisoners. It was during the Vietnam War when the prison was named the “Hanoi Hilton” by American servicemen–many of them downed fighter pilots–who were imprisoned there by the North Vietnamese.
Among the items on display are various instruments of torture, including whips, shackles, and a guillotine. Also still preserved in their original condition are the French-period solitary confinement cells and the narrow tunnel through which more than a hundred Vietnamese prisoners escaped to freedom in August 1945.
6. Dong Xuan Market
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 19:00
Address: Dong Xuan Street
Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. It’s also known as Hanoi’s largest indoor market, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories and clothing, as well as electronic and household appliances.
Surrounding Dong Xuan Market are many more shops where you can purchase traditional Dong Ho drawings, Bat Trang ceramics, Binh Da embroideries and laces, and sand paintings. Within walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake, Dong Xuan Market is a must-visit if you’re looking to experience the local lifestyle (you might even end up leaving with a pair of cheap sunglasses and a Vietnamese conical hat).
7. Hanoi Old Quarter
As being considered the city’s business hub and main tourist destination, Hanoi Old Quarter offers the French-colonial architecture, a rich food culture and a long history. One of most common sights is that of streets packed with scooters, bicycles and cars swarming around pedestrians like a school of fish. Then there are the many sidewalk vendors and people simply out for a stroll and the popular Old Quarter is no exception, so walking around this district is distinct from a leisurely stroll in the park. Visitors have no choice but to face the traffic in the local style but the experience of exploring the historical area is a must-do and truly well worth it.
8. Hanoi Opera House
Address: #1 Trang Tien
The beautiful Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 by the then ruling French. It’s a phenomenal piece of neo-classical French architecture featuring Gothic themes on the doors and domes with pillars, shuttered windows, balconies and a glass room. Musicians, actors and dancers play to a 600-strong audience delivering powerful operatic and classical performances, making it a very popular theatrical attraction. The Hanoi Opera House is the biggest theatre in Vietnam and speaks volumes as historical and cultural evidence of Vietnam under French rule. The interior is even more magnificent than the exterior with many arguing it is aesthetically even more appealing than the Paris Opera House. Visitors today will be entertained at this architectural landmark which features a range of events including local Vietnamese opera, traditional folk music, ballets and many international concerts.
You will need to purchase tickets to see the inside of the opera house although there are usually a host of concerts to choose from including drama, ballet and symphonies in addition to opera. The Hanoi Opera House is also the first choice for international meetings and conferences so check online when you are visiting to ensure a performance is scheduled.
9. Temple of Literature
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 8:30 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 16:30
Address: #58 Quoc Tu Giam
The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture. This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. Visiting the Temple of Literature, you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctors’ graduate in what has now become a memorial to education and literature. Originally the university only accepted aristocrats, the elite and royal family members as students before eventually opening its doors to brighter ‘commoners’. Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.
10. Ba Vi National Park
Location: 48 km to West from Hanoi central
Ba Vi National Park is one of Vietnam’s most famous areas with outstanding natural beauty and focuses around a three-peaked mountain. The national park is an ideal destination, away from the noisy city. With cool air in the mystical scenery of mountains, clouds, and tropical rain. There is also a resort nestled at the foot of the mountain. The three peaks of Dinh Vua are 1,296m, Tan Vien is 1,226m and Ngoc Hoa is the smallest of 1,131m. Together they form a three-point peak and are often obscured by clouds. Tourists also often walk to the top of Tan Vien mountain – where there is a sacred 11th-century temple dedicated to the God of Mount.
There are also superb tropical forest views and vistas all the way to Hanoi to be enjoyed from this peak. The fast-flowing Da River is located on one side of the national park; there are also several streams running through the park. Interestingly, Ba Vi National Park has always been an excellent source of medicinal plants for the Dao ethnic group. Walking and hiking opportunities are popular in this area of lush tropical foliage with plenty of forest trails and mountain slopes. In addition, there is also a bird garden and an orchid garden, although the main attraction is the temple.
You see, Hanoi is an interesting city that has many diverse sites to visit, many mystery cultures to learn, and many traditional performances to witness. As long as your time permits, we suggest you to experience most of them. Hope you enjoy our guide of the best things to do, aka the best places to go in Hanoi. Don’t forget to share with us your thought and supplement, if you find one.