Because it serves as Vietnam’s capital, it should come as no surprise that there is a great deal to see in Hanoi. You will find pagodas and museums spread across the city, and the Old Quarter in Hanoi serves as the shopping, entertainment, dining, and cultural heart of the city. If you are going to explore the city, there are a number of different places that you are going to have to visit. If you are going to explore Hanoi, what are some of your must-sees if you only have a few days to explore the city? You do not want to miss out on anything spectacular. We are going to give you a summary of the eleven best options that you do not want to miss out.
Hoan Kiem Lake
If you try to define Hanoi with just one singular landmark, it would probably be Hoan Kiem Lake. You can find it in the Old Town Quarter, on the southern edge. The small island that holds Ngoc Son Temple serves as the major tourist attraction here.
Hanoi Old Town Quarter
The primary attraction for many people who visit Hanoi is the Old Town of Hanoi. It serves as the commercial heart of the city and is a true puzzle of narrow alleys that are all intertwined together. There is a history in this Old Down, a history that goes back more than 1,000 years. The combination of modern amenities combined with the sometimes dilapidated architecture makes this a true spectacle.
You should spend at least a few hours just soaking in the Hanoi street life here, and there is no better place to do it in an authentic manner.There is plenty of street food available here as well, making for a nutritious, delicious, and affordable option to try.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Whether you are a history lover or a fan of the museum, Hanoi’s Vietnam Museum of Ethnology has a great deal to offer when it comes to the diverse cultures found throughout Vietnam. All of these are hosted in impressive, well-curated exhibits. There is art and artifacts that highlight traditional costumes, metalwork, wooden carvings, and more. For some of the most interesting exhibits, make sure that you leave the main building and explore the garden area.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
This is a place that many Vietnamese consider a place of pilgrimage. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is found within the Hanoi gardens and is a sprawling complex set. Aside from the tomb of Ho Chi Minh, you will also find monuments and museums here. You can find the Ho Chi Minh Museum within the complex as well.
One Pillar Pagoda
Built by an emperor who was delighted because of being blessed with the birth of a son, this eleventh-century temple certainly has a great deal of interesting inspiration. If the temple represents a lotus flower blossoming, it is primarily because it was built to do exactly that. You can find the shrine dedicated to the Bodhisattva of Mercy. Given that the French destroyed the small shrine when they left Vietnam, what you see here is a rebuild.
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
The ancient art of puppetry started over a thousand years ago, and it was primarily considered to be a peasant art form. The puppeteers used the water of the paddies as a prop and would display legends like the golden turtle and the emperor or traditional activities like farming through the art of puppetry. The modern version still uses audience participation and water.
Hanoi’s West Lake
Both Hanoi residents and tourists alike consider this largest urban lake is a favorite location. It has a number of luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels, and is considered home to many of Hanoi’s wealthy elite. For more than thousands of years, this has been a popular location. It is home to the oldest pagoda in the city and one of Hanoi’s four sacred temples. It is certainly worth the trip, and some of the common activities here include shopping, sightseeing, and boating.
Temple of Literature
This incredibly peaceful and beautifulConfucian temple is one of the most interesting religious buildings in all of Hanoi. Originally built in the 11th century to serve as a university, it is now a tribute to the nation’s scholars. Both literature and Confucianism were taught here during the medieval era.
If you want to know what life was like for the early residents living in Hanoi, the Memorial House is one of the best places to visit in the city. Located in the Old Quarter, this is a finely-restored merchant house that looks exactly like what a merchant home at the time would look like. There are many different everyday objects and antiques to be found here.
There are many architectural features as well, all in accordance with the concept of fengshui – promoting the positive flow of energy into the home. You can find traditional craftspeople working on basketry crafts and calligraphy.
Hoa Lo Prison Museum
Originally used to house any dissidents of the French rule and Vietnamese revolutionaries, Hoa Lo Prison Museum was built in the 19th century by the French colonial government. It is better known as the place where American Prisoners of War were kept during the Vietnam War.
Alongside the prison grounds you can find the guillotine (used by the French), the courtyard, solitary confinement, and the communal jail cells. If you are interested in learning more about the extensive conflict against France’s colonial rule that Vietnam had to endure, there is plenty of information available in this museum.
Even though Hanoi’s Imperial Citadel area can be easily overlooked nowadays, it once had the vital seat of military power. Until the 1960s, it served an important strategic role. In 2010, the site was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it an important area to visit. Given that there were various palaces that were once found in this location, it should come as no surprise that researchers found a great deal of archaeological findings here.