Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam! In this beautiful city, we will show you the hidden gems and the best things to do during your visit. From Tron Qua Pagoda to the lake to Beer Street, Hanoi is full of wonders to explore. So, let’s embark on this exciting journey together.
Tron Qua Pagoda: A Historical Treasure
Our first stop takes you to the Tron Qua Pagoda, located by the lake. This pagoda has a rich history, dating back to the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Lee Nom Day. With its 1500 years of existence, it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Vietnam.
Hoochi Men Mausoleum: A Tribute to History
The mausoleum of Hoochi Men, formerly known as Uncle Ho, is a major historical site. Once the leader of the Communist Party, today it is a place honored by many Vietnamese. This is a must-visit place for those seeking historical and cultural context on Vietnam. Entrance costs only $1.
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Local Cuisine: An Explosion of Flavors
Hanoi cuisine is simply delicious. You absolutely must try “pho”, a delicious soup, as well as Vietnamese coffee, especially the famous “egg coffee”. The latter is renowned for its stimulating virtues and its health for women. It is prepared with raw cream, egg yolk, collagen and maple syrup. A real delight!
Besides coffee, you'll find plenty of street treats, like shrimp cakes and fried spring rolls. Be sure to try the “Banh Mi”, a Vietnamese sandwich topped with meat and hot sauce. Everything can be enjoyed for less than a dollar.
The Old Quarter: A Cultural Mixture
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is an area rich in history. This place, once under French colonial influence, features architecture mixing Indochinese and French styles. The area is also famous for its vibrant nightlife, especially Beer Street. You will find many good hotels here between $50 and $60 per night.
Hanoi Train Street: A Unique Spectacle
Hanoi Train Street is a fascinating attraction. From Monday to Friday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., you can watch four trains pass by. On weekends, this number increases to ten trains, running from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The originality of this place lies in the fact that trains pass through the local market, forcing sellers to close shop quickly. It has become a popular place with tourists.
Beer Street: A Lively Place
Beer Street, also known as Ta Hien Street, is one of the busiest streets in Hanoi. It is the ideal place to observe the daily life of locals, dressed in traditional outfits, and to explore the merchants' stalls. If you're looking for a nighttime activity, this is the place to be. You can enjoy cold beer from 10,000 to 15,000 Vietnamese dong, which is less than 7 to 10 dollars. As an added bonus, the food here is incredibly affordable, with dinners costing less than $3 per person.
Taxi Tips: Use Grab
When traveling in Hanoi, we recommend using the Grab app, as some taxis may have fake meters. With Grab, you benefit from a fixed fare, with no surprises at the end of the journey.
Ninh Binh: Little Halong Bay
A short distance from Hanoi, you'll find Ninh Binh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site often referred to as "the little Halong Bay of the interior". Although a day trip is possible, plan on driving around two hours round trip. Also nearby is the famous Halong Bay, about a three-hour drive from Hanoi. You could even plan a 7-day itinerary visiting Hanoi, Ninh Binh and Halong Bay.
Temple of Literature: An Architectural Jewel
The Temple of Literature is another gem of Hanoi. It pays homage to Vietnam's greatest scholars and offers a rare example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Prefer to visit this place during the dry season to avoid frequent rains.
Water Puppet Show: A Cultural Journey
Attending a water puppet show is a fun cultural activity in Hanoi. This show recreates daily life in villages in Northern Vietnam and throughout the country. Additionally, enjoy the many treatments and massages available in Hanoi, such as Japanese spas, foot massages and body massages.
Vietnamese Women's Museum: A Celebration of Women's Heritage
The Vietnamese Women's Museum is a testimony to Vietnam's matriarchal society, particularly before the arrival of the Chinese. Opened in 1995, this four-story museum highlights the role of Vietnamese women throughout the centuries. Entrance costs about 40,000 Vietnamese dong, or about $1.65.
Sword Lake: An Ancient Legend
Sword Lake, also known as Hoan Kiem Lake, is famous for its ancient legend. It is said that thousands of years ago, King Le Loi was given a sacred sword by the golden turtle genie to repel northern invaders. The name “Sword Lake” comes from the fact that the king returned this sword to the turtle genie, who took it underwater. You can also spot the Turtle Tower, where the Turtle Genie often sleeps.
Dong Xuan Market: A Shopping Paradise
Dong Xuan Market is the largest covered market in Hanoi. It is renowned for its souvenirs, accessories, clothing, shoes and even fresh produce. You will also find household appliances. The market is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but it stays open until 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You will find lower prices there than in other places in the city.
Hanoi Opera: An Affordable Show
The Hanoi Opera House is open to everyone, with an entrance fee of around 120,000 Vietnamese dong, or $3 to $4. You will be able to discover exciting shows with a maximum of 20 visitors per session, lasting 70 minutes.
Conclusion: Explore Hanoi in 3 to 4 Days
In conclusion, we recommend that you spend around 3 to 4 days in Hanoi to discover all its treasures. This is more than enough to immerse yourself in the history and culture of Vietnam. Once you have explored Hanoi, you can continue your journey to other fascinating destinations in the country.
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