16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

Written by Jess Lee Updated Dec 27, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Dive into Hanoi's pulsating city streets, and you'll capture the essence of Vietnamese life. The country's capital is a burgeoning economic center that still clings strongly to traditional culture, managing to be a showcase of both old and modern Vietnam.

The old quarter district is Hanoi's main tourist attraction. It hums with street vendor action and the cafés and restaurants are vibrant, contemporary scenes. Just trying to cross a road here can end up being an adrenaline-fueled escapade.

When the crowds begin to wear you down, Hanoi has a bundle of places to visit where you can escape for some peace.

Hoan Kiem Lake is a relaxing respite right within the city, while the Temple of Literature and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology are two of the best places to visit to reflect on Vietnam's grand history.

For more sightseeing ideas, see our list of the top attractions and things to do in Hanoi.

1. Explore Hanoi Old Town Quarter

2. stroll around hoan kiem lake, 3. admire the temple of literature, 4. visit the ho chi minh mausoleum, 5. see the exhibits inside the vietnam museum of ethnology, 6. visit hoa lo prison museum, 7. watch a show at the water puppet theatre, 8. explore the imperial citadel, 9. photograph hanoi's train street, 10. boat trip to the perfume pagoda complex, 11. view hanoi's military history museum, 12. visit hanoi's fine art museum, 13. take in the city views at west lake, 14. admire hanoi's memorial house, 15. day trip to co loa citadel, 16. shop in the artisan villages of hanoi's hinterland, where to stay in hanoi for sightseeing, map of tourist attractions in hanoi, frequently asked questions, when is the best time to visit hanoi.

Ornaments for sale in Hanoi's Old Town

For many visitors to Vietnam's capital, the major attraction is strolling the streets of the city's ancient core.

This labyrinthine quarter of narrow alleys is the commercial heartbeat of town and has a history that stretches back 1,000 years.

It's a delightfully dilapidated place, where the odd piece of medieval era architecture has managed to cling on within the modern hubbub of whizzing motorbikes, street vendors, and pulsating commerce.

If you look up while you're wandering, the area has plenty of vernacular shophouse architecture, where merchants would traditionally live above their shops in very long but narrow two-storey dwellings, squeezed together on the alleyway rows.

The backstreets here are a great opportunity to soak up the buzz of Hanoi street life.

As well as there being plenty of street food on offer and lots of pavement vendors selling fruits and vegetables, there are also stalls selling traditional medicines and Buddhist religious trappings.

A relic of French Colonial rule, right in the heart of the old town quarter, St. Joseph's Cathedral (Nha Tho Street) was built in 1886 and is a fine example of neo-Gothic architectural style.

The façade is intricately decorated, with two bell towers, while inside are some delicate stained glass window details. The main entrance is kept locked except for mass. At other times, you can access the interior of the church from the back through the offices for the Diocese of Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi's most well-known landmark is tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, nestled just on the southern edge of the old town quarter.

The major tourist attraction upon the lake is the small island (reached by a red bridge) that holds Ngoc Son Temple, dedicated to three grand figures from Vietnamese history: La To (revered as a patron saint of physicians); the renowned scholar Van Xuong; and the 13th century general Tran Hung Dao, who fought against the invading Mongol army.

Another tiny island on the southern section of the lake holds the stocky Turtle Tower - best viewed from the bridge.

Address: Dinh Tien Hoang Street

Temple of Literature

The city's most interesting religious building is this beautiful and incredibly peaceful Confucian temple, originally built as a university in the 11th century.

Today, the Temple of Literature stands as a tribute to the nation's scholars.

It was here, in the medieval era, that the philosophy of Confucianism and literature was taught, and near the entranceway, you can still see the names of students who studied here, etched into a series of pillars.

Inside, a series of manicured gardens lead to pavilions and a well-preserved pagoda where a statue of Confucius sits.

Address: Quoc Tu Giam Street

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

A place of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a sprawling complex set within the city's gardens that contains the tomb of Ho Chi Minh as well as various museums and monuments.

The actual mausoleum itself is an austere marble building where Ho Chi Minh's embalmed body sits in a glass case.

Also within the complex is the Ho Chi Minh Museum, which has an eclectic collection containing Ho Chi Minh's personal memorabilia as well as plenty of information on the history of the Vietnamese Revolution.

Also worth a visit is the stilt house, once home to Ho Chi Minh, which is excellently preserved, and the One Pillar Pagoda. This pagoda is a reconstruction of the original 11th century temple, which was destroyed by French colonial troops.

Address: Ngoc Ha Street

Official site:

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

A must for museum fans and history lovers, Hanoi's Vietnam Museum of Ethnology houses the extensive national collection and tells the story of Vietnam's diverse cultures in a series of excellently well-curated exhibits.

Here, the huge number of ethnic minorities who call Vietnam home are highlighted with beautiful displays of artifacts and art that showcase wooden carving, metalwork, and traditional costumes.

The garden area outside the main building holds some of the most interesting exhibits. Here, you can see the rural dwellings used by different ethnic minorities across Vietnam, as well as the fascinating Giarai tomb.

Address: Nguyen Van Huyen Street

Official site:

Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Built by the French colonial government in the late 19th century, Hoa Lo Prison Museum was originally used to harbor Vietnamese revolutionaries and any dissidents of the French rule.

For many foreign visitors though, it's better known as the prison where American POWs were held during the Vietnam War (known as the American War in Vietnam). The most famous foreign ex-resident of the prison is John McCain.

The prison grounds contain the communal jail cells, solitary cells, and courtyard, and the guillotine used by the French is also on display.

There is a plethora of information here on Vietnam's long battle against France's colonial rule that details the brutal regime prisoners here were kept under.

Two rooms also tell the story of the American POWs held here, with a video documenting their imprisonment and eventual release along with personal mementos of the prisoners.

Address: Hoa Lo Street

Water Puppet Theatre

Hanoi's water puppet shows are a great way to sample traditional Vietnamese artistry and entertainment and are an excellent evening activity if you have children in tow.

This ancient art form first evolved in Vietnam's rural areas during the months of the monsoon paddy field flooding, and today, it is now mostly performed in custom-made water pools rather than outside.

Performances usually center around well-known local legends and are accompanied by a live band using traditional Vietnamese instruments.

Hanoi is the heartland of contemporary water puppet theater with five shows daily at the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre.

Official site:

Imperial Citadel

Although it may not look like much at first, Hanoi's Imperial Citadel area was once the vital seat of military power here, and continued in an important strategic role right up to the 1960s and the Vietnam War.

The site achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition in 2010 for its long role in Hanoi's past, and the area's 1,000 years of history are highlighted by archaeological work that has unearthed the foundations of various palaces that once stood on this spot.

There's also a bunker here that dates from the Vietnam War where military maps and implements are displayed.

Address: Hoang Dieu Street

Official site:

Hanoi's train street

This skinny alley and its train line, about halfway between the Imperial Citadel and St. Joseph's Cathedral in central Hanoi, has become world famous in recent years due to the fact that passing trains run with only around a 20-centimeter gap between the train and the alley's houses.

Due to tourists acting dangerously and not getting out of the way of oncoming trains, the government decided to ban tourism on the street in 2019, and shut down the alley's cafés due to safety fears.

Since then there has been some relenting of attitude, and some cafés along the route have been reopened. If you're here to photograph the trains, make sure to obey the street locals and café staff just before the train passes.

The train schedule changes regularly, but there are usually more opportunities to see the trains go by on the weekends.

Address: Tran Phu Street

Boat trip to the Perfume Pagoda

Set on the slopes and clifftops of Huong Tich Mountain, this Buddhist temple complex (also known as Huong Pagoda) with several pagodas is a popular day tour from Hanoi as much for the scenic journey there as to visit the pagodas themselves.

After a 60-kilometer drive south from the city, you access the Perfume Pagoda by first taking a one-hour boat ride on a river rimmed with lush karst mountain scenery all along the way to Huong Tich Mountain, and then either taking a cable car with excellent aerial views of the mountains up to the temple complex or hiking your way up the slopes.

The pagoda complex is an important place of pilgrimage for Vietnamese visitors, who come here to leave offerings for cures for childlessness and health issues as well as other problems.

Military History Museum, Hanoi

The courtyard outside this museum displays an eclectic mix of weaponry and military machines including downed French and US planes, tanks, and a Soviet MiG fighter plane.

Inside the actual building is a huge amount of information on the wars with both France and the USA, along with exhibits of weaponry, which will be of interest to those with a penchant for Vietnam's 20th century history.

For the average visitor though, the displays and information panels are not particularly well set out, and many find the museum most worth a look for its courtyard clutter of planes around a stocky flag tower.

Address: Dien Bien Phu Street

Fine Art Museum

Art lovers and museum fans definitely need to make a pit stop at this museum that holds a collection of Vietnamese artistry from the prehistoric age right up to the country's contemporary artists.

Some of the treasures on display here include terracotta and stone sculptures dating from the Tran Dynasty and Champa Dynasty, Buddha statues from the Mac and Le Dynasties, and the intricate statues of the goddess Guan Yin.

There is also an extensive collection of 11th- and 12th-century ceramic work and a substantial gallery devoted to folk art.

Address: Nguyen Thai Hoc Street

West Lake

Tay Ho (West Lake) is Hanoi's largest lake, and its shoreline stretches for 15 kilometers.

Many locals come here to exercise by walking or cycling the pathway that rings the shore, but there's also two interesting temples in the vicinity.

Tay Ho Pagoda is exceedingly pretty and dedicated to the mother goddess and Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the oldest still-standing temples in Vietnam (although it has been rebuilt several times).

For most travelers, West Lake is a great place to get a skyline view of new Hanoi, as well as to feast on fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants that sit close to the shore. West Lake lies off Thuy Khue Street.

Memorial House

For anyone interested in what life must have been like for Hanoi's locals during an earlier age, a trip to Memorial House is a must-do while in the city.

This finely-restored merchant house sits in the old town quarter and has been furnished to look like a typical merchant's home, brimming with antiques and everyday objects from centuries prior.

The house has plenty of traditional architectural features, set between courtyards to give outdoor space and set out according to the ancient tradition of feng shui, which allows good energy flow into the house.

In some of the rooms, you can watch traditional craftspeople in residence work at calligraphy and basketry crafts.

Address: Ma May Street

Co Loa Citadel

Just 16 kilometers northeast of central Hanoi, Co Loa Citadel makes a great day trip destination out of the city. This fortified settlement is one of the most important archaeological sites in the surrounding area and has been a site of habitation since the Bronze Age.

As it was capital to the northern Vietnamese Kingdom of Au Lac in the 3rd Century BCE, it is thought to be the earliest capital in Vietnam.

The settlement includes remains of the earthen ramparts, which once stretched for five kilometers, and a group of temples from different eras, with the youngest one dating from the 16th century.

Silk products for sale in Van Phuc

Several villages on the outskirts of Hanoi are known for their traditional craftwork production, so they make for worthwhile trips out of the center if you're looking for souvenirs.

If you want to purchase some silk products, head to the village of Van Phuc, 10 kilometers southwest from central Hanoi. The silk clothing and accessories for sale in the shops here are all produced by Van Phuc's many weavers.

Bat Trang, about 16 kilometers southeast of the central city, is renowned as a center for ceramic work, and you'll find plenty of huge ceramic stores here selling the same pieces you've probably seen in all of central Hanoi's boutiques, for cheaper prices.

We recommend these high-quality hotels in Hanoi close to top attractions like the Old Town Quarter:

  • Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi : Located near the opera house, this hotel offers colonial-style luxury, multiple restaurants, sumptuous linens, a beautiful garden, and an outdoor heated pool.
  • Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel Trendy : This mid-range hotel is in a fantastic location, has amazing staff, along with stylish rooms. Breakfast is included.
  • Little Hanoi DX Hotel : For affordable rates, check out this elegant boutique hotel. Expect to find friendly staff and fresh roses in rooms.
  • Hanoi Holiday Center Hotel : Located in the city center, this budget hotel features modern rooms, and exceptional staff.

Located in the north of the country, Hanoi actually enjoys a "cold" season, when temperatures drop into the teens.

With changes in humidity and sometimes strong winds coming from the river, nights can feel chilly in Hanoi in the months between November to February. This is usually the best time to visit Vietnam in general, as the weather is dry and pleasant, ideal for long walks around Hoan Kiem Lake and the narrow alleyways of Old Town Quarter.

If you'd rather experience warmer days, March, April, and October are good options as well. You'll get plenty of sunshine, temperatures in the high 20s, and a more bearable level of humidity - you'll also see higher prices, as these are popular months to visit Hanoi.

Strong rainstorms and sometimes flooding hit Hanoi in August and September - but rains start as early as May and sometimes run into early October. These are the months to avoid, as heavy downpours make it difficult to spend lots of time outside.

In addition, June, July, and August are considered Hanoi's summer months. This means temperatures that often climb into the 40s and lots of mosquitoes. The rains only make it worse, as they raise the humidity level and make the air heavy and outdoor activities difficult. As a general rule, if you're going to visit Hanoi, visit at any time except these three months.

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16 unique things to do in Hanoi

Marco Ferrarese

Sep 26, 2021 • 9 min read

JANUARY 21, 2018: People eating at a street café in the old quarter of Hanoi.

From street food to the respite of Hoan Kiem Lake, here are the best things to do in Hanoi © Daniel William / Shutterstock

Visiting Hanoi is like hopping through a time tunnel: beyond congested roads flanked by modern skyscrapers, ancient temples and multi-storey pagodas rub elbows with French colonial mansions in the labyrinthine Old Quarter.

Both stubbornly traditional and forward-looking, bustling Hanoi largely resisted the light-speed advancements that are sweeping across the rest of the nation, and the city often confounds first-time visitors. This list of the top things to do in Hanoi can help you hit the ground running and make perfect sense of the best that Vietnam 's most historical city has to offer.

Explore Hoan Kiem Lake

uc Bridge over the Hoan Kiem Lake .The wooden red-painted bridge connects the shore and the Jade Island on which Ngoc Son Temple

Opening like a tear to the east of the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake offers some freshwater and green respite to Hanoi's hustle. On its northern edge, the Ngoc Son Temple sits on a small island connected to the shore via the scarlet Cau The Huc bridge. Early in the morning, the lakeside fills with residents practicing tai chi, and on weekends, the 7pm to midnight traffic ban gives the area a funfair vibe.

Dive into the Old Quarter

A street scene with many customers sat at stools outside a restaurant on the edge of the road. Vietnamese flags (red with a yellow star) hang along the street.

Explore Old Quarter effortlessly with GetYourGuide.  Book your tour today .

Located in Ba Dinh district near the business area, Hanoi's Old Quarter is the city's busiest attraction, and it’s an unmissable attack to the senses. Buzzing motorbikes maneuver around people in large conical straw hats pushing carts laden with goods along streets lined with French colonial buildings. Come right after sunrise when the light casts ethereal hues over the century-old facades, and find only the most industrious locals busy setting up shop for the day. Signing up for a walking food tour with a local is another good way to explore the quarter’s 36 streets and the best dishes that represent them.

Hunt for the best bun cha

If the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain chose to treat Barack Obama to a taste of this quintessential bowl of grilled pork, herbs and noodles, Hanoi’s bun cha must really be quite special. Bún Chả Hương Liên , the hole-in-the-wall restaurant where the duo dined in 2016, has become legendary, but the fun is going around town scouring for worthy competitors. Two good places to start are Lotte Center Hanoi in Ba Dinh and Bún Chả Ba Duc in Quan Ba Dinh.

Watch a water puppet show

Musician playing traditional instrument at a water puppet theatre

Vietnamese water puppetry originated in the 11th century from the flooded paddy fields of the Red River Delta, and visitors shouldn't miss this unique local form of art when in Hanoi. Expert puppeteers maneuver wooden figurines tied to long poles over pools that serve as liquid stages, using water splashes to choreographic three-dimensional effect. Hanoi’s most famous Water Puppet theater is Thang Long in the city center, hosting up to five multi-lingual shows per day.

Marvel at St. Joseph Cathedral

Standing guard between the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake, St. Joseph Cathedral is one of Hanoi's most iconic architectural landmarks. Built in 1886, its neo-Gothic style is modeled after Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral. It's the oldest church in Vietnam's capital and serves the city’s small catholic population. Visitors can enter the church’s hall only during mass, which takes place at 6:15pm daily on weekdays and seven times per day on Sundays.

Learn to cross the road

A red flag with a yellow star in the center hangs low over a street packed with motorcyclists

Crossing through street traffic in Hanoi is a real cultural adventure and a way to get in tune with the city’s rhythms. To the untrained eye, Hanoi’s constant flow of cars and endless lines of motorbikes may look like an impenetrable wall of deadly chaos, but the trick is to be slow, steady, and predictable. Drivers are very much used to dodging pedestrians as they approach, and honking is just a polite way to signal when someone is near. The hardest part is grasping the courage to step off the sidewalk and start walking... especially for the first time.

Drink the world’s cheapest beer

Hanoi is home to bia hoi , touted as "the world's cheapest beer" because it’s sold for between 5000 and 7000VND per glass (US$0.22 to 0.31). Made from fermented maize, bia hoi  is served and consumed by the roadside while patrons sit and chat casually on low plastic stools. Hanoi’s busiest drinking spot is the Beer Corner — the intersection between Tha Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen in the Old Quarter — a whole road crammed with red plastic chairs, locals, tourists and the echo of their bragging rights.

Try as much banh mi as you can

Vietnamese woman preparing street food in a baguette

Born in Saigon as a simple working-class sandwich stuffed with pickled vegetables, cilantro, French ham and home-made pork liver pate, bahn mi is sold from street carts as a hearty breakfast or midday meal. From humble beginnings, it has risen to become a proper foodie obsession, particularly among foreign tourists and overseas Vietnamese, who even started reproducing the heavenly bread at home. The whole of Hanoi is a fair bahn mi playground, with stalls and shops dishing it up at every corner. One of the best is Bahn Mi 25 in Hoan Kiem District, which also offers vegan and vegetarian options.

Try ostrich meat in Son Tay

Believe it or not, ostrich farming has become one of North Vietnam's most profitable enterprises. The Ba Vi mountains near Son Tay, a favorite weekend getaway for Hanoi locals, are a popular spot to try the meat of the African bird while in Asia. It's usually served fried, as a meatloaf, or boiled with vegetables in a hot pot. If exotic meat doesn't appeal, Ba Vi's homegrown hill chickens, fried with fresh peppers, are the best alternative.

Check out the music and art scene

From DJ nights to jazz and alternative rock bands, Hanoi’s nightlife has a few well-established venues basking in music and arts. Since 2010, Hanoi Rock City has hosted live bands, electronic and experimental music, art events and a regular open mic night on Wednesdays. Savage in Tay Ho District opened in 2016 to quickly rise as the city's electronic music club of choice, where both resident and international DJs come to spin the best house and techno beats.

For real strings and shiny brasses head to Binh Minh Jazz Club in the Old Quarter, where a selection of good whiskey pairs to live local jazz ensembles on most nights. The Hanoi Social Club in Hoan Kiem also regularly hosts arts events, besides being a favorite all-day meeting spot to socialize over coffee and beers.

A path leads to a huge decorative gateway with a red pagoda-style roof in manicured gardens

Find calm at the Temple of Literature

Hidden by a walled compound sheltering five separate courtyards, the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) was built in 1070 under the Ly Thanh Tong dynasty to honor Confucius. The complex also served as Vietnam's first national university. Today, the temple is not just one of Hanoi's most striking, but also a perfectly quiet place to take a break from the city's constant activity. Whether strolling in one of its five perfectly-manicured gardens, or paying homage to Confucius' philosophy at his dedicated altars, the Temple of Literature is an oasis of quiet introspection.

Explore the Temple of Literature effortlessly with GetYourGuide.  Book your tour today .

Visit Vietnam’s Museum of Ethnology

Completed in 1997, this museum pays respect to Vietnam's 54 ethnic groups. It’s particularly handy for those short on time and interested in anthropology: the staggering collection of 15,000 artifacts and 42,000 photographs on display give a quick and comprehensive ethnographic tour of this highly diverse nation. The gardens host a life-sized outdoor collection of traditional houses from Vietnam’s most prominent ethnic groups.

Have an egg coffee in the Old Quarter

Egg yolk coffee, or ca phe trung , is a mixture of espresso with sugar, condensed milk and egg yolk. Invented in 1946 while trying to make cappuccino, the whisked egg yolks were used as a surrogate of the then scarce milk. That trick established this frothy, savory and uniquely Vietnamese brew as a real national success.

Ca Phe Trung can be found in a number of cities across Vietnam, but Cafe Giang in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is where it all started, and where the inventor's son still dishes up the original recipe today. The Note Cafe is also worth a visit, not just for its coffee, but for its very photogenic walls plastered with thousands of hand-written messages left by customers from all over the world.

Learn about Do Paper at Zó Project

Tucked to the south of Hanoi’s West Lake , Zó Project ’s tiny boutique focuses on unique handmade products realized with Vietnamese Dó paper ( giấy Dó ). Produced manually following ancient techniques from the bark of the endemic Rhamnoneuron balansae tree, this heavy-duty, fibrous paper is believed to be able to last up to 800 years. Established in 2013 by Tran Hong Nhung, the social enterprise Zó Project aims at preserving the art of Dó paper-making by working closely with the only two families of traditional artisans left in the village of Bac Ninh, 25 miles (40km) northeast of Hanoi.   

The front of a train engine on the rails that run along a narrow street lined with shop fronts

Have a glass of rice liquor by Train Street’s narrow tracks

Since 2018, sitting with a drink on either side of the narrow railway passage on Tran Phu road in the Old Quarter has become some kind of tourist rite of passage in Hanoi. Known as “Train Street” , the homes along this 300m (984ft) stretch of city rail line turned into feel-good cafes and started spilling tables and serving drinks way too close to the passing trains. The street’s constant surge in popularity forced authorities to try to close the shops down in October 2019 to avoid accidents, but Train Street's cafes have kept operating discreetly. The best time to visit is probably when no trains are approaching: without the crowds, one is freer to observe how real local life unfolds on both sides of this narrow city rail track.

Escape to Tam Coc’s rice terraces

One of the most popular day trips from Hanoi is to the Unesco-inscribed Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh province , about three hours from the capital. Think jade-green valleys backed by limestone karsts flanked by the meandering channels of the Red River Delta.

The village of Tam Coc and its viewpoints that dominate ever-changing shades of paddy fields are as popular as taking a slow boat ride along the Ngo Dong River. Spending at least a night here makes it easier to enjoy the scenery without the crowds. Don't forget the Mua Cave viewpoint, a sweaty 486-step climb to the top of an imposing limestone mountain, where an altar to Goddess of Mercy Quan Am dominates the valley and the snaking river below.

You might also like: Where to get the best street food in Hanoi    Life on the tracks: my 2 years living on Hanoi Train Street    10 best places to visit in Vietnam

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You should read the articles Hanoi – The Detailed Guide ,  Top 8 Must-Try Foods in Hanoi ,  and download Hanoi Tourist Map before the trip.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Hoan Kiem Lake

1. Hoan Kiem Lake

The first place on the list of Hanoi attractions is Hoan Kiem Lake – the symbol of Hanoi, located in Hanoi Old Quarter, surrounded by three streets are Hang Khay – Le Thai To – Dinh Tien Hoang.

The monuments around the Lake:

Thap Rua (Turtle Tower): located in the center of the lake, built between 1884 and April 1886.

Ngoc Son Temple : located in the north of the lake, was built in the 19th century.

The Huc Bridge: leads to Ngoc Son temple gate, built-in 1865.

Thap But (Pen Tower): on the northeastern shore of the lake, was built in 1865, including five floors.

Dai Nghien: on the northeast shore of the lake, built-in 1865, is an integral part of the Thap But

On weekends, the streets surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake will be walking streets with many exciting activities such as street music and folk games. Hoan Kiem Lake is a must-visit attraction in Hanoi because it is the soul of Hanoi.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Hanoi Old Quarter

2. Old Quarter

Mentioning Hanoi is speaking about 36 streets, also known as the old quarter, located on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi people were only around 36 streets in the past, Hanoi later gradually expanded, but its soul was only in these 36 streets.

An indispensable destination in the old quarter is Ta Hien Street. Like Bui Vien Street in Ho Chi Minh City , Ta Hien is a street where many Western tourists choose to stay and relax. The road is only 200m long, but it is one of the most crowded streets in the Old Quarter particularly and in Hanoi generally. Ta Hien has the most specific features of both old Hanoi and modern Hanoi. Ta Hien is a multinational and multicultural place because of Western tourists and locals and foreigners.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Dong Xuan Market

3. Dong Xuan Market

If Saigon has Ben Thanh market, Hanoi has Dong Xuan market. Dong Xuan Market is the busiest and oldest shopping area in Hanoi, built-in 1889 under the Nguyen Dynasty. This is also one of Hanoi’s must-visit attractions, which is considered a symbol associated with the capital.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at Ba Dinh Square is one of the famous tourist attractions in Hanoi. This is the final resting place of President Ho Chi Minh – the great Vietnamese leader.

Address: 2 Hung Vuong, Dien Ban, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Price: 25 000 Dong (1,1 USD)

Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Thu from 8:00 am – 11:00 am; Saturday and Sun from 8:00 am – 11:30 am; Closed Monday and Friday.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Temple of Literature

5. Temple of Literature

The 5th place is the Temple of Literature. Built-in 1070 under King Ly Thanh Tong, it is considered the first university in Vietnam. Up to now, the Temple of Literature has become a symbol of the thousand-year-old Capital and a cultural cradle of Vietnam. Don’t forget to add this place to your Hanoi trip plan.

Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Price: 30 000 Dong (1,4 USD), free for children under 15 years old.

Opening hours : summer from 7:30 am – 6:00 pm, winter from 8:00 am  – 6:00 pm.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - St. Joseph's Cathedral

6. St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Ranked sixth on the Hanoi attractions list is the St. Joseph’s Cathedral – the oldest church in Hanoi Capital. The Cathedral is not only the place where the religious activities of Catholics belong to the Archdiocese of Hanoi but also a famous Hanoi tourist attraction. With unique and ancient architecture, this is a destination that cannot be missed when visiting the Capital.

Address:  40, Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Opening hours : 8:00 am – 10:30 am,  12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.

Mass Calendar: Weekdays (2 Masses): 5:30 am and 6:15 pm Sunday (7 Mass): 5:00 am, 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am (French ceremony), 4:00 pm (children’s holiday), 6 pm, 8 pm (youth festival) Feast of Saints of the Steward Joseph: March 19 every year

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

7. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

Founded in 1969, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is one of the most famous water puppet shows in Vietnam. The fairy tales and historical legends are recreated by wooden puppets on the water which are extremely unique and lively. This is an exciting thing to do in Hanoi for travelers.

Address: 49 Dinh Tien Hoang, the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Price: 100,000 VND/adult – 60,000 VND/child.

Opening Hours :

+ From Monday to Saturday: 1 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm, 6:30 pm, 8 pm, 9:15 pm. + Sunday: 9:00 am, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 4:10 pm, 5 pm, 6:30 pm, 8 pm, 9:15 pm.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - West Lake

8. West Lake

West Lake is one of Hanoi’s largest and most romantic lakes. A small part of West Lake is divided by Thanh Nien road to form Truc Bach Lake. Go to West Lake, don’t forget to stroll at Thanh Nien Street, the most beautiful street in Hanoi, and visit Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Tran Quoc Pagoda is located on an island east of West Lake, is one of Hanoi’s oldest pagodas (more than 1500 years old), originally constructed in the sixth century. Visit here; you seem to admire Buddhism’s most quintessential things and the millennia of Vietnamese feudal architecture.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Hoa Lo Prison Museum

9. Hoa Lo Prison Museum

If the War Remnants Museum is a must-visit place in Ho Chi Minh City, Hoa Lo Prison Museum is a must-visit attraction in Hanoi to witness the crimes of war. Built by the French colonial government in the late 19th century, Hoa Lo Prison Museum was originally used to harbour Vietnamese revolutionaries and any dissidents of the French rule.

The Vietnamese Army later used the prison to house prisoners of war during the Vietnam War (Well known figures such as Senator John McCain, James Stockdale and Bud Day were just a few of the many prisoners of war that spent time in this prison.)

Dubbed the “earthly hell” place, the most feared prison in Southeast Asia, during its time of operation, Hoa Lo Prison became a detention place of generations of Vietnamese soldiers. The prison architecture was designed with torture and forced forms of cruelty.

Note: You should consider when to visit this place with your kids because it will likely scare them.

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

10. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Thang Long ancient citadel is an important historical and cultural citadel of Vietnam and has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage since 2010. Here was the political center of the country (feudal period) for 13 centuries, later Thang Long was renamed Hanoi.

Address: 19C Hoang Dieu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 12:30 pm & 1:30 pm – 7:30 pm (From Tuesday to Sunday)

Price: 30 000 VND (1,4 USD)

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - Train Street

11. Train Street

Due to safety reasons, visitors will temporarily not be able to access this area, we will update the information when there is a notice from the authorities.

Mentioning Hanoi is speaking about old things and a slow pace of life. Train street is the small road connecting Dien Bien Phu Street and Phung Hung Street, where train tracks run right down the middle, allowing trains to pass terrifyingly close to the houses. The people here trade directly on the tracks; they have to pack up many times a day when a train is scheduled to pass. Don’t forget to have a cup of coffee here!

Train timetable

Monday – Friday: 7 PM, 7:45 PM, 8:30 PM, 10 PM Weekend: 6 AM, 9 AM, 11:20 AM, 3:20 PM, 5:30 PM, 6 PM, 7 PM, 7:45 PM, 8:30 PM, 9 PM, 11 PM

 Top 12 must-visit attractions in Hanoi - One Pillar Pagoda

12. One Pillar Pagoda

The last position on the list of Hanoi attractions is the One-pillar Pagoda – an ancient pagoda of nearly 1,000 years old. The Pagoda was built on a single wooden pillar of 1.25meters in diameter, it has gathered the essence of architecture for thousands of years of the country’s history. In addition, it is also an attractive destination when visiting Hanoi.

Address: One Pillar Pagoda, Doi Can, Ba Dinh.

Price: 25 000 VND (1,1 USD)

Opening Hours:  7 am – 6 pm.

Above is a list of the best Hanoi attractions; Hanoi is a beautiful city and one of the 10 best places to visit in Vietnam .

Recommended length of stay in Hanoi: 3 -4 days. It would be best if you chose a stay in Hanoi Old Quarter. You can refer to where to stay in Hanoi and find deals from our partners.

Learn more about Hanoi travel guide >

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A list of 40+ Tourist Attractions in Hanoi You Must See

Hey there, fellow traveller! Get ready to dive into the extraordinary side of Hanoi’s tourist attractions. We’re about to uncover some seriously cool stuff that’ll make your jaw drop and leave you with memories to brag about. So buckle up and let’s get this adventure started!

Hanoi, this buzzing city of history and culture, has more surprises up its sleeve than you’d expect. Sure, you’ve got famous spots like the Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, but we’re about to take you off the beaten path to discover the hidden gems that’ll make your trip truly unforgettable.

Imagine crossing the legendary Long Bien Bridge, an architectural masterpiece that’s been standing tall for ages. It’s like stepping into a time machine! And speaking of time travel, get lost in the enchanting alleyways of the French Quarter. You’ll find charming old buildings and cosy cafes that’ll transport you back to a bygone era.

Exciting, right? Get ready to discover the best tourist attractions in Hanoi, from the must-see landmarks to the hidden treasures that’ll blow your mind. Let’s dive into this ultimate guide and make some unforgettable memories!

Top 40 Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

Must-see tourists attractions.

Hoan Kiem Lake : Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as the Lake of the Restored Sword, is a serene oasis in the heart of Hanoi. Legend has it that a magical sword was returned to a giant turtle here, cementing its significance in Vietnamese folklore. Surrounded by beautiful greenery, the lake offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. You can take a leisurely stroll, visit the Ngoc Son Temple on the lake’s small island, search for beautiful lacquer paintings or simply relax and enjoy the scenic views.

Hoan Kiem Lake

The Old Quarter : Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a vibrant and bustling neighbourhood that dates back to the 13th century. It is known for its narrow streets, historic buildings, and traditional architecture. Walking through the maze-like streets, you’ll find a wide array of shops, street food vendors, and traditional markets selling everything from silk products to local handicrafts. The Old Quarter is a sensory delight, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Hanoi. Check out all the  activities we recommend trying while you wander across the Old Quarter .

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum : The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a monumental Ba Dinh Square structure dedicated to the revered Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh. As you approach the mausoleum, you’ll be awed by its imposing architecture and grandeur. Inside, the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh lies in the state, allowing visitors to pay their respects to the iconic figure of Vietnam’s struggle for independence. The mausoleum is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, making it a peaceful and reflective place to visit.

Temple of Literature : The Temple of Literature, also known as Van Mieu, is a Confucian temple that served as Vietnam’s first national university. Built in 1070, it is a well-preserved example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. The temple complex is dedicated to Confucius and honours scholars and intellectuals. As you explore its courtyards, pavilions, and gardens, you’ll gain insight into Vietnam’s ancient educational system. The Temple of Literature is a serene and culturally significant site, offering a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre : The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a unique cultural attraction in Hanoi. Dating back to the 11th century, water puppetry is a traditional form of Vietnamese entertainment. The performances take place on a stage of water, with intricately crafted wooden puppets brought to life by skilled puppeteers. The shows depict folk tales, legends, and scenes from rural Vietnamese life. The combination of live music, colourful puppets, and water effects creates a mesmerizing and enchanting experience for visitors of all ages. Attending a water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a must-do when in Hanoi.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral: St. Joseph’s Cathedral, located in the heart of Hanoi, is a striking example of French colonial architecture. Built-in the late 19th century, the cathedral features neo-Gothic design elements and impressive stained glass windows. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a serene and atmospheric space, filled with religious icons and intricate details. St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a place of worship and a famous landmark and meeting point for locals and visitors alike.

hanoi vietnam top tourist attraction

Dong Xuan Market : Dong Xuan Market is the largest covered market in Hanoi and a vibrant hub of activity. Located in the Old Quarter, it offers a vast array of goods, from fresh produce and spices to clothing, electronics, and souvenirs. The market is a feast for the senses, with colourful displays, bustling crowds, and the enticing aromas of street food. Exploring Dong Xuan Market is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the vibrant atmosphere of Hanoi.

Hoa Lo Prison Museum : Hoa Lo Prison Museum, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” is a historic site that provides a sobering glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Originally built by the French colonialists in the late 19th century, the prison was later used to house American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. The museum exhibits tell the stories of the prisoners and provide insight into the conditions they endured. Walking through the preserved cells and viewing the artefacts and photographs offers a stark reminder of the hardships faced by those held captive here.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology : The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a fascinating institution that showcases the rich cultural diversity of Vietnam’s ethnic groups. The museum’s extensive collection includes traditional artefacts, clothing, tools, and art from various ethnic communities nationwide. Through its exhibits, interactive displays, and traditional houses, the museum offers a comprehensive insight into the customs, traditions, and ways of life of Vietnam’s diverse ethnic groups. It provides a valuable opportunity to learn about and appreciate the cultural heritage and traditions that make up the fabric of Vietnam.

West Lake : West Lake, also known as Ho Tay, is the largest lake in Hanoi and a popular recreational area. Surrounded by lush greenery and dotted with pagodas, it offers a tranquil escape from the urban hustle and bustle. You can take a leisurely walk or bike ride along the lake’s perimeter, enjoy a boat ride, or simply relax at one of the lakeside cafes. West Lake is particularly picturesque during sunset, offering stunning views and a serene ambience.

Tran Quoc Pagoda : Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of Vietnam’s oldest Buddhist pagodas and a significant religious site in Hanoi. Located on a small island in West Lake, it offers a peaceful and spiritual retreat. The pagoda is known for its elegant architecture, beautiful statues, and serene surroundings. As you explore the pagoda grounds, you’ll find a sense of tranquillity and reverence. Tran Quoc Pagoda is a must-visit for those seeking a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s Buddhist heritage.

Hanoi Opera House : The Hanoi Opera House is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the grandeur of French colonial design. Built-in the early 20th century, it has been meticulously restored and remains a prominent venue for cultural performances. The opera house hosts a variety of shows, including ballet, classical music concerts, and traditional Vietnamese opera. Even if you don’t attend a performance, admiring the exterior façade and capturing photos of this iconic building is well worth a visit.

Hanoi Ancient Citadel : The Hanoi Ancient Citadel, also known as the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a testament to Vietnam’s rich historical legacy. Dating back over a thousand years, the citadel served as the political and cultural centre of the country for many centuries. Exploring the ancient citadel grounds allows you to discover the remnants of palaces, gates, and ancient architectural structures. The site also houses a museum that exhibits artefacts and relics from various periods of Vietnamese history.

Long Bien Bridge : Long Bien Bridge is an iconic symbol of Hanoi, spanning the Red River and connecting the city’s historic centre with the eastern suburbs. Built over a century ago, it is an engineering marvel and a survivor of wars and conflicts. Walking or cycling across the bridge offers panoramic views of the river and the cityscape. Long Bien Bridge is not only a transport route but also a historical landmark that tells the story of Hanoi’s resilience and endurance.

Unique Things to do in Hanoi

Bat Trang Ceramic Village : Bat Trang Ceramic Village is located on the banks of the Red River, just outside Hanoi. Renowned for its centuries-old tradition of pottery making, the village is a haven for ceramic enthusiasts and art lovers. You can explore the narrow streets lined with workshops, observe artisans at work, and even try your hand at creating your own ceramic masterpiece. The village’s pottery products, ranging from intricately designed vases to delicate tea sets, make for unique souvenirs or decorative items to bring back home.

Vietnamese Women’s Museum : The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is a unique institution that celebrates the contributions and achievements of Vietnamese women throughout history. Through its exhibits, the museum explores various aspects of women’s lives, including family, fashion, work, and the role of women in the country’s development. The displays are thoughtfully curated, combining artefacts, photographs, and multimedia presentations to provide an engaging and enlightening experience.

Quan Thanh Temple : Quan Thanh Temple is a Taoist temple located near West Lake. Built during the 11th century, it is dedicated to Tran Vu, the God of the North. The temple’s architecture is an impressive blend of Vietnamese and Chinese styles, featuring intricate wood carvings and beautiful statues. Walking through the temple’s courtyards and admiring its serene ambience allows for a moment of reflection and appreciation of Vietnam’s spiritual heritage.

National Museum of Vietnamese History : The National Museum of Vietnamese History is a comprehensive museum that chronicles the history of Vietnam from ancient times to the present day. The museum’s exhibits cover various periods, including prehistoric times, the Dong Son culture, the Cham kingdom, and the Vietnamese struggle for independence. Through its extensive collection of artefacts, sculptures, and historical relics, the museum offers a deep insight into Vietnam’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Fine Arts Museum : The Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi is a treasure trove of Vietnamese art, showcasing a wide range of works from different periods and artistic styles. The museum’s collection includes traditional folk art, contemporary paintings, sculptures, and lacquerware. Exploring the museum’s galleries allows you to appreciate the evolution of Vietnamese art and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural significance.

Perfume Pagoda : The Perfume Pagoda, also known as Huong Pagoda, is a complex of Buddhist temples and shrines located in a scenic limestone landscape, approximately 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi. The pagoda is nestled amidst stunning natural beauty, accessible by a boat ride along the Yen River followed by a hike or cable car ride up to the main temple complex. The Perfume Pagoda is a popular pilgrimage site, particularly during the annual Perfume Pagoda Festival. Visiting the pagoda offers a spiritual journey and an opportunity to appreciate the natural splendour of the surrounding area.

Hanoi Botanical Garden : Hanoi Botanical Garden is a peaceful oasis in the city’s heart. Established in 1890, this lush green space offers a welcome respite from the urban hustle and bustle. Strolling through the garden’s well-manicured paths, you’ll encounter a wide variety of plant species, including rare and exotic plants. The garden also houses a small zoo, making it a great place for a leisurely family outing or a tranquil escape into nature.

National Museum of Vietnamese Revolution : Located in the former French governor’s palace, the National Museum of Vietnamese Revolution offers a comprehensive overview of Vietnam’s struggle for independence and its revolutionary history. Through its exhibits, photographs, and artefacts, the museum tells the story of Vietnam’s fight against colonialism, imperialism, and its path towards independence. It is a place of reflection and an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s past.

Truc Bach Lake : Truc Bach Lake is a picturesque freshwater lake located in the heart of Hanoi. It is known for its peaceful ambience and scenic views. The lake is surrounded by charming cafes and restaurants, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Truc Bach Lake is particularly famous for its delicious “pho cuon,” a local dish consisting of fresh rice noodles rolled with beef or vegetables. Exploring the lake’s perimeter and sampling this local delicacy is a delightful experience.

Tay Ho Temple : Tay Ho Temple, also known as the Temple of the West Lake, is a beautiful and historic temple located on a peninsula on West Lake. Dating back over a thousand years, the temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Water. As you approach the temple, you’ll be captivated by its ornate architecture and tranquil setting. Inside, you’ll find intricate wood carvings, colourful pagodas, and beautiful statues. The temple’s serene atmosphere and panoramic views of the lake make it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts : The Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts is a treasure trove of Vietnamese art, spanning from ancient times to the contemporary era. The museum’s extensive collection includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and lacquerware. As you explore the museum’s galleries, you’ll gain insight into the evolution of Vietnamese art and its cultural significance. The museum showcases both traditional and modern artistic styles, offering a comprehensive overview of Vietnam’s vibrant art scene.

One Pillar Pagoda : The One Pillar Pagoda is an iconic Buddhist temple and a symbol of Hanoi. Built-in the 11th century, the pagoda stands on a single stone pillar emerging from a lotus pond. Its unique architecture, resembling a blooming lotus, is a sight to behold. The pagoda is considered an important spiritual and cultural site, attracting visitors from all over the world. A visit to the One Pillar Pagoda allows you to admire its architectural beauty and experience the serenity of a sacred Buddhist place.

Thanh Chuong Viet Palace : Thanh Chuong Viet Palace is a unique cultural complex that showcases the artistic and architectural talents of Thanh Chuong, a renowned Vietnamese artist. The palace is a fusion of traditional Vietnamese architecture and contemporary artistic expression. As you wander through its gardens, courtyards, and buildings, you’ll encounter a multitude of sculptures, paintings, and installations. The palace offers a glimpse into the artist’s creative vision and his passion for preserving Vietnamese cultural heritage.

Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural : The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is a remarkable public art installation that stretches for over 6 kilometres. It holds the Guinness World Record for being the longest ceramic mosaic in the world. The mural depicts scenes from Vietnamese history, culture, and daily life, created from thousands of colourful ceramic tiles. Walking along the mural allows you to appreciate the talent and creativity of the artists involved and provides a unique perspective on Hanoi’s rich cultural heritage.

Thanh Nien Street : Thanh Nien Street is a picturesque tree-lined boulevard that runs along the eastern shore of West Lake. It offers stunning views of the lake and the iconic Tran Quoc Pagoda. The street is particularly popular for its vibrant flower gardens, especially during the cherry blossom season when the trees come alive with delicate pink blooms. Thanh Nien Street is a great place for a leisurely walk or bike ride, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

B52 Victory Museum : The B52 Victory Museum is a testament to Vietnam’s resilience and victory during the Vietnam War. The museum is dedicated to the downing of a US B-52 bomber during the Christmas Bombings in 1972. It showcases the wreckage of the bomber, along with photographs, artefacts, and personal accounts of the event. Exploring the museum provides an opportunity to reflect on the devastating impacts of war and the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people.

Quan Su Pagoda : Quan Su Pagoda is a significant Buddhist temple and the headquarters of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha. Situated in the heart of Hanoi, the pagoda is known for its tranquil ambience and beautiful architecture. The temple’s interiors are adorned with intricate wood carvings, delicate statues, and colourful murals. Quan Su Pagoda serves as a place of worship and a centre for Buddhist teachings and activities.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long : The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a testament to Vietnam’s rich historical legacy. Built over a millennium ago, the citadel served as the political and cultural centre of the country for many centuries. Exploring the citadel’s archaeological site allows you to discover the remnants of palaces, ancient structures, and historical artefacts. The site also houses a museum that exhibits relics and provides insights into the citadel’s significance in Vietnamese history.


Vietnamese National Tuong Theatre: The Vietnamese National Tuong Theatre is a cultural institution dedicated to preserving and promoting the traditional art form of Tuong, also known as Vietnamese classical opera. Tuong combines music, dance, and acting elements, depicting historical and mythical stories. Attending a Tuong performance at the theatre offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich performing arts heritage and provides a unique entertainment experience.

Hanoi Railway Station : Hanoi Railway Station is a historic landmark and a gateway to exploring other parts of Vietnam by train. Built during the French colonial era, the station showcases a blend of French and Vietnamese architectural styles. Witnessing the hustle and bustle of the station, with trains departing and arriving, provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the Vietnamese people and the importance of rail travel in the country.

Ba Vi National Park : Ba Vi National Park is a nature lover’s paradise located just outside of Hanoi. This sprawling park is known for its lush forests, scenic landscapes, and diverse wildlife. It offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking trails, camping sites, and bird-watching opportunities. The park is also home to Ba Vi Mountain, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventurous getaway, Ba Vi National Park is a perfect destination to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Quan Thanh Temple : Quan Thanh Temple is a Taoist temple near West Lake. Built during the 11th century, it is dedicated to Tran Vu, the God of the North. The temple’s architecture is an impressive blend of Vietnamese and Chinese styles, featuring intricate wood carvings and beautiful statues. Walking through the temple’s courtyards and admiring its serene ambience allows for a moment of reflection and appreciation of Vietnam’s spiritual heritage.

Quan Thanh Temple Hanoi

National Museum of Vietnamese History : The National Museum of Vietnamese History is a comprehensive museum that chronicles the history of Vietnam from ancient times to the present day. The museum’s exhibits cover various periods, including prehistoric times, the Dong Son culture, the Cham kingdom, and the Vietnamese struggle for independence. The museum offers a deep insight into Vietnam’s rich and diverse cultural heritage through its extensive collection of artefacts, sculptures, and historical relics.

Perfume Pagoda : The Perfume Pagoda, also known as Huong Pagoda, is a complex of Buddhist temples and shrines located in a scenic limestone landscape, approximately 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi. The pagoda is nestled amidst stunning natural beauty, accessible by a boat ride along the Yen River followed by a hike or cable car ride

Hanoi Ceramic Village : Hanoi Ceramic Village, also known as Bat Trang Ceramic Village, is a traditional craft village located on the outskirts of Hanoi. This village has been renowned for its ceramic production for centuries. Visitors to the village can explore the workshops and witness the artisans at work, shaping clay, painting intricate designs, and firing the ceramics in kilns. The village offers a wide range of ceramic products, including bowls, vases, plates, and figurines, which make for great souvenirs or unique gifts. In addition to shopping, visitors can also try their hand at making their own pottery under the guidance of skilled artisans. A visit to Hanoi Ceramic Village provides a fascinating glimpse into the rich heritage of Vietnamese ceramics and the craftsmanship that goes into creating these beautiful pieces.

Out-of-the-box tourist attractions in Hanoi

Ready to explore Hanoi in a whole new way? Get ready for a list of out-of-the-box tourist attractions in Hanoi that will take your experience to the next level. Beyond the well-known landmarks, we’ve curated a selection of unique and offbeat experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories. From immersive workshops to thrilling adventures, get ready to discover the hidden gems and extraordinary attractions that make Hanoi truly special. So, buckle up and let’s dive into this list of out-of-the-box tourist attractions that will add a touch of excitement and wonder to your Hanoi itinerary.

  • Water Puppetry Workshop : Instead of just watching a water puppetry show, why not participate in a water puppetry workshop? Several places in Hanoi offer hands-on experiences where you can learn the art of controlling traditional water puppets. Under the guidance of skilled puppeteers, you’ll get to manipulate the puppets, learn the techniques, and even create your own short puppet performance. It’s a unique opportunity to delve into Vietnamese folk art and gain a deeper appreciation for this traditional form of entertainment.
  • Street Food Tour by Vintage Vespa : While exploring Hanoi’s street food scene is a must-do, you can take it to the next level by embarking on a street food tour on a  vintage Vespa  scooter. Join a guided tour that takes you through the bustling streets of Hanoi, stopping at local street food stalls and hidden eateries known only to the locals. Riding pillion on the back of a vintage Vespa, you’ll savour delicious street food dishes while zipping through the city, immersing yourself in the vibrant energy of Hanoi’s food culture.
  • Hidden Coffee Shops Exploration : Hanoi is famous for its coffee culture, but instead of sticking to the popular coffee shops, venture off the beaten path to discover hidden coffee gems. Explore the narrow alleyways of the Old Quarter or the quieter neighbourhoods to find quaint cafes tucked away in unexpected places. These hidden coffee shops often have unique atmospheres, whether they’re hidden in old colonial buildings, hidden courtyards, or rooftop terraces with stunning views. It’s a chance to escape the crowds, enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee, and soak in the charm of Hanoi’s hidden corners.
  • Vietnamese Cooking Class : Immerse yourself in the flavours of Vietnamese cuisine by taking a cooking class. Join a local cooking school or a home-based cooking experience where you’ll learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes. From shopping for ingredients at local markets to mastering the art of creating dishes like pho or fresh spring rolls, a cooking class allows you to not only taste the flavours of Vietnam but also learn the techniques to recreate these dishes back home.
  • Hanoi Street Art Exploration : Beyond its historical landmarks, Hanoi has a vibrant street art scene waiting to be discovered. Take a self-guided tour or join a street art tour to explore the city’s colourful murals, graffiti, and artistic installations. From hidden alleyways in the Old Quarter to large-scale murals in the newer parts of the city, you’ll find thought-provoking artwork that reflects Vietnam’s social, cultural, and political themes.
  • Motorbike Adventure to Rural Villages : Escape the city for a day and embark on a motorbike adventure to explore the rural villages surrounding Hanoi. Rent a motorbike or join a guided tour, and ride through picturesque countryside landscapes, passing by rice fields, traditional villages, and scenic roads. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals, learn about their way of life, and witness traditional crafts being practised, such as pottery-making or weaving. It’s a chance to experience the authentic rural side of Vietnam and get off the typical tourist trail.
  • Hanoi Escape Rooms : Put your problem-solving skills to the test by trying out the popular trend of escape rooms in Hanoi. Gather a group of friends and choose from various themed escape rooms, where you’ll be locked in a room and have to solve puzzles, find hidden clues, and work together to escape within a set time limit. It’s a fun and challenging activity that will test your teamwork and critical thinking abilities while providing an adrenaline-filled experience.
  • Vietnamese Traditional Music Performance : Experience the enchanting sounds of Vietnamese traditional music by attending a live performance. Look for venues that offer traditional music shows, such as the Hanoi Opera House or small cultural centres. You’ll be treated to mesmerizing performances of instruments like the dan bau (monochord), the dan tranh (16-string zither), or the bamboo flute. The music, combined with traditional costumes and graceful movements, creates an immersive cultural experience that allows you to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of Vietnamese traditional music.

As our journey through the best tourist attractions in Hanoi comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the amazing experiences we’ve had and the incredible sights we’ve seen. From hidden temples to vibrant markets, Hanoi has left an indelible mark on our hearts.

Remember the thrill of riding a vintage motorbike through the city streets, the awe-inspiring performances at the Hanoi Opera House, and the peaceful moments spent exploring hidden alleyways. These are the moments that make travel truly special.

Hanoi has shown us that there’s more to a city than meets the eye. It’s the hidden gems, the offbeat experiences, and the unexpected surprises that make a destination truly memorable. So, as you bid farewell to this vibrant city, take these memories with you and let them inspire your future adventures.

Whether you’re reminiscing about the breathtaking views from Ba Vi National Park, the tantalizing flavours of street food, or the tranquillity of Hoan Kiem Lake, let Hanoi’s magic stay with you long after you’ve returned home.

What is Hanoi best known for?

Hanoi is best known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and bustling street life. It’s famous for its centuries-old architecture, including the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Old Quarter. Hanoi is also renowned for its delicious street food and vibrant markets.

What is the most touristic area in Hanoi?

The most touristic area in Hanoi is the Old Quarter (Hoan Kiem District). It’s a charming neighbourhood filled with narrow streets, traditional houses, temples, and numerous shops and markets. The Old Quarter offers a glimpse into the city’s history and is a hub for shopping, dining, and nightlife.

What is the number 1 tourist spot in Vietnam?

Ha Long Bay is often considered the number one tourist spot in Vietnam. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning limestone islands, emerald waters, and picturesque scenery. Visitors can enjoy boat cruises, kayaking, and exploring the unique caves and grottoes.

Is 2 days in Hanoi enough?

While two days in Hanoi might not be enough to explore the city in depth, it is still possible to experience some of its highlights. With careful planning, you can visit attractions like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, and enjoy the local street food scene. However, for a more comprehensive experience, it’s recommended to spend at least 3-4 days in Hanoi.

What are the top attractions to visit in Hanoi?

Some of the top attractions to visit in Hanoi include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hanoi Opera House, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. The Old Quarter is also a must-visit area with its bustling streets and historic charm.

What are the most popular things to do in Hanoi with kids?

Popular activities to enjoy in Hanoi with kids include visiting the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, exploring the Vietnam Museum of Natural History, watching a water puppet show, cycling around West Lake, visiting the Hanoi Zoo, and enjoying the rides at Ba Vi National Park or Ho Tay Water Park.

What are the top sightseeing places in Hanoi?

The top sightseeing places in Hanoi include Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hoan Kiem Lake, Temple of Literature, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hanoi Old Quarter, One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi Opera House, Hoa Lo Prison Museum, and the West Lake area.

What are the top activities in Hanoi?

Some of the top activities in Hanoi include taking a cyclo (three-wheeled bicycle taxi) tour around the Old Quarter, trying Vietnamese street food on a food tour, exploring the night market in the Old Quarter, taking a boat trip on the Red River, visiting local art galleries and museums, and attending a traditional water puppet show

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SVietnam Travel

15 Top Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

  • February 28, 2023
  • Last updated on December 5, 2023
  • Vietnam Travel Blogs

When you come here, you will feel the bustle of life, the diversity of cuisine and the rich culture, history and friendliness of the local people. It is not difficult for you to see sidewalk cafes, street vendors, or street food stalls. And of course, Hanoi is not lacking in the interesting attractions, even it will take you a few days to visit all these great places. Join us to discover 15 top tourist attractions in Hanoi that you should not miss to come here.

Read more: Hanoi city tours

Table of Contents

Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake)

Hoan Kiem lake is located in the center and a few minutes walk from Hanoi Old Quarter, where most of the souvenir shops gather.

Guom lake

Peaceful and quiet, the lake surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda sitting in the centre on a small island. Hoan Kiem lake, Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple is a relic, famous sights, the pride of Hanoi and people around the country when they are towards the capital.

Ngoc Son Temple

Hanoi tourists and locals alike head to Hoan Kiem lake when seeking a place to get away from the noise of the city. This place is especially suitable for walking, and there are many events taking place here every weekend.

Hoan Kiem lake walking street

If you are about to visit Hanoi for a few days, it is very likely that you will reside somewhere near Hoan Kiem lake. The lake is considered the center of Hanoi, not only physically but also symbolically. In fact, the more you spend time learning about the lake, the more special it becomes.

36 Hanoi Old Quarter

Located near Hoan Kiem lake, The Old Quarter has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century, Hanoi consisted of only about 36 streets. Each street had merchants and households specialized in a particular trade, such as silk traders, metallurgy, food, etc. In the old quarter area, there are also many ancient historical sites including old houses, temples, pagodas and assembly halls.

Night market in Hanoi

Today, the Old Quarter of Hanoi is an attractive destination for those who want to visit this city.

Night market in Hanoi

To explore the old quarter of Hanoi , it is the best way to walk because there are a lot of shops, restaurants, cafes and long-standing traditional shops. Another popular transport is cyclo, which is interested in the international tourists because of its sluggishness for street views. Alternatively, you can use the electric car or 2-storey bus.

Night market in Hanoi

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Puppet show is one of the art traditional performances in Vietnam with high spiritual value. It is the fascinating entertainment stages in the spiritual and cultural life of the people here.

There are two types of puppet: shallow puppet and water puppet. However, water puppet show is the most special type of stage, showing the intelligence and creativity of the artists.

Water Puppet

In the art of water puppetry, music is an integral part. It plays not only a role in connecting one repertoire with the others, but also impacts the atmosphere of the whole performance. The rhythm of the music directly affects the puppet control of the actors. Music plays an important role in expressing the personality, actions of the character, creating excitement and attraction for viewers.

Water Puppet

The main instruments in water puppet performance are: Drum, Two-string Fiddle, bamboo flute, percussion, sixteen-stringed zither or thirty-six stringed zither. In the water puppet show, people also use many types of crackers such as firecrackers, fireworks, sparklers to create exciting atmosphere and fanciful sparkle for the show.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – Uncle Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is located in the central area of Hanoi, which is a large monument in Hanoi, it is also known as Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum. In the central hall of the mausoleum, the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved in the cooled and protected by military honor guards.

Uncle Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an important historical attraction of Hanoi, known for honoring the national hero: President Ho Chi Minh. The building is where visitors can express their admiration and gratitude towards the common father/uncle of Vietnamese who has led the country to independence and reunification. It is popularly known among Vietnamese as Uncles’ Mausoleum, for the intimate and familiar atmosphere Ho Chi Minh always created when he was alive. Built over 2 years from 1973 to 1975, the Mausoleum is also a lively illustrator of national unity.

Uncle Mausoleum

Currently, admission is free and visitors but they must comply with requirements such as grooming, do not bring cameras and keep order in the mausoleum.

Read more:  Top Attractions In Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi Museum

The museum has 6 floors, the floor area scaled down from top to bottom. Hanoi museum give to visitors impression by modern design and convenience. Tourists can go to other floors by elevator or stairs that are designed into a spiral round inside the museum.

Hanoi Museum

Coming to Hanoi museum, visitors will have opportunity to admire the antiques that are collected from around the country. The third floor of the museum where displays of documents and exhibits are donated by organizations and individuals has large space. A lot of potteries such as bowls, vases or production tools found in Tien Giang, Ca Mau…are displayed on the fourth floor museum.

The Hanoi Museum in the capital city of Vietnam has been listed in the world’s most beautiful museums voted by the US’ Business Insider newspaper.

Hoa Lo Prison

The prison was built in Hanoi by the French, in dates ranging from 1886 to 1898, when Vietnam was still part of French Indochina. The French occupied Hanoi in order to detain Vietnamese patriots who opposed their rule. Hoa Lo prison has the area of 12.908m2, which is the most ancient architecture of Indochina.

Hoa Lo Prison

After the capital was liberated on 10th October 1954, Hoa Lo Prison was controlled by the revolutionary government. Period 1964-1973s, the America conducted destructive war the North of Vietnam. Hoa Lo Prison became the place to detain the American pilots.

Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison has intact with many precious materials, science display, and the attractive spot for many domestic and foreign guests to Hanoi. Post Buttletin (the U.S) has an article on Vietnam’s tourist highlights Hoa Lo prison is a destination not to be missed when come to Vietnam.

Hanoi Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature in Hanoi was Vietnam’s first university, and held the central place in higher education in Vietnam for 700 years, from 1076 to 1779.

Hanoi Temple of Literature

The temple is divided into five court yard, each with its own significance and history. The first courtyard stretches from the main gate to Dai Trung gate; the second stands out with Khue Van Cac pavilion. If you notice well, you will find the pavilion symbol on all street signs of Hanoi. The third courtyard is where doctor names was listed on a tombstone above tortoise backs.

Hanoi Temple of Literature

There are a total of 82 tombstones, with names and origins of 1307 doctors, corresponding to 82 examination courses from 1442 to 1779. If you visit the temple at the beginning of the year or in May when many important examinations take place, you will catch sights of numerous students who come and rub the tortoise head. Such an act is believed to bring them luck to pass the test.

Today, this is a place where educational events regularly happened such as award ceremonies for excellent students, poetry festivals…

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is located on a 3.27-acre (13,200 m2) property in the Cầu Giấy District, about 8 km from the city center. It is widely considered to be the finest modern museum in Vietnam and a tourist attraction in Hanoi.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

This fabulous collection relating to Vietnam’s ethnic minorities features well-presented tribal art, artefacts and everyday objects gathered from across the nation, and examples of traditional village houses. Displays are well labelled in Vietnamese, French and English.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

This is the most recent yet probably the largest and undoubtedly the most interesting Museums in Hanoi and Vietnam. The Museum comes out of the recognition that Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country and that more attention should be paid to promote socio-cultural diversity. Despite being out of the way compared with other museums in Hanoi, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is worth a thorough visit, for those who are keen to learn about the multiculturality of Vietnam and for those who would appreciate some green space.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

There are both indoors and outdoors section. While the in-housed exhibition is particularly informative, the outdoors display and activities make the museum stand out from the rest. There are a number of houses modeling after the traditional architecture of ethnic minorities, especially those who live in Northern and Central highlands.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum stores more than 12 thousand documents, artifacts, original film about the life and revolutionary career of President Ho Chi Minh. This is an invaluable asset of the Vietnamese in the education of patriotism, moral of President Ho Chi Minh.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

One of the most resourceful museums in Hanoi and undoubtedly in the country, Ho Chi Minh museum is conveniently located in the Ho Chi Minh complex. It can be combined in your day trip to visit Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, One-pillar Pagoda, Ba Dinh square and the War Memorial. The whole museum is a elaborate description of Ho Chi Minh’s life, with 8 chronological topics. The first one, from 1890 to 1910 modeled after his upbringing, hometown and youth. The second topic concerns the next ten years where Ho Chi Minh travelled the world to find out a way to rescue the country from colonialism.

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market is located at the old quarter, built in 1889 under the Nguyen Dynasty. Dong Xuan Market is not only the largest busy shopping area in Hanoi but also a famous historical landmark of the Capital. On February 14, 1947, Dong Xuan market was the place where the fiercest battle took place and was the major battle of Hanoi army and people in the early days of the resistance war.

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan is the main wholesale market in the North. There is a variety of items such as clothing, shoes, household items, toys, fabrics with traditional motifs. … However, almost items are from China. In addition, there are also stalls selling sweets, souvenirs, food … outside the market.

Dong Xuan Market mainly serves the local people rather than tourists. However, there are several stalls in the market that sell traditional crafts or souvenirs and these may be the right choice for visitors.

Read more: Vietnam trip costs

Vietnam Military History Museum

Most tourists have more or less heard of Vietnam’s historical and heroic struggle against mighty invaders from France and the USA. They, as a result, now flock to Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular so as to figure out how such a small country as Vietnam could win over in the past severe resistance war!

Hence, in order to retain and preserve the factual objects, artifacts, and vivid proofs of the great national heroic struggle, the Ministry of Defence, under the Vietnam Communist Party’s policy, had the building of the Army Museum (to be changed into Military History Museum in 2002) constructed at the end of 1954, and held its opening ceremony on 22nd December, 1959 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army foundation.

Vietnam Military History Museum

The museum content covers the six following periods: The history of the Vietnamese nation and the birth of the Vietnam People’s Army, The Vietnamese struggle against French colonialism, The Vietnamese struggle against American imperialists, The Vietnam People’s Army on the path to a regular modern army, The People and the Army are oneness, and will be invincible, Piece of weaponry displayed in the museum courtyard (such as airplanes, tanks, heavy artilleries, rockets, mortars, bombs, and so forth). After your time here, you will realize that the museum is the concentrated embodiment of the Vietnamese people’s spirit revealed in President Ho Chi Minh’s writing: “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom” in the historic Nation’s Independence Proclamation.

The Vietnam Military History Museum is one of the seven national museums in the quantity of the artifacts and visitors nowadays. Through honest and unique original artifacts, the museum really becomes a center of culture and an attractive destination for visitors to learn more about military history of Vietnam.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Bat Trang is an ancient village, which is very famous for making ceramic products. Many of these ceramic products have been exported for years; as a result, they are a good income for the locals.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

There is a ceramic market in the village, where we can buy ceramic tile painting, flower vases, tea pots and cups, bowls, plates, spoons, even ceramic dogs. Not only the local houses where we can see how to mix material make and paint ceramic products but there are also classes where we can learn how to create a vase or anything from clay that we want and paint the ready-make products.

In addition, it is great to walk around the village, visit some local houses which are the factories and Bat Trang Pagoda.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Bat Trang ceramic village has become a popular destination for the young living in Hanoi (college or high school students) to visit during weekends. It has also become famous among foreign tourists who want to understand more about the historical and traditional values in each handicraft product.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Situated at the heart of Hanoi, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is an outstanding place of interest not only for the capital city but also for the country as a whole.

The site is one of the ten special national heritage sites proclaimed by the Prime Minister in 2009 and was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2010 and reopened in 2012.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The standing monuments and subterranean vestiges of palaces, together with numerous other unique artifacts unearthed in the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi are invaluable assets not only of Vietnam but also the entire human race.

Read more: Hanoi cooking class tour

Duong Lam Ancient Village

Duong Lam is an ancient village located in outskirt of Hanoi. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes from Hanoi center to this area.

Duong Lam Ancient Village

Duong Lam ancient village is very famous for ancient houses system. The main material to build the houses here is laterite – very popular material in this area. Local people were dug the laterite from underground and hew them to be different shapes, normally rectangular blocks, to build and decorate the houses.

Duong Lam Ancient Village

Nowadays, Duong Lam village still retains most of the basic characteristics of a village of Vietnam with port village, trees, courtyard, temples, well, water fields… The roads of Duong lam were special because they have the shape as the bones of fish. Some features are still kept in Duong Lam ancient village is the old village gate in Mong Phu village. Duong Lam village still conserves about 800 ancient houses.

Ba Vi National Park

Ba Vi national park is the green lung of Ha Noi and also the home for many species of wild animal, including many rare species that was listed on Red list of Vietnam. According to statistics of the scientists, Ba Vi national park has 812 higher plants and 15 rare plants as Green spruce (Calocedrus macrolepis), woody fern (Cyatheales) and so on. The national park has 45 species of animal, 115 species of bird, 27 species of amphibians, 61 species of reptile, 86 species of insect with 23 rare species that was listed on Red list of Vietnam as golden pangolin, flying squirrel, peacock…

Visitors can also explore deep caves hidden in the mountains or challenge themselves to climb the Ba Vi peaks that rise up to 1,296 meters.

Great! We have just discovered 15 attractive tourist destinations in Hanoi . Wish you have a wonderful trip to Hanoi. If you need a Hanoi tour , please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

The 29 Best Things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: February 8, 2024

Welcome to the exciting capital city of Vietnam. Where east meets west and old meets new. Hanoi, Vietnam is chaotic and fascinating, overwhelming and intriguing. One thing is for sure, Hanoi will make an impression. From the incredible French colonial architecture to the tantalizing Vietnamese cuisine , it is a city that will put all of your senses to good use. Being the capital city of Vietnam and one of the ancient capitals of the world, there are a lot of things to do in Hanoi that you are not going to want to miss.

Located in northern Vietnam , Hanoi is the perfect place to make a base when visiting places in Vietnam like Halong Bay and Sapa. But Hanoi needs to be explored for at least a few days to experience its culture, food, history, and nightlife. So to help you make the most of your time, we’ve put together the best things to do in Hanoi Vietnam in this easy-to-follow travel guide.

Table of Contents

Top Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam

Top Things to do in Hanoi Vietnam

When you first arrive in Hanoi, especially if it is your first time, it can be a little overwhelming. We suggest jumping on a Walking Tour so that you can get the lay of the land and decide which parts of the city you want to focus on.

Planning Your Trip To Hanoi Right Now?

Below are some of the top tours in Hanoi, Vietnam. Don’t forget to plan ahead when  visiting Hanoi!

Top Activities and Tours in Hanoi:

  • Old Quarter (Most Popular in Hanoi)
  • Puppet Theater (Family Favorite)
  • Culture and Sightseeing tour in Vintage Jeep (Highest Rated)
  • Tour to Ha Long Bay (Not to Miss Attraction)

Check out the Old Quarter

Things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter aka Hoan Kiem District is the business hub of Hanoi and the main tourist area of the city. This is where we spent most of our time in Hanoi. It is busy, to say the least. One of the most memorable things to do in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is simply crossing the street.

I’ll never forget Dave mentioning that crossing the street in Hanoi is like playing a human game of Frogger. The old quarter is filled with colonial architecture and remnants of its French past. There are plenty of things to do in the old quarter, so instead of listing them off in a quick paragraph, we are going to break them down here in section 1.

You can book this highly-rated cycling tour of the Old Quarter and Red River Delta that includes hidden Hanoi attractions like the Tran Quoc pagoda, Royal Wall, and B52 lake. Then visit the Long Bien Bridge and Banana Plantations of the Red River Delta.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Things to do in Hanoi Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is probably the most popular thing to do in Hanoi. I know it is the first place we walked to when we arrived in the city. Located between the Old Quarter and French Quarter of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is a quiet oasis in the heart of the city.

Hoan Kiem means Lake of the Returned Sword and got its name from the legend in which an emperor used a magical sword to defeat the Ming Dynasty from China. Upon victory, the Golden Turtle God returned the sword to the bottom of the lake. Today, Turtle Tower stands guard commemorating the legend. Keep an eye out for the endangered turtles that are swimming in the lake.

This vintage Jeep tour

Ngoc Son Temple

Best things to do in Hanoi Vietnam Ngoc Son Temple

The main attraction of this lake is Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) located on an island in the center of the lake. The Ngoc Son Pagoda is the most visited temple in Hanoi and sits on Jade Island. It is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century and is one of the best things to do in Hanoi. To get to it you cross the lovely red Huc Bridge or Rising Sun Bridge.

Shop at Dong Xuan Market

Shopping in Hanoi Vietnam Dong Xuan Market

Let me warn you now, shopping in Vietnam is a sport. It is high-pressure contact with a lot of haggling, but it is a must! When you visit Hanoi make your way to the Dong Xuan Market to pick up all your souvenirs and any little nicknacks or clothing. Located in the Old Quarter, the Dong Xuan Market dates back to 1889, this four-story shopping center is huge selling everything you can imagine. There is a food market on the ground floor that is bustling with activity selling fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Things ot do in Hanoi St. Joseph's Cathedral

Located in the Old Quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral aka The Big Church was one of the first structures built by the French and is still standing. Built to resemble Notre Dame in Paris, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is worth stopping to see the beautiful gothic architecture. Make sure to go inside

Hanoi Weekend Night Market

Hanoi Night Market Things to do

When Visiting anywhere in Southeast Asia and Indo-China, a visit to a night market is a must. If you are looking for things to do in Hanoi at night, the weekend market is abuzz with excitement. From Friday to Sunday the market runs from 7 pm through Hang Dao Street to Dong Xuan Market. This is your chance to put your bartering skills to the test and to try some Vietnamese street food.

Have a Drink at the Hanoi Social Club

For some things to do in Hanoi at night, head out to the Hanoi Social Club. Located in a 1920s colonial villa the Hanoi Social Club is a multi-level cafe that is one of the most popular places for drinks and food for tourists. There are great vegetarian options on the menu here. It’s also a popular spot for breakfast.

Take a Free Walking Tour

Free walking tours in Hanoi Vietnam

I think we mention in nearly every city guide to take a free walking tour as soon as you arrive. This is the best way to get acquainted with a city in Hanoi. Hanoi Free Walking Tours takes you through the Hanoi Old Quarter to Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. You’ll sample ice cream and hit up the walking street and night market. It is a great introduction to Hanoi. Details here.

Take a Stroll Through the French Quarter

Things to do in Vietnam French Quarter

Located south and east of Hoan Kiem Lake, the French Quarter is a lovely stroll through early 20th-century architecture, Art Deco designs, and some 1930s modernism thanks to all the influences. There are several Hanoi points of interest to keep an eye out for as you walk through the French Quarter. Let’s take a look to see what there is.

The Hoa lo Prison Museum

Visit the Hoa lo Prison Museum in Hanoi Vietnam

Maison Central, aka the Hao Lo Prison, was known as the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War where it housed American POWs including Senator John McCain. History Buffs will find this an interesting stop on their Hanoi visit. Before the Vietnam War, it was used to incarcerate Vietnamese Revolutionaries by the French government.

There are galleries telling the gruesome tales of the inmates including the French guillotine and memorabilia from American pilots shot down during the war. As far as the American POWs, the prison promotes that contrary to popular belief, the inmates were treated well.

Hanoi Opera House

Best Things to do in Hanoi visiting the Hanoi Opera House

There is a lot of French influence in Hanoi thanks to the French occupation, and the Hanoi Opera House is Aptly located in the French Quarter. It was modeled after the Paris Opera House, Palais Garnier, and is one of the most beautiful pieces of colonial architecture in Hanoi. If you are looking for a little bit of culture while visiting Hanoi, book a night at the opera to see Vietnamese Opera or the ballet.

The National Museum of Vietnamese History

Things to do in Hanoi Vietnam National Museum of Vietnamese History

Housed in a former school from the French Colonial period, the National Museum of Vietnamese History is also worth a stop in the French Quarter. This building showcases five different sections throughout its architectural design reminiscent of a French villa or Vietnamese palace. Pieces can be found from the stone age to the Vietnamese Revolution. There are more than 200,000 pieces detailing Vietnamese history.

Vietnamese Women’s Museum

The Vietnamese Women’s Museum has become one of Hanoi’s most popular attractions dedicated to the history and lives of Vietnamese women. From showcasing the role that women played in its wars to local life and family life and working on the streets as vendors. There are 30,000 pieces on display depicting women in family, women fashion and women in history.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi Vietnam

No trip to Hanoi would be complete without a visit to the tomb of Ho Chi Minh. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum houses president Ho Chi Minh in a glass tomb. Paying a visit to Uncle Ho is one of the top attractions in Hanoi. Opened in 1975, it was modeled after Lenin’s mausoleum in Russia. When visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum you must dress accordingly in long sleeves, and long skirts or pants. There are no photos allowed inside the mausoleum and bags must be checked at the door.

Located within the same complex is the Ho Chi Minh Museum which features his personal effects and memorabilia. The Ho Chi Minh museum gives a glimpse into the life of this key figure in Vietnamese history with films, documents, and objects depicting his revolutionary work and life.

Military History Museum

Spending more time in museums, we now take you to the Military History Museum where you’ll see military equipment and transportation from the Vietnam War. This museum celebrates the Vietnamese victories over both the Americans and the French. Here you’ll see a tank, some old airplanes including a Soviet MiG fighter plane, and wreckage of a B52 Bomber.

There is a model of the Cu Chi Tunnels which were an integral part in beating the Americans during the Vietnam War and you’ll see a display of the weaponry that was used during both wars.

Lotte Tower Observation Deck

top things to do in Hanoi Lotte Observation Tower

Who doesn’t love going high in a city for views? And a visit to Hanoi Vietnam is no exception. The Lotte Tower Observation Deck is a slice of modern Vietnam taking you up 65 floors for dazzling city views from the observatory. The Skywalk takes you out over a glass floor feeling as if you are suspended in the air. There are interactive exhibits, a light festival at night, and a display featuring Vietnamese culture and nature.

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Imperial Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is has been the center of Vietnam’s political power for more than 1300 years until the capital was moved to Hue in 1810. After falling into disarray during the French colonial era, it was then used as a prison by the Japanese army in 1945, and then in 1954, it became the headquarters for the Ministry of Imperial Defense.

The Citadel has been a part of Vietnam’s history for centuries and has been restored and excavated and you can tour its remaining buildings and gates the most notable being the  Kinh Thien Palace, the North Gate and the Princess Pagoda.

Visit The Temple Of Literature

Best things to do in Hanoi Vietnam Temple Of Literature

The Temple of Literature was Vietnam’s first university, where students were educated in the principles of Confucianism, literature, and poetry. Today, the temple and its monuments honor Vietnam’s greatest scholars, from poets to mathematicians and historians. Its traditional Vietnamese architecture is stunning, the complex is spacious, and has lots of interesting things to see: monuments, artifacts on display, and the biggest gong ever (very tempting, I admit).

On a normal day, walking around the peaceful quiet courtyards and gardens, you’d forget you are in the middle of a bustling city. We, however, visited the Temple of Literature on Graduation day, adding quite a bit of color to the experience.

After your visit, be sure to pop into Koto across the street, it’s one of my favorite cafes/restaurants in Hanoi. Koto is a not-for-profit program giving hospitality training to disadvantaged kids, all staff are graduates of the program. I love the interior, the kids can hang out on the purple sofas, the food is amazing, and the service is professional and friendly. And all while overlooking the temple of literature.

See a water puppet show

Water Puppet show in Hanoi Vietnam

When visiting Hanoi, we saw so many advertisements for a water puppet show. It turns out that seeing a Water Puppet Show is one of the top things to do in Hanoi, especially for families. This ancient art form dates back 1000 years and was traditionally performed in ponds or lakes .

The graceful puppets gliding on water, the live music dramatizing their actions, the sounds of splashing water, and the dark auditorium, all adding up to a magical experience you can’t miss. Get your skip-the-line-tickets i n advance to secure the best seats and preferred timing.

Today, the stage consists of a large water basin of murky water, hiding the secrets of the skillful puppeteers. Where marionettes are being brought to life through strings from above, these wooden puppets are operated from below by puppeteers submerged waist-deep in the water.

The Municipal Water Puppet Theatre offers five shows daily or you can Book this Water Puppets Tour and enjoy some Vietnam Street food with views of Hoan Kiem lake at night.

Lake Tay Ho (West Lake)

Things to do in Hanoi Lake Tay Ho

Lake Tay Ho or West Lake is Hanoi’s Largest Lake that spans 15 km. It’s a quiet reprieve from the city where locals practice tai chi, go cycling, or for a stroll. There are two pagodas to visit at West Lake as well, Tay Ho Pagoda and Tran Quoc Pagoda. Tran Quoc Pagoda is a Buddhist temple that is one of the oldest of its kind. The main pagoda stands 15 meters high (45 feet). The pagodas are free to enter, but make sure to dress conservatively as it is an acting place of worship so make sure to cover your shoulders and knees.

Indulge in the street Food

Street food in Hanoi Vietnam

Southeast Asia is known for its street food and Hanoi is no exception. Many people are wary of eating street food and they have a good reason. If it’s not cooked properly, you could get into trouble. Our rule of thumb is to search for vendors that are busy and filled with locals. The food is bound to be fresh. But if you are concerned, a great introduction is this St reet Food Tour by Motorbike.

This evening tour will pick you up at your hotel, and take you to sample staples such as Bun Cha. Bun Cha is Noodle Soup with Porkpie and is probably one of the more common dishes you’ll find in Hanoi. You’ll also sample the Hanoi Shrimp Pancake, and coconut ice cream. During the tour, you’ll also walk around the Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, and visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where you’ll see the flag-lowering ceremony.

Vietnamese Food Tour

Things to do in Hanoi Vietnamese food tour

The best way to indulge in local cuisine is to take a food tour of Hanoi. We love hopping on a food tour to learn about all the different foods we should order. We didn’t use to take tours or cooking classes, but once we did, it changed the way we traveled. Learning of the local food makes the rest of your trip so much more interesting and helps you branch out from the usual Vietnamese Pho or spring roll dishes.

Tak e this Hanoi walking tour with a real foodie. This 3-hour walking tour takes you into the world of street vendors and lets you sample 10 different local dishes including Bun Cha (grilled pork with noodles), Pho, Banh Mi (Vietnamese bread), Ban Cuon (steamed rice pancake), and Vietnamese desserts. This is a great way to sample Vietnamese food.

Take a Cooking Class

If you want to take a little bit of Vietnam home with you, book a cooking class to learn how to make Vietnamese food. It’s our favorite way to re-visit a destination when we are stuck at home. We start cooking the local dishes and it takes us back to the destination.

Thi s Cooking Class with a visit to a local market is an immersive experience in traditional culture and Vietnamese food. The tour begins with a local market tour where you’ll shop for fresh ingredients and then you’ll make your own meal which you will enjoy with a local glass of wine.

Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Taste Vietnamese Egg Coffee in Hanoi Vietnam

I’m not going to lie, Vietnamese Coffee took some getting used to, but after a few cups, it became a delicious morning treat. Lucky for me, I didn’t know I was drinking egg yolks in my coffee at the time. Hey, whenever I visit a place, I immerse in the local culture without question. If that’s the coffee they give me, that’s the coffee I’ll drink.

Ca Phe Trung aka Egg Coffee isn’t as bad as it sounds. Egg coffee involves beating an egg yolk in condensed milk until it is frothy and creamy. The sweetness is then poured over espresso and makes for a delicious brew. Egg coffee can also be made with iced coffee for a sweet afternoon treat. When you go, give it a try, you may end up liking it. I know we did!

Drink Bia Hi

While we are on the topic of food and drink I have to mention Bia Hi. Hanoi’s famous fresh beer is super cheap, light and refreshing. When visiting Hanoi, pull up a chair at one of the street vendors and order a pitcher of beer. There are Bia Hi vendors all over the Old Quarter of Hanoi and its a great way to rub shoulders with the locals.

Overnight tour to Halong Bay

Best Things to do in Hanoi Vietnam Day trip to Ha Long Bay

A visit to Hanoi wouldn’t be complete without doing a day trip to Halong Bay. In fact, you should make it more than a day trip! You can book overnight tours on a junk boat to Halong Bay from Hanoi and it truly is a highlight of any Vietnamese trip. Halong Bay is a beautiful bay filled with Karst formations.

There are more than 15000 limestone islands jutting out of the bay creating an extraordinary scene. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you should definitely book at least one overnight cruise on the Bay. Read more: Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay – How to Choose Your Cruise?

Go Trekking in Sapa

Things to outside of Hanoi Trekking in Sapa

If you’re looking for more than a day trip from Hanoi, make sure to go to Sapa. Sapa is a mountain town near the Chinese border and can be reached from Hanoi by train. Take a trek into the mountains to see the extraordinary rice terraces plunging down the cliffs. You’ll meet the hill tribes of the area as you stay in a homestay to immerse in the local culture. This is truly a trip you will never forget.

Before going to Sapa, a good museum to visit in Hanoi is the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which offers insight into the 54 ethnicities of Vietnam.

Perfume Pagoda

A good day trip from Hanoi is a visit to Perfume Pagoda or Chua Huong. It is a maze of Buddhist temples built into limestone cliffs. The stalagmites and stalactites inside the caves have been attracting pilgrims and tourists seeking good luck. Inside the cave are several Buddha statues. The journey to the pagoda is a bit of a haul. It’s located 60 km from Hanoi and after arriving by car, you need to transfer to a boat to reach the temple complex. It is then a one-hour walk uphill to Perfume Pagoda.

Try Your Hand At Pottery

Hanoi is surrounded by numerous handicraft villages, each specializing in its own craft. You’ll find villages dedicated to traditional furniture, ceramics, copper, silk, and even snakes. While the snake village definitely sounded like a cool kids attraction, I did travel to Vietnam to find a crockery supplier, not a snake catcher.

Bat Trang, known as ‘the ceramic village’, is located 13km southeast of Hanoi and is a true joy for any ceramic enthusiast. Here you’ll find the potters working the clay, trimming and glazing pots, and filling the kiln. We received the warmest welcome from the non-English speaking toothless craftsman. Pro Tip: Ceramic shops dot the main streets, but the key is to venture down the smaller back-alleys.

Where to Stay in Hanoi, Vietnam

Where to stay in Hanoi Vietnam

Old Quarter – Most tourists stay in the Old Quarter (Hoan Kiem) district of Hanoi. This is a great place for first-time visitors to explore the most popular things to do in Hanoi. This is the area where you’ll find backpacker hostels but there are also luxury hotels. With many restaurants, bars and attractions this is a great area to be in the heart of the action.

Ba Dinh district – This is another good area to stay in Hanoi filled with rich history and attractions. Here you’ll find Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the Military Museum, and the Old Citadel

Tay Ho  – is the ex-pat neighborhood of Hanoi that will give you a western feel. This is a good spot for Hanoi nightlife and there are high-end hotels and restaurants.

How to Get Around Hanoi

How to get around Hanoi Vietnam

Hanoi is a very walkable city and if you are staying in the Hoan Kiem district which is the Old Quarter and French Quarter or Ba Dinh District, you’ll be able to walk to many of its top attractions.

If you want to get around, motorcycle taxis are popular and very cheap.

Taxis are metered and another good and safe way to get around Hanoi.

As you can see, there are so many things to do in Hanoi, you need at least three days in the city. From museums to pagodas, and monuments to military history, a trip to Hanoi has something for everyone. When traveling to Vietnam, make sure to put Hanoi on our list.

This post was originally written by Karin Louzado. It has been completely updated for 2022. You can check out Kerin’s ebook – The Zen Of Toddler Travel and learn how to simplify family travel. Facebook Instagram

Plan Your Trip to Vietnam With These Resources

  • The Best Things to Do in Vietnam
  • Ha Long Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay – How do you Choose?
  • Places You Have to Visit in Southern Vietnam
  • Top Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Cu Chi Tunnels of Vietnam

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18 thoughts on “The 29 Best Things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam”

Fabulous article and very helpful for helping plan my 1st visit to Vietnam

Planning to visit Hanoi soon. Awesome article! Anyway, I plan to take the free walking tour. I haven’t been to Vietnam before. How much should we tip the guide? What is the respectable amount to give? Thanks!

Thank Dave and Debra for your amazing articles. I was attracted from start to finish. I love the way you introduce my hometown – Hanoi to your fans in the whole world. I think your article is very useful for first-time travelers to here. Thanks again!

Reading this is making me miss Hanoi and Vietnam a lot! It’s definitely chaotic and takes a few minutes to get used to. But wow, it such an incredible place filled with amazing things to do and eat, and amazing people!

Time to look up flights back there haha!

This is time is best to visit Hanoi. Hanoi city is the busiest city. I am from the USA. want to visit This is a great place for first-time visitors to explore the most popular things to do in Hanoi.

Hanoi is definitely a must visit in Vietnam. I have lived in Hanoi for 20 years and love this city very much!

Wonderful and very detailed article. I really like it not only about the useful information but also the photos. We had a great time and good memory in Ha Noi, Vietnam. The people are friendly and food was so delicious. Moreover it is a safe city. All you need to care is the traffics.

Ha Noi is such a great place to start the journey in Vietnam. Ha Noi has all the great and interesting things to explore, to play and enjoy! It is such a great start of your trip in Vietnam with kids so they can adapt the new culture in the new country!

I can’t wait to go back to Hanoi and see what I missed last time !

I’d like to add one of good experiences for kid is to take a cyclo (rickshaw) ride. Surely kids would have fun and feel free to watch the busy traffic in Hanoi

Great article, very useful for people preparing their visit with their kids! Cheers

Sound like great! Awesome place to visit. Hope my kids will enjoy a lot as I’m thinking about my next vacation destination there. Hopefully it’ll be great to be there. Thanks a lo for sharing.

Such an interesting & awesome place to travel with kids. So lucky to find this article. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

I liked Ha Noi, it was much more interesting for me than Ho Ci Minh.

Interesting! Hanoi is going on the must-see list.

Such a awesome guide you shared! This city looks really amazing. There are so much to do in Hanoi. Thank you so much for sharing a great experiences and article!!

Hanoi is a wonderful city. Friendly people, tasty dishes and ancient relics

Sounds an Interesting place, I would love to explore it but not with kids, as a solo traveler. Thanks for sharing this lovely guide.

12 Things to do in Hanoi + Tourist Spots

12 Things to do in Hanoi + Tourist Spots

If your heart aspires to find a destination with peaceful and ancient beauty in the midst of an exciting bustling city, Hanoi, the capital City of Vietnam, might be the perfect match that will make your heart fall in love at first sight.

As a crucial economic and trade center, people come from various provinces of Vietnam. You will feel the harmony and friendliness of the people here. Every corner of this city always has a fantastic story to tell. Hanoi’s fresh air and gentle charm enlivens the soul.

Hanoi is a culinary paradise sought after for its street food. Your taste buds will flutter with joy because you don’t need to go to expensive 5-star restaurants to enjoy delicious local dishes and explore new flavors you have never tried.

In addition, there are many stunning spots to see near Hanoi, such as Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh. Northern Vietnam is the perfect place for nature and adventure lovers. Fuel up with tons of outdoor activities like trekking, caving, cycling, camping, & more.

Hanoi travel essentials: (click below to view prices online)

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See also :   Places to Visit in Vietnam  |  Ho Chi Minh Itinerary  |  Things to do in Hanoi  |  Indochina Travel Guide .

1. Hanoi Old Quarter

Bamboo seller, in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi Old Quarter appeared from the Ly – Tran dynasties, keeping traces of the ups and downs of time, bearing historical memories and Vietnamese cultural beauty that has been handed down for thousands of generations. If you plan to visit Hanoi Capital, this place is a must-visit.

Hanoi Old Quarter is located in the center of Hoan Kiem District. It has a total area of ​​about 100 hectares, including 36 streets. Each street has a distinct character lined with shops specializing in a unique craft. For example, Hang Bong or the “Street Of Cotton” is a street lined with shops selling cotton blankets; Hang Ma street is filled with shops selling votive goods and different types of handicrafts; Come to Ta Hien Street to grab some beer.

Especially on weekends, Hanoi Old Quarter at night becomes very lively. The walking tour is trendy here, not only among locals but foreign tourists also love to wander around the Old Quarter. People from provinces often gather to exchange culture and art, from magic games to competitions.

A pleasure not to be missed is enjoying Hanoi Old Quarter cuisine with various dining options, from small sidewalk eateries to luxurious glass-door restaurants. In addition, there are many clothing stores and shops for you to bring home the cutest souvenirs.

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2. Ho Chi Minh Complex

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam

Due to its remarkable historical value, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations. Nearly everyone makes the trek to honor Ho Chi Minh, the Greatest President. He is not just a politician and a revolutionary; he is also a national hero and the man who guided Vietnam to independence.

If you’re there for the first time, you can discover more about Ho Chi Minh’s life and role in Vietnam’s history reflected in the complex’s different sites. There are 6 must-see places in Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex you should visit:

Ba Dinh Square — the largest square in Vietnam, with more than 32,000 square meters, and where Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum — where the body of Uncle Ho is located.

Ho Chi Minh Museum — is one of Vietnam’s largest museums, where documents and artifacts about President Ho Chi Minh and other cultural heritages are displayed.

House No.54 — Where President Ho lived and worked.

Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House — President Ho moved to this stilt house after four years in House No.54.

One Pillar Pagoda — constructed in 1049, under the reign of King Ly Thai Tong. The pagoda and tower were harmoniously combined in the middle of a lotus pond.

Location : 2 Hùng Vương . Save on Google Maps .

3. Water Puppet Show

Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi Water Puppet Show is famous for its puppetry performed entirely on the water. This is an exciting destination for those who love art.

When visiting this place, you will have the opportunity to learn about famous historical legends of Vietnam, which are recreated by wooden puppets and colorful dragons on the water stage. The controllers are experienced and skilled puppeteers with a deep understanding of the art of puppetry.

The remarkable thing here is although the story is narrated entirely in Vietnamese, the music and gestures of the wooden puppets can still convey the entire content of the story to everyone. So even if you don’t know the Vietnamese language, you can still understand and feel the creativity and originality of all the puppet plays here.

If you are in Hanoi Old Quarter or about to visit here, I highly recommend Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, located in the Old Quarter area. And this theater is open every day of the week, so it is convenient for those who have a short trip to Hanoi.

Hanoi City Day Tour with Water Puppet Show

Hanoi guided package tour with water puppet show

4. Enjoy Vietnamese Food & Coffee

Local food stalls, in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is known as a paradise with delicious street food. Anyone who has tasted it once cannot help but come again. I can’t avoid mentioning “sidewalk cafe” when discussing Hanoi’s food scene. Hanoi’s sidewalk cafes have taken on a life of their own. For instance, Nha Tho street is a popular hangout for young people and students who enjoy the sidewalk cafes.

When in Hanoi, you should definitely try these:

Egg coffee (Ca Phe Trung) — on the list of the most enjoyable coffees in the world. The rich taste of coffee blends perfectly with the sweetness of fresh cream, and the fat of egg yolk will make you unforgettable.

Beef Noodle (Pho Bo) — a dish not to be missed in Hanoi cuisine. It is a soft, chewy blend of fresh pho, beef, herbs, and sweet broth.

Hanoi Old Quarter Food Tour

5. Hanoi Museums

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

If you’re looking for a peaceful location with stunning and distinctive art, here are the three famous museums in Hanoi that you don’t wanna miss.

Hanoi Museum  brings contemporary oriental beauty. This is also the most beautiful Museum in Vietnam and one of the most impressive architectural works. The Museum has an area of nearly 54,000 square meters, a height of 30.7m, designed in the shape of an inverted pyramid. Standing in the main hall, you can observe the whole space under a spiral ramp connecting all 4 floors. The highlight here is that all the exhibits in the Museum are displayed and arranged in chronological order.

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum  is a building of French architecture, established in 1966. With a display area of more than 3,000 square meters, the Museum displays typical fine artworks, collections, and historical documents. Vietnamese history. In addition, the Museum also has a nearly 5,000 square meters campus, a culinary space, and a creative space for children.

Museums in Hanoi

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum Location: 66 Phố Nguyễn Thái Học.  Save on Google Maps .

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology Location: Nguyễn Văn Huyên.  Save on Google Maps .

Hoa Lo Prison Museum Location: 1 phố Hoả Lò.  Save on Google Maps .

Vietnamese Women’s Museum Location: 36 Lý Thường Kiệt.  Save on Google Maps .

National Museum of Vietnamese History Location: 1 Tràng Tiền.  Save on Google Maps .

Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution Location: 216 Đường Trần Quang Khải.  Save on Google Maps .

6. Hanoi Train Street

Train Street in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi Train Street is one of Hanoi’s most famous and adventurous tourist attractions. Commuter trains run along this narrow street surrounded by houses & tall buildings.

There’s no place else in the World where you can experience trains pass so close to buildings. The distance between the train and the house doors can be as little as an arm’s length. The incredible scenes at Hanoi Train Street is often featured on social media and popular foreign publications. Here, you also can enjoy delicious coffee for less than $ 1 on what’s popularly described “weirdest” train track in the world.

Location : Trần Phú, Hàng Bông . Save on Google Maps .

7. Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Thang Long Imperial Citadel is a unique golden imprint of Vietnam’s thousands of years of history. If you come to Ha Noi, you must visit Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Admire the monuments and rare antiques and learn about Vietnam’s historical and cultural ups and downs.

Thang Long Imperial Citadel is a beautiful architectural work of Vietnam. It is recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. The citadel spans 18,000 hectares, including important sites like the citadel gate, the palace, and other archaeological areas.

Admire the rare antiques and experience the monuments and works of thousands of years old. Participate in exciting activities such as enjoying the royal court ceremony of the King. Royal dance, incense offering ceremony to commemorate the 52 Kings at Kinh Thien Palace, or a chance to collect water from the King’s wells. The water stream symbolizes holiness and blessing.

Location : 19C Hoàng Diệu . Save on Google Maps .

8. Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake at Night in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hoan Kiem lake is a peaceful spot amid busy Hanoi. It is a worthy place for you to relax and exercise.

A turtle and a king are involved in a thrilling story about this lake. According to legend, a king received a sword from the lake turtle, who gave it to him so he could defeat his foes during the war. To honor the turtle, the king constructed a temple.

Best time to visit is during the weekends when streets around the lake are closed to traffic. People replace vehicles. Laughter replaces horns. Even in the heat of the summer of the day, this is a perfect area to enjoy a cool drink, an ice cream, and observe daily life because of the generous shade from trees and pleasant breeze. Go for an evening hangout along the lakeside, enjoy the shopping experience, and buzzing activities! Give it a try if you are near The Old Quarter.

Location : Hang Trong . Save on Google Maps .

9. Temple Of Literature

Temple Of Literature is the first university in Vietnam. It is a worthwhile place for anyone interested in education and culture, especially young people and students. Dating back to the 12th century, this place is an incredible insight into an old and rich culture. A reminder of how important it is for people to invest in learning to improve their society. The Temple Of Literature is a destination popular among students seeking to connect with history and hoping for some luck to support their studies.

Each monument and building in the inner courtyards tells a tale of education and learning in Vietnam, and lovely walks continue to take you deeper and deeper into them. A lot of shade and lovely gardens to cool off in the heat. It’s a must-visit place if you are sightseeing near Hoan Kiem lake. It’s only a few kilometers away.

10. Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam

Location : Thanh Niên, Yên Phụ . Save on Google Maps .

11. St. Joseph’s Cathedral

St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi, Vietnam

Location : 40 Nhà Chung . Save on Google Maps .

12. Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market, in Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam

Location : Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm . Save on Google Maps .

Ha Long Bay

Cruise boats and blue sky, in Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh, Vietnam

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Hoa Lu and Tam Coc Day Tour from Hanoi

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11 Places To Visit in Ninh Binh

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls

Location : TL 211, Đàm Thuỷ, Trùng Khánh, Cao Bằng, Vietnam . Save on Google Maps .

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in Hanoi that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

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10 Best Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam

10 Best Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam

Natural & Historical Attractions in Hanoi

Rachel Tran

Hanoi is over 1000 years old. Over these years, the city underwent ups and downs in its history, so the richness of history here is overwhelming: ancient architectural structures, temples, pagodas, etc. So great is it that you will be fun-filled to explore the capital of Vietnam all day. 

Want to explore natural and historical attractions in Hanoi, which are famous for its both modern and ancient beauty? Put our guide into your pocket to know the best thing to do in Hanoi , including about what to see and where to visit in the capital of Vietnam!

>> Check Out Our Half-day Cycling Tour to Explore the Typical Values of Hanoi !

1. hoan kiem lake.

1. Hoan Kiem Lake

2. Hoa Lo Prison

2. Hoa Lo Prison

3. Temple of Literature

3. Temple of Literature

4. Long Bien Bridge

4. Long Bien Bridge

5. St. Joseph's Cathedral

5. St. Joseph's Cathedral

6. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

6. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum

7. Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House

7. Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House

8. Old East Gate (O Quan Chuong)

8. Old East Gate (O Quan Chuong)

9. Vietnam Military History Museum

9. Vietnam Military History Museum

10. Vietnam National Museum of History

10. Vietnam National Museum of History

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23 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Hanoi

Hanoi, known as Vietnam’s capital, is also recognized as one of the world’s ancient cities. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of ancient history that surrounds you, a captivating journey that sometimes gets overlooked amidst the allure of the late 20th century.

Travel back in time to the 6th century as you explore the enchanting temples and ancient citadels. But as you travel, you notice Chinese and French colonial architecture. It is visually appealing and transports you to a different destination.

Similar to exploring Vietnam , embarking on a journey through the vibrant city of Hanoi offers a fast-paced and exhilarating travel experience. As I explore the bustling streets, the air is filled with the constant symphony of horns echoing from countless scooters. Every traveler communicates and determines priority more than a set of traffic lights. Embarking on a journey through the streets of Hanoi by foot is a thrilling travel experience, where every corner reveals bustling markets filled with exquisite traditional crafts and the enticing scents of delectable local dishes.

Travelers are captivated by the enchanting fusion of Eastern and Western influences found in Hanoi. Travel to this destination promises an enchanting fusion of Asian Pagodas, communist block buildings, and French Colonial relics. Moreover, it boasts a plethora of exciting and one-of-a-kind tourist attractions, perfect for the intrepid explorer.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

One of the most famous attractions in Hanoi is the serene Hoan Kiem Lake, located on the southern outskirts of the historic old town district.

One of the must-visit destinations in the area is the picturesque lake, with a charming small island that can be reached by crossing a vibrant red bridge. This island is home to Ngoc Son Temple, a place of great significance in Vietnamese history. Inside the temple, you will find reverence for three prominent figures. The first is La To, who is highly regarded as a patron saint of physicians. The second is Van Xuong, a renowned scholar who has left a lasting impact. Lastly, there is Tran Hung Dao, a heroic general from the 13th century who valiantly fought against the invading Mongol army.

Located in the southern section of the lake, there is a charming little island that is perfect for travel enthusiasts. This island is home to the magnificent Turtle Tower, a remarkable sight that can be best appreciated from the nearby bridge.

Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Within the Ba Dinh district, the vibrant Old Quarter is a bustling hub of activity. The excitement envelops you as you embark on a thrilling journey, instead of being a sensory overload. As you journey, the bustling streets of the city will envelop you, creating a vibrant atmosphere filled with the noisy hum of conversations.

The Old Quarter is a charming blend of colonial French architecture, adorning the streets filled with locals donning straw hats and peddling a variety of foods and goods. Here, color and cuisine intertwine seamlessly, painting the quarter in a kaleidoscope of hues and tempting your senses with endless culinary delights.

Travelers who love exploring culinary delights will find Hanoi’s Old Quarter to be a paradise. But also, anyone keen to explore the vibrant energy of the city’s oldest commercial district.

Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature

This is one of the magnificent temples of Confucius, which also happens to be the proud residence of the nation’s inaugural university. Originally constructed in 1070, this magnificent temple serves as a tribute to scholars from all walks of life.

Today, travelers will gather at the steps of a majestic temple during the Asian New Year to witness calligraphists skillfully crafting goodwill wishes in Han characters. These beautifully written messages will be cherished as precious gifts, adding an enchanting touch to the festive atmosphere. The travel destination is a temple that was constructed to resemble Confucius’ birthplace. It boasts five courtyards and a multitude of temples and other structures spread across its vast premises.

While traveling, it is worth mentioning the Stelae of Doctors, a remarkable collection of more than 100 intricately carved blue stone turtles. These magnificent sculptures pay tribute to the individuals who successfully completed the royal exams by inscribing their names upon them.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Traveling through its connection to neighboring countries and Vietnam’s colonial past, the Southeast Asian country offers a rich tapestry of diversity. Experience the vibrant tapestry of Vietnam’s diverse subcultures and their rich heritage as you immerse yourself in the captivating exhibits of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

Vietnam boasts more than 50 indigenous communities, offering a rich cultural tapestry to explore during your travels. Many of them are working side by side with this insightful museum to preserve and celebrate centuries of stories and unique cultures.

When visiting the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, you will be immersed in an authentic cultural experience like no other. The adventurous journey has led to a diverse array of destinations, from ancient ruins to exotic landscapes. If you’re seeking to embark on a journey beyond the vibrant culture of modern Vietnam, this destination is the ideal choice for you.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ba Dinh Square is home to the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, a prominent Vietnamese communist leader. This historical site holds great significance as it was the very spot where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the nation’s declaration of independence back in 1945.

Located in the heart of the city, this impressive architectural marvel draws inspiration from Lenin’s crypt in Moscow. Designed to resemble a traditional communal house, it stands tall with its blocky structure and prominent pillars. While some visitors may perceive it as a concrete cubicle adorned with columns, it remains a fascinating sight for tourists to explore.

Contrary to his desire for a relaxing vacation, the picturesque destination offers a wide range of activities to explore. Visitors can admire the stunning views while adhering to the dress code of comfortable attire. During the end of the year, the mausoleum undergoes a temporary closure for a few months.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Next to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh Museum delves into the life and influence of Vietnam’s most prominent historical figure. Few individuals have had a more profound impact on modern-day Vietnam than Uncle Ho, so gaining insight into his life is instrumental in understanding the country’s history.

Inside the museum, visitors can explore exhibits showcasing his personal belongings, his formative years, and the events that led to his rise to power. In addition to the artifacts, the museum offers various films that provide a more in-depth look at the era, offering both audio and visual components to enhance the experience.

Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison

The Hoa Lo Prison, affectionately referred to as the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs, stands as a historical landmark. Originally constructed by the French, this remarkable structure was intended to serve as a confinement facility for Vietnamese political prisoners. The North Vietnamese Army made use of the prison to accommodate prisoners of war throughout the duration of the Vietnam War.

Senator John McCain, James Stockdale, and Bud Day were just a handful of the numerous prisoners of war that spent time in this prison.

To accommodate the Hanoi Towers, two-thirds of the prison was demolished, while the remaining portion was transformed into a museum, becoming a popular tourist attraction in Hanoi. In 1999, a Hilton Hotel was established in Hanoi, with the deliberate name of the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

hanoi vietnam top tourist attraction

This theater honors a peasant art style that developed over a thousand years ago in the rice terraces. Puppets were easily carved, and puppeteers would stand in the water of the paddies, acting out traditional tasks like as farming or stories such as the golden turtle and the emperor.

The use of water and audience interaction is maintained in the more current rendition. Traditional Vietnamese instruments will be used to produce an opera narrating the movements of the puppets, and musicians will interact with the puppets, supporting the heroes and warning them of oncoming peril.

Rather of braving the monsoon rain that traditionally pelted outside audiences, visitors to the theater may relax and enjoy a meal while learning about this old dramatic art.

Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House

Originally constructed during the French colonial era, the Hanoi Opera House has experienced a modern revitalization. Following its renovation in 1997, the Hanoi Opera House has emerged as a focal point of the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

Inspired by the Paris Opera House, this magnificent building is located in Hanoi’s French Quarter. From the street, you can step back and admire one of Hanoi’s most exquisite examples of colonial architecture, featuring an elegant facade adorned with white columns that harmoniously complement the cream-colored walls.

With a steady stream of events, visitors can unveil the cultural richness and partake in evenings filled with Vietnamese opera, regional dance, ballet, and live music.

Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum

While the events of the Vietnam War are undeniably tragic, this era played a pivotal role in shaping the country throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. For travelers, exploring this crucial part of the nation’s history is highly significant, and the Vietnam Military History Museum offers an excellent opportunity to do so.

Visitors coming from overseas, especially Western countries, will find the museum’s unique perspective quite enlightening. The Military History Museum examines the war, including conflicts with the French, from a local viewpoint. Combining this with your own understanding of these historical events provides a comprehensive insight.

The exhibits at the museum are powerful and emotionally impactful. In addition to firsthand accounts, you can view a detailed model of the renowned Cu Chi Tunnels, various fighter planes, and the remnants of a B52 Bomber.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Located between the Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi’s Old Quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral stands as an architectural masterpiece. This neo-Gothic structure, constructed in 1886, draws inspiration from the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Over the decades, it has become an iconic part of the city’s skyline, despite serving only a small community of Vietnamese Catholics. As the oldest church in Hanoi, St. Joseph’s Cathedral enjoys popularity not only among worshippers but also among tourists.

Travelers who visit the cathedral will often see fellow international visitors capturing selfies with its stunning facade, featuring twin towers flanking a prominent cross. Surrounding the cathedral are well-manicured gardens and trees that provide a peaceful retreat from Hanoi’s scorching sun.

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

If Buddhists were to construct a treehouse, it might closely resemble this one. This temple, dating back to the eleventh century, was commissioned by the emperor as an expression of gratitude upon finally receiving a son.

The temple’s design was intended to mimic a lotus flower emerging from a single pillar in a pond, reminiscent of the prophetic dream that foretold the birth of the emperor’s child.

Within the temple, there resides a small shrine dedicated to the Bodhisattva of Mercy. It’s important to note that the current structure is a reconstruction, as the original temple was destroyed by the French during their withdrawal from the country.

Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel

With a history spanning over two thousand years, Hanoi has a rich and enduring tale to share, and at the heart of it lies the Thang Long Imperial Citadel—a historical site that has been exceptionally well-preserved.

A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the Imperial Citadel showcases the distinctive characteristics of historical architecture intertwined with evident cultural influences.

Preceding the city itself in age, the origins of Thang Long Imperial Citadel traced back to the 7th century. Initially established as a Chinese fortress, it later evolved into the nation’s capital, maintaining its significance in Vietnam’s political and cultural history.

Today, visitors have the opportunity to explore this historic citadel, discovering its iconic gates, towers, and palaces that once served as residences and centers of power for royalty.

Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Vietnamese Women’s Museum

A short journey from the Hanoi Opera House will lead you to the entrance of the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. While its central focus is on the narrative of women throughout Vietnamese history, this museum is decidedly contemporary in its approach.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of the Women’s Union of Vietnam, this museum adeptly portrays the diverse roles, movements, and challenges that have shaped the lives of women in Vietnam, all presented in a vibrant and engaging manner.

Visitors can delve into the evolving lifestyles across the centuries, from their roles as merchants to modern-day entrepreneurs, as well as their pivotal contributions during international conflicts. In addition to their professional pursuits, the museum also offers insights into the everyday aspects of Vietnamese culture, including fashion and motherhood.

Visit the Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda

A wonderful way to escape the bustling and sometimes tiring atmosphere of downtown Hanoi is to embark on a day trip to the Perfume Pagoda. Situated approximately 60km (37 miles) from Hanoi, this enchanting destination transports you from the city’s skyscrapers into an expansive countryside that stretches as far as the eye can see.

Surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, the Perfume Pagoda still requires your attention and some physical effort. Following the drive, you’ll embark on a boat journey across a serene lake, followed by an uphill trek. 

The Perfume Pagoda has historically been a magnet for pilgrims, and its intricate Buddhist temples, integrated into the limestone cliffs, have made it a must-visit attraction. These temples are intricately arranged in a labyrinthine fashion, with glistening stalactites hanging from the cave’s ceilings and adorned with beautiful Buddhist statues along the pathway.

West Lake, Hanoi

In the northwest of Hanoi, you’ll find West Lake, the city’s largest body of water. In the early morning, the gentle light dances across the serene lake, reflecting off the nearby buildings and creating a mesmerizing spectacle in the surrounding trees. It’s a truly enchanting place to be, especially before the sun reaches its zenith and you begin to seek refuge in the shade.

Encircling this expansive lake are natural trails that lead to breathtaking vistas and Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple. Standing at a height of 15 meters (45 feet), it rests on the water’s edge and offers free entry, although it’s advisable to cover your shoulders as a sign of respect.

Vietnam is renowned for its excellent coffee, readily available at various points around West Lake. One of the most delightful activities in Hanoi is to start your day early with a cup of coffee in hand and explore this tranquil green oasis.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Located southeast of Hanoi, Bat Trang Ceramic Village offers a valuable glimpse into traditional Vietnamese culture. The history of ceramic exports in Vietnam dates back to the 13th century, and within this village, you’ll witness the remarkable expertise that has evolved over the centuries.

Amidst an array of pottery, including pots, cups, plates, artwork, and jewelry, a visit to Bat Trang Ceramic Village can quickly turn into a delightful retail therapy session. You’ll find yourself alongside locals as you browse through the merchandise, contemplating which items you might want to sneak into your own luggage.

Beyond shopping and observing the local artisans at work, partaking in a pottery class is a must-do activity here. After all, why not learn from the masters?

Fine Arts Museum

Fine Arts Museum

Occupying two buildings within the historic French Ministry of Information, the Fine Arts Museum houses an impressive and diverse collection of art from around the world. With contributions from both local and international artists, this museum provides an opportunity to satisfy your artistic cravings while gaining insights into Vietnamese artistry.

Referred to as Bao Tang My Thuat, the museum features an opulent European gallery showcasing masterpieces by Monet, Matisse, and Degas. However, a deeper exploration will lead you into the evocative and thought-provoking realm of Vietnamese art. From valuable national treasures to artifacts dating back to prehistoric times, the museum offers another perspective through which to connect with the culture of your destination.

The Fine Arts Museum welcomes visitors every day of the week, except for Mondays.

Train Street

Train Street

You have probably seen the photos and watched the videos. Hanoi’s Train Street has become a must-visit for travelers exploring the Vietnamese capital. Train Street, officially known as Tran Phu Road, is situated in the Old Quarter and features a train track running through a narrow corridor between buildings. Locals caught on to the fascination and started serving drinks and snacks at tiny tables, allowing both locals and travelers to capture unique moments.

However, due to safety concerns, this practice was halted in 2019. Nevertheless, as with other parts of Hanoi (like Ta Hien Beer Street), you may still encounter locals bending the rules. It is advisable to visit when there are no scheduled trains to safely enjoy this distinctive experience.

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market

Experience local shopping alongside the locals at Dong Xuan Market. It’s a sprawling and sometimes overwhelming place, and it may take a moment to orient yourself amidst the vast array of fashion and goods.

Situated on the outskirts of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Dong Xuan Market consists of a labyrinth of narrow alleys filled with stalls. Whether you’re in search of electronics or souvenirs, you’re likely to find what you need here. In addition to items geared towards travelers, you’ll also discover traditional Vietnamese clothing and artisan crafts.

The market spans multiple floors, but to access them, you’ll need to navigate through the bustling fish market section of the building.

Vietnam National Museum Of History

Vietnam National Museum Of History

Vietnam National Museum Of History, constructed in 1925, originally served as a school during the French colonial era in Vietnam. The building itself presents an elegant blend of Chinese and French architectural styles.

Within the museum, visitors can explore a variety of fascinating exhibits, including bronze artifacts dating back to the 3rd century BC, which are associated with the Dong Son culture. Additionally, the museum houses a collection of Hindu statues from the ancient Champa and Khmer kingdoms, as well as galleries showcasing intricate Vietnamese jewelry.

Furthermore, there are dedicated galleries that delve into the history of the French colonial period and the Vietnam War, offering valuable insights into Vietnam’s past.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple, traces its origins back to the 6th century. It is situated on an island within West Lake, requiring visitors to first cross an elegant bridge with the shimmering waters below.

From a distance, one can admire the 11-story Stupa Tower, which reaches a height of 15 meters (45 feet). However, a closer look reveals the pagoda’s intricate details, including the Amitabha Buddha statues housed inside. These statues are adorned with glistening gemstones, adding significance to this ancient and beautiful temple.

It is advisable for guests to dress conservatively when visiting Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Try the egg coffee at Giang Cafe

Giang egg coffee

Hanoi is renowned for its egg coffee, a delightful treat that might not sound appealing at first but is surprisingly delicious. This unique coffee has a taste similar to eggnog, created by beating egg yolks with condensed milk until they become thick and fluffy.

The creamy mixture is then poured over a shot of traditional Vietnamese coffee, resulting in a smooth yet robust caffeine experience. To savor this specialty, one of the top spots in the city to try it is Giang Cafe, which has been serving this signature beverage for many years.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Hanoi: Best Areas & Hotels

Q: Is Hanoi a safe city for tourists?

A: Hanoi is generally safe for tourists, but it’s advisable to exercise the usual precautions and be mindful of your belongings.

Q: What is the best time to visit Hanoi?

A: The best time to visit Hanoi is during the cool and dry months from October to April.

Q: Do I need a visa to visit Vietnam?

A: It depends on your nationality. Many travelers to Vietnam require a visa, so check the requirements before your trip.

Q: Is it customary to tip in Hanoi?

A: Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory. It’s common to leave a small tip in restaurants and for tour guides.

Q: What should I wear when visiting temples in Hanoi?

A: Modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees is respectful when visiting temples in Hanoi.

Related posts:

19 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Vietnam


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Hanoi Attraction - Top Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

Hanoi Attraction - Top Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

About Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam

Hanoi attractions you shouldn't miss, 1. temple of literature and imperial academy.

  • 2. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

3. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex

4. sword-return lake (hoan kiem lake), hanoi old quarter and french quarter, 5. hanoi temples, pagodas, communal houses.

  • 6.1. Museum of Ethnology
  • 6.2. Vietnam Fine Art Museum
  • 6.3. Vietnam Women’s Museum
  • 6.4. National Historical Museum
  • 6.5. Museum of Hanoi
  • 7. Maison Centrale - Hoa Lo prison

8. Bat Trang Ceramic Village

9.1. chuong village - home to conical hat, 9.2. vac village - birdcage making, 9.3. perfume pagoda, 9.4. thay pagoda.

Hanoi is one of the top destination that come up into traveler mind when visiting Vietnam. You may not visit all of the Hanoi attractions  in only one trip. Some favour the historic sites while the other love the cultural places, let's find out about top tourist attractions in Hanoi to add to your memorable journey.

Table of content

Hanoi (Ha Noi), the capital as well as Cultural and political center, is located in the northern part of Vietnam, within the Red River delta. Hanoi has been through a lot in its lifetime - from being the capital of an empire to being at the heart of a war-torn country. But it has always managed to rebound and become a thriving metropolis and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. Nowadays, Hanoi is famous for its bustling scene with a population of over 8.3 million which resulted in a hurried lifestyle. However, there is another richer and more tranquil look to it which you can discover throughout the many tourist attractions in Hanoi .

Ha Noi is one of the many names that was given to the city. Throughout history, the names change with time and dynasties; from Thang Long (Ascending dragon), Dong Quan, Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital) and now Ha Noi in which Ha means “river” and Noi means “inside”; so, the name literally means the city within rivers. Similar to many civilizations, Hanoi became an important part because of its position: Riverside; favorable for trading as well as developing agriculture. As a cradle of civilization, Hanoi soon developed quickly in religion, economy, culture despite the effects that many wars had brought on. These below Hanoi attractions are the standing evidence of the coexistence between two states: Tradition and modernity, bustling and laidback.

Ideal visiting time: September - November for the weather but bustling and interesting all year long. If you are planning for a several-day tour in Vietnam then.

Tourist attractions in Hanoi  Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 to worship Confucius and the practice of Confucianism. Then in 1076, the Imperial Academy was established in order to educate princes, nobles and bureaucrats. Later, it was considered to be Vietnam’s first university.  In the 11th century, Confucianism was not just a belief, it was a living, working and reigning standard which focused on perfecting one’s morals. The students weren’t taught science or math; instead, they learnt Confucianism principle and literature. On the other hand, these attractions’ architecture is well preserved although parts of it were rebuilt after the war and colonial period. If you look closely, every decorative detail in the vicinity has its own meaning such as the Constellation of Literature pavilion or the four holy beasts on the pillars in front of the entrance, etc. Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy portray a perfect intellectual and materialistic image of how feudal life was.

>> See more:  The Temple of Literature - A Symbol of Learning and Culture in Hanoi

2. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The origin of this Ha Noi attraction dates back to the 7th century, when its very first foundation was set up. Under Chinese invasion at the time, Đại La (original name by the Northern Dynasties) Chinese fortress was said to be built in the area. In 1010, Hanoi was first chosen to be the capital of VN by king Lý Thái Tổ and remained to be the central city for many centuries. As one of oldest cities in the world, Hanoi certainly has its own way to stand out from fellow Southeast Asian cities. Its rich culture is reflected on one of the most ancient historical sites: the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long . Originally, it was the place where kings reigned while imperial ceremonies and great national affairs were celebrated.

Tourist attractions in Hanoi  Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

While visiting The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long , you have the opportunity to explore the in-depth history of Hanoi through many aspects and moments in time. The Imperial Citadel offers many layers of evidence from the archeological site in 18 Hoang Dieu as well as the exhibition spaces throughout the vicinity. The exhibition area is well organized with A/C support so visitors won’t have to worry about Hanoi’s heat during the summer. Advancing inward, you can visit the house D67 – Headquarters of the Defense Ministry, where the People’s Army of Vietnam planned their major moves against US forces. With everything in store, the central sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long – UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must visit place when you visit Hanoi.

>> See more:  Discover Thang Long Citadel - Half-Day Tour

Ho Chi Minh (Uncle Ho) is one of the most respected leaders and national heroes of Vietnam. He had sacrificed his whole life for the better of the Vietnamese people. In order for the next generation and the Southern compatriots to show their respect to uncle Ho after the long, divided war, the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum was constructed to hold the remains of the Great Father. Beside the Mausoleum, other attractions within the complex will also assist you to learn about Uncle Ho and his journey with the people of Vietnam towards independence and freedom.

Tourist attractions in Hanoi Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex

The Complex includes; Ba Dinh Square, frontal square of the Mausoleum, where the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam was introduced by Ho Chi Minh himself on 02/09/1945. Moving on to the Ho Chi Minh Museum, it holds a tremendous exhibition which contains priceless historical documents and show-pieces, systematically reflecting Ho Chi Minh’s Working Life and Vietnam’s Revolutionary Way. Behind the Mausoleum are the House No.54 and Uncle Ho’s house on stilts where he worked and lived since 1954. The houses reflect the simple life of Uncle Ho, who refused to live a luxury life while his People were suffering. Besides, the One Pillar Pagoda is also an attractive religious place with interesting architecture and mysterious chronicles. Together, these tourist attractions in Hanoi will potentially bring so much more to you visit.

3.1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Address: 25 Hung Vuong, Dien Ban, Ba Dinh, Hanoi Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday Opening hours:  (Seasonal) April 1st to October 31st: 07.30 - 10.30 (Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays: 07.30 - 11.00) November 1st to March 31st of next year: 8.00 - 11.00 Entrance fee: VND 25,000 (if you proceed to the Ho Chi Minh house on stilts, the separate fee is VND 25,000)

3.2. Ho Chi Minh Museum

Address: 185/19 Ngoc Ha, Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Hanoi Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday Opening hours: Morning: from 08:00 to 12:00 Afternoon: from 14:00 to 16:30 Entrance fee: VND 25,000 

Tourist attractions in Hanoi  Hanoi Old Quarter

When you visit Hanoi, it would be a mistake to not visit Hanoi Old Quarter , French Quarter and the narrow streets around Hoan Kiem Lake . These Hanoi landmarks are the center of cuisine and culture where you can experience the life of a Hanoian. Unlike the previous attraction, instead of reading, watching and hearing to find information, you will have to actually blend into the bustling street of Hanoi Old Quarter , try haggling for goods, taste traditional food from all around Vietnam from dusk till dawn and sip the famous Vietnamese coffee in the morning, while reading your favorite books. If by any chance you are tired of all the noises and tumult of the street, wake up early and take a stroll around Hoan Kiem lake on the weekend on the walking street. The multi characteristics of the Old Quarter have made so many expats and tourists fall in love, now come and experience it for yourself 

Walking streets open every Friday night - Sunday night with the majority of the streets around the lake closed for walking-only beside many other activities.

Religion is one of the most important aspects in Vietnam, it reflects Vietnamese people's spiritual life. As a result, these religious attractions in Hanoi were built to satisfy our demands. Most of these venerable attractions date back to the 17th century or even older. Each of them was built for a different purpose: 

  • Temples: worshiping Vietnamese Saints, Mother Goddess and the Guardians who protect the area; 
  • Pagodas: practicing Buddhism; 
  • Communal houses: worshiping the village’s spiritual leaders village meetings, ceremonies and parties

However, once you visit them, you will be able to spot the similarities: the distinctive smell of incense; the murmured whispers of the worshipers, politely asking for the blessings from the Gods; the tranquil and venerable atmosphere. Interestingly, some places even offer fortune telling which is quite accurate (based on personal experience). On the other hand, these attractions have a wide range of architectural features, paintings, and engravings recognizable from the 16th - 18th centuries. Like the Temple of Literature, these Hanoi attractions are the perfect mixture of spiritual and materialistic values of Vietnamese culture. 

Tourist attractions in Hanoi Ngoc Son Temple

Recommended places (within Hanoi center): Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, Tay Ho temple, Ngoc Son Temple, Chem village communal house, Hai Ba Trung temple…

Hanoi suburb: Mong Phụ communal house (Duong Lam ancient village), Tuong Phieu communal House, Va Temple

Keep in mind that you need to dress properly (no miniskirts, tanktop, crop top and shorts) entering these spiritual places to show respect. This is part of the Vietnamese tradition and culture.

>> See more:  Hanoi full-day city tour

6. Museums in Hanoi

Continue to discover the list of Hanoi landmarks , the Museums in Hanoi have recently been renovated and improved significantly. Many are situated in French colonial, French mixed Chinese or modern architecture style buildings. Through several senses, the museum system provides a comprehensive image of Vietnamese culture, history, and people. The exhibitions vary from the histories of conflict and revolution within Vietnam, the liberation movements against many foreign occupations to the fabulous and colorful insights of 54 ethnic groups and the gorgeous yet simple images of Vietnamese people. The recommended museum attractions in Hanoi are:

6.1. Museum of Ethnology

Tourist attractions in Hanoi Museum of Ethnology

  • Address: 1 Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay
  • Opening day: Tue - Sun (Except for Monday and Lunar New Year)
  • Opening hours: 08:30 - 17:30
  • Adult: 40,000 VND
  • University students: 15,000 VND
  • Elementary to High school students: 10,000 VND
  • Elderly people, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities: 50% discount on ticket price
  • Children under 6 years old, people with severe disabilities, ICOM cards, journalists’ cards, sponsors: Free.

6.2. Vietnam Fine Art Museum

  • Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh
  • Opening day: Every day (except for Mondays)
  • Opening hours: 08:30 - 17:00
  • Ticket price: VND 40.000

6.3. Vietnam Women’s Museum

  • Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Str, Hoan Kiem
  • Opening day: Everyday
  • Opening hours: 08:00 - 17:00

6.4. National Historical Museum

Tourist attractions in Hanoi National Historical Museum

  • Address: 1 Trang Tien street, Hoan Kiem
  • Opening hours: 08.00 - 12:00, 13:30 - 17:00

6.5. Museum of Hanoi

  • Address: Pham Hung Street, Me Tri, Nam Tu Liem
  • Opening hours: 08.00 - 11:30 & 13:30 - 17.00
  • Ticket Price: Free

>> See more:  Hanoi half-day biking tour

7. Maison Centrale - Hoa Lo prison

Tourist attractions in Hanoi Hoa Lo Prison

If you wonder why Vietnamese people are strong-willed patriots and how they can reclaim their independence time after time, then Hoa Lo Prison is the perfect attraction for you. This Hanoi attraction is a symbol of colonialist exploitation and of the bitterness of the Vietnamese revolutionists toward the French. Hoa Lo prison was built by the French in 1896 and was named “Central House'' (Maison Centrale). This attraction has an important role for French colonists in suppressing the antagonist of the colonial system. On the other hand, for the Vietnamese, the prison is a revolutionary “institute” where their patriotism was molded and hardened to an unbreakable point. Hoa Lo was one of the scariest prisons in SouthEast Asia at the time with an overall area of 12000m2, surrounded by a 4m tall, 0.5m thick electrical fortified wall; equipped with a 4m tall Guillotine and security measures imported from France, it oozes a frigid and deadly atmosphere. However, just like the name of this Hanoi attraction - Hoa Lo (fiery furnace), the fire of patriotism inside of Vietnamese revolutionists' hearts burns endlessly and has inspired many later generations. Nowadays, Hoa Lo Prison ’s size has been reduced to 2400m2 and turned into a Museum, but the image and the atmosphere remain unchanged.

Location:  1 Hoa Lo Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi  Opening hours:  from 08h00 to 17h00 every day except special holidays.  Ticket price:  VND 30,000/pax.

>> See more:  Hoa Lo Prison Relic - One of Hanoi's Famous Historical Landmarks

Tourist attractions in Hanoi Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Located 13 km SouthEast of Hanoi, in a clay-rich area, Bat Trang Ceramic Village  has the advantage of materials to create fine ceramics. Moreover, lying just beside the Red River, between Thang Long and Pho Hien, two of the most bustling trade centers in the north of Vietnam during the 15th-17th century. Bat Trang’s ceramics were favorite products not only in the domestic market but also the foreign ones such as Japan, China, Holland, Portugal etc. thanks to the prime position of Vietnam on the World map due to the trade wind. The ceramics products of Bat Trang vary from household wares, ceremonial wares, ornaments,... Bat Trang ceramics are famous for its quality, glaze and variety in color, and decorations; each product carries many decorative details reflecting the Vietnamese culture and beliefs through hundreds of years. This Hanoi attraction will be a perfect destination to learn about Vietnamese culture and bring home some beautiful ceramic souvenirs.

How to get to Bat Trang Ceramic Village? Bus 47 (Long Bien- Bat Trang) stops just a few steps from Dong Xuan Market with the end terminal in Bat Trang ceramic village . The bus runs every 20 minutes. Rent and ride a motorbike from the center of Hanoi to Bat Trang ( 20 minutes)  Rent an Xe Om or Taxi to take you there!

>> See more:  Nom ancient village & Bat Trang pottery center - 01 Day

9. Other attractions near Hanoi

Located far from Hanoi’s centre about 30km, Chuong Village is a traditional village where you can discover how hats are made. The green palm leaves gone through many process under the skillful hand of villagers then become the beautiful products.

Chuong Village

Vac Village, located 30km far from Hanoi center, is well-known for different traditional handicraft, particularly bird cages. In the village, there are still 100 households making bird cages for a long time. The products are decorated nicely and made with high quality. This is an ideal destination for bird tender and visitors also.

Bird Cages made in Vac Village

Bird Cage made in Vac Village

Chua Huong (also known as Perfume Pagoda) is located 60km to the southwest of Hanoi, built since 15th century. To reach the sacred Perfume Pagoda, tourists have to book a boat ride with the locals. Along the Yen stream, you can witness the blooming apricot and lotus flower in spring. Most of pilgrims and tourists come to the pagoda seek for happiness, wealth and prosperity.

Tourist attractions in Hanoi Perfume Pagoda

Chua Thay (also known as Thay Pagoda) located around 25km to the southwest of Hanoi centre. The harmony natural landscape and special ancient architecture turn Thay Pagoda an alluring spiritual attraction in Hanoi. In 3rd lunar month every year, people help Thay Pagoda festival to celebrate Zen Master Tu Dao Hanh – the ancestor of water puppetry.

tourist attractions in hanoi thay pagoda

With above information, we hope you can sort out the perfect trip in Hanoi, Vietnam. If you would like to get help to customize the Hanoi Tour and Vietnam Tour, feel free to send us your request via this link: Customize Vietnam Tour

>> Hanoi Tours with real-time pricing: Hanoi Private Tours, Day Trips & Excursions

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  • Hanoi Guide: What to do? Top Attractions

Located in the north of Viet Nam, Hanoi is a beautiful city that cannot be missed out from the journey along this beautiful country. Yet, how to explore this capital city of Vietnam might challenge you as a first-time tourist here. Today, we’ll help you with an overall guide about Hanoi.

About Hanoi

In case you haven’t known, the little city is recognized as the City for Peace by UNESCO, and the oldest capital city among those in Southeast Asia.

On having evidence of human residence about 20,000 years ago and becoming the capital city of Vietnam in 1010, Hanoi is a city with such a long history and plays a central role in the politics, economy and culture of the country. Throughout the time, this city has expanded in terms of area and population to about over 8 million people living in 12 districts.

Because of the centralized services in the city, people from all over the country, especially the northern, have flocked to Hanoi to receive higher education or look for job opportunities. Therefore, you will find traces of cultures from diverse nearby areas in the city.

What time is best to visit Hanoi?

Unlike the all-the-year hot weather in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), it can be cold or warm in Hanoi depending on the season. Therefore, your favorite weather will choose a suitable time for you. To be short, the weather throughout the year will be:

  • December – March: cold, windy, temperature can be as low as 10 degrees Celsius
  • April – May: warmer
  • June – August: extremely hot, it can be 39 degrees during the peak of the intense heat
  • September – November: cooler

There will be days with bright blue sky or ones with murky grey sky in each season. So it’s like a fortune wheeler to ensure your visiting time will be those perfect days. One more thing to note is the rain and humid times. February, March, or even April can be annoyingly humid, while the rainy season will start from August to October. Remember to bring appropriate clothes for your health and some face masks to avoid Covid-19 (of course!) and occasional bad AQI days

If you can’t make your decision, avoiding rainy times is the easiest option. Visiting on Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year), which might be in February or March, is also not recommended as businesses close and people go back to their hometown.

How to go to Hanoi?

If you’re starting your trip from another country, the answer is definitely a flight to Noi Bai airport. Nonetheless, chances are that you’re in another city in Vietnam like HCMC, Da Nang, Hue, and so on. In that case, there are 3 options for you: plane, train, and sleeper bus. The price decreases and transporting time increases respectively; consequently, the bus is not in consideration due to lengthy and tiring trip.

You want convenience, little travel time, and you have quite a good budget? Choose to have a flight. Vietnam Airlines (the so-called national airlines) and Bamboo Airways are highly suggested for those who want quality service. The price for a one-way flight from Saigon to Hanoi (probably the longest trip in Vietnam) currently ranges from $50 to $315 for these two airlines, not to mention there’re special deals from just $5. You can book tickets on their websites and or through e-commerce websites/applications like, Shopee, Momo, etc.

You want to explore the beautiful landscape of the countryside on the trip and have some time to spare? Going to Hanoi by train is for you! The time is much longer, about 38 hours. But it’s worth seeing the beauty of the country from day till night before exploring the capital city, isn’t it? At a cost of $40 to $55, you will have a seat on the train by Vietnam Railway. Online tickets are sold on

Which places in Hanoi to visit?

You’re in the capital city of national administration, politics, economy, and culture. Which are better than the historic places to grasp the essence of the city? Monuments, temples, agodas, museums, and places with history are a must to pay a visit. However, the number will be overwhelming if visitors are short of time. No more worries, we’ve created a list for you to choose from:

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Ba Dinh Dist.): It’s the resting place of President Ho Chi Minh, the founder of current Vietnam and the hero of the nation. If you’re able to pay a visit to the mummified hero, please show respect by being quiet and wearing formal clothes while going inside.
  • Temple of Literature (Dong Da Dist.): Built in 1070, the place served as Vietnam’s first national university. Every Tet, people come here to ask for artworks of calligraphy, wishing for wisdom and luck in exams.
  • Hoa Lo Prison (Hoan Kiem Dist.): Like its Vietnamese name, which means fiery stove, it was literally hell for Indochina and later American prisoners during Vietnam War. Here, you will go back time to observe the crime of humanity and resilience of prisoners through reconstructed statues.
  • Many, many museums: Vietnam Military History Museum (Ba Dinh Dist.), The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Ba Dinh Dist.), Ho Chi Minh Museum (Ba Dinh Dist.), Ho Chi Minh Relics House (Hoan Kiem Dist.), Museum of People’s Public Security (Hoan Kiem Dist.), Museum of Vietnamese Literature Diagram (Tay Ho Dist.), Vietnam Natural Museum (Cau Giay Dist.), etc.

There’re a lot more museums and places with history; however, these are the most worth sightseeing to know more about the history of Vietnam and Hanoi in particular. For something more fun, scroll down to know what they are!

What to buy for gifts and souvenirs?

To keep a memory of a place for yourself, it’s best to look for the specialties of that place. If you want some souvenirs, you sometimes see people selling those at some of the tourist attractions mentioned in this article. But remember, those staying in a place with history may have spiritual power, so if you find an uneasy feeling after owning them, you should get rid of them immediately.

Additionally, souvenirs can be purchased in tourist-targeted shops, specifically those in Hoan Kiem District. You will find Hanoi-related models, cards, clothes, things like that. They’re meaningful, but always remember to negotiate for a better deal. Learning to bargain is what should be done for every tourist on their first visit to a city, right?

Foods as Gifts

If you want something more than just commercial souvenirs, foods and traditional clothes are best to buy. You can look for Vietnamese snacks in the supermarkets to enjoy on the trip in Hanoi, or Com (Young Rice) is the best. Soft, chewy, full of earthy flavor, it will give you an authentic feeling of an old city with over 1000 years of history. Banh Com, made of this rice, is also worth a try. The best Com and Banh Com are said to be sold on Hang Than street and by street vendors in Hoan Kiem district. An important note is that Banh Com has less than 1 week until its expiry date due to no preservative additionals, but Com can be kept fresh and yummy in an air-tight container in a freezer for a much longer time.

Besides, O Mai is another thing to try and bring home for your family and friends. They’re sweet and sour, good for your health and well-loved snack/medicine for the royal family in the past and people of all ages these days. You can buy them at Hong Lam, a famous brand specialized in providing quality O Mai in beautiful packaging. O Mai Tien Thinh (21 Hang Duong St.), O Mai Gia Loi (8 Hang Duong St.), O Mai Van Loi (Hang Da) are also known for producing delicious O Mai for many family generations.

Are you (or your gift recipients) a chocolate lover? Try Maison Marou Hanoi for delicious chocolate with amazing flavors, including those relating to Vietnamese cuisine like Pho!

Clothes and Jewelry as Gifts

Traditional clothes are a good choice. Ao Dai is more well-known to the world as Vietnamese traditional clothes. Nonetheless, there are now more options as various Viet Phuc (Vietnamese traditional clothes) are recently on the rise. You can find Ao Tac, Ao Vien Linh, Ao Nhat Binh, and many others online or at some shops. If you want to buy on e-commerce platforms, search Việt Phục on Shopee and there’ll be some options with good reviews.

To look up close at store, you can visit the address on the Facebook page of V’style – Viet Co Phuc cach tan (V’style – Modernized Vietnamese Traditional Clothes) or Thuy Trung Nguyet (Moon in Water). Clothes go with jewelry. Hi’de Maison (116 Pho Duc Chinh St.) is a place to shop handcrafted silverware, from Kieng (traditional Viet necklace), earrings, rings, to haircombs and cutlery. Silver Soul Studio is another place offering high-quality handmade silver jewelry inspired by nature on the 2nd floor of 174 Xa Dan 2 alley.

Other ideas

For some gifts ideas, you can visit Crabit (adorable stationery store), The Craft House (board games and creative items), LiuLo Arts & Craft (creative, artistic heaven),…

What are local experiences in Hanoi you should try?

Wander around Hoan Kiem Lake to explore the Old Quarters. The weekdays will make the streets a little bit crowded, busy and a bit scary for first-time crossing the streets, but you just need to stay calm, look for a space with no furious upcoming riders and decisively go ahead. Or go at weekend, and you will see no vehicles around the lake but people playing, dancing and singing everywhere. Another lake to visit is Ho Tay (West Lake). You will see people running, jogging around the lake or others going to a cafeteria nearby with their friends. Couples also love to go here to enjoy a moment with their lovers.

The Train Road, or locally Tran Phu Street, is a destination for something unique. There’s a railway with actual trains passing daily despite houses less than 1 meter away from them on two sides. You should have some coffee, or even Pho (the famous noodle), at the time of the train coming, and take some pictures to tell your story of a bizarre experience.

As for people with artistic souls, exhibitions here and there in the Hoan Kiem district are worth your visit. Yet, if you want to know what the young here are interested in, you can look up if there is an exhibition at VCCA in Royal City shopping mall. Paintings, sculptures are sometimes displayed here without any ticket, making it a perfect place for many gen Z to check-in. Water Puppet Show at 49 Dinh Tien Hoang St. (Hoan Kiem Dist.) is good as well to immerse in Vietnamese culture.

To relax your muscles after long days of going around, some sessions of hair washing or massage is amazing. Dao’s Care in Tay Ho Dist. or Nha Ba Gian in Hoan Kiem Dist. are good places, considering the medicinal herbs and traditional methods.

What to eat in Hanoi?

Savory foods.

Going to Hanoi, no wonder that Pho and Banh Mi are must-try. But there are many other foods to enjoy. Here are your savory list to try:

  • Xoi: sticky rice with various toppings like eggs, pate, stewed pork, sausages, etc.
  • Different types of traditional rice noodles like Bun: Bun Bo (beef), Bun Ga (chicken), Bun Cha, Bun Rieu Cua (crab meat), Bun Dau Mam Tom (cold noodle with shrimp paste and other toppings)
  • Banh Cuon: soft rice pancakes
  • And even skewers on the streets are our recommendation for you in the journey of Vietnamese cuisine.

When it comes to desserts, Trang Tien ice cream on Trang Tien street is where you go straight ahead. Popsicles and ice-cream cones from natural ingredients are what the shop served for years in Hanoi. You must also put Che in your food list, especially when you’re in the Hoan Kiem district. In summer, you can eat:

  • Che Dau (black/mung/red/white bean)
  • Che 4 Mua, Che Hat Sen (Lotus Seed)

In winter, these 2 followings are best to warm up your stomach:

  • Xoi Che Ba Cot
  • Banh Troi Nuoc

Ca Phe, Vietnamese coffee, must be on your list. Its flavor has already crossed the border and gained the love of the whole world, You can try the classic black coffee or Bac Xiu, and the local Egg Coffee at many coffee shops. The coffee culture has flourished in Hanoi in recent years, so you’ll easily find one, especially in the Hoan Kiem district or Tay Ho district.

In addition to coffee, another caffeine beverage you should try is tea. A perfect place for you to enjoy different types of tea with some pastries in a calming atmosphere is The Social Tea Hub on Tay Son Street. Phuc Long teashop chain is another destination for tea lovers.

If the foods and drinks are a means to join with local life, you must try the beer corner on Ta Hien St. at night. Sitting on a chair apparently for a 6-year-old, you have local beer and side dishes to have some fun with your friends and people close by. What a way to end the day!

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Hanoi Travel Guides , Northern Vietnam Travel Guides , Travel Guides , Vietnam Travel Guides

Tourist attractions in hanoi: 10 incredible places to visit.

Located in the Red River Delta, Hanoi , the peaceful and ancient capital of Vietnam , is home to approximately 8.5 million residents. Despite its thousand-year history, Hanoi is envisioned not only through long-standing cultural and architectural works but also through dynamic and exciting activities. Below is a list of 10 must-see tourist attractions in Hanoi , curated by Asia Legend Travel . Let’s embark on a journey to discover the beauty of this thousand-year-old city right away!

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Sword Lake

Speaking of tourist attractions in Hanoi , Sword Lake (also known as Hoan Kiem Lake) is located in the heart of Hanoi and the middle of the old quarter, making it ideal for all excursions. This lake is associated with a historical myth dating back a thousand years ago. Legend has it that a divine Golden Turtle had lent King Le Thai To a magical sword to help him fight and defeat the invaders. After the victory, the King returned the sword to the Golden Turtle on this very lake.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Sword Lake

Visiting this lake, travelers not only get a feel for the history but also marvel at other tourist attractions in Hanoi built inside it. In the middle of the lake are Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) and the beautiful The Huc Bridge that leads to the Ngoc Son Temple, which has unique architecture and scenery.

The next on the list of best tourist places in Hanoi Vietnam is West Lake. As one of the must-visit Hanoi sightseeing places, it is the largest natural freshwater lake in Hanoi. The lake view is so breathtaking, with numerous historical sites nearby. West Lake still retains its beauty regardless of the parts of the day: tranquil and misty in the early morning while vibrant and bustling when the sun goes down.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: West Lake

A favorite activity of Hanoians is riding around West Lake and watching the sunset. In recent years, there has been a variety of water activities enhanced around the lake, making it a place not only to sit and quietly enjoy the scenery but also to participate in outdoor activities.

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is one of the well-known tourist attractions in Hanoi. It was built in 1070 under King Ly Thanh Tong as a place of worship for Confucius, Confucian scholars, scholars, and sages. Temple of Literature is also known as Vietnam’s first university, which nurtured talents for the country.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Temple of Literature

To this day, the temple remains a symbol of the cradle of Vietnamese thousand-year civilization. Students religiously believe that this temple will bring them good luck in exams. Therefore, on the occasion of the Lunar New Year and examination season, the temple is packed with people praying and waiting for lucky calligraphy.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Not only does Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum have a political and historical significance in Hanoi but also a prominent role in the hearts of all Vietnamese people. It is the resting place of Vietnamese revolutionary leader and President Ho Chi Minh. Located in Ba Dinh Square, this historical attraction is covered with a vast green of grass and trees, giving visitors an immediate sense of peace and solemnity.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

At this place, the flag-salute ceremony takes place every morning at 6:00 AM and evening at 9:00 PM. This activity gives a deeper understanding of the heartfelt gratitude of the Vietnamese people to the Father of the country. All visitors are required to dress formally (no tank tops and shorts are allowed) and remain silent throughout the ceremony.

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter is one of the must-see Hanoi tourist spots . The highlight of this area is that each street specializes in one specific product, with the name of each street indicating the products sold. Hàng Tre (Bamboo Street), for example, sells tall bamboo sticks and all kinds of bamboo objects; Hàng Bạc (Silver Street) is where to purchase gold and silver jewelry, and so on.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Hanoi Old Quarter

The setting of the streets shows not only traditional commercial culture but also unique and iconic architectural styles, including hundreds of ancient and historic buildings such as temples, pagodas, assemblies, and ordinary residential housing. Visitors can also sample a variety of local foods here. Taking a cyclo, bicycling, or walking are recommended to explore this area.

Hoa Lo Prison

This is one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Hanoi for those who are into Vietnam’s history. Hoa Lo Prison, also known as Maison Centrale, was built by the French in 1896 to capture revolutionary soldiers fighting against the colonial regime. The former prison covers an area of over 12,000 square meters. However, there are only 2,434 square meters for tourist purposes. The campus is divided into four zones: A and B (misdemeanors and warning penalties), C (French and foreign offenders), and D (felons and death sentences).

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Hoa Lo Prison

This prison depicts the harsh conditions soldiers had to endure and the brutal punishments during the French colonial era. With its significant historical role, Hoa Lo Prison has become one popular tourist attractions in Hanoi, attracting domestic and international visitors.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010, marking its 1,000th anniversary, Hoang Thanh Thang Long ( Imperial Citadel of Thang Long ) is an important historical and cultural relic in Vietnam. Home to various imperial palaces and other ancient royal structures under thousands-of- year feudalism, this campus continues to be the political center of Vietnam until this day.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

There are three destinations worth visiting on the campus (to name but a few):

  • The Flagpole (or Hanoi Flag Tower) was in the nineteenth century with spiral stairs leading to the top where visitors can have a 360-degree view of the entire Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
  • The gates were built in four directions, reflecting the splendor and iconic architectural style of ancient Vietnam.
  • Dien Kinh Thien (Kinh Thien Palace) is a historic fortress and former royal residence where all the formal royal ceremonies occurred.

Long Bien Bridge

Your travel to Hanoi will not be complete without visiting Long Bien Bridge, one of the incredible Hanoi tourist places. This was the first steel bridge built across the Red River originally to facilitate colonial exploitation during the French invasion. As time has passed, this bridge has witnessed all the bittersweet the nation has endured and has become one of the most iconic, favored with the nickname “the historical witness.”

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Long Bien Bridge

This bridge divides into two traffic lanes, mainly for light vehicles and pedestrians, with the railway running through in the middle. Being on the bridge as the trains pass by is a mesmerizing experience, while a stroll on the bridge offers visitors panoramic views of Hanoi from afar. There is a lush banana island with peaceful countryside landscapes under the bridge, accessible by taking the secret stairs in the middle of the bridge (bicycles are also available).

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda, also known as Chua Mot Cot, Dien Huu pagoda, or Lien Hoa Dai, was built by King Ly Thai Tong in 1049 and has undergone numerous restorations due to war damage. Legend has it that the King dreamed of the bodhisattva deity Quan Am (or Lady Buddha) sitting on a blooming lotus and asking him to join her on her path to enlightenment. After the dream, the King commissioned the construction of this pagoda, which resembles a lotus blossom – a Buddhist symbol for purity and enlightenment.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: One Pillar Pagoda

This place is where the King practiced his religion, and Buddhism has also witnessed its flourishing and prosperity since then. Although the pagoda is not a spectacular and large-scale structure, it has a historical and religious significance that makes it worthwhile to visit.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Located on the east side of the Red River and just 15 kilometers from the center of Hanoi, Bat Trang Ceramic Village is truly one of the interesting tourist attractions in Hanoi. This is a complex consisting of ceramic museums, workshops, ancient houses, and markets. Every street corner in the village provides a colorful and vintage backdrop for photographers and travelers.

Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Visitors can attend ceramic-making workshops to gain hands-on experience and create their own ceramic work. The ceramic market is a great place to find lovely and one-of-a-kind ceramics, as each piece of ceramic takes hours for an artist to paint by hand.

Overall, Hanoi is a charming city with a long-standing history, a rich culture, delicious cuisine, friendly people, and numerous exciting tourist attractions in Hanoi . All of this makes it appealing not only to tourists but also to locals.

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"Paris of the East"

Hanoi tourism.

Perched on the banks of the Red River in Northern Vietnam, Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and one of the world's most ancient cities. Boasting well-preserved colonial buildings, golden pagodas, unique museums, mouthwatering cuisine, entertainment destinations, and traditional bazaars, Hanoi is a melting pot of French, Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures.

Hanoi has an impactful history. The most incredible places of historical and cultural interest in Hanoi are the UNESCO-listed Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Vietnam's administrative center for 800 years, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where his body is preserved, Perfume Pagoda, and Hoa Lo Prison Relic. Packed with courtyards and Parisian-style buildings, the Old Quarter and French Quarter are affluent, enigmatic areas. Bach Ma Temple, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake's softshell turtle safaris, and Lake of Restored Sword offer a reprieve from the urban humdrum. The tourist attractions in Hanoi are divided into two main areas - The Old Quarter and the French Quarter. The Old Quarter is north of Hoan Kiem Lake, while the French Quarter is to the south. The Old Quarter, a treasure trove of narrow alleys and centuries-old structures, buzzes with life, showcasing the soul of Hanoi through its vibrant markets, traditional shops, and vibrant street food scene. Modernity intertwines seamlessly with tradition in Hanoi, evident in its burgeoning art scene, trendy cafes, and dynamic nightlife. It is a misconception that Hanoi is conservative. From Dong Xuan Market housing Louis Vuitton and irresistible street food to the 65 glam floors of Lotte Tower Observation Deck, Hanoi flaunts glitzy nightlife and shopping districts. With its balustrades and Gothic domes, monks practicing Tai Chi, cobbled riverside streets, tube houses, farmers' markets, rich culture, and much more, Hanoi defines the war-stricken past and the resilient awakening of Vietnam.

Must Know Before You Travel to Hanoi

  • Where to Stay: Old Quarter is the best place to stay for first-timers with many shops, restaurants and hotels. Many attractions here can be explored on foot. Airport Shuttle:  Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines, and VietJet run private minibuses from the airport to designated stops in Hanoi.
  • Scams: Beware of taxi scammers at Noi Bai Airport who try to overcharge you or take you to the wrong hotel in hopes of getting a commission. You can instead arrange for a private transfer with your hotel or use the Grab app.

Things To Do In Hanoi

Old Quarter Hanoi

Old Quarter Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

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Hoa Lo Prison Museum

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Hanoi Night Market

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Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

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Bia Hoi Corner

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  • Budget travel: VND 1,68,500 approximately
  • Comfortable travel: VND 4,47,600 approximately
  • Luxury travel: VND 12,55,000 approximately

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  • There are no handshakes or any physical contact between opposite genders in the city while greeting each other, only a slight bow indicates the greeting.
  • Pointing towards anyone with a foot is considered disrespectful, as foot is believed to be lowly and dirty. 
  • Also, do not leave your chopsticks upright in the bowl when you are done with your meal, it considered inauspicious.
  • Make sure to dress conservatively while visiting a temple. Cover your arms, legs and shoulders and remove footwear before entering a temple and any house.
  • Head is considered spiritually significant and thus it is considered inappropriate to touch that part of the body.
  • Tipping is usually a norm at big restaurants and hotels but is not mandatory.

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  • Make sure you have enough change to carry and ask for the balance back.
  • Do not litter the streets and drop food waste on the road.
  • There have been some instances of overcharging tourists. Be mindful of the quoted price.
  • Steer clear of the street food if you have a sensitive stomach as hygiene, most often, is quite basic.

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25 Top Tourist Attractions in Vietnam

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Most travelers to Vietnam are attracted by the country’s wonderful natural beauty: From the green rice fields in the north to the fascinating bustle of the Mekong Delta in the south. Vietnam however is also a country with a long history and ancient traditions.

With Buddhist temples, serene hill towns and huge caves, this country offers visitors a wide range of things to do. For ideas on the best places to visit check out our list of the top tourist attractions in Vietnam.

25. Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue

Khai Dinh Tomb

Blending both Vietnamese and European design elements, the architecture of the Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue has been described as Buddhist as well as Roman Gothic. Constructed in the 1920s, the tomb was commissioned by the Emperor of Vietnam as his own future tomb.

The entrance of the complex leads to the Honour Courtyard, and then on to the main building called the Thien Dinh. Khai Dinh’s final resting spot is clearly marked by a bronze statue surrounded by beautiful murals.

24. Con Dao Islands

Con Dao Islands

Under French rule, the Con Dao Islands were known as the Devil’s Island of Indochina, a place where thousands of prisoners of war were kept. Today, this group of 16 islands off the southern coast of Vietnam has a completely different purpose.

Visitors come for the beautiful beaches while scuba diving and snorkeling are also popular things to do. However, the history of Con Dao can still be explored at some of the prison buildings that still stand.

23. Marble Mountains

Marble Mountains

South of Da Nang , Vietnam, are the Marble Mountains. These five peaks are named after the five elements of earth, water, wind, fire and wood. The mountains are picturesque on their own, but they are also home to countless caves, some of which house incredible Buddhist sanctuaries. Some caves contain Confucian or Buddhist shrines, and others were used as sanctuaries and hospitals during the Vietnam War.

22. Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon

Notre Dame Cathedral

In Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, stands the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral. Built in the late 19th century, the cathedral is brick, neo-Romanesque and clearly influenced by European architecture of the same time period. In fact, many of the materials used in construction were imported directly from France.

While the exterior is impressive, the interior is also worth exploring. Look for the surviving stained glass panels as well as carved tiles and a statue of the Virgin Mary.

21. Tam Coc

Tam Coc

In the Ninh Binh province of Northern Vietnam near is Tam Coc , which translates to English as three caves. The three caves are nestled in a scenic landscape of limestone cliffs and rice paddies, and the river winds through the region.

The caves are called Hang Cả, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba, and they serve as the area’s main attraction. Guided boat tours take you to the caves and along the Ngo Dong River, which is often dotted with floating vendors capitalizing on the tourist visiting on a day trip from Hanoi .

20. My Khe Beach

My Khe Beach

The most scenic spot in Da Nang is arguably My Khe Beach. Also known as China Beach, this was where US servicemen were helicoptered in for R&R during the Vietnam War. These days people come here however for tis pristine white sand, blue water and sunny skies.

Visitors can rent a lounge chair on the sand, relax in the shade under a thatched umbrella or rent a kayak from nearby vendors. Many hotels and cafes are within walking distance of My Khe Beach, making it a hub for visitors as well as locals in search of incredible views.

19. Hang Son Doong Cave

Hang Son Doong Cave

One of the largest caves in the world, and certainly the largest in Vietnam, is Hang Son Doong. Approximately three million years old, Hang Son Doong Cave is an incredible destination unlike anywhere else on the planet. The cave is enormous, and it is possible for dozens of people to camp within it at a time.

Bright blue water pools are located in the cave, and a river runs through it. Lush greenery lines the walls, thanks to erosion that lets in beams of sunlight. The cave is ethereal, and guided tours are available to best explore this amazing landmark.

18. Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Temple of Literature in Hanoi

In the city of Hanoi, there is an incredible temple dedicated to Confucius. Built in the 11th century, the Temple of Literature honors scholars and the many academic achievements of the Vietnamese, past and present.

The Temple of Literature was even the site of the very first university in the nation. Among countless statues of Confucius and his disciples, there are impressive pagodas and a pond known as the Well of Heavenly Clarity.

17. Bac Ha Market

Bac Ha Market

Once a week, the quiet town of Bac Ha becomes a hub of culture and trade in Northwest Vietnam. Residents from the surrounding villages and valleys flock to Bac Ha, and the roads are filled with buses packed with tourists.

Visiting on a Sunday means watching locals in their traditional ethnic dress, sipping the juice from fresh coconuts and browsing countless stalls. Shoppers can find everything for sale in Bac Ha, including water buffalo, delicious Hmong and Thay cuisine, brightly colored fabrics and fragrant spices.

16. Cham Islands

Cham Islands

Several miles off the coast of Hoi An is a cluster of mountainous isles known as the Cham Islands . Primarily granite, these islands were once restricted but are now open to the public. The main island Hon Lao, the largest and the only one inhabited, is less than two hours’ away by speed boat.

Visitors can come for the day and go birdwatching, snorkel through the surrounding reefs or just enjoy the scenery of the beautiful beaches. Overnight stays are limited, but can be an incredible experience for the intrepid traveler.

15. Hang Nga’s Guesthouse in Da Lat

Hang Nga's Guesthouse

Known to many travelers as Crazy House, Hang Nga’s Guesthouse is a very unusual piece of architecture that also serves as accommodation in Da Lat . The structure was designed by a local architect named Dang Viet Nga, but he was clearly influenced by the Spanish architect Gaudi.

The guesthouse looks like a tree and is complete with details like a cavernous stairway, branches that twist out of windows and sculpted animals that double as furniture and even fireplaces.

14. Cao Dai Temple

Cao Dai Temple

One of the most sacred attractions in Vietnam is the Cao Dai Temple, which was constructed in the 1930s. Caodaism is a uniquely Vietnamese religion that is influenced by elements of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and even Roman Catholicism.

In the main building of the Cao Dai Temple, there are four prayers conducted daily, and visitors can watch or even participate in the ceremonies. In addition to the temple, which boasts beautiful murals, the complex is home to many additional residences, administrative buildings and even a hospital.

13. Imperial Citadel in Hue

Imperial Citadel

For nearly 150 years until World War II, the Imperial Citadel of Hue served as the capital of Vietnam’s Nguyen dynasty. In the very center of these secure walls was the Purple Forbidden City, an area reserved exclusively for the royal family.

The enormous Imperial Citadel was also a strategic hold during the Vietnam War, as it stands very close to the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam. This destination is significant for all those who are interested in the history of the nation.

My Son

More than 1,600 years ago, the Chan people of Vietnam began construction on dozens of Hindu temples near the village of Duy Phú. Under the shadow of Cat’s Tooth Mountain, and surrounded by a green valley, several of these temples still stand.

Known collectively as My Son, most of the temples are now ruins. However, that only adds to the atmosphere. Visiting My Son is like stepping back in time, thanks in part to its secluded location and the lack of touristy infrastructure.

11. Phong Nha Caves

Phong Nha Caves

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park boasts many attractions, but none is so popular as its caves. The Phong Nha Caves are made up of hundreds of cave systems, many of which are large enough to hold entire city blocks.

The biggest, and most notable, is Hang Son Doong. A gateway to the caves is Son Trach, a growing village that is home to several transport links throughout Vietnam, local restaurants and meeting points for guided tours to the caves.

10. Nha Trang

Nha Trang

Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most popular seaside resort town located along the second most beautiful bays in the country. It features beautiful beaches with fine and clean sand and clear ocean water with mild temperatures.

The city has about 300,000 inhabitants and is more lively and urban in character than other beach destinations like Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. It’s also the scuba diving center of Vietnam.

9. Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are an immense network of connecting underground tunnels located about 40 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during the Vietnam War, and were the base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968

The tunnels have become a popular tourist attraction, and visitors are invited to crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system.

8. Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is the region in southern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea. It is a very rich and lush area, covered with rice fields, that produces about half of the total of Vietnam’s agricultural output. Subsequently, life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and all the villages are often accessible by river rather than by road.

Mui Ne

The formerly little-inhabited beach south of the fishing village of Mui Ne has seen some serious development in the last 20 years. Due to strong sea breezes it is a popular destination in Vietnam for kite- and windsurfing.

No trip to Mui Ne is complete without a trip to the famous sand dunes located a short distance north of the town. The vast sandy expanse provide some great panoramic views especially during sunset.

6. Sa Pa Terraces

Sa Pa Terraces

Sa Pa is a town in northwest Vietnam not far from the Chinese border. Rice terraces can be found in the Muong Hoa valley between Sa Pa town and the Fansipan Mountain, on a backdrop of thick bamboo woodlands. Local mountain people, the Hmong, Giay, Dao, Tay, and Giay, grow rice and corn on these paddy terraces, along with vegetables.

5. Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc

Located in front of the Cambodia coast, Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam. Phu Quoc is what Phuket would be if it hadn’t been overrun by development. The island features pristine tropical forests, undamaged coral reefs and great beaches.

One of its beaches, named Bai Dai (Long Beach), was chosen by the ABC News as one of five beautiful and clean beaches. Phu Quoc is famous for producing the best nuoc mam or fermented fish sauce in the world.

Hoi An

This fishing-village-turned-tourist-attraction is situated on the coast of the South China Sea. Hoi An has been an international port from the 16th century although the serious shipping business has long since moved to the city of Da Nang.

The heart of the city is still the Old Town, full of winding lanes and Chinese-styled shops. It is sometimes called the “Venice of Vietnam” because of the narrow canals that cut through part of the town.

3. Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake

Located in the historical center of Hanoi , Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as the locals’ favorite leisure spot. Hoan Kiem means “returned sword”, and the name comes from a legend in which King Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used to drive out the invading Chinese. Later he returned the sword to the Golden Turtle God in the lake.

See also: Where to Stay in Hanoi

2. Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda

With seven stories, the Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam. The pagoda overlooks the Perfume River and is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital. The temple was built in 1601 during the rule of the Nguyễn Lords. The initial temple was very simply constructed, but over time it was redeveloped and expanded with more intricate features.

1. Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is situated in north Vietnam round a 120 kilometer long coast line and is literally translated as “Bay of Descending Dragons”. The top tourist attraction in Vietnam, Ha Long Bay features thousands of islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.

Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, others islands include lakes and some support floating villages of fishermen.

Map of Tourist Attractions in Vietnam

Vietnam Map

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Reader interactions.

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November 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

I spent two weeks in Vietnam Dec 2016, Cam Ranh, Nha-Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Cu Chi Tunnels, Tay Ninh, The Mekong Delta, I have never had such a great trip in my life. I am already planning my next trip. I can’t wait to go back. The in country flights are fantastic, the people are awesome and for those who complain about the traffic, hey it is their way of life, they don’t need to change because are coming to visit. Go there and enjoy yourself.

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June 10, 2017 at 3:02 am

I am planning a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia for Feb 2018 and this site has been of great help. so many positive comments and a few scarey ones…I will continue doing my home work and am hoping that 10 to 14 days will suffice for the trip from north to south and Con Dao.

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May 21, 2017 at 11:54 pm

I think Ha Giang, Ba Be lake, Ban Gioc waterfall, Trang An are beautifull too.

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May 10, 2017 at 1:25 am

i am planning to visit this country by next year , this blog is very helpful . amazing place! see you sonnest!

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April 17, 2017 at 3:09 am

we are planning to visit Vietnam shortly .,good to learn reviews as posted by all of you. We are excited to explore.

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March 28, 2017 at 7:47 am

i really like Việt Nam. In my opinion, i think you should visit Phú Quốc. What a beautiful island! I’m Vietnamese. Thanks you so much 🙂

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January 17, 2017 at 7:16 am

great information, thanks!

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November 25, 2015 at 1:04 am

love Vietnam so much. People are very friendly. I have just had an interesting holiday with my family in summer. Nha Trang beach is the most beautiful beach i have ever seen. The food is very special that no country has. I will come back to Vietnam soon.

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June 11, 2015 at 10:43 pm

If you go to Vietnam, it is best to travel on your own. Stay away from the tourist traps because as a tourist, you will be expected to pay high rates. Better to rent a motorbike and just go. I have been to Phu Quoc island and it is not clean. The Vietnamese are the worst next to India about throwing garbage everywhere. We went to star beach in the very south of the island. It’s difficult to get there, not many speak English, and it’s very expensive. There was polluted water running off into the sea. The beach water was yellow at the shoreline. There was garbage dumped everywhere. Your cheap rooms at an overnight house should cost around $8 per night in the off season. At a higher end place it will be about $50 / night. In the high season it will be much more.

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April 12, 2015 at 9:20 am

Beautiful country to visit. Viet Nam has improved a lot after a long war. Thanks for the information.

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February 3, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Love Vietnam! Yes, you can be ripped off and charged more if you act like an ethnocentric tourist… bargain for things like the locals do, be smart by learning atleast a little of the language, get a guide if you need one. Don’t renounce the place because YOU can’t fit in and atleast try to have cultural etiquette! Of if the best trips of my life! Truly awesome! I will be back!!

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December 26, 2014 at 4:39 am

I’ve lived in Vietnam for over 11 years. I’ve found many places to visit during my ventures through Vietnam. I am surprised that the the Ke Bang National Park is not on this list of places to go. I would think the caverns and small boat rides would be a very interesting trip to the North central part of Vietnam. The only place I have not been is Sa Pa and island of Phu Quoc… I’ve traveled several times by motorbike covering between 1700 and 2100 km throughout Vietnam. Now living in DaNang. The beaches here are fantastic, lodging is of your choice and many say the food great.

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November 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Spent 3 weeks in Vietnam & loved every minute of it. I may have got ripped off a dollar or two here & there but its so cheap it didn’t worry me. The food is great, the people are great. Hoi An is a delight. I always travel to Thailand but it was a great break away from Thailand and will be heading back to Vietnam 2015 for more exciting travel. PS; Marisa, I’m going to learn basic Vietnamese to get me by. No ranting from me.

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October 24, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I am soooooo happy i found this website cos needed a good one for a school project:) 🙂 :{ also I am going to Vietnam soon so I am glad to know some of what I am gonna see thx whoever made this website

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October 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Help! Need to take vacay soon! Cant decide bw vietnam and thailand. Want something different as far as culture (i’m from usa). Love beaches, touristy stuff and immersing myself with the locals. Drawn to vietnam for the history and because my dad fought in the war. Drawn to thailand for the beaches. Plan on two weeks at either country. Cost is a factor. Would also like to do a side trip to angor wat since i’ll be so close. Input/suggestions would be appreciated!

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October 22, 2014 at 8:19 am

Literally just returned (yesterday) from an awesome trip to Vietnam. Loved it there and the food and people were awesome. Very respectful, friendly and helpful. Our guide was phenomenal.

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June 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm

To those who say you got ripped off while traveling in Vietnam, as being a Vietnamese, I very apologize for this unfriendly manner. I understand this and this could even happen to Vietnamese tourists. As my own experience, places that you could be ripped off the most are street-food places. If you don’t understand the culture there, please find a local, they will help you get around. We are very friendly and we would love to learn English from travelers. I understand why those people rip foreigners off. It is because of poverty and lack of education. I believe when a new government ruling our country and kick the communists out of our land, things will change. Vietnam is so beautiful. I would love to go back there and travel to every corner of the country. Before I start traveling the world, I have to explore my own mother land.

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June 10, 2014 at 6:12 am

Hello, Just back from a great trip to Vietnam, amazing place, clean, green, never felt intimidated once in our 11 days trip to this Gods country, with such a rich history, diversity, culture food etc….we were a group of 17 from India. Being from India we did not find traffic as chaotic of how it is written about. We thoroughly enjoyed the food from pork, sea food, and even tried crickets!!! We enjoyed every city, special was Hoi An could have stayed longer there!!! Amazing pagodas and temples, awesome Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The Cu Chi tunnels give you a real experience of the ingenuity of the Viet Cong (VC). This country has to be in the list of MUST visit before you die.

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May 8, 2014 at 8:47 am

You have got to love Marisa’ post with quotes like “none of the vendors speak English or have English menus”! Vietnam is amazing!

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April 23, 2014 at 1:38 am

I am in Vietnam right now, and I have to say it’s a completely positive surprise. We have heard from a lot of people that vietnamese are unfriendly, stories of ripping off the tourists, etc… Well, I have seen a bunch of foreign tourist here bargaining for every penny, and complaining about everything. Hanoi as an amazing place and Halong Bay is unbelievable, and local people are generally very friendly and quite natural. And even if we (the foreigners) pay more than the locals, it is still a very cheap country. Besides, if we are honest to ourselves, we should be more than happy how they treat us after all the misery the west has brought to them in the past. Next week heading off south, can’t wait to see other fascinating places in this beautiful country.

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March 9, 2014 at 3:22 am

Vietnam is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries i have been to, to those that say it is a rip off is completely wrong, you pay a single dollar for some of the best street food in the world. Tourists pay more than locals because nearly every local i met had never left their town or major city because they earn basically nothing compared to western travellers.I would highly suggest spending 1 to 2 months in this amazing country. So much love for Vietnam.

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February 6, 2014 at 2:12 am

A good selection of places to go. I missed some of them, but you can’t go everywhere. 🙂 I’d like to recommend a tour with the Easy Riders from Dalat. It was a nice experience. Anyone, who wants to know more, can check it out on my blog. Plus, Dalat itself, is a nice place to hang out.

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January 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

I am currently in Vietnam and so far this place has been a complete tourist-unfriendly rip off. Yes Halong Bay is nice, yes the sights such as Ho Chi Minh’s Museum and Mausoleum and the Vietnam War museum and Hanoi Hilton prison in Hanoi are worth seeing but to get to these places you have to put your life on the line just to walk along a road. Never have I met such insincere people in my life and I have travelled all over the world including backpacking in Thailand, Chile, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, South Africa etc. Tourists pay far more than locals for train tickets, bus tickets,food. The food is bland and unappetizing compared with Thailand in restaurants and its ten times more difficult to use street vendors as nobody speaks english or has english menus. Only 5% of visitors return to Vietnam compared with 50% who return to Thailand, and you have to pay a very high cost for a visa to get here as well. My advice for Vietnam would be if you have to visit, go with a tour company having paid for everything in advance. Sorry we wont be returning. Ever.

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January 20, 2014 at 9:08 am

Vietnam is a great travel destination. I spent a month in south VN in 2008, and hope to visit the north (Ha Giang, Lang Son) later this year.

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November 25, 2013 at 1:53 am

Son Doong cave is also Amazing!! I’ve been in Hanoi and walked around Hoan Kiem lake and Halong bay. Very nice!

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November 10, 2013 at 10:51 pm

i loved it in Vietnam, especially in the Chu Chi Tunnels it was an amazing experience. my wife and i even saw bats, i would defiantly recommend going to Vietnam

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November 5, 2013 at 6:36 am

Just left Vietnam having spent 3 weeks there, what a nightmare. Been on the road for 4.5 months now, overland from Europe, as part of a 7 month trip. I’ve visited nearly 50 countries in my lifetime, Vietnam is just the worst. As a tourist you are constantly lied to, cheated and overcharged (by 5, 10, 20 times the fair price) not by a small minority, but by the vast majority of the people you interact with – if you let them. If you choose to visit Vietnam for its mediocre sights, take GPS enabled maps, a stack of local information / guidebooks and make absolutely sure you believe and trust no one you speak to while there.

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November 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm

If you have time, Just visit Da Nang City, Viet Nam. Da Nang is very nice and full of hidden thing waiting for your Exploration.

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July 7, 2013 at 4:07 am

As a solo-backpacker will be touring Vietnam and Cambodia in November 2013. thanks for youir excellent information on Vietnam places of Interest.

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May 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I love to see my country again and i am doing my project about my country. I luckily see this site and have enough info here. Thank you very much .

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October 16, 2012 at 1:42 am

vietnam is very beautiful as i m newly married i want to come here for honeymoon

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September 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I want to go here so bad! It looks so beautiful! Thank you so much for this information because I’m doing a project for school and it needed to include attractions… luckly your site was the best one I could find! Oh and don’t worry I gave you credit for the info! 🙂

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July 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Vietnam seem to be a very beautiful country that I would like to visit soon.

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January 13, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Great post and useful information! Thanks!

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  • Vietnam International Travel Mart Ha Noi 2024

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Vietnam International Travel Mart VITM Ha Noi 2024 will take place from 11 to 14 April at Hanoi International Exhibition Center, 91 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. With the theme “Vietnam Tourism - Green transition for sustainable development”, numerous vibrant commercial activities and tourism events will be held. Visitors to VITM Ha Noi 2024 will have a chance to buy promotional tours, discounted air tickets, hotel rooms, tour packages and OCOP products from regions throughout the country...

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Vietnam Int’l Travel Mart opens in Hanoi hinh anh 1

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2024 themed “Vietnam Tourism – Green Transition for Sustainable Development” kicked off in Hanoi on April 11, attracting 700 enterprises across the country and 16 foreign countries and territories.

The four-day event sees more than 450 booths and expects the visits by about 3,500 Vietnamese and international enterprises.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho An Phong said this year’s theme represents tourism development tendency in the future. It has created a professional playground for tourism businesses and localities, promoting tourism and many other economic sectors to develop together.

He said VITM Hanoi 2024 will contribute to stimulating domestic tourism demand, creating good opportunities to popularise products and services, link tourism development between regions, and achieve high efficiency in both business and promotion of destinations and tourism products. Visitors to the event can enjoy experiences with promotional tours, discounted air tickets, cheap hotel rooms and One Commune - One Product (OCOP) products from localities across Vietnam.

Within the framework of VITM 2024, a forum entitled "Vietnam Tourism - Green Transition for Sustainable Development" will be held on April 12, seeking green transformation solutions for Vietnamese tourism.

Tourism businesses, local authorities, and tourists are called on to pay more attention to environmental protection through specific activities.

The fair focuses on activities to contribute to turning tourism into a green economic sector, based on building green destinations and green products, and developing human resources with proper knowledge of green tourism, thus enhancing the image of Vietnamese tourism ./.

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    11 must-see attractions in Ha Noi. The Temple of Literature is a peaceful highlight on a visit to Hanoi. Photo by Christian Berg. Hanoi will simultaneously surprise, charm and chew you up. Founded along the Red River, Hanoi was named Thang Long (soaring dragon) by Emperor Ly Thai To in 1010. Over a thousand years of war, natural disasters and ...

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    Hoan Kiem Lake is the perfect relaxing thing to do in Hanoi ©Panom/Shutterstock. Opening like a tear to the east of the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake offers some freshwater and green respite to Hanoi's hustle. On its northern edge, the Ngoc Son Temple sits on a small island connected to the shore via the scarlet Cau The Huc bridge. Early in the morning, the lakeside fills with residents ...

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    This is also one of Hanoi's must-visit attractions, which is considered a symbol associated with the capital. 4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at Ba Dinh Square is one of the famous tourist attractions in Hanoi. This is the final resting place of President Ho Chi Minh - the great Vietnamese leader.

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    Some of the top attractions to visit in Hanoi include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hanoi Opera House, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. The Old Quarter is also a must-visit area with its bustling streets and historic charm.

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    Top Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam: See Tripadvisor's 1,204,765 traveller reviews and photos of 3,560 things to do when in Hanoi. ... Top Attractions in Hanoi. Map. See all. ... 10. Vietnam Moon Travel. 121. Points of Interest & Landmarks. Warmly welcome to Ha Noi - the commercial, political, cultural heart witnessing the grandiose activities ...

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    Here is the list of top Hanoi attractions you should not miss when traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam. Table of Contents [ show] 1. Hoan Kiem Lake. Hoan Kiem Lake is considered as the heart of Hanoi. It has been called many names like Luc Thuy, Thuy Quan, Ta Vong and Huu Vong. The recent name "Hoan Kiem Lake" means "The lake of Returned Sword ...

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    The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is located on a 3.27-acre (13,200 m2) property in the Cầu Giấy District, about 8 km from the city center. It is widely considered to be the finest modern museum in Vietnam and a tourist attraction in Hanoi.

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    The Ngoc Son Pagoda is the most visited temple in Hanoi and sits on Jade Island. It is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century and is one of the best things to do in Hanoi. To get to it you cross the lovely red Huc Bridge or Rising Sun Bridge.

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    There are 6 must-see places in Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex you should visit: Ba Dinh Square — the largest square in Vietnam, with more than 32,000 square meters, and where Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum — where the body of Uncle Ho is located.

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    Check our list (Tripadvisor reviewed) of natural, historical Hanoi attractions to visit! Hanoi. 0 (+1) 341-999-4099 (+1) 341-999-4099 (+84) 989 383 767; Culture & Arts ... Top 6 Beautiful Vietnam Beaches Near Hanoi. Travel Guide to Vietnamese Women's Museum in Hanoi ... Vietnam discovery Travel Limited Room 1D, 2/F, Fu Tao Building,98 Argyle ...

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    12. Hanoi Train Street. 889. Points of Interest & Landmarks. Nestled in Hanoi's Old Quarter, this narrow alley attracts travelers hoping to snap a picture on the active train track, and even catch a train whizz by! This alley is actually a residential area—many locals have converted their houses into quaint little cafes where you can sip on ...

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    Discover the captivating charm of Hanoi, through its top attractions. Uncover hidden gems and cultural treasures in this vibrant city. ... TRAVEL TIPS; SHOPPING; Newsletter . Newsletter. Your name. Your email. Δ. Trip and Wellness. ASIA, DESTINATIONS 23 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam. Posted on September 29, 2023 ...

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    One of the most famous Hanoi tourist attractions, the Hoan Kiem Lake is a 12-hectare lake located in Hanoi's city center. It is a great spot to people watch as locals love heading there with their families or even for a run! ... BONUS 1 - Top things to do in Hanoi for Foodies. Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular, are at the center of ...

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    Tourist attractions in Hanoi, a the must-go destination, are so plenty. Visit the following Hanoi attractions, you can find out about the country's colorful culture & history Hotline: Mr.Hung: +84 382 536 266 | [email protected]

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    Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam: See Tripadvisor's 1,210,951 reviews & photos of 3,579 Hanoi attractions. ... Top Attractions in Hanoi. Map. See all. These rankings are informed by traveler reviews—we consider the quality, quantity, recency, consistency of reviews, and the number of page views over time. ... 10. Vietnam Moon Travel. 121 ...

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    Vietnam Airlines (the so-called national airlines) and Bamboo Airways are highly suggested for those who want quality service. The price for a one-way flight from Saigon to Hanoi (probably the longest trip in Vietnam) currently ranges from $50 to $315 for these two airlines, not to mention there're special deals from just $5.

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    Tourist Attractions in Hanoi: Sword Lake. Visiting this lake, travelers not only get a feel for the history but also marvel at other tourist attractions in Hanoi built inside it. In the middle of the lake are Thap Rua (Turtle Tower) and the beautiful The Huc Bridge that leads to the Ngoc Son Temple, which has unique architecture and scenery.

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    The most incredible places of historical and cultural interest in Hanoi are the UNESCO-listed Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Vietnam's administrative center for 800 years, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where his body is preserved, Perfume Pagoda, and Hoa Lo Prison Relic. Packed with courtyards and Parisian-style buildings, the Old Quarter and French ...

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    10. Vietnam Moon Travel. Warmly welcome to Ha Noi - the commercial, political, cultural heart witnessing the grandiose activities of the country. Throughout the thousand year history, marked by destruction, wars and natural calamities, Ha Noi still preserves the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples.

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    The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during the Vietnam War, and were the base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968. The tunnels have become a popular tourist attraction, and visitors are invited to crawl around in the safer parts of the tunnel system. 8. Mekong Delta.

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    2023. Full-Day Ninh Binh Highlights Tour from Hanoi. 3,034. Full-day Tours. from. AU$130.68. per adult. 2023. Ninh Binh Full-Day Tour from Hanoi to Hoa Lu, Tam Coc & Mua Cave Via Boat & Bike.

  25. Vietnam International Travel Mart Ha Noi 2024

    11 Apr 2024 - 14 Apr 2024. Vietnam International Travel Mart VITM Ha Noi 2024 will take place from 11 to 14 April at Hanoi International Exhibition Center, 91 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi. With the theme "Vietnam Tourism - Green transition for sustainable development", numerous vibrant commercial activities and tourism ...

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    The Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) 2024 themed "Vietnam Tourism - Green Transition for Sustainable Development" kicked off in Hanoi on April 11, attracting 700 enterprises across ...