Sightseeing in Hanoi, Vietnam. Description, photos and reviews

Hanoi Sightseeing or Top 10 Must-See Places to Visit in Vietnam’s Capital

Attractions in Hanoi

When we come to a city or town, we haven’t been hunting for sights in full for a long time.

And not only because we are satiated with similar experiences, but it’s even more interesting, there is something for the second, third time, in general, the reason to come back to a particular country / city again.

Usually, we with Lesha know in advance only a couple of places we want to see, and then the rest we just build into our route, or even accidentally find ourselves in the very place where it is recommended to look guides, blogs and other guides to sights. So, we had 3 days to see the sights of Hanoi, here’s what we managed to see in that time. And also a dozen other interesting places that we did not stay long at, but just a glimpse from the side.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

With this ancient lake in the center of the city there is a beautiful legend about Vietnamese Emperor Le Loi and his magic sword which was taken away into the abyss of the sea by a huge turtle, but I will not go into details, better to show you what the lake is now

There’s also a cafe on the shore, and in the nearby streets there are a couple of complexes with coffee houses and restaurants on the 4-6 floors, where you can look at the lake, And in the morning, the place is occupied by “athletes” The Vietnamese are big fans of sports in the morning, we have repeatedly watched their gymnastics, group exercise, and just individuals jogging along the lake, or doing specific exercises, such as practicing kung fu.

Very close to the lake is the park Ly Thai To (Ly Thai To Park), in the center of which on the square is a statue of the Emperor – Ly Thai To.

Turtle Tower

This tower is located right in the middle of the Hoan Kiem Lake, at night in the lighting is not even clear that the tower is on an island. This tiny island of turtles, the one who stole the sword I do not know how true it is, but on another island in the northern lake there is another attraction associated with the Turtle, about it next.

Jade Mountain Temple (Ngok Son Temple).

It is in the temple of Jade Mountain, there is a stuffed turtle “thief of the sword” 2m long, and weighing, when alive, 200 kg, which can see every visitor here in the dark pavilion. And some of the visitors do not come to the temple to pray, as these parishioners, and, for example, to play checkers A lot of tourists here, because the temple is another attraction, yes, the lake has gathered them around Working hours: from 7:00 to 18:00. Cost: 20,000 VND ($1).

Hook Bridge (Bridge of Morning Sunshine)

This bright red wooden bridge has long been the trademark of Hanoi, we could not miss it, one of the main attractions of Hanoi, especially it leads to the Temple of Jade Mountain The bridge gathers not only tourists and believers going to the temple, But as in many countries, pedestrian bridges – it is a favorite destination for honeymooners Here are the bridesmaids taking pictures In the evening colors the bridge is lit Next to the bridge of Huc is such a tower on a pile of stones, it is also called the Tower of Pen (Pen Tower)

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St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Unlike the bright red of Saigon Notre Dame, Hanoi’s Roman Catholic Cathedral is gray and gloomy in a neo-Gothic style which makes it stand out from the rest of Hanoi’s architectural “landscape”.

We saw the Cathedral of St. Joseph in the evening in the lighting, in the lights after sunset it is insanely elegant and dark at the same time, well in the frame were colored balloons We were here around 7 pm, and from the temple there were sounds (I do not remember exactly, but probably, During the Christmas and New Year holidays, the area in front of the church turns into a real carnival, it’s probably the best time to visit the cathedral.

Opening hours: you can explore the church from the outside at any time, and the inside from 05:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 19:30. Services: weekdays at 5:30 and 18:15; Wednesdays 5:30 and 18:00; Sun 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, 11:00, 16:00, 18:00. Cost: free.

The Old Quarter or “36th Street Quarter”

This quarter is located near the lake “mecha”, that is what limited the city in the old days, there were only 36 narrow streets, the name of the street can easily be determined by which lived and what traded craftsmen.

The word Hang is in the name of each of the streets, which means “goods”. There are a variety of streets – silk jewelry, vegetables, shoes and others, now they sell absolutely everything, almost without reference to a particular street Now in the Old Quarter is more than 50 streets, some of them have remained interesting and original houses/stalls, here as well as throughout Vietnam popular “tunnel houses”, we immediately noticed them, I wrote about it in the notes about first impressions of Vietnam.

But the most interesting time for tourists begins after 7 pm, when part of the streets turns into a pedestrian night food market with lots of pubs.

Old Quarter in Hanoi

Right on the road owners of cafes and mobile vans put low plastic stools and the same small tables, and entice you to their “evening cocktail” – a beer, and of course dinner. Photo in the dark not so bad, but take my word for it, it’s great! By the way, there are some vegetarian places here too!

Temple of literature

This is the oldest temple in Hanoi, it is in Confucian style and was built in 1070, later it became the first university in Vietnam, nowadays it is a museum and an architectural and historical heritage site.

In the courtyard are stone slabs with couplets of philosophers in ancient Chinese, the slabs are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each slab is mounted on a stone turtle, whose heads are stroked by students before exams for good luck. Opening hours: April 15 to October 15 from 07:30 to 17:30; the rest of the year from 08:00 to 17:00. Cost: 20,000 VND ($1).

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Unfortunately, we saw the Mausoleum only from the side, because we got it during the vacations, when grandfather Ho Chi Minh is taken for preventive maintenance to Russia to visit Lenin to see the specialists. They do it every year, and for that time (3 autumn months) the mausoleum is closed to visitors.

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The area on which it is located is fenced, but you can walk around it, see the smart military guards and stroll through the green park with a pond, where they breed carps Working hours: From 8:00 to 11:00 (the last entrance – 10:15). Closed Mondays and Fridays. Also closes every year in the fall for 3 months for maintenance. Cost: Free.

“House on Stilts” is located behind Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, where he stayed when he came to town, This house is a tribute to the tradition of the Vietnamese village house, built on stilts, as it should be in the old days. After the death of the great leader, the house was mothballed.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

The Ho Chi Minh Museum is next door, I think above all its exhibits will appeal to the followers of communism The museum not only provides information about the life of Ho Chi Minh, but also conducts research / educational projects.

Opening hours are 8:00 am to 11:30 am and 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Closed Monday and Friday afternoons. Cost: 25,000 VND ($1.3).

Presidential Palace in Hanoi.jpg

Also nearby is the bright yellow Presidential Palace Opening hours: daily except Mondays and Fridays in summer from 07:30 to 11:00 and 14:00 to 16:00; in winter from 08:00 to 11:00 and 13:30 to 16:00. Cost: 25,000 VND ($1.3).

One pillar pagoda

This is a very interesting pagoda in a small artificial lake like a newly blooming lotus. The One pillar pagoda is between the museum building and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, so don’t miss it!

Alas, when we were there, the area around this tiny pagoda was under reconstruction, so I could not take a good shot to show its features, because it is not for nothing it is called so, it stands on a single column of small diameter, It is only an exact copy of the pagoda built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, a replica of the late 50’s. The original pagoda was destroyed to the ground by French troops.

Lenin Park and Lenin Statue (Le Nin park)

There is also a square with Grandfather Lenin in Hanoi, unusual, right? It is a favorite place for kids and young people who ride roller-skates and bikes, while their grandma and moms sit in the flowerbeds with the dogs.

Quan Thanh Temple

Quan Thanh Temple in Hanoi

One of the 4 oldest temples in Hanoi. It is quiet, comfortable and modest, look it up if you pass by, especially there is no point in going, the temple is very small mode of operation: from 8:00 to 16:00. Cost: 10,000 VND ($0.5).

Tran Quoq Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi

It is one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, it is about 1400 years old, but you can not see the original structure, it has been reconstructed many times Unfortunately, we only saw the outside of the pagoda, there is a strict dress code for entry to the area, no shorts for girls and skirts above the knee. Perhaps this strictness is due to the fact that Chan Quoc Pagoda is one of the most sacred places of Buddhism in Hanoi.

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Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi

By the way, Tran Quoc Pagoda was once visited by Dmitry Medvedev during his Vietnamese visit, they say, there are even pictures of it hanging in the temple.

Opening hours: from 08:30 to 11:30 and from 13:30 to 18:30. Cost: free of charge .

Next to the Western Lake, across the street from it, there is another lake, in general, Hanoi is considered the city of lakes, there is even a golf course on the lake Well, and look at all these lakes and other attractions both in the old and new city can be seen from the highest observation deck in the city.

SKY72, the observatory on the 72nd floor

SKY72 is located on the highest observation deck in Hanoi – Keangnam Landmark Tower – where you can see everything under the free telescopes or have a cup of coffee and admire the whole view of the old city and the new districts below. And the InterContinental Hanoi Landmark 72 hotel is located from the 61st to the 71st floor, so you can live in this tower, with this view =)

Read more about the observatory in our special article about the highest observation deck in Hanoi – SKY72.

Opening hours: from 10:00 to 22:00 (9:00 on weekends and holidays). Cost: 180,000-240,000 VND ($18 to $24), depending on package and day of week.

Not far from this skyscraper tower there is a rather curious atypical toilet cafe, where instead of chairs and tables there are toilet bowls with bathtubs, and tea/coffee and desserts are served in mini urinals, medicine ducks and toilet bowls, a kind of tourist attraction

Other attractions in Hanoi

If you have plenty of time, you can visit more than a dozen museums, they are good, by the way, even in rainy season

The most interesting, in my opinion, is the Vietnamese Army Museum (Vietnam Military History Museum or Army Museum), it has a lot of American exhibits in the open air, there are planes, helicopters, at the steering wheel of which you can take pictures, there is also a monument assembled from the wreckage of equipment.

Mode of operation: Weekdays except Monday and Friday from 8:00 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 16:30. Cost: 30,000 VND ($1.5) and an additional 20,000 VND ($1) for a photo permit.

You can also go to the Old Citadel of Hanoi (Hanoi Citadel or Imperial Citadel of Thang Long), it is relatively new historical landmark in Hanoi, it was opened to the public in 2010, when it was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Opening hours: except Mondays and Fridays from 8:00 to 11:30 and from 14:00 to 17:00. Cost: 30,000 VND ($1.5).

You can also check out the 19th century Cot Co Tower, stroll through the Botanic Garden and Zoo, or visit the Hanoi Opera House in the evening.

If you get bored with the typical tourist attractions of Hanoi, check out Hanoi’s slums along the railroad and see how the poorest people live, but happy ones at the same time.

Hanoi sights on the map

And why it is definitely worth visiting, read our next Vietnamese article!

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Many airlines fly to Hanoi, the choice is quite large, one of the most comfortable options is Qatar Airways.

Have a bright and sunny weekend! Stay tuned and don’t forget to check out our website this weekend, a new selection of great movies is coming up! Bye-bye!

P.S. If I forgot to write something about Hanoi, feel free to add it in the comments

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Sightseeing in Hanoi, Vietnam. Description, photos and reviews

The citadel in Hanoi (Thang Long) can be called a whole cultural complex: it includes royal palaces and numerous buildings, the oldest of which were built during the Ly dynasty.

Quan Tha Temple

This Taoist temple used to be called Tran Wu. It was built in the 11th century and was named after one of the main deities (if you pronounce it in Vietnamese transcription). Quan Tha Temple, located near the West Lake, was among the four holy temples of the capital.

Vietnamese Water Puppet Theater

The stage for a water puppet theater is a natural or artificial body of water above the surface of which the scenery is erected in the form of a communal house. The puppets are guided by actors who stand waist-deep in the water behind wicker screens.

Vietnam War History Museum in Hanoi

In this museum dedicated to the Vietnamese army and the country’s military history, you can see a variety of military equipment and vehicles and learn more about all the (rather numerous) military conflicts Vietnam has participated in.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi

St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral is located in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi. Built in the 19th century in the Gothic Revival (Neo-Gothic) style, this beautiful and stately building serves as the main church not only for Catholics in Hanoi but also for believers all over the country.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi

In fact, there is not just one mausoleum, but an entire architectural complex, which includes five sites. The mausoleum of the former president of Vietnam is only the central one. Its construction was begun in 1973, four years after the death of Ho Chi Minh himself.

Lake of the Reclaimed Sword

The Returned Sword Lake (Hoan Kiem) is also called Green Water Lake. It is located in the heart of Hanoi. This landmark of the city was formed naturally, on the site of a former river bed. However, it later gained cultural significance because of the legend associated with it.

Hoa Lo Prison

This historic prison with the eerie name, which translates to “fiery furnace,” was built by the French in 1869 for political prisoners who resisted French rule in Vietnam. The prison was nicknamed “Hanoi Hilton” by captured American pilots during the Vietnam War.

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a Confucian temple in Hanoi, home to the Imperial Academy, Vietnam’s first national university. The temple was built in 1070, during the reign of Ly Nhan Tong, and it is one of the few Vietnamese temples dedicated to Confucius and his disciples and followers.

Hanoi is a wonderful city and excessively rich in attractions. Moreover, there are places associated with the history of thousands of years ago and the imperial era of Vietnam, as well as colonial attractions of French times. Not to mention the newest attractions, the first among which is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

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The mausoleum was built by our compatriot, the author of the memorial complex of V. I. Lenin. He also designed the Ho Chi Minh Museum, which stands next to the mausoleum. Together they form a single architectural complex, which includes three other buildings: the presidential palace, which is used in this capacity to this day, a wooden house on stilts Ho Chi Minh City and the old pagoda on one post (which has nothing to do with Ho Chi Minh City, but must be seen because of its beauty and antiquity).

One of the most famous Buddhist shrines is located about 60 km from Hanoi, but it is also worth a visit: this temple is called “Fragrant Pagoda”.

If we start talking about the temples of Hanoi, we can mention several beautiful religious buildings. And some of them are able to really surprise travelers: we are talking about the Cathedral of St. Joseph, which is in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Catholic Cathedral was built almost immediately after the formation of French Indochina and is very similar in architectural style to Notre Dame de Paris.

Those who prefer traditional sites, however, should start with the Temple of Literature. This is quite a vast Confucian temple complex, where the first university in Vietnam appeared. Today here you can see many ancient buildings, distributed among five courtyards, as well as historical stelae of doctors with ancient engravings.

Quan Tha Temple is very popular among tourists. One of the reasons for its popularity is an amazing four-meter statue of a Taoist deity made of bronze.

The temple of Bat Ma (White Horse Temple) is very small in size and much less known to travelers, but is considered one of the first in the city: it was built in 1010. And one of the most famous Buddhist sanctuaries is located about 60 kilometers from Hanoi, but it’s also worth a trip: the temple is called “fragrant pagoda”. Today it is a temple complex and the pagoda, located in a cave, is not without difficulty to get to, but it is worth it. Well, the oldest Buddhist pagoda in Hanoi is about 1400 years old, this pagoda Chan Quoc. Unfortunately, in its present form, it bears little resemblance to the original structure, but in any case, a small pagoda on an island in West Lake is very beautiful.

Speaking of lakes: they play the role of full-fledged attractions in Hanoi. There is a lot of water in the city and many bodies of water. The already mentioned large Western Lake is a favorite vacation spot for Hanoians and tourists. There are walking areas and bicycle paths, cafes and restaurants on its shores. Lake of the Returned Sword is much smaller, but also much more sacred: there is a beautiful ancient legend associated with it. On Jade Island in the lake, which can be reached by a beautiful wooden bridge, there is a temple of the same name.

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