The 27 best sights of Hanoi – description and photos

Hanoi sights

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Hanoi Citadel Museum Ho Chi Minh Museum Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology Hanoi Literary Temple Flag Tower National Museum of Vietnamese History Koloa Fortress

This site compiles Hanoi attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to questions: what to see in Hanoi, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (photo)

The mausoleum is part of a memorial complex that also includes a museum dedicated to the president’s life, the Motocot Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh House on stilts. The mausoleum is 22 meters high and 41 meters wide and is surrounded by a large garden with over two hundred species of different flora. Ho Chi Minh himself in his will wished to be cremated after his death, but his successor, Le Zuan, probably inspired by the example of the Mausoleum in the USSR, still ordered that the body of the first president be embalmed and placed in a specially built tomb for the occasion.

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was inaugurated in 1975. Everyone can visit the mausoleum from 9 am to 12 pm, but photos and videos are not allowed inside. You should also be prepared to stand in a rather long line – almost like in the mausoleum on Red Square in Soviet times.

Coordinates: 21.03666700,105.83472200

Hanoi Citadel

Ho Chi Minh Citadel (photo)

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel is one of the many historical sites in Hanoi. It was built in the 11th century on the ruins of an old Chinese fortress as a symbol of the independence of the Kingdom of Dai Viet. For many centuries, the citadel was the unchallenged center of regional political power.

The territory of the citadel occupies a vast strip of land in the center of the city. Fans of military history will be interested in the unusual layout and architecture of the Hanoi Citadel sites. For example, a small reinforced concrete structure from 1960 in which the military leadership planned its successful campaign against the U.S. army. Older structures include a 15th-century imperial gate with dragon sculptures in front of the staircase leading to the central building, called the House of the Dragon by the French. Outside the complex are the Côte Coe Tower with the flag, located in the military history museum, and the Bac Mon Gate, which bears the marks from the battles with the French army in 1882.

In 2010 the citadel was opened to the public and immediately became very popular. During the year there are about a million people who come here.

Coordinates: 21.03460900,105.84059500

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Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum (photo)

The Ho Chi Minh Museum was built to commemorate the memorabilia of Uncle Ho’s simple and humble life. The mission of the museum was to convey his morals, lifestyle, thoughts, and beliefs to future generations in order to get a continuation of the revolutionary course.

The museum exhibition is arranged in such a way as to highlight the close connection between President Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese people and present-day reality. The main hall contains more than two thousand documents, publications, photographs and exhibits illustrating historical events from the life of Ho Chi Minh and world historical events since the late 19th century.

The architectural forms of the museum building resemble an octagon – like eight lotus petals. There are original paintings on the four walls. The area of the museum is 18 000 square meters, one of the halls can simultaneously take 400 people, and in the library can work 100 people. The materials presented in the Ho Chi Minh Museum will certainly be of interest not only to scholars, but also to “thinking” visitors, because there are interesting historical documents and artifacts.

Coordinates: 21.03551000,105.83251100

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Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (photo)

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a Great Museum in the capital city of Vietnam, the theme of the museum is the life of 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam.Vietnam Museum of Ethnology today has a large collection of objects related to certain types of art and life of the tribes and peoples who lived in the land of Vietnam.

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The museum is located in the Causai area, about 8 km from the city center. Officially opened in November 1997. The building was designed by architect Ha Duc Linh, of the Tai people, in the form of a drum from Dong Son and the interior was designed by French architect Veronique This museum in Hanoi is open-air. There are exhibits showing the unique culture and traditions of the ancient peoples who inhabited the territory of Vietnam.

In this museum you can see scenes of rituals, national costumes, household items and traditional dwellings.Ethnographic Museum will plunge the visitor into the unique world of culture of the Vietnamese people.

The museum is perfectly organized – here you can easily find the necessary rooms and exhibits, information boards in English, French and Vietnamese are hung everywhere. At the entrance to the museum you can buy navigation maps, gifts and souvenirs.

Coordinates : 16.46423800,107.59726500

Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Literature Temple in Hanoi (photo)

One of the oldest structures in Hanoi, the Temple of Literature was built in the city at the end of the 11th century. The temple was dedicated to praising the great Confucius, scholars and literati.

In order to continue educating young minds who could bring glory to the country, the first Vietnamese university was opened here in 1076. The campus consists of several independent buildings. In the center of the courtyard is a pond of Heavenly Powers.

The most famous exhibits in the temple of science are the 82 stone steles on which are carved the names of students who received their doctoral degrees within the walls of the university. Nearby are other steles – stone tortoises that represent wisdom and guard the entrance to the main hall of the Temple of Literature.

Coordinates : 21.02708900,105.83996500

Flag Tower

The tower with the flag (photo)

One of Hanoi’s historical landmarks is the 30-meter-high Flag Tower, or Cat Coe Tower, built in 1812. During the Vietnam War, it was used by the French Army as an observation tower and communications station. The tower is one of the rare architectural structures preserved almost in pristine condition during French colonization.

It consists of three tiers and is shaped like a hexagonal pyramid with a spiral staircase inside. It is illuminated through 36 flower-shaped openings and six fan-shaped windows. The national flag of Vietnam is located at the top of the tower.

Cat Co is one of the symbols of Vietnam and part of the Hanoi Citadel. Currently the tower is located in the military history museum and is open to visitors since 2010.

Coordinates: 21.03265100,105.83975800

National Museum of Vietnamese History

National Museum of Vietnamese History (photo)

One of the significant attractions in Hanoi is the Vietnam History Museum, founded in 1958. It is housed in a colonial building that displays a harmonious blend of French and traditional Vietnamese architecture.

The museum has extensive collections covering all periods of Vietnam’s development. Several halls are devoted to each historical stage. Unique relics from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods are collected here and ancient military history is also touched upon. The museum displays a huge collection of Cham statues. Magnificent 19th century paintings depict the life of the imperial court in Hue. The exhibition of the Museum of the Revolution recounts the patriotic struggle of the Vietnamese people during the French and American occupation. Here one can see authentic documents signed by Ho Chi Minh.

The museum staff does a lot of work to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the country. There is a large collection of documentaries covering the war years and the period of the young Vietnamese Republic.

Coordinates: 21.02419200,105.85963900

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Koloa Fortress

Koloa Fortress (photo)

Koloa Fortress is located in Dong Anh County, 18 kilometers north of the Vietnamese capital, within the Koloa Community of the same name. It is one of the oldest citadels in Vietnam. It was built in the third century, during the reign of King Thuc Phan Anh Truong Vuong, to serve as the capital of the ancient state of Aulac.

According to tradition, the citadel was originally built as a snail’s shell and its name literally means “snail fortress”. The legend says that originally the fortress walls were arranged in 9 rows of ramparts, the space between them was filled with ditches with water through which one could travel by boat.

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Only three earth ramparts remain of the original fortifications in the municipality of Koloa, the outer line being 8 kilometers long, the middle 6.5 and the inner 1.6. The height of the surviving sections of the walls is 4-5 meters, and in some sections it is about 12 meters. The gates in the fortress walls were located in a special way – if you draw a straight line from one gate to the other, you get a zigzag. On both sides of the road there were defense towers, which hindered the attack of the enemy. In these days, archaeologists are actively excavating the central part of the fortress of Coloa, and as a result they have obtained unique information and uncovered some of the mysteries of the ancient fortress.

Coordinates: 21.12037400,105.87420100

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Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, bustling, hot and unlike any other. There is always something going on in the bustling streets, and there are many times more cyclists than cars.

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Things to do in Hanoi

Tourists come to see the sights of Hanoi, balancing at the intersection of Western and Asian cultures. Here seamlessly coexist ancient temples, colonial buildings with a touch of French charm and skyscrapers of glass and concrete.

For lovers of antiquity will be interesting temples, forts and museums. Nature lovers will enjoy the lakes, parks and stunning landscapes.

To understand the mentality of the Vietnamese, you should check out the colorful market and walk the streets. A hiking adventure will appeal to everyone.


Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Musei vietnamskih genshin

Opened in 1987, this exhibition complex is entirely dedicated to Vietnamese women. It tells the story of their role in society from the Stone Age to the present day.

On the 4 floors are exhibited handicrafts made by the fair sex: national costumes, jewelry, paintings and photographs. Artifacts for the collection were collected over 10 years throughout the country.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Musei etnologii

This museum is considered one of the best and richest in the region. It was opened in 1997 in an unusual building constructed according to an innovative design by architect Ha Duc Linh.

The exhibits detail the everyday lives and cultures of the 54 ethnic groups inhabiting the country. Here you can see everyday items, historical artifacts, ceremonial clothing, decorative art and cult items. There is even the most authentic residential house, which you can look into.

There are a lot of artifacts – to see them all you have to spend several hours. Particular attention should be paid to the so-called life sketches. Among them is a figure of a trader on a bicycle, carrying 600 fish traps, or women weaving linen by hand.

Vietnam Museum of Military History

Musei voinoi istorii

The museum, whose area is almost 13,000 square meters, was opened by order of Ho Chi Minh in 1959. It presents samples of Soviet, French and American weapons.

The exhibition is divided into two parts. Inside the building there are interactive stands where you can get acquainted with the details of military conflicts on the territory of the country. There are also important documents and photos. Separately exhibited are samples of uniforms and large military equipment: tanks, guns and self-propelled guns.

Outside is the most epic and grandiose part of the exhibition – the remains of helicopters, planes, tanks, cannons and shells. The main place among them takes the colossal size of the carcass of the Hellcat, shot down by the Vietnamese in 1954.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

musei hoshimina

This museum was created in memory of the first President of North Vietnam. The doors of the exhibition first opened on May 19, 1990 – the day of the 100th anniversary of the outstanding revolutionary. His massive statue cast in bronze greets all visitors in the lobby.

The exhibition is dedicated to the leader’s life journey and his struggle against foreign influence in the country. The snow-white lotus-shaped building has more than 2,000 artifacts on display in its halls. These are documents, photographs, personal belongings, as well as arts and crafts made by ordinary Vietnamese as a sign of love and respect for Ho Chi Minh.

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National Museum of Vietnamese History

nac musei istorii

One of Vietnam’s most important museums occupies an eclectic building from 1910. It is a mix of Asian and colonial styles. The exhibition is divided into two parts. The first deals with the history of the country from prehistoric times to the decline of the Nguyen imperial dynasty in 1945. The second provides an opportunity to learn about the culture of neighboring countries.

Particular attention should be paid to viewing medieval stone figures, a statue of the goddess Devi dating from the 9th century and bronzes from the 3rd century. The museum also features artifacts from the Khmer and Cham kingdoms, stucco decorations from ruined temples, and a collection of jewelry.

Hoa Lo Prison.

turma hoa la

The penitentiary was built by the French in 1869 to hold all those who were dissatisfied with colonial rule. The name of the prison translates as “fiery furnace”. Many tourists associate it with inhumane conditions of detention. In fact, Hoa Lo is simply located on a street where stoves and firewood were sold.

Another resounding nickname “Hanoi Hilton” the prison got from the American prisoners of war who spent more than a year in its prisons. In the 1990s, the institution was closed, some of the structures were dismantled and the remaining building was turned into a museum. Some of its artifacts date back to the colonial period, such as the guillotine and torture tools. An exhibit related to the American period offers a glimpse into a cell or interrogation room.

Religious Sites

Quan Tha Temple.

hram kuan tha

This Taoist temple was founded in the 11th century. It has been rebuilt several times – the last renovation took place in 1893, when a main gate appeared at the entrance to the shrine.

The main attraction is a giant statue of the deity Tran Vu, protector of Hanoi from trouble and adversity. The giant weighs 3.6 tons and is almost 4 meters high. Simultaneously with the statue in the temple appeared a bell height of 1.15 meters. Both creations were cast in black bronze in the XVII century. The shrine also contains a valuable collection of manuscripts from the same period.

Temple of Literature


This temple, built in 1070, celebrates Confucius and his disciples and followers. And it was once home to Vietnam’s first university. The exterior of the building is reminiscent of the sanctuary in Kufu, located in the birthplace of the famous philosopher.

The area of the complex is about 55,000 square meters. On its territory is a Giam Park, Literary Lake and shady courtyards. From the main gate diverge three paths. In ancient times, one was used only by the emperor, while the other two were reserved for mandarins, ministers and military leaders.

In the park are the Doctor’s Steles. Originally there were 116, but only 82 have survived. These are stone slabs with the names of students who passed their exams. The steles rest on the backs of skulls, symbolizing wisdom.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

kafedralni sobor

The building in neo-Gothic style was built in the 19th century. Its facade resembles the famous Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-Paris. The temple was one of the first religious buildings erected by the French during the colonial era and is the oldest in the country.

The structure is decorated with symmetrical square bell towers (each 30 meters high) and colorful stained glass in the lancet windows. Over time, the granite walls have darkened, but the decoration has not lost its luster. Its dominant feature is a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Ngoc Son Temple

hram ngonk shon

Also known as the Temple of Jade Mountain, Ngoc Son is an oasis of calm and serenity in bustling Hanoi. The sanctuary is located on the island of the same name, washed by the waters of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is connected to the mainland by a picturesque bridge.

The temple was built in the 18th century – it glorifies the scholar and philosopher Van Xiong, the patron saint of healers La To and the folk hero Tran Hung Dao, thanks to whom the Vietnamese people defeated the Mongols. In addition to the temple, the complex includes the Pera Tower, the Inky Plate and the pagoda for contemplating the moon.

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One Pillar Pagoda

pagoda na odnom stolbe

The temple was built on the orders of Emperor Ly Thai Tong in the 11th century as a thank-you to the Goddess of Mercy for the birth of his long-awaited heir. It rests on a single 4-meter-high pole, reminiscent of a majestic lotus in the middle of a serene lake. It was this flower that the ruler saw in a dream before the joyous event.

Inside the pagoda leads stone stairs, but you can not go inside – should stop at the last step and there to admire the altar of the Goddess of Mercy, decorated with flowers and fruit.

Leaving Vietnam in the 1950s, the French destroyed the temple to the ground. What tourists see today is a remodel assembled from the surviving pieces.

Hai Ba Trung Temple

hram ha bai

Squat temple with round windows was built in 1142 near the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake. It is dedicated to the Chung sisters who led the fight against the Chinese invaders in the first century AD.

According to legend, when the people’s army suffered a crushing defeat, the girls threw themselves into the lake and drowned themselves to avoid being captured by the enemy. After their deaths, they were declared goddesses who are still revered in Vietnam.

Bat Ma Temple

hrambat ma

Located in the historical part of Hanoi, this temple claims to be the oldest in the capital. It was founded as early as the 11th century and is dedicated to the White Horse of Emperor Ly Thai To. The decor of Bat Ma is dominated by red with an abundance of gold details. In the center of the hall stands a statue of that very horse.

It is said that the animal led the ruler to this spot and somehow incomprehensibly let him know that this is where the sanctuary should be built. The temple has been destroyed and reconstructed several times – the last reconstruction took place in the 18th century.

Changkuok Pagoda

pagoda chanuk

This is one of the oldest religious buildings in Hanoi. It appeared during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De in the 6th century on the banks of the Red River. At that time, the temple was called Khai Quoc. In 1615, because of a threat of flooding, the pagoda was moved to the Golden Fish Island in the East Lake and renamed Tran Quoc.

Another 200 years later, the structure underwent a global reconstruction. It is now a 15-meter tower with 11 floors. On each is a gilded statue of Buddha. The stupa itself is surrounded by a small garden and can be reached by a stone isthmus.


Long Bien Bridge

most long bien

Hanoi means “surrounded by water” in Vietnamese. There are many bridges in the city, among which Long Bien stands out. The graceful steel construction was built between 1899 and 1902 by French architects. It was the first steel bridge over the Red River.

During the War of Independence, Long Bien played an important role in the delivery of provisions to the people’s troops on this bridge. There is a pedestrian walkway along the entire length of the roadway.

Presidential Palace

presidentskii dvorec

Luxurious building in the colonial style was erected in the early 1900s for the French governor in Indochina. Architect A. G. Villeux worked on the exterior of the palace with false columns, porticoes, and huge windows. He had the old pagoda next to the palace knocked down so that nothing would interfere with the surrounding aesthetic.

Today the palace is the official residence of the Vietnamese President. It is not possible to get inside, but you can walk through the adjoining garden.

Ho Chi Minh House on stilts

dom na svoyah ho shi

Behind the Presidential Palace is the house of Ho Chi Minh. The Vietnamese leader was notable for his modesty: he wore simple cotton clothes and sandals made of tires. In 1958 he visited the rear of the resistance, where he saw houses on stilts. When he returned to Hanoi, he ordered a similar house to be built.

One year later, on the eve of his birthday, the President moved into this wooden house. The house has only two rooms of 10 square meters each and no amenities. The furnishings are ascetic and have remained unchanged since Ho Chi Minh’s death.

Lotte Tower observation deck

smotrovaya ploshadka

The Lotte skyscraper made of glass and concrete is the architectural dominant feature of the capital. Its 65th-floor observation deck offers a breathtaking view of the Old City and the surrounding neighborhoods with their winding streets and colorful houses. After enjoying the panorama of Hanoi, we can go down a couple of levels. Restaurants, bars and boutiques are located there.

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Flag Tower

basnia with flag

One of the main attractions in Hanoi is the 30-meter flag tower of Cat Tho. It was erected in 1812 and was used as an observation point during the war with the French.

Despite its considerable age, the architectural structure has been well preserved since colonization times. The tower is hexagonal in shape and consists of three tiers. Light enters through 36 flower-shaped openings. On the dome flies the national flag of Vietnam. The tower itself is located on the territory of the Museum of War and History.

Hanoi Citadel


Cultural and historical complex consisting of royal palaces, public and household buildings. The age of some objects has already passed the 1,000-year mark. The citadel has suffered a lot of damage over the years, but relatively recently the authorities have started restoring it.

The most valuable part is the central part. Here are the ruins of the palace Kinh Thien, built in about 1460, a stone staircase decorated with graceful dragons, and the southern gate leading to the Forbidden City.

Excavations are underway within the citadel. Archaeologists have discovered many valuable artifacts, the oldest of which date back to the 11th century.

Hanoi Opera House

operni teatr

A luxurious building in the neoclassical style with columns and towers was built in 1911. Its exterior is reminiscent of the Paris Grand Opera, and the auditorium seats 900 spectators. In colonial times, European opera and ballet stars shone on the theater stage.

On August 19, 1945, from the balcony on the central facade, the Vietminh Revolutionary Committee announced that it had seized power in the country. During the struggle for independence, political rallies and meetings were held in the theater.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

mavsolei ho shi mina

The resting place of Vietnam’s first president and Communist Party leader is on Ba Dinh Square. It was here that Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence. After his death, the revolutionary willed himself to be cremated, but his will was not carried out. Grateful citizens built a granite mausoleum and moved Ho’s embalmed body there.

Interesting places

Hoangkiem Lake

osero hoankiem

Hoang Kiem Lake, also called Reclaimed Sword Lake, is located in the heart of Hoang Kiem Historic District. The lake owes its second name to an old legend.

Emperor Le Thoi received a magic sword from the gods, which drove away the Chinese invaders from the land of Vietnam. Later, when the Emperor was sailing on the lake in a boat, a jade turtle suddenly appeared and stole the sword.

In the middle of Hoan Kiem is a tiny island on which stands the temple of Jade Mountain, built in the 18th century. The Rising Sun Bridge leads to the shrine.

Old Quarter

stari kvartal

A network of intricate streets is a mixture of French and Vietnamese architecture. Hanoi’s main attractions – innumerable pagodas and temples – are concentrated here. The Old Quarter rarely sleeps, so you can have dinner in a restaurant even at the very late hour.

Once upon a time, there were as many as 36 guilds working here. It was they who gave the speaking names to the streets where the merchants’ shops were. Tourists can walk along Silver Street, turn to Silk Street, go to the corner of Paper, and then turn to Wooden.

Dong Xuan Market


The capital’s largest and most picturesque market will be of interest to tourists in terms of experience. Walking along the trading rows, it is easy to imagine how ordinary Vietnamese people live. On weekends, Dong Xuan is open 24 hours a day.

The lower level sells food, fruits, vegetables and spices. The upper level sells consumer goods, clothes and shoes. There are souvenir tents and a food court in the local sense of the word. You can bring your own food or eat right outdoors at a plastic table that’s seen better days.

Tay Lake.

osero tei

This is the largest lake in the capital with a shoreline of more than 16 km. It is surrounded by the homes of wealthy Vietnamese, expensive restaurants and stores. The lake is a favorite place for tourists and Vietnamese residents to enjoy walking paths, views, and gazebos.

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