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Top 10 Places to Visit in Hanoi


Welcome to the enchanting city of Hanoi, a destination that beckons with its rich history, vibrant culture, and captivating landscapes. Nestled in the heart of Vietnam, Hanoi is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie eager to explore new flavors, or someone seeking the charm of traditional markets, Hanoi has something special for everyone. In this article, we’ll unveil a curated list of Top 10 Places to Visit in Hanoi that will make your visit to Hanoi a memorable journey filled with luxury and excitement.

Table of Contents

  1. Old Quarter

Old Quarter 1

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is like a super cool and old neighborhood that’s awesome to visit! Here’s why:

  • Super Old History: The Old Quarter has been around since the 11th century and has been a big hub for trading and business for a really long time. People from all over Vietnam used to come here to sell their stuff.
  • Cool Buildings: The houses in this area are really unique. They’re called “tube houses” because they’re narrow but go back pretty far. There are also some buildings influenced by a place called the Soviet Union.
  • Lots of Culture: You can walk around on 36 different streets, and each street is named after a specific job or craft that people used to do there. You can play old games, try yummy local food from the street, and see how people used to eat and drink on the sidewalks.
  • Lots of Cool Places to See: There are famous spots like Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Huc Bridge, Bach Ma Temple, and the Hanoi Flag Tower. All of them are really interesting and have cool stories.
  • Shopping and Eating Heaven: If you love shopping and eating, this place is perfect! There are bustling markets, tons of street food, and so many different restaurants and cafes to try.
  • Easy to Get Around: The Old Quarter is right in the middle of everything, so it’s super easy to go to other parts of Hanoi. It’s like a central hub for exploring the city.

So, if you’re ever in Hanoi, make sure to check out the Old Quarter. It’s awesome because of its old history, cool buildings, cultural experiences, famous places, and lots of yummy food and shops!

  1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi is a really important place in Vietnam with a lot of history. It’s where the leader Ho Chi Minh is buried. The mausoleum is in a square called Ba Dinh Square and you can get there by taxi or by walking for about 30 minutes from the Old Quarter. You can visit it on certain days in the morning, but there are rules about how you should dress and behave. You have to wear modest clothes, and you can’t take pictures inside.

The mausoleum is part of a bigger place called the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and One Pillar Pagoda. People say it’s a must-see if you’re in Hanoi because it helps you learn about Vietnam’s history, values, and culture. Going inside is free, but they accept donations.

For the Vietnamese people, the mausoleum is very special and important. Visiting it is a big honor for many citizens. The building itself is strong and can handle floods, bombings, and earthquakes. Whether it’s the best place to visit depends on if you like history and culture or not.

  1. Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market 3

Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi is a cool place to visit for both tourists and people who live there. It’s in the middle of the Old Quarter and is one of the biggest markets in the city. Here’s why you should check it out:

  • Lots of stuff: You can find all kinds of things at Dong Xuan Market like clothes for grown-ups, bags, wallets, belts, stuff for your home, souvenirs, and things to decorate your home.
  • Good prices: The things at the market aren’t super expensive. You can get sweaters for about 90,000 – 120,000 VND and pants for 100,000 – 200,000 VND, which is not too bad.
  • Old and important: Dong Xuan Market is really old, built by the French in 1889. It used to be called “Marché Dong Xuan.”
  • Busy and fun: The market is always lively and full of people, making it a fun place to visit.
  • Easy to get to: You can reach Dong Xuan Market by taxi, motorbike taxi, or public transport.
  • Yummy food: You can also enjoy some tasty street food at the market, like sweet fried cakes and fried dumplings from little food stands.
  • Wholesale stuff: Dong Xuan Market mostly deals with selling things in large amounts (wholesale).

But be careful when you go there! It can get really crowded, and there have been reports of people stealing things. It’s a good idea to have a local guide or ask a local travel company for advice on staying safe in the market.

  1. Ba Vi National Park

Ba Vi National Park 4

Ba Vi National Park is a cool place to visit in Vietnam, not far from Hanoi. It’s like a big nature playground with mountains, forests, and ancient temples. People like to go there to see the old French camp, explore the woods, and visit temples. You can also do fun things like hiking, camping, and watching birds.

The best time to go is from April to December, but it’s better to avoid rainy days. If you go, wear good shoes, long clothes, and bug spray to stay safe. And be careful around waterfalls and muddy or still water. Ba Vi National Park is perfect for people who love nature and want to have a great time outdoors.

  1. Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake 5

Hoan Kiem Lake, also called Sword Lake, is a really cool place in Hanoi, Vietnam that you should check out. It’s a pretty and old lake with lots of interesting things to see and do. Here are some of the fun stuff you can do around the lake:

  • Turtle Tower: This is like a special symbol of the lake.
  • Ngoc Son Temple: A pretty Buddhist temple on a small island in the lake.
  • The Huc Bridge: An awesome red bridge that takes you to Ngoc Son Temple.
  • Cyclo Tour: You can take a slow ride to see cool things around the lake.
  • Walking around the lake: This is the best way to explore and feel the different vibes throughout the day.
  • Weekends are special: On weekends, the streets around the lake and in the old part of the city are closed to cars, and there are lots of fun activities and games.

The lake is also close to other famous places like Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi Opera House, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral. So, it’s a great spot to start exploring Hanoi.

The best times to visit the lake are in the morning to see people doing sports, in the afternoon to hang out with students and artists, and in the evening to enjoy the lit-up temples and the lively atmosphere.

You can easily get to the lake by taxi, cyclo (a kind of bike taxi), or by walking from the Old Quarter, which is a good place to stay if you want to explore the area.

In simple words, Hoan Kiem Lake is a must-visit place because it’s really old and important, looks beautiful, and there are lots of fun things to do there!

  1. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison 6

Hoa Lo Prison, also called the “Hanoi Hilton,” is an old place in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was made by the French in 1896 and used as a prison for Vietnamese people who disagreed with the government and American soldiers during the Vietnam War. At first, they called it Maison Centrale, which means a central house for prisoners.

Here are some important things about Hoa Lo Prison:

  • Where it is: The prison is at No. 1 Hoa Lo Street in Hanoi, not far from Hoan Kiem Lake. You can get there in about 15 minutes if you walk. Many tourists visit this place.
  • How big it is: The prison is quite big, covering 12,000 square meters. It has different parts like a guard house, a medical house, a place for making things from iron and cloth, and seven houses for accused prisoners.
  • What you can see: The museum inside shows the important role of women in Vietnamese society. It also talks about the prison’s history until the mid-1950s, focusing on Vietnam’s fight for freedom from France. There are displays that show what the prison looked like, including rooms with prisoners in chains and a guillotine used by the French.
  • When you can go and how much it costs: Hoa Lo Prison is open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, even on holidays. You need to pay 50,000 VND per person to enter.

Visiting Hoa Lo Prison is something you should do if you like history, especially if you’re from the United States and want to understand more about the Vietnam War. This place helps you see the difficult times Vietnamese people went through during the French colonial era.

  1. Temple of Literature & National University

Temple of Literature and National University 7

The Temple of Literature and National University is a really old and special place in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was made in the 11th century and was the first university in the country. Here’s some cool stuff about it:

  • Where it is: The Temple of Literature is in Hanoi, which is Vietnam’s capital. You can easily get there by bus or other public transportation, and a lot of people like to visit it.
  • How it looks: The temple is a great example of how buildings looked in Vietnam a long time ago. It has nice yards, gardens, and buildings. There are also statues of Confucius and his students.
  • Why it was made: At first, they built the Temple of Literature to honor Confucius and smart people. Later on, it became Vietnam’s first university. The university was where really important and smart students, including royal ones, studied.
  • Cool things inside: Inside the temple, there are things to see about Vietnam’s history and culture. You can check out old stuff, cool handwriting (calligraphy), and writings. There are also these special stones with names of smart people who passed important exams.
  • Why you should go: If you’re into learning about Vietnam’s past and culture, visiting the Temple of Literature is a must. You get to see how schools were like back in the day and learn about Confucianism, which was a big deal in Vietnamese society. Plus, the temple looks awesome, and the gardens are really peaceful and nice.

  1. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long 8

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi, Vietnam, is a really important and interesting place to visit. Here’s why it’s cool:

  • Super Old and Important: For over 1,000 years, this place has been the center of Vietnam for kings, politics, and the military. That’s a really long time!
  • Special Recognition: It’s so special that it got a prize from UNESCO in 2010. This prize says it’s an important part of the world’s history and culture.
  • Amazing Buildings and History: The Citadel has really cool old buildings that show how people used to build things a long time ago. It’s like a time machine that tells us about the past.
  • Fun Stuff to Do: When you visit, you can see the Citadel all lit up at night. There are also events and games that teach you about its history in a fun way.
  • Beautiful Place: The Citadel has gorgeous buildings like the Doan Mon gate and Kinh Thiên Palace. The surroundings are peaceful and lovely, making it a great place to explore.
  • Easy to Get To: It’s in a good spot, close to other famous places like the Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. So, it’s easy for tourists to check it out.

In short, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is an awesome place because of its really long and important history, the UNESCO award, fun things to do, beautiful buildings, and its handy location. Whether you love history, architecture, or exploring different cultures, this place has a lot to offer!

  1. Water Puppet Theater

Water Puppet Theater 9

The Water Puppet Theater in Vietnam is really cool, especially the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi and the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater in Ho Chi Minh City. You should definitely check them out! They have awesome shows with music, singing, and puppets that tell cool stories. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi is the best place to see these water puppet shows because it has ancient buildings and a peaceful environment. The shows are a mix of nature and history, and they make you feel like you’re part of Vietnamese culture. Lots of people love watching these shows, so it’s a good idea to get tickets early, especially if you’re not on a guided tour.

  1. The Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda 10

The Perfume Pagoda is like a special place in Vietnam, about 60 km away from Hanoi. It’s a bunch of temples and caves in a big mountain called Huong Tich Son. People go there because it’s super important for Buddhists, and there are lots of temples and pagodas hidden in the mountains and forests. People visit to pray for peace and happiness.

The coolest part is the Huong Tich Cave. They call it Perfume Pagoda because it’s believed to have a nice smell. The cave and temples are really pretty, and it’s a fun trip to get there. You can take a small boat rowed by local women from the village to the bottom of the mountain. The boat ride is cool and goes through pretty waterways between big cliffs.

The best time to visit is from October to December when it’s not too crowded. It’s a good idea to go on a guided tour, choose a good agency from Hanoi, and use the bathroom before you start the trip.


As you bid farewell to Hanoi, the memories of its timeless beauty and unique charm will linger in your heart. From the ancient streets of the Old Quarter to the tranquility of Hoan Kiem Lake, each place in this list contributed to the tapestry of your luxury vacation. Hanoi’s allure lies not just in its picturesque landscapes but also in the warmth of its people and the richness of its heritage. As you embark on your journey back home, carry with you the essence of Hanoi – a city that effortlessly blends tradition and modernity, creating an unforgettable experience for every traveler. Until we meet again, may your memories of Hanoi be as enduring as the city itself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a bustling metropolis in Vietnam with a rich history and diverse attractions. Some of the top things to visit in the city include:

  1. Independence Palace: A historic landmark that served as the presidential palace during the Vietnam War.
  2. War Remnants Museum: A poignant museum that provides a somber reminder of the devastating impact of the Vietnam War on the country’s civilians.
  3. Notre Dame Cathedral: A beautiful neo-Romanesque cathedral in the heart of the city.
  4. Jade Emperor Pagoda: A Taoist temple built in 1909, dedicated to the supreme Taoist god.
  5. Nguyen Hue Walking Street: A popular pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants, and street performers.
    Ben Thanh Market: A bustling market offering a variety of local products, food, and souvenirs.
  6. Cu Chi Tunnels: A network of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, now open for visitors to explore.
  7. Museum of Ho Chi Minh City: A museum showcasing the history and culture of the city.

Additionally, you can visit the Reunification Palace, the People’s Committee Building, and the History Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. For a more relaxed experience, consider exploring the local cafe culture or trying traditional Vietnamese dishes like snails, Chinese-style noodles, and cơm tấm.

There are several ways to travel around Ho Chi Minh City, including public transportation, ride-hailing apps, and motorbikes. Here are some options:

  1. Grab: A popular ride-hailing app in Vietnam, Grab offers affordable and convenient transportation options. It is available for both motorbikes and taxis.
  2. Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Ho Chi Minh City, and those with a Vietnamese SIM card can use ride-hailing apps like Grab.
  3. Public Buses: Ho Chi Minh City has an efficient network of public buses serving more than 100 routes around the city.
  4. Motorbikes: Renting or buying a motorbike for short-term use is not recommended due to the challenges of driving in Vietnam. However, you can hop on the back of a motorbike for a more local experience.
  5. Cyclo: Travelling via the iconic cyclo remains a popular way of getting around, but it is not recommended for all-day tours due to the busy traffic.
  6. Boat: You can take a boat along the river for a day trip to Củ Chi Tunnels or the Mekong Delta.
  7. Tours: Consider joining a tour to explore the city and its attractions. There are various tour operators offering guided tours in Ho Chi Minh City.

Remember to be cautious of scams and pickpocketing, especially when using ride-hailing apps. Always ensure the vehicle picking you up has the same details as the app, and be aware of your surroundings.

Ho Chi Minh City is generally considered safe for tourists, but it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking around at night. Some safety tips to keep in mind include:
Stay aware of your surroundings and be cautious of your belongings.
Use reputable transportation, such as reputable taxi companies or ride-hailing apps like Grab or GoViet.

Secure your belongings, especially in crowded areas or public transportation.

Be cautious with street vendors and ensure you’re eating from reputable sources.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and distribute your currency and identification in different pockets or accessible locations on your person.
Always carry a form of identification with you, including a photocopy of your passport.

Be cautious with late-night activities, as crime rates may increase.
While violent crime against foreigners is rare, opportunistic crimes such as pickpocketing and theft can occur, especially in crowded areas. It’s essential to exercise common sense and maintain a heightened sense of personal protective awareness to prevent these types of crimes.

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