Wednesday, 06-07-2022

37 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things To Do In Hanoi (Vietnam)

You’ll find the essence of Vietnamese life in Hanoi’s bustling streets. The capital of Vietnam is a growing economic center, but it still retains strong traditional culture. It manages to showcase both modern and old Vietnam.

The Old Quarter district is alive with street vendors; there are many cafes and restaurants that offer modern, vibrant scenes. Even crossing a street here can be an adrenaline-fueled adventure.

Hanoi offers many places you can visit to escape the chaos and crowds. The tranquility of Hoan Kiem lake is within the city. While the Temple of Literature and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology offers plenty of opportunities for reflection on Vietnam’s rich history,

See our top 12 attractions list in Hanoi & the 25 best things to do in Hanoi for more ideas.

12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

Hoa Lo Prison Museum

  • Opening Hours: open daily from 08:00 until 17:00 and closed from lunch from 11:30 until 13:30
  • Location: 1 Hoa Lo Street, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi.
  • Entrance fee: 30,000vnd (~$1.5)

Hoa Lo Prison museum was constructed by the French colonial administration in the late 19th-century. It was originally built to hold Vietnamese revolutionaries as well as any dissidents from French rule. Many foreigners know it as the Hanoi Hilton – Vietnam War POW prison. John McCain is the prison’s most prominent ex-resident.

On display are the prison grounds’ communal jail cells, solitary cells, and courtyard. The French used the guillotine as well. The prison grounds contain a lot of information on Vietnam’s long struggle against France’s colonial rule. This includes details about the brutal regime under which these prisoners were held.

Two rooms tell the story of American prisoners of war (POWs) held here. A video shows their imprisonment, release, and personal mementos.

Hanoi Old Quarter

  • Location: Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
  • Entrance fee: Free

The main attraction for many tourists to Vietnam’s capital is walking the streets of its ancient core. This quarter of narrow alleyways and labyrinthine streets is the commercial heartbeat of the town. It has a history stretching back to 1,000 years.

It’s an interestingly decrepit place, where the odd fragment of medieval-era architecture has managed to cling to within the modern hubbub whizzing motorbikes and street vendors and pulsating business.

Look up when you’re walking around the area. There is a lot of vernacular architecture here.

This is where merchants lived above their shops in long narrow two-story homes, which are tucked together on alleyway rows. This area is a great place to take in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi street life.

Street food is plentiful and there are plenty of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, and traditional medicines. There are also stalls selling Buddhist religious charms.

The French Colonial Relic, located in the heartland of the old quarter of St. Joseph’s Cathedral (Nha Tho Street), a fine example of neoGothic architectural style, was built in 1886.

The façade is richly decorated with two bell towers and intricate stained-glass window details. Except for mass, the main entrance to the church is kept locked. The back of the church is accessible through offices for the Diocese of Hanoi.

Temple of Literature

  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:30 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 16:30
  • Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi
  • Entrance fee:  VND 10,000 (~$0.4)

This stunning and serene Confucian Temple is the city’s most notable religious structure. It was built originally as a university in the 11th century. The Hanoi Temple of Literature today stands as a memorial to the nation’s scholars.

In the middle ages, the philosophy of Confucianism was taught here. You can still see names of students, etched into a series of pillars near the entranceway.

There are several gardens that lead inside to pagodas and pavilions. The statue of Confucius is found in the pagoda.

Hoan Kiem Lake

  • Location: Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi
  • Area: 12 ha
  • Shore length: 1.75km
  • Length: 700m
  • Entrance fee: Free

Hoan Kiem Lake is the most prominent landmark in Hanoi. It lies just outside the old town. The island is accessible via a red bridge.

It houses Ngoc Son Temple. Here, three important figures from Vietnamese history are honored: La To (revered in honor of being a patron saint for physicians), Van Xuong (revered in honor of his heroic actions against the Mongol invasion), and Tran Hung Dao (13th-century general).

A tiny island at the southern end of the lake houses the stocky Turtle Tower. It is best seen from “The Huc” bridge.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

  • Location: 25 Hung Vuong, Dien Ban, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
  • Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Opening hours:  Seasonal:
    • April 1st to October 31st: 7.30 a.m – 10.30 a.m (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 7.30 a.m – 11.00 a.m)
    • November 1st to March 31st of next year: 8.00 a.m – 11.00 a.m
  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Phone: 024 3845 5128

Many Vietnamese consider the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum a holy place. It is situated in the city’s lush greenery and houses the tomb of Ho Chi Minh, as well as other museums and monuments.

The mausoleum itself, a marble building in which Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed remains are kept in a glass container, is a structure.

There is also the Ho Chi Minh Museum within the complex, which contains a variety of Ho Chi Minh memorabilia. It also has lots of information on Vietnam’s history.

A visit to the stilt house, where the home of Ho Chi Minh is recommended. The One Pillar Pagoda and the stilt house are also worth it. This pagoda is an exact reconstruction of the original temple from the 11th century, which was destroyed in France by colonial troops.

Water Puppet Theatre

  • Opening Hours: Daily 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00
  • Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Tel: +84 43 824 9494
  • Entrance fee: from VND 100,000

The water puppet shows of Hanoi offer a unique way to enjoy traditional Vietnamese entertainment.

This ancient art form originated in Vietnam’s rural areas during the monsoon flooding. It is still performed today in custom-made water tanks.

These performances often revolve around well-known legends from the area and are accompanied by a live band that plays traditional Vietnamese instruments.

Hanoi is the capital of contemporary water puppet theatre with five shows a day at the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre.

Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts

  • Opening hours: 8.30-17.00 every day except Monday
  • Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hanoi
  • Phone: 024 3733 2131
  • Best for Family, couple, solo
  • Hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM
  • Distance to city center: 0.4km (0.2 mi)
  • Entrance fee: $1.3

The museum houses a wide range of Vietnamese art from prehistoric times up to contemporary artists.

Among the treasures are terracotta- and stone sculptures from the Champa Dynasty as well as Buddha statues made from the Mac and Le Dynasties. The gallery also contains a large collection of ceramic work from the 11th and 12th centuries, as well as a gallery dedicated to folk art.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

  • Location: Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
  • Opening time: 08:30 a.m – 05:30 p.m) from Tuesday till Sunday (except only Monday and the Lunar Tet Holiday)
  • Tel: (84-4) 7562193 Fax: (84-4) 8360351
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: http://www.vme.org.vn
  • Established: 12/11/1997
  • Collection size: 30,000+ objects

For history and museum enthusiasts, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a must-see. This museum houses Vietnam’s extensive national collection. It also tells Vietnam’s story through a series of beautifully curated exhibits.

The many Vietnamese ethnic minorities are represented here with stunning displays of artifacts that display metalwork, wooden carving, and traditional costumes.

Some of the best exhibits are located in the garden area just outside the main building. This area houses the interesting Giarai tomb and rural dwellings that are used by various ethnic groups in Vietnam.

Military History Museum

  • Address: No. 28A, Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Opening time: daily except Monday and Friday
  • Tel: (84-4) 7334682 Fax: (84 4) 7334692
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Website: www.btlsqsvn.org.vn

This courtyard features an eclectic mix of weaponry and military machinery, including downed US and French aircraft, tanks, and a Soviet MiG fighter plane.

There is a lot of information inside the building about the resistance wars against the French and American invaders, as well as weapons displays. This will be of particular interest to those who are interested in Vietnam’s 20-century history.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

  • Location: The Imperial Citadel is located at 19C Hoang Dieu Street, while the archeological site is at 18 Hoang Dieu Street.
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 17:00 every day, except Monday
  • Entrance fee: VND 30,000 for locals and tourists, VND 15,000 for Vietnamese students. Admission to children under 15 is free of charge.

Although it may not appear like much at first glance, Hanoi’s Imperial Citadel region was once the crucial seat of military strength here. This role lasted right through the 1960s, as well as the Vietnam War.

For its role in Hanoi’s history, the site was given UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2010. Archaeological work has revealed foundations for various palaces that once stood at this location.

The bunker is also home to military maps, implements, and other items.

Hanoi Old House

  • Sight: Memorial House
  • Type: Religious
  • Location: Hanoi – Vietnam
  • Address: 87 Mã Mây, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Việt Nam
  • Opening hours: 9am-noon & 1-5pm

If you are interested in how life was for Hanoi’s residents in the past, a visit to Memorial House is an essential part of your time in Hanoi.

This merchant house, which has been beautifully restored, is situated in the old quarter. It’s furnished to look like an ordinary merchant’s residence and is full of antiques and everyday objects that date back centuries.

It has many traditional architectural features. They are placed between two courtyards to create outdoor space.

The house is also laid out according to the ancient tradition of Feng Shui, which allows energy to flow well into the house.

Watch traditional craftspeople work in the residence at calligraphy or basketry crafts in some of these rooms.

West Lake

Urban freshwater lake with an 11-mile perimeter & a 6th-century pagoda in the middle.

Tay Ho (West Lake), Hanoi’s largest lake, stretches 15 kilometers along its shoreline. The shoreline is a popular spot for locals to walk or cycle, with two temples located nearby.

Tay Ho Pagoda has a beautiful and reverent shrine to the mother god. Tran Quoc Pagoda remains one of Vietnam’s oldest temples.

West Lake is a popular spot for tourists to view the city from the sky, and also to enjoy delicious seafood at one of the many restaurants right by the lake. West Lake can be found off Thuy Khue Street.

25 Best Things To Do In Hanoi (Vietnam)

Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, is also one of the most vibrant cities in Asia. Vietnam is changing rapidly like many Asian cities. But if you’re looking for its historical heart, you’ll find it in Hanoi.

You will find beautiful architecture that dates back to the colonial period. There are also a number of museums that will provide information about the history of this region. There are many options for photography, including traditional Vietnamese monuments like temples and pagodas.

Hanoi is known for its wonderful food scene. You can enjoy a delicious bowl of noodles or a Banh Mi sandwich. You can also stroll past beautiful lakes and lush parks while enjoying delicious food in Hanoi.

These are the 25 most popular things to do in Hanoi.

Visit Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison can be an emotional experience. This old prison was once known as the Hanoi Hilton.

During the Vietnam War, the prison housed American prisoners of war.

This is why galleries are available that show Vietnamese history up to the 1950s when it was used in the struggle for independence.

Here you’ll find grisly items such as a French Guillotine used by colonialists to execute Vietnamese activists. You will also see memorabilia that relates to American pilots who were held during the Vietnam War.

Visit the Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is one of Hanoi’s most popular places.

This temple dates back to 1070. It is part of a larger complex that also includes the charmingly-named Lake of Literature.

The Stele of Doctors is one of the highlights of this area. You will find 82 carved stone turtles here, which are revered as holy beings in Vietnam.

It is customary to pray at a temple if you are a budding author or publisher in the hope of one day publishing a masterpiece.

Take a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem lake is the most well-known spot in Hanoi. It is also considered a magical body of water.

This is because the legend says that there is a mythical turtle living in the lake, who is the hero in a Vietnamese folk tale.

The turtle is still swimming in the lake according to locals, but you can also see other turtles when you visit.

You can enjoy the beautiful views across the water, which is what makes this the ideal place for an afternoon walk in Hanoi.

Try the egg coffee at Giang Cafe

People may not know that Hanoi is known for its egg coffee, which although it may sound strange, is delicious.

The taste of coffee is very similar to eggnog. To make the egg yolks thicken, add condensed milk.

Then, pour the mixture over a cup of Vietnamese coffee. This will give you a rich but smooth boost of caffeine.

Giang Cafe is a great place to enjoy this unique beverage. It has been around for many years.

Try Banh Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich

Banh Mi is perhaps the most well-known sandwich in the world.

This sandwich combines French elements from Vietnam’s colonial past with delicious local ingredients.

You can now enjoy soft French baguettes topped with pate, coriander, and chilies.

Banh Mi 25 is a famous spot in the city for a delicious sandwich made with a combination of different ingredients.

Visit the Museum of Ethnology

The Museum of Ethnology is one of the most popular museums in Vietnam. It has an extensive collection of items related to ethnic minorities.

This allows you to enjoy galleries of both tribal art and artifacts, as well as handicrafts.

The museum also contains amazing models of traditional village homes. It also features excellent signage in a variety of languages that will help you understand the historical and cultural significance of the items.

Admire Bach Ma Temple

The charming Bach Ma Temple is located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It is the oldest temple in the city.

Although it has been rebuilt throughout the years, most of the renovation work dates back to the 18th century.

It was built originally in the 11th Century during Emperor Ly Thai To’s reign.

Here is where the Emperor decided to build the walls of the city. There is also a Confucius statue that was constructed in 1839.

Visit Lotte Tower Observation Deck

Visit the Lotte Tower Observatory Deck to enjoy the best view of Hanoi.

You can reach the 65th floor from here, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.

These include the Old Quarter, which is sprawling in all directions in front of you. Once you’ve taken in the city from a height you can also visit other parts of the tower.

You will find a hotel, as well as restaurants and a rooftop bar.

Visit the National Museum of Vietnamese History

The Museum of Vietnamese History was established in 1925. It was a school that was used during French colonial times in Vietnam.

It is a beautiful mix of French and Chinese designs. Some things to watch out for are bronze pieces, which date back to the 3rd Century BC and are part of the Dong Son culture.

There are also many Hindu statues from the Champa, Khmer, and other kingdoms as well as galleries of Vietnamese ornate jewelry.

You can also visit galleries that focus on the French colonial period or the Vietnam War.

Take a trip to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Many visitors say that the Vietnamese Women’s Museum is one of the most popular museums in Hanoi. It is dedicated to telling the story about women’s role in Vietnamese society.

This museum will take you through the history, culture, and achievements of Vietnamese women. There are also galleries that focus on the role of Vietnamese women during wartime.

Also, you will find treasures like colorful costumes from the local area, tribal handicrafts, and woven fabrics created by various minorities in Vietnam.

Have dinner at Cha Ca Than Long

Cha Ca Than Long is a great place to sample Vietnamese cuisine. You can make your own Cha Ca.

This Vietnamese dish is made with fish, as well as turmeric or dill.

Cha Ca Than offers fish paste and herbs cooking and is one of the best places to get this delicious dish.

You can see a performance at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

One of the must-see sights in Hanoi is the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.

This theatre features a pool of water at the waist that allows puppeteers to stand.

The puppets are attached to bamboo canes, and they dance on the water’s surface.

These shows often tell the stories of local legends, farming stories, and Vietnamese myths.

This type of performance was said to have originated in rural Vietnam when rice fields were flooded during the rainy season. Locals would then dance on the water with the puppets to entertain themselves.

Get in quicker by booking your ticket online

Stroll around the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Imperial Citadel of Hanoi was once the seat for military power in Vietnam. It would have been a significant spot during the Vietnam War.

You can also enjoy over 1,000 years of history at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

One of the most distinctive elements of the citadel is the archaeological treasures that were discovered, such as foundations for ancient palaces.

Here you will also find bunkers that date back to the Vietnam War. You can browse weaponry collections and view military maps.

Visit the Hanoi Old House

The Memorial House aka Hanoi Old House is located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and is one of the most restored buildings in the city.

It was once the home of a merchant. The house has been beautifully preserved and is situated around two picturesque courtyards.

You will find beautiful antique furniture here. There are also signature ‘high stairs’ that connect the rooms, which are believed to stop negative energy flowing from one room to the next.

Enjoy a bowl of noodles at Pho Bat Dan

Pho noodles are one of Vietnam’s most well-known dishes. You can’t leave Hanoi and not try a bowl.

Pho Bat Dan, one of the most popular spots in Hanoi to try the noodles, is located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

The place is easily spotted from a mile away, as there is often a long line that runs out of the door. This tells you everything about the delicious noodles in the broth.

Pho Bat Dan slows down their bone broth for hours, creating a delicious soup. You can add fresh herbs or chilies to this soup.

Visit the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam

The Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam is one of the most modern museums in Hanoi.

The museum’s signage is available in English and French. It is dedicated to showing the best art in the country.

You will find paintings, sculptures, and a lot of ceramics on display. This is a great spot for anyone who enjoys arts and crafts.

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a popular pilgrimage spot for Vietnamese, is located in a large complex surrounded by beautiful gardens.

This complex houses the grave of Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Vietnam.

The actual mausoleum is a marble structure that houses the embalmed remains of Ho Chi Minh, which are kept in a glass container.

You will also find the Ho Chi Minh Museum, which provides information about the life and times of this important figure in Vietnamese history. There are also galleries that contain personal memorabilia.

Have a drink at Hanoi Social Club

The Hanoi Social Club is a great place to grab a drink in Hanoi. It’s one of the most lively cafes in the city.

The cafe is spread over three floors. You can also get juices and coffee, as well as beer and other alcoholic beverages.

The cafe features a diverse menu that includes both local and international dishes.

 Dine at Bun Cha Nem Chua Chua Be Dac Kim

You must try the bun cha, which is a barbecued pork dish served with rice vermicelli if you visit Hanoi.

Bun Cha Nem Chua Be Dac Kim offers this classic dish with “nem cua be”, which are toothsome spring rolls filled with sea crab.

Locals say this is the best place to taste this dish in Hanoi.

Enjoy the Long Bien Bridge’s views

The Long Bien Bridge was built between 1899 and 1902. It was designed by Parisian architects.

This bridge spans the Red Bridge in steel and is a focal point of Hanoi.

It was an important strategic location during the Vietnam War, and it is still a historical landmark in the city.

Try to visit the bridge at night when it is lit against the dark Vietnamese sky.

You can walk across the bridge on a pedestrian path. Street food vendors selling delicious snacks are also available.

Take a stroll around the Military History Museum

This museum is a must-see for anyone who is interested in Military History.

This site features a large selection of iconic weaponry, including planes that were shot down during the Vietnam War.

Other planes, tanks, and even a Soviet MiG fighter jet will be on display.

You can find an outside flag tower and information panels that guide you through military history.

Shop in the Hanoi Old Quarter

Many tourists claim that Hanoi is Vietnam’s prettiest and oldest city. This is largely due to the Old Quarter.

You will find streets that are densely populated but still retain the charm of a small neighborhood.

You can find Silk Shops along with the street names. Hang Gai is one example.

This is the place to go if you want to buy souvenirs and gifts from locals. You will also find delicious local restaurants.

Every night, from Friday through Sunday, there is a local night market in the Old Quarter.

Go boating on West Lake

West Lake is Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake and boasts 17 km of beautiful shoreline.

This is one of the most visited spots in Hanoi. You can also take in historic sites like Tran Quoc pagoda, which is located on a small island in the middle.

You can also visit the Quan Thanh Temple, which dates back to the 11th century. Another interesting spot is the boat rental and boating on the lake.

Admire Tran Quoc Pagoda

The Tran Quoc Temple in Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple and was constructed in the 6th Century.

This historic stele tells the story of how the pagoda was created. It dates back to 1639 when the building was built in the reign of Emperor Ly Nam.

Although the pagoda can be found on an island in West Lake, you can still access it by a small causeway.

A stupa, which is 11-storey high, is one of the most prominent spots in the pagoda. It is filled with sparkling gemstone-covered statues.

Tour the Perfume Pagoda

Consider visiting the Perfume Pagoda if you are looking for a day trip from Hanoi.

The complex of temples dates back to the 15th century. It consists of several Buddhist temples built on top of mountains.

You will need to drive for approximately 2 hours to reach the pagoda. Then, you will need to take a scenic boat ride to the complex.

You will be climbing over rocks and passing idyllic mountain streams as you explore. This is a great trip to take if you have the time.

Final Line

25 Best Things To Do In Hanoi (Vietnam):

  1. Visit Hoa Lo Prison
  2. Watch a performance at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
  3. Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake
  4. Try Banh Mi – Vietnamese sandwich
  5. Visit Lotte Tower Observation Deck
  6. Visit the Museum of Ethnology
  7. Tour the National Museum of Vietnamese History
  8. Admire Bach Ma Temple
  9. Have a drink at Hanoi Social Club
  10. Try the egg coffee at Giang Cafe
  11. Walk around the Military History Museum
  12. Go boating at West Lake
  13. Visit the Temple of Literature
  14. Admire Tran Quoc Pagoda
  15. Tour the Vietnamese Women’s Museum
  16. Take in the views from Long Bien Bridge
  17. Have dinner at Cha Ca Than Long
  18. Visit Hanoi Old House
  19. Go shopping in the Old Quarter
  20. Tour the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam
  21. Stroll around the Imperial Citadel
  22. Take a trip to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  23. Dine at Bun Cha Nem Chua Be Dac Kim
  24. Have a bowl of noodles at Pho Bat Dan
  25. Visit the Perfume Pagoda

12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

  1. Hoa Lo Prison Museum
  2. Hanoi Old Quarter
  3. Temple of Literature
    Hoan Kiem Lake
  4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  5. Water Puppet Theatre
  6. Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts
  7. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
  8. Military History Museum
  9. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
  10. Hanoi Old House
  11. West Lake

Hanoi: Where to Stay for Sightseeing

These are the top-quality hotels we recommend in Hanoi, close to top attractions such as the Old Town Quarter.

  • Sofitel Legend Hanoi: This hotel is located near the opera house and offers colonial-style luxury. It also has multiple restaurants, sumptuous sheets, and a beautiful outdoor heated pool.
  • Hanoi Emerald Waters Hotel Fashionable: This mid-range hotel has stylish rooms and a great location. Breakfast is included.
  • Little Hanoi DX Hotel – This elegant boutique hotel offers affordable rates. You will find friendly staff and fresh roses within your rooms.
  • Hanoi Holiday Center Hotel – This budget hotel is located in the city center and offers modern rooms and an exceptional staff.
References:

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About Author

My name is Min Chee, Vietnamese name is Minh Trang. Currently working as an employee of a garment company in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. Hobbies are travel and beauty. I love to experience and review new products from cosmetic brands. Now i'm working as blogger for Huy Hoa at the website: Beauty and Travel

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