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Hanoi

Things to see and do

  • Tran Quoc Pagoda
    3 stars

    Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, offers beautiful architecture, historic artifacts and a peaceful and serene environment. Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, offers beautiful architecture, historic artifacts and a peaceful and serene environment. Built in the sixth ... read more

  • Stay another day
    4 stars

    If you've got an extra day in Hanoi, here's our pick of some less typical ways to spend your time. If you're wondering how many days to spend in Hanoi, err on the generous side as there are plenty of ways to fill your time. Here's our pick of some less common ways to spend that extra day. Did ... read more

  • Pho Linh Tay Ho Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    Pho Linh Tay Ho Pagoda in Hanoi's Tay Ho district is a fine example of a Vietnamese pagoda, with both traditional Buddhist symbolism and Tibetan statues and imagery. Pho Linh Tay Ho Pagoda in Hanoi's Tay Ho district is a fine example of a Vietnamese pagoda, with both traditional Buddhist symbolism ... read more

  • Friends of Vietnam Heritage (FHV)
    3.5 stars

    If you're interested in seeking a really good understanding of the heritage and culture of Vietnam while in Hanoi, check out Friends of Vietnam Heritage (FHV), a non-profit group that holds interesting walks and events and publishes books on intriguing to If you're interested in seeking a really ... read more

  • Tay Ho Temple
    3.5 stars

    One of the most popular and important places of worship in Hanoi, Phu Tay Ho trumps even Tran Quoc Pagoda for its enviable lakeside position. One of the most popular and important places of worship in Hanoi, Phu Tay Ho trumps even Tran Quoc Pagoda for its enviable lakeside position. Phu Tay Ho is ... read more

  • Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum
    3 stars

    If you follow the flow of the Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex, the first stop is to see the preserved remains of Ho Chi Minh himself. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, and seeing it freed from French domination, Ho Chi Minh died before the next war -- the ... read more

  • Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh's House on Stilts
    3.5 stars

    Just to the north of Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum sits the presidential palace, appropriated from the French after they were routed and which you can't enter, plus Ho Chi Minh's bungalow, often referred to as his House on Stilts. Ho Chi Minh refused to move into the palace and commissioned the simple ... read more

  • One Pillar Pagoda
    2.5 stars

    Another popular stop on the tour group trail, masses line up to climb the steps to this small shrine within a gazebo-like structure set over a lotus pond. For most travellers, it may be enough to take a glance at it as they leave the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Originally built in 1049 of wood, the ... read more

  • Ho Chi Minh Museum
    4.5 stars

    Looking at the massive white lotus-shaped structure that houses the Ho Chi Minh Museum's collection, one might wonder how so much real estate could be dedicated to one man. You'll pass through airport-style security to gain access, then go straight up the stairs to the first level of exhibits. On ... read more

  • Temple of Literature
    3.5 stars

    The Temple of Literature is an obligatory stop on any Hanoi tour. It's usually packed, but never so much that there isn't room to stroll around. It's a good sight, but if you're not much for culture, it needn't be near the top of your list of things to do This is the site of Vietnam's first ... read more

  • St Joseph's Cathedral
    3 stars

    This Catholic cathedral was completed in 1887 by Monseigneur Pigneau de Behaine. It was closed in 1975 upon the reunification of Vietnam, and was not reopened until 1985. The neo-gothic style of the cathedral looks somewhat out of place in the busy streets of Hanoi, although it's built in what's ... read more

  • Vietnam Military History Museum
    4 stars

    The Vietnam Military History Museum, also known as the War or Army Museum, has a comprehensive and stimulating collection of war relics charting Vietnam's struggle for liberation. If you're only going to see one war museum in Vietnam, this should be it. The museum is arranged in a series of ... read more

  • Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum
    3 stars

    Set behind the Temple of Literature, this is a sight that's not usually on the tour group route, but should be. While not world-class, it's one of the best in Vietnam and a visit will provide good insight into Vietnamese culture and history. The main building is a large, three-storey colonial-style ... read more

  • Hoan Kiem Lake
    4 stars

    Hoan Kiem Lake, 'Lake of the Restored Sword', forms the centrepiece of Hanoi. The name of the lake comes from a legend in which Emperor Le Loi, worried about the advancing Chinese, was boating on the lake when a giant tortoise rose from the murky waters. The tortoise presented him with a magical ... read more

  • Cinemateque
    3.5 stars

    Hanoi boasts a handful of large-scale cinemas showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters, but for something more alternative head to Cinematique. Located just a few minutes' walk south of Hoan Kiem Lake near the Old Quarter, this small, independent theatre shows a diverse range of films ranging from ... read more

  • Live music
    3 stars

    Hanoi has more venues slowly opening showcasing both local and international acts. Here are a few of them. Hanoi offers a growing array of places to enjoy a night out of live music. Here are some of our picks. Hanoi Rock City is up there as one of the best venues in town. The offerings are ... read more

  • Ngoc Son Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    At the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake, just down the street from the Water Puppet Theatre, sits Ngoc Son Pagoda, or Pagoda of the Jade Mountain. It's on an islet accessed via an old red wooden bridge, the Bridge of the Rising Sun. The site has been used as a temple since ancient times, but most of ... read more

  • National Museum of Vietnamese History
    4 stars

    The National Museum of Vietnamese History is housed in a magnificent example of Indochinese architecture, which was, until 1910, the French consulate and residence of the governor general. The building was also home to the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient (EFEO), during which time it became a ... read more

  • West Lake
    2.5 stars

    Also known as Ho Tay or Lake of Mist, this large lake covers a sizeable part of northwest Hanoi. Legend states that the lake was formed by the footprint of a golden calf that was running towards the sound of a giant bell. In its heyday, the lake was lined by royal palaces, which are now mostly gone ... read more

  • Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton)
    4 stars

    Few surviving historical vestiges attest as vividly and pointedly to Vietnam's complicated journey through the 20th century as Hoa Lo — better known as the Hanoi Hilton. The French simply called it Maison Centrale, and apparently razed one of the local outlying craft villages when they picked out ... read more

  • Vietnamese Revolution Museum
    3 stars

    Established in 1959, the more than 3,000 exhibits on display here trace the development of the Vietnamese revolution from its very early inception through to final victory. The museum follows three main strands: the struggle for independence (1858-1945), the war of resistance (1945-1975) and ... read more

  • Ancient House at 87 Ma May St
    4 stars

    Dating back to the 19th century, this very special house is a stunning example of the type of architecture that prevailed throughout Hanoi before the concrete egg-carton style took over. If you plan on visiting Hoi An, or have already done so, you'll recognise this as a trader house in very much ... read more

  • Long Bien and Chuong Duong Bridges
    3 stars

    These two bridges were for a long time the only land access points to Hanoi for many peasants living on the east side of the Red River. Now new, less impressive but functional bridges are located to the north and south. Long Bien Bridge is a massive iron structure built by the French in the late ... read more

  • Vietnam Museum of Ethnography
    4.5 stars

    While somewhat inconveniently located, this museum is absolutely worth making the effort to reach. If you're planning on going trekking in the mountains to the north and northwest of Hanoi, this museum should be considered an essential research stop. The displays, labelled in English throughout, ... read more

  • The Vietnamese Women's Museum
    2.5 stars

    Closed for some years for renovation, the Women’s Museum re-opened with a bang in 2011 and is definitely worth a visit. Spread over five floors, it houses permanent and temporary displays related to the lives of women in Vietnam. Sections are devoted to subjects such as marriage, birth and ... read more

  • Thanh Long Water Puppet Theatre (Nha Hat Mua Roi Thang Long)
    3.5 stars

    Hanoi's water puppets are a special part of Vietnamese culture and history -- worth giving a try. Thanh Long Water Puppet Theatre may not be a traditional puppet theatre but the show is authentic and it's well located in Hanoi's Old Quarter for an enjoyable afternoon or evening excursion. Water ... read more

  • Bach Ma Temple
    3.5 stars

    Bach Ma Temple has many virtues to recommend it as the place to get your temple creds if you don't have them yet. First, it's very conveniently located, on the corner of Hang Buom and Hang Giay, in the heart of the Old Quarter. Chances are you'll find yourself passing by anyway as you go for a ... read more

  • Hanoi Opera House
    3.5 stars

    Hanoi's majestic old Opera House, located in the French Quarter near the posh hotels, is an attraction in itself. While Western operas are occasionally mounted here, there are also performances by visiting classical orchestras, and a whole gamut of entertainments, such as puppet shows, ballets and ... read more

  • Botanical Gardens
    3.5 stars

    Located just above the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex northwest of the Old Quarter, the sprawling Botanical Gardens provide an excellent respite from Hanoi's busy streets. They're well landscaped, featuring ample foliage to soothe tired eyes and some cages with exotic birds and monkeys that we wish ... read more

  • Thu Le Park and Zoo
    3 stars

    Some think Hanoi is a zoo, but it also has one. Priced to please, it's full of locals on any given day, with a cheerful holiday air about it that makes for a good place to go if you're getting harried by the tourist scene. Relax, you're on vacation! It's more park than zoo, with beautiful grounds ... read more

  • Around Hanoi
    4 stars

    Hanoi's immediate surroundings are changing rapidly. Roads, factories, housing developments and even resorts are being furiously constructed everywhere. Traffic is heavy and getting heavier. And while the farms and rice fields are still there, they are being progressively encircled by a less ... read more

  • Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas
    4 stars

    If you haven't had a good mountainside pagoda experience, these two spots (with confusingly similar names) are some of the oldest and most historically important pagodas in Vietnam, reachable via an easy daytrip. The first of the two, Chua Thay or 'Master's Pagoda', is about 19km from Hanoi. Just ... read more

  • Co Loa Citadel
    3.5 stars

    This is the easiest of the Hanoi daytrips, about 16km outside the city. The main draw here is that it's one of the oldest structures still extant from Vietnamese history (though Cham and Sa Huynh culture is much older). The ancient, spiral-shaped citadel dates back to the third century BC, with a ... read more

  • Ba Vi National Park
    3.5 stars

    If you're planning to visit only one national park in Vietnam, other parks, like Bach Ma near Hue, should be higher up on your list than Ba Vi. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful park and if you just want a quiet getaway for a day or so, it's a fine choice. The main attraction at the park is the ... read more

  • Ho Guom Plaza
    3.5 stars

    Also known as "Shark Jaws" (don't ask us why), Ho Guom Plaza is a six-storey landmark that sticks out from the southern edge of the old quarter. The plaza affords great views of Hoan Kiem Lake and the extremely busy (and loosely organised) road junction immediately below. With the exception of ... read more

  • The Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum
    4 stars

    Located about 15km outside Hanoi, this is often a stop along the way to the Perfume Pagoda. The two-storey museum has seven galleries dedicated to the system of trails collectively known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. It which stretched from northern Vietnam along the Laos border at a latitude parallel ... read more

  • Perfume Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    The site is popular year round, but particularly from the middle of the second to the end of the third lunar months following Tet and on even days of the lunar calendar. But rather than avoid peak periods, we'd recommend embracing the madness. Junkets for foreigners start at 08:00 and get back ... read more


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