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Hanoi

Things to see and do

Temples

  • Tran Quoc Pagoda
    3 stars

    Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, offers beautiful architecture, historic artifacts and a peaceful and serene environment. Built in the sixth century, during the reign of King Ly Nam De, the pagoda was first named Khai Quoc, which means "founding the country". Since then it has ... 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. The first area you come to as you enter the pagoda is the newer part of the complex. Here you will see both statues and murals ... 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. Phu Tay Ho is on the northern bank of the same-named lake, a few kilometres along the lake road from Xuan Dieu Street. Whereas pagodas are for Buddhists, Phu ... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Museums

  • Thang Long Royal Citadel
    3.5 stars

    Thang Long Royal Citadel in Hanoi was opened to the public quite recently, but once you’ve been you’ll wonder why it was kept under wraps for so long. With attractive, shady gardens, imposing buildings, underground bunkers and numerous historic artifacts, ... read more

  • War sights in Hanoi
    3.5 stars

    While there are no battle sites, tunnels, bases or so on in or around Hanoi, for those with an interest in Vietnam’s modern wars there are still a few places worth visiting ... 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 to the north and northwest of Hanoi, this museum should be considered essential. The displays, labelled in English throughout, are both comprehensive and ... 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

  • 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. The trail stretched from northern Vietnam along the Laos border at a latitude ... read more

Public parks and zoos

  • Thong Nhat Park
    3.5 stars

    Thong Nhat Park, a 15-minute ride from Hoan Kiem Lake, is a great spot to relax with a book or enjoy a stroll without having to avoid Hanoi’s motorbikes and street vendors. ... 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 ... read more

Interesting buildings

  • 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

Art galleries or venues

  • Mosaic wall
    3.5 stars

    A four-kilometre long ceramic mosaic mural wall snaking through Hanoi is the world's largest of its kind. In October 2010, Hanoi celebrated the 1,000-year anniversary of the foundation of the capital Thang Long by the emperor Ly Thai To. Many events took place throughout the year, but perhaps the ... read more

  • 54 Traditions Gallery
    3.5 stars

    54 Traditions Gallery is housed in a nondescript building on Hang Bun Street, north of Old Quarter. Think Dr Who’s Tardis: from the front it looks just like the frosted-glass entrance to a small office — a local solicitor’s perhaps — but inside it opens u ... read more

Markets

  • Dong Xuan night market
    3.5 stars

    Dong Xuan night market runs along Hang Ngang and Dong Xuan streets, from the junction with Hang Bac right up to Dong Xuan market and is held, as the name might suggest, at night. ... read more

  • Dong Xuan market
    3.5 stars

    If you like markets and haven’t been to any others in Vietnam yet, definitely check out Dong Xuan -- but for souvenir shopping, there are better places elsewhere. ... read more

  • A roundup of Hanoi markets
    3.5 stars

    Hanoi’s a city full of colourful markets worth exploring. Here are some of the best -- selling food, produce, flowers, motorbikes and clothes. ... read more

  • Long Bien Market
    3.5 stars

    It’s not top of any must-do list in travel guides, but a visit to Hanoi’s chaotic Long Bien market is a fascinating exposure to the life of a large proportion of Hanoi residents. But you’ll need to get up early — very early. ... read more

  • Wet markets
    4 stars

    Despite the growth of supermarkets, wet markets still play a pivotal role in the supply of groceries to Vietnamese households. Many, primarily women, visit the market twice a day. ... read more

Natural attractions

  • Hoan Kiem Lake
    3.5 stars

    A visit to Hanoi would be incomplete without a wander around Hoan Kiem Lake, the centrepiece of the city. Whether early morning, an afternoon stroll or after dark, the lake is surrounded by activity and points of interest. The tortoise presented him with a magical sword with which he could strike ... read more

  • Lotus flowers
    3.5 stars

    When lotus flower season hits in June, the West Lake area becomes awash with the blooms, which hold particular significance in Vietnam, where they are considered one of four graceful plants, along with pine, bamboo and chrysanthemum. ... read more

  • West Lake
    3.5 stars

    Also known as Ho Tay, or Lake of Mist, West Lake covers a sizeable part of northwest Hanoi and makes for an interesting place to explore. ... read more

General activities

  • 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

  • Lacquerware classes
    3.5 stars

    Old Quarter in Hanoi is flooded with shops selling the same selection of lacquerware items at the same -- negotiable -- prices. But why not make your own take-home piece of lacquerware? Lacquer items -- paintings, photo albums, bowls, vases -- are a popular souvenir in Vietnam. Old Quarter in ... read more

  • What to do with your kids in Hanoi
    3.5 stars

    The busy streets and hectic traffic in Hanoi make it less than child-friendly, but don’t let that put you off: the city offers many activities that children will enjoy. Here’s a selection you might want to consider during a stay. ... read more

  • Hanoi's skate ramp
    3.5 stars

    Skateboarding is probably not the first thing you think of when you think of getting around in Hanoi: after all, where would there be room? But things are changing, and a few months ago a mini half-pipe was constructed at Hanoi Rock City. I spoke with 25- ... read more

  • Clips on Hanoi
    3.5 stars

    Recently, Hanoi Grapevine alerted me to the YouTube launch and initial success of rap song and associated video Oi Gioi Oi. The tongue-in-cheek song and video by Hanoi Sessions features EP rapping about those things in Hanoi that make you say “Oi gioi oi” ... read more

  • Weddings in Hanoi: The day itself
    3.5 stars

    Apologies. It’s taken me longer to write part two of this blog than it usually takes a couple in Hanoi to get engaged. So let me get straight into it and recount my Hanoian wedding experience ... read more

  • Weddings in Hanoi: Before the day
    3.5 stars

    If you’ve seen a tent being erected on the pavement in the middle of Hanoi and wondered what on earth is going on, it’s likely that there’s a wedding in the offing ... read more

  • Learning Vietnamese
    3.5 stars

    Ask any foreigner in Hanoi, particularly one who’s already tried to learn the language, and you’ll be told how difficult it is to master. Well, not just to master: even to speak more than a few words. ... read more

  • Gyms
    3.5 stars

    For most people a holiday is a chance to escape from the gym — well, it certainly used to be for me — but for longer-term visitors who want to work off the bia hoi, or gym addicts, Hanoi offers a selection of gyms, both cheap and pricey ... read more

  • What to do on a rainy day
    3.5 stars

    Though rainy season usually just means a downpour late afternoon or overnight and shouldn’t be enough to disrupt schedules, sometimes it does set in and you’ll want something to do in miserable weather. So what to do in Hanoi? ... read more

  • Swimming
    3.5 stars

    Hotels with pools are out of the budgetary reach of backpackers to Hanoi, but fortunately a few public pools provide a reasonably priced alternative if you’re in need of a splash. ... 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

  • 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

Churches

  • 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

Cooking classes

  • Cooking course round up
    3.5 stars

    While many visitors to Vietnam elect to take a cookery course in Hoi An, where there are plenty of ad hoc, cheap alternatives, Hanoi also offers cooking school options worthy of consideration -- aside from its great street food tours. ... read more

Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

  • 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 events and publishes books on intriguing topics. Run by locals and foreigners living in Hanoi, ... read more

  • Food on Foot
    3.5 stars

    Food on Foot, operated by Vietnam Awesome Travel, offers great tours with plenty of stops. ... read more

  • Hanoi Street Food Tours
    3.5 stars

    We checked out Hanoi Street Food Tours, run by Mark Lowerson, of Sticky Rice fame, and Van Cong Tu, the “Vietnamese God“, and enjoyed three hours of snacking heaven. ... read more

  • Urban Adventures
    3.5 stars

    The Hanoi Street Food by Night tour, offered by Urban Adventures, is perhaps better described as a walking tour of Old Quarter with some food stops thrown in -- not necessarily a bad thing. ... read more

  • Hanoi Cooking Centre
    3.5 stars

    With street food being such a defining feature of Hanoi, it’s no surprise that a variety of tours here explore the world of the 10-inch plastic stool. One of the best is Hanoi Cooking Centre (HCC). ... read more

  • Hanoi photography tour
    3.5 stars

    What’s worth getting up for at 04:00 on a chilly Sunday morning in Hanoi? A sunrise photography tour of Long Bien market with Vietnam In Focus, that’s what. ... read more

  • Explore Hanoi's French Quarter
    3.5 stars

    If you need a break from the chaos of Old Quarter, wander down to Hanoi’s French Quarter, where wide open streets, majestic buildings and high-end hotels, restaurants and shops await ... read more

  • Walking tour of 1930s architecture in Hanoi
    3.5 stars

    These buildings, built during the 1930s, are worth a look for anyone interested in architecture or history of Hanoi. ... read more

  • A walk around Hanoi's Truc Bach lake
    3.5 stars

    Truc Bach Lake lies about three kilometres to the northwest of Hoan Kiem Lake and is easily reachable on foot or by cyclo. It has plenty going on around its banks and no shortage of places to stop for a coffee, beer or lunch, so is worth a wander if you’v ... read more

  • HanoiKids: City tours the fun way
    3.5 stars

    HanoiKids was set up in 2006 and is a student-run organisation offering free city tours in Hanoi. The programme provides students with the opportunity to practise their English and provides visitors with a great value guide to Hanoi. The organisation says ... read more

  • Street food tours in Hanoi
    3.5 stars

    As well as being a tasty and cheap dining option, eating street food provides a great opportunity for people watching and an insight into local life ... read more

  • Hanoi on a splurge
    4 stars

    We’ve covered Hanoi on a tight budget, but what if you’ve got a few extra dong to rub together during your visit to the Vietnamese capital? If you want to mix some luxury in with your Hanoi exploring, here are some suggestions. ... read more

  • Two days on a budget in Hanoi
    4 stars

    Most people travelling through Hanoi give the city a couple of days before heading to Halong Bay, Sapa or down to the centre and south of the country. Here are our suggestions for what to do on a tight budget if you have just two days here and want to mak ... read more

Shopping

  • Buying a secondhand motorbike
    3.5 stars

    If you are planning a long roadtrip, or one that doesn’t start and end in Hanoi, it’s likely to be more economical to buy a motorbike rather than rent. Do remember that if you don't have a local license, your travel insurance may be invalid -- do check ahead of your trip. Here’s a rundown ... read more

  • Propaganda posters
    4 stars

    Originals of Vietnam's famous propaganda photos are quite rare, but picking up a reproduction is easy in Hanoi. Here's where to head. During the Vietnam War, propaganda posters were painted to help rally the troops and to raise spirits; the printing of them continued for about a decade after the ... read more

  • Tan My Design
    3.5 stars

    Although Tan My Design stocks some of the same traditional items, as its parent Tan My Embroidery, it’s predominantly a showcase for stylish, modern designer items and makes for a unique and calming shopping experience amid the mayhem of the streets of Ha ... read more

  • Buying Western-sized clothes
    3.5 stars

    Your favourite T-shirt turned pink at the laundromat in Hue or you lost your shorts somewhere between Ko Samui and Bangkok. Here's where to get replacements. ... read more

  • Where to buy classy Hanoi souvenirs
    3.5 stars

    While the standard Hanoi souvenirs available all over Old Quarter offer plenty of options for take home pressies for pals, if you want something more special, or just want to avoid the haggling and trooping around, Hanoi also offers some good little shopp ... read more

  • Where to find Western goodies
    3.5 stars

    If you're looking for the kinds of treats you'll easily find in the West but not so easily come across while on the road in Southeast Asia, here's where to head in Hanoi. ... read more

  • The Bookworm
    3.5 stars

    The Bookworm is the self-proclaimed “best little book cafe in Southeast Asia” and while some may argue, we see no reason to dispute the fact. ... read more

  • Buying paintings
    3.5 stars

    Copying is rife across Vietnam, and art is no exception. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is littered with art shops selling life-size copies of a wide range of artists’ work: from Van Gogh to Da Vinci to Klimt. ... 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

Day trips

  • Hanoi to Mai Chau by motorbike
    3.5 stars

    At 139 kilometres from Hanoi, Mai Chau is a popular two- or three-day trip from Hanoi. On our latest soujourn we went by motorbike. Was it worth it? Yes. Is it for everyone? No. Here's why. The first thing you should bear in mind if setting out on a motorbike trip anywhere outside of Hanoi is that ... read more

  • Bat Trang ceramic village
    3.5 stars

    Home to the pottery families of Hanoi, Bat Trang village is famously also referred to as "ceramic village". Located just 13 kilometres from Old Quarter, it’s an easy half-day excursion from the city and, as well as buying souvenirs, you can also try your hand at throwing a pot or painting your ... read more

  • Dau pagoda and Horn village
    3.5 stars

    Dau pagoda, considered Vietnam’s oldest, is located 24 kilometres south of the centre of Hanoi, in Bac Ninh province, and takes about one hour to reach by road ... read more

  • A bike excursion to Bridegroom Field
    3.5 stars

    Although the sprawl of Hanoi makes it time-consuming to reach the countryside proper, a short jaunt to the banks of the Red River will have you feeling like you’ve left the city behind. The best way to explore is by bicycle, so ask at your hotel about hir ... read more

  • Motorcycling around Ha Giang
    3.5 stars

    Motorcycling from Ha Giang offers arguably the best scenery in Vietnam or even Southeast Asia, and provides the opportunity to explore a stunning region as yet relatively untouched by tourism ... read more

  • Hanoi's villages: Cu Da, or Vermicelli Village
    3.5 stars

    At Cu Da it is fascinating to see and hear about the production of vermicelli and the village itself is an interesting and friendly spot. ... read more

  • Hanoi's villages: Bang So (Bamboo village)
    3.5 stars

    Bang So is a craft village where it is all about bamboo and it is pretty straightforward to visit it from Hanoi. ... read more

  • Son Tinh campsite
    3.5 stars

    Son Tinh campsite, 40km from Hanoi’s centre (but still technically in Hanoi), provides a peaceful retreat from the capital’s maddening crowds. It had received favourable reviews — especially from families — since its opening earlier this year so we took a ... read more

  • An overnight trip to Tam Dao
    3.5 stars

    While not a must-visit destination, if you’re not in a rush and are keen to explore less touristy spots in Vietnam, Tam Dao hill station is worth an overnight from Hanoi, especially to escape the capital’s summer heat. Here’s some advice on how to spend y ... read more

  • Exploring Bac Kan province
    4 stars

    Bac Kan province is little visited by tourists, although its main point of interest, Ba Be Lake, attracts those looking for natural beauty outside of Ha Long Bay. ... read more

  • Motorbike trips
    4 stars

    Numerous motorbike shops in Hanoi offer not only bike rental and sales but also organised tours -- here's what some of the options are. While it's of course possible to replicate the trips they offer under your own steam, a guided tour provides companionship, security and most likely a better ... 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

  • 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

Performing arts

  • Water Puppets, Thanh Long Theatre
    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

  • 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

Cinema

  • 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

  • Cinema in Hanoi
    3.5 stars

    If it's too hot, too cold or too wet to explore Hanoi, or you just want to keep up to date with the most recent movies, here's a wrap on places to go to catch a flick. Megastar -- which had a few cinemas in Hanoi -- has now become CGV cinemas and with the change of name has come a change of ... read more

  • Movies, shopping and a massage at Vincom
    3.5 stars

    Soon after we moved to Hanoi, the film Avatar was released. We were keen to see it and heard about the Megastar Cinema in Hai Ba Trung district, south of Hoan Kiem. Without high expectations we headed along to Vincom Towers — home to a shopping centre, sp ... read more

Hanoi: 36 Streets

  • Hang Quat
    3.5 stars

    Hang Quat is one of the most colourful streets in Old Quarter. Quat means fans, which were of course traditionally made on this street, be they from bamboo, paper or palm leaves. ... read more

  • Hang Giay
    3.5 stars

    Hang Giay is right in the centre of Old Quarter, running from Luong Ngoc Quyen to Hang Chieu. Giay means shoes — though with different tones, it means paper -- but nowadays there are very few shoes on sale along its stretch. ... read more

  • Hang Buom and Ma May
    3.5 stars

    While the streets around the edges of Old Quarter tend to be oriented towards local life, Hang Buom smoothly makes the transition into tourist-land. ... read more

  • Hang Vai and Lan Ong
    3.5 stars

    Hang Vai, which runs off Phung Hung, was traditionally Hanoi’s main textiles street. Nowadays its main attractions are twofold: a pleasant vibe and bamboo shops. ... read more

  • Hang Bac and Hang Bo
    3.5 stars

    One Hanoi street remaining true to its name and of interest to tourists is Hang Bac -- bac means silver and the street is still lined with silver shops. ... read more

  • Hang Ma and Hang Chieu
    3.5 stars

    Coming through the arch of Hanoi’s Old City Gate, the road straight ahead is Hang Chieu. A dozen or so shops have stayed reasonably true to the street’s original wares — Vietnamese grass tatami mats. ... read more

  • Ngo Gach
    3.5 stars

    In London, Brick Lane is famous for its Indian food; in Hanoi, it used to sell bricks. Ngo (lane) Gach (brick) is a small road running between Hang Giay and Hang Duong and worth a visit. ... read more

  • Hang Dieu
    3.5 stars

    Hang Dieu comprises a strange melee of stores. Running north from the six-way junction at Duong Thanh until it turns into Hang Ga, it sold cigarettes in the 19th century and now you'll find leather shoes and sandals. ... read more

  • Hang Manh
    3.5 stars

    Manh are roller blinds made of thin strips of bamboo and the traditional wares of this street. Now they’re in short supply and vinyl flooring seems to have taken over as the item of choice here. ... read more

  • Hang Be and Gia Ngu
    3.5 stars

    Some Hanoi streets have completely given themselves over to tourism -- and Hang Be is one such example, though that's not to say it isn't worth a visit. ... read more

  • Ta Hien
    3.5 stars

    We haven't been able to dig up what Ta Hien originally sold, although a friend’s father says it sold food when he was young and during his parents’ generation — whether food was originally sold here or not, we don't know. ... read more

  • Au Trieu
    3.5 stars

    Despite not being one of Hanoi's so-called 36 streets, Au Trieu is still worth browsing to enjoy a classic experience of shopping and eating. ... read more

Zoos

  • 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

Boat trips

Festivals and events

  • What happens in Hanoi over Tet
    3.5 stars

    Vietnam pretty much shutters for a few days at least during Tet, and yes, travel is difficult, but it’s not the end of the world if you find yourself in Hanoi during this holiday. ... read more

Massages and spas

  • Cheap and decent massages
    3.5 stars

    It's not as easy to find cheap and decent massages in Vietnam as say Thailand and Cambodia, but a few places are worth making a beeline for. ... read more

  • Waxing and manicures
    3.5 stars

    When you've had enough of attempting to shave your legs while balancing on the toilet seat in your wet-room shower, it’s time for a wax. And a manicure? Why not? ... read more

  • Huong Sen Healthcare Centre
    3.5 stars

    It’s been well over a year since I wrote about getting a cheap and decent massage in Hanoi, and that’s proven to be a popular post, so: time for another massage-related post. ... read more

Historic attractions

  • Metropole's old shelter re-discovered
    3.5 stars

    A few months ago, workers renovating the Bamboo Bar at Hanoi’s historic Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel hit a snag: they struck the roof of a long-buried air raid shelter that had all but been forgotten. ... read more


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