Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Hanoi.
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 pagoda was vandalised and burned by the French in 1954 as they retreated from Hanoi, only to be ... Read more about One Pillar Pagoda .
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 national university. The 'temple' moniker attests to how inextricably linked learning and religion were ... Read more about Temple of Literature .
Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, offers beautiful architecture, historic artifacts and a peaceful and serene ... Read more about Tran Quoc Pagoda .
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 ... Read more about Pho Linh Tay Ho Pagoda .
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. Stories about the Mother Goddesses — to whom the temple is dedicated — and the golden buffalo calf enhance its appeal as a destination for ... Read more about Tay Ho Temple .
Bach Ma or White Horse Temple is beautiful, well-maintained and bustling, serving as a good example of what small temples in Vietnam are all ... Read more about Bach Ma Temple .
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 one with the United States -- was decided. Afterwards, with Soviet assistance, his body was ... Read more about Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum .
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 our last visit there were two ‘special’ exhibitions on, but we couldn’t see that they ... Read more about Ho Chi Minh Museum .
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 house to be built for his needs instead; he moved in in 1958 and lived there until his death just ... Read more about Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh's House on Stilts .
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, it’s got something for everyone. And it’s ... Read more about Thang Long Royal Citadel .
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 galleries that start with the period of Chinese colonisation, through to the French period, and then on ... Read more about Vietnam Military History Museum .
The French simply called it Maison Centrale, and apparently razed one of the local outlying craft villages when they picked out the site for this, the largest of the French Indochinese prisons. Construction was completed in 1896, and the city has grown around it to such an extent that it is now located near the town centre. The Hanoi Hilton's original purpose was to function as the end of the ... Read more about Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) .
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is one of the best museums in Hanoi and well worth a visit for anyone interested in women’s studies or simply the culture of Vietnam. It gives a broad insight into Vietnam’s population, including its 54 ethnic groups, addressed through the lens of women’s ... Read more about The Vietnamese Women's Museum .
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 fascinating, covering all the main minority groups you're likely to come across on a trek. Plentiful ... Read more about Vietnam Museum of Ethnography .
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 museum to exhibit EFEO finds. Over time the building deteriorated, and it was not until the early ... Read more about National Museum of Vietnamese History .
The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum has one of the best and most diverse art collections in the country, and a visit here will provide some good insight into Vietnamese culture and ... Read more about Vietnam Fine Arts Museum .
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 Vietnam on the road to recovery (1975 to present). While a bit tatty around the edges and ... Read more about Vietnamese Revolution Museum .
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 parallel to Vinh along the coast (which was the main port for supplies destined for the trail), down to ... Read more about The Ho Chi Minh Trail Museum .
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 — not to mention, it’s really ... Read more about Hoan Kiem Lake .
Also known as Ho Tay, or Lake of Mist, West Lake covers a sizeable part of northwest Hanoi. In its heyday, the lake was lined by royal palaces, now mostly replaced by high-end housing and luxury hotels. If you have the time, it's a pleasant enough walk to the lake from the Old ... Read more about West Lake .
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 ... Read more about Thong Nhat Park .
Hanoi is home to the world's largest mosaic mural wall, which snakes just shy of four kilometres along the Red River dyke running north to south to the east of city's Old Quarter. ... Read more about Mosaic wall .
Hanoi offers an array of art galleries, from commercial ones pumping out appealing art and copies for the masses through to higher-end spaces, where you might pick up an original $5,000 piece from one of Vietnam's in-demand ... Read more about Art galleries .
Chau Long Market is one of our favourite markets in Hanoi. Combine it with a trip around the Truc Bach area for a full taste of local city ... Read more about Chau Long Market .
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 ... Read more about Long Bien Market .
Hanoi's oldest market Dong Xuan mainly sells bulk food items, clothing and accessories targeted towards locals in its three storeys of packed ... Read more about Dong Xuan market .
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 ... Read more about Gyms .
Lacquer items — paintings, photo albums, bowls, vases — are a popular souvenir in Vietnam. Old Quarter in Hanoi is flooded with shops selling the same selection of items at the same — negotiable — prices. But why not make your own take-home piece of lacquerware? Here’s ... Read more about Lacquerware classes .
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 ... Read more about What to do with your kids in Hanoi .
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 ... Read more about Lotus flowers .
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 ... Read more about Learning Vietnamese .
Hotels with pools are certainly out of the budgetary reach of most visitors to Hanoi, and I definitely wouldn’t be jumping into the Red River or Hoan Kiem Lake, but fortunately a few public pools provide a reasonably priced alternative if you’re in need of a swim — quite possible now the weather has heated ... Read more about Swimming .
The beautiful neo-Gothic St Joseph's Cathedral in downtown Hanoi was consecrated in 1886 and remains active today thanks to the city being home to a large community of local ... Read more about St Joseph's Cathedral .
While many visitors to Vietnam elect to take a cookery course in Hoi An, Hanoi also offers cooking school options worthy of ... Read more about Cooking courses .
Hanoi is often, sadly, just somewhere visitors stop off for a night or two en route to Ha Long Bay, mountainous Sapa or a dash down the coast to Ho Chi Minh City. But for those who do want to take a look around, however fleeting, Hanoi can be a fascinating destination in its own right. So, if you just have one day in Hanoi, how do you make the most of ... Read more about One day in Hanoi .
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 make the most of ... Read more about Two days on a budget in Hanoi .
We've written about how we'd spend two days on a budget in Hanoi, but what about if you have a little longer? Linger for four days to see a bit more of Vietnam's capital, and here's what we'd suggest you ... Read more about Four days in Hanoi .
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 ... Read more about Hanoi on a splurge .
I am writing this from a chair barely inside the doorway of The Cart - a small coffee and sandwich place in a narrow alley not far from St Joseph's Cathedral. My laptop tells me I have a choice of six different WiFi options courtesy of the surrounding hotels. My coffee, on this occasion, is Italian but during warmer seasons I'd choose the more ubiquitous iced Vietnamese ... Read more about Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi .
Two or three days? Four or five? 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 ... Read more about Stay another day .
After four tours, approximately 13 kilometres of walking, three portions of banh cuon, a kilo of extra weight and enough sugar to dissolve a few dozen teeth, my food tour adventure in Hanoi is over. It's reinvigorated my love of street food and inspired me to try a few new places, but which was the ... Read more about Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi? .
Continuing my exploration of street food tours in Hanoi, I booked onto an afternoon tour with Hanoi Street Food Tours, run by Mark Lowerson, of Sticky Rice fame, and Van Cong Tu, the “Vietnamese God“. Bring on three hours of snacking ... Read more about Hanoi Street Food Tours .
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. We’ve checked out a few of the options, starting with Hanoi Cooking Centre ... Read more about Hanoi Cooking Centre .
Food on Foot, operated by Vietnam Awesome Travel, offers great tours with plenty of ... Read more about Food on Foot .
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 ... Read more about Urban Adventures .
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 ... Read more about Street food tours in Hanoi .
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 ... Read more about Friends of Vietnam Heritage (FHV) .
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 ... Read more about Hanoi photography tour .
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 ... Read more about Explore Hanoi's French Quarter .
I recently attended a talk at The Bookworm entitled “Stories houses tell” and given by Linda Mazur, a Canadian who has been living in Hanoi since 1998. ... Read more about Walking tour of 1930s architecture in Hanoi .
Truc Bach Lake lies about three kilometres to the northwest of Hoan Kiem Lake and is easily reachable on foot or by cyclo. ... Read more about A walk around Hanoi's Truc Bach lake .
HanoiKids was set up in 2006 and is a student-run organisation offering free city tours in Hanoi. ... Read more about HanoiKids: City tours the fun way .
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. Here’s a rundown of where to buy a secondhand bike in Hanoi. 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 of where to buy a secondhand bike in ... Read more about Buying a secondhand motorbike .
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 end of the war. The visuals reflected the different styles and skills of the artists who painted them, but consistent themes were bold images, powerful messages and strong use of colour. They are increasingly recognised as works of ... Read more about Propaganda posters .
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 ... Read more about Tan My Design .
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 -- though bear in mind the city isn’t the best place for Westerners to add to their off-the-rack ... Read more about Buying Western-sized clothes .
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 shopping ... Read more about Where to buy classy Hanoi souvenirs .
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 ... Read more about Where to find Western goodies .
The Bookworm is the self-proclaimed “best little book cafe in Southeast Asia” and while some may argue, I see no reason to dispute the fact. The cool, tidy interior — though not spacious — is a pleasant spot for browsing and the choice of more than 10,000 new and used English-language books and friendly staff ensure you won’t go away empty ... Read more about The Bookworm .
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 about Buying paintings .
The sprawling Perfume Pagoda, or Chua Huong, is a series of revered shrines and temples tucked into the pretty Huong Tich mountains, a few hours' drive out of ... Read more about Perfume Pagoda .
With more than 400 boats to choose from, selecting a Ha Long Bay tour is tricky enough to start with. Throw in the third party travel agents and hotel tour desks – who can quote whatever they want for a cruise – and it’s a minefield. Here are some tips to get the best for your ... Read more about Booking a Ha Long Bay cruise .
When planning your trip to Vietnam, it can be a challenge to fit everything in, and one of the questions you may well ask yourself is how long to spend in Ha Long Bay. While this is a personal choice, here’s our ... Read more about Two or three days in Ha Long Bay? .
At 139 kilometres from Hanoi, Mai Chau is a popular two- or three-day trip from Hanoi. Having squeezed onto over-crowded, under air-conditioned buses on previous trips, on our latest soujourn we decided to jump on motorbikes and cruise there at our own pace, wind in our hair, sun on our backs and all that. Was it worth it? Yes. Is it for everyone? No. Here’s ... Read more about Hanoi to Mai Chau by motorbike .
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 own mug or Disney ... Read more about Bat Trang ceramic village .
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 your time ... Read more about An overnight trip to Tam Dao .
After my enjoyable visit to Bamboo Village (Bang So) I was really looking forward to the trip to Vermicelli Village (Cu Da); I love food and am always keen to learn more about ... Read more about Cu Da, or Vermicelli Village .
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 hiring a bike for the day, pack your camera and a bottle of water and off you ... Read more about A bike excursion to Bridegroom Field .
Son Tinh campsite, 40km from Hanoi’s centre (but still technically in Hanoi), provides a peaceful retreat from the capital’s maddening crowds. ... Read more about Son Tinh campsite .
There has been a motorbike-supply eruption in Hanoi in recent years, with numerous operators offering not only bike rental and sales but also organised tours. Here's the ... Read more about Motorbike trips .
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 ... Read more about Dau pagoda and Horn village .
In the past, villagers in Vietnam tended to specialise in making particular items to meet their needs, sharing their skills with neighbours and relatives. This led to individual villages becoming known for a particular handicraft. As people moved to the cities they gravitated towards others with the same trade and hence we have areas such as Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where different streets ... Read more about Bang So (Bamboo village) .
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 ... Read more about Motorcycling around Ha Giang .
As well as bike tours, Cuong’s Motorbike Adventures offers a range of tours by US Army Jeep to destinations within and outside Hanoi such as Mai Chau and Duong Lam village. While slightly on the pricey side, they are an unusual and fun option if you want to set your own agenda for a tour of Hanoi or are keen to explore further ... Read more about Jeep tour .
You don’t always have to stick to the tourist trail in Vietnam; simply striking out somewhere for the hell of it can be richly rewarding. 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 ... Read more about Exploring Bac Kan province .
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 head southwest out of Hanoi on Duong Lang-Hoa Lac, take a right turn, go under the new flyover, ... Read more about Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas .
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 few of the ancient ramparts remaining but hard to spot among the more recent construction. There's ... Read more about Co Loa Citadel .
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 mountain itself, which rises to more than 1,200m above sea level. There's a very good road leading 12km ... Read more about Ba Vi National Park .
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 ... Read more about Water Puppets, Thanh Long Theatre .
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 ... Read more about Hang Quat .
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 ... Read more about Hang Giay .
While the streets around the edges of Old Quarter tend to be oriented towards local life, Hang Buom smoothly makes the transition into ... Read more about Hang Buom and Ma May .
Hang Vai, which runs off Phung Hung, was traditionally Hanoi’s main textiles street. Nowadays its main attractions are twofold: a pleasant vibe, with few tourists and little traffic, but plenty of on-street action such as sugar cane juice spots, pho restaurants, tea stands and street vendors; secondly, it’s home to bamboo shops, which sit at the junction with Thuoc ... Read more about Hang Vai and Lan Ong .
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, although some have expanded their wares to include jade bangles and the like. ... Read more about Hang Bac and Hang Bo .
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 ... Read more about Hang Ma and Hang Chieu .
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 that runs between Hang Giay and Hang Duong and is one of those streets very easy to miss, but a shame not to ... Read more about Ngo Gach .
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, more recently, leather shoes and sandals. No sign of a Mars ... Read more about Hang Dieu .
Manh are roller blinds made of thin strips of bamboo and the traditional wares of this street. Now they’re in short supply, although still available at a couple of places, and vinyl flooring seems to have taken over as the household item of ... Read more about Hang Manh .
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 ... Read more about Hang Be and Gia Ngu .
Try as I might, I can’t find out what “Ta Hien”, one of Hanoi’s 36 streets, originally sold, although according to a friend’s father, it sold food when he was young and during his parents’ generation — whether that was the original wares sold here or not, I’m not ... Read more about Ta Hien .
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 ... Read more about Au Trieu .
Massages in Hanoi range from very cheap and cheerful foot massages through to high-end luxury spas, where you’ll pay nearly $100 for just an hour of pampering. The choice can be overwhelming but here’s a selection of places we think are worth checking ... Read more about Where can I get a good massage in Hanoi? .
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. Fortunately, reasonably priced, good quality waxing is available in ... Read more about Waxing and manicures .
Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam (HSCV) was founded in 2002 to help orphans, homeless children and other children living in poverty in Hanoi and surrounding areas through the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health and ... Read more about Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam .
Dating back to the 19th century, this special house is a great example of the type of architecture that once prevailed throughout Hanoi's busy Old Quarter. ... Read more about Heritage house at 87 Ma May St .
With 360-degree views over Hanoi from 65 storeys up, the Lotte Centre Observation Deck is where you'll get a real sense of how huge the city has ... Read more about Lotte Tower Observation Deck .
Impressive Long Bien Bridge, which spans Hanoi's Red River to connect Hoan Kiem and Long Bien districts, was built by the French colonists at the turn of the 20th ... Read more about Long Bien Bridge .
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