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Things to do in Hanoi
Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is one of the most fascinating and lively cities in Southeast Asia. Known for its rich history, amazing culture, and delicious cuisine, Hanoi offers visitors an array of exciting and unique experiences. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in Hanoi. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the best things to do in Hanoi.
Visit Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake, which means “Lake of the Returned Sword,” is a picturesque body of water located in the heart of Hanoi. Legend has it that the lake was the site where Emperor Le Loi returned a magical sword to the Golden Turtle God after using it to defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty. Today, Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, offering fabulous views, a serene atmosphere, and plenty of opportunities for relaxation.
The lake is surrounded by a beautiful park, which is perfect for strolling, jogging, and people-watching. Visitors can also take a boat ride on the lake to get a closer look at the Tortoise Tower, a small pagoda located on an island in the middle of the lake.
Explore the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter, also known as the 36 Streets, is a maze of narrow alleys and streets that date back to the 13th century. The area is famous for its bustling markets, street vendors, and traditional shops selling everything from silk to bamboo products. Exploring the Old Quarter is an adventure in itself, with its chaotic traffic and colorful architecture.
Visitors can take a walking tour of the Old Quarter to get a feel for its unique atmosphere. One of the best ways to explore the area is to sample its street food, which is some of the best in Hanoi. Try the famous pho, a noodle soup made with beef or chicken, or the banh mi, a Vietnamese-style sandwich made with French bread and various fillings.
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-see attraction in Hanoi, dedicated to the founder and leader of the Vietnamese Communist Party. The Mausoleum is located in Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence in 1945.
The Mausoleum is an imposing structure, made of gray granite and marble, and houses the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. Visitors are required to dress respectfully and follow strict rules when visiting the Mausoleum, including no photography or talking inside the building.
Discover Vietnamese History at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is one of the most informative museums in Hanoi, showcasing the diverse cultures and traditions of the country’s ethnic groups. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits, providing visitors with a comprehensive look at Vietnam’s history and culture.
The museum also hosts traditional performances, workshops, and demonstrations, giving visitors a hands-on experience of Vietnam’s cultural heritage. The museum is located in Cau Giay district and is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Take a Cooking Class
Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh and flavorful ingredients, making it one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Taking a cooking class in Hanoi is a great way to learn about the local ingredients, techniques, and recipes, and to taste some of the best food in the city.
There are several cooking schools in Hanoi that offer classes, including the Hanoi Cooking Centre, the Red River Kitchen, and the Gioan Cooking School. Visitors can learn how to prepare popular Vietnamese dishes like pho, spring rolls, and banh xeo, as well as lesser-known specialties.
Taking a cooking class in Hanoi also provides a unique insight into the local culture, as food is an integral part of Vietnamese life. Many cooking classes also include a visit to a local market, where visitors can learn about the different ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine and experience the hustle and bustle of a traditional market.
Watch a Water Puppet Show
Water puppetry is a traditional form of Vietnamese entertainment, dating back to the 11th century. The puppets are controlled by puppeteers who stand waist-deep in water, using long poles and strings to bring the puppets to life.
Watching a water puppet show in Hanoi is a unique and entertaining experience, featuring colorful puppets, traditional music, and lively performances. Several theaters in Hanoi offer water puppet shows, including the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and the Vietnam Puppet Theatre.
Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature, also known as the Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, is a historic site in Hanoi that dates back to the 11th century. The temple was originally built to honor Confucius and later became Vietnam’s first university, where students were trained in Confucianism, literature, and poetry.
The Temple of Literature is a beautiful complex, featuring tranquil courtyards, ornate pavilions, and ancient statues. Visitors can also see the stelae, which are stone tablets inscribed with the names of Vietnam’s brightest scholars.
Explore the French Quarter
Hanoi’s French Quarter is a beautiful and historic district, featuring colonial-era architecture, wide boulevards, and tree-lined streets. The area was built by the French during the colonial period and is home to several important government buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the National Assembly.
Visitors can take a stroll through the French Quarter, admiring the architecture and soaking up the atmosphere. The area also has several trendy cafes, boutiques, and art galleries, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.
Visit the Hanoi Opera House
The Hanoi Opera House is one of the most iconic buildings in Hanoi, located in the heart of the French Quarter. The Opera House was built by the French in 1911 and is a beautiful example of neoclassical architecture.
Visitors can take a tour of the Opera House, which includes a look at the grand hall, the balcony, and the backstage area. The Opera House also hosts performances by local and international artists, making it a popular spot for cultural events.
Take a Day Trip to Halong Bay
Halong Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, located about four hours east of Hanoi. The bay is famous for its stunning limestone cliffs, emerald-green waters, and traditional floating villages.
Visitors can take a day trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay, which typically includes a boat cruise around the bay, a visit to a floating village, and lunch on board the boat. Halong Bay is also a great spot for kayaking, rock climbing, and exploring the many caves and grottoes in the area.
All in all, Hanoi is a fascinating city, offering visitors a mix of history, culture, and adventure. From exploring the Old Quarter to taking a cooking class, there’s something for everyone in Hanoi. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Hanoi is sure to leave a lasting impression. So why not book your trip to Hanoi today and discover all that this vibrant city has to offer?