Hanoi travel attracts tourists with thousands of years of history, which is imbued with national identity and many exciting and attractive destinations. If you are planning to hit the road to Hanoi with your beloved, refer to the Hanoi travel guide in this article to be well-prepared for your trip.
1. The highly recommended places to visit in your Hanoi travel
Referring to tourism in the North of Vietnam, it is impossible not to mention Hanoi travel. As the capital of the country, Hanoi has a lot of entertainment spots and tourist attractions that will give visitors a chance to thoroughly explore Vietnamese history, culture and people.
Below are some Hanoi tourist places that are strongly suggested for you:
1.1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - The top destination for Hanoi travel
- Address: 2 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District
- Ticket price: VND25,000 (US$1.07) per person
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is recognized as one of the most well-known buildings in Vietnam. It draws a sizable number of domestic and foreign tourists in their Hanoi travel thanks to its immense cultural and historical worth. By visiting this place in your Hanoi trip, you can deepen your understanding of Vietnam through the many artifacts and learn more about Ho Chi Minh's life and significance in Vietnamese history.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum's general design is a solid square building with three layers, measuring 21.6 meters in height and 41.2 meters in width. Its structure is intended to be extremely robust, able to withstand floods, bombings, and earthquakes of magnitude 7. There is a marble-walled area inside the mausoleum where the body of President Ho Chi Minh is placed in a glass box and set atop a stone pedestal on a bed.
The surroundings of the mausoleum are another unique feature. A lush garden with more than 250 different plant types surrounds the monument. Besides, in your Hanoi travel to Ho Chi Minh Museum, you should visit other attractions nearby, namely Ho Chi Minh Museum, Presidential Palace, House No. 54 and Ho Chi Minh’s House on stilts.
1.2. Hanoi Old Quarter: Where to enhance cultural experiences in your Hanoi travel
- Address: Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi Old Quarter is known as the highlight of Hanoi travel. This central area of Hanoi has been a witness to the ups and downs of the city. You can clearly see this through the ancient houses, the streets, the buildings. This is the reason why the quarter can be considered to contain the “soul” of Hanoi.
Hanoi Old Quarter is commonly referred to as the “36 Old Streets”. Actually, there are more than 36 streets, each of which is named after a commodity or service that was sold there, namely Hang Bac Street, Hang Ma Street, Hang Trong Street, Hang Buom Street, etc. It can be said that Vietnam's colorful heritage is reflected on every street of Hanoi Old Quarter.
This area of Hanoi boasts French colonial architecture, a thriving culinary scene and a long history. The streets are full of scooters, food carts, cyclists, and pedestrians. Walking through the streets and alleyways is the finest way to feel the soul of this historic city in your Hanoi travel.
1.3. Vinpearl Aquarium and VinKE - Must-visit places in your Hanoi travel
- Address: Times City, 458 Minh Khai Street, Hai Ba Trung District
Vinpearl Aquarium and VinKE are two must-see attractions for you and your children in your Hanoi travel. As one of Vietnam's most modern aquarium systems, Vinpearl Aquarium gives you a chance to experience the vibrant underwater world. It is designed as a miniature ocean in the heart of the capital with a dome tunnel having more than 30,000 diverse freshwater and saltwater marine creatures.
In particular, this location is accredited with a number of intriguing records, such as being the first aquarium with a tunnel in Hanoi, the aquarium with many unique animal species, the first penguin's birthplace in Vietnam, etc. Also, it offers many attractive performances, like mermaid or fish feeding, to entertain visitors and give them an opportunity to interact with the sea creatures through a glass pane.
Meanwhile, VinKE is an entertainment space that also provides career guidance and education exclusively for children. At this place, there is an area where children can experience real jobs to get an understanding about future careers. Also, VinKE has a large indoor game area with many exciting activities and more than 200 game machines to help children enjoy their time.
1.4. Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Turtle Tower, The Huc Bridge
- Address: Hoan Kiem District
As a natural freshwater lake in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is an unmissable destination in every Hanoi travel. It is associated with the legend of King Le returning the sword to the turtle deity. You can see that many well-known streets in the Old Quarter, including Hang Dao, Luong Van Can, Hang Ngang, etc., intersect at this lake. Thanks to its prime location, you can stroll around the lake and visit nearby well-known attractions easily during your Hanoi travel.
In particular, around Hoan Kiem Lake is Hanoi's pedestrian street. This area transforms into a huge fair with a variety of goods and activities on the weekends. There are nearby restaurants where you can dine in addition to shopping.
Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple, and The Huc Bridge are the three well-known landmarks at and near Hoan Kiem Lake that you should not miss out on in your Hanoi travel. Like Hoan Kiem Lake, these places have great cultural significance and a long history, thus have also become the ancient symbols of the capital.
1.5. Temple of Literature - A historical site for your Hanoi travel
- Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu Ward, Dong Da District
- Ticket price: 30,000 VND (US$1.27) per person
The Temple of Literature, or Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam, is one of the most famous symbols when it comes to Hanoi's thousand years of history. It was constructed about 1000 years ago as a shrine dedicated to Confucius, sages, and scholars. Not only a prominent historical relic and an attractive tourist destination for a Hanoi travel, this place has also represented Vietnam's education for generations.
In addition to its cultural, educational and historical values, the Temple of Literature has unique architecture bearing the imprint of time. Its architecture is deeply influenced by the yin and yang concept in Eastern philosophy. These two elements represent the harmony of heaven and earth, with people as the center, which is clearly shown by the temple’s structural features.
The temple is divided into 5 separate areas. Coming here in your Hanoi travel, you can see a bronze bell above the main gate. This bell was added in the 19th century and was used to mark the arrival of an important figure.
1.6. One Pillar Pagoda - A highlight of your Hanoi travel
- Address: One Pillar Pagoda Street, Doi Can Ward, Ba Dinh District
- Ticket price: 25,000 VND (US$1.05) per person
One Pillar Pagoda (also known as Dien Huu Pagoda or Mot Cot Pagoda) is one of many iconic structures that contribute to the attractiveness of Hanoi travel. It received its unusual name from the fact that it was built entirely on a single pillar situated in the middle of a lotus pond. Supporting the primary structure are eight wooden beams that resemble eight flower petals. All the beams were perfectly in alignment when the pagoda was built, making it exceedingly sturdy.
Having a distinctive architectural design, One Pillar Pagoda was designated a National Historic Heritage in 1962, making it one of Hanoi's outstanding historical landmarks. After 50 years, the Asian Records Association in India declared One Pillar Pagoda to be the most distinctive architectural monument in 2012.
1.7. Hanoi Opera House - An ideal place for your Hanoi travel’s photo shoots
- Address: 1 Trang Tien, Chuong Duong Ward, Hoan Kiem District
- Ticket price: 120,000 VND/person for sightseeing tour and 400,000 VND/person for sightseeing tour with art performances
With an area of about 2,600 square meters, Hanoi Opera House is located on Cach Mang Thang Tam Square, overlooking Trang Tien Street. It was modeled after the Opéra Garnier in Paris, but smaller in size. The materials used in the construction were also different to suit the climatic conditions in Vietnam.
Hanoi Opera House is a historical proof of social and cultural growth in Hanoi and Vietnam during the French colonial period. Also, it is a remnant of Vietnam's architectural development from the late 19th century to early 20th century.
Hanoi Opera House is one of the three opera houses that the French built during their time in Indochina. Since its construction, it has served as an important cultural center of the capital, where cultural activities and art performances take place regularly. It is also a great destination in your Hanoi travel.
In addition to the city center, visitors can also choose to visit and explore some destinations in the suburbs of Hanoi like Bat Trang Pottery Village, Duong Lam Ancient Village, Quan Son Lake, Ham Lon Mountain, Huong Pagoda, etc. These places will surely enrich your Hanoi travel with a great deal of unforgettable moments.
2. What to eat on your Hanoi day trip with your family?
During your Hanoi travel, do not forget to explore the quintessence of Hanoi cuisine with some delicacies below:
2.1. Bun Cha - Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle
Bun Cha is one of the most well-known dishes in the North of Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi. This dish includes grilled fatty pork and pig meatballs. It is served with a bowl of fish sauce blended with garlic, chili, sugar and lime juice. Also, a few pickled veggies are also frequently present in the bowl.
You will also receive a portion of vermicelli noodles, some sliced chili peppers, a large plate of fresh herbs and lettuce leaves to be used with your bowl of pork and sauce. Simply put everything into your bowl and enjoy! It will surely satisfy your taste buds and bring an unforgettable culinary experience in your Hanoi travel.
Some suggested places to eat Bun Cha in your Hanoi travel:
- Sinh Tu: 16 Pho Vong, Hai Ba Trung District
- Huong Lien: 24 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung District
- Hang Quat: Alley 74, Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem District
2.2. Pho - The most renowned food for your Hanoi travel
Pho is a dish that you should try at least once in your Hanoi travel. Beef noodle soup, or Pho Bo, is how this popular dish is traditionally prepared. Rice noodles, onions, and scallions are put in a bowl with steamy beef broth cooked for a long time. It further includes a dash of cilantro and various cuts of beef.
Fresh bean sprouts, basil, mint, jalapeno slices, and a lime wedge are all included in each dish of Pho. You can season your bowl with these ingredients according to your preferences. If you wish to mix up the flavors, most Pho restaurants also have pickled garlic, fish sauce, black pepper, and hoisin sauce on the table.
Some suggested places to enjoy Pho in your Hanoi travel:
- Pho Bat Dan: 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem District
- Pho Ly Quoc Su: 10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District
- Pho Thin: 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District
2.3. Rice noodles with fried tofu and fermented shrimp paste
This dish is called “bun dau mam tom” in Vietnamese. The rice noodles served in this dish are shaped into patties and typically chopped into bite-sized rectangular pieces. As the name suggests, it also includes deep-fried tofu which is soft and crispy. There are other toppings in this dish like sliced pork, green rice pork nuggets, fried spring rolls, chitlins, etc.
The element that brings a unique taste to bun dau mam tom is the dipping sauce or shrimp paste. It is made by combining salt with finely crushed shrimp and has a dark purple color after the fermentation process is complete. Since it tastes quite salty, people usually add a little kumquat juice, sugar and some chili.
Some suggested places to enjoy bun dau mam tom in your Hanoi travel:
- Trung Huong: 49 Phat Loc Alley, Hoan Kiem District
- Ngo Gach: 4 Ngo Gach, Hoan Kiem District
- Nghia Tan: 104 C3, Nghia Tan Street, Cau Giay District
2.4. La Vong grilled chopped fish - One of the best Hanoi specialties
Along with Pho, La Vong grilled chopped fish is another well-known dish that exemplifies the sophistication and complexity of Hanoi cuisine. With vermicelli noodles, toasted peanuts, and dipping sauce, it includes grilled fish that has been marinated in turmeric and mixed with sautéed onions and dills. It boasts the ideal balance of sweet, savory, sour, and umami flavors.
Normally, the eateries will serve grilled fish along with fresh dills, onions, noodles, and dipping sauce. A portable gas stove and a skillet will be given to you, then you need to fry the onions and dills before mixing them in with the grilled fish and cooking it.
Some suggested places to enjoy grilled chopped fish in Hanoi:
- Ha Thanh: 20 Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay District
- Vong Ngu: 29 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Ba Dinh District
- 18 Lo Su: 1st floor, Hanoi E Central Hotel, 18 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem District
2.5. Trang Tien ice cream - A tasty sweetened frozen food for your Hanoi travel
- Address: 35 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District
Although many new local and foreign ice-cream brands have been established in Hanoi, many people still prefer Trang Tien because of its distinctive flavors and fresh, natural taste. The secret which makes this food alluring to a large number of people is the traditional making method without the use of preservatives.
Trang Tien has a variety of ice cream flavors, as well as popsicles, cone ice cream, mochi, and fresh ice cream. The ice-pop is the most popular of them all. The once-luxurious food is now quite cheap for everyone to enjoy, costing only VND 10,000 (US$0.42) for a stick.
3. The ultimate Hanoi travel guide for better preparation
If this is the first time you visit Hanoi, read the details below for an ultimate guide for your trip:
3.1. The best time to travel to Hanoi
It can be said that Hanoi is beautiful throughout the year because it has its own charm in each season. Hanoi weather is divided into 4 distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. In particular, the most beautiful and ideal time to visit the capital is in the flower season and autumn.
- Flower season: All year round, Hanoi is filled with the colors of different flowers. Visitors should come here in the peach blossom season in January, the lotus season in June, the milkwood pine flower season in October and the daisy season in November.
- Autumn: Hanoi's autumn - from August to October, features cool weather, gentle sunshine and floral aroma everywhere. These characteristics will definitely bring you great satisfaction on your trip.
3.2. The means of transportation for your Hanoi travel
Hanoi is the capital of the country so you do not need to worry about transportation. You can go to Hanoi in many different ways. Booking international flights is the best choice for a Hanoi travel from your own country. If you have traveled to other provinces in the Central region or the South of Vietnam, you can go by train to save costs or take a plane to Hanoi to save time.
As for a Hanoi City tour, there are many different types of transportation that you can choose to visit various destinations and neighborhoods. Some popular means of transportation that you can choose from are:
- Motorbike: It provides the most convenience if you want to drive around the city on your own.
- Taxi: It is suitable for all weather conditions and large groups of people in your Hanoi travel.
- Cyclo: It is ideal for sightseeing around streets in the Old Quarter.
- Bus: It offers many different routes and helps you explore the streets of the capital at low prices. You can refer to the services of the Hanoi City tour bus if you want.
Whichever means of transportation you choose for your Hanoi travel, you should also bring a map along with you. The Hanoi tourist map will clearly show each corner of the capital and help you find your way more easily.
3.3. The suggested items to bring home after your Hanoi Vietnam travel
During your Hanoi travel, you can find out that there are many unique souvenirs and specialties to buy as gifts for family, friends or loved ones. Some souvenirs and specialties of Hanoi that you can refer to are:
- Food and drink specialties: Green rice flakes, salted dry apricot, dracontomelon, lotus tea, etc.
- Souvenirs, handicrafts: Pottery, embroidery, rattan, silk, etc.
Having an alluring beauty which is a mix between antiquity and modernity, Hanoi has become a well-liked tourist destination that you should visit once in your Vietnam tour. Hopefully, with the aforementioned information about Hanoi travel, you can have more options to plan a complete and meaningful trip to this capital of Vietnam.