What to do in Hanoi? 10 must-see visits

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Want a change of scenery and authenticity? Direction Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam! With its preserved architecture, its street vendors, its hundreds of temples and its unique atmosphere, all the ingredients are gathered for an unforgettable trip. To better organize your trip, here are our 10 essentials to do in Hanoi!

Getting lost in Hanoi's old quarter

A walk to do in Hanoi: get lost in the alleys of the old quarter and feel the soul of the Vietnamese capital. Covering more than 100 ha, it is a tangle of small streets, pretty temples, restaurants, shops and tube houses, with narrow but very deep facades. If your legs start to tire, consider the pedicab! The neighborhood lends itself well to this and your driver will be able to take shopping breaks ...

The narrow streets of the old town

Watch a water puppet show at Thang Long

If there is one show to do in Hanoi, this is it! Tracing the daily life of Vietnamese peasants, this representation is divided into several scenes which each show a traditional activity: cultivate, take care of buffaloes, fish, etc. With breathtaking lighting effects and live musical accompaniment, this performance will introduce you to the many legends of this mysterious country. Not to be missed if you are traveling with the family!

Water puppet theater

Make a wish at Quan Thanh Temple

Built in the 11th century, the temple of Quan Thanh welcomes the largest bronze statue in Vietnam. You just have to touch the foot of this huge statue to make your wishes come true. This statue dates from the 17th century and represents the guardian genius of the north. As you continue your visit, you will notice many objects of worship, such as swords or spears.

La statue of Quan Thanh

Stroll through the night market 

Among the many markets to do in Hanoi, it's hard to choose! For its atmosphere and originality we advise you the night market which takes place every weekend. Located in the heart of the old town, it is open from Friday to Sunday from 18 p.m. to 23 p.m. Entirely reserved for pedestrians, it is also the opportunity to discover the authentic alleys in a totally different atmosphere of the day! You will find enough to fill your suitcases there before returning: jewelry, clothes, paintings, all kinds of crafts… Do you feel hungry? No problem, there is also something to nibble on!

Street-food at the night market

Rest at the One Pillar Pagoda

The real name of the One Pillar Pagoda is Chua Môt Côt. This temple was built in the 11th century, but was part of a much larger set of places of worship. What makes the architecture of the temple special is its shape, which imitates that of a lotus. It was erected thus by order of the emperor, because it is in a lotus that his son was to be born, according to the dream he had had. It is an extremely peaceful place, surrounded by dense vegetation.

The One Pillar Pagoda

Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Suitable for all ages, this museum is particularly interesting and very well documented. Located in the middle of a beautiful green park, the museum's collection brings together more than 25 objects that will make you discover the habits and customs of the many Vietnamese ethnic groups. Traditional clothes, reconstructions of homes, musical instruments ... colorful exhibitions that will reveal all the facets of the country ... a must to do in Hanoi! 

The ethnology museum

Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake 

This charming lake, epicenter of the old town, is a landmark for lovers and for those who practice le Tai Chi at sunrise. Surrounded by ancient trees, this place steeped in myths and legends is very important to the locals. You can go around it but also go to Ngoc Son temple, accessible by a very photogenic old red wooden bridge. What to do in Hanoi if you are looking for peace and quiet!

Le Lac Hoan Kiem

Enter the Temple of Literature

The temple of literature welcomes princes and sons of mandarins and takes care of their education. It is characterized by immense green spaces as well as by water basins. This university is loaded with many symbols reminding students of the notions of patience and humility. A very beautiful place to visit to understand the Vietnam of yesteryear.

The temple of literature

Feast on typical Vietnamese dishes

Food lovers, a tour of gargottes and other restaurants is absolutely a must do in Hanoi! The richness of Vietnamese gastronomy will titillate your taste buds. Here are a few examples to make your mouth water:

  • Le Pho : typical Hanoi soup with beef or chicken. It is in the list of the 100 best dishes in the world! 
  • Le Bun Cha: charcoal-grilled pork rice vermicelli flavored with nuoc mam, carrots and papayas 
  • Le Bread : the famous Vietnamese sandwich inspired by French standards! 
  • Le Cha Ca: a grilled fish stew with dill.
Pho soup

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built to accommodate the remains of the founding president of the Republic of Vietnam. If the history of Vietnam interests you, you will be able to see visual and audio archival documents and learn about the major events leading up to his election.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Useful information

  • To get to Hanoi, count 11 hours of travel time from Paris by opting for a direct flight.
  • As for accommodation, you will be spoiled for choice in the old town, a central place that will allow you to visit all there is to do in Hanoi!
  • On site you can move easily by bus, taxi or pedicab. Even if the ideal is to use your feet to better feel the soul of the city!
  • Hanoi is one of the cheapest cities in Asia ... you can indulge yourself even with a tight budget !

The essentials of Hanoi… and after?

A popular destination for travelers, Hanoi is one of the must-do's on a trip to Vietnam. Multi-ethnic, preserved, lively and joyful, the capital will delight anyone who sets foot there. Are you still hesitating? Marvel at these few photos and you will only want one: explore Hanoi!

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