Ha Noi

Hanoi is the Capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city by population. It is located in the Red River Delta. It is the center of politics, culture and economy. It is often nicknamed the Paris of the East or Paris of the Orient.

WHEN TO VISIT

Hanoi has 4 seasons:

  • Spring: Feb to Apr – getting warmer, prone to rainy periods
  • Summer: May to August – hot, humid with periods of high rainfall
  • Autumn: Sept to Oct – dryer and nice warm temperatures
  • Winter Nov to Jan – cooler temperatures with little rain

HISTORY

In October 2010 Hanoi celebrated its 1,000 years’ anniversary. In 1010 King Lý Thái Tổ built the Imperial citadel which he called Thăng Long, meaning rising dragon after he claimed to have seen a dragon rising from the Red River. In 1831 the city was renamed Ha Noi meaning city in the bend of the river. Much of the citadel was pulled down during French urbanization; however, a lot of the central sector of the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel has been preserved. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010, one can visit the gardens, bonsai trees, many historic artifacts dating back over the centuries, the underground bunkers from the American War and an exhibition of numerous artifacts found at the next door archaeological site.

Hanoi has over 600 places of worship.
The central remains of the Citadel.
About 18 lakes including Hoan Kiem Lake, Truc Bach lake, West Lake, Thien Quang Lake and Hai Ba Trung Lake to name but a few.

On the outskirts are many handicraft villages which have survived over the centuries including:

  • Bat Trang and Kim Lan – pottery villages
  • Van Phuc – silk village in Ha Dong
  • Dong Ky Village – making wooden furniture
  • Quat Dong Village – embroidery

PLACES OF INTEREST

Old Quarter/”36 streets”: the area dates back to 13th century and is best explored on foot. Each street is named after its original trade which served the royal citadel such as Hang Bac (Silver street), Hang Ma (fake paper street) and so on.

Hoan Kiem Lake (also called Ho Guom or Bo Ho): the heart the city and named after the legend of a magical sword being returned to the Turtle God.

Ngoc Son temple. At the north end of Hoan Kiem lake on Jade Island, dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao. The temple is linked to the mainland by the bright red Huc Bridge.
Opening times: daily 08:00-17:00. Entry ticket 20,000 (please consult us for any entry price updates)

Hanoi Opera House. Trang Tien Street in the French Quarter. Beaux arts, neo-classical style. Opened 1911. Modeled on the Paris L’Opera Garnier. Entry allowed only when there is a performance taking place. For concert schedules – http://hanoioperahouse.org.vn/en

HO CHI MINH COMPLEX: Located behind the iconic Ba Dinh Square. Includes Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, carp ponds, gardens, replica of Ho Chi Min’s house

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: the final resting place of President Ho Chi Minh. One can pay respect to his body which lies in state. All visitors must adhere to strict rules
Opening times – Tuesday to Sunday 07:30-11:00 (closed Tuesday). Entry free.
Please note at certain times of the year the Mausoleum is closed

Ba Dinh Square: This is the largest square in Vietnam and the site of many Government buildings including the Presidential Palace, National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party (no entry to these buildings). The Square is where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Independence of the Democratic of Vietnam on 2 September 1945

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. Water puppetry is a popular ancient Vietnamese form of entertainment dating back more than 1,000 years.
Performances – puppet shows every day 15:30, 17:00, 18:30, 20:00, 21:15
tickets cost between 60,000 to 100,000 VND

Van Mieu/Temple of Literature. Temple dedicated to Confucius, and outstanding scholars and great literary achievements. It is considered Vietnam’s first university and dates back to 1070.
Opening times – Summer: 07:30-18:00. Winter: 08;00-18:00. Saturdays: 08:00-21:00
Ticket Entry 3,000 VND

MUSEUMS

Ho Chi Minh Museum: part of the Ho Chi Minh Complex/Ba Dinh Square.
Opening times – open daily. 08:00-12noon and 14:00-16:30. Note Monday and Friday open only mornings 08:00-12noon

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Dedicated to the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam.
Opening times – Tuesday to Sunday 07:30-11:00 (closed Tuesday). Entry fee 40,000 VND per person.

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. Showcases Vietnam fine arts over a number of periods
Opening times – open daily 08:30-17:00. Entry fee 40,000 VND per person.

National Museum of Vietnamese History. Showcases Vietnam’s prehistory up to the August 1945 Revolution.
Opening times – open daily 07:30-12noon and 13:30-17:00 (closed 1st Monday of every month). Entry fee 40,000 VND per person.

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