Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, located on the banks of the Red River, is one of the most ancient capitals all around the world.

Geography of Hanoi capital

The word “Hanoi” is the combination of Ha (rivers) and Noi (between). In other words, the name Hanoi means the capital city located between 2 big rivers – the Red River and Duong river. Sitting on both sides of the Red River, Hanoi has the favorable conditions for developing politic, economy, culture, and science and it is also an important traffic hub of Vietnam. Hanoi shares the borders with so many provinces such as Thai Nguyen and Vinh Phuc provinces in the North; Hoa Binh provinces in the South.

Hanoi weather

The climate in Hanoi is representative of the northern climate in Vietnam. There are 4 main seasons in the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The lowest degree in winter is around 10*C compared to the highest 48*C in summer. The humidity is quite high as it is one of the significant characteristics of the tropical monsoon climate.

Besides, it rains a lot in Hanoi due to the influence of the sea and the tropical monsoon climate, especially during autumn time. The best time to visit Hanoi is Spring. At that time, the temperature is not too high or too low, just around 20*C with the light rains.

Hanoi transportation

As the capital of Vietnam, it’s quite easy to travel to other provinces in Vietnam from Hanoi by convenient means of transport such as planes, buses or railways.

Inside the city center, the most popular transportation for local people to travel around is motorbikes. If you don’t know how to drive a motorbike in Hanoi crazy traffic, it would be better to take a bus as it is really safe and the price of the ticket is very low.

Cultural Tourism in Hanoi

Hanoi is the big center of tourism in Vietnam attracted million visitors each year. There are some must-see places in Hanoi such as Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo prison, Bach Ma temple, Hoan Kiem lake, The Old Quarter and so on. Traveling to Hanoi, visitors have opportunities to explore many cultural structures and old buildings over generations, during the construction and development of the country.

Things to do in Hanoi

Visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and known as the citadel of Hanoi. The building was the center of ancient Hanoi. The ancient site was the political center for 13 centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for 8 centuries. The central flag tower of the citadel stands 40 meters tall. It is a symbol of Hanoi. It is located in Ba Dinh and is open seven days a week from 8 am to 7:30 pm.

Go on a Free Walking Tour

One of favorite things to do in a city is to go on a walking tour as it allows us to see the area and understand its overall layout. If you’re looking for an introduction to Hanoi, please go on a free walking tour which is usually led by a local.

Hanoi Free Walking Tours is a student-run organization, providing you insight on their local traditions and culture. Another company that offers these free tours in Hanoi is Hanoi free local tours.

Watch a Water Puppet Theatre Performance

There are several theaters in Hanoi, where tourists can watch this uniquely Vietnamese performance. The most famous theater that showcases a water puppet performance is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre that has five shows a day.

Here, puppets dance and slide over the liquid stage. The puppets are controlled by a group of puppet masters hiding behind the scenes. Most shows tell the tale of Hoan Kiem Lake and the giant tortoise.

Food Trip Around Hanoi

Hands down, one of the best things to do in Hanoi is to eat! Filled to the brim with street food stalls and night markets, Hanoi is a foodie’s dream destination. While the many types of dishes can be daunting initially, just try as much as you can, then you can really enjoy the food.

We recommend this night street food tour as well as this night market and street food tour.

Sightsee Around the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Near the Imperial Citadel in the Ba Dinh area, you can also visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the first Communist leader of Vietnam. He defeated the French in 1954. He is a well-respected leader and the locals often refer to him as “Uncle Ho”.

Modeled after Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow, visitors can see Ho Chi Minh’s preserved body in a glass case. Take note that the mausoleum is closed on Mondays and on Fridays.

Bike or Walk Around the Hoan Kiem Lake

The Hoan Kiem Lake is also known as the Turtle Lake is located in the center of the city and it is a popular hangout place for locals and tourists.

They charge VND 20,000 to visit the temple, but it is worth it. It is a wonderful spot to watch the sunrise or the sunset from. You can opt to bike around or take a romantic stroll with your significant other and enjoy the views of the lake.

Similarly, you can also opt to take a bike tour around the city which takes you around all the best spots.

Soak Up Some Culture in the Hanoi Opera House

The opera house was modeled after the Paris Opera House and it is the most beautiful building in Hanoi. The opera is located in the French Quarter. It was built in 1911 during the French invasion of Hanoi and it was created to entertain the French elite at the time.

The building went into decline after the French left Hanoi. It was renovated again in 1997. A ticket costs anything between VND 100,000 – VND 2,000,000 and it showcases Vietnamese Opera Performances as well as Asian dance and ballet performances and musical concerts. You can check tickets here.

Visit Ngoc Son Pagoda

Another great place to visit while you’re walking around Hoan Kiem Lake is Ngon Soc Pagoda. From the lake, you can find a bridge leads to an island which is home to the famous pagoda.

This particular pagoda was built in memorial Tran Hung Dao, a brave military leader who fought against the Yuan Dynasty. It holds a large historical significance which is why a lot of people frequent the place when visiting the lake.

Visit the Temple of Literature

It is a beautiful temple complex in the center of Hanoi that was built to be the center of learning dedicated to Chinese age and Confucius. In the last 1000 years, many buildings were added and today it is a beautiful park filled with pavilions, shrines and a rich garden. Graduating doctors always visit the temple of literature after their graduation. The temple is open every day except Monday until 4:30 pm.

Learn vocabulary about Hanoi

Capital city Thủ đô 
Pagoda Chùa 
Temple Đền 
Market Chợ 
Theater Nhà hát 
Old Quarter Phố Cổ 
Lotus Hoa sen 
Water puppet Múa rối nước 
Culture Văn hóa