27 Must – Visit Places in Hanoi, Vietnam

World renowned destinations in Hanoi, Vietnam.

These are the must – visit places in Hanoi. I hope this can serve as a guide.

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1. Hoan Kiem Lake 

(“Lake of the Returned Sword” or “Lake of the Restored Sword or Sword Lake”)

According to the legend, emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake when a Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. Lợi concluded that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that its master, a local God, the Dragon King (Vietnamese: Long Vương) had given Lợi sometime earlier, during his revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty. Lợi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, it was formerly known as Luc Thuy meaning “Green Water”). The Turtle Tower (Thap Rùa) standing on a small island near the centre of lake is linked to the legend.

2. Turtle Tower 

(Vietnamese: Tháp Rùa), also called Tortoise Tower is a small tower in the middle of Sword Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

3. Ba Đình Square

Ba Đình Square (Vietnamese: Quảng Trường Ba Đình) is the name of a famous square in Hanoi where president Ho Chi Minh read theProclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945. It is named after the Ba Đình Uprising, an anti-French rebellion that occurred in Vietnam in 1886–1887 as part of the Cần Vương movement. When Ho Chi Minh died, the graniteHo Chi Minh Mausoleum was built here to display his embalmed body. It remains a major site of tourism and pilgrimage.

4. Temple of Literature, Hanoi

The Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu) (known as Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám in Vietnamese) is a Temple of Confucius in Hanoi, northern Vietnam. The temple hosts the “Imperial Academy” (Quốc Tử Giám, ), Vietnam’s first national university. The temple was built in 1070 at the time of King Lý Nhân Tông. It is one of several temples in Vietnam which is dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars. The temple is located to the south of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long

5. Cổ Loa Citadel 

(Vietnamese: Thành Cổ Loa) is a citadel in present-day Hanoi’s Dong Anh district, about 16 kilometers (10 mi) northeast of downtown. It was erected during the end of the Hồng Bàng Dynasty (about 257 bce). The fortress is a spiral-shaped complex of the then new capital. Its name is derived from the Sino-Vietnamese meaning “old spiral.”

6. Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Vietnamese: Hoàng thành Thăng Long) is the cultural complex comprising the royal enclosure first built during the Lý Dynasty and subsequently expanded by the Trần, Lê and finally the Nguyễn Dynasty. The ruins roughly coincide with the Hanoi Citadel today.

7. Presidential Palace Historical Site

Presidential Palace Historical Site (Vietnamese: Khu di tích Phủ Chủ tịch), which is located in Hanoi, Vietnam, is the place where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked in most of his revolutionary life (from December 19, 1954 to September 2, 1969). This site was listed by the Ministry of Culture and Information of Vietnam in 1975.

8. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Vietnamese: Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh) is a large memorial in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located in the centre of Ba Dinh Square, which is the place where Vietminh leader Ho Chi Minh, Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1951 until his death in 1969, read the Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

9. Flag Tower of Hanoi

The Flag Tower of Hanoi (Vietnamese: Cột cờ Hà Nội) is a tower in Hanoi, Vietnam, which is one of the symbols of the city and part of the Hanoi Citadel, a World Heritage Site. Its height is 33.4 m (41 m with the flag).

10. Hanoi Opera House

The Hanoi Opera House (Vietnamese: Nhà hát lớn Hà Nội, French: Opéra de Hanoï) is an opera house in central Hanoi, Vietnam. It was erected by the French colonial administration between 1901 and 1911.

It was modeled on the Palais Garnier, the older of Paris’s two opera houses, and is considered to be one of the architectural landmarks of Hanoi. After the departure of the French the opera house became the scene for several political events, as well as the scene of street fighting during the fight for Hanoi.

11. Hỏa Lò Prison (Maison Centrale , Hell’s Hole) 

The Hỏa Lò Prison was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam forprisoners of war during the Vietnam War when it was sarcastically known to American prisoners of war as the “Hanoi Hilton”. The prison was demolished during the 1990s, though the gatehouse remains as a museum.

The name Hoa Lo, commonly translated as “fiery furnace” or even “Hell’s hole”, also means “stove”. The name originated from the street name phố Hỏa Lò, due to the concentration of stores selling wood stoves and coal-fire stoves along the street from pre-colonial times.

12. Perfume Pagoda

The Huong Pagoda[1] (English: Perfume Pagoda, Vietnamese: Chùa Hương, Chinese: 香寺) is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains. It is the site of a religious festival which draws large numbers of pilgrims from across Vietnam. The centre of the Huong Temple lies in Huong Son Commune, Mỹ Đức District, former Hà Tây Province (now Hanoi). The centre of this complex is the Perfume Temple, also known as Chua Trong (Inner Temple), located in Huong Tich Cave.

13. One Pillar Pagoda

The One Pillar Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Một Cột, formally Diên Hựu tự 延祐寺 or Liên Hoa Đài 蓮花臺) is a historic Buddhist temple inHanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Temple, as one of Vietnam’s two most iconic temples.

The temple was built by Emperor Lý Thái Tông, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, Lý Thái Tông was childless and dreamt that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Lý Thái Tông then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son.

The emperor constructed the temple in gratitude for this in 1049,[1] having been told by a monk named Thiền Tuệ to build the temple, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, similar to the one he saw in the dream

14. Trấn Quốc Pagoda

Trấn Quốc Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Trấn Quốc, chữ Hán: 鎭國寺), the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, is located on a small island near the southeastern shore of Hanoi’s West Lake, Vietnam.

The Trấn Quốc Pagoda in Hanoi is the oldest pagoda in the city, originally constructed in the sixth century during the reign of Emperor Lý Nam Đế (from 544 until 548), thus giving it an age of more than 1,450 years. When founded the temple was named Khai Quoc (National Founding) and was sited on the shores of the Red River, outside of the Yen Phu Dyke. When confronted with the river’s encroachment, the temple was relocated in 1615 to Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet of Ho Tay (West Lake) where it is now situated. A small causeway links it to the mainland

15. Quán Sứ Temple 

(Vietnamese: Chùa Quán Sứ, Chinese: 舘使寺) is a Buddhist temple located at 73 Quan Su Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. The temple is the headquarters of the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam.

Quan Su Temple was built in the 15th century under the Lê Dynasty. At that time there was no Buddhist temple here but some cottages used as a place of worship. According to Hoàng Lê nhất thống chí, during Emperor Le The Tong’s reign, Chiem Thanh (Champa), Ai Lao (Laos) usually sent ambassadors to offer tributes to Đại Việt (official name of Viet Nam under the Lê Dynasty). The Emperor ordered to construct a building called Quan Su (Embassy) to receive foreign ambassadors to Thăng Long. Because those ambassadors were all Buddhist, they decided to build a temple on the premises for worship. Today only the temple remains

16. West Lake (Hanoi)

West Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Tây) is a freshwater lake in the center of Hanoi, Vietnam. With a shore length of 17 km (about 10.6 miles), this is the largest lake of the capital and a popular place for recreation with many surrounding gardens, hotels and villas. A small part of West Lake is divided by Thanh Nien road to form Trúc Bạch Lake. One district of Hanoi is named after the lake, Tây Hồ District.

West Lake was created from a curved part of Red River and appeared in several Vietnamese legends. One legend suggests that West Lake was shaped after the battle between Lạc Long Quân and a nine-tailed fox spirit, that’s why the lake was once called “Fox Corpse Swamp” (Đầm Xác Cáo). Another folk story claimed that original name of the lake is “Golden Buffalo Lake” (Hồ Trâu Vàng, orHan Viet: Hồ Kim Ngưu) because it was formed from struggle of a buffalo after the disappearance of her calf. In the 11th century, the lake was named “Foggy Lake” (Han Viet: Hồ Dâm Đàm) from its misty condition and ultimately its name was changed to “West Lake” in 1573 to avoid the given name of king Lê Thế Tông which was Duy Đàm.

17. Trúc Bạch Lake

Trúc Bạch Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Trúc Bạch) is one of the many lakes in the city of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It is known outside Vietnam as the site where future United States politician John McCain landed during the Vietnam War after being shot down.

Trúc Bạch Lake is located northwest of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, immediately adjacent to the eastern shore of the city’s largest lake, theWest Lake (Hồ Tây), a former branch of the Red River whose west bank is nearby. Trúc Bạch Lake was separated from the West Lake by the construction of a narrow dike (Cổ Ngư, “reinforcement”) in the 17th century to allow raising fish. The inhabitants of the Truc Yen Village, located on the south shore of the newly formed lake, were in the business of making bamboo blinds and hence cultivated a small variety of bambo

18. Red River (Asia)

The Red River (Chinese: t 紅河, s 红河, p Hóng Hé; Vietnamese: Sông Hồng), also known as the Hồng Hà and Sông Cái(lit. “Mother River”) in Vietnamese[citation needed] and the Yuan River (元江, Yuán Jiāng) in Chinese, is a river that flows fromYunnan in southwest China through northern Vietnam to the Gulf of Tonkin. According to C. Michael Hogan, the associated Red River Fault was instrumental in forming the entire South China Sea at least as early as 37 million years before present.

19. Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Vietnamese Women’s Museum is located in Hanoi, in Ly Thuong Kiet Street, near the central Hoan Kiem Lake and the old quarter. This is the most ancient street in the capital city, with many French-style buildings, foreign embassies, hotels and government offices. The museum opened to public in 1995 and had been renovated between 2006 and 2010. This Museum is dedicated to the Vietnamese Women. More than 1000 materials, photos and objects displayed in the permanent exhibition show the role the Vietnamese women played in the History and currently play in Arts and in the Family life. The museum also organizes thematic exhibitions to show changes and development of the contemporary society.

20. Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts

The Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts (Bảo tàng Mỹ thuật Việt Nam) is located in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a museum showcasing Vietnam’s fine arts from a range of historical periods.[1] It is the country’s primary art museum, the second being the smaller Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts.

Much of the 20th Century art presented in the museum is concerned with folk narratives of a nation in defence. As a collection it draws on themes of martyrdom, patriotism, military strategy and overcoming enemy incursion.

21. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology 

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (Vietnamese: Bảo tàng Dân tộc học Việt Nam) is a museum in Hanoi, Vietnam, which focuses on the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. It is located on a 3.27-acre (13,200 m2) property in the Cầu Giấy District, about 8 km from the city center.

It is widely considered to be the finest modern museum in Vietnam and a tourist attraction in Hanoi.[citation needed]

The proposal for the museum was officially approved on December 14, 1987. Construction lasted from 1987 to 1995, and it was opened to the public on November 12, 1997.

22. Vietnam Museum of Revolution

The Vietnam Museum of Revolution is a museum in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Located in the Tong Dan area of the city, it was established in August 1959 in a two-storey building, formerly used by the Trade Department of Vietnam. It was redesigned into 30 galleries and as of 2008 contains in excess of 40,000 historical exhibits.

Topics covered was notably are the National liberation movements of the Vietnamese against French troops before the Vietnamese Communist Party was established in the period 1858–1930, the National independence struggle of the Vietnamese under the leadership of the Communist Party from 1930–1975 and then the social construction of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from 1976–1994

23. Ho Chi Minh Museum

Not to be confused with Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

The Ho Chi Minh Museum is located in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a museum dedicated to the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and Vietnam’s revolutionary struggle against foreign powers. It was constructed in the 1990s.

24. National Museum of Vietnamese History

The National Museum of Vietnamese History (Vietnamese: Viện Bảo tàng Lịch sử Việt Nam) is located in the Hoan Kiem district ofHanoi, Vietnam.

The building used to be the museum of the Far East Research Institute under French colonial rule (École française d’Extrême-OrientEFEO).

Today, it is a museum showcasing Vietnam’s history with very large displays covering every period. It is housed in a colonial French building which was completed in 1932. The building, designed by the architect Ernest Hébrard, is considered a successful blend of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture, called Indochina architecture. Hebrard created double walls and balconies for a natural ventilation system and protection from sunshine

25. Bát Tràng

Bát Tràng (literally: bát is bowl and tràng is workshop) is an old, well established village in the Gia Lâm district of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. It is about 13 km from central Hanoi.

It is famous for producing a unique style of ceramics called Bát Tràng Porcelain. Bát Tràng is well known throughout Vietnam for its beautiful ceramics.

26. Lệ Mật

Lệ Mật is a village 7 km northeast of central Hanoi, Vietnam, in the city’s Long Biên District. It is known the “snake village”, and locals have been employed as snake catchers in Northern Vietnam for generations.

27. Long Biên Bridge

Long Biên Bridge (Vietnamese: Cầu Long Biên) is a historic cantilever bridge across the Red River that connects two districts, Hoan Kiem and Long Bien of the city of Hanoi, Vietnam. It was originally called Paul Doumer Bridge.

The bridge was built in 1899-1902 by the architects Daydé & Pillé of Paris, and opened in 1903.[1] Before North Vietnam’s independence in 1954, it was called Paul-Doumer Bridge, named after Paul Doumer – The Governor-General of French Indochina and then French president. At 2.4 kilometres (1.5 mi) in length, it was, at that time, one of the longest bridges in Asia. For the French colonial government, the construction was of strategic importance in securing control of northern Vietnam. From 1899 to 1902, more than 3,000 Vietnamese took part in the construction.

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