The capital city of Vietnam provides a full-scale assault on your senses. The crumbly, lemon-hued colonial architecture, swarms of motorbikes, delicate scents, waterfalls, pearl farms, palm trees and beaches, and a culture that is as unique as it is beautiful. A visit to Hanoi provides travelers with a fascinating blend of East and West.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.ONE PILLAR PAGODA
The temple was built in the 11th century by the emperor in gratitude for blessing him with a son.The temple was supposed to look like a lotus flower blossoming from a single pillar in a pond.A small shrine to Bodhisattva of Mercy can be found inside the small temple. It temple was rebuilt after it was destroyed by the French when they retreated from the country.
2.HOAN KIEM LAKE
Nestle on the southern edge of the old town quarter, the lake is Hanoi’s most well-known landmark. The Ngoc Son Temple on the small island can be reached by the red bridge is a major tourist attraction in Hanoi. The temple is a dedication to three grand figures from Vietnamese history – La To, the renowned scholar Van Xuong; and the 13th-century general Tran Hung Dao. From the bridge you can also view the stocky Turtle Tower.
3.THANG LONG WATER PUPPET THEATER
The theater is celebrating peasant art from over a thousand years ago that began in rice paddles. The original puppets were simply carved and used as a prop to act out traditional activities like farming and other legends. A more modern version continues the use of water and audience participation. Opera’s is performed that narrates the puppets’ actions with traditional Vietnamese instruments. The musicians interact with the puppets, encouraging the heroes and warning them of impending danger. Visitors can sit and enjoy a meal while discovering this ancient dramatic art.
4.TEMPLE OF LITERATURE
Originally built in the 11th century as a university, the temple is the most beautiful and incredibly peaceful and religious building in Hanoi. Dedicated to the nation’s scholars, it was here that the philosophy of Confucianism and literature was taught. Etched into a series of pillars are the names of students who studied here. A series of gardens lead to pavilions and a well-preserved pagoda where a statue of Confucius sits.
5.HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM
The mausoleum is the final resting place of the Vietnamese communist leader, Ho Chi Minh. The nations declaration of independence was read from exact the place where the mausoleum sits in Ba Dinh square in 1945. The building was modeled after Lenin’s crypt in Moscow, but to many tourists it looks like a concrete cubicle with columns. The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is on display in a plexiglass casing. For a couple of months each year the mausoleum is closed to allowed the body to return to Russia for maintenance. A dress code of longs sleeves and pants is required to visit.
6.MILITARY HISTORY MUSEUM
The museum exhibit of weaponry, military machines, French and US planes, tanks and a Soviet MiG fighter plane in the outside courtyard. Inside information is available on the wars with France and the USA as well as exhibits of weaponry.
In 2010 the site achieved UNESCO World Heritage recognition for its long role in Hanoi’s past. The Citadel area was once the vital seat of military power and continued in an important strategic role right up to the 1960s and the Vietnam War. During archaeological diggings various palaces that once stood on this spot was unearthed. Military maps and implements are displayed in the bunker that dates from theVietnam War.
8.VIETNAM MUSEUM OF ETHNOLOGY
It is widely believed to be the best of all modern museums in Vietnam. The country of Vietnam is a coagulation of 54 different officially ethnic groups. The museum strives to give a better understanding of each one. On exhibit is a combination of art, everyday objects, and historic artifacts to better tell the story of each unique culture. You can also visit the fascinating Giarai tomb.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around Hanoi is by cyclo, electric bus and motorbike taxi.
The best time to visit Hanoi is from September to November and March and April when the weather is pleasant with milder temperatures.