Things to do in Hanoi
Things to do in Hanoi will show you the best attractions, what is the major sights and activities in and around Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam.
1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The first of things to do in Hanoi is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. There rests the most popular Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh. The inspiration to build this mausoleum is come from the Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow added with Vietnamese style. The mausoleum will close for about two months each year from October when his embalmed body will transported to Russia for maintenance to ensure he will “live forever”.
The security is tight and visitors should dress properly with no shorts, sleeveless shirts and mini-shirts. And bags and cameras should deposit before you getting in.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday and weekends from 08:00 – 11:00 (Closed on Monday and Friday )
2. One Pillar Pagoda
The second of things to do in Hanoi is One Pillar Pagoda is one of the most iconic historical sites, rising from a pillar in the lake. The Pagoda is situated in the park behind the museum near Ba Dinh Square at Ong Ich Kiem Street in the Ba Dinh District.
It is said that the pagoda was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly Dynasty. This heirless emperor dreamed that he met Quan The Am Bo Tat, the Goddess of Mercy, who sit on the lotus leaves and handed him a male child. After that, he married a young peasant girl and had a son for him who looked like the baby he dreamed. In order to show his gratitude to the Goddess, he constructed a pagoda here in 1049 shaped like a lotus blossom. The new government rebuilt it after destroyed.
Opening Hours: Entrance is free and the pagoda is open daily from 08:00-17:00
3. Old Quarter
The third of things to do in Hanoi is Old Quarter is one of the city’s top tourists hot spots offering charming French colonial architecture, Buddhist Temples and pagodas. As the major commercial district in Hanoi, the streets are always packed with motorbikes, bicycles and cars running around the pedestrians as well as sidewalk vendors selling fruits and local specialties. But don’t worry about the traffic because to explore the historical area in Hanoi is a must-do experience on your travel lists.
There are preserved shop houses lying along the ancient street which were almost built more than a century ago. You will find almost all of these houses are constructed in long and narrow style. The reason why they locals built the shop house like that is to avoid high taxes. Here you can expect to find plenty of local café, bars, restaurants with kinds of food offered, boutique shops selling local specialties, bakeries, art galleries.
4. Temple of Literature
The 4th of things to do in Hanoi is Temple of Literature. It is about 2km west of Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature is often regarded as the most beautiful tourists sites. It is a well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture in Hanoi and founded in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong dedicated to Confucius.
Vietnam’s first university was established here in 1076. At first, the temple only accepted those of noble birth, aristocrats, the elite and royal family members. And after 1442, gifted students can enter the school and study the principles of Confucianism, literature and poetry.
The temple is between Ton Duc Thang Street and Van Mieu Street which is about 2km west of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Opening Hours: From 08:00 – 17:00 from November until March and 07:30 – 18:00 for the rest of the year. Closed on a Monday
5. Hanoi Opera House
The beautiful yellow Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 when during the French Colonization. It is a classic French-style architecture blending with Gothic style which share some similarity with Palais Garnier in Paris. Some of the construction materials were transported from French specially.
There are one grand stage with more than 8 hundred auditoriums for visitors to enjoy the powerful and classic performances. As the biggest theater in Vietnam, it held a varieties of night show and the important meeting place for people to assemble. After renovated, the opera house now held a range of events, like Vietnamese opera;, traditional folk music, ballets and international concerts. You will need to purchase tickets to get into the opera house to see the performance and check online if there is performance before you visiting.
6. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake, “the lake of the returned sword”, is the most famous one among plenty of lakes in Hanoi. The name comes from a legend. In the mid-15th century, Heaven sent Emperor Le Thai To used a magical sword to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. After the war, a giant golden turtle grabbed the sword and jumped into the lake and disappeared.
It is located in the center of the city with a area of 12 hectare. Surrounded by green trees, Hoan Lake is a ideal place to escape from the noise city center. The lake is full of tortoise which is considered a sacred animal in Vietnam’s culture. If you are lucky, you can see these giant animals rising out of the water. Local people and visitors like to come here to stroll along the banks, to talk, to do business and to relax.