Hanoi: Vietnam’s Spectacular Cultural and Historical Capital

Welcome to the city of Hanoi, Vietnam’s cultural and historical capital. Known for its bustling streets, rich history, and vibrant energy, Hanoi offers a plethora of attractions and experiences for every traveler. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the top 10 must-visit attractions, provide you with restaurant tips to savor the local cuisine, and suggest excellent places to stay during your visit to Hanoi.


Top 10 Must-Visit Attractions in Hanoi:

  1. Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple: Situated in the heart of the city, this picturesque lake offers a serene oasis amid the hustle and bustle. Cross the iconic red bridge to reach Ngoc Son Temple and immerse yourself in history and legend.
  2. The Old Quarter: Explore the labyrinthine streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, where you’ll find a treasure trove of markets, street food stalls, and traditional shops. Get lost amidst the chaotic charm and discover the vibrant soul of the city.
  3. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Pay your respects to Vietnam’s revered leader, Ho Chi Minh, at this imposing mausoleum. Admire the architectural grandeur and witness the meticulously preserved body of “Uncle Ho.”
  4. Temple of Literature: Delve into Hanoi’s scholarly past at the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university. Stroll through beautiful gardens and pavilions, and marvel at the rich architectural heritage.
  5. Hoa Lo Prison: Explore the haunting history of Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton.” Gain insight into Vietnam’s struggle for independence and the experiences of prisoners during the French and American wars.
  6. West Lake: Escape the city’s chaos and enjoy the tranquility of West Lake. Take a leisurely walk, savor delicious local snacks, or visit the peaceful Tran Quoc Pagoda.
  7. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: Discover the diverse ethnic cultures of Vietnam at this fascinating museum. Through exhibitions and artifacts, gain a deeper understanding of the country’s rich heritage and traditions.
  8. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: Experience the unique art of Vietnamese water puppetry, a traditional form of entertainment dating back centuries. Be captivated by the skillful puppeteers and the enchanting tales they bring to life.
  9. Train Street: Experience the unique phenomenon of Train Street, where a train passes through a narrow residential street. Witness the thrill as the train navigates through the bustling neighborhood, a truly remarkable sight.
  10. Dong Xuan Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of one of Hanoi’s largest markets. From clothing and accessories to local handicrafts and street food, this bustling market has something for everyone.
Hanoi Water Puppets

Where to eat in Hanoi:

  1. Try Pho: A visit to Hanoi is incomplete without savoring a bowl of authentic Pho, Vietnam’s iconic noodle soup. Head to Pho Gia Truyen or Pho Thin for some of the city’s best Pho.
  2. Street Food Delights: Explore Hanoi’s street food scene and indulge in local delicacies like banh mi (Vietnamese baguette), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), and egg coffee. Visit Hang Be Market or the streets around the Old Quarter for an authentic culinary adventure.
  3. Fine Dining Experience: For a memorable dining experience, book a table at one of Hanoi’s upscale restaurants. The famous Michelin Guide awarded three restaurants in Hanoi with a Michelin Star. Indulge in contemporary Vietnamese cuisine at Gia or enjoy Teppanyaki at Hibana by Koki. But perhaps the biggest tip: have a Michelin Star diner on a budget at Tam Vi the Hanoi Tea House decorated with a Michelin Star but no website. Reservations can be done through email (give it a couple of days) or by phone: nhahang.tamvi4b@gmail.com/+84 96 632 31 31.
  4. Quan An Ngon: A popular food court-style restaurant set in a colonial Villa, Quan An Ngon offers a wide range of Vietnamese dishes from different regions. It’s an excellent place to sample a variety of flavors and specialties.

Street Food Vietnam

Where to stay in Hanoi

  1. Old Quarter: Stay in Hanoi’s Old Quarter to experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Choose from boutique hotels, budget-friendly hostels, or traditional homestays like the Soleil Boutique Hotel or the Hanoi La Storia Hotel.
  2. French Quarter: The French Quarter offers a more elegant and upscale ambiance. Opt for boutique hotels like the Apricot Hotel or the Sofitel Legend Metropole for a luxurious stay.
  3. West Lake: Enjoy the tranquility of West Lake by staying in the surrounding area. With numerous resorts and boutique hotels, such as Pan Pacific Hanoi and the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, you can relax in a serene setting.
  4. Tay Ho District: Located near West Lake, Tay Ho District offers a blend of local charm and modern amenities. Consider hotels like Maison d’Orient or La Casa Hanoi for a comfortable stay.
  5. Ba Dinh District: If you prefer proximity to major attractions like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Temple of Literature, consider staying in the Ba Dinh District. Hotels like the Hanoi Pearl Hotel or The Ann Hanoi provide convenience and comfort.

Our favorite hotel in the Old Quarter is the Soleil Boutique Hotel, read the review of our stay here

Train street Hanoi

Hanoi’s irresistible blend of history, culture, and culinary delights makes it a captivating destination for travelers. Explore the city’s iconic attractions, relish its vibrant street food, and find comfort in its diverse accommodations. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or simply a memorable experience, Hanoi will leave an indelible mark on your heart and mind. Plan your trip, embrace the charm of the city, and uncover the secrets of Hanoi’s timeless allure. Continue your trip to Halong Bay or take the night train to Sapa or Hue.