Hanoi , the capital of Vietnam, is known as a top tourist destination through its 1000 years of history, its rich cultural heritage, and its picturesque blend of French and Chinese influences. Ha noi is the cultural capital of Viet Nam and its heart and soul. A great place to explore on foot, there is a lot to see and do here. Hanoi lies on the bank of the Red River , human settlements here date back as far as the 3rd century BC. Previously known as Thang Long, it were renamed Hanoi in 1831 at Large areas of present-day Hanoi were built during the French occupation, reflected in its broad boulevards and French-inspired architecture, which give the city the definite charm and make Hanoi distinct from other Asian capitals.
HA NOI TOP DESTINATIONS:
Almost visitors dream about a peaceful and antique Hanoi, however, Hanoi is more than that. The attractiveness lies in the fine combination of natural beauty with ancient colonial architecture and cultural religious features. The lively ambiance also pulls tourists back to the green city. There is no reason for missing out one of below attractions when visiting Hanoi.
Hanoi Old quarter:
Nearly every visitor to Hanoi will put a visit to the Old quarter. The 36 old streets are full of vitality both days and nights. Wandering around the streets seems like losing your way in a maze; the more you discover the streets, the more you find it interesting.
The Old Quarter was founded from the 11th century as crowded trade area where artisans and traders concentrated to work and set up specific trade streets
The artisans from craft villages around former Thang Long Citadel gathered in areas which specialized in their work. This reason made the trade streets develop more and more. Every streets were noisy, animated in trade and work as miniature craft villages.
The street names were begun with “Hang” and originated from names of types of merchandise produced and traded such as Hang Gai (Silk), Hang Duong (Sugar), Hang Muoi (Salt), etc. Therefore Vietnamese people usually call Ha Noi as Ha Noi 36 streets – guilds, of which street means concentration place of artisans or traders who specialize in same merchandise.
Nowadays, the Old Quarter includes 76 streets and covers an area of 100ha.
The highlight of the Old Quarter is the tube shape old houses with slopping roofs, mainly built since the 18th, 19th centuries. Besides, visitors will also be attracted by about 100 old architectural works as communal houses, temples, pagodas… typically Bach Ma (White Horse) Temple on Hang Buom Street – one of four defense temples of the ancient Thang Long Citadel.
Especially, to Old Quarter on weekends, visitors will have the opportunity to walk and discover interesting night market.
Hoan Kiem Lake:
A fresh atmosphere in the morning and sparkling beauty at night are the very first impressions of tourists about Hoan Kiem lake. You could easily grasp a stunning view through your lens when walking around the poetic lake. It is also the place in which daily entertaining activities of Hanoians take place, including doing exercises, playing chess and the likes. Having a seat at a bench to contemplate people walking back and forth is one of best way to savor the peaceful atmosphere in Hanoi.
Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the center of Ha Noi and also called “Lake of the Restored Sword”. The name Lake of the Restored Sword is derived from a legend.
Hoan Kiem Lake is not only a historical site but also a beauty-spot of the capital. When visiting Ha Noi, Ludemis, a Greek poet, exclaimed: The Lake – An emerald jewel set in the heart of the city, With the Red River as a silk ribbon around.
It is said that when visiting Ha Noi, if the visitor does not see the Lake, then they would not have actually been in Ha Noi. The lake is an endless topic and inspiration for painters, poets, writers, music composers, etc, and innumerable works about the lake have been produced.
The Lake is really an emerald jewel of Ha Noi. For generations, the Vietnamese believed that deep in the green water of the Lake, there is a sacred sword of their ancestors, which is carefully safeguarded by the golden tortoise. When the weather changes, the tortoise emerges on the water surface to take a sun bath, seeming to prove his existence and remind the young generation of their national history of defending their country from foreign invaders.
Vietnam museum of Ethnology:
The museum is totally different from other museums in Vietnam, and thus you are supposed not to miss a chance to explore it. More than just a boring museum with symbolic objects exhibited inside large buildings, the museum opens a spacious ambiance full of sunshine and full of vitality. Coming here, you have a golden chance to have a comprehensive knowledge about 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam. More interestingly, their houses, their living space as well as their way of living are featured so animated that it comes as no surprise when you feel as if you are part of their community.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum:
It is unusual attraction and somewhat surreal, but interesting indeed. It is a pretty quiet place compared to the hustling and bustling of the city. It is solemn with strict atmosphere. Coming here, you definitely know more about Uncle Ho and how Vietnamese love him.
The construction of Ho Chi Minh mausoleum started in 1973 and completed in 1975. The mausoleum was built on the site where Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Vietnam’s independence on 2 September 1945. On the same day 24 years later, he left forever. His body is well preserved in a glass coffin.
Most of tourists recommend this place as an absolute must see attraction. A chance to see the hero of Vietnam in your eyes is worth your time.
Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature):
Apart from Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) is another place for tourists to get out of all the maddening buzz of the traffic for a while and find the peace in your soul. It is the first university of Vietnam and the symbol of Ha Noi Capital.
Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) was built in 1070 under King Ly Thanh Tong’s reign to worship Confucius, Confucianism sages, scholars and had the function as the royal school. In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong had Quoc Tu Giam built next to Van Mieu as a university for princes and mandarins’ sons. In 1253, King Tran Thai Tong had Quoc Tu Giam expended and accepted all excellent students. Under King Tran Minh Tong’s reign (1314 – 1329), Teacher Chu Van An was appointed as rector of Quoc Tu Giam and responsible for teaching princes. In 1785, King Le Hien Tong renamed Quoc Tu Giam to Thai Hoc House.
Currently, Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam is the place to organize typical cultural activities such as scientific seminars, thematic exhibitions; ceremonies to commend the outstanding graduating students of universities, institutes in Ha Noi; awarding certificates of professor, associate professor; book festivals, Viet Nam poetry day, etc.
With the long-standing history and culture, Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam has been recognized as a special national relic since May 2012 and 82 steles which record the royal examinations has been recognized as a national treasure since January 2015. This is an attractive cultural tourist site for visitors to learn about culture and history of Viet Nam.
Duong Lam Ancient Village:
If you want to escape from the hustling and bustling of the city and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of countryside of Viet Nam, Duong Lam Ancient Village is where you should go to.
Duong Lam Village is just about 45km to the west of Ha Noi Center. This is the only village keeping intactly the structure and way of life of a Vietnamese ancient village in the Northern Midlands.
Duong Lam has still preserved the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese village with village’s gate, banyan tree, well, communal house’s court, etc. The ancient houses from 17th-18thcenturies in harmony combination of yards, gardens, wells are located on the fish-bone-shaped roads. The houses in Duong Lam built by traditional materials as laterite, bamboo, wood, clay, rice husk, mud, sawdust, lime, sand, straw are usually cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The houses consists of 5 or 7 compartments and 2 lean-tos. Of which, the largest middle compartment is the place setting the ancestor altar along with horizontal lacquered boards, parallel sentences, old paintings, etc. Here also has wooden settee or bed with tea pot to invite guests.
Besides the ancient houses, Duong Lam also contains many shrines, temples, pagoda, etc and vivid natural landscape of mounds, ponds, lakes, ancient trees and rice field. Therefore, Duong Lam is an attractive destination for photographers, especially in rice harvest season.
Duong Lam Ancient Village has been recognized as National Art Architecture Relic Site since 2005. This is the first ancient village in Viet Nam ranked as a national relic site.
Visiting Duong Lam, visitors not only have chance to enjoy sightseeing of historical – cultural relics; sightseeing of ancient houses but also have opportunity to experience doing farming such as growing vegetable, harvesting vegetable, catching fish, field work, etc; traditional craft experience.