Worldwide famous as a city of lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks, Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is different things to different people. The city is a perfect blend of the exotic chic of old Asia and the dynamic face of new Asia, of Parisian grace and Asian pace. Hanoi is where imagination becomes reality.

Things to do in Hanoi:

  • Take a walking tour through the historical streets of the bustling Old Quarter.
  • Explore Hanoi’s intriguing museums, pagodas and the spectacular Temple of Literature
  • Enjoy the performance of the city’s famed water puppets.
  • See ‘Uncle Ho’ in the flesh at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • Sample the flourishing culinary delights, cafes and nightlife of modern Hanoi
  • Take a trip to the excellent Museum of Ethnology which is devoted to the culture of Vietnam’s Ethnic Minorities

Where to go in Hanoi:

Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple are considered to be the soul of Hanoi and seem like a million miles away from the noise and rush. While the Lake is an enchanting body of water right in the heart of Hanoi, The temple is a shrine to General Tran Hung Dao who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century. This is definitely a welcome break for those who have just arrived in Hanoi.

Temple of Literature was steeped in history. It was the first University to open in Vietnam in 1448 and was dominated by the Chinese who ruled the country for almost 1.000 years.

Museum of Ethnology A visit to the Ethnology Museum will be the highlight. It’s a huge centre outlining the origins and lifestyles of all the major ethnic minorities dispersed through the country and their languages, clothing, artisan specialities, food, customs and entertainment specialities.

Water Puppet Theatre Not to be missed while in Hanoi is definitely the water puppetry which is as bizarre as it sounds. It started when puppeteers from the Red River Delta decided to soldier on entertaining in spite of the annual floods. Now it's performed daily with wooden, mechanical puppets operated by puppeteers hidden behind a mesh screen, thus creating the illusion that the puppets are floating on water.

West Lake, Quan Thanh Temple and Tran Quoc Pagoda are among the most beautiful sights in Hanoi located on the short of the Westlake in Thanh Nien Street.

Handicraft Villages of Bat Trang Pottery, Van Phuc Silk, Le Mat Snake-raising and Ha Thai Lacquerware will give you great insights into the daily life of the locals and how traditional produces are made.

In addition, Hanoi is also home to lots of interesting museums, each of which has its own colors to offer like History Museum,Museum of Vietnamese Revolution, Geology Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Women’s Museum, Army Museum, Hoa Lo Prison Museum, etc.

Transfer in and to Hanoi:

Flights: Most visitors arrive at Noi Bai International Airport – one of the largest airports serving both international and internal flights. Airlines that operate flights from/to Noi Bai include Vietnam Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Tiger Airways, Thai Airways and many others. From the airport, you could reach the downtown (around 25 miles) by taxi ($10- 20 USD), and Vietnam Airlines also offers a cheap and convenient minibus to the center of town.

Trains: The Thong Nhat Express runs from Hanoi south to central Vietnam (Hue and Danang) then Ho Chi Minh City (over 30 hours). Moreover, there are northwest and northeast trains to China including popular overnight route from Hanoi to Lao Cai.

Buses: With many bus stations, Hanoi is the starting point for open tour buses running from North to South Vietnam.

Hanoi is perfect in autumn when the weather is less humid and cool. It is recommended that you visit Hanoi between the months of September and November which offer you an opportunity to join the joyful Mid-Autumn Festival. However, many of foreign tourists prefer coming in spring (Feb-Apr) to enjoy a warmer weather, regardless of possibly dragging drizzle, during Tet Festival, Vietnam’s traditional Lunar New Year. It is hot and sticky in the summer months (May-Sep) with the common temps of 36°C (86-97°F), but is perfect for lazing and sun baking on the pristine beaches around Hanoi including: Ha long bay, Cat Ba Island, Do Son Beach, Tay Thien Mau, Khoang Xanh, etc.

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