Top 10 Must-Visit Tourist Attractions In Hanoi
1. Hanoi Old Quarter
Packed with charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and pagodas, the Old Quarter, located near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District, is Hanoi’s major commercial district. Its heart and soul is exposed in the ancient commercial streets which are named after their original businesses dating back about 1,000 years. Though most of the specialties (cotton, jewellery, herbs, and silk) have changed over time and have been replaced with a variety of modern-day commodities and services, visitors can still appreciate some of the original goods as well as get a feel of rich old Vietnamese customs.Expect to find plenty of hip cafés, bars, a variety of restaurants, bakeries, boutique shops and art galleries in this historical area.
Location: Hang Be Street, Cau Go Street, Hang Dao Street, Ma May Street, Ta Hien Street, Hang Bac Street, Dong Xuan Street
Distance from the hotel: 600 m – 7 min walk
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2. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem lake represented the spiritual heart of the city, reminds Vietnamese people of a legendary story about the name Hoan Kiem, and reminds the traditional education and the dedication of General Tran Hung Dao.
Located in the middle of one of the busiest streets of Vietnam capital, Hoan Kiem Lake offers plenty of trees and shaded spots in which to escape the busy life. Legend tells that the Heaven King sent Emperor Ly Thai To a magical sword, which he used to fight against Chinese colonization and got his distinguished victory. After the war, Ly Thai To returned the magical sword to a giant turtle, which grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths of this lake to restore the sword to its original owners. Being faithful and inspired, the locals name the lake after the highlighted milestone of Vietnam history – “Ho Hoan Kiem”, which means “Lake of the Restored Sword”.
Recommended visiting hours: Fridays to Sundays
Thanks to the fact traffic is banned from the area from 7PM to midnight, public fun fair vibe takes over the place. If you are looking for a good morning walk or peaceful coffee enjoyment during your stay in Ha Noi, Hoan Kiem Lake would be a good spot for you to blend in with the locals.
Distance from the hotel: 750 m – 9 min walk
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3. Hanoi Opera House
Standing in the heart of Hanoi, the opera house was located in a beautiful intersection downtown, where five main city roads lead to. Completed in 1911 after 10 years of construction, by two French architects, Hanoi Opera House resembles the Opéra Garnier de Paris. In August 1945, the Opera House Square was the political center of the country during the revolutionary days. Since then, Hanoi Opera House has always been the center of important conferences, meetings and art performances by art troupes domestically and internationally.
Opening Time: 10:30 AM every Monday and Friday
Location: No.01 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Ticket Price: VND 400.000/pax (50% discount for students)
Distance from the hotel: 1 km – 12 min walk
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4. St. Joseph’s Cathedral of Hanoi
Saint Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi is known as the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the city. Prior to the construction of the cathedral in 1886, the French occupation demolished Bao Thien Pagoda, an important Vietnamese temple that was built during the Ly Dynasty. Saint Joseph Cathedral of Hanoi was inspired by Notre Dame de Paris, boasting a neo-Gothic architectural style, twin bell towers, intricately-designed altar, and colourful paintings and stained-glass windows from France. Surrounded by plenty of trees and flowers, a statue of Mother Maria is also set within the courtyard in front of the cathedral.
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 17:00
Location: 40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Distance from the hotel: 850 m – 10 min walk
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5. Thang Long Imperial Citadel
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells, bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia. The ancient site was the political centre of the country for 13 consecutive centuries and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. A notable attraction in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was the Hanoi Flag Tower, a renovated 40-metre-tall stone fortress offering expansive views of Ba Dinh Square and Hanoi City Centre.
Location: 19C Hoàng Diệu, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000
Entrance fee: VND 30,000 / pax
Opening hours: 08:00 to 17:00 every day except Monday
Nearby attractions: 15-minute walk from attractions such as Quan Thanh Temple, Vietnam Military History Museum and Cua Bac Church.
Distance from the hotel: 2.2 km – 9 min walk
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6. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, located along Dinh Tien Hoang Street, comprises 17 short sketches using traditional puppets within a one-hour performance. A Vietnamese orchestra accompanies each story, with musicians playing traditional operatic songs using drums, wooden bells, horns, bamboo flutes and cymbals. Aside from the general admission fee of VND 100,000, there’s an additional camera or video fee if you wish to photograph or film the show. Tickets sell out well in advance so it’s worth booking yours as soon as you arrive in town.
Opening Hours: Daily 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00
Location: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price Range: VND 100,000
Distance from the hotel: 160 m – 2 min walk
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7. Dong Xuan Market
Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. It’s also known as Hanoi’s largest indoor market, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories and clothing, as well as electronic and household appliances.
Dong Xuan Market has a bustling wet market section on the ground floor, where locals shop for seafood, meat, and vegetables while the back section sells an array of pets (cats, dogs, and fish) and fresh flowers from all across Vietnam. If you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, head to the upper levels, where you can find numerous stalls selling tee shirts, fabrics, school uniforms, handbags, handicrafts, all of which are sold at wholesale prices.
There’s also a massive dining area within Dong Xuan Market, with food vendors selling Vietnamese coffee and exotic local dishes for as low as VND 15,000. Highly recommended dishes include tiet canh (duck blood soup), fried frog, bun cha (marinated grilled pork served with noodles), and banh cuon (rolled cake).
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 19:00
Address: Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Distance from the hotel: 1.1 km – 13 min walk
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8. West Lake
Tay Ho District is known for housing Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake, called West Lake. It’s a huge body of water – it has a circumference of 17km – and there are plenty of historic places of interest, five-star hotels, stylish restaurants, cafes, and nightlife venues that are worth exploring along the shoreline.
Accessible within a 15-minute drive from Hanoi Old Quarter, many locals and tourists seeking respite from the busy city make their way to this high-end district as it provides a sanctuary of great natural beauty with plenty of quiet spots in the sizeable botanical gardens. West Lake is a beautiful place to while away an afternoon: there are boats for hire and lunch on a floating restaurant makes a novel dining option.
Nightlife in Tay Ho District is limited compared to Hanoi Old Quarter and French Quarter, but there are several quality nightlife venues that stay busy until late. Savage Club Hanoi, open between 18:00 and 04:00, is an industrial-style nightlife venue where travellers can enjoy house and techno music spun by renowned international and local DJs during their holiday in Hanoi.
Distance from the hotel: 5.6 km – 13 min by car
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9. Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.
This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. Visiting the Temple of Literature you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctors’ graduate in what has now become a memorial to education and literature.
Location: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:30 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 16:30
Price Range: VND 10,000
Distance from the hotel: 2.2 km – 10 min by car
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10. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square is one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam, known to his people as ‘Uncle Ho’. His body is preserved here in a glass case at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in central Hanoi (albeit against his wishes). For visitors, a trip to Uncle Ho’s final resting place can be an extraordinary experience as it is not just an average attraction; it’s a part of a unique history.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 07:30 – 10:30, Saturday & Sunday 07:30 – 11:00
Location: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Distance from the hotel: 3.5 km – 13 min by car
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