Travel Guide to Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is the destination that most people cannot miss when they travel to Vietnam. This ancient 1000-year capital has its own charm formed by historical features and cultural insights. The best way to explore Hanoi is by joining a Hanoi city tour for 1 day where you can visit almost all of the best and most famous sites of the city. However, if you have a few days to spend, then you can explore Hanoi to the fullest with all the recommended sites as below:

1. Ho Chi Minh Complex

The Complex is located right in the middle of Hanoi, which is just 2 km from Hanoi Old Quarter. You can easily walk to visit the site if you stay at a hotel in the Old Quarter or Ba Dinh District. The Ho Chi Minh Complex includes:

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the corpse of President Ho Chi Minh was peacefully placed inside;
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum where you can learn about the life and cause of the man;
  • Ba Dinh Square – a historical relic of Hanoi;
  • One Pillar Pagoda – the 1000-year pagoda dating back to the Ly feudal dynasty of Vietnam. This is now also the symbol of Hanoi city;
  • Ho Chi Minh Stilt House: located next to the President Palace, this place is where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked from 1954 until he died. The site comprises 2 houses: the 54 house and the wooden stilt house.
Ho Chi Minh Complex

2. Temple of Literature

Known as the first university of Vietnam, which was built in 1076, the Temple of Literature has now become a symbol of Vietnam. The temple worships Confucious- the father of Confucian which was very popular nationwide during the feudal regimes in Vietnam, and his four most outstanding students who helped him develop his theories.

The site is divided into 5 chambers with unique architecture from ancient times. The most important site in the Temple of Literature is the Doctor’s Stelae Garden, which was built to recognize 1323 most excellent doctors from 82 national exams.

Temple of Literature

3. Museum of Ethnology

The Museum of Ethnology gives you a look into the lives and cultures of 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam. The place consists of 2 chambers: inside and outdoor.

The inside chamber exhibits the basic knowledge of the 54 ethnic people, their lives, their residential places, and traditional cultures.

The outdoor chamber gives you a real look at the houses, and cultures of ethnic people, with house samples of real sizes.

Museum of Ethnology

4. West Lake

West Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Hanoi, with a circle of 18 kilometers. You can go to the lake to relax, have some ice cream, have some Vietnamese Coffee…etc. You can also visit some attractions at the lake such as the Tran Quoc Pagoda – the oldest pagoda in Vietnam, or Phu Tay Ho…etc.

If you are interested in something active, why not try cycling, walking, or running around the lake? It would be a memorable and meaningful experience.

West Lake

5. Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter is what you cannot miss when traveling to Hanoi and it is also the number 1 recommended on this Hanoi travel guide. The Quarter reflects the authentic local lives of the ancient capital of Vietnam. Most people choose to stay at a hotel in the Old Quarter to explore Hanoi to the best.

There are a lot of historical sites in and around to see when you visit the Old Quarter of Hanoi: Hoan Kiem Lake, the French Quarter, Hanoi Old City Gate, Long Bien Bridge…etc.

Hanoi Old Quarter

You can book a rickshaw to go around and witness the span of local lives. If you are a real foodie, a Hanoi street food walking tour is also highly recommended.