Hanoi – the heart, the capital of the country, where the preservation of the national identity. Hanoi is not only famous for its beautiful landscapes and popular dishes, Hanoians also have their own distinctive feature, which is delicacy, elegance and sophistication in every word and gesture. Because of that, you should visit Hanoi once, then we would like to share with you the latest travel experience of Hanoi to provide you with the complete information for a perfect trip.
+ Bus: Bus has become popular transportations in Hanoi now due to the budget-friendly price and availability. The price is ranging just from 7,000 dong to 9,000 dong per turn for bus travel inside the city.
+ Xe om: They are a great way to experience the true pulse of big cities in a country so enamored of two-wheeled vehicles. Xe om are an easy and affordable way to get around but don’t forget to bargain to get a better offer.
+ Taxi: Catching a taxi in Vietnam is unbelievably easy and cheap. It can be a convenient vehicle when you have children with you and an air conditioned taxi can be the best option for summer. However, to avoid taxi scams you should choose these realiable companies: Vinasun (028 3827 7178), Mai Linh (0438 222 666) and Taxigroup (0438 26 26 26).
+ Grab or Uber: Using apps like Uber or Grab to book transportations are favoured by young people recently. You can book a motorbike or a cab anywhere and anytime without being overcharged. And remember you will need a Vietnamese sim card for booking via these apps.
+ Cyclo: Cyclo is the unique transportation for sightseeing in major cities. It can help you discover the ancient beauty and slow-moving life among the hustle and bustle of cities. An hour of seeing nightlife might be an interesting experience in Vietnam.Best time to visit Hanoi
When is the best time to visit Hanoi?
Hanoi is in the humid tropical monsoon climate so there are two distinct types of weather: hot and humid, heavy rain in summer and dry, cold in winter.
Therefore, the ideal season to come to Hanoi is the autumn (from early September to the end of November), when the weather is cool and mild. Temperatures during these months range from 18 ° C to 30 ° C and the days stay relatively dry. However, travel to Hanoi in the winter to feel the cold and enjoy the dishes are also an irresistible suggestion.
Which attractions you should visit in Hanoi?
+ Ba Dinh Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ba Dinh Square is a political and cultural centre witnessing the nation’s historical events. It is seen as the best place in Hanoi in terms of good landscape planning and historical and spiritual architectural complex. Every year, Ba Dinh square is the place that the nation holds the celebrations of the independent day – September 2nd with military parades.
Ba Dinh Square surrounds Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh’s body is preserved for people to visit and pay their respect. You must be silent and walk in straight lines here apart from that no smoking, drinking or eating in the mausoleum. Shorts, sleeveless shirts and miniskirts are not allowed. Also worth a visit is the stilt house and the One Pillar Pagoda. After being destroyed by French colonial troops in 1954, this pagoda is reconstructed like the original 11th-century temple.
+ Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is the first historical scenic spot coming in people’s mind when talking about Hanoi. Legend claims Emperor Ly Thai To received a magical sword, which he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam in the mid-15th century. After the war, a golden turtle surfaced and dived into the water carrying the sword to restore, that’s why the name Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword) was born.
The lake embraced Ngoc Son Temple which was built in the 13th century. Visitors need to walk across the bright red The Huc bridge to get to the temple, you can also get the best view of Turtle Tower – a tiny islands in the middle of the lake. Local residents love to do exercise and taichi on the shore in the early morning. Ngoc Son temple’s opening time is from 8 am to 5 pm every day and you can easily purchase tickets at the ticket booth on the left hand of the bridge.
+ Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is considered to be a unique feature of the capital with brick house and narrow streets that remind you of the late nineteenth century. Then there are the many sidewalk vendors and people simply out for a stroll and the popular Old Quarter is no exception so walking around this district is distinct from a leisurely stroll in the park.The area has plenty of vernacular shop-house architecture, where merchants would traditionally live with their multigenerational families above very long but narrow shops over a century ago. Each house has a street-facing facade and multiple courtyards inside.
A great ideal to soak up the buzz and the frenetic pace of Hanoi street life is immersing in the backstreets of the Old Quarter. Plenty of delectable and affordable street food is on offer and there are lots of pavement vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables. The Hanoi Old quarter is among the first place which tourists visit when in Vietnam and also the last place which they go before leaving the country.
+ Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is considered as one of Hanoi’s most incredibly peaceful and picturesque tourist attractions, originally built as a university in the 11th century. Today, the Temple of Literature stands as a tribute to the nation’s scholars. It is well preserved and is an emblematic example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture. This temple is dedicated to Confucius – the famous philosophy.
The layout of the temple is based upon the birthplace of Confucius with a magnificent main entrance and a path, once reserved solely for the king, running through the centre. The immaculate gardens are rich in ancient trees which offer shady and serene spots for students to relax. Inside the temple, a series of manicured gardens lead to pavilions and a well-preserved pagoda where a statue of Confucius sits. The Temple of Literature has pavilions, turtle steles, courtyards and passageways only for royalty. Excellent graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.
+ Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House is an ideal spot for those who enjoy a lovely show of opera singing. The building is a superb evidence of classic architecture with Gothic pillars, domes and the French-colonial 900-seat venue which was built in 1911 after 10 years of work. As an important historical monument and testament to the arts in Vietnam, since the end of French colonial rule, the Hanoi Opera House has housed both musical masterpieces and important official conferences in its halls.
The best part is that Hanoi Opera House also hosts ballet performances that are very attractive. Hanoi Opera House often brings Western classical music that is loved by the local people on stage. In its golden age, this popular Hanoi attraction served as a center for luxury entertainment, theater and classical music nut today, it is also photo spot both for travelers and newlywed Vietnamese. You need to book your tickets in advance for any show which is staged here.
Or explore the other tourist attractions near Hanoi:
What to eat when traveling to Hanoi? Here are the famous dishes you should not miss when visiting Hanoi:
+ Pho: Pho (noodle soup) is a traditional food that tourists cannot ignore when visiting Hanoi people often say “If you go to Hanoi without enjoying Pho means you never set foot there.” You can find the hawkers on the sidewalk or enjoy the beef noodle soup, famous chicken noodle soup on Quan Thanh Street or pho Bat Dan on Bat Dan street.
Suggested place: Pho 49 Bat Dan str. (near the center of the Old Quarter), Pho Thin 11 Lo Duc street. These are the two best pho in Hanoi
+ Cha ca (Tumeric grilled fish): La Vong turmeric grilled fish is the signature Hanoian dish for many generations. It is sizzling chunks of fish seasoned with turmeric, garlic, ginger and dill then topped with crushed peanuts. This vibrant food is crispy outside and soft inside with the richness of fish which will make you completely in love with.
Suggested place: 14 Cha Ca street and 107 Nguyen Truong To street. The price is 175,000 dong per serving.
+ Bun cha: Do you know what is the favoured food at lunchtime in Hanoi? It’s absolutely nothing but bun cha (Vietnamese grilled pork with vermicelli). Bun cha is made from the seasoned pork patties are barbecued on an open charcoal brazier and served on a bed of vermicelli with a basket of assorted foliage and a slightly sweetish broth (or dipping sauce). Don’t be hesitate to give this savory food a go to experience the sophisticated taste of Vietnamese cuisine.
Suggested place: 1 Hang Manh street, 74 Hang Quat street, 41 Cua Dong and especially Bun cha Huong Lien at 24 Le Van Huu which gained its global fame when President Obama visited to eat and praise bun cha.
+ Bun dau mam tom: If you are interested in exotic foods, no doubt you’ll be a loyal fan of bun dau mam tom which is deep-fried tofu served with shrimp paste stirred with oil to make an airy soft mixture and vermicelli. The shrimp paste shouldn’t be too salty and it needs to have a specific sour taste from the kumquat and the spice from the chili. Not every foreigner would have a bravery to try this unique dish because of the smell of the shrimp paste. But we Vietnamese love it since behind the smell, the taste is pretty savoury and the combination of vermicelli, crunchy tofu and shrimp paste will surely bring joy to your mouth.
Suggested place: Intersection where Pham Dinh Ho street and Hoa Ma street cross, 55 Phat Loc Alley in the Old Quarter and 29 Hang Khay Alley. All these places are opened at lunchtime.
+ Com: Com (green sticky rice) is truly a nice treat of Hanoi, especially in autumn. It is immature rice kernels roasted over very low heat then pounded in a mortar and pestle until flattened. Then they will be wrapped in lotus leaves to keep the sweetly scented. The right way to taste Com is chewing on just a pinch at a time to truly savor the natural sweetness of the rice.
Suggested place: The authentic Com is in Vong village but it can be sold at vendors in the Old Quarter.
What should you buy in Hanoi?
+ O Mai (Salted or sugared dried fruits): If you want to know which Hanoi specialty is most purchased by visitors when visiting the capital, it must be O Mai. O Mai in Hanoi is favored for its savory taste, affordable price and its dryness which is pretty convenient to bring on board. There are plenty of different types of O Mai for you to choose from young dracontomelon to spicy tamarind. Among these O Mai, the most special one is sugared dry dracontomelon which is crispy dracontomelon marinated with the fibers of crushed ginger. A box of sweet, sour and spicy dracontomelon will certainly make your mouth water.
Suggested place: Traditional O Mai shops on Hang Duong Street, Hang Da Street (O Mai Van Loi) and Hong Lam’s official stores
+ Com (Green sticky rice): Com is the signature dish of autumn in Hanoi. It appeals to gourmets by its elegant taste, especially when it is enjoyed with ripe aromatic banana or persimmon. If you don’t travel to Hanoi in Autumn, you still can buy other products made from Com such as young rice cake, stir-fried young green rice. You should check the manufacture date and shelf life before buying because young rice cake only can store for a short time, especially in hot weather.
Suggested place: Banh com Nguyen Ninh – 11 Hang Than Street, fresh com in Vong Village – Cau Giay Street, Qua Que shop – 1 Đinh Liệt.
+ Lotus scented tea: Lotus scented tea is one-of-a-kind tea that you only can find in Vietnam. The most famous one is the West Lake lotus-scented tea, which is processed a very sophisticated way, the tea must be the best Thai Nguyen tea, then marinated with lotus many times to absorb the specific flavor. Lotus must be planted in the West Lake which makes the flower has the unique scent. The lotus-scented tea has a rich flavor in your mouth and helps you have rejuvenating moments.
Suggested place: Hang Dieu Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
+ Lacquerware: Lacquer ware are well made in Hanoi, and they have even more and diverse designs. They come in all forms – plates and dishes, coasters, wine holders, jewellery boxes. It will absolutely be great gifts or decorative pieces for a modern house.
+ Pottery: You can visit Bat Trang pottery village to choose the best ceramic products for yourself and gifts for friends and family. The pottery here is very cheap and you also have the opportunity to learn how to make a unique ceramic product.
+ Silk and Designed Clothes
Silk is attracting tourists, because of the variety of materials from hard to soft with a bunch of rich colors. You can visit Van Phuc silk village which is 10km far from the center of Hanoi. Van Phuc silk is cool, thin, soft and less wrinkled like ordinary silk. In addition, to buy silk products, traditional clothing, hats, clothes, towels, bags … You can buy in Hang Gai Street, Nha Tho Street.
Hanoi is famous for its many beautiful sightseeing places as well as its cool and fresh climate which are suitable for sightseeing and entertainment. Transportations are diverse with good service. Accommodation is plentiful with a wide selection of rooms. Cuisine is rich and delicate. Hanoian is elegant and civilized. There is just a small minus point is that the price of food in some central area is slightly higher but foods are absolutely delicious.