Hanoi is a perfect blend of history and contemporary. The city is being developed for over 1000 years since 1010, because of the constant destructions by the different invaders from time to time. It inspires the visitors with its combination of oriental lifestyle, French colonial construction, tree-lined roads and peaceful lakes.
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Found yourself in Old Quarter:
In Hanoi, make sure to head to the Old Quarter. This is the historic heart and commercial centre of the city. It’s noisy with heavy traffic, but it is a collection of about 36 streets, which all specialize in selling goods like jewellery, pillows, shirts, baskets, toys, shoes, sunglasses etc. You can find many bars; restaurants and the biggest demonstration of street food places and the travel agencies, which are selling tours to Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Perfume Pagoda etc.
Make sure to survey online before booking a tour in one of the agencies. In Old Quarter make your landmark St. Joseph’s Cathedral church it’s been there since the late 1886s. It’s popular and a meeting place in the city. Be careful with the directions as the difference of language may create confusion for you.
Just before the train speeds past, with a couple of feet of clearance, drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors and the bikes pulled to the side of the road. The train passes the narrow road early in the route that connects Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. It is located between Le Duan and Kham Tien street in the Old Quarter. Homes and business go side by side of the railway lines. You can enjoy your snacks and coffee while experiencing a train to pass an inch away.
Walk Around Hoan Kiem Lake:
In the centre of the Old Quarter, beautiful and charming Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Turtle Lake) is one of the unmissable things with amazing views. The best part is that there are no cars and no scooters, so it’s a nice break from the terrible traffic of Hanoi. You just need to cross the red bridge which leads to the island at the centre of the lake, as this is where the lovely Ngon temple is located. The Turtle God’s figure is persevered there, which makes you believe the myth. It costs 20000 Vietnamese Dong (VDN), which is less than $1.
Visit the Temple of Literature:
Dedicated to Confucius, the temple was built in 1070. It then became a male university for Mandarin students. Around the temple, there are stelae which are dedicated to the students. To know the civilization and, presently, you just need to know their past.
Take a Ride:
On the sidewalks, you will find many drivers with their motorbikes, who are ready to take you anywhere around the city if you ask. You can also use the apps Grab or Uber to book a ride. It’s cheap.
Be in the Beer street:
Known as “Beer Street” Ta Hien street is THE place to party on any night of the week. In this area, everyone is sitting outside on small chairs, drinking beer and eating BBQ with their friends before heading to the clubs until the early hours of the morning. Grab a local beer and wander around Ta Hien to see street performers!
Visit Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda:
Hanoi has a variety of museum. Check out Hoa Lo Prison, Ho Chi Minh Museum and Fine Arts Museum. Uncle Ho’s figure is preserved in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Close to that, there also is Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and the One Pillar Pagoda, which are two of the utmost famous Hanoi attractions.
The Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is closed after 10:30 A.M and on Monday and Friday.
Hanoi Opera House:
One of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi is the Opera House, which was built in 1911 under French rule, now known as the French Quarter. The Opera House was pretty much left to the elements when the French left Vietnam, but it was renovated in 1997. You can experience Vietnamese opera performances, concerts and even ballet. The prices start at around $4.
Go to the Water Puppet Show:
The Water Puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a huge tourist attraction. The “classic puppet show” in water, consists of strange instruments and entirely held in Vietnamese, showcases Vietnamese way of life, culture and even religion. The show lasts about one hour and it costs around $10.
Vietnam is an excellent shopping destination. There are various markets around Hanoi. One of the most famous ones is the Dong Xuan Market. The building is anything but charming, but if you passed the fish section, it can be a cool place to shop. The market closes at 7:00 pm.
Weekend Night Market:
Open only on weekends, starting at about 7 PM and going until about midnight, you will find hundreds of mini vendors side by side in tents selling everything from shirts to Shoes to lamps. You should bargain for everything.
Sharpen your bargaining skills well!