Steeped in history and tradition, Hanoi is not only the capital but also the cultural, economic and political center of Socialist Republic of Vietnam. A burgeoning hub of international trade and center, this unique city is stunningly located in the northern part of Vietnam, on the banks of the Red River Delta, with the serene Haom Kiem Lake at its heart.
With its tree-lined boulevard, striking lakes, and magnificent French structures – Hanoi is sometimes referred to as the ‘Paris of the East.’ Throughout its eventful history, Hanoi has undergone many changes, and was affected by several destructions, wars and natural calamities. Despite its chaotic past, Hanoi is now a modern city retaining its old as well as romantic charm.
Hanoi is much famed for its colonial buildings blending many architectural styles such as Chinese, Edwardian, French, neo-Persian, and a fusion of neo-Vietnamese and French. Of the attractions of Hanoi, perhaps most prominent are undoubtedly its ancient architectural wonders, with more than 500 pagodas and temples.
Worth mentioning among them are the One Pillar Pagoda – built in 1049 and shaped like a blooming lotus; Tran Quoc Pagoda – the oldest pagoda in the region; Ambassadors Pagoda – the center of Buddhism in the country; the Temple of Literature – built in 1070 and dedicated to the worship of Confucianism; Quan Thanh Temple – devoted to Huyen Thien Tran Vo; and Ngoc Son Temple which is in the middles of the Hoan Kiem Lake. Equally fabulous are the beautiful lakes of the area, including, Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake – the largest lake in the city, and Truc Bach Lake, each of which are bounded by picturesque gardens and trees.
Attractions in Hanoi also cover the Presidential Palace – a fantastic chateau located within the Ho Chi Minh’s Relic area; Hanoi Cathedral constructed over the former Bao; Hanoi Flag Tower whose focal point is a three platforms and a military watch tower offering panoramic views of the city; Hanoi Opera House which hosts various performances; and the mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh where you can find the body of Ho Chi Minh encased in a glass coffin.
No visit to Hanoi would be complete without taking a tour to sites such as Co Lao Historical Site, containing remains dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, and the elegant French Quarter – a fine example of surviving colonial structure in the world, with beautiful boulevards enclosed by well-designed French style mansions.
Hanoi also has to its credit a myriad of interesting museums like Vietnam History Museum, exhibiting artifacts that date back to various periods of Vietnam’s history; Vietnam Army Museum, with selections related to the armed forces of Vietnam; Fine Arts Museum, consisting of a superb collection of paintings and sculpture; and Ho Chi Minh Museum displaying art objects such as documents, press articles, and pictures of the times of Ho Chi Minh, apart from memorabilia of the 19th century.
Further, the city boasts of many traditional professional handicraft villages, such as, Bat Trang pottery village, Ngu Xa bronze casting village, and Yen Thai glossy silk, where one can see local artisans engaged in bronze molding, embroidery works, and silver carving and lacquer.
The place’s gastronomy is excellent, which is more or less influenced by the French Colonial Era. Some of the specialties available here are pho (beef noodle soup), gio lau or pork sausage, nem ran, and cha ca. Also, included in the specialties are a range of vegetable and seafood dishes. In addition, Hanoi is a shopper’s paradise, with its much favored Old Quarter, which is noted for its colorful as well as traditional narrow streets that are packed with market places and shops selling porcelain, jade carvings, wickerwork and Russian Vodka. Hang Gai Street is also a great choice for shopping.
Above all, Hanoi is home to a number of vibrant festivals, which among many others, are Dong Nhan Temple Festival, Lady Tam’s Temple festival, Thay Pagoda Festival, Chuong Village Festival, Tran Vo Festival, and Dong Festival.
With these amazing attractions, Hanoi is truly an exceptional vacation spot. Whether you are leisure or corporate traveler or a budget conscious or luxury-loving vacationer, a variety of accommodation options are available here according to your preferences and budget.
Luxurious accommodations come with world-class comforts like color TV with satellite programs, music system, and mini bar. Since many of the hotel providers have their own websites, it enables for easy booking of hotel rooms online. Some of them even provide discounts on packages covering accommodation, dining, sightseeing, and transportation.