Ho Chi Minh Complex
Though Uncle Ho himself would have considered this a massive waste of land that could have been used for agriculture or production, a sizable complex constructed around a palace left over from the French era is devoted to the man in Hanoi.
If you follow the flow of the complex, the first stop is to see the preserved remains of the man himself. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, and seeing it freed from French domination, Ho Chi Minh died before the next war -- the one with the United States
Just to the north of Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum sits the presidential palace, appropriated from the French after they were routed and which you can't enter, and Ho Chi Minh's bungalow, often referred to as his House on Stilts. Set in a stretch of mango tree-filled parkland around a small pond, this is very idyllic.
One Pillar Pagoda
Another popular stop on the tour group trail, masses line up to climb the steps to the small shrine within the gazebo-like structure. For most Western visitors it may be enough to take a glance at it as they leave the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Originally built in 1049 of wood, the pagoda was vandalised by the departing FRench and rebuilt in 1954.
Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is an obligatory stop on any Hanoi tour. It's usually busy but spacious enough that there isalways room to stroll around. It's the site of Vietnam's first university (1070) and has stone stellae detailing who passed exams to be able to enter the Emperor's Manadarin (Administration) group.
St Josephs Cathedral
This Catholic cathedral was completed in 1887 by Monseigneur Pigneau de Behaine. It was closed in 1975 upon reunification of Vietnam, and was not reopened until 1985. The neo-gothic style of the cathedral looks somewhat out of place in the busy streets of Hanoi, although it is built in what is a Gothic style it is well worth going through the gate on the lefthand side and entering the cathedral to view its original stained glass windows and details. Masses are held here every Saturday evening/Sunday morning and on other religious days.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake, 'Lake of the Restored Sword', forms the centrepiece of Hanoi. The name of the lake comes from a legend in which Emperor Le Loi, worried about the advancing Chinese, was boating on the lake when a giant tortoise rose from the murky waters. The tortoise presented him with a magical sword which enabled him to defeat the Chinese.1 remaining tortoise which can be sighted from time to time.
Thanh Long Water Puppet Theatre (Nha Hat Mua Roi Thang Long)
Hanoi's most popular site but opinions are divided. Some describe it as an hour of wonderment and magic but others describe it as 15 minutes of interesting puppetry followed by an interminable period of squirming in their seat.
It is a unique art form and well worth an hour of most travellers time.
Vietnam Women’s Museum
Now reopened after a 5 year renovation the Women's Museum is now a modern uptodate museum with interactive exhibits.
Hoa Lu Prison
Few surviving historical vestiges attest as vividly and pointedly to Vietnam's complicated journey through the 20th century as Hoa Lo — better known as the Hanoi Hilton. The French simply called it Maison Centrale. It housed shot down US pilots of whom the most well known is John Mc Cain. The exhibits are a little scary for some and the guillotine certainly impresses others.
At the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake, just down the street from the Water Puppet Theatre, sits Ngoc Son Pagoda, or Pagoda of the Jade Mountain. It's on an islet accessed via an old red wooden bridge, the 'Bridge of the Rising Sun.' The site has been used as a temple since ancient times, but most..
Bach Ma Temple has many virtues to recommend it as the place to get your temple creds if you don't have them yet. First, it's very conveniently located, on the corner of Hang Buom and Hang Giay, in the heart of the Old Quarter — it's right next to the steak joints on Hang Giay St. Chances are…
The site is popular year round, but particularly from the middle of the second to the end of the third lunar months following Tet and on even days of the lunar calendar. But rather than avoid peak periods, we'd recommend embracing the madness. Tours for foreigners start at 08:00 and get back late afternoon or early evening.
Fine Arts Museum
Set behind the Temple of Literature, this is a sight that's not usually on the tour group route, but should be. It's one of the best in Vietnam and a visit will provide a good insight into Vietnamese culture and history. The main building is a large, three-storey colonial building and there are often individual exhibitions in the wing on the left as you enter.
While located a taxi ride away, this museum is absolutely worth making the effort to reach. If you're planning on going trekking in the mountains to the north and northwest of Hanoi, this museum should be considered an essential research stop. The displays, labelled in English throughout, also feature videoramas - the models are dressed for an occasion and the video is of that actual occasion - weddings,funerals, etc so this means it is easy to do a self guided tour.
At the rear a number of traditional houses can be visited along with a Jarai cemetary. At the weekend there are often water puppet shows in the pond alongside the hiuses.
The National Museum of Vietnamese History is housed in a magnificent example of Indochinese architecture, which was until 1910 the French consulate and the residence of the governor general. The building was also home to the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient (EFEO). If you have a guide the experie nce will be much betetr as there is scant information available for each display area.
If you're like endless rooms (well, 29 to be exact) of Communist Party communications, black and white photos of Vietnamese revolutionary heroes, old flags and a good dose of war snaps, then this is the place for you. Established in 1959, the more than 3,000 exhibits on display here trace the history of the path to victory.
Quan an Ngon
Wild Lotus/Wild Rice
Vietnamese Street Food -
Hanoi Social Club
Le Petit Bruxelles