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Travel guide

Hanoi


Update : 29/07/2015

HANOI, capital of Vietnam is a city full of charm, with remarkable colonial architecture, large shady avenues and numerous lakes and gardens. The old quarter, near the small lake, is a labyrinth of pastel coloured lanes, stalls, hawkers, cyclos and motorbikes. Everything is situated around the 36 old streets and Dong Xuan Market. Hoan Kiem Lake or "small lake" and Ngoc Son Temple, located in the heart of the city, are some of the most beautiful sites. Other marvellous places include the West Lake, Temple of Literature, One-Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, and Quan Thanh Temple. Hanoi is the heart of a thriving modern country.

THINGS TO DO:
HoanKiem Lake “Lake of the Restored Sword
The name refers to a famous legend of the great Vietnamese hero, king Le Loi, who led a successful uprising against the Chinese in the 15th century. The Lake is still famous for its rare species of very large turtles , that occasionally appear!

Ngoc Son Temple, “Temple of jade Mound”
Founded in the 14th century, and dedicated to Van Xuong, the God of Literature. Also worshipped here are the national hero General Tran Hung Dao, who defeated the Mongols in 1288; the physician La To; and a martial arts practitioner, Quan Vu. The red bridge was constructed in 1875

The Old Quarter “36 Streets”
Known as “Venice of the Far East” by early explorers and traders, due to the constant flooding. From the 13th century, 36 distinct guild areas set up. Streets are named after the original merchandise - ‘Hang’ means selling. While the various streets started out as villages, usually specializing in one particular craft or product, today the Old Quarter, with some 100,000 people in only 100 h hectares, has one of the highest population densities in the world.

Under feudal law, houses were limited to 2 storey and could not be taller than the Royal Palace. Note the typical tube houses, which can be as little as a couple of meters wide, but extend back as far as 150 meters! Hang Bac (“Silver Street”) is perhaps Vietnam’s oldest urban thoroughfare. Hang Ma Selling paper products for at least 500 years burnt offerings to the ancestors. Hang Quat - Bright red prayer flags for funerals and festivals.

Night Market
The outdoor Night Market is very different from workaday Dong Xuan, mostly because it's more of a social event. Locals stroll the streets shoulder to shoulder, perusing inexpensive goods sold at the lighted stalls. It's fun and colorful, and definitely not about the shopping.  

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Vietnamese: Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh) is a large memorial to the Vietnamese leader in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is located in the center of Ba Ðình Square, which is the place where Ho read the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945, establishing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Temple of Literature
Ha Noi’s most revered temple complex and Viet Nam’s principal Confucian sanctuary, dedicated in 1070. Viet Nam’s first university was founded here, in 1076, but most of the buildings were destroyed by French bombs in 1947, leaving few traces among the weeds. One of the few remnants of the Ly king’s original city, despite past reconstructions. Many reconstructed buildings rose from the rubble as part of Ha Noi’s 990th birthday celebrations in 2000.

Hoa Lo Prison
Located in the French Quarter, the Hoa Lo Prison, later sarcastically known to American prisoners of war (who called themselves “Pilot in Pijamas”) as the "Hanoi Hilton", was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for prisoners of war during the "American" War.

Museum of Ethnology
Located on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, about 20 minutes by taxi, this museum features about 15,000 artifacts made and used by the 54 ethnic minorities of Vietnam, and is highly recommended.

Museum of Independence
(48 Hang Ngang) Uncle Ho’s first house in Hanoi, where he lived for a short time after the success of the August Revolution, and where he wrote Viet Nam’s Declaration of Independence in 1945. Significantly, Ho Chi Minh used the opening words from the American Declaration of Independence, and referred to the French Revolution principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.

There are some other places of interest for historical and cultural lovers, or those who do a bit of research such as:
Temple and Pagodas: Quan Thanh Temple, Tran Quoc Temple by the West Lake; Quan Su Temple on Quan Su street, Bach Ma Temple on Hang Buom street. In the festival time after Tet, Phu Tay Ho temple is the place for Hanoian. Besides, other small temples and pagodas cattering around Hanoi looks quite the same from the outside, but each has a story to tell.

Museums: Vietnam Museum of history is at the end of Trang Tien street, opposite to Vietnam Revolution Museum, and by Tran Quang Khai street. Hanoi Fine Art Museum is on Nguyen Thai Hoc street, behind the Temple of Literature. Women Museum is on Ly Thuong Kiet street. Vietnam Military Museum is on Dien Bien Phu street, baside Hanoi flag tower. Hoang Thanh Thang Long (Thang Long citadel relics) has recently granted as a World Heritage on Hoang Dieu street.


URBAN EXCURSIONS:
There are a few great places for full day or half day excursions out of Hanoi. Here are some of our suggestions:
Bat Trang Ceramic Village: An hour drive away from Hanoi, lying by the Red river. This village is almost 1000 years of history and they still keep and develop their traditional handicraft job. Great place pho photographers and ceramic lovers. A half day tour to Bat Trang village is recommended.

Tho Ha Village: A rice paper (for rolling spring rolls) maker village nesting on in island form by Cau river in Bac Giang province. The scenic drive there is about 2 hours, and the village itself is really inspring thanks to their life style, produces and history left on the village walls of houses. Tour to Tho Ha village take half a day.

Duong Lam ancient village: This village has been here contunuosly for over 1000 year! Brick roads, ancient houses , beautiful rice paddies, scenic drive and its hospitality make a day trip there worthwile.

Perfume Pagoda: More than 1 hour drive, one hour on rowing boat and another hour trek up hill to Huong Tich cave home to Huong Tich Pagoda will take you to one of the largest Bhuddist center in Vietnam. Beside the breathtaking scenery, things you learn about culture and religion on this trip. Perfume pagoda tour takes the whole day.

Hoa Lu and Tam Coc: This place is ideal for both a full day historical, cultural and landscape explorer. You can do both a classic easy tour or a biking excursion in this picturesque area. This will be a long day tour