Hanoi - Vietnam's Capital
Hanoi – Vietnam’s Capital, lies on the banks of the Hong Ha River and is renowned for its architecture, influenced by the rich Southeast Asian, Chinese and French cultures. The capital is also the political centre of Vietnam, embellished by its ancient temples, unique theatre, chaotic old quarter with narrow streets lined with shops and eateries.
In 2010, the Ha Noi celebrated its 1000th anniversary with a big celebration and parade. Many historical monuments have been completely destroyed by the wars, but there are still a number of picturesque sites that can be successfully visited.
Today, the Ha Noi – Vietnam Capital has developed into the main commercial, industrial and agricultural centre of Vietnam. From Hanoi run the main highways, railway lines to all major Vietnamese cities (Ho Chi Minh, Haipong), ports. In addition, there are also two airports, Noi Bai International Airport and Gia Lam Domestic Airport.
Ha Noi – Vietnam’s Capital, has a rich history. The area where Hanoi is today was inhabited since ancient times. It has been a political centre for conquerors from China on several occasions, with the Ly Thai To – Ly dynasty (1009-1225) naming the city Thang Long (‘The Rising Dragon) in 1010. Thang Long remained the capital of Vietnam until 1802 when the last Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam (1802-1945) moved the capital to Hue.
The Ha Noi has also been renamed from time to time and one of these was Dong Kinh, (Le Dynasty 1428-1787) which was later changed by the europeans to Tonquin (Tonkin). Ha Noi became the official name of the city only in 1831 – Nguyen Dynasty. During the French colonial period, Hanoi became an important administrative centre and in 1902 Hanoi was dubbed the capital of French Indochina.
Ha Noi remains the main administrative centre during the Japanese occupation of 1940-1945, when riots force the Japanese to relinquish power, after which Ho Chi Minh and his troops restore power to Hanoi and designate Hanoi as the capital of a democratic republic in northern Vietnam. The French regain power in 1946 but have to concede defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954, also known as the Indochina War.
Discovering Hanoi: 20 Must-See Sightseeing Spots in Vietnam's Capital
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. It has a blend of traditional and modern elements, making it a unique destination for travelers. Here are some of the must-see sightseeing spots in Hanoi:
- Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is a picturesque lake in the center of Hanoi. It is also known as “The Lake of the Returned Sword.” According to legend, Emperor Le Loi was given a magical sword by the Golden Turtle God to defeat the Chinese Ming dynasty. After the victory, he returned the sword to the lake. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around the lake or hire a boat to explore the water.
- Hanoi Old Quarter The Old Quarter of Hanoi is a bustling area with narrow streets and French colonial architecture. It is the heart of the city and has a vibrant atmosphere. The area is famous for its street food, local markets, and traditional crafts. Visitors can take a walking tour of the Old Quarter to discover the charm of Hanoi.
- Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is a Confucian temple and the first national university of Vietnam. It was built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius. The temple is a beautiful example of Vietnamese architecture, with courtyards, pagodas, and gardens. It is a serene spot in the middle of the busy city and offers insight into Vietnam’s history and education system.
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a monumental building that houses the embalmed body of Vietnam’s former leader Ho Chi Minh. It is located in Ba Dinh Square and is open to the public for a limited time each day. Visitors can see the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh and pay their respects to the revolutionary leader.
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is an impressive museum that showcases the diverse cultures of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. The museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits, including traditional houses, costumes, tools, and artifacts. It is an informative and engaging way to learn about the different regions of Vietnam and their people.
- Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” was a prison used by the French colonizers and later by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. The prison is now a museum and displays the conditions that prisoners endured. It is a sobering reminder of Vietnam’s turbulent history.
- Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a unique form of traditional Vietnamese entertainment. The show features wooden puppets that dance and glide on water. It is a captivating experience and a great way to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture.
- West Lake
West Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi and a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It has a scenic promenade, temples, pagodas, and parks. Visitors can rent a bike, take a boat ride, or enjoy a meal at one of the many lakeside restaurants.
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a Catholic church located in the heart of Hanoi. It was built in the late 19th century and has a Gothic architectural style. The church is a peaceful refuge in the midst of the bustling city and is a popular spot for worship and photography.
- Dong Xuan Market
Dong Xuan Market is the largest indoor market in Hanoi and a hub of local commerce. It has a wide range of goods, including clothing, electronics, souvenirs, and food. Visitors can haggle with vendors and experience the lively atmosphere of a traditional Vietnamese market.
Long Bien Bridge Long Bien Bridge is an iconic landmark in Hanoi that spans the Red River. It was built during French colonial rule and is one of the oldest bridges in Vietnam. The bridge offers a scenic view of the river and is a popular spot for photographers.
One Pillar Pagoda One Pillar Pagoda is a unique temple that was built in the 11th century. The pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus flower rising out of the water. It is a popular site for visitors and is said to bring good luck and prosperity to those who visit.
Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts The Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts is a museum that showcases the art and culture of Vietnam. It has a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts from different periods of Vietnamese history. The museum is a great way to learn about the country’s artistic heritage.
Ba Vi National Park Ba Vi National Park is a nature reserve located on the outskirts of Hanoi. It has a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare species of animals and plants. Visitors can go hiking, trekking, or camping in the park and enjoy the scenic beauty of Vietnam’s countryside.
Hanoi Opera House The Hanoi Opera House is a grand building that was built in the early 20th century. It is a French colonial architectural masterpiece and a popular venue for cultural events and performances. Visitors can attend concerts, operas, and ballets in the opulent surroundings of the Opera House.
Vietnam Women’s Museum
The Vietnam Women’s Museum is a museum that honors the role of women in Vietnamese history and society. It has exhibits on women’s clothing, work, family life, and cultural traditions. The museum is a great way to learn about the contributions of women to Vietnam’s development.
Tay Ho Pagoda
Tay Ho Pagoda is a beautiful temple that is located on the banks of West Lake. It was built in the 17th century and is dedicated to the goddess of water. The temple has a serene atmosphere and is a popular spot for meditation and prayer.
Lotte Observation Deck
The Lotte Observation Deck is located on the 65th floor of the Lotte Center in Hanoi. It offers a panoramic view of the city and is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of Hanoi’s landmarks. Visitors can enjoy a coffee or a meal at the restaurant on the deck.
Quan Thanh Temple
Quan Thanh Temple is a Taoist temple that was built in the 11th century. It is dedicated to Tran Vu, the god of the North. The temple has beautiful architecture and a peaceful atmosphere. It is a great place to learn about Taoism and Vietnamese spirituality.
Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural
The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is the largest ceramic mural in the world. It is located along the Red River and spans a length of 4 km. The mural depicts scenes from Vietnamese history and culture and is a beautiful example of public art. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the mural and admire the intricate details.
Hanoi has a temperate and tropical climate with 4 distinct season. This means the city experiences wet summers and mild, dry winters. The summer temperatures can reach 30°C, and winter time going sometimes even below 10°C but usually winter average tempereatures staying between 15 – 20°C.