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Hanoi

At the centre of Northern Vietnam lies the grand old dame of Asia, Hanoi. As an Emperor's capital since 1010 AD, the capital of French Indochina for half a century, and the present-day capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam since 1945, Hanoi is a fascinating city with a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its many stunning monuments.
Also affectionately referred to as the gateway to the mountain region in the north, and to the scenic Halong Bay, Hanoi is famous for its historic buildings, architectural masterpieces, and truly remarkable and beautiful landscape.
Hanoi has long been the cultural and artistic heart of Vietnamese culture, with the first university in the country established here in 1076 AD at the Temple of Literature, in order to educate the sons of Mandarins.
One of the most remarkable locations in Hanoi is the world-renowned Old Quarter, with narrow, shaded streets and fascinating colonial-era architecture.
Amidst this concrete jungle there are plenty of grassy lakeside areas, especially around the central Lake of the Restored Sword and the popular tourist spot, West Lake – both of which are noted for their tranquillity and natural beauty. While it isn't recommended to swim in the lakes, the best hotels in Hanoi have plenty of gorgeous swimming pools for when you crave a dip to cool off from the tropical climate.
There are many unmissable landmarks to be found in Hanoi, including the One-Pillar Pagoda built in 1049 AD and the Co Loa Citadel dating from the third century BC.
When you are worn out from all of the exploration and sightseeing, you can return to your boutique hotel & spa in Hanoi for some relaxation and a soothing traditional Vietnamese massage to unwind.

What is there to do in Hanoi?

As one would expect from a capital city, there is so much to see and do in Hanoi. Here are some of the best things to experience in this bustling city:

  • Explore the Hoan Kiem Lake – also known as Sword Lake, this iconic body of water is an essential spot to visit for anyone in Hanoi. You may find yourself chatting away to students trying to practice their English, you can cycle or walk and take in the views, and visit the temple at the north side of the lake and make sure to hear about the legendary turtle and how the lake got its name. Definitely one not to be missed.
  • See the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – any visit to the capital wouldn't be complete without going to see the country's much beloved leader Ho Chi Minh's final resting place. The complex is home to many buildings including the Mausoleum and several museums, and is also a beautiful and peaceful place to go.
  • Visit Hao Lo Prison – a visit to this prison can be an interesting way to spend one of your days in Hanoi, getting a glimpse of the Vietnamese experiences and history, and a bit of insight into the past.
  • Enjoy famous sandwiches at Banh Mi 25 – the Bahn Mi, the delicious Vietnamese sandwich roll often made with egg, pork, or a variety of fillings, is a must eat while in Hanoi. You can buy them from a vendor who will make it right in front of you on any street corner, or head to Bahn Mi 25 for a guaranteed great meal.
  • Visit the Museum of Ethnology – established to preserve and present the cultural heritages of the people of Vietnam, a visit to the Museum of Ethnology can be both informative and great fun. You can check out different types of houses, games, and activities all in one place.
  • See the Bach Ma Temple – the oldest temple in the city, Bach Ma Temple is found in the Old Quarter and an excellent way to break up shopping and wandering in these charming streets. Even at a thousand years old, it is still a well maintained temple that is still used to this day.
  • See a performance at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre – a fascinating part of Vietnams past and culture, water puppet theatre is an unmissable and unique art form to be experienced while in Hanoi. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is arguably the most famous place to see a show, and see how they are preserving this tradition.
  • Shop or party in the Old Quarter – no visit to Hanoi would be complete without heading into the Old Quarter for a drink, a meal, or to get some shopping done. Many of these streets are named after the goods that they famously sold, some old like Salt Street or Silver Street, Hang Bac, where many walking tours start. You can visit the night market on Hang Dao, or just lose yourself in this wonderful blend of the ancient and more modern worlds.
  • View the city from the Lotte Tower Observation Deck
  • Tour the National Museum of Vietnamese History
  • Explore the Vietnamese Women's Museum
  • See the Imperial Citadel
  • Visit Memorial House
  • Enjoy traditional Vietnamese noodles at Pho Bat Dan
  • See the Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam
  • Drink at the Hanoi Social Club
  • Cross the Long Bien Bridge
  • Explore the Vietnamese Military History Museum
  • Go boating in West Lake
  • Admire the Tran Quoc Pagoda
  • Visit the Temple of Literature (the first University of Vietnam)
  • See the Perfume Pagoda

These are just a handful of the many wonderful things that you can experience in Hanoi – many of which are packed with history and Vietnam's rich, cultural tapestry.
If you find yourself spoiled for choice and unable to decide on what to see first, most hotels in Hanoi, Vietnam will have a concierge service where you can find recommendations on the best spots to visit based on your taste and requirements.

If Hanoi is on your to-do list for your next holiday in Southeast Asia, finding the best hotels in Hanoi has never been easier. Whether you prefer a Hanoi boutique hotel, or you are more drawn to staying in some of the finest luxury hotels in Vietnam, Hanoi, then we can accommodate you with a wide variety to suit all preferences and budget requirements.