Top 7 destinations in Hanoi

1. Chua Mot Cot (The One -Pillar Pagoda)

Located in the center of Hanoi city, adjacent to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the pagoda is also called “Dien Huu Tu” (which means “happiness and good luck”. Built in 1049 to realize King Ly Thai Tong’s dream, the historical relic looks like lovely lotus emerging water. In the dream, the King was given a baby boy by the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who sat on a huge lotus flower. After several months, the King and the Queen had a son, and the pagoda was constructed based on what he was able to recall.

The site was renovated in 1955, but most original features were maintained.

Top 4 foods you must try in Hanoi

2. Hanoi West Lake

As the largest freshwater lake in the center of Hanoi, the landscape is surrounded by green space and gardens. The lake is not only favored by both foreign tourists and locals, especially in sunset time, when it is best to capture the most memorable moments with Day trips from Hanoi. Popular activities that you can join are rowing boats, cycling and shopping with Hanoi City tours. Visiting Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple, is also a lifetime experience that you should try at least once.

3. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater

Situated at 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang street, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is the place that locals and foreigners can meet to share their favorite traditional art, Water Puppet. In the past, this well-known art form almost became extinct; however, Water Puppet has reached its radical development with performing artists’ valiant attempts and great determination.

Annually, about 500 shows are performed to about 150,000 audiences, who are really fond of traditional and cultural contexts (catching fish, working on fields and cultivating plants).

4.Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Located in Ba Dinh District, Ho Chi Minh tours Mausoleum is a place built to honor the greatest Vietnamese leader: Uncle Ho. Visitors come here to admire the beloved father/uncle of Vietnamese people, who devoted his life to the country’s successful reunification.

 The Mausoleum is open in the morning and closed every afternoon. In summer, the visiting time is limited from 7:30 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and from 7:30 am to 11 am at the weekend. In winter, the opening time is half an hour later (at 8 am), and so is the closing time (at 11-11:30 am).

 Behind the Mausoleum is a cottage on stilts, where Uncle Ho used to live in 1960. This cottage, along with a lot of fruit trees and a fish pond, belongs to the Mausoleum’s complex, which is only open to serve international guests.

5. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Tourists are also welcome to visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, with Hanoi day trips located in Cau Giay District, approximately 8km away from the downtown.  The museum exhibits the artifacts collected from different regions in Vietnam, showing main features of 54 main ethnic groups. The museum is divided into three different areas to display tribal artworks and daily objects in traditional villages, to do research and to contain related documentaries and materials. There is an open display area and a small section to introduce foreign ethnic groups, mainly those in the South East Asia.

6. A 15 minute cycling trip from Hoan Kiem Lake can bring you to The Temple of Literature, which was built in 1070 to honor Confucius and scholars in Vietnam. This temple was also considered as the first university of the country, where many triennial examinations are held.

Inside the Temple of Literature, there are totally 5 courtyards, a rectangular pond and 82 tombstones carried by stone tortoises. Each tombstone records the performance of an examination held from 1442 to 1779. Students often come and rub the tortoises’ head with hope that they would achieve great study results in their own examinations.

7. Hoan Kiem Lake

The lake is regarded as the heart of the capital of Vietnam, both literally and symbolically. The site is famous for the tale that King Le Loi returned a sword which he had come across to a tortoise emerging from water. This explains why the name of the lake means “Return the Sword”.

Walking around the lake at 6 am, you can see lots of motorbikes and “cyclos” (a three-wheeled means of transport that carries tourist around the site in Hanoi sightseeing tours and the Old Quarters nearby to capture the best moment with a camera). People love playing sports here, and some of them do some aerobics or yoga on mats laid out on pavements.