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Hanoi Travel Guide

There are numerous war memorials, historical museums, prisons, mausoleums locating right in the heart of the city, especially Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – the greatest leader in Vietnam history. As a multi-cultural community affected by Chinese, French and Russian, Hanoi is not only an old developing city but also offers vibrant nightlife, amazing local food, and many magnificent tourism attractions nearby, Ha Long Bay for example.

Hoan Kiem Lake

The Huc Bridge

Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3,000 B.C., from the period of Co Loa Citadel (belonging to Dong Anh district) serving as the capital of Au Lac kingdom (Pre Thang Long period), through many dynasties and wars (named Thang Long – Dong Do – Dong Quan – Dong Kinh), to being Vietnam’s capital in present day.

Main history event:

Hanoi was eclipsed by Hue – the imperial capital of Vietnam during Nguyen Dynasty (from 1802 to 1945). From 1010 to 1802, Hanoi was considered to be the most important political center of Vietnam.

In 1873, the French conquered Hanoi, which made Hanoi into French’s colonial administrative center from 1883 to 1945. During the period, the French built a modern administrative city, many churches, public buildings, luxury villas but also destroyed various imperial palaces and citadels, reduced lakes’ and canals’ sizes, which results in Hanoi as it is today.

Similarly to most of French’s colonized land in Indochina and Southeast Asia, Japanese empire took control over Hanoi. On September 2nd, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at Ba Dinh Square, which involved Hanoi in the most important milestone in Vietnam’s history. Afterwards, Hanoi has become Vietnam’s capital on January 6th, 1946.

2. Name main history attraction:

  • Hanoi Old Quarter: For those who visit Hanoi with a genuine desire to have a grasp of the city’s culture, Ha Noi Old Quarter is a must-visit spot that you definitely should not miss. Despite rapid development of a developing country’s capital, which results in constant changes everyday, Ha Noi Old Quarter remains its ancient beauty but with dynamic lifestyle. Most streets in the Old Quarter was named after each street’s original businesses dating back about 1,000 years ago. Isn’t it sound like a dream of tradition lovers?
  • Duong Lam Ancient village: Different from Hoi An’s ancient town or Hanoi Old Quarter’s vibrant vibe of urban lifestyle in the earlier centuries, Duong Lam ancient village is more like a rural area, heavily affected by agricultural lifestyle. Retaining the basic characteristics of Vietnamese ancient villages, the village with its unique architecture has welcomed many tourists from all over the world. Covered with banyan trees’ generous shades, the village brings about the peaceful atmosphere at its best.
  • Bat Trang Ceramics Village: If you are looking for an interesting activity that you can actually hand on, then Bat Trang Ceramics Village is the choice for yours. Located only 15km away from Hanoi center, Bat Trang village is a well-known attraction to tourists and locals who love traditional culture and new experience at the same time. You can not only wander around the artists’ working place but also try hand-made pottery yourself with their help.
  • Temple of Literature: Ha noi has numerous pagodas and temples, nit Temple of Literature is one of a kind. Unlike other religious temple, Temple of Literature is considered to be the first University of Vietnam. Nowadays, the temple is not only a historical attraction but also attracts many candidates, students coming to pray for their studying career.

Temple of literature

Temple of literature

3. Culture (ethnicity, living custom, religious belief, special tradition and festival, etc.)

Generally, Hanoi people are often stereotyped to be more formal the Southern or other area cities. Hanoi ethnic residents are often friendly and hospitable. However, Hanoi is a multi-cultural city with citizens coming from many other Nothern provinces to look for better opportunities, which results in some complex in customs and people’s behaviors.

Hanoi, or other Northern part of the coutry, pays more attention in religious and traditional festivals. If you love to experience the truest traditional festival culture, then you should join Perfume Festival (hosted in Hanoi’s iconic Perfume Pagoda), Lim Festival (hosted in Bac Ninh province). The festivals do not just offer true view of how locals celebrate such tradition, but also gives travelers the chance to enjoy UNESCO-listed “quan ho” folk singing, many folk games such as bamboo swings, cockfighting, tug-of-war, wrestling, blind man’s bluff, and human chess.

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi local life

4. Weather:

(How many season - Weather of each season - Which is the best time for traveling)

Featuring a wam humid subtropical climate, Hanoi has 4 diffrent seassons. Summer is hot and humid with abudant rainfall through out May to August. Decreasing temperature and precipation, Fall season is comprised of September and October. The city is usually cloudy and foggy but cool and dry during Winter (from November to next January).

Visitors often come to Hanoi from September to November or March to April, when the weather is mild, not too hot or too wet. If you would prefer cold days for your stay, coming to Hanoi during November to March is suggested.

5. Transportation:

Hanoi is a compact city, in which travellers usually stay within center distrcts (Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Tay Ho or Hai Ba Trung). Getting around is quite convenient thanks to closely located attractions, restaurants, and hotels. You can either take taxi or xe om (motorbike taxi), hire private car or travel around by buses. The prices are relatively cheaper in comparison with other cities in Vietnam.

6. Travel tips

  • Make sure you have enough cash: With many street vendors selling special local food to hand-made products, famous ancient attractions, you definitely need to bring more cash than usual since most of them don’t accept cards. Don’t waste your trip just to enjoy big chained restaurants and other modern activities when visiting the well-known-to-be-ancient city.
  • Bargaining is needed: Hanoi treats foreigners as a diffrent segment, hence, they charge foreigners (or Southern Vietnamese in some cases) higher than the locals. But they don’t mind bargaining and often accept fair trades.
  • Don’t get into trouble: People are straight forward and easily get pissed through hard times. If you notice yourself getting into an unnessary fight, just apologize and walk away for your most convenience.
  • Money (Currency Exchange; where to change): Vietnamese official currency is Vietnam Dong. There are many Currency Exchange stations in tourists’ areas or city centers. You should exchange Vietnam Dong in Vietnam cities for better rates compared to exchanging aboard the country.

Read more tip for first time traveller

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