Top 10 Hanoi Attractions
You will never be stuck for something to do in Hanoi, where ancient and proudly preserved Vietnamese culture is felt most keenly by visitors, and progress wrestles with tradition in different districts of the city. Hanoi is actually over 1000 years old so the wealth of history here is mind boggling: temples, ancient citadels, unique theatre and stunning wilderness just outside the city all offer fun-filled days in Vietnam’s capital. Make sure to visit as many of these attractions in Hanoi as possible because they all offer entertainment, beauty and education at different turns. Enjoy our list of Top 10 Attractions in Hanoi below.
1. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing 40 metres high, the central flag tower is the most recognizable feature of the Imperial Citadel and is often used as a symbol of Hanoi. This was the centre of ancient Hanoi and served as the political centre for eight centuries. Located in Ba Dinh, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is close to many other tourist attractions. Read More…
Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 – 12:30 & 13:30 – 19:30
Location: Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
2. Water Puppet Theatre
The ancient art form of water puppetry has a long association with Hanoi and there are several theatres where guests can enjoy this uniquely Vietnamese take on Asia’s puppet tradition. The original – and widely regarded as the best – theatre in town is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre. Puppets dance and slide elegantly over the liquid stage, controlled by a whole troupe of puppet masters hiding behind a screen. Most shows also feature the famous Legend of the Restored Sword of King Le which tells the tale of Hoan Kiem Lake and the giant tortoise.
Opening Hours: 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00 (Time depend on the day)
Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price Range: From VND 100,000
3. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh has left an indelible mark on Vietnamese history and he is revered in Hanoi as the country’s greatest leader. Nicknamed ‘Uncle Ho’ by locals, his preserved body is now laid to rest in a glass case in the Ba Dinh area of Hanoi. This is more than a tourist attraction, it is a part of living history and a visit here stays long in the memory. The sombre building was modeled after Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 07:30 – 10:30,
Saturday & Sunday 07:30 – 11:00
Monday & Friday: Closed
Ticket: 40,000 VNĐ
Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
4. The Perfume Pagoda
The Perfume Pagoda, known locally as Chua Huong or ‘inner temple’, is at the centre of a very revered and sacred site featuring a maze of mainly Buddhist temples built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich. At the heart of this complex lies the Perfume Temple or Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tich Cave. It is believed that the first temple was built here in the 15th century, although legend declares that the site was actually discovered over 2,000 years ago by a Buddhist monk who was meditating nearby. The mountain foothills are an area of great natural and spiritual beauty filled with streams, tropical plants and temples. There are many pagodas to visit, each offering a different shrine, most of which are Buddhist although one or two are animist. The Perfume Pagoda attracts pilgrims and tourists seeking good luck from the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave which have been named according to the individual blessing they can bestow. Dun Tien offers prosperity and Nui Co offers the chance of giving birth to a girl whilst Dun Gao translates as a ‘rice stack’ to those hoping for a bountiful harvest.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:30 – 17:00
Location: Huong Son, My Duc, Hanoi
5. Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple
Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi attracts tourists and locals looking to get away from the noise and frenetic pace of the city. Peaceful and quiet, the lake surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, a pagoda sitting in the centre on a small island. The temple attracts many visitors and was built in commemoration of the 13th century military leader Tran Hung Dao who was renowned for his bravery in the battle against the Yuan Dynasty. Homage is also paid to scholar Van Xuong and Confucian master Nguyen Van Sieu. The island on which the temple is built is known as Jade Island and is accessible by the iconic Huc Bridge or Rising Sun Bridge which is a charming scarlet-painted wooden bridge of classical Vietnamese design. The pagoda is also guarded by two towering posts decorated with Chinese writing. The lake and temple are probably the most famous places in Hanoi city in which to rest and enjoy the view and are a great place to sit back and watch the locals.
Ngoc Son Temple’s Ticket: 30,000 VNĐ
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 07:00 – 18:00,
Saturday & Sunday 07:00 – 21:00
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter
6. Dong Xuan Market
Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. It’s also known as Hanoi’s largest indoor market, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories and clothing, as well as electronic and household appliances. Similar to most markets in Southeast Asia, Dong Xuan Market has a bustling wet market section on the ground floor, where locals shop for seafood, meat, and vegetables while the back section sells an array of pets (cats, dogs, and fish) and fresh flowers from all across Vietnam. If you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, head to the upper levels, where you can find numerous stalls selling tee shirts, fabrics, school uniforms, handbags, handicrafts, all of which are sold at wholesale prices.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 18:00
Address: Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
7. Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is a fascinating area of the city where visitors can enjoy many fine examples of colonial architecture packed along narrow streets. Endless packs of scooters, motorbikes, bicycles and cars weave around traders selling fruit and souvenirs and narrow shop houses sell delicious Vietnamese food for pennies. The Old Quarter brings to life what many people imagine Hanoi to be, and exploring this area on foot is highly recommended for all visitors to Vietnam’s capital city.
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem District
8. Ba Vi National Park
Ba Vi National Park is a nature reserve of stunning beauty located around two hours (48km) from downtown Hanoi. Famous for its three-peaked mountain that juts steeply up into the sky and is often topped by cloud, Ba Vi National Park has dramatic scenery and a diverse range of jungle plants and animals. At the summit of the tallest mountain is an 11th century temple offering expansive views of the surrounding countryside and on the forest floor are natural hot springs.
Location: 58 kilometres west of Hanoi
Ticket: 60,000 VNĐ
9. Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House, set in the heart of the French Quarter, is arguably one of the most elegant buildings in all of Hanoi. Built in 1911 and modelled after the Paris Opera House, this historical landmark exudes Parisian charm from its ivory-toned columns, ornate balustrades and Gothic domes. Priced at VND 100,000 upwards, visitors can enjoy classical performances ranging from Vietnamese opera and dance performances to sketches and music concerts by world-renowned artists. Read More…
Address: 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: +84 43 933 0113
Price Range: VND 100,000 – VND 2,000,000
10. Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is a charming temple complex in the centre of Hanoi that was originally built to be a centre of learning dedicated to the Chinese sage and scholar Confucius. Over the proceeding 1000 years many more buildings have been added and beautified o that now this large area is filled with ornate pavilions, shrines, and a rich garden. It has become a rite of passage for graduating doctors to visit The Temple of Literature and the whole place is steeped in Vietnamese history.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 17:00
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi
Price Range: VND 30,000