Address: Le Thai To, hanoi
Open hours: Dawn to dusk, daily
This small lake between the Old Quarter and the French Quarter is central to Hanoian folklore. A ghostly shrine (the Turtle Pagoda) standing on an islet at its center pays homage to a golden turtle. In the 15th century, this heroic reptile is said to have returned a magic sword to its home in the lake after it had been taken. These days, the sculptured park along the banks plays host to postcard sellers, hawkers, old men playing chess, freelance money changers, lone photographers looking for a lucrative snap and, at about 5am every day, locals practicing tai chi.
Address: Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
If you only have time to do one thing in Hanoi, we recommend that you take the time to walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter. After all, the history of Hanoi goes back over 2,000 years, and the Old Quarter in particular retains an ambiance that gives one insight into the past as well as the present.
The streets are always alive and bustling. Hanoi wakes up early. By 5:30 am, people are out on the sidewalk exercising, washing clothes, and playing badminton. Economic activity starts at 6:00 am with restaurants opening for breakfast, shopkeepers getting ready for the day, and street vendors arranging their wares. All this goes on till 9:00 at night and by 9:30 the streets become quiet. The best part of the walk is that you can easily observe how people are living and you have a chance to interact with Hanoians both young and old.
Address: 1 Trang Tien, Hanoi
The Hanoi Opera House is situated on Le Thanh Tong St., Hanoi, near the Red River and several hundred meters east of Hoan Kiem Lake. The Hanoi Opera House is renowned for its unique architecture and good composition. It is furnished rationally and harmoniously. Since its establishment, the Hanoi Opera House is the largest theatre in Vietnam. Today, it is also a tourist attraction for local and foreign visitors.
Address: 87 Ma May, Hanoi
Open hours: 08:30 – 16:30
Ticket: VND 20.000
This house in the Old Quarter was restored in 1999, as an example of an ancient Hanoian home. It represents the architecture of the Old Quarter, and is decorated to reflect ancient houses of Hanoi.
Address: Bat Trang, Hanoi
Time: 08:00 – 17:00
Bat Trang ceramics are produced for daily household use (bow, cup, plates, pot, bottle…), worshipping, or decoration purposes. Nowadays, the pottery artists bring into ceramics many innovations in production techniques, and creativity in products’ features, hence many new products have been born, and even daily household items may have the beauty like decoration ones.
Address: 19C Hoang Dieu, Hanoi
Open Hours: 08:30 – 11:30 & 14:00 – 17:00
Ticket: VND 30.000 (Under 15 years old will be free)
In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long, the castle was built and expanded in the following reign. Thang Long is planning with three nested rounds. The Long Phuong Ly – Tran is in the palace area. Citadel in the middle covers the economic area in the east. La Thanh or Dai La Thanh is outmost citadel. In 1805, the Nguyen reign of Hanoi has retained the Forbidden City area to offer the king when touring in the north. During the French reign, the French keep this area as commander of the military.
Address: Van Mieu, Hanoi
Open Hours: Everyday
07:30 – 17:30 (April – October)
08:00 – 17:00 (November – March)
In 1070 King Ly Thanh Tong founded this temple to pay tribute to education and to those of high academic achievement. Six years later, it became home to Hanoi's first university. Even now, more than 200 years after the last national examination, the site's five courtyards still enjoy an atmosphere of higher learning. Today, art students sit on the grass and try to reproduce the traditional Vietnamese architecture on paper. Stone steles record the names of successful doctorates of the past at this quiet retreat into Vietnamese educational history.
Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hanoi
Telephone: +84 4 3733 2131
Open Hours: 08:30 – 17:00
Ticket: VND 30.000
Previously, the French had used this building as the Ministry of Information, but now this large building opposite the Temple of Literature houses samples from Vietnam's finest artists. Although some works are modern, the majority of art is traditional lacquer, oil or ceramics. For people interested in Asian art and design, this is a good place to see the development of Vietnam's artistic culture.
Address: Nguyen Van Huyen, Hanoi
Telephone: +84 4 3756 2193
Open Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:30 – 17:30. Close on Monday
Ticket: VND 40.000
The French-designed building and surrounding grounds, which simulate life in the provinces, warrant the trip even before you step inside. The museum displays a dizzying array of artifacts from all over Vietnam. Brief descriptions in French, English and Vietnamese of tools, clothing and recreated homes provide a sketch of several Vietnamese ethnic minorities. A craft shop sells books, bags and other items from various ethnic communities at reasonable prices.
Address: 1 Hoa Lo, Hanoi
Telephone: +84 4 3824 6358
Open Hours: 08:00 – 16:30
Ticket: VND 20.000
The French built this prison in 1896 to house up to 450 opponents of colonialism. However, in reality more than four times this number was imprisoned in appalling conditions. Indeed, the tiny, damp and dark cells evoke eerie claustrophobia, which would be multiplied by the use of manacles and the presence of rats. More recently, American prisoners of war were kept here, including the first ambassador to Vietnam, Pete Peterson. Today, only a small section remains and it is preserved as a museum.