The capital of Vietnam



Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. For thousands years, the city has been rich in history and culture. Wandering around Hanoi and you'll find many cosy corners with an atmospheric vibe that cannot be seen anywhere else. Narrow alleys, tree-lined boulevards and pretty lakes are key features of the capital’s charms. Besides, Hanoi is the exciting combination of ancient of the Old Quarter, Sarraut building in French-designed model, ... and modern like crowded bars and restaurants. Set your own pace and get lost in the city’s hidden treasures — old and new by walking tours by yourself or let our enthusiastic guide help you to explore the story behind each destination.

Best time to visit Hanoi

Hanoi has a humid subtropical climate with lots of precipitation that is common in northern Vietnam. Spring from February to April and autumn from October-November is the best time to visit the capital of Vietnam.

How to get there?

Vietnam’s capital is served by Noi Bai international airport, 45km from the city centre. There are many options for getting around Hanoi, including taxis, buses, and motorbikes. Grab, and a few other ride-hailing apps offer on-demand services for getting around. Hanoi’s bus network has an extensive network around the city and low-cost fare. Finally, the classic cyclo can be hired to take you around the Old Quarter on a sightseeing tour.

Hanoi tourist spots

Most tourists consider Hoan Kiem Lake and the surrounding Old Quarter to be the entirety of Hanoi. In fact, the city has expanded to include some of the following provinces, making it one of the world's largest and most populated metropolises.

  • The Old Quarter which is a must-go play when tralling Vietnam. That is the complex of 36 streets from ancient temples painted a riot of reds and oranges, while in a far-flung corner the clang of a blacksmith’s hammer mingles with a mobile fruit seller’s call.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake that a 15th century legend says a giant turtle in the lake recovered the magical sword Emperor Ly Thai To used to defeat the Chinese.
  • The Temple of Literature (Van Mieu in Vietnamese) erected in honour of the philosopher Confucius and his disciples in 1070. In 1076, it became home to Hanoi’s first university, Quoc Tu Giam. The site is one of the oldest in Hanoi and a national symbol of Vietnamese education and architecture.
  • Ho Chi Minh mausoleum complex: The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is an important place of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese. A traffic-free area of botanical gardens, monuments, memorials and pagodas, it’s usually crowded with groups of Vietnamese who come from far and wide to pay their respects to 'Uncle Ho'. Within the complex are Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh's Stilt house, Ho Chi Minh museum, The Presidential palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.
  • Hanoi Opera House: The Hanoi Opera House is one of Hanoi's grandest buildings. The exterior is a delightful mix of French neo-classical design with shuttered windows, wrought iron balconies and tiles friezes. Construction of the Hanoi Opera House began in 1901 and was completed in 1911.
  • Hoa Lo prison: In 1896, the French built Hoa Lo prison on the land, which was a famous pottery village - Phu Khanh Village, Vinh Xuong, Tho Xuong District in Ha Noi. Hoa Lo was one of the biggest prisons built by the French in Indochina. From a famous pottery village, the prison was built to intern thousands of Vietnamese patriotic and revolutionary fighters. 

>> Read more: Hoa Lo Prison Relic - A destination to keep historical traces in Hanoi

  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel: The Thang Long Imperial Citadel (UNESCO World Heritage Site) was built in the 11th century by the Ly Dynasty, marking the independence of the Dai Viet. It was constructed on the remains of a Chinese fortress dating from the 7th century. It was the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption. The Imperial Citadel buildings and the remains in the 18 Hoang Dieu Archaeological Site reflect a unique South-East Asian culture specific to the lower Red River Valley, at the crossroads between influences coming from China in the north and the ancient Kingdom of Champa in the south.
  • Museum of Ethnology: This is a must-see for anyone intending to visit either Mai Chau or Sapa, or indeed anyone interested in Vietnam’s cultural diversity. The museum is widely acknowledged as the best in the country and has an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 Ethnic minority peoples. As well as the comprehensive array of exhibits inside, there are also traditional tribal houses reconstructed within the grounds.

>> Read more: The Most Fascinating Museums in Hanoi

  • Quan Thanh temple: Quan Thanh Temple was built during the reign of King Ly Thai To (1010 - 1028). The temple honors Saint Tran Vu, a legendary figure who helped King An Duong Vuong chase away demons during the construction of Co Loa Citadel. The central feature of the temple is a giant, black, bronze statue of Tran Vu cast in 1667.
  • Tran Quoc pagoda: With origins dating back to the 6th century Tran Quoc is one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. The pagoda's unique design features a visitor hall, two corridors and a bell tower. Inside are numerous statues, the most notable of which is the wooden statue of the Shakyamuri Buddha. The oldest stele was built in 1639 and depicts the pagoda's history. Several burial stupas in the garden are relics of one of the earliest Zen Buddhist groups in North Vietnam.
  • Bat Trang ceramic village: Bat Trang Ceramics Village (in existence for at least 500 years) is approximately 10km northeast of Hanoi and lies on the left side of the Red River bank.  It specializes in crafting ritual objects, and producing household utensils such as bowls, plates, vases, cups and pots.  Recently, the village has diversified its holdings and started to offer fine art ceramics and high quality porcelain.  The village artisans' skills in providing handicrafts remain unmatched and non-rivalled.

>> Read more: 

Bat Trang ceramic village

Top 5 must-visit traditional handicraft villages in Hanoi

  • Ngoc Son Temple: Ngoc Son Temple was built around the 19th century. This is one of the typical architecture in Hanoi. Ngoc Son Temple is not only a famous spiritual tourist destination. But also a place to bring visitors home and abroad impressive experience. Local people also often come here to pray for the good luck.
  • Saint Joseph's Cathedral: Saint Joseph Cathedral (simply called “Big Church” in Vietnamese) is located on Nha Chung Street near the Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi. This is a Roman Catholic cathedral with neo- gothic style like Pais Cathedral, which was built over 100 years ago.

Hanoi activities:

> Top 5 things to do in Hanoi

> Night life in Hanoi

> Weekend guide in Hanoi

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Tours from Hanoi

This selection of Hanoi tours is ideal for those looking to get the most out of their holiday in the capital city of Vietnam.