I. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is considered one of the first things to see in Hanoi when one arrives--- was once part of the Red River. It is now located inside a complex surrounded by Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower. Ngoc Son has undergone a lot of renovations, one among which was the addition of Thap But (translated as Pen Tower) on its hill. Beyond the ink well is The Huc bridge, which means "where the sunlight is absorbed". The bridge leads to Dac Nguyet Lau (or "Moon Light tower") - Ngoc Son shrine. Beyond the gates to the shrine, there are two walls called bang Rong and bang Ho (dragon and tiger slate), where the names of those who passed the national test were inscribed. Much time has passed, but Hoan Kiem Lake is still a very popular historical and romantic site.
II. The Old Quarter
Located between the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Long Bien Bridge and a citadel wall, the Old Quarter consists of 36 old streets inside, is the top sightseeing site of the capital, drawing millions of international visitors each year. Hanoi Old Quarter has a long history of over 1000 years of development since King Ly Thai To selected Thang Long as the country’s capital in 1010 and became crowded & lively in the 15th century. The bustling life of Hanoians is reflected in the most vivid way with crowded streets of people. The quarter consists mainly of 36 old streets named according to their craft guilds in the past, with most of them still trading their old specialties.
III. The Temple of Literature
Situated at the south of Thang Long citadel, the Temple of Literature is at the top of historical sightseeing sites in the capital of Vietnam. Known as “Pagode des Corbeaux” during French colonial times, it was founded as a Confucian temple in 1070. In 1076, Vietnam's first university, the Quốc Tử Giám (or National University), was established within this temple to educate Vietnam's mandarin class. Though having gone through a lot of restoration, the temple still retains most of its original structure. A space of green trees within the hustle-bustle of a busy city, it gives visitors a sense of calm and peace.
IV. Ho Chi Minh Complex
Ho Chi Minh Complex consists of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Uncle Ho’s House on stilt, One-Pillar pagoda and Ho Chi Minh Museum. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum - which was made of marble and granite, features a three-stored structure. In the second store places the famous President’s body. In front of the mausoleum is the 79 cycad trees, symbolizing Uncle Ho’s 79 springs of life. It is opened 5 days per week, except Monday and Friday. Now walking a few steps, visitors will pass by the Presidential Palace, Uncle Ho’s House on stilt – simple and pure lifestyle of The President in an wood-floor house on stilt (of the Ethnic minority group’s style), surrounded by a garden of fruit trees and a peaceful fishpond, right next to the mausoleum.
V. One Pillar Pagoda
Rising from one pillar in the center of an elegantly square-shaped lotus pond, The One Pillar Pagoda is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water. Built between the years of 1028 and1054 during the reign of Emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly Dynasty, the One Pillar Pagoda is one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples. The little temple is constructed from wood based on a single stone pillar crafted into the shape of a lotus blossom and has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1955 when the base was destroyed during the French evacuation. The pagoda is often used as a symbol for Hanoi and remains one of the city’s most revered sights in a beautifully tranquil garden setting with benches provided for comfortable contemplation. The shrine inside the pagoda is dedicated to the Vietnamese Buddhist deity Quan Am with her effigy nestled inside the tiny three square meters temple.
VI. Tran Quoc Pagoda & West Lake
Located on a small peninsula on the East side of West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda is regarded as the most ancient pagoda in Hanoi with its history line of more than 1,500 years. The architecture of this Buddhist center is a subtle combination between the solemn and beautiful landscape on the peaceful and quiet ambiance of West Lake’s surface. Thanks to these historical and architectural values, Tran Quoc Pagoda attracts many tourists to pay a visit, both inside and outside of Vietnam.
VII. Hanoi Ancient Citadel
In late 2003, the Institute Archaeology announced the initial findings of the largest excavation in Vietnam at 18 Hoang Dieu Street in the BaDinh district of Hanoi. The deepest layer contained evidence of buildings from the pre-Thang Long-period (7th-9th centuries AD) or the Dai La Citadel. Archaeologists discovered the ancient foundation of an imperial city that dated back 1300 years to Dai Viet when Hanoi was known as Thang Long at the time. While most of Hanoi's ancient Thang Long citadel was destroyed by the French colonialists, the remnants provide a fascinating insight into Vietnam's history. According to the World Heritage Committee, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Hanoi testifies to the interaction between Chinese culture in the north and the Champa kingdom in the south of the country, which resulted in a unique culture in Vietnam's Red River Delta. This heritage also confirms the ancient civilization of the Viet people and the existence of a sea of continuous political power since the 7th century AD.
VIII. Vietnam National Museum of History
In the system of national museums, the National Museum of Vietnam History was built in 1926 and completed in 1932, patterned after a design by Louis Finot, who built the museum of the Ecole Francaise In 1958, the Vietnam Government officially took over this cultural building and started to research, collect and supplement materials and objects, converting the contents from eastern arts into national history. On 3 September 1958, the National Museum of Vietnam History was officially opened for visitors. The main exhibition system is the vivid historical book of Vietnamese nation from the prehistory (about 300,000-400,000 years) to the August 1945 Revolution. The exhibits, divided into four exhibition areas, focus on ancient history, have an extensive collection of over 7000 artifacts and the bronze Dong Son drum and 2500-year-old coffin canoe.
IX. Bat Trang Ceramic Village
Bat Trang, traditional porcelain and pottery village with a history of seven centuries, is an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore.
Visiting Bat Trang, tourists can take a walk or join a buffalo tour for sightseeing and shopping. Besides many ceramic stores along the road in the village, tourists should visit Bat Trang Porcelain and Pottery Market where they can directly make pottery products by themselves. Many youngsters and foreign tourists are interested in in this pottery- making the experience, and spend a whole day in the market to make a gift for family or friends.
X. Hanoi Walking Street & Night Market
Hanoi Walking Street held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including streets around Hoan Kiem lake. All vehicles and other means of transportation are prohibited, allowing only pedestrians. There are many Vietnamese traditional musical bands perform all day on the street.
Hanoi night market starts from Hang Dao Street and fountain in the north of Hoan Kiem lake to Dong Xuan market with various kinds of products. People can find clothes, sweets, salted dry fruit (ô mai), decorations, toys, stationeries, sundry goods on the streets: Hang Ngang, Hang Duong, Luong Van Can, Hang Ma, Ngo Gach, and Hang Ca, while other goods are sold from Dong Xuan Market to Hang Giay Street. For many Hanoians, coming to the night market becomes a habit even when they don’t want to shop, just strolling to soak in the atmosphere, visiting with family and friends, and enjoying some snacks.