Hanoi is recognized as the land of thousand-year-history city with the legend of flying dragon forming Thang Long in 1010 or famous old quarter. When traveling to Hanoi, visitors will find the differences that cannot be mixed with other cities and even the whole Asia which make unique features of Hanoi, visit Hanoi is more popular and has become dreaming trip of many visitors.
DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF HANOI
When travel to Hanoi, visitors can immediately find the liveliness, variety of food, long-standing history and friendly local. Hanoi has many things to offer from the houses built under the French colony, small alleys of capital, street’s restaurants with a wide range of local food to the way of driving in Hanoi, all of which will make your trip unforgettable.
Each city in Vietnam has its own beauty and residents also love their city by their own way. However, many visitors fall in love with Hanoi as soon as they travel to this capital. They open their heart to enjoy the beauty of Hanoi, from the streets to corners they pass. It is said that visitors can only find out the hidden charm of Hanoi unless they feel the pulse of city.
Cuisine is also a special feature that must be discovered when visiting Hanoi. Cuisine is a typical culture of every region affected by living condition of the region. It is true that Hanoi’s cuisine is partly similar to other regions, but it is generally special that cannot find elsewhere especially street food. Hanoi is very famous for Pho which can be found every conner in Hanoi. When the sun goes down, it is the best time to explore Hanoi’s street food with various types of tasty dishes. It is just seating on the small-sized plastic chair to enjoy beer or roasted chicken legs or cup of coffee which make the exploration more interesting.
HISTORY OF HANOI CAPITAL
This land has been inhabited for thousand years and was called by many different names but its name - Hanoi is officially from 1831. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La, decided to change the name to Thang Long. The size of capital at that time was in proportion to that of Hoan Kiem district and part of two districts of Dong Da and Hai Ba Trung. After that, Thang Long was expanded gradually and until 18th century corresponding to 5 central districts of Hanoi now. In 1802, the Nguyen dynasty began with the reign of king Gia Long who moved the capital to Hue, Thang Long was no longer the capital and changed to Hoai Duc district.
In 1831 there was a major revolutionary administration: the removal of towns and the establishment of provinces. Since then, Hanoi province was formed. The name originally was taken according to its location. “Ha” means river while “Noi” mean inner. Hanoi therefore means “rivers inner” because it is located between the Red river and Day river.
The French occupied Hanoi in 1883 and formed Hanoi city in 1886 with the size of 3km2 and it was 12km2 in 1939. Until 1975, the South was totally liberated with the historic Ho Chi Minh campaign, Vietnam was unified. At the first session of the 6th National Assembly in 1976, the National Assembly decided to take Hanoi as the capital of Vietnam.
What places to visit in Hanoi?
Hanoi offers many places to visit but there are some must-visit attractions that cannot be missed in Hanoi. Let’s see the list below:
Temple of literature
Temple of literature was built on 1070 under King Ly Thanh Tong. This place initially was honored to Confucius and four talented students. Until 1076, Quoc Tu Giam – the first national university of Vietnam was built next to the temple of literature under King Ly Nhan Tong. Quoc Tu Giam originally was for children from royal families but later until the reign of King Tran Thai Tong, the university was opened widely for the all talents in the country. The temple is divided into 5 separated areas including Great middle gate, the pavilion constellation, Thien Quang well and Doctor steles, the fourth courtyard and the fifth courtyard
Opening/closing time: 08.00 – 17.00
Ho Chi Minh mausoleum
This place is often added into the list of “must-visit” places in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is the resting place of Ho Chi Minh – a great president of Vietnam. The mausoleum was built on September 02nd 1973 on the old platform of Ba Dinh square where Ho Chi Minh read Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 02nd 1945. The mausoleum was inaugurated on August 29th 1975. Ho Chi Minh mausoleum has connected closely in the mind of Hanoian who can proudly tell other about the president Ho Chi Minh. There are three reason that people visit this place. Firstly, visitors want to pay tribute to the president – a national hero of Vietnam. Secondly, come to listen and watch the documentary movies about Ho Chi Minh. Thirdly, come to enjoy the beautiful features in and around the mausoleum.
Ho Chi Minh opening/closing time:
In summer (from April to October): Monday to Friday: opens at 7.30am to 10.30am/ Saturday and Sunday: opens at 08 am to 11am.
In winter (from November to March): Monday to Friday: opens at 08am to 11am/Saturday and Sunday: 08.00am to 11.30am.
Vietnam museum of ethnology
Vietnam museum of ethnology was built on 1981 which looks like a small picture of history and culture of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. The museum is divided into 3 parts: the bronze drum area (Trong Dong), outdoor exhibition area and Southeast Asia area.
The Bronze Drum area is the place presenting traditional culture of 54 ethnic groups. In this area, there are 15.000 items, 42.000 documentary movies and photos displaying the daily life, traditional clothes, farming tools and religion of ethnic minorities.
The outdoor exhibition area is the place presenting the impressive architectures of different ethnic minorities including house on stilts of Tay, Ede, Hmong people…
Southeast Asia area is the place presenting the culture of countries in Southeast Asia. In this area, visitors will not only watch the documentary movies of Vietnam but also of all Southeast Asia countries.
If visiting the museum at weekend, visitors will have chance to watch water puppet shows and traditional art activities…
Thang Long imperial citadel
Located at the center, Thang Long imperial citadel is an impressive place which is not only attractive to the Hanoian but also to visitors. The imperial citadel is a large complex built by different kings over many sates and is the most important vestige in the vestige system of Vietnam.
The traces of unique architecture associated to numerous valuable items are precious assets not only of Vietnam but also the entire human race. The architecture and items partially reflect the history of Vietnam dating from the period when the area was directly ruled by China (from 7th to 9th centuries)
Thang Long imperial citadel was recognized as one of the ten special national heritage sites of Vietnam in 2009 and World Heritage by UNESECO in 2010.
Opening/closing time: 08.00 – 17.00
Ninh Binh is the ancient capital and very peaceful with many beautiful landscapes and sightseeing such as Tam Coc Bich Dong, Trang An, Mua cave, Cuc Phuong national forest, Van Long nature reserve…
The land is not only well-known for its impressive landscapes but also rich in history with many important historical sites including Hoan Lu ancient capital, temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh, Thai Vy temple, Bai Dinh pagoda, Bich Dong pagoda and Phat Diem stone cathedral…
It is only 2 hours driving from Hanoi and there are some options for traveling that visitors can travel to Ninh Binh by train or car from Hanoi.
Located 62km from Hanoi to the South, Perfume pagoda is renowned for its beauty and religion. Perfume pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines concreted into the karst mountain of Huong Son which was formed about 220 million years ago. Nature has endowed the area with impressive scenery including Dragon mountain, Phoenix mountain, Turtle mountain, Unicorn mountain…
When Buddhism was propagated and developed in Vietnam, Zen master came to this area to built shrines, pagoda – cave to honor Buddha. From the beginning, Perfume pagoda was a large complex of 18 temples, pagoda, shrines and caves.
Halong Bay & Bai Tu Long Bay & Lan Ha Bay
Halong Bay is in the top 7 new wonder of the world and one of the 29 most beautiful bays in the world recognized by the best bay club. This bay is harmoniously mixed by blue sky and enormous sea forming the background for thousand islets in the different forms.
Ha Long bay is not far from Hanoi which is just 2 hours driving. Visitors can do just a day trip to Halog Bay or spend 2 or 3 nights on the cruise to explore thoroughly the bay with Surprising cave or Heaven Palace cave and join interesting activities (boat rowing, floating village visiting, swimming or kayaking)
Book tour with a local travel agency in Vietnam
There are two options to do the tour in Hanoi or nearby areas that do by yourself or book tour through a local Vietnam travel agency in Hanoi. Doing a trip by yourself can save some money but if it is the first of travel to Vietnam, booking a group or a private tour is highly recommended because you only need to provide your trip expectation, the places to visit, a travel agency can give you good advices. You will not have to search much information such as how to get to Ninh Binh/Hoa Lu/Tam Coc from Hanoi? How much need to spent on the trip? Are there anything not to be missed…? However, there are also some scam travel agencies that take your money but do not operate tours or just provide you bad services. Accordingly, just check reviews of the agency through different sources or visit their offices to make sure its existence and reliability before booking tours.
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