HANOI

HANOI

Packed with rustic beauty and romance, Hanoi is a regularly progressing city with narrow streets of old quarters and modern metropolis. With colonial past, one can witness its shadow lurking all over the city through its colonial-style buildings and museums. Hanoi also offers a great variety of tourist attractions along with plenty of parks and lakes.



Hanoi is a capital city of Vietnam full of mellow charm and scenic beauty. Nestled along the woody avenue on the banks of Red River, the city offers an assortment of leisure activities. Bustling with crowd and voices, the city is rich in culture with ever-growing infrastructure. Also known as, ?city of lakesê, about two dozens of such water bodies adds to the beauty of this already gorgeous city. Amid the thriving economy and an ongoing transition of the place, one can see a strong essence of the past dotted all over Hanoi. An interesting blend of Chinese architecture and traditional Vietnamese buildings along with a great impact of French, the city thrives under this confluence of cultures. Vietnamese love their food and so the people of Hanoi. Brilliant flavours and sizzling cuisines around the globe can be enjoyed here. Amid heavy traffic and never stopping vehicles, lies a beautiful city of Hanoi claiming to be Southeast Asiaês most popular tourist destination.



BY AIR

Hanoi is home to Noi Bai International Airport catering to plethora of domestic and international airlines. Situated 45 kms north of the city, the airport is well connected to sixteen countries in four continents through various flight companies including athay Pacific, Air France, Aeroflot, Singapore Airlines, Korean air, China Airlines, Japan Airlines and Thai Airways etc. There is a regular flight service from countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. Once reached the airport, there are ample transport options such as metered taxis and 15-seater mini-buses. The mini buses plies only when all its seats are full and drop you off at your exact destination. Towards right side of exit terminal, there are public buses that will take you to city center covering the journey in about 45 to 60 minutes. There is also an option of Airport taxis, however make sure to check meter before starting your journey.



BY TRAIN

Gia Lam station serves as a main railway station of Hanoi city offering a single route for trains departing to and from Nanning, China. There is a line between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the journey being quite inexpensive and packed with scenic views. However, a Vietnam railway is not high on speed and so the journey takes 50 hours to complete.



BY ROAD

Self-driving in Vietnam is quite impossible owing to the not-so-good condition of the roads and almost negligible traffic rules. It is better to hire taxi or take a chauffeur driver car to commute within the city or between the cities. The road network in Vietnam is quite reasonable.

Tourist Attractions

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi

A perfect place for history lovers and anthropology buffs, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology offers quite fascinating information about the Vietnam and its lifestyle. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a huge place with an exuberant collection of artifacts depicting the cultural heritage of about 54 ethnic groups of the Vietnam. One can explore their lifestyle through various items such as jewelry, tools, clothing, music instruments, weapons and a vast collection of photographs. Exhibits related to religious beliefs, wedding, and funeral ceremonies are also on display. On the ground behind the main building is an outdoor showcasing of 18 replicas of life size tombs, boats, and traditional Vietnamese homes. The key highlight of the museum is example of Tay and Yao stilt houses and Ede long house including the impressive Nha Rong Bana Communal House reachable by a log ladder with chiseled steps. A water puppet show is organized twice a day daily free of charge.

Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi

Fine art Museum is a place for art lovers and history buffs with a dash of remarkable architecture making it a place completely worth a visit. Nestled inside a French style colonial building dating back to 1930s, the Fine art Museum in Hanoi showcases equally impressive exhibits as its architecture. The place explores the fascinating art and artifacts in different light belonging from prehistory to the present. One can enjoy beautiful Silk paintings, folk art, sculptures and amazing lacquer works in the museum. With some admirable collections of paintings, few of them draw a lot of attention such as socialist realist paintings depicting peasants striking patriotic poses following Vietnam War, sculptures of ancient Cham and Buddhist art. There are also some significant works by VietnamÍs ethnic minorities, all exhibits being labeled in Vietnamese and English.

Old Quarter, Hanoi

Oozing charm of colonial world and packed with tourist attractions, great shopping opportunities and quenching your gastronomical needs, the Old Quarter of Hanoi is a place worth a visit. Old Quarter of Hanoi is a historic region adorned with maze of 36 narrow alleyways and streets packed with culture and traditions. With a history of about more than 1000 years, this place also serves as the cityÍs major commercial hub. Situated in Hoan Kiem District near Hoan Kiem Lake, Old Quarter is dotted with colonial structures, pagodas and Buddhist temples. The well-preserved home-shops are a common sight lined all along the streets that were built about century ago with commercial front while the family occupies the rest. Other than small shops, market stalls, old-fashioned shopping places, one will find plenty of caf_, bars, restaurants, bakeries, boutique shops and art galleries. Some of the popular items among tourists are silk clothes and traditional medicine, although they are being quite rapidly replaced by modern outlooks and products such as mobile phones and home wares. However, retaining some of its old charm, the place is worth exploring.

Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Ho Chi MinhÍs Mausoleum is a final resting place VietnamÍs beloved historic political figure, where people from all over the world visit to pay their respect. Interpreted on the idea of Lenin's mausoleum, Ho Chi MinhÍs Mausoleum is a huge stately building, which serves as the final resting place of most-loved political figure of the country. Despite his resistance to the being preserved and displayed after his death and strong inclination towards being cremated, today the people come to this place in large number. The mausoleum is situated at the Ba Dinh Square where Ho Chi Minh in 1945 affirmed the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945. Today his preserved body is displayed in a granite monolith. Visitors, after getting through checkpoint, should keep silence, dress respectfully (skirts and shorts are not allowed) and avoid photography at any cost. Also, as one need to deposit their bags at entrance the line van be slow and some times as long as 2 km.

The Temple of Literature

Reflecting calmness and serenity amid chaos of the city is the Temple of Literature, a place that has been preserving traditions of Vietnam for many years now. Situated in the heart of Hanoi, the Temple of Literature is a magnificent temple with its history going back to 1070. The temple once served as the first university in Vietnam dedicated to Confucius and since then the place holds a great significance in the field of education and national identity. Based loosely on model of the Confucius's hometown in China, this calm oasis of education comprises of five well-maintained courtyards flanked by the Lake of Literature. There are three entrances, central for the king and the side ones for mandarins. The main features of the building are giant stone turtles with the names of the students engraved on their back, who passed their exams, and the Imperial Academy. Make sure to hire a guide to get true essence of the place.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

An ancient temple regarded as the oldest of country, Tran Quoc Pagoda situated on an islet on the West Lake is greatly revered by the locals. With its history, going back to 6th century when a pagoda named Khai Quoc existed on the banks of River Red built by King Ly Nam De. However, the pagoda was shifted more than thousand years later due to heavy erosion of the riverbank to Goldfish Islet (Ca Vang) on West Lake and renaming it as Tran Quoc. This oldest temple of Vietnam dating back from 1639 also accompanies some beautiful brick stupas. Tran Puoc Pagoda is also an active monastery providing residence to monks in brown robes holding service every day. The temple comprise of front hall adorning various statues, including a gilded wooden depiction of Shakyamuni Buddha. The key highlight is a giant pink-and-green planter holding a bodhi tree known to be a cutting from the original bodhi tree underneath which Buddha attained his enlightenment. The tree was a gift to Vietnam from former Indian president Dr. Rajendra Prasad while on his visit in 1959. Enchanted with daily ceremonies, prayers and peace, the place is worth a visit.

Hanoi Opera House

Exhibiting an amazing piece of architecture, Hanoi Opera House is a place reflecting the stark contrast between old and new in the city. A masterpiece of colonial French edifices, the Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 sited on Le Thanh Tong Street close to the Red River. Established on the ideas of Paris's largest opera house, the place stands tall in the contrast with typical Vietnamese traditional architecture adding a new visual to the city. Today the house is flanked by art and theater lovers to catch a glimpse of traditional and modern performances by various local and international artists in form of ballets and operas. However, no guided tours are organized; one will have to attend a performance to admire the beautiful interior of the Opera House. There are also English-language performances.

Hoa lo Prison (The Hanoi Hilton)

This prison is a living example of French atrocities in Vietnam where the revolutionaries were kept imprisoned at the time of wars and battles. Built in typical French prison design, Hoa lo Prison was created during the 20th century where Vietnamese political prisoners were kept imprisoned and executed. The place was later also used to hold American prisoners of war and named as "Hanoi Hiltonî for the condition of the place was really unpleasant. However, it was in 1990s that half of the jail was demolished and a museum was erected displaying the cruelty that took place in here. One can see the brutalities of the French and alarming details of the struggle of the Vietnamese people. The place might not be suitable for small children, so plan your visit accordingly.