With unending charisma, Hanoi embraces the colonial architecture of the west, whilst merging it with oriental culture. It’s easy to get lost and immerse yourself into the culture of this unique city.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi
This famous spot is located in the vicinity of Ba Đình Square, where Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945 and again on September 2, 1969. The building was created of marble, granite and precious wood brought in from around the country. Inside the grand structure’s central hall lies the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh, who seems to rest peacefully under a glass case.
More Info : You are allowed to pay respects to Ho Chi Minh without charge from 8:00 – 11:00 hrs. The Mausoleum is closed Mondays and Fridays.
Note : Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts), visitors are encouraged to keep silent, photos and videos are not allowed.
Van Mieu, Hanoi
Van Mieu is also known at the Temple of Literature. There is a resemblance to Wat Pho in Thailand, because it is Vietnam’s first national university. The interior area is shady and spacious. Visitors should also note nearly a hundred giant turtle statues which were placed here, with the names of graduates written behind them. It’s believed that rubbing a turtle’s head will bring academic luck.
Ho Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Ho Hoan Kiem is also known as “Lake of the Returned Sword”. According to legend, emperor Lê Lợi received a sword from a giant Turtle God (sometimes called the Golden Turtle God “Kim Qui”.) He used the sword to revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty. After his victory, the emperor brought the sword back to this lake. Visitors should also take note of the striking red wooden bridge (The Huc) which never ceases to attract a crowd.
St. Joseph Cathedral
A wonderful example of old French colonial architecture, this picturesque Gothic cathedral stirs the imagination. St. Joseph Cathedral is considered a landmark in Hanoi, and it is also the oldest church in the city. Today, visitors come to worship as well as take a souvenir photograph.
This maze of 36 streets is a paradise for shoppers. The original name for the area was “Hanoi 36 Steets” with each street named after the goods sold upon the streets, a trait that has continued to this day. There is a “silk street”, a “silver street” “wood carving street”, “art street” and “shoe street”. You will be spoiled for choice, whether you want flats, high heeled shoes, clothes, bags, jewelry or unique items like dolls, water puppets and traditional farmer’s hats. Most items are created locally with fine details and craftsmanship.