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Things to Do & See for Fantastic Hanoi Tours

Wander Around the Old Quarters

Hanoi Old Quarter is one of the two most well-known districts in Hanoi (the other being the Ba Dinh District). It is a business center and also quite a prominent spot among tourists. A typical scene in Hanoi streets are sidewalks teeming with bicycles and scooters while crowds of people scavenge markets and barter loudly with street vendors.Hanoi Old Quarter in HAnoi Tour While exploring Old Quarters you have no choice but to confront the traffic as a local would do and experience the history on the go. It’s an interesting blend of ancient history (Hanoi celebrated a millennial birthday in 2010) and commercialism. Hanoi is famous with many complexes of French colonial architecture, lots of pagodas and Buddhist temples, then lost in the streets. These streets were named to the business set up over 1,000 years ago. Most of these businesses were craft shops, but today a lot of them turned into something more commercial and modern. Even you can still find shops owned by the same families for the centuries, they sell original handcrafted products.

Visit the Ancient House & St Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi Old Quarters

The best way to discover the difference between Vietnamese architecture and the later-on French colonialism is through these two buildings (they are taken place in the same neighborhood). The ancient house is an example of the typical architecture of antique houses.St Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi Old Quarters The house is made of two main blocks bound together by a square yard in the middle on the ground floor, and a small balcony on the 1st floor. The yard is consisted right at the center of the building to moderate the air, provide the house with sunshine and cool air. Take a visit to Saint Joseph Cathedral, which is a hybrid of Vietnamese and Western architectural styles. Saint Joseph Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral done in a Neo-Gothic style. It was built around 120 years ago. The cathedral was constructed and completed in 1886 after the French army conquered Hanoi. The architecture of the cathedral follows the rules of the Gothic style and design of the Paris Cathedral. The appearance of the cathedral, the doors, the stained-glass windows and the religious paintings all follow a clear Western style. However, the interior is decorated in a Vietnamese style, with the dominating colors of yellow & red.

Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The mausoleum is the resting place of, the revolution leader Ho Chi Minh, who was the President of the Communist Party of Vietnam, at the very same place where he in 1945, read the Declaration of Independence and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum (in Moscow) but with a Vietnamese twist. It is incorporated elements tied to Vietnamese architecture like the sloping roof.Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi Tours The exterior of the mausoleum is made of grey granite while the interior is black, grey and red polished stone. All of the material which is used for construction from all over Vietnam. Fauna from different regions of Vietnam surrounds the mausoleum. The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is located in the central hall of the mausoleum, protected at all times by a military guard. If you’re wondering what to do in Hanoi, make sure this is near the top of your list.

Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake

This lake got its name (Lake of the Restored Sword) from a legend. In ancient times circulated a story claimed that there was a sword with magical properties sent from heaven to Emperor Ly Thai To to banish the North forces from Vietnam. Following the end of the war, a giant golden turtle took the sword and escaped to the depths of the lake to return the sword to its divine owners thus earning its name, the Lake of the Restored Sword. If you’re not amused by legends don’t fret because the lake is special for other things as well.Things to Do in HAnoi Tours The tortoise in Hoan Kiem Lake is considered a sacred animal so the lake itself is a holy place. If you’re in luck you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of these majestic animals. The lake is very popular among Hanoians as a gathering place for families, nature lovers, and hangouts. If you want to spend time as the residents do, show up at 6 am and practice Tai Chi with them. The best time to visit is from Fridays to Sundays because the nearby traffic is banned from 7 pm to midnight turning it into a peaceful oasis.

Go Shopping at Dong Xuan Market

Established in the late 19th century, the Dong Xuan Market can be found in a four-story communist styled building on the edge of the Old Quarters. Dong Xuan is the largest indoor market in Hanoi. What one can find is truly astounding. Whatever you’re looking for whether it’d be some fresh local produce, souvenirs or in need of a laptop – chances are some vendor tucked away has it?DOng Xuan Market Tour in Hanoi Like other markets in Asia, Dong Xuan is filled with meat, seafood, vegetables, and flowers, all from Vietnam. If you’re not into testing the different flavors of Vietnam head up to the upper floors. You will be able to find handbags, fabrics, handicrafts all of which are sold at wholesale prices!

Catch a Show in Hanoi Opera House

Like the St Joseph’s Cathedral, this opera house was modeled after one of Paris’s counterparts, the Palais Garnier. Hanoi Opera House follows the style from Europe quite clearly. It has Italian marble floors, ceilings decorated with French murals and copper chandeliers. Regarded as one of the most renowned architectural & cultural landmarks in Hanoi. Today, it has a strong cultural influence and is a center for art shows, dance performances and concerts.

Visit Temple of Literature – The First University in Vietnam

The Temple of Literature is often regarded as one of the most visited tourist attractions. In 1070 it was made to serve as a university and was dedicated to Confucius and scholars. Fortunately, the building is remarkably preserved and is an excellent example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. The temple offers an abundance of literature, turtle steles as well as the Well of Heavenly Clarity. It’s a tribute to education and literature and has seen thousands and thousands of Vietnam’s finest scholars.Temple of Literature in Hanoi Tours The most acclaimed prize for the most successful scholars was to have their names engraved onto a stone stele on top of the stone turtles. Today students come and pray for good grades.

Visit Hoa Lo Prison Museum (The Hanoi Hilton)

The Hoa Lo Prison Museum, known as “Hanoi Hilton”, will make you experience a wide range of emotions from disgust, sorrow to outrage at what in the museum, which was all reappeared like this was allowed to happen. The museum displays and educates on the sufferings of the Vietnamese revolutionaries who were confined under the occupying French government during the early 20th century.What you see is only a glimpse into the prison, as most of the prison complex was demolished in the 1990s to make way for the Hanoi Towers. It is peculiar to have a prison built in the center of the city. The idea of the French colonial administrators was to make an example of the Vietnamese fighters for independence. Almost all exhibits show the prison’s use up to the Vietnamese upraise against France for independence. The museum is also house to the most gruesome relic, the French guillotine on the Vietnamese rebels.

Try Scrumptious Cuisine in Hanoi

It’s a mistake if you are in Hanoi but without thinking about the food in this city. Well, it’s easy – all of it! The cuisine is known for being quite simple in terms of ingredients, and that is one of its charms. The simplicity of the meal and the quality of its ingredients is what makes the dishes exceptional. Vietnamese food relies on a delicate balance of salty, sweet, sour and hot flavors. It’s almost impossible to walk a block in Hanoi without detecting the smell of food from the street vendor’s DIY stand. Try the Goi Cuon, a spring roll packed with greens, some type of minced meat (shrimp, crab or pork) and coriander. Usually, it’s served with a bowl of lettuce, peanut sauce, and mint. If you have a sweet tooth as we do, definitely try the fried bananas, dessert soup or caramel pudding.

Visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam is very culturally diverse. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology acts as a keeper of the said cultural diversity of different ethnic groups in Vietnam. Many of those communities are working together with the museum. They’ve collected work, are involved in the preparation process of the exhibitions to preserve cultural heritage and display it rightfully and authentically.Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi Tour The collaboration between communities and the museum staff has made the museum closer to people’s lives and raised the awareness of protecting cultural heritage. The popularity and vibrancy of the Museum are largely due to the contribution and involvement of communities. The Museum is a vast collection of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities which displays the tribal art, artifacts, and objects used in daily life.

Try Special Egg Coffee

Egg Nog Latte is a staple drink served in cafes throughout Hanoi starting from the 1950s. The drink is made with egg yolk, condensed milk, coffee powder and a crazy amount of whisking! The most famous cafe for serving this drink is the Giang Café. The drink was supposedly invented by the cafe’s founder. The son of the founder says that his father inspired to make up the recipe as milk was scarce in Vietnam and they were replacing milk with egg yolk. The kind of coffee is creamy, not too sweet, and very delicious. Although it originated in Vietnam, today is popular across the world.

Drink Fresh Beer “Bia Hoi” on the street

Bia Hoi, one of our favorites when talking about what to do in Hanoi. If you’re a beer enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled with Vietnam’s beer culture. Let us start with the fact that Vietnam is the perfect place for a pub crawl. Bia Hoi is an insight into the beer scene of Vietnam. Bia Hoi is known as a street beer. Vietnam boasts as having a unique drinking culture that can only be found in northern cities of Vietnam It’s a daily ritual starting from 4 pm where locals (and tourists) sit on plastic furniture on street corners and drink home-brewed beer. So if you were wondering how the world’s cheapest and freshest beer tastes like then don’t miss your opportunity to get a pint!Bia Hanoi in HAnoI Tour Remember: it’s considered the freshest beer because it is made without preservatives. In order not to get spoiled it must be consumed on the day of production. Because of this Hanoi and its surrounding areas are the only places you can find Bia Hoi!