Hanoi, the ancient capital of Vietnam standing for more than 1000 years, is undoubtedly the cultural venue where a lot of historical relics have been surviving against the ravage of wars and the damage of the time. Once arriving at Hanoi, visitors are likely to be confused by the various monuments and may consider about some worth-visiting sites which should be visited in this city. The following suggested journey will definitely support your answers.
The first and essential monument once should visit is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which is located in the Centre of Ba Dinh Square. It is the historical and meaningful place that President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence on Sep 2nd 1945 in order to birth to Vietnam. It takes about 15 minutes by taxi from the Old Quarter to get to the complex (approximately $3). Otherwise, you can catch Hanoi city bus number 9, which departs every 15 minute from the bus stop near the Water Puppet Theatre (15 cents/ daily fare).
The 2-storey building, which is inspired by Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow, was constructed from 1973 to 1975. It was sophisticatedly designed with Vietnamese architecture, which is the combination of hero worship and modern art. The national hero’s remains are well preserved inside the mausoleum and open for public to pay daily tribute.
Within the complex are various other sites: Ho Chi Minh Stilt House, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ba Dinh Square, One Pillar Pagoda and Dien Huu Pagoda.
Note: mausoleum doesn’t open on Monday and Friday and only opens in the morning, from 8 AM -10:30 AM. Also, guests are requested to wear formal clothes and not allowed to bring cameras inside the mausoleum.
It may take you 2-3 hours to come around here. In case there’s more time to spend, it is great to visit the famous Temple of Literature, which is the first university of Vietnam. From Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, you can either go on foot (about 20-25 minutes) or take a taxi (10 minutes) to get to this historic site.
A quick walking tour and apprehending the Confucianism’s influence in the national culture and education will take you about 1 hour. Van Mieu’s architecture represents the best authentic architecture of Vietnam offering a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
If you are in Hanoi, enjoying Vietnamese cuisines is surely an indispensable choice, particularly to taste both the urban and rural aroma of Vietnam. Hanoi Old Quarter is the food hub, with Bun Cha (1 Hang Manh st.), Cha Ca La Vong (14 Cha Ca st.), Bun Bo Nam Bo (67 Hang Dieu) and the list goes on. If you have a large appetite, you can always venture out to the Westlake area, where Sen buffet is located. The restaurant offers a grand choice at very reasonable price ($15 each).
It would be a mistake if ones forget to try on cyclo tour around the Old Quarter and Sword Lake. This unique type of transportation would give you the best view to take some photos while watching Hanoian life. Also, it’s would be flexible if you want to stop by and try out Hanoi’s street-foods or buy souvenirs in the Old Quarter. Visitors are suggested to enter Ngoc Son Temple, which is on Hoan Kiem Lake, to discover the legend about the legend Turtle who support Le Loi King won against Chinese invaders.
Hanoi Old Quarter’s list of delicacies is still waving for you to find out. Xoi Yen (39b Nguyen Huu Huan) should be a reasonably attractive choice with only $2/bowl. Other tasty options available in this area are Chao “quat” on Ngo Huyen Street, Banh Xeo and Ha Cao (55 Hang Bo) or Pho Ran (Nguyen Sieu st.). You may know some popular BBQ and fried fast food like BBQ Chicken, Lotteria or KFC but you can never find such special dish like “grilles chicken legs “ on Trinh Hoai Duc Street and BBQ bugs (81 Dai Co Viet) in any other cities in the world. Most of visitors, in order to have a ‘full package’ of trying bunches of Vietnam’s local specialties, head to Ngon restaurant (18 Phan Boi Chau).
A Hanoi night will never be accomplished if the most quintessential type of Vietnamese art is missed: water puppet show. This art form appeared in the 10th century and has become unique to the North of Vietnam. In a puppet show, puppeteers stand in the water, behind a screen and control wooden puppets by long and strong bamboo sticks hidden below the water surface. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is the most renowned puppet theater in Hanoi, which is located at 57B Dinh Tien Hoang and only 5 foot walking to Hoan Kiem Lake. The theater opens everyday from 2pm-8pm with the ticket prices differntiate from $3 – $5 based on types of seat.