Hanoi Tourist Information and Tourism

(Hanoi, Vietnam)

As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is an especially important Asian city, with much grace, elegance, energy and excitement. When you first arrive in Hanoi you cannot fail to be impressed by its wide boulevards, attractive lakes, old pagodas and markets, with the three-storey Dong Xuan Market being quite unmissable.

Fortunately for sightseers, the historic centre of the city is very walkable and most sights here are within walking distance of each other. However, the peaceful temples and beautiful buildings contrast greatly with the swarming motorbikes and scooters, which now number over half a million - almost ten times more than the number of cars in the city. For tourist information in Hanoi, the glitzy tourism centre on the Dinh Tien Hoang is privately run and offers guided tours, handouts and reliable advice. Alternatively, a government-operated tourist outlet is on hand for those flying into Noi Bai International Airport, and there are plenty of good travel agencies spread around the city, on roads such as the Dao Duy Tu, the Hang Bo and the Hang Giay.

Hanoi Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

Much of the sightseeing in Hanoi resides on the northern side of the Hoan Kiem Lake, within the Old Quarter or very close by, being of a historical nature. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a hugely popular attraction here and draws thousands of visitors each year, who come to see the embalmed body of modern Vietnam's famous founder, Ho Chi Minh. Other must-see attractions include the Hoa Lo Prison, which also goes by the name of the 'Hanoi Hilton' and in the past was used to imprison, torture and execute Vietnamese freedom fighters. Located within the Ba Dinh district is the One Pillar Pagoda, which stands in a lotus pool on just a single pillar. For some fun entertainment the Vietnamese way, visit the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and see the art of water puppetry, which is said to have its origins in the 10th century, when carved wooden puppets were used to tell stories of folklore in the waters of the Red River and the rice paddies. More information about Hanoi Tourist Attractions.

If you have come to Vietnam to see some fine temples, Hanoi is certainly the place to be. There are a huge quantity of quality temples here, with the Ngoc Son (Jade Mountain) being one of the most magical. The 18th-century Ngoc Son Temple is situated within the centrally located Hoan Kiem Lake, where it sits on an island on the northerly side of the lake and boasts some elaborate Buddhist inscriptions. Just outside of Hanoi's Old Quarter is the Quan Thanh Temple, which is sited alongside the Truc Bach Lake and dates as far back as the 11th century. Of a similar age, the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam) is to be found close to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and stands within charming landscaped grounds. More information about Hanoi Landmarks and Monuments.

Being the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi understandably contains a number of important national museums and plenty of cultural draws. The National Museum of Vietnamese History is particularly interesting and is based between the Hoan Kiem Lake and the Song Hong (Red River), containing a wealth of historical information and antiquities. If you are interested in learning all about Vietnam's revolutionary past, then the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution is the place to visit, clearly documenting the situation with the Americans during the Vietnam War. Providing a pleasant change from the often intense museums are the city's art galleries, with the best including the Fine Arts Museum (close to the Temple of Literature) and the Hanoi Art Gallery, where contemporary art works are sold. More information about Hanoi Museums and Hanoi Art Galleries.

If you are looking to travel outside of the city, then a number of day trips will become possible. Hanoi is within reach of the hugely popular and rather splendid Halong Bay, although this beauty spot is around a two and a half hour journey. Nearby Halong Bay, Hai Phong is a major Vietnamese city and although not overly touristy, it does provide a good base for exploration. Slightly closer to Hanoi is the Perfume Pagoda (Chua Huong) at Ha Dong, which sees a huge annual pilgrimage of dedicated Buddhists. Closer still and only an hour away is the Ba Vi National Park, where a mountaintop temple offers stunning panoramas of the flora below. The neighbouring village of Bat Trang is a mere 30 minutes from the city and most of those who choose to come here do so for its cluster of pottery factories. More information about Hanoi Attractions Nearby.

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