Hanoi Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing
The bulk of the tourist attractions in Hanoi lie in and around the Old Quarter, the bustling old centre of the city. This area sits just above the serene Hoan Kiem Lake and is home to many hotels and coffee shops.
Hanoi's Old Quarter is where you'll also find the One Pillar Pagoda and the Puppet Theatre, while the star attractions of the Presidential Palace are just off to the west and come in the form of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and museum.
Hanoi Old Quarter
Address: Central Hanoi, Vietnam, VN
Hanoi's Old Quarter is the most interesting section of the Vietnamese capital. Its bustling market and residential area is home to many hotels or guest houses and innumerable coffee shops, cafés, and restaurants. The Old Quarter also comes with, or is near to, most of the city's star attractions and can be found just north of Hoan Kiem Lake. The biggest highlight, however, is the seemingly unchanged lifestyle of this old trading quarter, where artisans are still clustered together according to their trade, as revealed by the names of the 'Hang' or streets. Look out for the art galleries - they present excellent value.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Address: 19 Ngoc Ha Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 04 846 3572
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the Vietnam
capital's star attraction and number one landmark. It lies in the Old Quarter and famously houses the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh (Uncle Ho). While impressive, the glorified mausoleum is rather fussy, with no talking or taking of pictures allowed while inside. Bags and dress are also strictly monitored and the place closes towards the end of every year for a few months while the body is maintained. Be sure to see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at night though, as it is beautifully lit. It is fronted by a large square and on weekends or public holidays you may be in for a long wait due to queuing locals.
Open hours: Monday and Friday - 08:00 to 11:30, Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 11:30, 14:00 to 16:00
One Pillar Pagoda
Address: Ong Ich Khiem Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi Vietnam, VN
One Pillar Pagoda is a unique temple in Hanoi that follows its namesake. The small structure sits atop a solitary pillar in a lotus pool, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and is almost completely surrounded by the pool. You enter from a single stairway. The One Pillar Pagoda was originally built on the conception of Emperor Ly Thai Tong's son.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 17:00
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Address: 57 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hanoi, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 04 824 9494
Those who are after a slice of culture while in Hanoi should consider checking out the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. It is a fun attraction, and although it's all in Vietnamese, it's hugely rewarding and easy on the eye. The theatre is well located in the Old Quarter, near the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, and performances with various themes are staged on a daily basis.
Open hours: daily - 18:30 and 20:00 performances, Sunday - 09:30
Admission: various ticket prices; extra for camera
Hoa Lo Prison
Address: Hoa Lo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam, VN
The Hanoi Hilton, as it was known during the Vietnam War, is a French-built prison where the colonialists would torture and even execute Vietnamese freedom fighters. American POW's were also held at Hoa Lo Prison during the war. The 100-year old structure is today a museum-type attraction, although part of the prison has made way for the modern Hanoi Towers.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 11:30, 13:30 to 16:30
Ho Chi Minh's Vestige
Address: 1 Bach Thao, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam, VN
Tel: +84 04 804 4529
Worth a look when visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is Ho Chi Minh's Vestige, where the great man lived and worked for a time. It is on the site of the Presidential Palace, (most of which is closed off to visitors), not far from the mausoleum, and is beautifully landscaped. The best way to tour the houses and grounds is with a guide.
Open hours: May to October, Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - 07:30 to 11:00, 14:00 to 16:00, Monday and Friday - 07:30 to 11:00; November to April, Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 11:00, 13:30 to 16:00, Monday and Friday - 08:00 to 11:00