You will never be boring when travel in Hanoi, where ancient and proudly preserved Vietnamese culture can be found anywhere, and progress wrestles with tradition in different districts of the city.
Hanoi is an over 1000 year old city with old temples, ancient citadels, unique theatre and stunning wilderness just outside the city all offer fun-filled days in Vietnam’s capital. Enjoy our list of top things to do in Hanoi below.
1. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing 40 metres high, the central flag tower is the most recognizable feature of the Imperial Citadel and is often used as a symbol of Hanoi. This was the centre of ancient Hanoi and served as the political centre for eight centuries. Located in Ba Dinh, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is close to many other tourist attractions.
Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 – 12:30 & 13:30 – 19:30
Location: Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
2. Water Puppet Theatre
The ancient art form of water puppetry has a long association with Hanoi and there are several theatres where guests can enjoy this uniquely Vietnamese take on Asia’s puppet tradition. The original – and widely regarded as the best – theatre in town is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre. Puppets dance and slide elegantly over the liquid stage, controlled by a whole troupe of puppet masters hiding behind a screen. Most shows also feature the famous Legend of the Restored Sword of King Le which tells the tale of Hoan Kiem Lake and the giant tortoise.
Opening Hours: Daily 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00
Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
3. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh has left an indelible mark on Vietnamese history and he is revered in Hanoi as the country’s greatest leader. Nicknamed ‘Uncle Ho’ by locals, his preserved body is now laid to rest in a glass case in the Ba Dinh area of Hanoi. This is more than a tourist attraction, it is a part of living history and a visit here stays long in the memory. The sombre building was modeled after Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 07:30 – 10:30, Saturday & Sunday 07:30 – 11:00
Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
4. The Perfume Pagoda
The Perfume Pagoda is a dramatic temple complex believed to have been first built in the 15th century. This series of Buddhist temples are built into a mountain range in a maze of alleyways carved into the rock with rich forests and flowing streams all around. Located around 60km south of Hanoi in the Son Mountains the journey here is an experience in itself: first you must take a two hour journey by car or bus before travelling by boat to the foot of the mountains.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:30 – 17:00
Location: Huong Son, My Duc, Hanoi
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