5. Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son
Hoan Kiem Lake (Turtle Lake) is a central feature of Hanoi and is a popular hangout spot throughout the day with locals and tourists. Ngoc Son Temple sits on a small island in the centre of the lake and linked by a bridge, makes a beautiful background for a few photos. Around sunrise and sunset, this area becomes especially busy with joggers, couples enjoying the relaxing views across the lake, and the elderly practising Tai Chi and line dancing. Hoan Kiem Lake is free of charge, but there’s a fee of VND 20,000 to visit Ngoc Son Temple, which sits on a small island in the centre of the lake.
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter
6. Dong Xuan Market
Dong Xuan Market is the largest of its kind in Hanoi. Housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building, this sprawling complex offers an extensive collection of fashion, apparel and souvenirs at some of the best prices in the city. Even if you’re not interested in printed T-shirts or cheap sunglasses, it is still fascinating to see the comings and goings of the local traders, and there is a wet market on the ground floor where the sights and smells of exotic produce assault the senses.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 – 19:00
Address: Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
7. Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is a fascinating area of the city where visitors can enjoy many fine examples of colonial architecture packed along narrow streets. Endless packs of scooters, motorbikes, bicycles and cars weave around traders selling fruit and souvenirs and narrow shop houses sell delicious Vietnamese food for pennies. The Old Quarter brings to life what many people imagine Hanoi to be, and exploring this area on foot is highly recommended for all visitors to Vietnam’s capital city.
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem District
8. Ba Vi National Park
Ba Vi National Park is a nature reserve of stunning beauty located around two hours (48km) from downtown Hanoi. Famous for its three-peaked mountain that juts steeply up into the sky and is often topped by cloud, Ba Vi National Park has dramatic scenery and a diverse range of jungle plants and animals. At the summit of the tallest mountain is an 11th century temple offering expansive views of the surrounding countryside and on the forest floor are natural hot springs.
Location: 58 kilometres west of Hanoi
9. Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House, set in the heart of the French Quarter, is arguably one of the most elegant buildings in all of Hanoi. Built in 1911 and modelled after the Paris Opera House, this historical landmark exudes Parisian charm from its ivory-toned columns, ornate balustrades and Gothic domes. Priced at VND 100,000 upwards, visitors can enjoy classical performances ranging from Vietnamese opera and dance performances to sketches and music concerts by world-renowned artists.
Address: 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
10. Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is a charming temple complex in the centre of Hanoi that was originally built to be a centre of learning dedicated to the Chinese sage and scholar Confucius. Over the proceeding 1000 years many more buildings have been added and beautified o that now this large area is filled with ornate pavilions, shrines, and a rich garden. It has become a rite of passage for graduating doctors to visit The Temple of Literature and the whole place is steeped in Vietnamese history.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:30 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 16:30
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi
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