My Yellow Suitcase

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15 Must See Places in Hanoi, Vietnam

My first taste of Vietnam was in Hanoi – the capital and second largest city in the country. Hanoi packs everything from old monuments to historical masterpieces to lush, green parks and amazing local cuisines. It’s a place where you can be kept busy for days without having any time to get bored.  When you’re pressed for time, however, you want to make sure you get to strike the most important ones off your bucket list. So where should you start?

Here are the top 15 things to do in Hanoi that you shouldn’t miss.

1. Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple


Location: 45km from Ninh Binh

Entrance Fee: Walk around the lake is free; Entrance to the temple is 30,000 dong per person

Operating Hours: 8:00 Am to 5:00 Pm

What to expect:  The Lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for the locals. If you want a pleasant excursion to learn about Vietnam’s history, sight-see, blend with the locals and exercise, this is the place to go.

2. Explore the Old Quarter


Location: Near Hoan Kiem Lake

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: 24/7

What to expect:  The Old Quarter is a precious legacy of Hanoi’s ancient past,  and by simply walking around its narrow streets, you will have a  grasp of the local’s life hundreds of years ago.

3. Watch the Water Puppet Show

puppet show

Location: Northeast of Hoan Kiem Lake at 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Street

Entrance Fee:  60,000 – 100,000 dong per person

Operating Hours: Shows during the day and evening at 14:00 and 20:00

What to expect:  Water Puppet Shows date back to the 11th century. Puppeteers stand in waist-deep pools and manipulate lacquer-covered wooden puppets. They are accompanied by a live orchestra, which plays traditional Vietnamese music.

4. Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum


Location: At Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi city center

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Thursday and weekends from 08:00 – 11:00. Closed on Monday and Friday

What to expect:   Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an important historical attraction of Hanoi, known for honoring the national hero –  Ho Chi Minh.

5. Learn the Country’s History at Ho Chi Minh Museum


Location: At Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi city center

Entrance Fee: 10,000 Dong

Operating Hours:  08:00 – 11:00; 14:00 – 16:30. Closed on Monday and Friday

What to expect:   Ho Chi Minh’s life is meticulously described here with fascinating photos and old official documents relating to how Vietnam achieved its democracy. The museum also features a collection of artifacts, miniatures and various gifts gathered nationally and internationally.

6. Stroll the Presidential Palace


Location: At Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi city center

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: 08:00 – 11:00; 14:00 – 16:30. Closed on Monday and Friday

What to expect:  Walk around the grounds of the presidential palace and Ho Chi Minh house on stilts. You will also see old cars on display used by Ho Chi Minh during his term as the president of Vietnam.

7. Be Mesmerized by One Pillar Pagoda


Location: At Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi city center

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: 09:00 Am – 4:00Pm

What to expect:   The One-pillar pagoda or Dien Huu pagoda has one of the most special architectures in Vietnam. Built of wood on a single stone pillar, the pagoda was designed to resemble a lotus blossom, the symbol of purity, rising out of a sea of sorrow.

8. Walk back in time at the Imperial Citadel


Location: Next to Ba Dinh Square, opposite the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Thursday and weekends from 08:00 – 11:00. Closed on Monday and Friday

What to expect:  This is the area of the old forbidden city of Hanoi, which the French demolished and converted into a military base. The pictorial exhibit with insightful texts will really make you appreciate life when this historic site was at its prime.

9. Discover Hanoi’s rich culture at the Temple of Literature


Location: Quoc Tu Giam St. | Dong Da District, Hanoi

Entrance Fee: 10,000 Dong

Operating Hours: From 08:00 – 17:00 from November until March and 07:30 – 18:00 for the rest of the year. Closed on a Monday

What to expect:  If you are keen on history and architecture this is teh place to go.  Temple of literature is regarded as one of the most typical architecture style for centuries in Vietnam, composed of wood and tiles.

10. Explore the Hoa Lo Prison

Hao Lo prison

Location: corner Lo & P Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Entrance Fee: 30,000 Dong

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Thursday and weekends from 08:00 – 11:00. Closed on Monday and Friday

What to expect:    Built by the French at the turn of the 20th century to house political prisoners.  The prison was demolished during the 1990s, though the gatehouse remains as a museum, which contains information about the prison’s varied history.

11. Admire the cultural shows at the Grand Opera House

Hanoi Opera House 2

Location: 59 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: Varies/depending on the show

What to expect:  Hanoi Opera House proudly stands at the heart of central Hanoi as one of its most famous architectural, cultural and political symbol. If you enjoy performances of classical music, dance, drama and opera then this is a place for you.

12. Check out St. Joseph Parish Church

st joseph church

Location: St.  Joseph Cathedral, Hanoi

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: 08:00Am – 5:00Pm

What to expect:   Its a Roman Catholic cathedral with neo- gothic style, which was built about 120 years ago and considered as the oldest church in Hanoi.

13. Learn how to weave at Silk Village


Location: Van Phuc, Ha Dong, Hanoi

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: All day

What to expect: Van Phuc silk village is renowned for its traditional weaving and premium quality silk products. Here you will  learn about silk processing, watch fabric being woven, and browse the shops to see the unique silk products on offer.

14. Get your hands dirty at Bat Trang pottery Village


Location: Bat Trang porcelain and pottery village

Entrance Fee: Free

Operating Hours: 08:00Am – 5:00Pm

What to expect:  Learn the art of  century-year-old ceramic making and get the chance to directly make your own pottery products.

15. Visit the Museum of Ethnology


Location: Nguyen Van Huyen, Hanoi

Entrance Fee: 25,000 Dong per person

Operating Hours: Everyday from 08:30Am – 5:30Pm

What to expect: This is the most recent yet probably the largest and undoubtedly the most interesting Museums in Hanoi and Vietnam. It is worth a thorough visit, especially for those who are keen to learn about the multiculturality of Vietnam and for those who would appreciate some green space.

Would you like to add something on the list? Write it down in the comment box below and I might include it.  If you enjoyed this post, why not follow  my  Facebook  or Instagram page for more travel tips and  inspiration. 

Happy travels everyone!

You may also like:

Tips for a BUDGET TRAVEL in Vietnam

My First Impressions of Hanoi, Vietnam

Scenic Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake – HANOI

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – HANOI

Guide for Choosing a Suitable Halong Bay Cruise

Cruising Ha Long Bay – Vietnam


Picturesque Tam Coc – Ninh Binh Vietnam

Escape to Ninh Binh – Vietnam

Must See Places in Ninh Binh – Vietnam

Uniquely Hanoi, Vietnam


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