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Travelling to Hanoi - Vietnam

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Overview

Hanoi is the capital and the political, cultural and tourism central of Vietnam. Hanoi has long-standing history and it is going to celebrate its 1000 years anniversary.

Hanoi is on the both side of Red river, 1760km away from Ho Chi Minh city. Hanoi is a part of Red river dental in the north of Vietnam. It shares same border with provinces: Thai Nguyen and Vinh Phuc to the north, Ha Nam to the south, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Hung Yen to the east, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho to the west.

Hanoi has a long- standing history with many architectural and cultural works and famous historical relics. Its old and elegant appearance and hidden beauty make Hanoi become the biggest tourist attractions to the foreigners.  
 

When should we visit Hanoi  
 

Hanoi streets
 
 
Hanoi brings the typical climate of northern area of Vietnam which is tropical monsoon, hot and humid. In the summer, the rainfall is high and in the winter, it is cold and dry and the rainfall is low. The winter lasts from November to March of following year.  

The best time to visit Hanoi is in the Autumn, from early September to late November. In this season, the weather is nice. It is cool; sometimes it rain lightly, the sky seems to be wider and deeper. Autumn in Hanoi has inspired many poets, writers, composers, artists…

Destinations and activities in Hanoi.  

Hanoi is one of the tourist sites which attract the most domestic and foreign tourists in Vietnam due to its long-standing history and traditions on diverse and featured cultures.



Temple of Literature
 

On a visit to Hanoi, the first destination should be mentioned is Temple of Literature - the first university in Vietnam and also the place for worshiping the Confucius and placing Doctor’ steles.

One pillar pagoda
 
 
Hanoi, a Buddhism and Taoism central of Vietnam, has lots of hundreds of year old temples and churches.  Although they have undergone many changes, they still maintain their ancient beauties.  Tran Quoc pagoda which is built in Ly dynasty in 6th century is the oldest one. Another symbol of Hanoi is one pillar pagoda. It has the lotus-shaped architectural structure that is the most unique one in Vietnam. Besides, Ngoc Son temple in the central of Hoan Kiem lake which is in the central of city and West lake are also the attractive sites.

Tran quoc pagoda
 
 
Since 19th century, many pagodas have been built in Hanoi; the biggest one is Hanoi cathedral. Besides, the North Gate church is also worth visiting with typical French architecture styles.
 

Hanoi Cathedral  
 
 
Hanoi Old square is a characteristic beauty of Hanoi with houses and streets holding the appearance of the late 19th century. On a visit to Hanoi, visitors can walk all long day in the old streets; discover all nooks and crannies which are gentle or busy.
 
 

A corner of Hanoi squares
 
 
Ba Dinh Square is a must visit place when in Hanoi. This is politic central of Vietnam with Parliament House, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum – place maintain uncle Ho’ body. It is in this square, He declared the independence of Vietnam.


Ba Dinh square – Ho Chi Minh mousleum.
 

Since August, 1st 2008, Ha Tay province merged into Hanoi, there have been many other tourist attractions such as Ba Vi national park, King pond, Khoang Xanh, Hai stream, Dong Mo, Thien Son – Nga stream, Ngoc stream, Vua Ba, Bang Ta, Dam Long, Quan Son, Dong Xuong, Van Son, Ngo Quyen, Phung Hung mausoleum, Son Tay old citadel, Chu Dong Tu festival, Huong pagoda.   
 
 
Arriving in Hanoi, visitors should visit Hanoi opera house .It was built by the French on no 1, Trang Tien. This is one of capital’s the cultural centrals which organize many cultural activities and art performances. Also, it is the central of conferences and meetings.
 
 


Hanoi Opera House
 
 
Hanoi has the most diverse museum system in Vietnam with more than 10 museums in total. Most of them are historical museums such as the Vietnam Ethnology museum, Military History museum, History museum of Vietnam,Victory Museum, Revolution museum , and in other field such as Vietnam Fine Art museum, Vietnamese Women museum.
 
 
 
 

 the Vietnam Ethnology museum
 
 
Specially, Hanoi has contains many lakes and the city is surrounded by rivers. The most famous lake is Hoan Kiem lake in the central of city where big cultural events often take place such as performances, firework display. In normal days, lots of visitors and young people gather here.

 
 

Hoan Kiem lake.
 
 
Unlike Hoan Kiem lake, West lake is far away from city central. It is the biggest lake in Hanoi. Lots of young people come here to enjoy the fresh air and quite atmosphere. By nights, visitors can row the boats around the lake and walk along the late. Seeing sunset on West lake is a joyful experience.
 
 

 
 

Sunset on the West lake
 
 
Covering an area of 35,560 square meters, West lake water park is divided into 5 main playgrounds with modern equipment such as high speed glisesste, swimming pools, and massage pools. Besides, inner city has many other playgrounds such as Thong Nhat park, Thu Le park, the Youth park…
 


The West Lake water park.
 
 
Many craft villages such as Bat Trang pottery village, Ngu Xa village forging brass, Yen Phu village making incense have preserved tradition culture of Vietnam.
 
 
Bat Trang pottery
 

It is interesting to join the traditional festivals in Hanoi. The festivals mostly take place in spring to remind and praise historical figures such as Thanh Giong, Hai Ba Trung, Quang Trung, An Duong Vuong….there are many traditional games such as cooking festival of Thi Cam village, ground paddling of Do Thao village, traditional flying skys festival of Ba Giang village, Soc Temple festival in Tu Liem district, Soc Son festival in Soc Son district, Phu Thanh Giong festival in Chi Nam village, Gia Lam district….
 
 
Among them, the most noticeable festival is Trieu Khuc festival in Trieu Khuc village, Thanh Tri district. It takes place on 9th to 12th, January on lunar calendar. Trieu Khuc village is famous for making flat palm hat with fringes and worshiping objects such as parasol, incenses, canopies, … Anther big festival is Thanh Giong festival or  Phu Dong village festival. It takes places in September, 4th on the lunar calendar. Quang Trung festival is held annually January, 5th on lunar year in Dong Da mound, Dong Da district. Huong festival which takes places from middle January to March on lunar year in Huong Son village, My Duc district, attract the most tourists in January, 15th to February, 18th. With mountain and water landscapes of Huong pagoda, the festival is the destination of Buddhist clergies, Buddhists, pilgrims and visitors.  
 
 

 Huong pagoda festival’s opening ceremony  
 
 
 
How to go around Hanoi

The international airport is the biggest airport in northern Vietnam. It is an important traffic gate of Hanoi capital as well as the whole north part of Vietnam. Noi Bai international airport which is located in Soc Son district, 45 km away from Hanoi central capital to the north west, is the second largest airport after Tan Son Nhat international airport in Sai Gon.   

Lots of airlines set the airways to Noi Bai airport such as Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, Eva Air, Hong Kong Airlines, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines.

Domestic flights can use Jestar Parcific Airlines with surprisingly cheap price.

Public transports such as bus, taxi, motorbikes,cars can be used to go around inner city. Visitors can hire Pedi cabs with cheap price to visit around the city. Besides, Hanoi has railways to northern provinces and other provinces around the country. If you stay in Hanoi for a long time, you can come to Old Squares to hire bicycles or motorbikes. Normally, this is the favorite means of transportation of foreign visitors.

Food of Hanoi

Hanoi has long-standing tradition of food with a lot of famous food.

“Pho” (noodle soup) is characteristic symbol of Hanoi’s food. The reason is that it is totally different from that of other localities. Hanoi’s “pho” has the plain sweet of beef bone, flavor of beef which is well-cooked, tastes perfect.  
 

Visitors to Hanoi also taste La Vong fried fish. In the past, La Vong fried fish was made from Lang fish. However, recently, Lang fish is replaced by Qua Ta fish because it is more available and inexpensive.

La Vong fried fish is combined with rice vermicelli and many kinds of flavor vegetables such as small spring unions, unions, dill, roasted peanuts and shrimp paste or fish sauce. We should eat fried fish when it is steaming hot and taste slowly to enjoy the pervaded flavor of fried fish and other spices.

Besides, it is better to taste some food such as teamed Thanh Tri rolled made of rice flour, crisp shrimp pastry in West lake. Vong green rice….

The followings are some food addresses.  

    Chicken noodle soup, 172 Ton Duc Thang
    “pho” Bat Dan, 49 Bat Dan
    “Pho” Thin West lake
    “Pho” Thin Lo Duc
    Fried fish, 14 Cha Ca/ phone: 8 253 929
    Fried fish, 107 Nguyen Truong To/phone: 8 239 875

Shopping and price

Price in Hanoi is the same as that in Ho Chi Minh city or sometimes is lower. The highest grade hotel in Hanoi is over 200 US dollar/ night and the lowest price is 15 UD dollar/night.

The normal guesthouses price at 80.000-12000 vnd/night. To have normal guesthouses, you should come to Old Squares.

In the peak seasons such as Christmas, Western New Year, Lunar New Year, it had better book 2-3 month in advance to rent with cheaper price.

It is advised to book room in big hotel through travel agency rather than book directly in hotels to be cheaper.

Other bear-in-mind things:

    Bring light clothes in the summer because it will be hot. And bring warm clothes in the winter because it can be very cold, temperature can be under 10 degree Cencius
    When visiting Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, or churches, wear neat and courteous clothes. Don’t wear short skirts, shorts…
    You should bring along with you a Hanoi map because you can be easy to get lost in Old Squares.
    You should bargain when shopping in the markets but should bargain one times and if you can’t buy anything, just smile, thank the sellers and tell them you want to see other things before deciding. If you intend not to buy anything, you are advised to go in the afternoon because many sellers may be impolite and prissy.
    Usually, Hanoi people don’t go out after 11 p.m. from 24h, the streets are quite, deserted and insecure. All stores are closed. Visitors are advised not to go out at this time.
 
 
 
 

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