Top 10 best attractions in Hanoi must-visit

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Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum,… is one of the 10 best attractions in Hanoi must-visit. In this article, Duong’s Restaurant will introduce details about the above attractions for your reference.

Top 10 best attractions in Hanoi

Best attractions in Hanoi
Best attractions in Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a city steeped in history and culture, offering a plethora of tourist attractions to explore. Here is a list of ten must-visit attractions in Hanoi:

1. Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter

Historical Significance of Hanoi Old Quarter

The Hanoi Old Quarter has a rich history that dates back to the 13th century. It was originally a cluster of craft guilds and specialized trading streets, each dedicated to a specific trade or craft. Over the centuries, the Old Quarter has witnessed numerous historical events, from wars and invasions to cultural exchanges and economic boom.

Architecture and Layout

Walking through the Hanoi Old Quarter is like stepping back in time. The neighborhood features well-preserved French colonial buildings, traditional tube houses, and narrow, winding streets. The architecture reflects the fusion of Vietnamese and European influences, creating a unique atmosphere that is both nostalgic and enchanting.

Hidden Gems and Local Experiences

The Hanoi Old Quarter is not only a tourist attraction but also a vibrant hub where locals live, work, and socialize. Exploring the narrow alleys and hidden corners of the neighborhood unveils a world of hidden gems, from traditional markets and family-run eateries to ancient temples and lively street performances.

Shopping and Souvenirs

The Hanoi Old Quarter is a shopaholic’s paradise, offering an array of traditional crafts, authentic Vietnamese merchandise, and trendy boutiques. Visitors can find everything from handmade jewelry, silk garments, and lacquerware to local spices, herbal medicines, and unique souvenirs. Bargaining is common and adds to the excitement of the shopping experience.

Food and Restaurants

No visit to the Hanoi Old Quarter is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. The neighborhood is home to countless street food stalls, market vendors, and quaint restaurants that offer a wide range of Vietnamese and international cuisines. From the famous Pho Hanoi and Bun Cha to egg coffee and local snacks, the Old Quarter is a haven for food lovers.

2. Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake

Legend of the Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of Hanoi, holds great historical and cultural significance for the Vietnamese people. The lake is known for its enchanting legend that tells the story of a magical sword and a giant turtle. According to the legend, a Vietnamese emperor was given a divine sword by a turtle in the lake, which he used to defeat foreign invaders. The lake’s name literally translates to “Lake of the Returned Sword.”

Scenic Beauty and Serenity

Hoan Kiem Lake offers a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling cityscape of Hanoi. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery, scenic parks, and picturesque bridges, creating a serene environment for relaxation and introspection. Visitors can take a leisurely walk or sit by the lake to enjoy the breathtaking views and escape the chaos of the city.

3. Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple, also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain, is a revered and historic temple located on an island within Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, Vietnam. This picturesque temple is one of the most iconic and culturally significant landmarks in the city.

The temple is connected to the lakeshore by a striking vermilion wooden bridge called The Huc Bridge, which adds to its charm and allows visitors to access the temple. As you cross the bridge and approach the temple, you are greeted by intricate architectural details, vibrant colors, and an air of serenity.

Ngoc Son Temple is dedicated to several deities and historical figures, but it is primarily associated with the worship of Tran Hung Dao, a revered Vietnamese military leader from the 13th century who played a crucial role in defending Vietnam against Mongol invasions. Inside the temple, you will find statues, altars, and artifacts related to Tran Hung Dao and other significant figures in Vietnamese history.

One of the highlights of a visit to Ngoc Son Temple is the opportunity to explore the temple’s interior and enjoy panoramic views of Hoan Kiem Lake from its vantage points. The temple’s location on the island offers a peaceful escape from the bustling streets of Hanoi, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals seeking tranquility and spiritual reflection.

Ngoc Son Temple is not only a place of religious and cultural significance but also a symbol of Hanoi’s rich history and heritage. It has played a vital role in the city’s cultural life for centuries and continues to be a must-visit attraction for those interested in exploring the cultural and historical treasures of Vietnam’s capital city.

4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Tribute to a National Hero

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a monumental structure built to honor and pay tribute to Vietnam’s beloved leader, President Ho Chi Minh. The mausoleum holds the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh, allowing visitors to pay their respects and learn more about his life and contributions to the nation.

Architectural Grandeur

Designed in a simple and minimalist style, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum stands out as an architectural masterpiece. The massive granite structure showcases a combination of European and traditional Vietnamese elements, emphasizing the values of humility, integrity, and dedication that Ho Chi Minh embodied.

Changing of the Guards Ceremony

A highlight of the visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is witnessing the solemn Changing of the Guards ceremony. Dressed in traditional white uniforms, the guards maintain strict discipline and precision as they carry out their duties. The ceremony reflects the reverence and admiration the Vietnamese people hold for Ho Chi Minh.

5. Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Vietnamese Women's Museum
Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Empowering Women Through History

The Vietnamese Women’s Museum celebrates the achievements and contributions of Vietnamese women throughout history. The museum showcases the resilience, strength, and courage of Vietnamese women in various fields, including politics, culture, education, and family life.

Interactive Exhibitions and Artifacts

The museum offers interactive exhibitions that provide a comprehensive understanding of the challenges, triumphs, and daily lives of Vietnamese women. Visitors can explore artifacts, personal stories, and multimedia displays that highlight the diverse roles and experiences of women from different regions and ethnic groups.

Promoting Gender Equality

The Vietnamese Women’s Museum plays a vital role in promoting gender equality and raising awareness about women’s rights. Through educational programs, workshops, and advocacy campaigns, the museum aims to empower women and challenge gender stereotypes, fostering a more inclusive and equitable society.

6. Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature

The Oldest University in Vietnam

The Temple of Literature, or Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam, is a prestigious historical site that served as Vietnam’s first national university. Established in 1070, the temple was dedicated to Confucius and served as an educational institution for scholars and elite students.

Architectural Splendor

The Temple of Literature is renowned for its exquisite architectural design and meticulous craftsmanship. The complex features multiple courtyards, pavilions, and serene gardens that reflect the traditional Vietnamese architectural style. Visitors can admire the intricate carvings, calligraphy, and statues that adorn the temple.

Symbol of Learning and Wisdom

The Temple of Literature is not just a historical site but also a symbol of learning, scholarship, and intellectual pursuit. It holds immense cultural significance for the Vietnamese people, who consider it a place of reverence and inspiration for students and scholars.

7. Museum of Ethnology

Museum of Ethnology
Museum of Ethnology

Exploring Vietnam’s Diverse Ethnic Groups

The Museum of Ethnology provides a fascinating insight into the cultural heritage and diversity of Vietnam’s numerous ethnic groups. The museum showcases traditional houses, artifacts, costumes, and customs of different ethnic communities, offering visitors a glimpse into their unique traditions and way of life.

Interactive Exhibits and Cultural Experiences

The museum offers interactive exhibits and cultural performances that engage visitors and provide a hands-on learning experience. Visitors can participate in traditional games, craft workshops, and musical performances, immersing themselves in the vibrant traditions of Vietnam’s ethnic communities.

Preserving Cultural Identity

The Museum of Ethnology plays a crucial role in preserving and promoting the cultural identity of Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Through research, conservation efforts, and educational programs, the museum contributes to the recognition and appreciation of the country’s diverse cultural heritage.

8. Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Hoa Lo Prison Museum
Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Historical Significance

The Hoa Lo Prison Museum, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” is a solemn reminder of the hardships and sacrifices endured by Vietnamese revolutionaries during the colonial era and the Vietnam War. Originally built by the French to house political prisoners, the prison later became a POW camp for American pilots.

Exhibits and Artefacts

The museum features informative exhibits, photographs, and artifacts that document the harsh living conditions, torture methods, and resistance efforts of the prisoners. Visitors can explore reconstructed cells, view personal belongings of the inmates, and learn about the resilience and bravery of those who were incarcerated.

Reflection and Understanding

The Hoa Lo Prison Museum offers a poignant and thought-provoking experience that encourages reflection and understanding of Vietnam’s tumultuous history. It serves as a reminder of the indomitable spirit and unwavering determination of the Vietnamese people in the face of adversity.

9. Water Puppet Theatre

Water Puppet Theatre
Water Puppet Theatre

Traditional Vietnamese Art Form

The Water Puppet Theatre is a unique and traditional form of Vietnamese entertainment that dates back to the 11th century. The performances take place in a water-filled stage, where wooden puppets controlled by puppet masters create mesmerizing scenes depicting ancient folklore, rural life, and historical events.

Colorful and Energetic Performances

The water puppet shows are known for their vibrant colors, lively music, and energetic performances. The puppeteers skillfully manipulate the puppets, accompanied by a live orchestra that plays traditional Vietnamese music. The combination of visual spectacle and cultural storytelling makes it a must-see attraction in Hanoi.

Preserving Cultural Heritage

The Water Puppet Theatre plays a vital role in preserving and promoting Vietnamese cultural heritage. The art form has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, highlighting its significance and contribution to the country’s cultural identity.

10. West Lake

West Lake
West Lake

Scenic Beauty and Tranquility

West Lake, also known as Ho Tay, is the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi and offers a serene and picturesque retreat from the busy city life. Surrounded by lush greenery, pagodas, and elegant villas, the lake provides a tranquil setting for leisurely walks, boat rides, and evening strolls.

Pagodas and Temples

West Lake is home to several pagodas and temples that are worth exploring. Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, and Quan Thanh Temple, dedicated to the Taoist deity Tran Vu, are among the prominent religious sites in the vicinity of the lake.

Outdoor Activities and Entertainment

Visitors to West Lake can engage in various outdoor activities, such as cycling, jogging, or simply relaxing by the lake’s edge. The lake is also a popular venue for cultural events, festivals, and water sports, providing opportunities for locals and tourists to come together and celebrate.

Experience visiting tourist attractions in Hanoi

Tourist attractions in Hanoi
Tourist attractions in Hanoi

One of the most exhilarating experiences in Hanoi is trying to cross the bustling roads. With a seemingly endless stream of motorbikes, crossing the street can be a bit daunting for first-time visitors. However, once you get the hang of it, it becomes an adrenaline-fueled adventure. Remember to walk at a steady pace and make eye contact with the drivers to ensure a safe crossing.

No visit to Hanoi is complete without indulging in the city’s famous dish, pho. Join the locals and slurp a steaming bowl of this flavorful noodle soup from one of the many street vendors scattered throughout the city. The combination of tender beef or chicken, fresh herbs, and fragrant broth will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

To truly experience the bustling streets of Hanoi, hop on a cyclo and let the driver pedal you through the city’s chaotic yet charming alleys. This unique mode of transportation allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and observe the daily life of the locals up close.


Hanoi offers a plethora of exciting destinations and attractions, each with its own unique charm and significance. From the enchanting Hanoi Old Quarter and the serene Hoan Kiem Lake to the historical landmarks and cultural museums, the city presents a tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a culinary explorer, Hanoi is sure to captivate your heart and leave lasting memories. Plan your visit to these amazing attractions and embark on a journey of discovery through the vibrant streets of Hanoi.

After visiting the fascinating places in Hanoi. You can have meals at Duong’s Restaurant, one of the Hanoi restaurants which are highly appreciated by diners on Tripadvisor.

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