The main attractions in Hanoi are considered reminders of its rich culture and history that dates back more than a millennia.
The city is accentuated with distinct french-inspired architectures, a series of Buddhist temples, primeval citadels, intriguing theatres and traditional villages. Not to mention its awe-striking sceneries and staggering infrastructures.
Considered as one of the most intriguing relics in the history of Vietnam, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. The citadel houses artifacts that dated back between the 6th and 20th centuries which were excavated in 2004. This includes foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells, bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia.
The citadel also served as the country’s political center for 13 consecutive centuries and has been the capital of Vietnam for 8 centuries. A well-known attraction in the citadel is the proud Hanoi Flag Tower. It is a 40 meter tall fortress made of stone providing the best panoramic view of the Ba Dinh Square and the Hanoi City Center.
One Pillar Pagoda
Built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong who ruled from 1028 to 1054. It is during this time that the emperor dreamed about the Goddess of Mercy – Quan The Am Bo Tat who granted him a son. To show his gratitude towards the Goddess, the emperor built the pagoda.
The temple is designed to resemble a blossoming lotus flower inspired by the dream of the emperor
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
A pilgrimage area for Vietnamese locals surrounded by enthralling gardens. It is known to be the deathbed of modern Vietnam’s father – Ho Chi Minh.
The mausoleum houses the embalmed remains of Ho Chi Minh encased in glass. You will find the riveting life of the late Ho Chi Minh and several memorabilias.
The Temple of Literature
One of the most iconic attractions in Hanoi is its Temple of Literature. It is part of a large complex and was built in 1070. It was originally built to be a center for learning in honor of the Chinese Sage and scholar Confucious. The best highlight to see in this temple is the Stele of Doctors. You will also find 82 carved blue stone turtles that are considered holy creatures in Vietnam.
It is customary to pray at the temple if you are an aspiring writer or publisher hoping to make it big one day publishing a masterpiece.
Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple
According to the story, the Emperor Ly Thai To was presented with a magical Legend magical sword by a giant golden turtle who nestled in the lake to aid the emperor with his battle against the Ming dynasty.
Upon the emperor’s success, he gave the magical sword back to its owner who then returned it to the gods.
The lake has been admired by many due to its impeccable features. You can expect to see locals practising Tai Chi routines on the water’s edge.
The Ngoc Son Temple, or The Temple of the Jade Mountain is located on an islet engulfed with canopies on the north side of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is connected by a beautiful scarlet bridge which was built in honor of the intellectual scholar named Saint Van Xuong and national hero General Tran Hung Dao.
Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
Considered as the oldest Roman Catholic church found in the city of Hanoi. The cathedral is inspired by the Notre Dame de Paris accentuated by its notable neo-Gothic architectural style. The cathedral boasts a striking twin tower bell with detailed engraves on its altar. It is also filled with picturesque paintings and the iconic stained-glass windows from France.
A statue of Mother Mary has been set in its courtyard right in front of the cathedral surrounded by greens and colorful flowers.
Long Bien Bridge
The Long Bien Bridge was built from 1899 to 1902 spearheaded by architects all the way from Paris. Built from 1899 to 1902, the Long Bien Bridge was designed by architects who came over from Paris.
This is the first ever bridge made of steel and served as one of the main attractions in Hanoi. It also served an important role during the Vietnam War and is considered an important piece of the history of the city.
If you are planning to check this bridge, try visiting in the evening when it’s well-lit. You can also walk over the bridge through its pedestrian and stop by on some food carts along the way.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
This Pagoda is the claim to be the oldest Buddhist temple found in the city and was established way back in the 6th century.
It is located on an island in the center of West Lake and can be accessed by a portable causeway. The most notable spot in this Pagoda is its stupa which houses 11 floors filled with statues encrusted with shimmering gemstones.