Hanoi tourist guide - what to see

It may be a cliché but there really is something for everyone in Hanoi, a city steeped in history and full of character. If you have to choose between here and Ho Chi Minh City, go for Hanoi, since its quintessential Vietnamese charm is not compromised by Western influence as is its southern counterpart.

What to see in Hanoi first depends on your interests. Most visitors’ first stop is the Old Quarter, where the tiny shopfronts on narrow streets display their wares, which may be anything from flowers to silk scarves. It’s fun to get lost in the labyrinth of alleys here, then find your way out with a map or hop in a cyclo back to the hotel.

Attractions

From the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda to Hoa Lo Prison and the French Quarter, there are so many stunning tourist attractions in Hanoi that one day is never enough...more

Night guide

Darkness brings out a whole different side to the city so check out our brief guide to the best entertainment and hospitality during twilight hours for all ages and tastes...more

City tours

See Hanoi’s top attractions, such as the Temple of Literature and Hoan Kiem Lake, on a guided city tour which is perfect for those only in town for a short time or who crave the beach...more

Day trips

Explore craft villages and ancient pagodas in the hills around Hanoi by signing up for a day tour out of town. There are many choices available for all tastes and ages...more

Museums

Delve into Vietnam’s turbulent past at the History Museum that charts the bloody history of North Vietnam, or find out about minority groups at the Museum of Ethnology and their contribution...more

Parks and Lakes

Hanoi is blessed with some gorgeous open spaces when tourists can cool off for a while and mingle with the locals who like to relax in lush surroundings and take some exercise...more

Old Quarter

Loose yourself in this ancient square kilometre packed with history and culture which is where most of the budget accommodation can be found and is teeming with restaurants and bars...more

Festivals

Hanoi is home to some spectacular festivals which take their origins from Chinese celebrations and also are unique to the city as well. Join in the fun to learn more...more

What to see in Hanoi - where history and hospitality collide

There are plenty of great tourist attractions spread amongst the different neighbourhoods of Hanoi, and visitors here will have a fantastic time deciding what to see in the city. Organised tours take the hassle out of sightseeing, but jumping in a cyclo and getting lost in the melee is half the fun.

Few will want to leave the city without learning something of its hardships during the two Indochinese Wars of the 20th century (with France and the USA) at the History Museum and the Military History Museum, while many are curious to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the country’s greatest hero lies in tranquil repose.

After dark, there is a lively bar scene in tourist areas, while some hotels put on performances of traditional music and dance. Top of your list, however, should be a visit to a performance of water puppets, which feature two key Vietnamese characteristics – ingenuity and a love of fun.

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