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18 Essential things to see and do in Hanoi in 2022

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Things to see and do in Hanoi. Hanoi is one of my favorite cities. Therefore, whenever I can I return to visit it and enjoy it.

1. Start getting to know the city of Hanoi with a guided tour

The best way to get to know a new city is by taking a guided tour. In Hanoi you have the opportunity to take a guided tour in Spanish, something that is appreciated if you do not have a high level of English. There are several options, from a free tour, a private guided tour or a group tour. I leave you all the links so you can see what they consist of and book:

  • Guided tour of Hanoi
  • Free tour of Hanoi Free!
  • Hanoi private tour

2. Hoan Kiem Lake

It is a fairly large lake where you can walk around. It is a very interesting place surrounded by colonial buildings, street food stalls, bicycle sales of flowers and fruit, locals playing board games and, above all, the Ngoc Son Temple “The Temple of the Jade Mountain” . One of the essential places to see in Hanoi.

3. Visit Ngoc Son Temple

The Ngoc Son Temple or Jade Mountain Temple is one of the most representative of Hanoi.

Ho Hoan Kiem means “lake of the restored sword”. Its name is no coincidence, since it is related to an ancient myth of the city. Legend has it that the emperor threw a magic sword into the lake which ended up turning into a golden turtle. That is why the turtle is so important in Vietnamese symbology. The turtle also represents a place of sages, since this temple was dedicated to the Taoists and Confucians.

4. Hanoi’s Train Street

If there is something that we have seen a lot on social networks, it is the famous street of the railway in Hanoi. Although you can see this road in many places in the city, since it crosses the same, the best area is the entire route that is in the Old Quater.

In it you will find houses attached to the road, with small bar chairs so you can eat, have a drink… there are even shops, street vendors.

The train pass 2 times a day. When it reaches this section it goes very slowly, however, you always have to be careful.

It is recommended that you go along Hong Luoc Street to the railway track and go down the Railway Street to the intersection to Cua Dong to re-enter the old town. If you feel like continuing, you can continue and reach Trang Thi to take Hang Bong Hang Gai avenue to reach the Lake again.

5. Dong Xuan Market

This market is located north of the old town and is a beautiful building built by the French in 1889. It opens at 7am until 9pm. I recommend you go up to the second floor and look down, you will be able to appreciate the hustle and bustle of the market in its full splendor. Here you can find anything you are looking for; food, crafts, textiles…

6. Discover the hidden Bach Ma temple

In Hanoi (and in any part of the country) it is not difficult to find small and large temples that go unnoticed by travelers. As soon as you enter, you will find a row of peace and tranquility, something unthinkable considering the chaos of the city.

One of the temples in the old town is the Bach Ma Temple , it is the oldest in the city. It is a beautiful little Buddhist temple.

If you have the opportunity, I recommend you make yourself known when it’s already dark, before closing time. Normally every day there is a ceremony, where the locals gather to worship the Buddha. Incense, candles, songs and music.

7. And you must also discover the temple of Pho Han Bac Street

Another of the temples hidden in Hanoi’s Old Quater is on Pho Hang Bac Street . It is inside a house. When you get to number 102 there is a small red sign. Enter the dark corridor (without fear) and you will hallucinate with this place. It is a temple completely unknown to tourists (a local with whom we struck up a conversation told us about it and luckily we paid attention to it).

8. Hanoi Old Quarter and 36 streets

Formerly it was known as the neighborhood of the artisans since, throughout its 36 streets , each guild was established exclusively in one of these streets. The great thing is that today, this tradition continues to be established, so you will have the street of the blacksmiths, the street of the shoemakers, the street of pharmacies, the street of clothes, the street of bamboo, food… It’s something very curious to see. I assure you that you will want to walk through all its streets, to marvel at each store and corner.

Many of the places that I indicate in this list are in the Old Quater. At the end of I add a map so you can locate yourself better.

9. Ngoi Nha, a traditional Vietnamese house in the Old Quater

If you want to get an idea of ​​what to eat, it was the traditional houses, in the old Quater, on Pho Ma May Street. It is an old merchant’s house in very good condition. With wooden details and a nice interior patio.

10. Hanoi St. Joseph’s Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hanoi was built in 1886, making it the oldest church in the city and is in neo-Gothic style. The church has 5 bells, 4 small ones and a big main bell.

The very special thing about this cathedral was its location (Nha Chung), since the surroundings are full of charming corners, restaurants and cafes and many colonial buildings.

11. Street Markets

The streets of Hanoi would not be the same without its well-known street markets, an orderly chaos that leaves no one indifferent. At night in the Old Quater there are two streets where you will find the night market. They appear marked on all tourist maps.

It is the perfect time to stroll between stops, see the traditional dishes, eat a meat or seafood skewer for less than 1 euro, eat the famous iced sugar balls…

In addition, we not only find night markets. In Hanoi you will find street vendors everywhere, who either walk or ride a bicycle/motorcycle carrying a huge basket with their products. They sell flowers, fruit, sweets…

12. Tran Quoc Pagoda

It was built in the 6th century, during the reign of Emperor Lý Nam Đế (544-548). When it was built, it was located on the Red River. Due to the encroachment of the river, the pagoda was moved to its current location at Truc Bach Lake (or Lake Tay).

The main pagoda measures 15 meters and has a total of 11 floors. To be honest, I thought it would be bigger. Around the pagoda there are other buildings of cultural interest. I liked the visit because it seemed like a very quiet area and also just after I saw a beautiful sunset over Lake Tây.

They open every day from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and admission is free.

13. Circle Truc Bach Lake by bike

If you feel like disconnecting and doing something different, this lake is a great green space perfect for enjoying the place by walking or cycling around it.

What I like most about Hanoi is that it is a very green city. Not only do you find green spaces in its lakes and parks, but also in its streets, balconies, rooftops… there are always huge trees and plants shading the city.

14. Quan Thanh Temple

This temple is located next to Truc Bach Lake (or Lake Tay) and is gorgeous. The name of the temple is engraved on the roof gate, “Chan Vu Quan”, over used since 1840. Previously it was named “Tran Vu Quan”.

It seems incredible that as soon as you find this place you find peace and tranquility, having a chaos of motorcycles and cars, at your door.
15. Lotte Center Overlook

If you want to see Hanoi from above , I highly recommend visiting the observation deck located at Lotte Center . Here you have 360º views and they are impressive.

It is open from 9 in the morning until 12 at night, although the ticket office closes at 11 at night. Admission costs 230,000 dong (€8.75). Although if you go to the first hour of the day and the last, you will have a 50% discount.

16. Thang Long Imperial City

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010, the Imperial City of Thang Long has a lot of historical and cultural importance. It was the political center of the country for 13 centuries. Today, the archaeological remains of what was once the capital of Vietnam can be found. The Doan Mon Gate stands out .

Hours: open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: VND 30,000.

17. Visit the Temple of Literature, the most essential place to see in Hanoi

The temple of literature is one of the most emblematic places in the city and a mandatory stop. You can’t come to Hanoi and not visit this place.

It was built in 1070 by King Ly Nhân Tong , the fourth emperor of the Ly dynasty, to honor Confucius. It took 6 years to build and as soon as it was finished, the Imperial Academy was housed in this building, thus forming the first university in Vietnam .

During the French period, this building was declared a historical monument , but due to the beginning of the Indochina War in 1945 and later the Vietnam War, the French were forced to demolish parts of the temple in order to house all the wounded. . Although a large part of the temple was destroyed, at the end of the Indochina War the French began a period of restoration , but this only focused on the most affected part. These currently destroyed parts are not visible, although one of the courtyards was lost in one of the bombardments by the French in 1947.

18. One Pillar Pagoda

This small Temple of the eleventh century whose origin is in the Ly dynasty, in honor of the Buddha for the birth of his son. Its structure is inspired by the lotus flower. It is unique and you will not find anything similar in any other country , hence it is essential to know this temple price.

Inside the One Pillar Pagoda there is an altar that is made to honor Buddha, where according to legend it says that he gives couples abundant children if an offering is made.

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