Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a bustling metropolis with plenty of motorbikes, cars, bicycles and people rolling in streets everyday. However, it is far less cosmopolitan and more traditional Vietnamese than Ho Chi Minh city. The wear and tear of old buildings along streets together with the images of Hanoian relaxing in front of their houses make you feel back in time. Looming in some streets of Hanoi, the remnants of French colonial architecture appear like a witness to turbulent period of Hanoi. That, coupled with the rich history makes a visit to Hanoi much more meaningful. Be a traveler, surely that you want to travel to a destination with convenient transportation which helps you easily travel to other places and Hanoi is an ideal destination for that. It is a gateway to Northern Vietnam and normally many travelers think that Hanoi is just a quick transit city. However, we encourage you to spent few days and discover that entire city has to offer. Here are some must experiences for what to do and see in Hanoi.
Wandering around Hanoi Old Quarter, you can see and have differentfeelings of an old merchant area where many streets have been existed over decades. When looking at old buidings, old signboards or just old furnitures, an old world feel will come to you. Old Quarter is a mish mash of French colonial and ancient Vietnamese architecture, manic streets with thousands of motorbikes, power lines above head that resemble giant bird’s nests, narrow merchant streets with shops selling the most random things, and other unique characteristics that make this area so lovable. Simply walking is the best way to explore all this area. The special thing here is the name of streets, many of them begin with the word ‘Hang’ meaning something pertain to sell. The streets were named according to what was sold there, for example, ‘Hang Thiec’ sold things made by tin, ‘Hang Bac’ sold things made by silver and so on. Some streets keep selling same things until now while others change to meet today’s consumers’ needs. You can spend whole day or just half day to explore special things in the Old Quarter.
Not only maintaining the characterized architecture of Hanoi, the Old Quarter also is a great place for tasting street foods. When it comes for lunch, you can choose a dish among variety of famous dishes in Hanoi to fulfill your stomach. ‘Pho’, of course is the first dish coming into your mind which can be found in every where in Hanoi but if you want to try the truly taste of Pho, you should go to 49 Bat Dan street. Bun Bo Nam Bo, this dish is originated in Hanoi perfectly marinated beef in a sweet and salty concoction, round and thin noodles that don’t get soggy, crunchy peanuts and fried onions and a few other things that make it absolutely delicious. 67 Hang Dieu is famous place for making Bun Bo Nam Bo and you should go there. ‘Cha Ca La Vong’ is also a great choice for lunch. You can enjoy it at the orginal restaurant at Cha Ca street which featured fish marinated in turmeric and pepper and fried with dill, green onions, and other greens, all served over rice noodles. In addition, there are many delicous street foods that you can enjoy it right at the pavements like BBQ chicken street, beer, rib porridge, Vietnamese bread, ‘banh gio’, different kinds of noodle and so on.
Hanoi has rich history and there are plenty of monuments and museums in Hanoi to learn about. First, you should visit the Ho Chi Minh complex, including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh museum and the stilt house of the Great Father Ho Chi Minh. Hoa Lo prison is another historical sight worth visiting during time in Hanoi. This prison was first built during the French occupation in Vietnam and then later used for American prisoners during the Vietnam War. If you want to go back in time and finding about traditional architecture, you can go to the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam built in 1070. Hanoi is called the city of museums; however, among those the Ethnology museum is much more worth visting. After visting those attractions, a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake or along Long Bien Bridge definitely refresh your mind. It is also breathtaking sights in more ways than one, and a perfect way to round out your Hanoi experience. If you like shopping, Dong Xuan market is a right place for you. You can find every necessary stuffs and interesting souvenirs here.
Hanoi, with unique beauty and culture, will catch your eyes at first time when you see it. Hanoi is most beautiful in autumn, with trees turn into stunning orange and yellow hues, the perfect time to stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake. Therefore, don’t think Hanoi is just a transit city, it owns many things that need you to experience. Maybe Hanoi group tours will help you experience Hanoi like that.
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