Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, its second largest city and is often called “Paris of the East”. Hanoi is an impressive and fascinating mix of old traditions and active modern lifestyle, where East and West are bound; where people have big hearts and warm smiles; where food is delicious and the streets are old… This is a pulse of modern Vietnam and we are about to tell you how not to lose yourself in the variety of things that Hanoi is offering!
Night panorama of Hanoi Image source: bugbog.com
How to Get There?
By plane: Noi Bai International Airport is about 35 km north of the city and is the largest airport in the North of the country. It serves domestic flights operated by VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines, international flights from major Asian airports and international flights from Helsinki (seasonal), Frankfurt, London, Moscow and Paris. The airport is relatively small comparing to its importance and size of the city. The new terminal is being under construction now and is expected to be put into operation in 2015.
From the airport you can reach the centre of Hanoi by taxi. Before November, 2014 there was a fixed price for a ride. However, now most of the drivers use meters, so your total cost depends on the distance and is usually between $15 – 25 (350,000 – 450,000 VND).
Another option to get to the city is to use a public bus that departures from the airport. Bus #07 crosses the Thang Long bridge and goes to the Daewoo Hotel on the western part of Hanoi. Bus #17 crosses the Chuong Duong bridge and goes close to the old quarter, to Long Bien. It is actually not allowed to take your luggage with you to the bus, but you may take it as a challenge and try to negotiate with a driver!
Departures of Noi Bai International Airport Image source: commons.wikimedia.org
Hanoi, is very well connected with the major big cities of Vietnam, so you can use the train to reach the it from other parts of the country. The price for the ticket will be different, depending on the type of the seat you choose. Pay attention that it is strongly recommend to avoid private travel agents. After all, you may end up in a hard-sleeper instead of the soft one, for which you have actually paid.
You can book a ticket on the website of Vietnam Railways System. Children under the age of 2 can travel for free. For children from 2 to 9 years old the price will be 50% of the adult price.
By car: Another option how you can reach the Vietnamese capital is to hire a car. When doing it, remember to hire a private driver also: in Vietnam visitors can’t rent a car and drive. It will cost nearly $50 – 60 per day.
When you come to a big city, it is always hard to take the bearings and choose the right places to see and right things to do that are really worth your time and attention. That’s why we chose for you TOP activities in Hanoi for any taste and preferences in spending your free time. Everything you have to do is… to trust us!
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu) is an impressive example of Vietnamese architecture that was built almost 1000 years ago. In the beginning of the XI century it became the first country’s university. In its courtyard you can see the tables, each mounted on the back of a tortoise, with the names of all its graduates. The admission is $1 (20,000 VND).
Temple of Literature in Hanoi Image source: worldbestplaces.com
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake for Hanoi is the same like the Central Park for New York. Located in the very centre of the city, this is a favourite leisure spot of local people. In the morning you can even watch here people practicing the old martial art of ta chi on its shore. The legend of the lake says that gods gave to King Le Loi a magical sword, that he used to drive the Chinese from Vietnam. Later, a giant turtle grabbed the sword and returned it back to the gods. Since then the lake has a name Hoan Kiem, which means “returned sword”.
Peaceful and charming Hoan Kiem Lake Image source: beautyscenery.com
Vietnamese Women's Museum
The museum had been recently renovated and is indeed a very exciting place to visit, if you are interested in understanding culture and history of Vietnam even deeper. The museum presents the stories of the most prominent women in the history of the country. Also it has great collections that represent local traditions, customs, everyday life and problems of a Vietnamese woman from centuries ago till nowadays. Moreover, it has a brilliant collection of hand-made ethnic costumes. Admission is $1,5 (30,000 VND).
Permanent exhibition of the museum Image source: en.wikipedia.org
Hao Lo Prison
The prison was built in the beginning of XX century by the French. Here the Vietnamese revolutionaries were imprisoned and executed. Nowadays, this is a museum that exhibits the brutal French colonial regime and focusing on Vietnamese struggle for independence. The place represents the black page in the history of the country and makes take another look on history itself. Admission is $1.
Entrance to the Hoa Lo Prison Image source: forum.tienganh123.com
Hanoi Street Food
Vietnam is famous for its unique and absolutely delicious cuisine all over the world and this is a fact. In Hanoi there is a plenty of fine restaurants, where you can have a dinner and taste any kind of local food. However, its streets are also full of small kiosks in the sidewalk, and we believe that it may be even a better way to explore the local cuisine! Take a walk through the Old Quarter and discover the diversity of the unique Hanoi’s street food!
Local specialities on the streets of Hanoi Image source: todayonline.com
See you in Hanoi!