You may grasp the spirit of Vietnamese life by diving into Hanoi's pulsating downtown streets. The country's capital is a thriving economic hub that has a strong hold on traditional culture, allowing it to serve as a showcase for both old and new Vietnam. Here are our recommendations for top Hanoi attractions so you can include on your sightseeing tour!
Phung Hung mural street is a collaboration project between Korean and Vietnamese artists, which put on 17 ancient bridge arches a new look to create a space connecting heritage, art and community values. The frescoes recreate memories and images of an ancient, gentle and peaceful Hanoi: general department stores, female street vendors, calligraphy masters … The best time to visit the street is on weekends, when visitors can both come and enjoy the murals and participate in folk activities and games held here.
Phung Hung mural street is always filled with youngsters coming here for photos (Photo by Trinh Pham from Instagram)
Or so called “The Big Church” by the locals, the 140-year-old cathedral is one of the oldest churches to still hold religious activities for parishioners of Hanoi. Surviving through two fierceful wars, St. Joseph cathedral is considered a historical witness and carefully preserved by locals and authorities. The church appears to be quite archaic from the outside, with layers of discolored moss covering the roof. However, once visitors step through the gateway, they will be surprised to witness the majestic and magnificent Gothic style architecture that has not altered through time. Lies right in the heart of Hanoi, yet St. Joseph Cathedral is able to bring visitors a piece of peace in the bustling pace of city life.
The church is a unique, ancient architecture of Hanoi that requires much maintenance and preservation (photo by khoado11 from Pixabay)
With two ancient dracontomelum trees along the walkways, Phan Dinh Phung Street is considered as one of Hanoi's most romantic streets. The road is particularly lovely in the autumn, when the trees are shedding their leaves. Each slight breeze of the fall makes the yellow leaves flutter, creating a romantic and poetic scene. Besides that, Phan Dinh Phung street also has many places that tourists can visit along the way, such as Northgate Church, Thang Long Imperial Citadel and vintage French villas.
Hanoi autumn is sweet with a little cold of autumn wind, with gentle golden sunbeams and leaves covering the ground (Photo by Thạch Long from Facebook)
Long Bien Bridge was the first structure built across the legendary Red River river, which has witnessed over 100 years of Vietnamese history, survived two tough wars, so it's no surprise that it's the most well-known bridge in town, as well as a must-see destination for culture buffs and sunset lovers. Tourists will be able to enjoy the tranquil view of the river and the fields right beneath the spans while walking along. Long Bien bridge also captures the vast, panoramic perspective of Hanoi perfectly, making it one of the top spots for sunrise or sunset sightseeing.
Rich history and spectackle view are combined in Long Bien Bridge (Photo by nbthang from Pixabay)
With a history of more than 1,500 years, Tran Quoc Pagoda is one the most beautiful scenic spot of Hanoi. Through the ups and downs of time, Tran Quoc Pagoda still lies majestically, bringing a peaceful but ancient feature in the heart of bustling Hanoi. Every year, the pagoda attracts a large number of domestic and foreign Buddhists to visit the temple and pray the Buddha’s blessings. However, you can also go to the temple at any time of the year to enjoy the ultimate inner peace and zen at this religious site.
Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the most sacred temple in Ha Noi (Photo by from Pixabay)
Quang Ba Flower Market is one of the city's largest night flower markets. The market is usually busiest when Hanoi has fallen asleep. Unusual as the time is, it does not stop visitors from coming and enjoying the hectic trading of the market. Aside from offering a wide variety of flowers, the market is known for its affordable costs. When you visit Quang Ba Flower Market, you may simply get your favorite flowers at a lower cost than in other stores or on the streets of Hanoi.
Quang Ba Flower Market is a highlight of Hanoi's night life (Photo by Suâm from Unsplash)
The unique setup represents Vietnamese women's iconic item of clothing - conical hat (Photo by VWM from Facebook)
Known for its notorious background, Hoa Lo Prison was where many generations of Vietnamese military and revolutionary activists were imprisoned by the French colonials. Hoa Lo Prison is a historical witness of war crimes that have taken place on this land, but also a testament to the indomitable, courageous spirit of Vietnamese soldiers. An activity that you should not miss is the night tour - Regularly at 19h on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, visitors will learn about heroic, sacred historical stories through 10 different locations in the prison. These stories are not only told through the guide's words, but also reproduced by vivid animations thanks to the actors. The carefully arranged content from the Hoa Lo committee will guide visitors from surprise to surprise and hope to widen their knowledge on Vietnamese history.
Hoa Lo prison is a place where children may learn about history and patriotism (Photo by Rene Drouyer from Dreamstime)
This is a tiny street in the Old Quarter with railroad lines running down the center, allowing trains to pass dangerously near to the dwellings. When trains are due to pass, locals’ everyday lives are also swayed with the schedule Not even 10-meters wide, but the street is usually packed with people. Despite the possible danger of sitting too close to the railway line, many visitors are still determined to try risking their lives for once,, as it is the best way to experience the lives of local people.
Walking on the railway and embrace the bustling, lively pace of the street is a very special experience (Photo by Adi Perets from Pixabay)
Water puppet shows in Hanoi are a wonderful opportunity to experience traditional Vietnamese creativity and entertainment, and they're a great evening activity if you have kids. This traditional art form originated in rural Vietnam during the monsoon paddy field flooding months, and in modern days, it is primarily performed inside custom-made water pools instead of outside. The shows usually feature well-known local legends and are supported by a live band playing traditional Vietnamese instruments. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater hosts five shows per week, making it easier to arrange your schedule and book a show.
Traditional legends and historical tales are performed by water puppets, through the control of water puppet artists (Photo by KymH from TripAdvisor)
These Hanoi attractions would surely give you a deeper look into the city's rich culture and traditions, as well as providing the opportunity to interact with the friendly, hospitable people here. Set up your schedule and let's go exploring Hanoi, shall we?