If you are making a plan to visit Vietnam, Hanoi is the “must-travel” city in the country where you can spend 1-2 days to travel around. Hanoi is always attracted a lot of tourists each year by wonderful and famous destinations such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Old Quarter and so on. Furthermore, when visiting the city, if you want to learn more about history and culture of the land by local people, you should book Hanoi Free Tour to travel by student tour guide who will show you special and interesting things about the land from another look.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake means “Lake of the Returned Sword” because the lake brings in itself a special legend. Furthermore, the lake is the heart of Hanoi capital and is considered the center of Hanoi, not only physically but also symbolically. In fact, the more you spend time learning about the lake, the more special it becomes.The legend told about the King of Vietnam in the past who flighted China people by the special sword.
At the beginning of 1428, when peace prevailed, on one of his trip to the lake there was a tortoise rising above water and shouting: “Please return the sword to the Dragon King”. Without hesitation, the King threw the sword to the lake. The tortoise took the sword and dove down the water. From then on, the lake was named Hoan Kiem Lake.
In addition, the lake is not only special in history. The watercolor of Hoan Kiem Lake is not commonly found in other lakes elsewhere in the country: greenish. The lake is full of tortoise, which is second to none to be found among Vietnamese lakes. If you are lucky, you will catch sight of these giant animals rising out of the water. And because tortoise is considered a sacred animal in Vietnam’s culture (along with dragon, phoenix, and unicorn), Hoan Kiem Lake then become a holy place that nurtures tortoise.
If you can wake up early in the morning, at about 5- 6 a.m., you will see lines people doing exercise from yoga to tai-chi to aerobics around the lake. It looks as if the whole city was up and running for morning exercise. They work out in a group or by themselves, with or without equipment. When darkness takes over, you can see couples holding hands walking side by side along the lake, trying to breathe in the breeze of summer night or keep warmth against the winter cold. If you have time and really want to observe Hanoi’s life, sit down on one of the stone benches, enjoy the view and have a good talk with some local friends. Furthermore, if you want to find the best place for enjoying the fresh atmosphere, Hoan Kiem Lake is the best choice for you. You can walk around and enjoy Trang Tien ice-cream.
The big church
In 1882, after the French army conquered Hanoi, the cathedral was constructed and completed in 1886. The cathedral was built on the land belonging to Bao Thien pagoda – an important pagoda that dates from the 12th century Ly Dynasty. Besides Western style, the main interior part is decorated in Vietnamese way with two typical colors yellow and red. Outside, in front of the cathedral is the statue of Mother Maria. The big church is always crowded with hundreds of people including both Christians and non-Christians at the weekend or during religious holidays like Christmas ·Today, taking advantage of beautiful architecture and good venue at the center of the city, the area surrounding the cathedral is always packed with hundreds of local people and tourists hanging out with friends for drinking, talking, and watching the street. Furthermore, if you want to enjoy the real young local life in Hanoi, you should visit the church and enjoy lemon tea in there because the place is considered as the best place for them to chat and admire the beauty of the city in night
The old quarter
Located in the middle of Hanoi, the Old Quarter is considered as the highlighted symbol of Hanoi which is always the “must-see” destination for tourists when visiting Hanoi. The old Quarter still keeps its old-styled narrow streets full of antique brick houses seems to resist the flow of time while still actively trying to adapt to the dynamic atmosphere of the modern city. In the past, Old Quarter is the main trade and the center of Hanoi, so you will find that the special things of the quarter are the name of streets in the Old Quarter. The name of each street is named following the main product is sold in the street. For example, the Silver Street sold Silver product and Hang Ma (Paper Product), Hang Go (Wood Product). However, almost these streets can not keep the main products like the past. Besides wonderful things about the culture, tourists also visit historical destinations and famous temples in there as well. Furthermore, when you visit the place at the night, you will find another angel of Hanoi which is very exciting, noisy and attractive as well.
Water puppet theater
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a familiar address for both domestic tourists and foreign ones, who want to enjoy water puppet shows and to discover the beauty of this unique Vietnam traditional art.
The theater was established in 1969 and since 1990; many water puppet shows have been performed. Every year, about 500 shows are offered to approximately 150,000 audiences. Moreover, the theater has brought water puppetry art to more than 40 foreign countries in the world through performance tours, or international cultural exchange program or puppetry festivals. The traditional content of water puppet is performance mentions the daily life of Vietnamese farmers (cultivating, tending buffalo, catching fishes…), communal entertainment (swimming contest, dragon dancing…), or historical legends. Ticket costs between 60.000 – 100.000 VND ($3-5) for each person.
Vietnamese women’s museum
Despite being a patriarchal society, Vietnam still reserves a special, if not sacred, place to honor Vietnamese women. Not only is October 20th is made Vietnam’s Women day but there also exists a museum dedicated to women. The museum displays the history of women, such as women and ethnicity; women and the national struggle; Vietnam women association and the feminism; women and traditional costumes; and women’s cultural traits expressed through handicrafts. There are also frequent exhibitions on contemporary women, such as women working as street vendors or women’s place in the family. The Vietnam Women’s Museum is definitely impressive and worth visiting
Temple of literature
The Temple of Literature was constructed in 1070, first to honor Confucius and In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong built Quoc Tu Giam as the first university of Vietnam·
Nowadays the temple of literature is the place to celebrate the doctorates and high-rank scholars of Vietnam. The temple is divided into five courtyards, each with its own significance and history· There is a total of 82 tombstones, with names and origins of 1307 doctors, corresponding to 82 examination courses from 1442 to 1779. If you visit the temple at the beginning of the year or in May when many important examinations take place, you will catch sights of numerous students who come and rub the tortoise head. Such an act is believed to bring them luck to pass the test. If you are keen on architecture, Temple of literature has one of the most typical architecture styles for centuries in Vietnam, composed of wood and tiles. Along the pass, the way is hundred-year-old trees that have witnessed ups and downs of history. Although the temple does not use for teaching, it is still the best place for tourists to learn more about culture and history of Vietnam. Furthermore, it is a wonderful destination for taking amazing pictures if you wear “Ao Dai”- traditional custom of Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an important historical attraction of Hanoi, known for honoring the national hero- President Ho Chi Minh. The building is where visitors can express their admiration and gratitude towards the great father of Vietnamese who has led the country to independence and reunification.
The materials that constitute the building, from exterior granite to interior wood, were contributed by people from all over the country. Even the garden that surrounded the Mausoleum has a collection of plants and bonsais donated from all regions in Vietnam. In fact, the construction of the Mausoleum was against President Ho Chi Minh’s will. Actually, in his will, he wanted to be cremated then buried in three parts of the country: the north, the south, and the middle. However Vietnamese government decided to build the mausoleum and people from any part of the country and foreign friends can visit him.
Long Biên Bridge
The Long Bien Bridge was constructed from 1989 to 1902 during French’s occupation of the country. Though the bridge was designed by French, it was built directly by Vietnamese workers with materials from many provinces in Viet Nam.
More than 100 years with decades of war, Long Bien Bridge was bombed many times by air attacks by the American army in 1967, 1972; and many spans of the bridge were destroyed. The left spans still remaining today remind us of an unforgettable past. The bridge is not only a traffic construction, a nice architecture but also a living historical relic. It is the only bridge in Hanoi where all the riders have to go on the left-hand side. Many people said that Long Bien Bridge is the best place to look at the sunrise or the sunset and taking nice photos. Many brides and grooms choose Long Bien Bridge as nice background in their wedding albums. If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, do not forget to take a walk on Long Bien Bridge for sightseeing, feeling the daily life of Hanoians, and enjoying peaceful moments at the present but not forgetting memorable past.