Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers visitors a captivating blend of rich history, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and unique cultural experiences. From exploring ancient temples to savouring street food delicacies, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this dynamic city.

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the local culture, Hanoi has something for everyone. Here are 10 must-see attractions and activities to add to your itinerary when visiting Hanoi.

Wander Through the Old Quarter

One of the most iconic parts of Hanoi, the Old Quarter, is a maze of narrow streets lined with traditional shophouses, bustling markets, and centuries-old pagodas. Take a leisurely stroll through its labyrinthine alleys, where you’ll find an array of vibrant street vendors selling everything from souvenirs to steaming bowls of pho.

Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

Located in the heart of the city, Hoan Kiem Lake is a serene oasis amid the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. Take a peaceful walk around the lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple, which sits on a small island connected by a picturesque red bridge. Legend has it that the lake is home to a giant turtle, adding to its mystical allure.

Explore the Temple of Literature

Built in 1070, the Temple of Literature is Vietnam’s oldest university and a testament to the country’s rich intellectual heritage. Wander through its peaceful courtyards, admire the well-preserved architecture, and learn about the scholars who once studied here.

Sample Street Food at Dong Xuan Market

No visit to Hanoi is complete without indulging in the city’s famous street food scene. Head to Dong Xuan Market, the largest covered market in Hanoi, where you’ll find an endless array of local delicacies, from banh mi sandwiches to fresh spring rolls. Be sure to try specialties like bun cha (grilled pork with noodles) and egg coffee, a unique Hanoi invention.

Attend a Water Puppet Show

Experience a traditional Vietnamese art form at a water puppet show, where intricately carved puppets perform on a stage submerged in water. This ancient theatrical tradition dates back to the 11th century and offers a fascinating glimpse into Vietnamese culture and folklore.

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Pay your respects to Vietnam’s revolutionary leader at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body is preserved in a glass case. Adjacent to the mausoleum, you can also visit the One Pillar Pagoda and Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house, offering insight into his simple lifestyle.

Take a Cyclo Tour

Explore the streets of Hanoi in traditional cyclo (pedicab) style, allowing you to take in the sights and sounds of the city at a leisurely pace. Sit back and relax as your cyclo driver navigates through the chaotic traffic, giving you a unique perspective of Hanoi’s bustling streets.

Shop at the Night Market in the Old Quarter

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Hanoi at the bustling night market in the Old Quarter. Browse through stalls selling everything from clothing and accessories to handicrafts and souvenirs, and don’t forget to haggle for the best deals.

Take a Day Trip to Ha Long Bay

Just a few hours from Hanoi lies the breathtaking natural wonder of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its emerald waters and towering limestone karsts. Embark on a scenic cruise through the bay, marvelling at the sheer beauty of the landscape and exploring hidden caves and grottoes along the way. Whether you choose to kayak through secluded lagoons or simply relax on the deck and take in the panoramic views, a day trip to Ha Long Bay promises to be an unforgettable experience.

Learn to Cook Vietnamese Cuisine

Delve into the vibrant flavours of Vietnamese cuisine with a cooking class in Hanoi. Join a local chef and learn the secrets behind preparing classic dishes like pho, spring rolls, and banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Not only will you get to savor your creations afterward, but you’ll also gain valuable insight into the culinary traditions and techniques that make Vietnamese cuisine so unique. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, a cooking class is a fun and interactive way to immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich gastronomic heritage.

From historic landmarks to mouthwatering street food, Hanoi offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave you enchanted and eager to explore more. Whether you’re exploring the ancient temples of the Old Quarter or sampling delicious Vietnamese cuisine, Hanoi is a city that never fails to captivate and inspire. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Vietnam‘s capital city.

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