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13 Great Reasons to Visit Hanoi

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Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is one of the largest cities in the country. It features an interesting mixture of Eastern and Western culture, which you can find in various architectural structures in the country. For instance, there are Vietnamese motifs combined with a hint of French influence. Although the city was terribly devastated after decades of war, Hanoi has already rebuilt itself and turned into one of Southeast Asia’s booming nations.

If you want to have a taste of something unique and enchanting, then a visit to Hanoi is your best bet for a satisfying and memorable trip. These are 13 key reasons why you must make it a point to visit the mystical and enigmatic Hanoi.

1. Visit the Museum of the Revolution

Museum of the Revolution

Museum of the Revolution

Gain a deeper understanding of Hanoi’s past by taking a tour at the Museum of the Revolution, which is located at Tong Dan Street. The museum aims to chart liberation movements that occurred from 1858 to 1945 and there are barely much text that accompany the different items on display. However, as you look at the assorted objects inside the glass boxes, you will discover more about the city’s significant history and struggles during the war.

2. Explore the mind-boggling Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Another enchanting place to visit s the Ho Chi Minh museum, which is a majestic white building that is set to resemble the lotus flower. There are numerous items on exhibit such as a cave that was a symbol of Ho’s brain, ham-fisted image, gigantic fruit papier-mâché and a car that crashed through the wall. Just a few minutes of your time spent in the museum is enough to make you seriously ponder about these items.

3. Have a one-of-a-kind meal at the Snake Village

Snake Liquor

Snake Liquor

For the adventurous traveller, a meal at Le Mat, or the Snake Village is a must-try. Here, you get the chance to choose the snake of your choice, haggle a cheaper price and be amazed as the snake is flayed right in front of your very eyes. Witness how its bile and blood drip into your shot glass with rice wine. As for the main course, you get yourself a fancy deep-fried snake that actually tastes much like chicken.

4. Witness the infamous Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi’s old quarter is famous for the Hoan Kiem Lake, a small body of water that has a strange green color. The lake may have that less-than-perfect color, but pedestrians find it quite pleasant despite its initial impression from tourists.

5. Visit the Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature

The country’s very first university also serves as a monument to all scholars. This temple was established in 1076 and it is included at the back part of the 100,000 dong banknote, which is about $4.50 in U.S dollars. While this temple has been remodeled and rebuilt several times, this lovely structure has maintained its classic charm with the large lake, citadel and courtyards.

6. Haggle at the night markets

Hanoi Night Market

Hanoi Night Market

Whether you are in actual need of a specific item, or you simply have that strange passion for haggling, then a tour to the night markets can be a fascinating treat, these markets are located at the busy streets of Hang Dao and Hang Giay, which are more vibrant during Friday and Saturday night. A huge percentage of all the items sold in these markets are very similar with the other stalls, yet it is the festive and exciting atmosphere that are completely endearing.

7. Learn more about Sleeper trains up north to Lao Cai

Lao Cai

Lao Cai

Do you find yourself exhausted from touring the urban areas of Hanoi? Then, it may be the perfect time to check out a sleeper train that can take you to Lo Cai, which is your gateway to the mountain villages of Sapa. Although the ride may be a bit bumpy, you will realize that the destination is indeed worth it.

8. Be amazed by the National Tuong Theatre

National Tuong Theatre

National Tuong Theatre

The theater was founded by the government in 1959 and it is located in the Old Quarter. This remarkable structure intends to preserve Vietnam’s traditional techniques in music, dancing and acting. One of these styles includes Nha Nhac, which is a musical genre that was designated as a cultural heritage in 2003 by the UNESCO. The best days to visit the theater and witness spectacular performances are Thursdays and Fridays where there are combined 5 scenes from the infamous Tuong plays.

9. Watch the amazing Water Puppets

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Vietnamese Water Puppets

As depicted in the 11th century villages situated around the Red River Delta, these puppets feature a mystical display of the ingenuity of man. In the theater located at the Hoan Hiem Lake’s edge, you can find puppeteers and musicians that are part of this artistic performance. There is an admission fee of $3 for those who wish to watch this show.

10. Check out the One-Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

This magnificent structure will surely amaze you because of the charming appeal that this one-pillar pagoda exudes. It is located in between the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Mausoleum.

11. Admire the displays at the Fine Arts Museum

Fine Arts Museum

Fine Arts Museum

If you are keen on looking at artworks, then the Fine Arts Museum should be included in your itinerary. Here, you will find Socialist art, Buddhist art and remarkable silk paintings. There are also short details that explain the aesthetics, techniques and story behind each painting.

12. Tour around the Museum of Ethnology

Museum of Ethnology

Museum of Ethnology

The best way to reach the museum is by taking Bus 14 coming from Hoan Kiem Lake. Then, when you reach the next stop, take a 500-meter walk going towards the museum. It is open every Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 in the morning to 5:30 in the afternoon. The museum features the different ritual and cultural practices of Vietnam’s ethnic groups including the open-air exhibition that presents a few ethnic groups in the country. There is also a spectacular baguette and chocolate cafe at the museum where you can enjoy fantastic treats after your visit to this cultural place.

13. Take a few minutes in visiting the Ngoc Son Temple.

Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple

The temple extends into the lake and it depicts the rich and fascinating Vietnamese history. There are also several displays of giant turtles and a mummified specimen of this creature. It is one of the most frequented attractions in the city.

So, explore the entirety of the city and make sure you don’t miss a thing by including these remarkable sites in your itinerary!

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