Located in northern Vietnam, the capital Hà Nội is the second most populous city in the country. Hà Nội is more traditional and refined and best known for its thriving contemporary art scene and French architecture, visible by the many colonial villas scattered throughout the city. While it is rapidly developing, the city has retained many of its cultural traditions. The city of Hà Nội is over 1000 years old with a wealth of history including Temples, ancient Citadels, Theatres and stunning wilderness.
Some of the places you should include on your next visit are the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing 40 metres high, this was the centre of ancient Hà Nội and served for eight centuries as the political centre.
The Water Puppet Theatre is an ancient art form of water puppetry. This unique Vietnamese tradition where the puppets dance can be seen at different theatres throughout Hà Nội but the best one is the Thăng Long Puppet Theatre, where you can see the famous Legend of the Restored Sword of King Le, telling the tales of Hoan Kiem Lake and the big turtle.
Hồ Chí Minh has left his indelible mark on the Vietnamese historic landscape and he is revered in Hà Nội as the country’s greatest leader. Nicknamed ‘Uncle Ho’ by the locals, his preserved body is now laid to rest in a glass case in the Ba Dinh area of Hà Nội. This is more than a tourist attraction; it is a part of living history.
Hoàn Kiếm Lake and Ngọc Sơn are an extremely popular place to hang around especially with locals. The Ngọc Sơn Temple sits on a small island in the centre of the lake, which is connected by a bridge. This will give you that perfect photo opportunity as it has a striking background.
Hà Nội Old Quarter or French Quarter is a must see as there are great examples of colonial architecture crammed along the narrow streets with a never ending line of scooters, cars, bicycles and motorbikes that weave around the streets with their vendors selling their wares. You will also find the Opera House in the heart of the French Quarter, one of the most elegant buildings in the city.
You will never find yourself being stuck for something to do in Hà Nội, where ancient traditions and Vietnamese traditions come alive in every area of this dynamic city.