Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is tagged to be the city of myth because of its rich history from the time when King Le Loi fought against Ming dynasty up to the French occupation. Although occupied for long years their ancient architectures are still well preserved and intact maybe because of their strong patriotism and conservatism. Going around the city is tough as you will be greeted by over 7 million motorbikes everywhere but their temples and museums are worth the visit as you will learn their history and culture and the interesting story behind these architecture.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Also known as “Lake of the Restored Sword” dating back in 1428 when King Le Loi was boating in the lake at night when the big Golden Turtle God appeared to reclaim the sword that the Dragon King gave him to revolt against the Ming dynasty. King Le Loi gave back the sword to the turtle and later named the lake Hoan Kiem to commemorate the event.
Entrance Free: Free
Thang Long Citadel
One of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 2010. Thang Long Citadel is one of the most visited site in Hanoi due to its interesting architecture that was excavated in 21st century after it was disrepair and torn down during the French occupation.
- Hanoi Flag Tower
Entrance fee: 30, 000 VND (PHP 60)
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
This place is built to commemorate President Ho Chi Minh, the most respected leader and the key figure of Democratic Republic of Vietnam. You can see his face in all Vietnamese currencies. The building was inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow but incorporates distinct Vietnamese architectural elements, such as the sloping roof. It is open to public for free but if you enter Ho Chi Minh’s an entrance fee of VND 40, 000 is collected.
Entrance Fee: Free
Ho Chi Minh’s House and Office: VND 40, 000 (PHP 80)
Hanoi Old Quarter
For shopping, dining and night life searching for draft beers (Bia Hoi) heading to this area is a must although expect a massive number of motorbikes with no break even in their tiny little street will keep on coming and going.
Van Mieu (Temple of Literature)
The first national university of Vietnam dedicated to Confucius, sage and scholars. The various pavilions, halls, statues and stelae of doctors are places where offering ceremonies, study sessions and the strict exams took place.
Entrance Fee: VND 30 000 (PHP 60)
Tran Quoc Pagoda
One of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, Tran Quoc Pagoda is on the eastern shore of Ho Tay, just off Ð Thanh Nien, which divides this lake from Truc Bach Lake. A stela here, dating from 1639, tells the history of this site. The pagoda was rebuilt in the 15th century and again in 1842. (lonelyplanet.com) Note: Avoid wearing shorts in visiting this place as it has an altar in which u can’t enter when you are not dressed properly and I wasn’t able to find sarongs or covering for rent.
Entrance Fee: Free
Saint Joseph Cathedral
A Roman Catholic church built 120 years ago during the French occupation. The architecture with domes of the cathedral follows the Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral. Though the appearance of the cathedral, from the doors, the colorful window glass, to the religious paintings for decoration follows 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. (source: http://www.vietnam online.com)
Second highest building in Hanoi located in the center of the city. Lotte Observation deck offers views that are more spectacular at night in glass windows and vernaculars available at the 66th floor of the building.
Entrance Fee: Day pass: 200, 000 VND (PHP 400)
Night pass starts at 6:30 PM: 100 000 VND (PHP 200)