What to Do in Hanoi
Collected by Tommy Alexander , AFAR Staff
Chùa Một Cột, Đội Cấn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
The French destroyed this famous temple in 1954, but it was lovingly rebuilt and remains a favorite with locals. The structure commemorates the legend of Emperor Ly Thai Tong who originally built the temple way back in 1049. The distinctive single...
14 Phan Huy Ích, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Part exhibition space, part cafe-bar, this gallery is housed in a gorgeous early 20th century villa and is one of the main hubs for Hanoi's small but robust art scene. Works by emerging and established Vietnamese artists are shown throughout the...
5 Nguyễn Siêu, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 10000, Vietnam
There are more local bia hoi hot spots in Hanoi, but the strip of venues at the crossroads of Ha Tien and Luong Ngoc Quyen is justifiably famous for its buzzing atmosphere and cross-cultural mash-up. Beer is slightly more expensive than at other...
2 Hùng Vương, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Though the venerable Vietnamese leader asked to be cremated, Ho Chi Minh's remains now reside embalmed inside this imposing, pillared, gray-granite memorial. His resting place is hugely popular, drawing Vietnamese in droves as they pay their...
Hồ B52, Ngọc Hà, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
It took ages to find the (much acclaimed at AFAR) sunken B-52 bomber in Ha Noi. The twisted pile of metal hardly resembles a plane anymore, but it was interesting nonetheless. Even more fascinating to me was the 'lake' it had fallen into. This...
28A Điện Biên Phủ, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
There are not all that many Communist statues in Hanoi, surprisingly. One that remains is of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, which stands near the Vietnamese Army Museum in Dien Bien Phu Street. In a weird twist of fate, the playground in which it...
Hồng Hà, Ấp Thạnh Vinh, Ba Đình, Ấp Thạnh Vinh Ba Đình Hà Nội, Vietnam
Begun in 2007 as the brainchild of Nguyen Thu Thuy, who wanted to help create something truly memorable for Hanoi's millennial celebrations in 2009-2010, this incredible mural lines the famous "dyke" road that separates the bulk of the city from...
22 Hai Bà Trưng Tràng Tiền Hoàn Kiếm Tràng Tiền Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Hanoi's multiplexes actually have a reasonable range of the latest movie releases, but if it is something more left-field you are looking for, this is the place. Run by film buff volunteers, the 89-seat theater screens everything from European...
51A Đường Thành, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Hat tuong can best be described as a uniquely Vietnamese variation on Chinese opera. The elaborate costumes and highly stylized and emotive acting found in Chinese opera are present and correct, but themes touch on aspects of Vietnam's traditions...
19 Ngách 158/19 Ngọc Hà, Đội Cấn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Vietnam's museums are often confusing and lacking in information. This one is no exception to the rule, but its conceptual art displays built to symbolise the onward march of socialism are worth a couple of hours of anyone's time. Photo by Yuxuan...
Lương Ngọc Quyến, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
As a former resident of Vietnam, I’ve lost track of how many bia ho’i bars I’ve spent evenings at around Hanoi. For me, they are by far the best place to drink in the city, and not simply because they are cheap! Each bar is usually buzzing,...
Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam
A couple of blocks west of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake—meaning Lake of the Restored Sword—is one of Hanoi’s anchors. It contains a number of sites worth visiting, like Ngoc Soc Temple and the picturesque, red-lacquered Huc...
57B Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
While the art of puppetry is common throughout much of Asia, Vietnam has the unique discipline of water puppetry. These puppets are carved from wood and then lacquered to protect them from the water. The stage for a show is a pool of water, with...
713 Lạc Long Quân, Phú Thượng, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội, Vietnam
The Vietnamese can be a very romantic people, and love is permanently in the air around West Lake where lovers young and old come to take a spin around the water in one of the resident swan boats. Rent your vessel from the little booth on Thanh...
87 Phố Mã Mây, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
The Old Quarter may remain evocative, but its historic feel belies the fact that many of its buildings have fallen into disrepair over the years. This property, which dates back to the late 19th century, was once home to a Chinese family who owned...
73 Quán Sứ, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Now the official center of Buddhism in Hanoi, this stately pagoda once served the many ambassadors who called on the emperors of the Le dynasty. A hall was built in the 15th century to receive these guests, and a pagoda was built for them so they...
Cầu Thê Húc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
The Huc bridge of Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the center of Hanoi. My travel buddy Jen and I had been traveling for several weeks in Vietnam and were getting ready to leave for the airport to head back to the States. We had grabbed a bite to eat...
118 Đường Lê Duẩn, Văn Miếu, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
My first day in Ha Noi, I was lucky enough to meet up with fellow AFAR traveler Heather, who also aimlessly wanders to get a sense of a new place. Soon after dropping off our bags, we started following our curiosities. At some point in the...
Tổ 6, Lệ Mật, Phường Việt Hưng, Quận Long Biên, Việt Hưng, Long Biên, Hà Nội, Vietnam
For a truly memorable dining experience in Vietnam's capital head to one of the city's many snake restaurants. Here, your dinner (cobra most likely) will be killed in front of you by experienced snake handlers. After being presented with the...
29 Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
There's no bad time of day to enjoy a strong cup of Vietnamese coffee in Hanoi. Whether it is at breakfast or the last thing at night, the city's thousands of cafes will be packed with locals supping on the potent indigenous brew. Hanoians like...
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