Hanoi is welcoming the dawn of new times whilst maintaining its true identity as an humming oriental city with colonial influences. Cultural contrasts are evident in every street, from cosy cafés selling both sweet Vietnamese coffee and French style baguettes, to designer-boutiques selling international brands beside Chinese-influenced pagodas, colorful street markets and ancient Cathedrals, shopping malls and colonial art galleries. Restaurants of every imaginable specialty line the city’s busy streets, ranging from high class restaurants with international cuisine to street vendors hawking Vietnamese staples. Charming, stylish, romantic and tested by the extremes of its seasonal weather and historical periods of both poverty and prosperity, Hanoi, a city with character, is a precious treasure of Vietnam tourism.
Four seasons in a year paint different pictures of Hanoi’s effervescent beauty. A Hanoian summer is hot and sunny, with stunning sunsets, iced teas to sip in the evening breeze, and a juicy array of tropical fruits to try. The brisk and chilly Hanoian winter draws a wide variety of delicious street foods to warm even the coldest day. During fall, the most beautiful and romantic time, Hanoi charms her visitors with gentle sunlight, playful breeze and an autumnal rainbow of falling leaves. A Hanoian spring is enchanting with streets blossoming with colorful flowers, flourishing under the light spring rains. The season plays host also to Tet holiday, the most important and nationally celebrated of Vietnamese festivals.
Time stops as you immerse yourself in the cultural mosaic that is the ancient city of Hanoi. Enrich your stay with a visit to one of the below popular attractions:
Ho Chi Minh Complex
The Ho Chi Minh Complex consists of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s house and Ho Chi Minh Museum. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is where the body of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s former president, has been embalmed and stored in a glass coffin. Ho Chi Minh’s residence, a simple house made of wood, can be found nearby the mausoleum. Even when elected president, he still preferred this simplistic home to the presidential palace. Built as a representation of a traditional stilt house in 1958, the simple but elegant house contains only a bedroom and study. Today, the former home of Ho Chi Minh City is used as a museum. Ho Chi Minh Museum is worth a visit for its surreal third floor exhibitions including giant fruit sculptures and photographs from the life of Ho Chi Minh. The exhibits feature information and photographs documenting his revolutionary struggle.
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature is Vietnam’s first university. Unfortunately only four of the interlocking courtyards from 1070 survived French bombing. It is a famous historical and cultural relic built in honour of Confucius, his followers, and Chu Van An, a moral figure in Vietnamese education and the country’s most prominent literary scholar. You can check out the stone stellae where the names of those who passed the notoriously difficult exams are engraved, and touch the stone turtles for good luck in your study and career.
One pillar pagoda
The One Pillar Pagoda rises out of a pond covered in lotus flowers and their wide green leaves. Built in 1049 by Emperor Ly Thai To to mark the birth of his heir after a dream in which a goddess gave him a son floating on a lotus, the historic Buddhist temple has recently been honored as “the most unique architecture in Asia.
Hoan Kiem Lake
There are more than 100 lakes, both natural and man-made, dotting Hanoi’s urban landscape. Among them Hoan Kiem Lake is the most famous for its own unique history and beauty. Seen from high above, Hoan Kiem Lake appears as a striking gem, willow trees trailing their wistful fingers by the water’s edge. The long – standing Tortoise Tower in the lake’s center casts its reflection in the lake’s surface, while The Huc bridge forms a picturesque link to Ngoc Son Temple showcasing the preserved body of the lake’s legendary ancient turtle. Seasonal flower gardens, topiary statues and vibrant red Phuong blossoms adorn the lake’s surroundings.
This area of Hanoi is also known as “The 36 streets”, an infamously bewildering labyrinth of alleys and criss-crossing streets. This area of the city has a 2000 year old history of commerce and despite numerous changes and developments, goods are still sold according to type with entire streets dedicated to particular items. The atmosphere of the Old Quarter is always vibrant and crackling with energy, brimming with motorcycles, countless bars, federation terraces, shops and street traders. The Old Quarter is definitely the perfect choice for travelers looking to get a taste of Hanoian nightlife.
It ‘s not recommended to visit Hanoi during summer as the weather is very hot with the average temperature of 32 degree and even more in recent years and heavy rain is one feature of Hanoi summer.
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