Hanoi Historic Buiding

Vietnam's most charming city, Hanoi is home to about 4 million people. Less vibrant and more reserved than its cousin to the south, Hanoi is a great place to explore on foot. If Ho Chi Minh City is defined by hustle and bustle and people on the move, Hanoi's trademark is green parks and tranquil lakes. the city is divided into districts, many of which take their name from a lake within the district's boundaries. Each district has its own charms.Perhaps the most interesting district, is that of Hoan Kiem. At its center is Ho Hoan Kiem (Lake of the Restored Sword). A broad path encircles the lake, attracting residents to its shores throughout the day. At dawn you'll find young and old walking, jogging, practicing Tai Chi and playing badminton. After dark, young couples walk hand-in-hand or seek privacy under the trees and on the numerous park benches at the water's edge.


To the north and west of the lake is Hanoi's famed old quarter with its confusing maze of narrow cobblestoned streets. Home to numerous guest houses, mini-hotels, art galleries, restaurants and shops, the old quarter is worth a day of aimless wandering and discovery. Many visitors, particularly backpackers, choose this area as their base in Hanoi.

South and east of the lake, the wide tree-lined boulevards of the old French quarter offer a stark contrast to the confusion of the old quarter. The French colonial influence, obvious throughout the city, is particularly evident here. Many colonial villas are now home to embassies, upscale hotels and restaurants.

Those spending more than a couple of days in Hanoi will want to explore other areas of the city as well. Ba Dinh District, west of Hoan Kiem, is the up-and-coming business center and home to the posh Hanoi Daewoo Hotel. Scenic Ho Tay District to the north is dominated by Ho Tay (South Lake) and boasts numerous historic sites and temples.

Hanoi awakes early, with activity in the parks beginning before sunrise and winding down by 7 a.m. Most offices, stores and museums open around 7:30 am, closing for lunch between 11 and 1, and reopening again until 5 p.m. Most restaurants stop serving at10 p.m.

Hanoi has four distinct seasons. Winters can actually be quite chilly; although snow is foreign to Hanoi residents. Summers are hot and rainy. Probably the best time to visit is spring and fall.

Temple of Literature - Van Mieu

This ancient site was established in the 11th century as a seat of learning dedicated to Confucianism and later became the city's first University. The site comprises a series of low buildings, five courtyards and pathways with ponds shaded by trees. The Garden of the Stelae features over 80 inscribed stones set on the back of turtles surrounding a pool of water. Traditional music and dance performances added add to the tranquil atmosphere. Pho Van Mieu


87 Pho Ma May

The traditional houses in the Old Quarter are known as ‘tube' or ‘tunnel' houses. This restored example based on life in the 19 th century shows the narrow frontage, workshop, courtyard and living areas set back from the street.


Hoa Lo Prison

Only a small part of the prison built during French rule of Vietnam survives today where it is possible to see the small cells and guillotine in the courtyard. It was used to hold US prisoners of war during the Vietnam War and became known as the ‘Hanoi Hilton'. 1 Hoa Lo Street


Ambassadors' Pagoda

This is the main centre for Buddhist prayer in the city and is busy throughout the day with worshippers paying their respects and lighting incense sticks. 73 Quan Su