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Hanoi
Travel Guide

With lakeside temples, water puppets and legends galore, the Vietnamese capital makes for a rich meeting place of history and culture.

Once known as Thang Long, or "Rising Dragon", Hanoi has an air of mystery about it which wafts up out of its lakeside temples and becomes scented with the aromas of delicious cuisine as it floats through the marketplaces, accompanied by the exotic sounds of water-puppet music.

The city has a population of 2.6 million and first became the nation’s capital over a millennium ago when it was still known as Thang Long. In 1831 it received its new name, Ha Noi, which means “Between Two Rivers”. Since then, it has been successively swallowed up into the make-up of French Indochina, occupied by the Japanese and bombed by the Americans, and a walk through the city will show you evidence of all of these twists and turns of history.

For a taste of traditional Vietnamese arts and craft, a good place to start is the Old Quarter. Head to Don Xuan Market, a great place to barter for souvenirs and try out Vietnamese and French food. "Pho", the rice noodle soup, is a must – and you’ll never be too far from a bottle of Bia Hoi, Vietnam’s favourite tipple. When you’re in these markets – or, for that matter, anywhere in Vietnam – there is one thing to remember: it is considered rude to point with the finger, so you should always gesture with your whole hand.

On a free evening, try and catch a show or two at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre – these captivating performances are a great way in to Vietnam’s legends and cultural history. You can learn more about the tales of this old tradition by heading down to the lakes and visiting the temples there. The ones by Hoan Kiem ("Lake of the Restored Sword") and Ho Tay ("West Lake") are good starting points.

For those more interested in Vietnam’s recent history, it may be worth dropping in to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and paying a visit to the nation's former leader. Like Lenin in Moscow and Chairman Mao in Beijing, Ho Chi Minh's body has been embalmed and preserved for posterity. The Ho Chi Minh Museum provides an interesting and informative insight into the past.

Hanoi is a good place to organise boat trips through the karst landscapes and turquoise waters of Ha Long Bay.

Getting around Hanoi is easy on the buses which provide a good, cheap service all over the city. Otherwise you could rent a bike, or hail a “cyclo” or a taxi – just make sure you always fix a price in dong (the local currency) with the drivers before you climb in, because they have been known to ask for extortionate prices on arrival!

Where to stay in Hanoi

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
5 out of 5
15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
The price is NZ$203 per night from 21 Mar. to 22 Mar.

This family-friendly Hanoi hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Opera House. Ngoc Son Temple and Thang ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (997 reviews)
Will come back

"Simply fantastic"…"

Reviewed on 20 Oct. 2020

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi
JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi
5 out of 5
No 8 Do Duc Duc Road, Me Tri Ward, South Tu Liem District, Hanoi
The price is NZ$194 per night from 11 Mar. to 12 Mar.

Located in the heart of Hanoi, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of National Exhibition Construction Center and Vietnam National Convention Center. ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (411 reviews)
Urban retreat

"Great service throughout the hotel. The restaurants are delicious and the happy hour had great food. We loved the gym and pool, very spacious. It was nice to be away from the chaos of the city mopeds it was the perfect retreat in the city"…"

Reviewed on 31 Dec. 2019

JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi
OYO 411 Van Nam Hotel
OYO 411 Van Nam Hotel
2 out of 5
So 1A, Tap the C13, To 10, My Dinh 2, Hanoi
The price is NZ$12 per night from 7 Mar. to 8 Mar.

Located in Mỹ Đình, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Vietnam University of Commerce and within 3 miles (5 km) of My Dinh National Stadium and Vietnam Museum ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (3 reviews)

"Phòng rộng, yên tĩnh, bạn nhân viên nhẹ nhàng, nhiệt tình."…"

Reviewed on 27 Jan. 2021

OYO 411 Van Nam Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Stay Dao Tan Hotel
Stay Dao Tan Hotel
3.5 out of 5
32/12 Dao Tan, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
The price is NZ$35 per night from 7 Mar. to 8 Mar.

Located in Ba Dinh, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Australian Embassy and Lotte Center Hanoi. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Ho Chi Minh ...

Stay Dao Tan Hotel
Somerset West Point Hanoi
Somerset West Point Hanoi
4 out of 5
No.2 Tay Ho Road, Hanoi
The price is NZ$112 per night from 7 Mar. to 8 Mar.

This family-friendly Hanoi aparthotel is located in the entertainment district, within a 10-minute walk of Syrena Shopping Center and West Lake. Ho Chi Minh ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (120 reviews)

"The property is located near the main roads and busy street. Roadway noise is still bearable. There were 2 convenient stores, a small shopping center near the property makes grocery shopping easier. All are within walking distances. The downside of the property is the Soundproof of the room. Had ..."…"

Reviewed on 29 Aug. 2019

Somerset West Point Hanoi
Reiwa Inn Apartment
Reiwa Inn Apartment
3.5 out of 5
53 Kim Ma Thuong, Hanoi, Hanoi
The price is NZ$105 per night from 1 Apr. to 2 Apr.

Located in Ba Dinh, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Australian Embassy and Lotte Center Hanoi. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Ho Chi Minh Museum ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (8 reviews)

"周辺の同じ価格帯のホテルと比べて部屋が広い。"…"

Reviewed on 3 Jan. 2021

Reiwa Inn Apartment
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Hanoi

Top activities in Hanoi

Reviews of Hanoi

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
231
5 - Excellent 52.619589977220954%
4 - Good
171
4 - Good 38.95216400911162%
3 - Okay
33
3 - Okay 7.517084282460137%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 0.683371298405467%
1 - Terrible
1
1 - Terrible 0.22779043280182232%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Mar. 2020

Very, Very, Very quiet compared to previous visits due to Covid-19. One benefit was the ease at which you could walk across streets :-)

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

21 Mar. 2020

Hanoi is a place I would advise to go for a couple of days, there is a lot to see in a day or two and any longer would become quite repetitive.

5/5 - Excellent

Franca

13 Mar. 2020

We enjoyed a wonderful street food tour which was a great way to be introduced to Hanoi’s old town. Also check out the water puppet theatre it was amazing !

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

28 Feb. 2020

Absolutely loved Hanoi! It was a beautiful place with lovely people and delicious food.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

26 Feb. 2020

Great place! Loved it.

5/5 - Excellent

Mr

7 Feb. 2020

Hanoi is a vibrant city, with much to see and do. I wish I had planned to stay longer to take home some unique experiences, so I will return to Hanoi before too long.

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