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Hanoi
Travel Guide

Hanoi showing cycling as well as an individual female

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

Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel
Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel
5 out of 5
117 Tran Duy Hung Street, Cau Giay Dist, Hanoi
The price is NZ$100 per night from 25 Jun. to 25 Jun.
Located in Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Ministry of Science and Technology and Vietnam National Convention Center. Lotte ...
4/5Very Good! (382 reviews)
"Excellent location. Friendly and helpful staff. Will recommend this hotel to all. Restaurant was excellent. Great food and service. Staff arranged my transportation and trip to the Ban Gioc Waterfalls which was amazing. Overall I give them a full 5 stars."

Reviewed on 5 Apr. 2020

Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
5 out of 5
15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
The price is NZ$204 per night from 17 Jun. to 17 Jun.
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! (992 reviews)
Will come back
"Simply fantastic"

Reviewed on 20 Oct. 2020

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, an IHG Hotel
5 out of 5
5 Tu Hoa, Hanoi
The price is NZ$137 per night from 18 Jun. to 18 Jun.
Located in Quảng An, this luxury hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from West Lake and within 3 miles (5 km) of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Hanoi Old City Gate. Hoan Kiem ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (997 reviews)
Perfect Hotel destination for business or pleasure
"Beautifully located and designed hotel with fine views over West Lake from every room. High standard, quick and efficient, from front office/reception to restaurants and room service. All staff are friendly, courteous, attentive and efficient. Nothing is too much trouble and one is always left with ..."

Reviewed on 22 Jul. 2020

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, an IHG 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.
Huyhomestay Hotel & Apartment
Huyhomestay Hotel & Apartment
2.5 out of 5
No. 41, Tuc Mac Lane, Tran Hung Dao St, Cua Nam Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
The price is NZ$27 per night from 16 Jun. to 16 Jun.
Located in Hoan Kiem, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Center International Trade Fair Hanoi I.C.E and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. Hoan Kiem Lake and ...
Huyhomestay Hotel & Apartment
Somerset West Point Hanoi
Somerset West Point Hanoi
4 out of 5
No.2 Tay Ho Road, Hanoi
The price is NZ$103 per night from 16 Jun. to 16 Jun.
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! (121 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
Somerset Grand Hanoi
Somerset Grand Hanoi
4.5 out of 5
49 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
The price is NZ$109 per night from 6 Jul. to 6 Jul.
This family-friendly Hanoi aparthotel is located in the business district, within a 10-minute walk of Hoa Lo Prison Museum and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Hoan Kiem ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (799 reviews)
"We like the place and it’s location the staff always friendly . And their rooms are very good for longer stay ."

Reviewed on 19 Jul. 2020

Somerset Grand Hanoi
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.

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