Famous temples and pagodas in Hanoi

As the top of cultural and political center in Vietnam, Hanoi attracts visitors by not only the ancient beauty but also spiritual historical monuments such as temples, pagodas,… Hereafter is some of famous temples and pagodas in Hanoi.

Thang Long Tu tran – Four saints temple protect Hanoi

Temple is built to commemorate a God or a late celebrity. Normally, many temples in Hanoi worship national or historical legend heroes. According to the Oriental Architectural conception, Thang Long citadel is guarded four Gods from four main directions: East, West, South, North. Travelers can visit four sacred temples which are called “Thăng Long Tu Tran”. These are benchmarks representing vestiges of the imperial city existed in Thang Long – Hanoi, land of thousand-year civilization.

Quan Thanh temple was established when King Ly Thai To shift the capital to Thang Long citadel in 1010. The King brought along God’s Ancestral tablet to worship in: “Huyen Thien Tran Vu Great Emperor Quan”. Legend tells that: Huyen Thien Tran Vu is the god taking care for the Northen citadel to help residents eliminate ghosts, devils interfere the peaceful life around Thang Long citadel. Huyen Tran Thien Tran Vu statue about 4 meter high was recast in black copper.

Bach Ma Temple was built in 866 and finished in 1010 under King Ly Thai To. Bach Ma Temple is the oldest of the four sacred sites, located at 76 Hang Buom Street, Hanoi. Bach Ma Temple still contains many important relics, such as stone steles recording the temple origins and the resident deity, and royal ordinances on deification rites and the process of restoration dating from the Le to the Nguyen Dynasties

Located in Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh Distric, Voi Phuc temple was built) to whorship Saint Ling Lang (Son of King Ly Thai Tong) who helped the King to defend the country against enemies. In front of the temple, there are two elephants kneeling down, therefore, the temple is known as Voi Phuc

Located in the South of Hanoi, Kim Lien Temple was built as an altar to saint Cao Son, who, as legend has it, was one of the son of Lac Long Quan and Au Co – the first Vietnamese couple. People said that Cao Son had helped Son Tinh (Mountain Genie) to defeat Thuy Tinh (Water Genie) and bring peace to the people

Famous pagodas in Hanoi

Pagoda is not only an architecture serving Buddhist belief but also a place for monks and nuns to exercise religious life and give talks about Buddha. Coming to Hanoi, there are some destinations you should not miss as followings:

Quan Su Pagoda is Hanoi’s largest and most popular pagoda. It was first erected on land in An Tap village close to the southern gate of Thang Long (the old name for Hanoi).

Originally a small Buddhist pagoda located near the 15th century Quan Su house used to receive foreign envoys and ambassadors, the pagoda eventually became the headquarters of the Tonkin Buddhist Association. Over the years, the pagoda has been restored and expanded many times.

Lang Pagoda (also called Chieu Thien Pagoda) is located in Lang Thuong, Dong Da District where people worship the Buddhist Monk Tu Dao Hanh. The pagoda is a large harmonious symmetrical architectural complex with an ancient concrete and wooden gateway flanked by stone elephants.

Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of Vietnam’s oldest ones, located on an islet in the East of West Lake. The pagoda was built in Ly Nam De Dynasty and being the Buddhist centre of citadel during the Ly and Tran Dynasty. With the ancient architecture, Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the must-see destinations in Hanoi which attracts a lot of local and foreign visitors visiting everyday

Ha Pagoda was built under King Le Thanh Tong with the purpose of expressing gratitude to the people who had great merits and contribution to country. The temple is the place for people to pray for love and it is known as the most spiritual temple in Hanoi.

Museums in Hanoi, Vietnam

Museum is both a research Centre and a public museum storing and exhibiting scientific research, collection, documentation, conservation, and exhibition and preserving the cultural and historic patrimony of the nation. Whenever coming to a new land, almost visitors intend to go to a museum to explore the most interesting things about the nation and the local as well.

As the central position of culture and politics in Vietnam, currently, Hanoi owns many national-scale museums, which are built specifically in different aspects such as history, culture, celebrities, militaries, etc. Tourists can come, discover and enjoy Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular through a lot of displays at 5-star museums following:

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

The Museum is located in a large open area on Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, about 8 km from the city centre. It is evaluated to be the 4th museum in the most 25 amazing Asia museums by Trip Advisor.

Vietnam is a multi-ethnic country, which is composed of 54 ethnic groups. Perceiving the importance of having an ethnographic museum to preserve and present the cultural heritages of ethnic groups, the Government decided to establish a museum of ethnology in Hanoi. The Museum is divided into three parts: an indoor and an outdoor exhibition and Southeast Asia area.

The Museum has 54 collections of each individual ethnic group. Functionally classified, there are collections of clothing, jewelry, of agricultural tools, fishing instruments, weapons, household utensils and musical instruments. In addition, there are collections of artefacts related to the various religions, beliefs, wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and other social and spiritual activities.

Coming here, you will have chance to satisfy your inquiries about the uniqueness of Vietnamese cultural and style living throughout different stages of history development.

Vietnam National Museum of History

Founded in 1958, the National Museum of Vietnamese History (Pham Ngu Lao – Hoan Kiem) is home to the finest collection of artefacts from Vietnam’s ancient and more recent history. Museum highlights include a collection of Dong Son drums, artefacts from central Vietnam’s Cham Kingdom as well as the Ly and Tran dynasties

Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum is a museum of military history of Vietnam, located at 28A Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. This museum collected, stored and displayed 16000 artifacts, including many artifacts, collections and valuable history that reflect the war against enemy. Two of them are MiG21 5121 aircraft and T54B 843 tank.

The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

Inaugurated in 1966 with 4,737 square meters in area, The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum (66 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Ba Dinh), is a museum that occupies the most important position in maintaining and promoting the treasures of Vietnamese cultural and artistic heritage. Now, the museum presents 18.000 important works of Vietnamese art offering the public unique insights into the culture and history of the Vietnam’s ethnic communities.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh museum is conveniently located in the Ho Chi Minh complex, at 19 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh District. The museum is a collection of artifacts, miniatures and document for national and international visitors to know about Uncle Ho. There is also description written in English and France, as well as guided tours on request

Fascinating destinations for food and drinks in Hanoi

Coming to Hanoi, visitors would have chance to enjoy traditional food and drinks along with culinary quintessence from across the country as well as all over the world.

Hanoi cuisine is not only famous for delicious dishes but also various restaurants which can satisfy visitors. If you have chance to go to Hanoi, you should not miss these following attractive locations:

Famous restaurants in Hanoi

Traditional – styled restaurants: if you want to enjoy stunning dishes in traditional style towards to the space of  North Vietnam, please go to “Quán Ngon” at 18 Phan Boi Chau street, Hoan Kiem District to try 3-regional cuisine at the middle of Hanoi.

Coming to Tay Ho area, travelers can visit Lotus Restaurant at 614 Lac Long Quan, Hanoi to experience 200 Vietnamese traditional dishes. These are a chain of restaurants located on the bank of West Lake.

Additionally, visitors can also go to Trong Dong Dong Son Restaurant at 1 Tran Dang Ninh street, Cau Giay District with the aim at enjoy Vietnamese special dishes. Here, visitors also see 12 famous drums of Dong Son Culture and stone reliefs of Vietnamese ancestors.

International-styled restaurants: If you love the modern and luxurious restaurants towards European style, you can go to La Vong Seafood and Buffet restaurant at 2 Nguyen Thi Thap street-Cau Giay to enjoy dishes from USA, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Czech,….

You can go to other places such as Sochu restaurant at 123 Mai Hac De – Hai Ba Trung with numerous Korean dishes, or Red Lantern restaurant at 19 Nguyen Cong Hoan – Ba Dinh to enjoy delicious dishes cooked by Chinese chefs.

Street food: Hanoi is known as the “heaven of snack”. If you arrive in Hanoi, but not enjoy these food, it seems you haven’t been aware of the elite cuisine here.

It is very easy to find delicious and cheap restaurants because they scatter everywhere in Hanoi. Visitors have to chances to taste grilled Vietnamese fermented pork wrapped in leaf at 10 Au Trieu at only 4.500 VND/stick, Fried crispy noodle at 206 Kham Thien. Or delicious and very flavored pancake at 135 Phuong Mai wih the price only 3000 VND for one, or steamed rice cake on Le Ngoc Han Street with 13000 VND/meal…

Additionally, if you want to enjoy specialties in Hanoi, you should go to Hang Ga-Hoan Kiem to find rolled cake made by Thanh Van restaurant-one of the most famous restaurant in Hanoi with the price only 30.000 VND/meal. Thin Noodle restaurant with more than 30-year experience surely leave impressive footprint in visitors’ hearts. There are some dishes like Binh Tay van than noodle on Hang Chieu Street or steamed sticky rice with fish at lane 107 Nguyen Chi Thanh Street with the price 25.000vnd/meal.

Tasty coffee shops in Hanoi

Visitors probably go to some famous coffee shops in Hanoi with stunning view and modern decoration like Avolon coffee Lounge (73 Cau Go), The Rooftop coffee (83B Ly Thuong Kiet), Summit lounge coffee (Thanh nien-Ba Dinh), Ciao coffee (Hang Bai – Hoan Kiem), Serenade Coffee (18 Ngo Quyen – Hoan Kiem)… to enjoy delicious drink and relax in romantic atmosphere here.

There are a lot of traditional coffee shop in Hanoi such as Café Mai at 96 Le Van Huu. You can go there to taste coffee flavor in Hanoian’ traditional way. Café Mai is produced traditionally and the brand is famous both in outdoor and indoor market.

Besides, you can go to Moc Quan at 215 To Hieu to drink Trung Nguyen Coffee designed naturally featuring Vietnamese traditional style.

Weather in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi has a mild and tropical climate – the typical weather of northern Vietnam with 4 distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Therefore, visitors to Hanoi are able to feel the particular features of each seasons.

The annually average temperature in Hanoi is 23, 6ºC. To be more specific, the highest temperature is 29, 8ºC in June and the lowest one is 17,2ºC in January. The average humidity in Hanoi is pretty high, 79% with rainy days up to 114 days per year.

Because Vietnam is located in the tropical belt with a monsoon season, Hanoi weather is quite changeable. Generally, there are 2 longest seasons in Hanoi. The summer is hot and rainy, extending from May to September, otherwise, the winter is cold and dry, extending November to March.

Coming to Hanoi at the precise moment of fall and spring, visitors would have chance to feel the outstanding features of these 2 seasons. Autumn in Hanoi usually falls in October every year and the sign of autumn arriving is that when wandering along two sides of Sword Lake, you will see a lot of yellow leaves covering roadsides.

The beauty of Hanoi autumn is an endless inspiration for many poets and musicians with famous works. Visitors will experience an incredible and unforgettable trip when coming to Hanoi in fall.

Furthermore, if you want to enjoy the beauty and fresh air of spring, please visit Hanoi in April to enjoy energetic shoots and busy life of the local.

The weather in Hanoi, Vietnam is flexible to the change of four seasons. Tourist guests can choose the best time to visit Hanoi with the aim at exploring the beauty and attractive destinations.

The ideal shopping destination in Hanoi

Traveling to Hanoi, visitors would have chance to purchase whatever they want at busy markets and the most modern commercial centers in Vietnam.

Shopping in every trip is indispensable for travelers. In particular, visitors can buy themselves, families and friends a lot of unique souvenirs which feature Hanoi’s characteristics.

In order to help you to choose the most suitable souvenirs, here are some suggestion for ideal shopping places:

Hanoi busy markets.

Night market in the Old Quarter: Coming to the center of Hanoi, visitors can visit night market on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights every week. The walking market area stretches 3 kilometers spreading across Hang Dao, Hang Ngang and Hang Duong streets. Two sides along these streets are houses with ancient structure and traditional beauty of Hanoi.

Visitors will have chance to purchase a diversity of goods ranging from clothes, footwear, household commodities to crafts and fine arts, souvenirs at nearly 4000 different kiosks with affordable prices.

Hang Da market: located in the middle of Hoan Kiem District, the market has numerous items, especially in textile and fur clothes. It is the traditional market in Hanoi and a transit point providing goods for neighbor areas.

Hang Be market: Situated on Cau Go street, Hoan Kiem District, Hang Be market is a place for guests to come and buy handicrafts, lacquer and wood-carved items. Furthermore, it is also a cultural destination for the local’s living and daily exchanges.

Quang Ba flower night market: if you want to explore the beauty of flowers Hanoians love, you can go to Quang Ba flower night market (Tay Ho) at 2 a.m to feel the busy life here.

Top shopping malls in Hanoi.

Trang Tien Plaza: it can be said that the biggest and most traditional commercial center in Hanoi is Trang Tien Plaza (Hang Bai-Hoan Kiem). The center was constructed in 1999 and have been repaired several times to reach the international standard with variable and luxury goods.

Big C shopping center: For those people who want to buy commodities for daily life, Big C truly is the best choice. All items’ price is followed by the market’s price, so travelers can easily purchase any items they want with professional payment.

Towers Vincom: Vincom Center Ba Trieu is the high-ranking and busy commercial center with a lot of top deluxe items in Hanoi. The center has 21 floors supplied modern and standard equipments. It also has the 2 biggest towers of the capital opened in 2001.

How do you get to Hanoi?

Hanoi capital is a famous tourist destination attracting millions of people every year. There are a lot of historical relics, unique architecture and traditional festivals for visitors to contemplate and explore the fascinating things.

If you are planning a trip to Hanoi, you can choose 2 main ways to travel there, which are by air and road. Depending on departure point, visitors can choose international and domestic flights.

Traveling to Hanoi by air

Noi Bai International Airport, the biggest airport in northern Vietnam, serves the capital city of Hanoi. Located in Soc Son Province, 15 kilometers far from the city center, Noi Bai airport has currently co-operate with about 22 international airlines which are convenient for tourists to choose such as China Southern Airline, Japan Airlines, AirAsia, Aeroflot, Cebu Pacific, Korea Air, Lao Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines. Thai AirAsia, Air Fance…

Additionally, if you are somewhere in Vietnam, you can travel to Hanoi through 4 domestic airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, Vietjet Air và Jetstar.

Traveling to Hanoi by road

On the territory of the mainland, Vietnam shares borders with China, Laos and Cambodia. Hanoi is in the center of the North Vietnam, so if visitors come here by road, departing from the border gate between China and Vietnam is the best choice.

There are 3 biggest international border gates crossing operated by China and Vietnam, which are Mong Cai Border Gate in Quang Ninh Province, Huu Nghi Border Gate in Lang Son Province and Lao Cai Border Gate in Lao Cai Province. You can travel by bus or motorbike from those gates to Hanoi on national highway or expressway.

Visitors can go to Hanoi through international entries and exits between Laos and Vietnam including Bo Y Border Gate in Kon Tum and Cau Treo Border Gate in Ha Tinh. However these gates to Hanoi is farther than those gates in the north, visitors would have chance to enjoy provinces and cities of Vietnam during your journey.

Finally, if you depart from Cambodia, visitors probably travel to Hanoi through Moc Bai Border Gate in Tay Ninh Province, Vinh Xuong and Tinh Bien Border Gates in An Giang Province, Xa Xia Border Gate in Kien Giang and Hoa Lu Border gate in Binh Phuoc,….if you depart from these locations by bus, it might take you a lot of time to arrive in Hanoi.

Accommodation in Hanoi

Selecting a place to stop and rest in every trip is the primary concern of tourists nowadays. Coming to Hanoi, visitors not only visit the capital’s famous destinations but also choose luxurious hotels or motels with good prices.

If tourists book a tour from a travel agency, accommodation will be arranged by agency. Besides, the tour guide will answer visitors’ queries and tell interesting stories about destinations.

To explore Hanoi by yourself, the selection of hotels and motels is very simple. Travelers can search information about accommodation in Hanoi on websites such as wego.vn, datphong.tructuyen.com, bestprice.vn, booking.com, etc. to find the suitable place and book in advance.

Generally, there are some websites having essential information about accommodation in Hanoi such as map, address, room price, services and equipment,…, which are convenient for visitors to seek accommodation for themselves.

If you want to choose luxury accommodation in Hanoi, you can go to 5-star hotels such as De L’Opera, Intercontinental Westlake, Melia Hotel with the price ranging from 3-5 million VND/night. Or you can go to 3-star hotels like Paradise Boutique Hotel, Icon 36 Hotel, Hanoi City Palace Hotel… with cheaper price from 500.00 to 1.500.00 VND/night.

Furthermore, if you want to tight your budget, you can select cheap accommodation in Hanoi with the price from 150.000-300.000VND/room/night. However, if you haven’t booked room in advance yet, you should ask the price clearly before deciding to rent a room.

Here are some recommendation about the selection of hotels and motels, which help you have wise choices to start the journey and gain a lot of great experiences at the lovely capital in Vietnam.

General information about Thang Long – Hanoi

The capital Hanoi is one of two biggest centers of culture, politics and economy in Vietnam. Being famous for historical land, ancient architecture and various types of art, Hanoi always is an attractive destination to visitors all around the world.

Thang Long – Hanoi was formed and developed in the 11th century (1010) when King Ly Thai To decided to relocate the capital from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh) to Dai La (Hanoi). At that time, the Thang Long citadel was bordered by Red River, To Lich River and Kim Nguu River. The abundant land with a terrain of “rolling dragon and sitting tiger” became the center of culture, politics and education under Vietnamese feudal Dynasties such as Ly, Tran, Le, Mac and Nguyen.

After the collapse of feudalism and the successful struggle for independence and unity, from 1976 up until now, Hanoi has officially been the national capital of Vietnam. In 2008, Hanoi extended administrative area with 3.324.92 square kilometers in the total area, including 1 town, 10 urban districts and 18 suburban districts with the population of nearly 6.5 million.

Hanoi used to be founded as an ancient economic center with lots of bustling and crowded old quarters. However, with the remarkable growth of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi recently is known as the second commercial center in Vietnam.

About culture, Hanoi is recognized as a convergence of cultural quintessence characterized by both the North and Vietnam as well. Hanoi also is a place where a lot of celebrities, artists and businessmen from different areas to settle down and set up business, creating the diversity in habits and customs as well as unique cultural identities.

Hanoi is one of three destinations having the most festivals in the North of Vietnam. Almost festivals are held to celebrate historic heroes who made a contribution to build the country or to preserve traditional games by competing.

About cultural culinary, Hanoi is the famous destination with many traditional dishes. Visitors will have chance to feel the stickiness of the young rice and at the same time enjoy its sweet and fragrant taste when coming to Com Vong village. Steamed rolled cake from Thanh Tri, Hoang Mai District, or La Vong grilled fish pies, or noodles in the Old Quarter or vermicelli on Hang Than Street,…all these dishes has been leaving an unforgettable impression in tourists’ hearts when visiting this beloved land.

Perfume Pagoda – one of the most beautiful sceneries of Vietnam

Huong Son (also called Perfume Pagoda) is located less than 70 km in the southwest of Hanoi. It is one of the most beautiful sceneries in the North of Vietnam.

How to get to visit this beautiful place? From Hanoi, we pass through Ha Dong town to come to Van Dinh then enters the wharf Duc. Here, we take a boat, travelling about 3 km on Yen Vi stream (we can also go by road instead). Huong Son is famous for its beauty for many years. According to Buddhist scriptures, Huong Son is a mountain in the north of the Himalayas (India) – the place Buddha sat ascetically. According to a book, Huong Tich Pagoda was built in 17th century by a venerable monk who discovered the location.

The strange thing in Huong Son is that mountains and streams are located in the middle of a delta. This complex beauty is harmony between mountains, forests, streams, lakes and caves. Perfume Pagoda Festival takes place every year in mid-spring (around February to March). Every year thousands of people come visiting this place. It takes up to a week visiting all the beautiful scenery of the pagoda, one day tour is enough to visit only the main cave Huong Tich.

Everyone knows the rule of this place, after getting off the boat, the first place we should visit is Trinh temple (which means present) – where pilgrims come to burn incense to “present” and “ask for permission” of Buddha to continue visiting other places in the following order:

– Thien Tru Pagoda (also called the outside pagoda) was built in the 18th century, where there is Thuy Thien tower (embodied as a crown tower tree). To the right of pagoda, there is Tien Son cave famous for five stone-carved statues and the formation of stalactites on the wall. It could make an eco as the ringing sound of bell. Surrounding Thien Tru pagoda, there are mountains and hundreds of towers built from the feudal dynasties. Here a new hotel has also been built for tourists’ accommodation just in case they want to stay here two or three days to visit the landscape. Then continue on pilgrimage to the inside pagoda (Huong Tich).

Located in a cave, the road to the inside pagoda (Huong Tich) is very beautiful with natural stone path. In the century 18th, the Lord Trinh Sam visited this place and asked to carve these words “Nam Thiên Đệ Nhất Động” (the most beautiful cave in Vietnam) on the gate . According to a legend, this cave was discovered twenty thousand years ago, but until 1575, people established altars of Buddhist temple in the cave. Entering the cave, a fantastic scene appears in the magical light, dim. Stalactites in the cave make many exotic images: rice plant, warm cocoon, showers, and child’s head. There are also statues of  king, queen, Bodhisattva

Huong Son also has many fascinating cave pagoda such as Long Van Pagoda, Tuyet Son Pagoda,  Hinh Bong cave and Mr. Seven cave which is 2 km from Long Van Pagoda and was found in 1975. This cave was shelter of many people thousands of years ago.

Whenever you are in Hanoi and have time, one day trip to Perfume Pagoda is a good suggestion. If you can not climb the mountian, cable car is always availabe for you.

Hoan Kiem Lake – where the sword was returned

Hoan Kiem Lake is a former branch of the Red River. There was a time the Red River flowed back to the West, after the river changed course, the lake belonged to the East like today

Very long time ago, it’s used to be called Luc Thuy Lake since the water color of the lake was greenish all the year round. Until the 15 century, its name was changed to Hoan Kiem according to a legend of The Emperor Le Thai To. The legend said it that the King Le Thai To had a precious sword which helped him during 10 years of his revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty. After the victory, once the emperor Le Thai To was boating on Luc Thuy lake, he showed his precious sword to his soldiers, there was a big turtle surfaced and took it away. Immediately, he asked people to drain the lake and find out the turtle but they could not find either turtle and sword. Then, he thought that the valuable sword’s given to help him fight against the enemy and should be returne when the nation’s peaceful. So, Hoan Kiem was named for the lake accordingly (It means Lake of the Returned Sword), also known as Ho Guom (Sword Lake).

Originally, the lake was very large stretching from Hang Dao Street connecting to the Red River, to the area of Hang Chuoi Street. It’s devided into two parts: the right and the left (Ta Vong – Huu Vong). The lake now belongs to the last right part

From the reign of King Le Trung Hung (the 16th century onwards), many Kings of Le Dynasty and Trinh Lord had contributed to make the beauty of this lake. Trinh Giang Lord built Khanh Thuy Palace on Jade Island (in the northern shore of the lake) and built two man-made hills on the East bank of the lake called Mount. Đao Tai and Ngoc Boi.

At the end of the Le Dynasty, Thuy Khanh shrine was destroyed by Chieu Thong. Then, a philanthropist named Tin Trai built Ngoc Son Pagoda which was changed to Ngoc Son Temple by the reign of Thieu Tri 3 (1843). Ngoc Son Temple’s a place to make worship of Van Xuong Shrine (who supervised the literature and civil service examination) and General Tran Hung Dao (the national hero fighting against the Mongols.

In 1864, Nguyen Van Sieu, a famous cultural researcher of Hanoi made renovation all of this area. The complex of Ngoc Son Temple, Pen Tower and The Huc Bridge made the surrounding of Hoan Kiem Lake a sparkling colorful natural picture. Beside that, we could not miss the Turtle Tower which was built on a small island in the middle of the lake.

Everyday, there are many visitors from all over the world coming to Hanoi, and they could not fail to visit the complex of Hoan Kiem Lake – where the sword was returned