Sights To See In Hanoi, 16 Attractions You Should Know

“Sights to see” in Hanoi, Vietnam are very very historical, mysterious, and meaningful for anyone. If you spend your time on discovering what we’re going to recommend below you’ll see clearly the characteristics of Hanoi city, especially the old quarter from the past to modern life.

What to see in Hanoi city within 1-2 days of your trip plan ?

I. Sights to see in Ho Chi Minh Complex- Ho Chi Minh President Mausoleum and Museum

1. Ho Chi Minh President Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Masoleum
Ho Chi Minh Masoleum

Who is Ho Chi Minh ?

  • Ho Chi Minh is as known as Uncle Ho, a very familiar name named by Vietnamese people. He was elected to become the first president of Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945.
  • All his life, Ho Chi Minh tried to find the way for deliberating Vietnamese from colonies and led the country when it came to be independence.
  • Both Vietnamese people and the people in the world admire him for not only excellent politic ability but warm-heart and gentle behavior also. The beloved father of Vietnamese country passed away on 2nd sept 1969.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, opening time and  entrance ticket

Nowadays It is the mausoleum where his body is kept inside. Ho Chi Minh mausoleum opens from 08:00 to 11:30 on each day of a week except monday and friday. Ticket for visiting inside is free for everyone.

The Mausoleum is often closed between Oct  & Dec, for annual re-embalming, but you can visit the front side of the Mausoleum, the Museum in the same area and Ba Dinh square)

2. Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh museum, one of sights to see in Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh museum, one of sights to see in Hanoi

The museum was inaugurated on 19 May 1990, the 100th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s birth. The exhibition area of the museum is nearly 4000 m2, presenting more than 2,000 documents, artifacts and images reflecting the life and career of President Ho Chi Minh and attaching to important historical events in history from the late nineteenth century to the present.

3. Other sights to see in Ho Chi Minh Complex

House on stilts

House on stilt in Ho Chi Minh complex
House on stilt in Ho Chi Minh complex

The house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked at after he became the president of Vietnam.

One Pillar pagoda

The pagoda looks like a lotus blossoming from the square pond

sight to see in Ho Chi Minh complex
One Pillar Pagoda, sight to see in Ho Chi Minh complex

Its unique architecture based on the very interesting legend:

  • In 11th century, King Ly Thai Tong was very old and had no son. Therefore, he often went to pagoda to pray for Buddha blessing so that he might have one.
  • One night, he had a dream that he met a Goddess of Mercy, who was sitting on a lotus flower. She gave him a pretty boy. Months later, the queen got pregnant and gave birth to a male child.
  • To repay gift from the Goddess of Mercy, the King ordered to construct of a pagoda in the shape of a lotus, which was supported by only one pillar.

Today, there are many couples come here and pray for a child (especially a son).

II. Sights to see in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

4. 36 sights to see in the old quarter of Hanoi – 36 old streets

Hanoi sights to see in the old quarter
The old quarter of Hanoi

Most of the names of 36 old quarters begin with “Hang” such as Hàng Bông, Hàng Đường, Hàng Ngang,…

Quarter of Hanoi is an ancient unique architecture, bringing heavy Vietnamese national identity. In the old quarter, it occurs at the same time many activities in daily life of urban residents: live, sales production, festivals, leisure, entertainment.

5. House No. 87 on Mã Mây street

The ancient house on Ma May street
The ancient house on Ma May street

Some generations had lived at that house, then the owner decided to donate the house, so that it could be a museum. The house was restored and open in October 1999 thanks to the French assistance.

6. Hanoi – the old gate in the old quarter

Hanoi old gate in the old quarter
Hanoi old gate in the old quarter

One of the gates into the old citadel, which still remains up to now, is the “Ô Quan Chưởng” gate. It was built in 1744 and located at the end of Hàng Chiếu street.

7. Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi

Hanoi old gate in the old quarter
Hoa Lo prison on Hoa Lo street

Hoa Lo Prison, more popularly known as the “Hanoi Hilton”, is a museum near the French Quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam. It was first built in the late 1890s by Vietnam’s French colonizers as a central prison (Maison Centrale) for Vietnamese criminals.

If you are keen on the history behind this prison, take a Hanoi French Quarter Walking Tour to know more about the nightmare history in the war against the French in the past.

To visit Hoa Lo prison, you need to buy a ticket with 30.000 Vnd ( US $1,5)

8. Hanoi Opera House (French style building)

Hanoi opera house
Hanoi opera house

This is an opera house in central Hanoi, Vietnam. It was erected by the French colonial administration between 1901 and 1911.

The Opera House is considered to be one of the architectural landmarks of Hanoi. After the departure of the French the opera house became the scene for several political events such as Vietnamese plays and musicals as well as the scene of street fighting during the fight for Hanoi.

9. St. Joseph’s Cathedral

St joseph Cathedral at night
St joseph Cathedral at night

The construction began in 1886, with the architectural style described as resembling Notre Dame de Paris. The church was one of the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina when it opened in December 1886. It is the oldest church in Hanoi.

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is challenged by rapid changes. There are many travel agencies and new hotels as well as restaurants for tourists on some streets of the Old Quarter.

Night markets are opened at every weekend along Hàng Đào street to Đồng Xuân market. And walking street takes places on friday, saturday and sunday, near Hoan Kiem lake for many lively activities.

III. Sights to see in Hanoi‘s center – Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple

10. Hoan Kiem lake

St joseph Cathedral at night
St joseph Cathedral at night

Hoan Kiem Lake means “Lake of the Returned Sword” or “Lake of the Restored Sword”, also known as Hồ Gươm (The name appeared according to a legend in 15h century)

The lake is compared as a precious gem of Hanoi

11. Ngoc Son temple

Ngoc Son Temple sights to see in Hanoi center
Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son temple or the Temple of the Jade Mountain is one of Hanoi’s most picturesque temples. It is built on an islet in Hoan Kiem lake.

12. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater (some shows every evening and you can choose time)

Hanoi sights to see in water puppet show
Thang Long water puppet theatre

Located at 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang street, nearby Hoan Kiem Lake, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a familiar address for both domestic tourists and foreign ones, who want to enjoy water puppet shows and discovery the beauty of this unique Vietnam traditional art.

Ticket costs between 60.000 – 100.000 VND (US $3-5)

Maybe you now know which sights to see in Hanoi, but don’t forget to book your stays in advanced

Here is my suggestions about Hanoi Old Quarter stay places.

IV. Sights to see in Hanoi, out of the old quarter

13. Van Mieu (the Temple of Literature)

Temple of Literature in Hanoi
Temple of Literature in Hanoi

One of the must-see places when you visit Hanoi is “Văn Miếu” (the Temple of Literature) which is nearly 1,000 years old.

There are two part of the site :

  • Temple of Literature was built in 1070 by King Ly Thanh Tong to honor Confucius ( A Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of Chinese history.
  • In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong built Quoc Tu Giam ( Imperial Academy), known as the first university of Vietnam.

Temple of Literature opens from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm everyday, ticket costs 30.000 VND/Adult ( US $1.5) (Children under 15 are free)

14. Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

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 proposal for the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology was officially approved on December 14, 1987.

The Vietnamese Government first invested in the Museum in 1986 and construction of the foundation began in late 1989.

15. Sights to see in Long Bien Bridge and the Red River

sights to see in Hanoi
Long Bien bridge

Long Bien bridge is the most famous bridge for its long history in Vietnam.The Long Bien Bridge was constructed from 1989 to 1902 during French occupation of the country.

  • Today, Long Bien is only one of the five bridges crossing the Red river of Hanoi. However, it may be the most special bridge with unique historic, architectural, and cultural value.
  • It is the only bridge in Hanoi where people  have to go in the left hand side, where tourists can take a walk and taste local desserts offered by vendors

16. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

Vietnam fine art museum
sights to see at Vietnam fine art museum

The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is considered as a museum that occupies the most important position in maintaining and promoting the treasures of Vietnamese cultural and artistic heritage.

Visitors to the Museum can appreciate and understand the entire history of Vietnamese fine arts through the collections and exhibitions on display.

Address : 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Ba Dinh district