Location: in the Red River Delta, in the central of North of Vietnam
Access: accessible by road, by train and by air with an international airport named Noi Bai. It takes 2 hours flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Ha Noi.
Main attractions: Temple of Literature, Hochiminh’s Mausoleum (closed on Monday & Friday), Hochiminh House, History Museum (closed on Monday), Quan Thanh and Quan Su Pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, Lake of Restored Sword, Fine Arts Museum, Ethnology Museum, One-pillared Pagoda.
The unique romance character of Hanoi lies in the gentle pace and the antique structures. The city personifies the spirit of Vietnam history in its fascinating blend of East and West, of Chinese influence and French colonization in the architecture of ancient temples, unspoiled monuments, modern museums, French-styled villas, and pockets of ancient culture along the narrow streets of the Old Quarter. With its thousand-year history - from which Vietnamese civilization began, intellectual tradition, overreaching grace of landscape and architecture of surrounding rice fields dotted by old pagodas and rustic villages, and continental ambiance, the capital feels close to its natural environment and retains its human scale.
Modern skyscrapers are arising aside its 36 ancient streets, yet the peaceful lifestyle seems resting undisturbed from invasion of western culture and modernization: broad, tree-lined sidewalks hold in their laps-cafés where, in the early hours of evening, children play while their parents linger over cups of Vietnamese esbeetso. Curbside, people sit and read books. On grassy lake shores at dawn, the elderly exercise and the young jog. On evening’s approach, families sit watching pedal boats splash on water made pink by the sunset. Lakes, with no doubt, have made up an inevitable part of Hanoi’s soul. The elegant red The Huc Bridge connecting the two banks of Sword Lake and Tortoise Tower watching its own image reflected in emerald water for almost a thousand years have penetrated into the nostalgia of each Hanoian. Hanoi is fit for strolling and sitting, for reverence and reflection, for visiting and conversing.
Location: Bat Trang Pottery Village is located in the south east of Hanoi, passing Chuong Duong Bridge turns right and go about 10km along the dike of Red River. Bat Trang belongs to Bat Trang Commune, Gia Lam District, Hanoi.
Characteristic: This is a pottery village with a half-millenary historic development.
The most outstanding advantage of the village is its traditional pottery production with 1,000 families developing their craftsmanship over many generations. Visitors can wander in Bat Trang’s narrow streets, watching the skillful and talented workers producing sophisticated porcelain, tableware and ornaments using the modern gas-fired kilns. Inside the studios are craftsmen mixing clay or dipping burnt cases into glaze to highlight their crackled lines, and then the painting masters will apply the intricate design on the raw terracotta before heating them in the ovens. The outcome pottery products include a diversified range of bowl, dish, pot, cup, wine pot, a big flower-vase, leg lamp, lime-pot, big-bellied jar with glazes such as ancient pearl blaze, crackle glaze, dark glaze, indigo-blue flower glaze, grey flower glaze, melt glaze...
Along the intertwined village roads are vendors with colorful ceramic little animals, figurines, huge vases, tea sets, etc. At the river bank is a fascinating busy port with packers loading trucks for all parts and pottery products are shipped on board. This is also where visitors can enjoy some tea and buy some ceramics as nice souvenirs for their trip.
Location: Vietnam History Museum is located at No. 1 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi; behind the Hanoi Opera House.
Characteristic: The museum is a beautiful architectural work. It provides an area of 2,000m2 for exhibition.
On the ground floor are theme rooms, prehistory, Vietnam from the Time of National Building to the Tran Dynasty.
The second floor features Vietnam from the Ho Dynasty to the Nguyen Dynasty and contains a section on Cham Culture.
Nearly 7,000 objects and documents depict vividly the long process of development of the Vietnamese community, its undaunted and heroic struggle for thousand years, from its early history up to the August Revolution in 1945. The system of computers installed on the second floor is intended for visitors to search for information effectively. The exhibits provide systematic, scientific and reliable information for those who want to understand and research on the history of Vietnam. The museum is a tourist attraction for people inside and outside Vietnam.
Location: Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the center of Hanoi.
Characteristic: Hoan Kiem Lake also called Lake of the Restored Sword. The name Lake of the Restored Sword is derived from a legend.
After ten years of hard fighting (1418 - 1428), the Lam Son insurrectionists led by Le Loi swept the foreign invaders out of the country of Dai Viet (Great Viet), ending the Ming's 20-year domination over the Viet people. Le Loi became a national hero, proclaiming himself kings, called Le Thai To and establishing his capital in Thang Long.
On a beautiful afternoon, the king and his entourage took a dragon-shaped boat for sight-seeing on Luc Thuy (Green Water) Lake, which was located in the centre of Thang Long Capital (present-day Hanoi). As the boat was gliding on the lake, suddenly there was a great wave and on top of the wave, the Golden Tortoise Genie appeared, telling the king: "Your Majesty, the great work is completed. Would you please return the sacred sword to the King of the Sea?".
The precious sword was formerly lent to Le Loi by the King of the Sea and was always beside him throughout his battles and helped him win over the Ming invaders. At the time the Tortoise Genie spoke, the sword hung at the King's waist. It then moved out of the scabbard and flew towards the Genie. The Genie kept the sword in his mouth and dived under the water and bright lightning flashed up to the sky. Since then, Luc Thuy Lake has been called the Restored Sword Lake or the Sword Lake for short.
It is said that when visiting Hanoi, if the visitor does not see the Sword Lake, then they would not have actually been in Hanoi. The lake is an endless topic and inspiration for painters, poets, writers, music composers, etc, and innumerable works about the lake have been produced. Once, a famous Japanese painter said to the late-painter Van Giao that he had painted dozens of pictures of Mount Fuji - the second to none beauty spot of Japan. Then painter Van Giao replied by saying that he had painted hundreds of pictures of the Sword Lake.
The Sword Lake is really an emerald jewel of Hanoi. For generations, the Vietnamese believed that deep in the green water of the Sword Lake, there is a sacred sword of their ancestors, which is carefully safeguarded by the golden tortoise. When the weather changes, the tortoise emerges on the water surface to take a sun bath, seeming to prove his existence and remind the young generation of their national history of defending their country from foreign invaders.
Location: Situated in Mia Village, Duong Lam Commune, Son Tay Town, Hanoi.
Characteristics: The pagoda was built during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1406) and still preserves many ancient artifacts.
The pagoda has 287 statues of all sizes, among which are famous sculptures such as the statue of Buddha in the Himalayas and the statues of the Eight Vajra Deities. The largest one is the sculpture of Bat Bo Kim Cang located in the upper sanctuary.The pagoda preserves many ancient artifacts such as the great red bell made in 1743, the bronze gong (1846), and the Lady Mia stone tables, set up in 1632.