Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and modern urban energy. If you are planning to visit this city in the upcoming time, here are the best places to visit in Hanoi to add to your travel bucket list:

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Located in the center of Ba Dinh Square, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a monumental marble edifice that houses the embalmed remains of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s beloved leader. This place is not just a tourist site but a part of living history, evoking a deep sense of national pride among locals. Spend a morning in Hanoi visiting this historical monument to feel how significant it is.

Hanoi Old Quarter

Being the heart and soul of Hanoi, the Old Quarter is a maze of winding narrow streets, brimming with history. This over-a-thousand-year-old area is like a living museum where it’s easy to witness the city’s transformation over the centuries. Here, traditional crafts thrive alongside boutique shops, and the aroma of delicious street food fills the air, inviting one to indulge in local delights like Pho or Bun Cha.

Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

hoan kiem lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is a serene oasis amidst the bustling city, a popular spot for leisurely walks. Dominating the lake is the Turtle Tower, a symbol of Hanoi. On the northern part of the lake, you can find Ngoc Son Temple, accessed by the iconic red The Huc Bridge.

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is one of the most wonderful places to visit in Hanoi for historical lovers. It is a testament to Vietnam’s rich academic past as well as an architectural gem dedicated to Confucius. Constructed in 1070, it was home to Vietnam’s first national university. The serene courtyards, intricate sculptures, and ancient trees make it a peaceful escape. Here, you will also see many stone steles on turtles’ backs, carrying the names of successful scholars.

Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House stands majestically in the city’s old quarter as an epitome of French colonial architecture. It’s not just an architectural landmark but also a cultural beacon, hosting performances that range from traditional Vietnamese music and dance to international concerts and ballets.

Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton)

Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, vietnam

Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison, also known as “Hanoi Hilton,” once served as a detention center during French colonial rule. Later, during the Vietnam War, it housed American prisoners of war. Today, it stands as a museum, offering a poignant look at the struggles and sacrifices of those detained within its walls.

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market is the largest market in Hanoi. This four-story Soviet-era building is packed with stalls selling everything from apparel and household goods to fresh products. The surrounding streets are a heaven for food enthusiasts, offering tantalizing authentic Hanoi food and a sensory overload of flavors and aromas.

Must-See Attractions in Hanoi

When talking about Hanoi, the phrases "36 Streets of Hanoi" and "Hanoi Old Quarter" immediately spring to mind, as they are synonymous with the city's historical narrative. The Old Quarter of Hanoi has become an alluring tourist hotspot that captivates visitors and simply cannot be missed. The fame of Hanoi Old Quarter stems from its multitude of attractions, diverse culinary offerings, lively nightlife, and distinctive handicrafts. This downtown area serves as a vivid reflection of the city's historical journey, making it an ideal destination for tourists to delve into Hanoi's culture and indulge in sightseeing on foot. If you're eager to discover more about the enchanting Hanoi Old Quarter, continue reading this article until the very end!

Location of Hanoi Old Quarter

The Hanoi Old Quarter, situated at the heart of the Hoan Kiem district, is nestled close to Hoan Kiem Lake and spans a specific area as outlined below: - To the north is Hang Dau Street. - To the west is Phung Hung Street. - The southern section encompasses Hang Bong, Hang Gai, Cau Go, and Hang Thung streets. - To the east are Tran Quang Khai Street and Tran Nhat Duat Street. [caption id="attachment_59328" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Old Quarter Map Hanoi Old Quarter Map[/caption]

The History of Hanoi Old Quarter

The origin of the Hanoi Old Quarter dates back to the 17th century when King Ly Thai To made the pivotal decision to shift the capital from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh) to Hanoi. As this new capital emerged, it started drawing craftsmen from the surrounding regions during the 13th century. These skilled artisans gradually came together, forming guilds and cooperatives to strengthen their trade and enhance collaboration within the burgeoning community. This collective effort laid the foundation for the development and growth of the Old Quarter, shaping it into a vibrant hub of craftsmanship and commerce. [caption id="attachment_59332" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Old Quarter during the 1920s Hanoi Old Quarter during the 1920s[/caption] In the 15th century, the Old Quarter of Hanoi thrived with a vibrant presence of at least 36 trade guilds. These guilds specialized in various goods and services, contributing to the area's bustling commercial activity. To reflect the nature of their trade, streets within the Old Quarter were named after the predominant goods traded by each guild. An illustration of this naming convention is Hang Tre Street, which became renowned as the hub of the bamboo (tre) market. As artisans and merchants engaged in the trade of bamboo products congregated on this street, it acquired its distinctive name, perpetuating its association with the bamboo trade throughout history. During the 1950s, the influence of the French brought about a shift in architectural styles within the area. Western architectural influences gained prominence over traditional Vietnamese and Chinese styles. Presently, the Hanoi Old Quarter does not adhere to a singular dominant architectural style, but many of its notable landmarks showcase French architectural elements.

Hanoi Old Quarter Main's Highlights

The preserved Old Quarter of Hanoi today helps visitors get a depth insight into the rich history and cultural heritage of the city. It represents the remnants of Hanoi's 36 streets from the past, offering visitors an opportunity to envision the culture, socio-economic dynamics, and the people of the ancient Thang Long Citadel. The Old Quarter is characterized by its craft streets, which were formed by skilled artisans from craft villages surrounding the historic Thang Long Imperial Citadel. These craftsmen came together, creating distinct craft quarters that still exist today. Among the most renowned craft streets in Hanoi's Old Quarter are:
  • Hang Bong Street: Known for its sale of quilts, blankets, and cushions.
  • Hang Bac Street: Specializes in gold and silver jewelry.
  • Hang Dao Street: Famous for its diverse range of fabric offerings.
  • Hang Ma Street: Noted for its sales of votive paper, decorations, and toys for festivals like the Mid-Autumn Festival and Christmas.
  • Hang Quat Street: Known for its offerings and ceremonial items.
  • Hang Buom Street: Famous for its assortment of sweets and jams, particularly for Tet (Vietnamese New Year).
  • Hang Thiec Street: Specializes in metal processing, including tin and iron, used in crafting household items.
  • Ma May Street: Offers a variety of travel and tourism services, catering to visitors exploring the Old Quarter.
These craft streets encapsulate the essence of Hanoi's Old Quarter, preserving the traditions and skills of generations of craftsmen. Exploring these streets provides an immersive experience of the cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere of the area, allowing visitors to connect with the city's past while appreciating the craftsmanship and traditions that continue to thrive.

Best Things to Do in Hanoi Old Quarter

Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake

Situated in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Sword Lake, holds a special place in the city's landscape and cultural heritage. It is not only a serene and picturesque destination but also an important symbol of historical and spiritual significance. A visit to Hanoi would be incomplete without experiencing the allure of this iconic lake. Legend has it that Hoan Kiem Lake is associated with a mythical turtle deity who claimed a magical sword. The lake and its surrounding areas beautifully showcase the historical and spiritual traditions of the capital, leaving a lasting impression on visitors. [caption id="attachment_58202" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoan Kiem Lake Hoan Kiem Lake[/caption] At the center of Hoan Kiem Lake stands the ancient Turtle Tower, adding a touch of intrigue and charm. The lake also features a small peninsula that hosts several renowned landmarks, including the Pen Tower, The Huc Bridge, Tran Ba Communal House, and Ngoc Son Temple. These sites provide insights into Hanoi's rich history and cultural heritage, inviting visitors to delve into the city's past. In addition to the historical and spiritual elements, a visit to Hoan Kiem Lake offers an opportunity to indulge in the delectable Trang Tien ice cream. This famous local specialty has been enjoyed for generations in Hanoi and is a must-try for anyone exploring the area.

Visit Dong Xuan Market - One of the Prides of Hanoi

Located at the westernmost side of Hanoi's Old Quarter, surrounded by Dong Xuan, Hang Khoai, and Cau Dong streets, is the renowned Dong Xuan Market. Much like Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City or Dam Market in Da Nang, Dong Xuan Market holds great significance as a symbol and a source of pride for the people of Hanoi. The market pulsates with activity, welcoming thousands of visitors each day who come not only to shop but also to capture memorable photographs, explore its offerings, and savor the local cuisine. [caption id="attachment_44356" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi Old Quarter Dong Xuan Market[/caption] This market occupies a substantial area of 6,500 square meters, housing over 2,100 stalls and 71 kiosks. It serves as a prominent wholesale market, catering to the needs of Hanoi's residents and serving as a crucial supply hub for traders. Dong Xuan Market has become an integral part of the daily lives of Hanoi's inhabitants. It offers a vast array of merchandise, ranging from fresh produce to textiles, household goods, handicrafts, and more. A visit to Dong Xuan Market allows you to immerse yourself in the dynamic rhythm of Hanoi's daily life, witness the interplay of commerce, and indulge in the flavors and colors of this vibrant city. It is an experience that captures the essence of Hanoi and leaves a lasting impression on those who explore its bustling aisles.

Explore the Spiritual Treasures of Hanoi

Be ready for a spiritual itinerary as you delve into the historical treasures of Hanoi. Among these treasures lies the Ma May Ancient House, located at No. 87 Ma May Street in Hanoi's Old Quarter. Dating back to the 19th century, this remarkable house served as both a residence and a place of business. Through meticulous preservation efforts, the house stands today in all its original splendor, showcasing its authentic design and architectural beauty. [caption id="attachment_59330" align="aligncenter" width="800"]O Quan Chuong O Quan Chuong Gate[/caption] Another awe-inspiring landmark awaits your exploration: the renowned Old City Gate of Hanoi, affectionately known as O Quan Chuong Gate. Constructed during the reign of King Le Hien Tong in 1749, this magnificent gate proudly stands at the convergence of Hang Chieu Street, Dao Duy Tu Street, Thanh Ha Street, and O Quan Chuong Street. Crafted with stones and bricks meticulously hammered together with wooden mallets, this two-story gate features an elegant pavilion adorned with a gracefully curving roof. Once a watchtower for vigilant guards, the gate's second story now serves as a distinguished platform for displaying the national flag during special occasions, symbolizing national pride and unity. Besides, you shouldn't miss visiting the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. The citadel has a rich history dating back over a thousand years and reflects the influences of various dynasties that ruled Vietnam. [caption id="attachment_57028" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Thang Long Imperial Citadel Thang Long Imperial Citadel[/caption] Moreover, you can also immerse yourself in the charm and heritage of Hanoi's Old Quarter through an engaging walking tour, where you'll discover the vibrant streets and fascinating history of this iconic district.

Explore the Vibrant Ancient Streets in Hanoi Old Quarter

While the passage of time has brought changes to many streets in Hanoi, a select few have retained their nostalgic allure. Step onto Hang Bac, famously known as Silver Street, and be transported by the tinkling sounds of exquisite jewelry and the animated exchanges of currency traders. Wander through Hang Ma, where a kaleidoscope of religious artifacts and festive embellishments entices visitors seeking spiritual keepsakes. And let Silk Street, or Hang Gai, envelop you in its essence, as fabric shops and skilled tailors weave a vibrant tapestry of bespoke suits and elegant dresses. The Old Quarter's legendary 36 guild streets stand as a testament to the city's rich cultural heritage, offering an enchanting voyage into the past. Explore their winding alleys, immerse yourself in the energy of the markets, and discover the stories woven into the very fabric of these time-honored streets. [caption id="attachment_59329" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Silk Street Hanoi Silk Street[/caption]

Enjoy Hanoi Draft Beer at Ta Hien Street

Ta Hien Street is often hailed as a paradise for those seeking vibrant nightlife experiences in Hanoi. Renowned for its exceptional brews, Ta Hien Street stands out as the ultimate destination to savor the city's energetic ambiance while indulging in a refreshing beer. When the weather turns scorching hot, there's no better place to relish the coolness of a chilled beer alongside friends. [caption id="attachment_59331" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ta Hien Beer Street Ta Hien Beer Street[/caption] What sets Ta Hien Street apart is the unique atmosphere it offers. Instead of sitting in traditional pubs, you can sit down on outdoor stools, enjoying their bottles of beer that rest on similar stools. This unconventional setting allows guests to immerse themselves in the traditional and unpretentious Hanoi lifestyle. Moreover, the beer experience is often complemented by a mouth-watering array of culinary delights. Delicacies like roasted squid, fried fermented pork rolls, roasted birds, and sunflower seeds are frequently served alongside the beer, enhancing the overall enjoyment. Ta Hien Street encapsulates the essence of Hanoi's vibrant nightlife, where locals and visitors alike come together to celebrate life with the perfect blend of camaraderie, refreshing beer, and delectable street food.

Savor local street food

Within the Old Quarter of Hanoi, you'll find an abundance of culinary delights that showcase some of the finest food in Vietnam. While many foreign tourists are familiar with popular Vietnamese dishes like banh mi and pho, which are truly amazing in their own regard, there is a treasure trove of other gastronomic wonders just waiting to be discovered! In addition to the well-known classics, the Old Quarter offers a diverse range of mouthwatering cuisines that will tantalize your taste buds. From savory street snacks to flavorful noodle dishes and delectable seafood specialties, the options are seemingly endless. Coming here, you can delve into the world of banh cuon, delicate rice flour rolls filled with savory ingredients, or savor the crispy goodness of cha ca, a local favorite featuring grilled fish with aromatic herbs and vermicelli. Don't miss out on the tantalizing flavors of bun cha, a dish consisting of grilled pork served with rice noodles and a savory broth. And if you want to challenge your taste buds, sample some exotic treats like snail dishes or fertilized duck eggs. [caption id="attachment_49422" align="aligncenter" width="800"]banh cuon Banh Cuon[/caption] Beyond the savory delights, the Old Quarter also boasts an array of sweet indulgences. Treat yourself to Che, a delightful Vietnamese dessert made with various ingredients such as beans, jellies, and coconut milk, or satisfy your sweet tooth with the famous egg coffee, a unique blend of rich coffee and creamy egg yolk.

Travel Tips to Visit Hanoi Old Quarter

The Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market, also known as Hanoi Walking Street, is open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During these hours, the pedestrian street comes alive, transforming into an open-air stage for various artists to showcase their talents. To fully experience the vibrant atmosphere of entertainment, dining, and art alongside the locals of Hanoi, it's important to plan your visit accordingly. When exploring Hanoi's Old Quarter, you'll find a multitude of shops offering souvenirs that make perfect gifts for your loved ones. However, we recommend you visit these shops in the afternoon to enjoy the freedom of choice and payment. The shopkeepers tend to appreciate customers who genuinely intend to make a purchase, rather than merely inquiring without buying during the morning hours. As the evening sets in and the pedestrian streetlights up, the entire area transforms into an outdoor stage. Talented artists come together to perform a wide range of acts, including traditional and folk performances, as well as singing, dancing, contemporary music, and more. It will be a delightful experience for you to witness these remarkable performances while immersing yourself in the lively ambiance of Hanoi's Old Quarter.   [caption id="attachment_59333" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Old Quarter captivates tourists with street music Hanoi Old Quarter captivates tourists with street music[/caption] No matter where your footsteps take you within the Old Quarter, its enchanting yet bustling streets will leave an indelible impression on you. This vibrant district is a captivating fusion of historical landmarks, distinctive architecture, bustling shops, cozy cafés, and mouthwatering culinary delights, making it an unsurprisingly popular destination for tourists in Vietnam. Whether it's your first visit to the Hanoi Old Quarter or you've strolled through its quarter numerous times, this captivating neighborhood will always have something fresh and unexpected to offer. Please contact us for more details if you're planning a trip to Hanoi in the near future.
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Hanoi Opera House, located in the heart of the French Quarter, is a mesmerizing architectural gem that commands attention. Step inside this magnificent establishment to fully immerse yourself in its grandeur. Originally constructed during the colonial era by the French, the Hanoi Opera House is a testament to the city's rich history and cultural heritage. When you're planning a visit to Hanoi, don't miss the opportunity to catch a captivating performance within the opulent halls of the Opera House, where artistry and elegance converge to create an unforgettable experience in Vietnam.

Essential Information for Visitors

Location of Hanoi Opera House

Situated at No.1 Trang Tien Street, within the August Revolution Square, the Hanoi Opera House stands as a focal point in the heart of Hanoi. Its central location places it in proximity to famous landmarks, including Hoan Kiem Lake and Vietnam National Museum of History.

Ticket fees

Currently, visitors can buy tickets to visit and explore the architecture inside the Hanoi Opera House in 2 forms:
Ticket fees Time Maximum number of guests Opening times
Opera House tour combined with Art shows 400.000VND/person 90 minutes/visit 250 persons/visit Monday & Thursday
Opera House Tour 120.000VND/person 70 minutes/visit 20 persons/visit All week, except Fridays
In addition, Hanoi Opera House serves a captivating array of performances spanning various genres, including:
  • Music show
  • Live show
  • Dramatic
  • Event
  • Ballet
  • Concert
Visitors can book tickets to watch other special art shows taking place at the Hanoi Opera House with prices from 300,000 VND/person. [caption id="attachment_59394" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Choir performance at Hanoi Opera House Choir performance at Hanoi Opera House[/caption]

Regulations of Visit

  • Dress in appropriate attire.
  • Not suitable for children under the age of 6.
  • Don't smoke, bring food, or chew gum on the premises of the opera house.
  • Don't record audio, video, or film during performances.
  • Switch your mobile phone to silent or vibration mode once the performances commence.
  • Be aware that the theater doors will be closed 15 minutes after the start of the performance.
  • Show respect and maintain a quiet atmosphere while enjoying the performance.

History of Hanoi Opera House

Constructed over a decade, from 1901 to 1911, the Hanoi Opera House is a remarkable tribute to the architectural splendor of its Parisian counterpart, the renowned Palais Garnier. As the largest theater in Vietnam, it serves as a tangible testament to the country's historical and cultural connection with its French colonial past. Surpassing its external beauty, the interior of the Opera House is a sight to behold, with some even proclaiming it to beat the grandeur of the Paris Opera House. [caption id="attachment_59283" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Open House during 1930s Hanoi Opera House during the 1930s[/caption] During the French colonial era, the Opera House primarily catered to the entertainment of French officials and their wives, hosting luxury musical performances. Moreover, most artists performing at the Opera House were almost exclusively European, until the 1940s when Vietnamese individuals were given the opportunity to rent "The Western Theater" for special concerts and events, often dedicated to raising funds for charitable causes, such as aiding flood victims. Following the revolution in 1945, the significance of the Hanoi Opera House transformed. It isn't only an entertainment hub for the French colonial elites but also became a pivotal site for historical events, including the first session of the National Assembly of the Republic. Unfortunately, in the years that followed, the building fell into disrepair. In 1997, a renovation and modernization project made new life into the Hanoi Opera House. The restoration efforts included the installation of state-of-the-art equipment and the revitalization of select interior embellishments, ensuring its continued relevance and splendor for generations to come.

Hanoi Opera House's Outstanding Architecture 

Spanning an area of 2,600 square meters, with a length of 87 meters and a width of 30 meters, the Hanoi Opera House stands as a testament to meticulous design and thoughtful composition. The highest point of this remarkable structure reaches a height of 34 meters. Renowned for its special architecture, the Opera House showcases a fusion of French design elements, featuring Gothic and Mosaic characteristics that adorn the door domes and glassed room respectively. [caption id="attachment_59285" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The architecture of Hanoi Open House The architecture of the Hanoi Open House[/caption] Hanoi Opera House is modeled after Opéra Garnier Theater in Paris but smaller. The construction materials are also changed to be more suitable for the climate of Vietnam. The theater is a delicate and harmonious combination of European architectural styles at that time and is divided into 3 main sections, namely the Lobby, Main Audience Room, and Mirror Room, this historic theater exudes elegance and charm. The grand lobby serves as the welcoming entrance, crafted with exquisite Italian stone and adorned with opulent brass-plated chandeliers, reminiscent of a grand tapestry. The main audience room boasts a generous size of 24x24 meters, housing a spacious stage and providing numerous small rooms for the audience on the central floor. Adjacent to the main audience room lies the management chamber, consisting of 18 makeup rooms, 2 voice training rooms, 1 library, and 1 meeting room. The primary audience area is adorned with high-quality tiles and fireproof carpeting, while the seating arrangement showcases the classical French style of the nineteenth century. In addition, the Mirror Room serves as a ceremonial space frequently graced by esteemed officials of the Party, State, and head of state, lending a sense of prestige and importance to this elegant venue. [caption id="attachment_59693" align="aligncenter" width="800"]3 main sections of the Hanoi Opera House 3 main sections of the Hanoi Opera House[/caption] Besides, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, squares in Hanoi were gradually formed. The most prominent of which is Hanoi Opera House Square, associated with the adjacent Opera House. Since 1994, this square has been called August 19 Square or August Revolution Square to mark the historical event in 1945 here. Around Hanoi Opera House square are extremely famous and unique architectural works: Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel, Vietnam National Museum of History, and Ly Thai To Flower Garden. In the evening, when the theater is up. lights, the Square area is more shimmering, becoming a familiar cultural venue for the people of the capital.

Things to do near Hanoi Opera House

Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is a renowned tourist destination in Hanoi, which captures the hearts of visitors from around the world. Beyond its tranquil scenery, international travelers are drawn to the captivating attractions that adorn its surroundings. The Ngoc Son Temple and The Huc Bridge, both iconic symbols of Hanoi, hold a special place in the hearts of those who explore this enchanting locale. Additionally, the remarkable Turtle Tower stands as a captivating sight to behold. During weekends, from Friday evening to midnight on Sunday, the bustling Dinh Tien Hoang street encircling Hoan Kiem Lake transforms into a pedestrian-only zone, aptly named "The walking street". The walking street comes alive with a multitude of entertainment options and tantalizing street food stalls, creating an atmosphere of excitement and culinary delights. [caption id="attachment_58664" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoan Kiem Lake Hoan Kiem Lake[/caption]

Enjoy Coffee Near the Opera House

Situated in proximity to the Opera House, there is a well-known coffee shop called "Highlands Coffee" that has captured the hearts of many Vietnamese locals. Renowned for its popularity, this coffee brand offers a delightful selection of beverages that cater to various tastes and preferences. Whether you're a coffee lover or simply looking to savor a delicious cup of drink, a visit to Highlands Coffee is highly recommended. Take a moment to indulge in their exquisite coffee offerings, enjoy a rejuvenating break, and witness the bustling life of the city. [caption id="attachment_59292" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Enjoy coffee and cake at Highlands Coffee Enjoy coffee and cake at Highlands Coffee[/caption] With a rich history spanning over a century, the Hanoi Opera House remains an enduring landmark in the heart of the capital city. This remarkable establishment proudly symbolizes the unique fusion of French artistic and architectural heritage within the cultural fabric of Vietnam. Standing as a testament to time, the Opera House exudes an air of elegance and grandeur that captivates visitors from near and far. If you're on a trip to Hanoi, the opportunity to visit this captivating venue should not be missed. Coming here, you can immerse yourself in its storied past, appreciate its architectural splendor, and witness the artistic performances that grace its stage. The Hanoi Opera House offers a glimpse into the harmonious blend of cultures and serves as a cherished symbol of the city's cultural heritage. Don't hesitate to leave us a message for more details.
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Hoan Kiem Lake (also known as Sword Lake) is the heart of Hanoi city. Previously, the lake was called Luc Thuy Lake (blue lake) or Thuy Quan Lake (as it used to be a place to train combat sailors). This is not only a fun space for people to go for a walk or take part in recreational activities, but also associated with the long cultural history of the nation. If you have a chance to visit Hanoi, this is a place that you definitely cannot miss. The following article will provide you with the most detailed information about Hoan Kiem Lake for your future trip to Hanoi.

Where is Hoan Kiem Lake Located?

Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the center of Hoan Kiem district. Surrounding the lake are Le Thai To Street in the West, Dinh Tien Hoang Street in the East and Hang Khay Street in the South. From here, tourists can walk to visit 36 famous streets of Hanoi. It is also easy for you to find and get around the lake. Buses, motorbikes, or taxis are the means to help tourists get there. Or you can take a private Cyclo near Dinh Tien Hoang, Trang Tien, and start your trip to explore the vibrant destination. [caption id="attachment_55948" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoan Kiem Lake is in the center of Hanoi Hoan Kiem Lake is in the center of Hanoi[/caption]

The Legend of Hoan Kiem Lake

According to the legend, during the 15th century, Vietnam faced oppression and exploitation from invading forces in the North. In the midst of this struggle, the Sea God witnessed the plight and granted King Le a magical sword to combat the enemy, leading to their successful expulsion. Subsequently, an era of peace descended upon the land. One fateful day, as the King sailed across the lake, a turtle emerged unexpectedly and demanded the return of the sword bestowed by the Sea God. Yielding to the turtle's request, the King relinquished the sword, and the turtle dived under the water's surface. Since that momentous encounter, Luc Thuy Lake was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake. To this day, the legend and the enigmatic turtle dwelling within the lake remain a captivating mystery.

Getting to Hoan Kiem Lake

Owning a convenient location, located in the center of Hoan Kiem district, there are many transportation options to get to Hoan Kiem Lake. You can travel by private vehicle or public transport.

By public bus

The public bus is the most suitable and economical means of traveling in the central area of the Old Quarter. Currently, many bus routes are passing through Hoan Kiem Lake. You can take bus routes such as 08, 04, 09, 11, 14, 40, 23, 31, 36, and 34 to go to Sword Lake. There are 2 routes, 09 and 14, which have a parking spot next to Hoan Kiem Lake, so it is very convenient. However, before getting to the lake, you should find out about the travel routes to avoid getting lost or going to the wrong address in the city.

By taxi/private car

If you do not like the noise and want a private space, then a taxi is the most suitable choice for you. In Hanoi, you can easily catch a taxi on the routes, or you can directly contact reputable taxi companies such as Mai Linh, Taxi Group, and Thanh Cong. If you want to be proactive, renting a car with a private driver is the most convenient method. More specifically, these drivers are usually very knowledgeable about Hanoi and sometimes can speak English, so they are always willing to share many things about the capital such as historic destinations, good cuisines, entertainment spots, etc. Contact us for more information.

By motorbike

Motorbike is a compact vehicle, very suitable for individual or group travelers who want to explore the Sword Lake area by themselves. Currently, there are many motorbike rental locations in Hanoi for you to choose from at suitable prices. However, you should avoid moving to the lake on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights because this is the time when the pedestrian street is open, so motorbikes will be banned.

By cyclo (Xich-lo)

This is the most common mean of transport in Hanoi Old Quater. If you are staying in the center of the Old Quarter, you can rent a Cyclo to explore the streets of Hanoi. Walking around the city by cyclo is a great suggestion to help visitors enjoy the fresh atmosphere and admire the surrounding landscape. However, to avoid price push, you should choose reputable companies as well as negotiate with the driver in advance about the price. [caption id="attachment_55734" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Cyclo in Old Quater Cyclo in Old Quater[/caption]

Best Places to Visit in Hoan Kiem Lake

Turtle Tower

Turtle Tower, also known as Thap Rua in Vietnamese, is a prominent landmark situated on a small island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. The place where King Le Thanh Tong had built a monument. Here, you will see the ancient tower associated with the nation's history. This is one of the most pride of the city. [caption id="attachment_56917" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Turtle tower in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake Turtle tower in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake[/caption]

Ngoc Son Temple

Built in the 19th century, Ngoc Son Temple is not only a famous historical relic of Hanoi but also a place to worship Van Xuong, the master star of academic literature and Saint Tran Hung Dao. Around the temple, you can see a complex of architectural relics with many historical values and humanistic meanings, including The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower, Nghien Pedestal, and Tran Ba Pagoda. [caption id="attachment_56430" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ngoc Son Temple Ngoc Son Temple[/caption]

The Huc Bridge

The Huc Bridge, also known as the Rising Sun Bridge, is a historic bridge located in Hanoi. The bridge connects the eastern shore of Hoan Kiem Lake with the Ngoc Son Temple. It was originally constructed in the 19th century and has undergone several renovations since then. The bridge is painted in vibrant red, which is considered a symbol of good luck and happiness in Vietnamese culture. [caption id="attachment_56916" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Huc Bridge The Huc Bridge[/caption]

Ly Thai To Statue

Ly Thai To monument is located at Chi Linh flower garden on Dinh Tien Hoang Street. This is a typical cultural and architectural work in Hoan Kiem Lake to portray Emperor Ly Thai To on a horse, symbolizing his leadership and the establishment of the dynasty. It is a significant landmark and a popular tourist attraction in the city. [caption id="attachment_56914" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ly Thai To Flower Garden Ly Thai To Flower Garden[/caption]

Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre

This is one of the most famous water puppetry performance venues in Vietnam, attracting a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. Thang Long Water Puppetry Theater is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the traditional art form of water puppetry, which has a long history in Vietnam. You can go there every day of the week, and ticket prices range from 60,000-100,000 VND/ticket. [caption id="attachment_55743" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre[/caption]

Trang Tien Plaza

Located at the corner of Trang Tien in Hang Bai, Trang Tien Plaza is the most luxurious and high-class shopping center in Hanoi. Coming here, you can shop for expensive items or visit high-quality luxury restaurants to enjoy Hanoi-flavored dishes. This is also one of the favorite wedding photography locations for many young people. [caption id="attachment_56414" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Trang Tien Plaza Trang Tien Plaza[/caption]

Hoan Kiem/Trang Tien Walking Street

Hoan Kiem Walking Street, also known as the pedestrian zone, is a vibrant area located in the heart of Hanoi. Although it was only officially opened a few years ago, the walking street has become an attractive common space not only for tourists but also people living in Hanoi. The street offers a wide array of local street food, traditional handicrafts, souvenirs, and clothing shops for visitors. [caption id="attachment_55740" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Trang Tien Walking street Hoan Kiem Walking street[/caption]

Dinh Le Street

Considered the "paradise" of books in Hanoi, Dinh Le Street sells a variety of books from specialized books, history, literature, philosophy, and economics... The prices here are often very cheap and the quality of the book is also pretty good. [caption id="attachment_56913" align="aligncenter" width="800"]A bookstore on Dinh Le Street A bookstore on Dinh Le Street[/caption] >>> Hoan Kiem Lake and its surroundings are perfect destinations for a half-day or full-day tour around Hanoi. Join us to feel how magnificent it is. Or, check our well-designed Hanoi City Tours here for more options.

Must-try Foods in Hoan Kiem Lake

Trang Tien Ice-cream

En route to Hoan Kiem Lake, a delightful sight awaits you - Trang Tien ice cream shop, which holds a distinguished reputation as one of Hanoi's most popular ice cream brands. [caption id="attachment_56912" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Trang Tien ice cream Trang Tien ice cream[/caption] Situated at 35 Trang Tien, this charming ice cream shop welcomes visitors from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. The affordability of Trang Tien ice cream adds to its allure, with prices ranging from just 7,000-40,000 VND per serving. Despite not being served in extravagant settings or featuring an array of extravagant flavors and vibrant colors like other ice cream varieties, Trang Tien ice cream continues to enjoy widespread popularity. The simple yet delectable nature of this treat, characterized by its traditional, lightly sweet taste and familiar yet enticing aroma, appeals to individuals of all ages. It is this timeless essence that has cemented the fame of Trang Tien ice cream, attracting a loyal following throughout the years.

Bun Cha

Bun Cha is one of the most favorite dishes of Hanoi people every morning. You will see Hanoi Bun Cha restaurants anywhere on the street, from popular to high-end. It is impossible to mention Bun Cha Huong Lien, which President Obama once visited and respectfully praised this special cuisine. If you visit Hanoi, don't hesitate to try Bun Cha, it is certain to be a dish you will remember forever with just one taste. [caption id="attachment_56937" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Bun Cha Bun Cha[/caption]

Bun Thang

As a long-standing dish in the capital, bun thang is not only special in its name but also in its processing. This dish is a combination of many different flavors, made from leftover Tet ingredients ò Vietnam such as dried shrimp, shredded chicken, fried eggs, spring rolls, etc. With a beautiful presentation, blending many different ingredients, Hanoi bun thang is likened to the "five-color flower" of the capital's culinary quintessence. [caption id="attachment_56736" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Bun Thang Bun Thang[/caption]

Hang Can 4-Season Sweet Soup

This is one of the most popular dishes with young people in Hanoi. Opened before 1975, the 4-season sweet soup of Hang Can is considered one of the oldest food stalls in Hanoi Old Quarter. Going to Hang Can in the summer, visitors can enjoy sweet soup made from green beans, black beans, lotus seeds, coconut, pearl jelly, etc. In winter, they change the menu with Ba Co soup, drift cake, etc. The price of sweet soups here is affordable; each cup costs around 30,000 VND (just more than US$1). [caption id="attachment_56911" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hang Can sweet soup Hang Can sweet soup[/caption] If you have the opportunity to go to Hanoi, don't forget to explore the old town and do a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, many new and interesting things are waiting for you. Hopefully, the above information will help you have a memorable trip to Sword Lake. Don't hesitate to contact us if you are planning a trip to Vietnam.
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Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the important historical attractions of Hanoi city. This is the resting place of the great old father of the Vietnamese nation: President Ho Chi Minh. Coming to the Presidential Mausoleum, you not only have the opportunity to learn about his life and revolutionary activities but also explore many outstanding relics associated with the glorious history of Vietnam. Follow this article to get more useful information if you plan to visit this sacred place in the capital of Vietnam.

Where is Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Located?

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built in the old station platform in the middle of Ba Dinh Square, where President Ho Chi Minh used to chair important meetings. Address: No. 2 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District.

Essential Information for Tourists

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Opening hours

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is open every morning on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Only Mondays, Fridays, and afternoons will not take place in the visitation ceremony. The Mausoleum will still be open on special days such as the 1st of the Lunar New Year, May 19 (Uncle's birthday), and September 2 (National Day) which fall on a Monday or Friday. Normally, the mausoleum will be closed for about 2 months a year for renovation. The time to close for reception and visitation is usually from September to November every year. Opening hours to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Hot season (from April 1 to October 31 every year)
  • Opening hours: from 7:30 to 10:30
  • Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays: from 07:30 to 11:00
Cold season (from November 1 to March 31 of the following year)
  • Opening hours: from 8:00 to 11:00
  • Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays: from 8:00 to 11:30

Entrance fee

It is completely free for Vietnamese people to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. However, as a foreigner, the ticket price to visit the Mausoleum is 25,000 VND/person, and the ticket to the stilt house is 25,000 VND/person.

History and Signification of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

History of formation

According to his will, President Ho Chi Minh wanted to be cremated, and his ashes scattered in three regions of the country after his death, but according to the Vietnamese people's wishes, the Government decided to keep his body intact and place it in the Mausoleum so that everyone can have the opportunity to visit and commemorate him. In January 1970, there is a meeting between the Governments of the Soviet Union and Vietnam to discuss the design and construction techniques of the Mausoleum. The Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow is the inspiration for the design of the current Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. [caption id="attachment_55381" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Governments of the Soviet Union and Vietnam meet to discuss the design and construction techniques of the Mausoleum The Governments of the Soviet Union and Vietnam meet to discuss the design and construction techniques of the Mausoleum[/caption] In February, September 1973, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Mausoleum officially took place. [caption id="attachment_55382" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Mausoleum officially took place The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Mausoleum officially took place[/caption] On May 19, 1975, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was inaugurated in the air with the joy of the whole country. [caption id="attachment_55376" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was inaugurated Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was inaugurated[/caption]

The signification of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Even though many years have passed since the country started rebuilding, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum has always been a historical and cultural symbol of Hanoi in particular and the country of Vietnam in general. This work is the sound of deep hearts, expressing the people's faith and love for the leader of the nation. Until now, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum has attracted many generations of domestic and foreign tourists to visit and commemorate it every year.

Main Highlights in Mausoleum Complex

Besides the main President's Mausoleum, you'll also have the opportunity to explore the relics in the mausoleum area to better understand his life and revolutionary activities during the war. Here are some outstanding attractions for your reference:

Ba Dinh Square

[caption id="attachment_55928" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ba Dinh Square Ba Dinh Square[/caption] Ba Dinh Square is one of the most historic relics in Hanoi. Located right in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, this place has kept many important events in the history of Vietnam. In particular, on September 2, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh used this square to read the Declaration of Independence giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

To celebrate President Ho Chi Minh’s 100th birthday, the Government of Vietnam decided to build the Ho Chi Minh Museum in the Mausoleum Complex. This place is on the list of major museums that are important to the history and culture of Vietnam. The museum campus is up to 18,000 square meters, which is a place to display thousands of preserved and precious artifacts related to the life and revolutionary path of President Ho Chi Minh. [caption id="attachment_55377" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ho Chi Minh Museum Ho Chi Minh Museum[/caption]

Ho Chi Minh’s Stilts House

This house on stilts was built according to the wish of Uncle Ho to have a Viet Bac stilt house. The current stilts house is located in the garden of the Presidential Palace, next to the fishpond and green garden. The house is very idyllic, in harmony with nature, with the ethnic stilt house architecture. This place still keeps a lot of historical items associated with President Ho Chi Minh, including a bed, table, chair, bookshelf, typewriter, etc. [caption id="attachment_55378" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ho Chi Minh’s House on stilts Ho Chi Minh’s House on stilts[/caption]

Hanoi Presidential Palace

Designed and built in the years from 1901 to 1906 by the famous French architect, Auguste Henri Vildieu, the Presidential Palace has always been a tourist attraction that attracts many visitors to admire when visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The splendid Presidential Palace was originally built for the Governor General of Indochina. Designed in the typical French architectural style, the three-story building appears in a brilliant yellow color surrounded by fresh orchards, sightseeing roads, and carp ponds. [caption id="attachment_55618" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Presidential Palace Hanoi Presidential Palace[/caption]

House No.54

House No.54 was the living and working place of President Ho Chi Minh from December 1954 to May 1958. It has three rooms. The room adjacent to the fishpond is the office. In the middle is the dining room and finally the bedroom. Currently, in the monument of House No.54, all the living utensils of Uncle Ho are still preserved, from the documents, books, and newspapers he read to the souvenirs from international friends. [caption id="attachment_55870" align="aligncenter" width="800"]House 54 House 54[/caption]

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda is an ancient temple in Vietnam built during the reign of King Ly Thai Tong. It was originally named Lien Hoa Dai, which means Lotus, with a unique architecture: a shrine placed on a single pillar in the middle of Linh Chieu Lake. Currently, this relic is located next to the complex of Ba Dinh Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. If you have the opportunity to visit Uncle Ho's mausoleum, you should not miss this unique pagoda. [caption id="attachment_46569" align="aligncenter" width="800"]One Pillar Pagoda – Hanoi One Pillar Pagoda – Hanoi[/caption]

Getting to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Owning one of the prime locations in the downtown area, there are many ways for you to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. You can use public transport or for more convenience, you can rent a private car. If you like freedom, you even ride a motorbike to explore the Mausoleum on your own.

By bus

This is the cheapest and most popular form of transportation in the city area. Buses to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum have many routes depending on the location you take, each location will have different bus numbers. Bus numbers 09, 22, 45, and 50 are routes that will move through Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. However, if you are planning to visit, you should find out in advance the information about the departure time and the travel route of the buses to avoid being late or stopping at the wrong parking spot.

By taxi/private car

This is a faster and more convenient way to travel than taking a bus. In Hanoi, you can easily catch a taxi on the road, or you can directly contact the switchboards of major taxi companies in Vietnam to pick you up at a waiting point. However, these taxis will mainly operate in the form of on-demand pickup and drop-off. Therefore, if you want to explore more in the city, the easiest way is to rent a private car. The car will pick up and drop off and move to any attractions in the center at your request. Besides, the drivers are usually knowledgeable people about Hanoi, so they are always happy to become your guide to help you know more interesting information about the capital such as history, culture, people and food, etc. Contact us for more information.

By motorbike

Another form of transportation that is very popular for traveling in the city is motorbikes. Owning a small size, a motorbike easily moves through the streets of the capital, in addition, it also helps you to overcome the roads that are often congested during rush hour traffic. However, when using this form, you should pay attention to traffic rules on key roads to avoid unnecessarily bad cases.

Rules to Remember when Visiting the Mausoleum

  • Clothing: Dress neatly and politely, not wearing skirts that are too short or revealing, or offensive in nature.
  • Attitude: Gentle, walk softly, speak softly without causing disorderly noise, and line up in order when entering the mausoleum. When entering the Mausoleum, you should remove your hat and don't put your hands in your pockets.
  • Device: You can bring phones and cameras, but you are not allowed to take pictures or record in prohibited areas, especially inside the mausoleum.
  • Children from 3 years old and above are only allowed to enter the Mausoleum.
If you are a history buff, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-visit destination during your trip to Hanoi. This historic destination will help you extend your knowledge about the history as well as the unique cultural features in the life of the Vietnamese. In addition, Hanoi owns many spots that you should visit, such as the Imperial Citadel, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison Museum, Hoan Kiem Lake, etc. Don't hesitate to contact us if you wish to organize a tailor-made trip to this beautiful city. Read more:
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When it comes to immersing yourself in the local culture of Vietnam, it would be remiss not to mention Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. As the largest market in the capital city, it serves as a symbol of tradition and is a source of pride for the people of Hanoi. It is an essential destination for all visitors who want to truly experience the city. Visiting Dong Xuan Market, you'll find a wide array of products available for sale. The market is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a specific category of goods. These sections include clothing, textiles, shoes, accessories, household items, electronics, fresh produce, and more. You can find traditional Vietnamese clothing like ao dai, fabrics, handicrafts, souvenirs, and local street food as well. Allow us to provide you with an insightful guide to this remarkable market.

Essential Information for Visitors

Location of Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market is situated within the Old Quarter of Hanoi's Hoan Kiem District, which is a prime destination for both sightseers and shoppers. The market is bordered by Dong Xuan Street to the west, Hang Khoai Street to the north, Cau Dong Street to the south, and Dong Xuan Market Alley to the east.

Opening hours

Similar to many other markets in Hanoi, Dong Xuan Market operates daily from 6 am to 6 pm. However, the food stalls located in Dong Xuan Market Alley remain open throughout the night. In particular, during weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), the market extends its opening hours until 10:30 pm, allowing visitors to enjoy the vibrant night atmosphere.

The History of Dong Xuan Market

During the late 19th century, the Hanoi Old Quarter was home to two primary marketplaces: one located on Hang Duong Street and the other on Hang Ma Street. However, in 1889, these markets were closed down and replaced by the newly constructed Dong Xuan Market, commissioned by the French administration. The market, along with the nearby Long Bien Bridge (completed in 1902), became notable architectural landmarks in Hanoi. [caption id="attachment_59381" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Dong Xuan Market during the 1900s Dong Xuan Market during the 1900s[/caption] According to historical records, in 1804, during the Nguyen Dynasty, a market was constructed on the southern bank of the To Lich River to facilitate boat docking in the area. In 1889, as part of land reclamation efforts along the To Lich River and nearby Thai Cuc Lake, the French administration relocated the shops and food stalls to an empty area, which eventually became the present-day Dong Xuan Ward. It was originally called "Marché des Soies" (Silk Market) due to its focus on silk trading. The construction of Dong Xuan Market commenced in 1890, covering a total area of 6,500 square meters. The market's architectural style followed the French influence, featuring a triangular layout divided into five sections. In 1990, the market underwent renovation. The outermost sections on both sides were demolished, while the three central sections were preserved and transformed into a three-story building. However, in 1994, a fire engulfed most of the market's stores. As a result, Dong Xuan Market was rebuilt in 1995 with upgraded facilities, including an air ventilation system, fire hydrants, and emergency exit staircases. The market expanded to a substantial size of nearly 14,000 square meters, accommodating around 2,000 stores. Today, it stands as one of Hanoi's largest and most modern markets. [caption id="attachment_59384" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The relief "Hanoi in Winter 1946" was constructed in front of the market The relief "Hanoi in Winter 1946" was constructed in front of the market[/caption] In 2005, a commemorative relief entitled "Hanoi in Winter 1946" was constructed near the market. This artwork serves as a tribute to the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during the battle to defend Hanoi from the French in the winter of 1946.

Dong Xuan Market's Unique Construction

Dong Xuan Market is a three-story building with a total area of 6,500 square meters. It is characterized by five arched doors and windows. The market's layout is designed to accommodate various types of merchandise.

The first floor

On this floor, you'll discover a diverse array of merchandise including clothing, eyewear, footwear, suitcases, bags, as well as electrical equipment such as battery chargers, loudspeakers, and radios. This section is specifically designed to cater to the needs of retail shoppers seeking these particular products. [caption id="attachment_59776" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The first floor is for the needs of retail shoppers seeking these particular products The first floor is for the needs of retail shoppers seeking these particular products[/caption]

The second floor

Dong Xuan Market is a bustling hub that caters to both wholesale and retail customers, with a specific focus on clothing and fabrics. This vibrant marketplace offers a wide range of options for businesses and individual visitors alike. Whether you're looking to purchase in bulk or seeking unique pieces, you'll find a diverse selection of garments and materials to suit your needs. [caption id="attachment_59777" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The second floor is focused on clothing and fabrics The second floor is focused on clothing and fabrics[/caption]

The third floor

This floor is exclusively dedicated to children's needs, providing a wide range of products that are suitable for kids. Visitors can explore a diverse selection of items, including toys, clothing, and various merchandise specifically designed with children in mind. It is a vibrant and engaging space where parents and guardians can find the perfect products to meet the preferences and interests of their little ones. [caption id="attachment_59778" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The third floor is exclusively dedicated to children's needs The third floor is exclusively dedicated to children's needs[/caption] At the rear of Dong Xuan Market, there are stores specializing in the sale of pets, including birds, dogs, cats, and fish. Additionally, as you venture further north, you will encounter numerous food stores that operate throughout the day and night. This section of the market exudes a lively and bustling atmosphere, with numerous vendors and customers engaged in buying and selling activities.

Must-try foods in Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi is renowned as a bustling trading center, offering a vast array of products in large quantities. This reputation attracts wholesalers and retailers from various regions who come to the market to place orders. In addition to catering to people's daily needs, the market is also famous for its delectable culinary offerings. The market is also a haven for food enthusiasts, featuring a wide selection of savory and sweet dishes, each with its own distinct flavors. Visitors can indulge in a culinary adventure, savoring the diverse range of dishes available at the market. From traditional Vietnamese delicacies to local specialties, there is something to satisfy every palate. For those seeking a unique dining experience, the small alleys surrounding the market provide an opportunity to savor snacks in a cozy setting. Here are some delicious dishes you shouldn't miss:


Pho, a beloved Vietnamese culinary masterpiece, is a quintessential dish that embodies the country's rich flavors. This delectable noodle soup features a fragrant broth, tender rice noodles, and a variety of delectable toppings, such as beef or chicken, along with fresh herbs and crisp bean sprouts. When exploring Dong Xuan Market, you will find many excellent pho stalls that serve this iconic dish to perfection. [caption id="attachment_49381" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Pho Hanoi Pho Hanoi with a clear amber broth[/caption]

Bun Cha

Known as a tantalizing specialty of Hanoi, Bun cha showcases succulent grilled pork paired with delicate rice noodles, aromatic fresh herbs, and a zesty dipping sauce. The combination of smoky flavors from the grilled pork and the vibrant, refreshing ingredients creates a harmonious and satisfying culinary experience. Indulge in the delightful interplay of textures and taste as you savor this mouthwatering dish in the market, which perfectly captures the essence of Hanoi's culinary heritage. [caption id="attachment_56937" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Bun Cha Bun Cha[/caption]

Banh Mi

When it comes to satisfying your cravings for a delicious banh mi sandwich, Dong Xuan Market is the place to be. This bustling market is renowned for its Vietnamese baguettes that are filled with an array of ingredients. Picture this: succulent grilled pork, rich pate, tangy pickled vegetables, and fragrant fresh herbs, all nestled within a crispy and airy baguette. The combination of flavors and textures creates a culinary symphony that is bound to leave your taste buds dancing with delight. [caption id="attachment_58115" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Banh Mi Banh Mi[/caption]

Sticky Rice (Xoi)

Xoi is a delectable sticky rice creation that can be found in various stalls at the market. This vibrant market offers a delightful array of xoi options, including xoi xeo, featuring fragrant yellow sticky rice, and xoi gac, boasting vibrant red sticky rice infused with gac fruit. These flavorful sticky rice dishes are typically accompanied by delightful toppings such as mung beans, crispy fried shallots, and other savory ingredients. [caption id="attachment_59668" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Xoi Xoi xeo[/caption]

Sweet Soup (Che)

After a bunch of savory dishes, don't miss to indulge your sweet tooth and conclude your culinary adventure with a delightful treat at Dong Xuan Market. Che, a beloved category of Vietnamese desserts, awaits you with its enticing array of sweet soups, puddings, and jellies crafted from an assortment of ingredients such as beans, fruits, tapioca pearls, and creamy coconut milk. [caption id="attachment_59388" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Che (Sweet Soup) in Dong Xuan Che (Sweet Soup) in Dong Xuan[/caption] These are just a few highlights of the diverse and delicious food options available at Dong Xuan Market. Don't hesitate to explore and try other delicious dishes that catch your attention.

Tips for the First Timers to Visit Dong Xuan Market

When you visit Dong Xuan Market, you'll be captivated by the lively trading atmosphere. The vibrant stalls and nighttime illumination create unforgettable moments for every visitor. However, it's important to keep the following tips in mind while shopping or exploring the market:
  • When purchasing goods at Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi, expect the sellers to quote high prices. Remember to negotiate for a reasonable price, but avoid excessive bargaining that may lead to an uncomfortable situation.
  • Avoid bidding or bargaining early in the morning or asking about products without genuine interest in buying. Such actions may leave the sellers unhappy.
  • Due to the market's constant hustle and bustle, be attentive and cautious about your belongings to prevent pickpocketing incidents that can catch you off guard.
  • As Dong Xuan Market is situated in the old town and features numerous intersecting roads, it can get quite crowded. If you're not familiar with the area, go with friends and choose a suitable mode of transportation to avoid getting lost.
[caption id="attachment_59389" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Travel tips for visiting Dong Xuan Market Travel tips for visiting Dong Xuan Market[/caption] Dong Xuan Market has remained vibrant and bustling throughout its rich history, attracting buyers and sellers for over a century. Despite the passage of time, this market continues to thrive and retain its cultural significance. Situated in Hanoi, it is a hub of activity and captures the essence of the city's energetic atmosphere. Beyond its commercial importance, the market holds deep spiritual and cultural value, offering insights into the lives and traditions of the ancient Trang An people. If you are considering a visit to Dong Xuan Market to experience its lively atmosphere, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to offer our assistance and provide any necessary information or guidance for your upcoming trip to Hanoi.
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The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a complex of relics associated with the history of Thang Long Citadel, Hanoi. This massive architectural construction was built by the emperors in many historical periods and has become the most significant relic in the system of Vietnamese monuments. Don't miss out on this famous attraction if you visit Hanoi.

Essential Information for Tourists

Location of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is located at No. 19C, Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh Ward, Hanoi. Situated right in the heart of Hanoi, this place is easy for tourists to get here and explore the fascinating grounds.

Opening Hours and Entrance Fees

  • Opening hours: The historical site is open every day for visitors to admire the massive ancient architecture, operating hours from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Entrance fee: Tourists visiting the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long have to pay an entrance fee of 30,000 VND per person. A 50% discount on this fee is applied for Vietnamese students over 15 years old with their student cards and Vietnamese elderly people over 60 years old with their ID cards. Children under 15 years old and people with meritorious services to the Vietnam Revolution are completely free of entrance tickets.


  • Follow the tour guide map in the relic area.
  • Dress neatly and politely.
  • Weapons, explosives, flammables, and toxic substances are strictly banned from the relic.
  • Uncultured acts such as swearing, writing/drawing on the wall/tree, or causing disorder in the relic area are strictly banned.
  • Flycams are not allowed at the heritage site.
You can get more information by accessing the official website of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long here. [caption id="attachment_59617" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Imperial Citadel of Thang Long 1 Imperial Citadel of Thang Long[/caption]

History of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

In December 2002, experts excavated on a total area of 19,000 m² at Ba Dinh District, the political center of Hanoi. This was the largest archaeological excavation in not only Vietnam's national scale but also South East Asian region scale. It was this excavation that revealed traces of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in a historical process spanning 13 centuries with stacked monuments and cultural layers. The unique architectural vestiges and millions of precious artifacts have partly recreated the historical period from the era when the Northern was under the domination of the Sui and Tang dynasties (7th to 9th centuries) to the dynasties of Ly, Tran, Le, Mac, and Nguyen (1010-1945) and against-French stage. In 2010, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was identified as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, together with the archaeological relic at No. 18 Hoang Dieu Street, are typical heritage and cultural complexes, reflecting the historical progress of Vietnam during the 13 centuries (from the 11th century to the 11th century). Through many ups and downs, the ancient Thang Long citadel no longer has massive fortresses or vermilion towers, but the vestiges and traces left over have contained great historical and cultural value. These are proofs of the history of building and defending the country of an independent Vietnam over the years.

Relic Areas in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Archaeological Relic at No. 18 Hoang Dieu Street

This relic area consists of four different floors. The bottom floor is the eastern part of Dai La Citadel under Cao Bien, Tang Dynasty. The second floor is the palace of the Ly and Tran dynasties. Next is a central part of the eastern palace of the Le Dynasty, and on top is a part of the center of the 19th-century Hanoi provincial citadel. Your ticket already includes the entrance to this area, so don't miss the chance to see artifacts from centuries of Vietnamese history.
[caption id="attachment_59625" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Artifacts in the Archeological Site Artifacts in the Archeological Site[/caption]

Hanoi Flag Tower

Hanoi Flag Tower was built in 1812 during the reign of King Gia Long at the same time as the Vauban style of Hanoi was built. The flag tower is 60 m high, including the base, the pole body, and the watchtower. The square base occupies an area of 2007 m² and consists of 3 gradually increasing levels. Each level has a flower wall with a surrounding pattern. From the ground to the foot of the second level, you have to climb 18 steps on the east and west sides. If you want to go from level 2 to level 3, you must climb 18 steps at the east and west doors. The third level has four gates East, West, South, and North. [caption id="attachment_59619" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Flag Tower Hanoi Flag Tower[/caption]

Doan Gate

Doan Gate is the archway leading to Kinh Thien Palace. It consists of five smaller gates built of stone. Outside is the Tam Mon Gate. Around 1812 - 1814, King Gia Long ordered to destroy Tam Mon Gate to build Flag Tower. In 2002, Vietnamese archaeologists were allowed to dig inside Doan Gate and found the "ancient carriageway" of the Tran dynasty, using many Ly bricks. If the excavation continues, it will be possible to see the whole road from Doan Gate to Kinh Thien Palace in the north and the southwest gate of Hanoi. [caption id="attachment_59622" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Doan Gate Doan Gate[/caption]

Kinh Thien Palace

Kinh Thien Palace is the central relic in the overall historical landmarks of Hanoi's ancient citadel. The vestiges of Kinh Thien Palace are now just the old grounds. In the south of the power platform is a railing over one meter high. A system of steps with large box stone slabs was built in the central south direction of Kinh Thien Palace. The platform consists of 10 steps, four stone dragons divided into three equal ways to form a dragon shelf. Four stone dragons were created in the 15th century during the Le Dynasty. Kinh Thien Palace stone dragon sculpture is a masterpiece of architectural and artistic heritage, representing the early Le Dynasty sculpture art. The Kinh Thien Palace background and the pair of adoring dragons partly reflect the grandiose scale of the old Kinh Thien Palace. [caption id="attachment_59676" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Steps to Kinh Thien Palace Steps to Kinh Thien Palace[/caption]

D67 Building

D67 Building is where the Politburo and the Central Military Commission made historic decisions, marking the milestones of the Vietnamese revolution. This includes the 1968 Tet Offensive, the 1972 General Offensive, the 1975 General Offensive, and especially the Ho Chi Minh campaign. The D67 Tunnel is situated under the courtyard connecting Kinh Thien Palace and D67 Building for the Politburo and the Central Military Commission. The entire underground tunnel system is connected with generator power lines. The information system, communication, logistics, and food are all adequate. [caption id="attachment_59626" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - D67 Building The furniture inside D67 Building[/caption]

Hau Lau

Hau Lau is a building constructed behind the architectural cluster Kinh Thien Palace. Although it is behind the palace, it was built in the north with the intention of feng shui to keep the north of the palace, so it is called Tinh Bac Lau (North-calming Building) and also called Hau Lau (the Behind Building). This place is also known as the Princess Building as it used to be the resting place of the palace ladies in the convoy escorting King Nguyen to the North Citadel. [caption id="attachment_59623" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hau Lau Hau Lau (The Behind Building)[/caption]

North Gate

Cua Bac (North Gate) is one of the five gates of the ancient Hanoi Citadel under the Nguyen Dynasty. When the French destroyed the Hanoi Citadel, they kept the North Gate because there were two cannon marks left by the French cannons fired from the Red River in 1882. Today, on the city gate is the place to worship two governors of Hanoi, Nguyen Tri Phuong and Hoang Dieu. [caption id="attachment_59620" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Imperial Citadel of Thang Long cửa bắc North Gate[/caption]

Night Tour: Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Unlike other usual tours, the night tour "Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long" will be an exceptional experience for you, bringing new and impressive feelings. The journey to experience the night tour lasts about 1.5 hours, with a route starting from Doan Gate, the former residence and working place of the king. Here, visitors experience the space of the old Imperial Citadel, enjoy the royal dance right on the unique archaeological vestiges, and continue to admire the precious artifacts and antiquities found in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in the display house with the theme "Thang Long Hanoi - A thousand years of history from the ground." The last attraction in the night tour itinerary is Archaeological Relic at 18 Hoang Dieu Street. You can enjoy millions of artifacts that are over 1300 years old. [caption id="attachment_59627" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Imperial Citadel of Thang Long night tour Night Tour[/caption] At the end of the tour is the game "Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long" for all visitors. Accordingly, some typical artifacts of the Imperial Citadel will be shown by laser on the foundations of archaeological remains or the ancient river for visitors to learn and answer. Interesting details and decoding hints will be revealed in turn during the tour.

Places to Visit Near the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Temple of Literature

If you want to discover some more ancient destinations in Hanoi, the Temple of Literature will be an ideal place to explore after the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. You will find it convenient to get to the Temple of Literature as this place is only about 1 kilometer away from the Citadel. The Temple of Literature is identified as Vietnam's first national university and a symbol of knowledge and learning. [caption id="attachment_55812" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Temple Of Literature Temple Of Literature[/caption]

Hoa Lo Prison Relic

Another attraction nearby the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long that you should visit is the Hoa Lo Prison Relic. You would find several significant stories of Vietnam's past by visiting this site. Don't miss the opportunity to have a comprehensive view of the harsh realities that Vietnamese political prisoners had to experience. [caption id="attachment_59934" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoa Lo Prison Hoa Lo Prison[/caption]

Getting to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Taxi/Grab/Private Car

Among several options to get to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a Taxi or car booked via a ride-hailing app is the easiest for every visitor to arrive at this destination. By simply providing the address, the driver will transport you to the Citadel in no time. However, if you prefer a more comfortable and personalized option, you can think of renting a car with a private driver. The driver is always ready to bring and pick you up from your desired destination, at any time you wish. If you are interested in this service and need further information, just contact us. We are always pleased to help you. [caption id="attachment_60355" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Private car rental service with a driver Private car rental service[/caption]


You can also walk to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long if your accommodation is near this site. Having a walk in the heart of Hanoi and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere is also a great option to consider. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a place that you should never miss out on when visiting Hanoi. This site will definitely surprise you with its massive architecture and rich history. If you want to stop by more attractive destinations in lovely Hanoi, take a look at our Hanoi city tours because they will never disappoint you.
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Among several famous attractions in Hanoi, St. Joseph Cathedral is one of the most popular destinations. Have yourself a chance to stop by this place and admire its unique European medieval Gothic architectural construction.

Essential Information for Tourists

Location of St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph Cathedral is located right in the heart of Hanoi, detailed address at No. 40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District. You can easily find the cathedral as it is situated at the intersection of three major streets: Nha Tho, Ly Quoc Su, and Nha Chung.

Opening Hours and Entrance Fee

You can go to this place and admire the outside architecture at any time you wish every day. However, please note that tourists can only visit inside the cathedral when there is a ceremonial practice. You can check out the ceremony schedule below to see which time is convenient.
  • Weekday: 5:30 AM and 6:15 PM
  • Saturday: 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 5:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 8:00 PM

History of St. Joseph's Cathedral

The current location of St. Joseph Cathedral was formerly Bao Thien Pagoda - a place built during the Ly Dynasty. In the 18th century, Bao Thien Pagoda was destroyed and became a marketplace for Dai Viet people residents. Next, the Catholic Church got permission from the government to build the church. In the past, the church was built of temporary wood. From 1884 to 1888, the Catholic Church modified this place by rebuilding it with bricks. The church's official title is St. Joseph Cathedral. The inauguration ceremony of the cathedral was held on the occasion of Christmas in 1887. However, only in the 1920s did the cathedral and bishopric of the Diocese of West Tonkin move from So Kien to its present-day location in the inner city of Hanoi. [caption id="attachment_59683" align="aligncenter" width="800"]St Joseph Cathedral at present St Joseph's Cathedral at present[/caption]

Architecture of St. Joseph Cathedral

St. Joseph's Cathedral has always left tourists with a profound impression of its unique architecture. Identified as the cathedral with the best architecture in Hanoi, this place is the typical construction for the European Gothic style. The primary building materials of the church are terracotta bricks, and the walls are plastered with mulch paper. The church has a length of 64.5 m, a width of 20.5 m, and two bell towers 31.5 m high with heavy stone pillars at four corners. A stone cross is placed on the top of the cathedral. When entering the cathedral's hall, you can see one large door and two smaller doors on both sides of the tower. All doors and windows in this place are tapered according to Gothic art. The architects decorated the pointed doors with beautiful and harmonious stained-glass paintings of Saints, creating a natural light source inside the church. The Gothic architecture of the building is also combined with indigenous architecture, reflected in the terracotta tile roof system outside and the interior carving system. The sanctuary and the altars are decorated according to traditional folk art, carved with unique and sophisticated wooden patterns. You can find a terracotta statue of St. Joseph over 2m high in the main hall. [caption id="attachment_59487" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Unique Architecture of the Cathedral Unique Architecture of the Cathedral[/caption] The cathedral also has a set of Western bells, including four small bells and one large bell. The large clock, which engraved alarms, time alarms, and alarm systems link with five bells hanging on two towers, is mounted in the middle of the church facade. St. Joseph's Cathedral is divided into three compartments: the reception hall, the sanctuary for the ceremony, and the ceremony area. Inside the cathedral are three tombs of Cardinal Trinh Van Can, Cardinal Trinh Nhu Khue, and Cardinal Pham Dinh Tung. In the middle of the sanctuary is a statue of Saint Joseph holding Jesus; on both sides, there are altars of Our Lady and many other holy statues.

Things to Do at St. Joseph Cathedral

Join a Ceremony at St. Joseph Cathedral

Attending ceremonies is considered the most attractive activity when coming to St. Joseph's Cathedral, whether you are religious or not. Through masses such as baptisms or weddings, you can understand more about the beliefs and religions of the laity and essential rituals in a Catholic ceremony. [caption id="attachment_59688" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Join a Ceremony at St Joseph's Cathedral Join a Ceremony at St Joseph Cathedral[/caption] The cathedral will be open to visitors to visit and attend the services. You can follow the service schedule above to come to this cathedral at suitable time slots. Please note that when attending the ceremony, you must wear polite, discreet, and neat clothes and avoid making noise or having bad words related to religion and saints.

Enjoy Christmas Atmosphere at St. Joseph's Cathedral

[caption id="attachment_59638" align="aligncenter" width="800"]St. Joseph's Cathedral christmas Christmas Decoration at the Cathedral[/caption] Every Christmas, St. Joseph Cathedral is decorated more brilliantly than ever. Every stream of people flock to this place to attend the ceremony, wishing for a peaceful and happy Christmas. Non-religious people also gather here to admire a warm, sparkling Christmas atmosphere with pine trees, caves, and colorful electric lights.

Have Iced Tea at St. Joseph Cathedral

It would be a great loss if you don't try the "traditional" iced tea right in front of the cathedral. The iced tea shop is famous among young Hanoians since they always gather with friends and talk for many hours, even until late at night. It might be some simple cups of iced lemon tea, but the young vibe and the beautiful view of St. Joseph Cathedral will definitely impress you. [caption id="attachment_59483" align="aligncenter" width="800"]St. Joseph's Cathedral iced tea Iced Tea with a Cathedral View[/caption]

Places to Visit Near St. Joseph Cathedral

Hoan Kiem Lake

After visiting St. Joseph's Cathedral, you can stop by Hoan Kiem Lake since it will only take you 5 minutes to walk there. Have yourself an opportunity to feel the peaceful ambiance of Hanoi when walking around the lake and enjoy a cup of coffee with a fascinating view of Hanoi's streets. [caption id="attachment_59471" align="aligncenter" width="800"]hoan kiem lake Hoan Kiem Lake[/caption]

Hoa Lo Prison Relic

Don't miss the chance to visit the Hoa Lo Prison Relic, another notable attraction near St. Joseph Cathedral. Exploring this site will expose you to numerous significant stories from Vietnam's history. It will bring you a comprehensive perspective on the harsh realities endured by Vietnamese political prisoners. You can check out the official website of this place here to have more information. [caption id="attachment_59604" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoa Lo Prison 1 Hoa Lo Prison from the Outside[/caption]

Getting to St. Joseph's Cathedral

Taxi/Grab/Private Car

The most convenient way to reach the cathedral is by taking a Taxi or using ride-hailing apps such as Grab or Be. Just provide the address, and the driver will take you directly to your desired destination. For those seeking a more comfortable and personalized means of transportation, renting a car with a private driver is highly recommended. With this option, the driver can take and pick you up everywhere every time you wish. You can also receive some helpful travel tips from him as most drivers are local people. If you are interested in this option and need more details, feel free to contact us. [caption id="attachment_60355" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Private car rental service with a driver Private car rental service[/caption]


If you find your accommodation near St. Joseph's Cathedral, you can get there on foot. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Hanoi's streets and admire the blend of ancient architecture and modern elements in the houses on both sides of the road, and you will have a chance to truly experience the local culture in this capital city. St. Joseph's Cathedral is definitely a place you must visit when traveling to Hanoi. This destination will serve you a profound impression with its unique architecture and the atmosphere around it. If you want to explore more attractions in Hanoi, check out our Hanoi city tours because they will definitely satisfy your needs.
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Renowned as Vietnam's oldest university, the Temple of Literature in Hanoi holds within its walls the essence of the nation's feudal history and serves as a repository of its rich cultural heritage. In this article, we will provide you with captivating insights into the Temple of Literature, known as Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam in Vietnamese, a cherished symbol of Vietnam's capital city. Brace yourself for a deluge of historical information that is sure to captivate your mind.

Essential Information for Tourists

Location of the Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature, also known as Van Mieu, is located in the Dong Da district, in the middle of 4 bustling streets: Nguyen Thai Hoc, Van Mieu, Quoc Tu Giam, and Ton Duc Thang. It is stated at No. 58, Quoc Tu Giam Street, Dong Da District.

Opening hours and Entrance fees

Operating hours: The Temple of Literature is open daily from 8 am to 5:30 pm, except Mondays and national holidays. Admission fees:
  • Adults: 30,000 VND.
  • Students and pupils: 15,000 VND (valid student identification cards are required).
  • Children under 15 years old: Free

Regulations of the Temple of Literature

  • Dress modestly and refrain from wearing revealing attire.
  • Uphold a peaceful and respectful atmosphere, especially in the areas designated for worship.
  • Adhere to the regulations set by the management board and show respect towards the relics.
  • Avoid touching the turtle's head or sitting on the doctor's beer.
  • Carry cash, as credit cards are not accepted at the ticket counter.

The History and Signification of the Temple of Literature

History of Formation

Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam comprises two primary sections: the Temple of Literature and the Imperial Academy. The Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) was established in August 1070 under the rule of King Ly Thanh Tong, serving as a tribute to Confucius and revered scholars of that era. In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong established the Imperial Academy (Quoc Tu Giam) as an educational institution for the royal family and noble households. It holds the distinction of being Vietnam's oldest university. During the reign of King Tran Thai Tong in 1253, the Imperial Academy underwent expansion, opening its doors to students from all backgrounds, including those from humble origins who demonstrated exceptional academic potential. In 1484, King Le Thanh Tong organized a rigorous examination and erected steles to honor those who successfully passed the doctoral exam.

The signification of The Temple

The Temple of Literature holds a revered status as one of Hanoi's most sacred sites. Its current form stands as a magnificent testament to Indochinese architecture, showcasing the amalgamation of Vietnam's imperial histories spanning nearly a millennium. Beyond its architectural splendor, the temple holds immense educational significance. During the graduation season, it becomes a vibrant hub, adorned with the presence of countless students in graduation gowns and traditional Ao Dai attire. This enchanting scene unfolds as they strike poses for photographs, eagerly awaiting blessings to commemorate their academic achievements.

The Unique Structure of the Temple of Literature Complex

This complex of historical significance spans approximately 54,331 square meters and encompasses a variety of structures, including Ho Van, Temple of Literature, Quoc Tu Giam, Giam Garden, and Khue Van Cac. Surrounding the premises are weathered brick walls that bear the marks of time. The Temple of Literature showcases the distinctive architectural style of the early Nguyen Dynasty. The different sections within the temple are arranged in accordance with the traditional North-South axis, with each zone and layer clearly demarcated. For enthusiasts of architecture, the Temple of Literature stands as an exemplary representation of Vietnam's enduring architectural heritage, characterized by its use of wood and tile materials. Along the pathways, ancient trees, aged over a hundred years, bear witness to the ebbs and flows of history.

The Great Portico - Entrance to the way

In the early 20th century, the grand portico of the Temple of Literature underwent a meticulous reconstruction. Constructed using bricks, this impressive gate boasts three entrances adorned with elegant eight-roof structures. The central gateway, marked with the inscription "Van Mieu Mon" (Gate of the Temple of Literature) in Chinese characters, stands prominently. Positioned before the portico, two dragons hailing from the 15th century during the Le Dynasty captivate visitors with their ancient allure. Stepping through the gate and casting your gaze upward, the central door reveals a remarkable sight: five intricately carved figures. Among them stands Confucius himself, occupying the central position, while the four surrounding figures represent his revered students. [caption id="attachment_58915" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Great Portico The Great Portico[/caption]

The First Courtyard - The Great Middle Gate (Dai Trung Gate)

The imposing Great Middle Gate marks the first courtyard. Crowned atop this gate is a fish sculpture, imbued with a fascinating legend. As the tale goes, an ancient competition for fish was organized by Gods, wherein those capable of leaping over mighty ocean waves and reaching the other side would transform into majestic dragons. Symbolically, the fish embodies the diligent students who aspire to overcome every examination challenge and ceaselessly pursue knowledge. [caption id="attachment_58913" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The First Courtyard – The Great Middle Gate The First Courtyard – The Great Middle Gate[/caption]

The Second Courtyard - The Pavilion of Constellation (Khue Van Cac)

The Pavilion of Constellation, despite its modest size, exudes an exquisite sense of balance and aesthetic harmony. This architectural gem showcases four sturdy brick pillars that uphold the graceful wooden framework above. Adorned with four round doors, delicate handrails, and a meticulously crafted roof, the pavilion captivates with its intricate design. This iconic structure holds deep significance for Hanoi, so much so that its image is immortalized on Vietnam's 100,000 VND banknote. [caption id="attachment_58911" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Khue Van Cac Khue Van Cac[/caption]

The Third Courtyard - The Well of Heavenly Clarity (Thien Quang Well)

Nestled within the Temple of Literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity encompasses a serene courtyard featuring a square-shaped pond. In one corner, a collection of stone turtles can be found, carrying immense stelae. These stelae serve as eloquent tributes to the principles of Confucianism, paying homage to the revered kings. [caption id="attachment_57947" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Well of Heavenly Clarity The Well of Heavenly Clarity[/caption]

The Fourth Courtyard - The Gate to Great Success (Dai Thanh Sanctuary, The Shrine Area)

Within the fourth courtyard, known as the "Gate to Great Success" in Vietnamese, lies an enchanting House of Ceremonies and a sanctuary devoted to Confucius. This area captivates with its striking crimson columns and intricate wooden ceilings adorned with gracefully suspended vintage lanterns. These elements combine to create a captivating ambiance with reverence and timeless beauty. [caption id="attachment_58914" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Gate to Great Success The Gate to Great Success[/caption]

The Fifth Courtyard - The Grounds of Imperial Academy (Khai Thanh Temple, Thai Hoc House)

Within the fifth courtyard, an imposing two-story structure stands as a testament to the rich educational legacy of the Imperial Academy. The first floor houses a remarkable statue of Chu Van An, the esteemed inaugural rector of the academy. Ascend to the second floor, you will discover a reverential space devoted to honoring the three influential kings who played pivotal roles in establishing and safeguarding the academy. [caption id="attachment_57945" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Grounds of Imperial Academy The Grounds of Imperial Academy[/caption]

Doctoral Steles in the Temple of Literature Complex

Adjacent to the Well of Heavenly Clarity, there are 82 stelae known as the Doctors' Steles, elegantly placed on stone tortoises. These stelae bear inscriptions that record the achievements of successful candidates who excelled in the prestigious state royal examinations held at the National Academy between 1442 and 1779. These stelae hold immense historical significance and are treasured as valuable resources. Traditionally, it was common for students to gently stroke the heads of the tortoises in hopes of receiving good fortune before their crucial examinations. However, to preserve the integrity of these stone sculptures, touching them is strictly prohibited within the temple premises. [caption id="attachment_58007" align="aligncenter" width="800"]82 Doctors’ Stelae – Tangible cultural heritage of Literature Temple 82 Doctors’ Stelae – Tangible cultural heritage of Literature Temple[/caption]

Best Places to Visit near the Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature, together with the following tourist destinations in Hanoi, will make up a wonderful cultural and historical experience for those visiting the capital of Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

In close proximity, the renowned Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum stands as a striking edifice, constructed in a grand architectural style. It stands as a powerful symbol, representing profound reverence and admiration for Uncle Ho's exemplary leadership and remarkable contributions to the nation. Visitors have the opportunity to pay their respects and gain insights into his momentous endeavors for the country. [caption id="attachment_50943" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum[/caption]

Hoa Lo Prison

Popularly referred to as the "Hanoi Hilton," the Hoa Lo Prison serves as an intriguing museum that offers a captivating window into the history of the country. Today, it stands as a museum that provides valuable insights into the past and the experiences of the prisoners who were confined within its formidable walls. Through a collection of exhibits, visitors can explore a wealth of artifacts, photographs, and narratives that vividly portray the hardships and indomitable spirits of those held captive within the prison. [caption id="attachment_56405" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoa Lo Prison Hoa Lo Prison[/caption]

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most famous and beloved landmarks in Hanoi. According to folklore, Emperor Ly Thai To was given a magical sword by a golden turtle to help him defeat the Chinese invaders. After the victory, the turtle reclaimed the sword and disappeared into the lake's depths, hence the name "Lake of the Returned Sword". Situated in the heart of Hanoi, this picturesque lake offers a tranquil escape from the city's hustle and bustle. The lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is home to the iconic red-painted Huc Bridge and Ngoc Son Temple. [caption id="attachment_58202" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hoan Kiem Lake Hoan Kiem Lake[/caption]

Getting to the Temple of Literature

Taxi/Grab/Private car

Getting around in Hanoi is made easy with the availability of taxis and ride-sharing services like Grab. Whether you choose a traditional taxi or opt for a Grab car, both options are convenient and readily accessible. From your current location, you can easily book a taxi or Grab and provide the driver with the address of the Temple of Literature. This allows for a seamless door-to-door transportation experience. For anyone who likes a convenient transportation option, you can consider renting a car with a private driver. This allows you to have a dedicated driver who is well-versed in navigating Hanoi and often possesses English language skills. They can offer valuable insights into the city, including historical landmarks, delectable cuisines, popular entertainment venues, and more. Contact us for further details and assistance regarding this service.

Public Bus

Hanoi has an extensive public bus network. You can check the bus routes that pass near the Temple of Literature and look for the nearest bus stop. Take the bus that goes in the direction of the temple and get off at the nearest stop. Be prepared to navigate the bus system and check the bus schedule for timings. Currently, several bus routes are stopping near the Temple of Literature: lines 2, 23, lines 32, 38, and 41. In addition, you can refer to the double-decker bus service to make it easier to move between attractions in the city. [caption id="attachment_56838" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Bus Hanoi Bus[/caption]


In the tourist areas of Hanoi, you can find cyclos, which are traditional cycle rickshaws. If you prefer a slower and more traditional mode of transportation, you can opt for a cyclo ride to the Temple of Literature. When taking a cyclo, it is customary to negotiate the fare with the driver before starting the journey. Once agreed upon, the cyclo driver will pedal you to your destination, allowing you to soak in the surroundings and enjoy a leisurely ride to the Temple of Literature. [caption id="attachment_55734" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Cyclo in Old Quater Cyclo in Old Quater[/caption]

Walking to the Temple of Literature

If you are in the vicinity or staying nearby, walking to the Temple of Literature is a great option. Hanoi is known for being a walkable city, and strolling to your destination offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere. As you make your way to the Temple of Literature on foot, you can explore the charming streets, discover hidden gems, and truly experience the city at your own pace. The Temple of Literature surpasses being a mere symbol of Vietnam's historical legacy. It stands as a testament to the nation's pride and honors the countless generations of scholars who dedicated themselves to preserving the profound wisdom of antiquity. Amidst a region abundant with temples, this particular site in the lively capital of Hanoi is an absolute must-visit, offering a unique and enriching experience that should not be overlooked during your stay in Vietnam. Do not hesitate to contact us if you're planning to travel to Hanoi shortly.
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Located on a small peninsula on West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda is considered one of the most tranquil and picturesque pagodas in Hanoi with a history of more than 1,500 years. The Pagoda possesses a wealth of historical and architectural significance, making it a renowned destination for Buddhist devotees and tourists alike. The sacred Buddhist temple is revered by both Vietnamese locals and visitors from around the world. It stands as an essential stop on the itinerary for anyone embarking on a one-day tour of the city.

Essential Information for Tourists

Location of Tran Quoc Pagoda Tran Quoc Pagoda is located in Hanoi - the capital city of Vietnam. Specifically, it is situated on a small island in West Lake (Ho Tay), near Thanh Nien Road. Opening hours and Entrance Fee
  • Operating hours: Tran Quoc Pagoda welcomes visitors daily from 8 am to 4 pm.
  • Admission fees: Free.
[caption id="attachment_58849" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tran Quoc Pagoda view from Thanh Nien Road Tran Quoc Pagoda view from Thanh Nien Road[/caption]

The History of Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda's origins trace back to the era of the Ly Nam De Dynasty, between the years 544 and 548. Initially named "Khai Quoc," which translates to "Opening a country," it was established along the banks of the Red River, approximately within Yen Phu Ward, Tay Ho District, where it stood for centuries. During the reign of King Le Thai Tong in the 15th century, the pagoda underwent a name change to "An Quoc," signifying a peaceful country.

However, in 1915, a serious landslide was ingrained into the stability of the pagoda's foundation. To ensure its preservation, the government, and local residents made the decision to relocate the entire structure to Kim Ngu Island on the eastern side of West Lake. This relocation marks the current location of Tran Quoc Pagoda, which stands as a testament to its historical journey and can be witnessed to this day.

The process of renaming continued until it eventually acquired the name "Tran Quoc Pagoda" during the reign of King Le Huy Tong (1681-1705). The name "Tran Quoc" carries the meaning of "protecting the country." With each successive name bestowed upon the pagoda, we witness a significant milestone in the country's history and the heartfelt wishes of its people intertwined with this sacred sanctuary.

The Landscape and Architecture of Tran Quoc Pagoda

Renowned for its breathtaking landscape and revered as a place of spiritual sanctuary, Tran Quoc Pagoda has long been a cherished destination for kings and nobles of Vietnam. Throughout history, it has been a beloved site for sightseeing, particularly during festivals, full moon days, and the Tet holiday. Despite the encroachment of urbanization on the surrounding landscape, the pagoda continues to maintain its well-deserved reputation and allure, remaining an esteemed and revered destination for visitors from near and far and being a testament to its reputation as one of the most beautiful temples in Vietnam.

[caption id="attachment_58850" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Panoramic view of Tran Quoc Pagoda Panoramic view of Tran Quoc Pagoda[/caption]

Nestled amidst the bustling Thanh Nien Road, the expansive Tran Quoc Pagoda complex spans over 3,000 square meters and is enveloped by the serene waters of West Lake. Meticulously designed in accordance with the revered principles of Buddhist architecture, the complex features an intricate arrangement of buildings, including three prominent structures are known as "Tien Duong," serving as dedicated spaces for incense burning. These interconnected rooms harmoniously form the shape of the Cong script, adding to the aesthetic allure and symbolic significance of the pagoda.

The Tran Quoc Pagoda precinct boasts a prominent feature that catches the eye from a distance—the towering stupa, erected in 1998. Standing at a height of 15 meters and composed of 11 floors, this stupa is adorned with vaulted windows on each level, each holding a precious gemstone statue of Amitabha. At its pinnacle, a resplendent nine-story lotus (Cuu Dinh Lien Hoa) gleams, also crafted from gemstone. Situated in perfect symmetry with the stupa is the venerable Bodhi tree, graciously gifted by the former Indian President during his visit to Hanoi in 1959, thus marking its 50-year presence. Abbot Thich Thanh Nha of Tran Quoc Pagoda elucidates the significance of this correlation, stating, "The lotus symbolizes Buddha, while the Bodhi tree represents supreme knowledge."

[caption id="attachment_58851" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Cuu Dinh Lien Hoa Cuu Dinh Lien Hoa[/caption]

Tran Quoc Pagoda goes beyond its spiritual significance; it also serves as a remarkable repository of invaluable antiquities, some dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. The front house of the pagoda showcases a collection of worshiping statues, each a masterpiece intricately engraved and meticulously polished by skilled craftsmen. Among these treasures, one statue stands out in its magnificence - the revered "Thich Ca Thap Niet Ban" statue. Regarded as Vietnam's most exquisite statue, it captivates all who behold it with its extraordinary beauty and artistic brilliance.

With its historical and architectural values, Tran Quoc Pagoda is not only a worth-visiting and sacred sanctuary of Buddhism attracting countless Buddhist believers; but also an indispensable place for cultural visitors to Vietnam.

Best Places to Visit near Tran Quoc Pagoda

Quan Thanh Temple

In close proximity to Tran Quoc Pagoda lies Quan Thanh Temple, an ancient Taoist temple renowned for its exquisite architecture and cultural importance. This sacred temple is dedicated to Tran Vu, revered as the God of the North. A visit to Quan Thanh Temple provides an opportunity to appreciate its architectural grandeur and gain insights into the spiritual heritage of Taoism in Vietnam.

[caption id="attachment_58301" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Quan Thanh Temple Quan Thanh Temple[/caption]

West Lake

You can try a leisurely walk or bicycle ride along the enchanting shoreline of West Lake, the largest lake in Hanoi. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere as you soak up the picturesque vistas that unfold before you. Discover the allure of the charming lakeside cafes and restaurants, offering delightful culinary experiences amidst this setting. Take your time to savor the tranquility and admire the beauty of this captivating destination.

>>> Driving around West Lake, consume delicious street food and Vietnamese coffee with our Hanoi Motorbike Tour 1 Day.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Located a short distance from Tran Quoc Pagoda, you'll find the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a highly significant landmark in Hanoi. This revered site is the resting place of the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, the esteemed former leader of Vietnam. The mausoleum stands as a tribute to his enduring legacy and offers visitors a profound glimpse into the history and reverence surrounding this influential figure.

[caption id="attachment_56547" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum[/caption]

Getting to Tran Quoc Pagoda

Taxi/Private car

Tran Quoc Pagoda is conveniently accessible by taxi from any location in the city. You can simply flag down a taxi and provide the driver with the address of the pagoda. As a popular landmark, most taxi drivers are well-acquainted with its location.

You may want to explore the option of renting a car with a private driver, offering the convenience of having a dedicated driver who is knowledgeable about navigating Hanoi. Many of these drivers are fluent in English and can provide valuable insights into the city, including its historical landmarks, delicious cuisine, popular entertainment venues, and more. If you require further details of this service, don't hesitate to contact us.

Grab/Ride-sharing services

Besides private taxis, you can make the most of ride-sharing apps like Grab to effortlessly book a car or motorbike taxi and enjoy a seamless ride to Tran Quoc Pagoda. With these convenient apps, you can easily arrange transportation according to your schedule, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey to the pagoda.

Public bus

Hanoi boasts a comprehensive public bus network, providing convenient transportation options. By checking the local bus routes, you can identify buses that pass in close proximity to Tran Quoc Pagoda. Get off at the nearest bus stop, and a brief walk will bring you to the pagoda's entrance, allowing for easy access and exploration. To go to the pagoda by bus, you will take 2 bus routes that are bus line 33 and bus line 50.

[caption id="attachment_56838" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hanoi Bus Hanoi Bus[/caption]

Walking or cycling

If your accommodation is situated near West Lake or in nearby areas, walking or renting a bicycle is a delightful option to try. Embrace the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride while immersing yourself in the scenic surroundings. This allows for a pleasant and immersive experience as you make your way to Tran Quoc Pagoda.

[caption id="attachment_56845" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Cycling around West Lake Cycling around West Lake[/caption]

For those with a profound fascination for spiritual attractions, Hanoi undoubtedly stands as a must-visit destination when traveling to Vietnam. If you find yourself fortunate enough to journey to this captivating country, don't forget to seize the opportunity to explore Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest temple in northern Vietnam. Contact us for assistance in planning your upcoming trip to Hanoi. We are here to help you create a memorable and enjoyable experience in the vibrant city.

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