VietnamHanoiWhat is Hanoi Known for?

What is Hanoi Known for?

Hanoi is a city of lakes, and its name can be loosely translated to “between two rivers” thanks to the vast amounts of water bodies. In addition to the natural advantage, the capital of Vietnam is deeply rooted in its historical and cultural significance. Learn the most about what Hanoi is known for so you won’t miss anything when visiting this city of glory.

Strolling Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

Turtle Tower is visible from the edge of Hoan Kiem Lake

When thinking about what Hanoi is known for, Hoan Kiem Lake will be one of the first options unanimously. The most famous lake in Hanoi is in the heart of the city and has a dense historical background, magical legends, and an enchanting nature surrounding it.

Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of The Jade Mountain in the center of the lake is accessible by the picturesque maroon The Huc Bridge.

Of course, visiting the lake for its scenery is worth the trip, but many activities around Hoan Kiem lake are also worth exploring.

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Catch a Show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

The water puppet show is the only cultural art performance in the world. This type of puppet show has been praised as a world-famous experience due to its cultural meaning to Vietnamese heritage and the skills required to operate such a display. Water puppet theatres in Vietnam are not exclusive to Hanoi, but where else can you enjoy the show other than in the art form’s birthplace?

The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre features a 1,000-year-old puppet show set in water accompanied by live music played with traditional Vietnamese instruments. Conveniently, it is located near Hoan Kiem Lake, making it extremely accessible in the center of Hanoi.

Explore Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi

Hoa Lo Prison has a rather interesting story in transitioning from a prison to a historically significant place. Under French colonialism, it was a prison mainly for communist patriots and criminals of French rules. Then, Northern Vietnam’s army claimed possession of the prison and utilized it to capture soldiers on the American side and spies from South Vietnam’s regime. So many inhumane, grueling tortures and sufferings took place here that there are local tales of the prison being haunted.

In the present day, it is an educational museum dedicated to displaying the life and death of those who were once incarcerated in prison.

Tour The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Perhaps the most significant historical site in Hanoi is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Here, tourists and locals can view the embalmed body of Vietnam’s former leader, the late President Ho Chi Minh. His body has been preserved since 1975 when the mausoleum opened to the public.

Other significant attractions in Hanoi are within the mausoleum premises, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda.

Visit The Temple Of Literature in Hanoi

One of the most culturally immersive locations in Hanoi has to be the Temple of Literature. The temple dates back over 1,000 years when it was constructed as the country’s first university in honor of Confucius. The temple’s ancient architecture reflects the feudal dynasties of past Vietnam, the most prevalent values of which are the neverending desire for knowledge and talent.

Check out more Temples and Pagodas in Hanoi

Check out Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi

One of Thang Long Imperial Citadel gate structure

In ancient Vietnam, Hanoi was once called Thang Long (Rising Dragon) as its capital. During the feudal period, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, commonly known as Hanoi Citadel in modern times, was home to many royal dynasties. In the twentieth century, it served as a prison for the occupying Japanese forces, resulting in a majority of the citadel grounds being in ruins.

Today’s Thang Long Imperial Citadel is still worth a visit as it is listed as a World Heritage site. The citadel still retains its many complexes, stately buildings constructed over 1,000 years ago.

Experience a Show at the Hanoi Opera House

The Hanoi Opera House is one of Hanoi’s most spectacular examples of French neoclassical architecture. Built during French colonialism in Vietnam, the opera house has stood the test of time, as it is still a functional stage hosting traditional Vietnamese shows a century later.

See the Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi

Though limited to small vehicles only, the bridge is still actively in use daily

Long Bien Bridge is quite an old and peculiar architecture, but it carries symbolic value, representing the struggles that Hanoi has persevered through. The bridge has profound historical greatness as it was a prime location of attacks during Vietnam’s warring periods with both the French and the US.

Learn about the Vietnamese Society at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Out of the many museums, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is undoubtedly the most exciting and informative place to learn about Vietnam’s history and its wide variety of ethnic groups. From each group’s lifestyle to each province’s uniqueness, visitors can educate themselves on Vietnam’s multicultural diversity.

More on Museums in Hanoi to visit

Our Conclusions of What Hanoi Is Known for

For those visiting for the first time, these are just a handful of locations that Hanoi is known for. Regardless of the length of your stay, visiting any of these options will provoke a sense of wonder and learning for Hanoi’s multiple facets of history. And for any repeat travelers, hopefully, there are new things yet to be discovered, waiting to be uncovered and appreciated.

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