Hanoi is the vibrant heart of Vietnam where ancient aesthetic and modern sensibility blend in a unique mix of Asian and French colonial style.
Three potent ingredients make up the luxurious fabric of Hanoi’s city scape: ancient history, architectural legacies from the colonial French era, and blooming modern infrastructure and buildings. In between the hustle and bustle of this dynamic city, a host of parks and lakes provide soothing views and shady places to rest.
Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam for numerous dynasties, both domestic and foreign in origin, for centuries. Each ruler left his mark on the city in the form of shrines, palaces, fortresses, and monuments; many of which are well preserved despite the numerous conflicts that have taken place in the city over the last century.
Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword) is the centerpiece of the historic heart of Hanoi known as the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter is an intriguing mix of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture. Local legend holds that the lake is the final resting place of a magic sword that helped the Vietnamese drive the Chinese from Vietnam.
Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) rests on an island near the center of Hoan Kiem Lake. Reached by a wooden foot-bridge, the small, traditional temple is dedicated to the Vietnamese general Tran Hung Dao who stopped a 13th century Mongol invasion.
The Hai Ba Trung Temple, just south of Hoan Kiem Lake, was founded in 1142. The temple is dedicated to the Trung sisters who led a rebellion against the occupying Han Chinese dynasty in the early 1st century.
West of Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature is a traditional Vietnamese structure from 1070 AD. The Confucian temple was founded by the Emperor Ly Thanh Tong to honor scholars and writers, and became the site of Vietnam’s first university in 1076. The temple grounds are studded with a series of 82 stelae (carved stone markers) that denote accomplished scholars and their works.
There are numerous, well-tended museums across Hanoi. The National Museum of Vietnamese History chronicles the country’s past in a series of displays spanning from ancient dynasties to the early 20th century colonial French rule of Vietnam. The Vietnam Museum of Revolution details the history of the Vietnamese Communist Party from its inception in 1858 through the country’s modern era. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology preserves the culture and history of the country’s 54 ethnic groups in a series of well curated displays.
Best Time to Visit Hanoi:
From February to April, Hanoi is humid with light, refreshing rains that often fall in the early morning and afternoon. May to August the city’s temperature steadily rises, and short bouts of rainfall are common. Fall, September to November, is warm. From December to January the city is typically cool and dry.
How to get to Hanoi:
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam in Southeast Asia. It’s best reached by international flight landing at Noi Bai International Airport about 25 miles north of Hanoi. From the airport, guests on our luxury tours of Vietnam are picked up by one of private vehicles and taken to their hotel.
Ancient history, stunning French colonial architecture, and burgeoning modern luxury make Hanoi a wonderful get away with a plethora of sights and excursions to experience. History and architecture buffs will have plenty of explore via the numerous temples, shrines, and museums, and there are plenty of scenic lakes and parks for nature lovers to enjoy.
Appropriate Attire :
Visitors should dress for warm weather and bring along a light rain jacket as brief showers are common throughout most of the year.