Crossing Travel
DESTINATIONS Hanoi Thursday, 01 October 2015

Hanoi Travel Tips

Experiencing almost a thousand year of history, Hanoi will bring ancient beauty and peaceful feeling for tourists with Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake and other historical relics.

As a capital of the Social Republic of Vietnam, Hanoi is also a crucial centre of culture, politics, trade and tourism all over the country. Experiencing almost a thousand year of history, Hanoi will bring ancient beauty and peaceful feeling for tourists with Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake and other historical relics.

1. Climate

Typical weather of north Viet Nam, Ha Noi climate belongs to tropical monsoon temperature type: hot summer with high rainfall and cold winter, rare of rain.

Ha Noi experiences four seasons a year. May to September are hot and rainy months. Dry winter lasts from November to March next year. Autumn and Spring are transition seasons of April to October. The weather changes follow four seasons, which contribute to diversified feature of Ha Noi’s climate.

2. Transportation

By plane to Vietnam

There are many flights from other countries to Hanoi. From Noi Bai international airport to the Hanoi centre, you can get a taxi with the price from 400,000VND to 500,000VND. If you want to save money, you can get a bus with the price of 50,000VND.

Transportation in Hanoi

One of the unique thing in Hanoi is cyclo (xich lo) in Hanoi old quarters. Many tourists choose cyclo to visit Hanoi and discover ancient beauty and bustling roads of Hanoi. Another mean to visit Hanoi is tram which is seen as modern and friendly to environment “green tourism mean”. By tram, you will enjoy civilized, polite and modern beauty of Hanoi.

3. Landscapes in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake (The Lake of the Returned Sword)

Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake

There’s a lot to be said for having a body of water in the middle of a city. Hanoi has a lot of lakes, but Hoan Kiem Lake is in its cultural and historic heart. It may not be big–it’s much smaller than West Lake–but the Old Quarter wraps around it, making for a scenic and relaxing escape from the chaos and bustle of the Old Quarter’s streets.

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda

Rising from one pillar in the centre of an elegantly square shaped lotus pond, The One Pillar Pagoda is said to represent a lotus flower growing up out of the water.

The pagoda is often used as a symbol for Hanoi and remains one of the city’s most revered sights in a beautifully tranquil garden setting with benches provided for comfortable contemplation. The shrine inside the pagoda is dedicated to the Vietnamese Buddhist deity Quan Am with her effigy nestled inside the tiny three square metres temple.

The Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is about 10 minutes away from Hoan Kiem lake. It was constructed in 1070 under Ly Thanh Tong’s dynasty, first to honor Confucius and nowadays to celebrate the doctorates and high rank scholars of Vietnam. In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong continued the work and built Quoc Tu Giam as the first university of Vietnam.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi

St. Joseph’s Cathedral
St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Saint Joseph Cathedral, located at 40 Nha Chung street, Hanoi, is a Roman Catholic cathedral with neo- gothic style, which was built about 120 years ago.

The architecture with domes of the cathedral follows the Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral. It is 64.5m in length, 20.5m in width with two bell towers of 31.5m-height. Though the appearance of the cathedral, from the doors, the colorful window glass, to the religious paintings for decoration follows Western style, the main interior part is decorated in Vietnamese way with two typical colors yellow and red. Outside, in front of the cathedral is the statue of Mother Maria.

Hanoi Old Quarters

Hanoi Old Quarters
Hanoi Old Quarters

Located in the middle of Ha Noi, a rapidly developing city where changes take place every hour, Ha Noi Old Quarter with its old-styled narrow streets full of antique brick houses seems to nostalgically resist the flow of time while still actively trying to adapt to the dynamic atmosphere of the modern city. Once a bustling area where merchants and artisans gathered to sell their products, Ha Noi Old Quarter consists of many small, meandering streets, each bears the name of the goods that was specifically traded there such as Hang Bac (Silver Product), Hang Ma (Paper Product), Hang Go (Wood Product), just to name a few.

Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House

Amid the flow of Hanoi’s history of 1000 years old, Hanoi Opera House proudly stands at the heart of central Hanoi as one of its most famous architectural, cultural and political symbol.

Located on the famous August Revolution Square, Hanoi Opera House is just a few steps from Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Old Quarter and Vietnam History Museum. The Opera house was constructed for ten years from 1901 to 1911 and modelled on Palais Garnier – the older of Paris two opera houses; Hanoi Opera House embraces the European architectural style under the Renaissance period with the Italian-made marble floor, copper chandeliers and exquisite French murals on the ceiling, thus making the place one of Hanoi’s singular architectural landmarks.

Ba Dinh Square- Ho Chi Minh presidential palace

Not only limited by the streets of Hoang Van Thu, Hung Vuong, Doc Lap, Ba Dinh Square also extends to all directions with some roads as Bac Son, Dien Bien Phu.

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the center work of the square. Every day, thousands of tourists queue to enter the Mausoleum of President Ho Chi Minh. The Mausoleum opens from 7h30-10h30 every day except for Monday and Friday. In winter and weekends, the time may change.

The Presidential Palace was built in 1902. It is a typical building of neoclassical style, with strict rules of symmetry, emphasizing two blocks on both sides and classic details.

West Lake

Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake, West Lake has a circumference of 17km and houses many of the city’s historic places of interest around its perimeter – including Vietnam’s oldest pagoda and one of Vietnam’s four sacred temples. The lake attracts many locals and tourists seeking respite from the busy city, providing a sanctuary of great natural beauty with plenty of quiet spots in the sizeable lush gardens surrounding the lake.

West Lake is a beautiful place to while away an afternoon, there are boats for hire and lunch on a floating restaurant makes a novel dining option. Notable points of interest at West Lake include Tran Quoc Pagoda which was built in the 6th century making it Vietnam’s oldest temple.

4. Landscapes around Hanoi

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Bat Trang, the seven-century old pottery village, is an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore. Located in an area rich in clay, the village has advantage of ingredients to create fine ceramics. Moreover, lying beside the Red river, between Thang Long and Pho Hien, two ancient trade centres in the north of Vietnam during 15th-17th century, Bat Trang’s ceramics were favourite products not only in domestic market, but also foreign ones thanks to Japan, Chinese and Western trading boats that passed by.

Duong Lam ancient village

Duong Lam is a commune of Son Tay town, Hanoi, Vietnam. Duong Lam becomes the first ancient village in Vietnam. Two of Vietnam’s kings, Phung Hung (761-802) and Ngo Quyen (896-944) were born in Duong Lam, giving the village its prestige. Both men led resistance wars against northern invasion and after winning national independence, were crowned kings. After their deaths, the local people built temples in their honour. The ancient village has a history of about 1,200 years with many houses dating back up to 400 years.

5. Unique dishes in Hanoi

Pho (Noodle soup)

Hanoi Travel Tips

This universally famous food is best enjoyed in Hanoi, where it was “invented” in the early 20th century. Phở rice noodle soup- is omnipresent in Hanoi, appearing anywhere from street vendors to high end restaurant chain Pho 24. Some is served with chicken and some with beef. Each type of meat entails a variety of subdish, using from beef tenderloin to beef brisket, chicken wing to chicken thigh. The tip is, look for the place where locals gather the most and you know where you should order and sit down.

Pho Ly Quoc Su at 10 Ly Quoc Su street or Pho Cuong at 23 Hang Muoi are two local restaurants famous for its pho bo (beef rice noodle soup). Located in the Old Quarter “jungle”, the store easily stands out for the long line of people waiting to be served. You are highly recommended to join the local, line up for the pho bowl and bring it to a selected table to eat

Cha ca La Vong

Cha ca La Vong is listed as one of the top 100 things you gotta try before you die by many cuisine experts. It is exquisitely grilled fish served with bún, peanut, green onions, dills and shrimp paste. The fish is carefully chosen so that there are not too many bones and fishy smells. A glass of bia hoi or tra da will definitely give your meal more flavour.

Cha ca La Vong restaurant on 14 Cha Ca street is renowned nationally and internationally for its tradition and quality ofserving the dish. It is much more expensive than other local food but the fact that you are sitting in one of the oldest house in Hanoi, served by the most traditionally styled chef is all worth it.

Bun Cha (grilled pork)

Hanoi Travel Tips

Bun Cha or grilled pork noodle soup is thought to have originated from Hanoi, and popular to the North. Although it’s a simple dish but it is the favorite food of many people, not only Hanoian but foreign tourists. Bun Cha is served with a plate of white rice noodle (bún) grilled fatty pork (chả), fish sauce and herbs. Hang Manh street in Hanoi is the famous address for Bun Cha.

The ideal place to enjoy the specialty is the old-established restaurant at No.1, Hang Manh Street, Old Quarter Hanoi.But really, you can’t walk far without stumbling on bun cha anywhere in Hanoi.(Read more about Bun Cha.

Bun Thang

Hanoi Travel Tips

Bun thang (soft noodle soup) is a special food in Hanoi. The popular dish is vermicelli and sour crab soup, unique and available in Hanoi only. A bowl of Bun Thang includes lean pork paste, thin fried egg, salted shredded shrimp, chicken, onion, shrimps paste, and a little Belostomatid essence. Without enjoying Bun Thang when arriving to Hanoi, it somewhat seems to lack of a part of taste of Hanoi.

Bun thang Ba Duc on Cau Go street (from noon) or Bun Thang at 13 Gia Ngu (till noon) is a great place to try the dish. This street vendor has a limited number of seats on the pavement but you will be surprised how many people can fit in the two storey old house behind the stall. Enjoy bun thang in such a setting gives the meal enormous highlights in your trip to Hanoi.

Banh cuon

Banh Cuon
Banh Cuon

Banh Cuon or rice noodle roll is one of the traditional dishes in Hanoi and Vietnam. It is made from a thin, wide sheet of steamed fermented rice batter filled with seasoned ground pork, minced wood ear mushroom, and minced shallots. Banh cuon is served with nuoc mam, a mixture of fish sauce, sugar and lime. . It is a light dish, and is generally eaten for breakfast everywhere in Vietnam. A different version of bánh cuốn, called bánh cuốn Thanh Trì and bánh cuốn làng Kênh, may be found in Thanh Trì, a southern district of Hanoi and Kênh village of Nam Định, an ancient village in the centre of Nam Định city. Bánh cuốn Thanh Trì or Bánh cuốn làng Kênh are not rolls, but just rice sheets eaten with chả lụa, fried shallots, or prawns.

Banh cuon Gia An – Ba Trieu street (opposite to Vincom tower) is a more upscale restaurants specializing in Banh Cuon. The price is not that big a difference compared with other street vendors. Banh cuon there is made without preservative and of high hygiene condition. You can ask for a vegetarian option as well.

Hanoi coffee and special egg- milk coffee

Hanoi Travel Tips

Today, Hanoians like to drink coffee in the morning time. In fact, sitting on small chair in pavement with a glass of coffee become the popular image of Hanoian. Travellers who visit Hanoi also like trying this delicious favours like Hanoians and tenderly recognize that nothing better than a cup of coffee at a modern and luxury or pavement cafes to soak up the rhythms of the street and embrace Hanoi from all of its sides, from old to new ones, and from traditional to modern & quirky ones. Beside a cup of coffee with sweet milk and/or a spoonful of sugar, Hanoians create new ways to enjoy coffee in Hanoi ca phe trung (egg coffee) and ca phe sua chua (yogurt coffee) which you coffee lovers may want to try. (Read more about Hanoi coffee and new coffee enjoyment way).

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