In Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, you can experience old and new Vietnam at the same time. The second-largest city in Vietnam, like the country itself, has a rich history. Anyone who wants to visit this city must apply for a Vietnam visa before departure.
On Top of Hanoi - Hanoi from above
Travellers who go to Hanoi and would like a view of the city would do well to start their visit at Lotte Center. From the Observation Deck on the 65th floor of this 267-metre tall skyscraper, all of Hanoi is clearly visible. Part of the floor is made of glass, so you can literally view Hanoi from above. There is also a roof terrace - aptly named Top of Hanoi - where you can quietly enjoy the beautiful view while enjoying a drink. Literally one of the highlights of the Vietnamese capital!
Explore Old Quarter
In Vietnam's capital, the history of the country is clearly visible. Think of the historical centre, the monuments and the colonial architecture. Hanoi is one of the few cities that were not completely destroyed during the Vietnam War.
The narrow streets of the old part of the city ("Old Quarter") are crowded with people and all manner of things. The district is more than 1,000 years old and still forms the vibrant heart of the city: stroll through the ancient streets and discover the life of the locals, have a drink, taste the typical local dishes and admire everything that goes on in the atmospheric and unique environment of Old Quarter.
Slightly south of Old Quarter is the French quarter, a welcome change after the hectic narrow streets of the old part of town. The French Quarter is the most modern part of the city. The district is characterised by French colonial-style buildings, of which the Hanoi Opera House is perhaps the best example.
Relax in one of the city's many parks
Hanoi is not only busy and chaotic; there are also plenty of beautiful places to relax:
- Hoan Kiem Lake: for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle after a walk through Old Quarter, the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake is a perfect place to relax. The lake lies in the middle of the old part of town and surrounds a small island on which the temple Ngoc Son stands, connected to the shore of the lake by a beautiful red bridge in typical Vietnamese style.
- Thong Nhat Park: Hanoi's largest park, formerly called Lenin Park, is also an ideal place to escape the noise and crowds. Locals as well as tourists come here to relax, and especially on hotter days it can be nice to spend some time here.
- West Lake: Located in the north-west of the city, this lake is the largest lake in Hanoi with a 17-kilometre bank. As well as being a place of relaxation, there are also several places of interest in the vicinity of this lake, such as a 6th-century pagoda, several museums and the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh.
- Ba Vi National Park: Tourists who really want to get away from the cities can visit Ba Vi National Park. This national park is about a 2 hours' drive from the capital and is one of Vietnam's most prized nature reserves. The main attraction in the park is Mount Ba Vi, but there are also French ruins to be found as well as several walking tours.
If you want to experience the variety that Hanoi and Vietnam have to offer, remember to apply for a Vietnam visa. The e-visa for Vietnam allows you to stay in the country for 30 days, enough time to discover both Hanoi and other parts of Vietnam.
Temples and pagodas
As in the whole of Vietnam, there are various temples and pagodas to be found in the capital. The oldest pagoda in the city, which is considered a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism, is the Tran Quoc Pagoda. This pagoda is more than 1,500 years old and is located on an island in West Lake.
Another famous pagoda is the One Pillar Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Một Cột), which rises from an elegant square lotus pond. The pagoda is designed to resemble a lotus flower, a Buddhist symbol of purity. The One Pillar pagoda is one of the most iconic temples in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi
Against Ho Chi Minh's express wishes, a mausoleum was established for him after his death. The mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh is one of the most famous sights of Hanoi. The mausoleum attracts many visitors, including a large number of Vietnamese. Tourists who want to visit the mausoleum in Hanoi should bear in mind that they should - logically - behave respectfully here and wear appropriate clothing (no short sleeves, shorts, etc.).
Apply for Vietnam visa
All British and Irish travellers wishing to visit the capital of Vietnam must apply for a visa for Vietnam. The validity period of the e-visa for Vietnam is 30 days, which is more than enough to visit other cities in Vietnam besides Hanoi. On average, applications are approved within a week. As soon as your application has been approved, you will receive the visa by e-mail. You can then print the visa, after which it needs to be carried on your trip to Vietnam.