If you’re thinking of planning a trip to Southeast Asia, Vietnam should definitely be on your list. A beautiful country full of activity, majestic landscapes and delicious food, there is something to please every traveler. There are many amazing cities to visit in Vietnam, but let’s take a look into the country’s capital Hanoi. A city with energy and culture, one can easily spend multiple days touring the city center. Check out the next edition of our city spotlight: Hanoi.
Begin your day with a stop at one of the many cafes found in the city to pick up a Vietnamese iced coffee. This special coffee drink is made by passing hot water through coffee grounds into a glass of condensed milk. The beverage is served cold by adding ice and when paired with a sweet treat, is a delicious way to start exploring the city.
Once you’ve had your dose of caffeine, you can begin your historical tour. Make your way to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the resting site of the former Vietnamese leader and president. Please note that when visiting the mausoleum you must wear long pants or skirts as well as long sleeves. You are also not allowed to take any photos inside and must leave all bags at the entrance.
After your visit, you can walk to the Presidential Palace, this is where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked. The palace itself is not open to visitors, but you can access the lovely surrounding grounds and observe the French architecture of the palace building. The next site
to visit is the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university. The university was built in the 12th century with the purpose to teach the royals Confucius theory. If you are lucky, you may even have the chance to see a traditional music performance!
At this point, it would be a perfect time to stop for some lunch. As you wander the streets, there is no doubt you will find a place that catches your eye. If you are looking for some classic Vietnamese cuisine, here are some dishes you have to try.
- Phở – Probably the most well known Vietnamese meal, this rice noodle soup is delicious and easily found.
- Bún chả – This pork and noodle dish originates from Hanoi. The meal consists of grilled pork, rice noodles, herbs and a dipping sauce.
- Bánh mì – Influenced by the French presence in Hanoi during its colonial period, this sandwich is made with a baguette, roasted chicken or pork, pâté, carrot, cilantro, cucumber and chili sauce.
After your delicious lunch, you may want to take a break from your walking and this is a great opportunity for a Cyclo ride! A Cyclo is a three-wheel bicycle taxi with a double seat for passengers. It is a wonderful way to see the excitement of the city and be part of the hustle and bustle. The perfect area for your ride is the Old Quarter as this neighbourhood is filled with constant activity, impressive architecture and consists of narrow ancient streets. You can pre-book a Cyclo tour in advance or find a driver on the street.
After finishing your tour of the Old Quarter, you will be in a perfect area to do some shopping. These streets are packed with stalls selling everything from silk clothing, food and toys. Vietnam is famous for their clothing and textiles so this is a great chance to pick up some hand-crafted pieces as a souvenir.
To end your day, enjoy a performance at the Water Puppet Theater. A traditional Vietnamese show involving puppets in a pool of water acting out legends accompanied by music, this is a unique theatrical and cultural experience. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is a top spot to attend a show, however this is one of the city’s most popular attractions so try and book your tickets in advance.
These are just a few suggestions for how to spend your time in Hanoi, if you are lucky enough to visit you will realize that walking around the city and taking it all in is an experience in itself. A trip to the Vietnamese capital will truly combine history, delicious food and activity so be ready for an unforgettable visit!
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