Highlights of a City Break in Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Masoleum in Hanoi Vietnam
For many people, especially Americans of a certain age, Vietnam conjures up images of jungles and guerrilla warfare and a fight against the spread of communism with the communist agenda run out of the north of Vietnam in Hanoi. Today, Vietnam is a vibrant, united, albeit, still communist country that now has a capitalist streak. There are amazing things to see and plenty of awesome food to keep your belly from rumbling. We looked forward to starting out explorations in northern Vietnam; cooling off in Hanoi which is known for a slightly more temperate climate after a scorching April week in Cambodia. Looking for adventure in Vietnam? You'll find it even in simple things like trying to cross the street in Hanoi! Here are our impressions of Hanoi and some highlights of our introductory city break in the Vietnamese capital.

Sunday Stroll Around a Lake with No Traffic in Hanoi

Remote controlled Hello Kitty cars in Hanoi Vietnam
We landed in Hanoi late on a Saturday evening on a direct flight on VietJet from Siem Reap, Cambodia. Traffic in Vietnam is legendary and getting run over by a motorcycle is a very real possibility. We arrived just in time to enjoy a car-free day exploring the area around Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Hanoi's Old Quarter. The roads around the lake are closed to cars and locals come out to spend a day sans stress and pollution while enjoying the lake. We had fun watching dads follow their kids around in remote-controlled vehicles. The kids seemed so happy to be "driving" and seemed to have no idea they weren't actually controlling the cars. These kiddie car stations were set up on the roads all around the lake.

In the evening, locals began line-dancing in large groups. It was pure joy and so delightful to watch the residents of Hanoi just let it all go and have a fun night out!
We did a lap around the lake (it takes less than an hour) and admired the centuries old pagoda (Tháp Rùa, aka "Tortoise Tower") on an island in the middle of the lake.
Tháp Rùa, aka "Tortoise Tower" in Hanoi Vietnam
An iconic red bridge leads to Đền Ngọc Sơn, a temple in the center of the lake. What an idyllic way to start our adventure in a city with a reputation for being frenetic.
Tiger image on a gate leading to Đền Ngọc Sơn in Hanoi Vietnam

Hanoi's Water Puppet Theatre

 Water puppets at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi Vietnam
Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique art form especially prevalent in northern Vietnam. We took the opportunity to book tickets to Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi. Puppeteers made the tiny intricate creations dance over the water. The hour long show which runs several times daily also features plenty of smoke and fire too. It's worth catching a short and sweet water puppet performance in Hanoi.
Traditional North Vietnamese musicians at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi Vietnam

The Temple of Literature and A Respite from the Busyness of Hanoi

Temple of Literature in Hanoi Vietnam
Across town, we rocked up to the Temple of Literature. The walled complex is insulated from the noisy streets of Hanoi and is a great respite after a day of exploration.
Statue of Confucius at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam
The Temple of Literature in Hanoi is a 1000 year old Confucian Temple with a shrine to Confucius himself. The complex also featured some pretty amazing bonzai trees with little dioramas sitting under the trees.
Bonzai tree and diorama at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam

Visit the Hanoi Hilton (aka Hỏa Lò Prison)

Artwork at Hỏa Lò Prison (aka the Hanoi Hilton) in Vietnam
For Americans and French visitors to Hanoi, Hỏa Lò Prison is a must-see to understand more of the history of Vietnam. Hỏa Lò Prison was originally run by the French when Vietnam was under colonial rule. It's very clear from the captions on the exhibits what the Vietnamese think of the French. The prison changed hands after the French were evicted from Vietnam. During the Vietnam War (or the "War of American Aggression" as it is known here), Hỏa Lò Prison was used to house American prisoners of war including future U.S. senator John McCain. In contrast to the exhibits on the French colonial period, the Hanoi Hilton (as it was known by American POWs) showcased photos of happy American prisoners and emphasized that they were well-fed and well-treated.  

Hanoi's Ho Chi Minh Museum 

Facade of the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi Vietnam
Another fascinating stop in Hanoi is the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Ho Chi Minh is viewed as the liberator of Vietnam from French colonial oppressors in the 1950s. In our travels around Vietnam, he seems to be universally revered. Ho Chi Minh also led the communist forces of the North in the civil war in the 1960s. The communist forces in the north in the end emerged victorious (after Ho Chi Minh's death) and the country was reunited under a communist government. Today, the Ho Chi Minh museum showcases the life and accomplishments of the former Vietnamese leader. School children in matching, brightly colored t-shirts line up to learn more about their country's history. 
School children heading to the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Masoleum in Hanoi Vietnam
Adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum welcomes thousands of Vietnamese people every day hoping to get a glimpse and pay their respects to Vietnam's liberator.

Hanoi's Trấn Quốc Pagoda

Trấn Quốc Pagoda in Hanoi Vietnam
After learning so much about the war torn-era of Vietnam's history, we made one final stop focused on peace. Hanoi's Trấn Quốc Pagoda is a Buddhist temple located on Tây Hồ (aka West Lake). Tiny buddhas stared down at us from the tall, thin pagoda and the smell of incense wafted through the air as we reflected on our brief visit to Hanoi.
Trấn Quốc Pagoda in Hanoi Vietnam
As you can see, we managed to squeeze in lots of fun things to do in Hanoi in about 2 days. We also squeezed in an overnight visit to Halong Bay from our home base in Hanoi (more on that later). As you can see, Hanoi has all the makings for a short and sweet weekend city break in Vietnam.

Did you enjoy this post about taking a city break in Hanoi Vietnam? Sharing is caring...

Sidewalk Safari Blog Post: Highlights of a City Break in Hanoi, Vietnam

COMMENTS

Name

#DrJSabbatical Adriatics Africa Aix-en-Provence Algarve Americas Ann Arbor Argentina Asia Asia Pacific AUNZ AUNZ_Archive Australia Austria Baltics Barcelona Bath Belfast Belgium Berlin Best of Beyond Dublin Big Island Bologna Boston Brazil Brighton Bruges Brussels Bucharest Budapest Buffalo California Cambodia Canada Canary Islands Canterbury Cape Town Carcassonne Cardiff Central Europe Chile China Chinatown Christmas Market Civic Center Cologne Commute Chronicles Copenhagen Cork Costa Brava Cow Hollow Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Delhi Denmark Derry Donegal Dresden Dublin Dublin_Archive Dubrovnik Eastern Europe Edinburgh El Calafate England Eruption Essen Estonia Europe Europe_Archive Evora Fado Faro Faversham Financial District Finland Fisherman's Wharf Flanders Florida Flugtag Food France Frankfurt French Riviera Fringe Fringe Festival Galway Gandhi Gdansk Gdynia Georgian Dublin Germany GhostBus Gig Girona Glasgow Google Plus Granada Greece Greece and Cyprus Guest Posts Guiness Storehouse Gurgaon Half Moon Bay Hamburg Hangzhou Hanoi Hawaii HCMC Helsinki Hermanus Hilo Ho Chi Minh City Hobart Hoi An Honolulu Hungary Hurling Hyderabad Ice Cream Sandwich Iceland ICS India Inner Richmond Ireland Ireland_Archive Istanbul Italy Itinerary Izmir Jackson Square Jaipur Japan Johannesburg Kaunas Kenmare Kilauea Kilkenny Kilkenny Cats Killarney Kiluaea Kona Krakow Kuala Lumpur Kyoto Lake Como Languedoc Lanzarote Las Fallas Las Vegas Latvia Laurel Heights Leeds Leinster Leipzig Lemesos Let's French 2011 Liechtenstein Lima Limerick Lincoln's Inn Lisbon Lithuania Liverpool Lloret de Mar London Los Angeles Louisiana Lübeck Lucerne Lyon Machu Picchu Mackintosh Madeira Madrid Mainz Malaga Malaysia Mallorca Malta Manchester Marina Marrakech Marrakesh Marseille Massachusetts Mdina Med Melbourne Mendoza Menton Miami Milan Mission Dolores Modena Monaco Monte Carlo Montenegro Montpellier Morocco Muenster Munich Munster Music NA_Archive Naples Netherlands New Orleans New Year 2011 New Year Festival New Years Eve 2010 New York New Zealand Nice Nicosia Nob Hill Noe Valley Nordics Normandy Norrkoping North America North Beach Northern Ireland Nuremberg Oahu Oakland Oktoberfest Oliwa Ollantaytambo Olympics On The Road Osaka Outer Sunset Oxford Pacific Heights Padua Palafrugell Palma Panorama Paphos Paris Parma Patagonia Pearl Harbor Pennsylvania Perth Peru Philadelphia Pingyao Pittsburgh Poland Porto Portugal Potrero Hill Prague Presidio Heights Pride Provence Puerto Natales Punta Arenas Queensland Rabat RAF2010 Ranelagh Ranelagh Arts Festival Recent Red Bull Regensburg Reims Restaurant Review Reykjavik Riga Ring of Kerry Rio de Janeiro Rochester Roman Ruins Romania Rome Rotterdam Rugby Russia Russian Hill Salt Lake City San Francisco San Sebastian Santiago Scandinavia Science Gallery Science Museum Scotland Seattle Segovia Seoul Seville SF - Further Afield SF_Archive Sicily Siem Reap Singapore Sintra Sligo Snow SOMA Sopot South Africa South America South Beach South Korea Soweto Spain SPWC St. Petersburg Stellenbosch Stockholm Strasbourg Street Performance Stuttgart Sultanahmet Sweden Switzerland Sydney Tallinn Tasmania Tavira TBEX Telegraph Hill Temple Bar Tenerife Texas Thailand Thames Festival The Kruger The Mission Theatre ThisIsAthens Tipperary Tokyo Toledo Toronto Torres del Paine Toulouse Trad Trad Sessions Transylvania Trinity College Turkey UBTD10 Uganda UK Ulster Bank Theater Festival Union Square United States Uruguay Vacation Rental Valencia Valletta Valparaiso Venice Vienna Vietnam Vilnius Volcano Volcanoes National Park Waikiki Wales Walking Walking Tour Warsaw Washington Waterford Western Australia Westerplatte Westfield Where's Wally? Whitsundays Wicklow World Record World War II Wroclaw WWI WWII Xi'an York Ypsilanti Zurich
false
ltr
item
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Highlights of a City Break in Hanoi, Vietnam
Highlights of a City Break in Hanoi, Vietnam
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Elfa4Y4nIlc/WVkbmHlfAxI/AAAAAAABHvQ/oo5awLFYZCcD5UCSvBi6GNrsL_-gG-1SQCKgBGAs/s640/IMG_0961.JPG
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Elfa4Y4nIlc/WVkbmHlfAxI/AAAAAAABHvQ/oo5awLFYZCcD5UCSvBi6GNrsL_-gG-1SQCKgBGAs/s72-c/IMG_0961.JPG
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/2017/07/city-break-hanoi-vietnam.html
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/
https://www.sidewalksafari.com/2017/07/city-break-hanoi-vietnam.html
true
2802498442123035908
UTF-8
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy