Situated in the north of Vietnam, Hanoi is the capital of the country and one of the two most populous cities next to Ho Chi Ming, the former Saigon.
Most trips to Vietnam, where you’re sure to be drawn to the incredible appeal of Halong Bay, include a visit to this busy city where the sound of car horns makes up the soundtrack.
What to see and do in Hanoi
There are several options when visiting Hanoi.
As the city of Hanoi is a bit chaotic, if you don’t want to rent a motorbike we recommend you to visit the city by taking organized excursions that come to pick you up at the hotel and return you to it after finishing.
As is our case in addition to the excursion, you may also like to take a guided tour of the city in your language, as it is such a different culture and a country with so much history is the best way to immerse yourself in the country.
But if on the contrary you prefer to get to know the city at your own pace, here is all the information you need to know to get around the city easily.
When you travel to Hanoi, you need to know that there are two very marked areas around which to make the most important visits.
The different zones
The first zone is the one that makes up the country’s historical heritage, which extends along the enormous Ho Tay Tay Lake.
They are a set of buildings around which are both the mausoleum of Ho Chi Ming and the Presidential Palace, where there is a war museum, as well as the house and gardens where the Vietnamese leader lived and took refuge from the bombings.
The other area is where the social life of the city has developed, the old quarter and its surroundings, where you can see French colonial buildings.
1 – Ho Chi Ming Mausoleum
The first thing to say is that the ideal thing to do is to hire a guided tour of the mausoleum and its surroundings. In this way, you can enjoy a visit like this one, during which we are told about the curiosities that marked the history of the place and that make up this complex.
The recent history of Hanoi is marked by the famous Vietnam War and the final liberation after the struggle led by the aforementioned Ho Chi Ming.
Admission to the mausoleum is free, but it is advisable to go very early as the doors close at 12 o’clock in the morning; as a consequence, huge queues are formed due to the devotion to him throughout the country.
To enter the mausoleum where Ho Chi Ming is embalmed, one passes in silence in rows of two people and, of course, it is forbidden to take pictures.
2 – Presidential Palace in Hanoi
The Royal Palace is a French colonial building that has been for many years the royal residence of the successive empires that reigned in the area.
With its façade painted in a very striking yellow color, it is now a place of reception for the authorities of other countries that visit the city.
This building is surrounded by the Botanical Garden where Ho Chi Ming’s residence was located for years.
To enter the gardens and visit the surroundings you have to pay an entrance fee; in fact it is the only place where you are charged for a visit.
3 – Ho Chi Ming House
The Vietnamese leader did not want to live in the above-mentioned Royal residence, which seemed too big for him to live in alone, as he was single.
So he decided to live in the surrounding gardens, in a wooden house that can now be visited.
He also had a few more houses to meet with the leaders who visited him.
Next to it and hidden inside a small hill was the bomb shelter, a room without which history would probably have changed.
Given his personality, all his residences and stays in which he developed his life are really very austere.
Want to know more about Asia? Read our article about Thailand.