Top 10 Must-See Attractions in Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is well-known for its rich culture and multiple historic architectures with French and Asian traits. While diving in Hanoi, you will capture the essence of Vietnamese life. Let’s take you on an exploration journey at the top 10 best tourist attractions in Hanoi!

1- Hanoi Old Town Quarter 

If you wish to learn about the life and culture of Trang An people, you should not ignore Hanoi Old Town Quarter – a charmingly run-down location where a curious piece of medieval buildings have managed to survive amidst the contemporary commotion of motorbikes and street vendors. The 36-street, densely inhabited Hanoi Old Quarter is situated to the west and north of Hoan Kiem Lake. Each street here mainly focuses on selling a certain type of item. There is a wide variety of street food available, including dishes like Bun Thang, Bun C, Banh Duc Nong, and more. As you walk around the area, you’ll come across numerous street vendors offering fruits and vegetables. Keep an eye out for sellers on cyclos who specialize in selling beautiful flowers. The vibrant street scene is a feast for the senses, with enticing aromas and colorful displays. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in these culinary delights and immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of street food culture.


2- The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum 

The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh rests in a glass case inside the stern marble structure known as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This place is also the political center of Vietnam with the National Assembly, Presidential Palace, and The Ho Chi Minh Museum. Outside the mausoleum, there are many rows of green bamboo. When visiting Uncle Ho’s mausoleum, you must dress neatly to express respect to our deceased leader, electronic devices are prohibited, and you’ll need to stay silent in the mausoleum.

The-Ho-Chi-Minh-Mausoleum, a-monumental-landmark in-Hanoi, Vietnam, honoring-the-iconic-leader and-symbolizing-Vietnamese-history-and-heritage.

3- Ba Dinh Square 

Ba Dinh Square, situated on Hung Vuong Street and facing the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, stands as the largest square in Vietnam. This historic site holds significant importance in Vietnam’s history, with numerous significant events having taken place here. Notably, on September 2, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam delivered the Declaration of Independence, marking the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. If you happen to visit during major Vietnamese holidays or are fortunate enough, you might witness the vibrant parades that unfold in this iconic location.


4- Hoan Kiem Lake 

Hoan Kiem Lake, situated on the southern edge of Hanoi’s old town district, stands as the city’s most renowned attraction. The focal point of this picturesque lake is a small island housing Ngoc Son Temple, a place of reverence dedicated to three prominent figures from Vietnamese history. These include La To, revered as the patron saint of physicians, the esteemed scholar Van Xuong, and the valiant general Tran Hung Dao, known for his resistance against the Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Additionally, within the lake’s southern region, you’ll find the Turtle Tower perched on another tiny island, offering a splendid view from the nearby bridge.


5- Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam – The Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature holds great pride among the residents of Hanoi. Whenever they speak of their city, this exquisite and remarkably serene Confucian temple stands as an essential destination. Originally established as a university in the 11th century, Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam symbolizes knowledge and education in Vietnam. It serves as a sacred site for worshiping the saints and Confucian ancestors, as well as honoring Chu Van An, a revered educator who exemplified moral values and the essence of Vietnamese education. Consequently, students frequently visit this place to seek blessings for their academic achievements.


6- Hoa Lo Prison Relic 

Hoa Lo Prison Relic, or Maison Centrale, is an old prison built in 1896 by France. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the history of Vietnam and how Vietnamese citizens were punished in the past. Hoa Lo Prison Relic is located on Hoa Lo Street, the heart of Hoan Kiem District, and is near to many famous tourist attractions. Therefore, you can visit this place by both private or public transportation.


7- Thang Long Water Puppet Show

The water puppet shows in Hanoi are a fantastic way to enjoy traditional Vietnamese artistry and entertainment. Originally developed in rural areas of Vietnam during the monsoon paddy field flooding seasons, this ancient art form is currently performed inside constructed swimming pools. With five performances every day at the Thang Long Water Puppet, Hanoi is the center of modern water puppet theater.

8- Hanoi St. Joseph’s Cathedral 

Hanoi St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the interesting destinations in Hanoi which brings an ancient and peaceful beauty inside the bustling capital. This place is not only visited by the Christian Community but also by young people and tourists. The church is designed in the European medieval Gothic style with high walls, domes, and many windows. You must visit this Cathedral to experience listening to classical music while watching the historic beauty!


9- The Imperial Citadel 

The Imperial Citadel is a relic complex associated with the development of Thang Long – Hanoi, built and developed by different kings in many historical periods. This is also the most significant artifact in Vietnam’s network of historical monuments. Coming to Thang Long Imperial Citadel, visitors can visit outstanding places such as the archaeological area at 18 Hoang Dieu, Doan Mon, Dien Kinh Thien, and Bac Mon (Cua Bac Citadel). This site also achieved UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition in 2010 for its long and important role in the past. 


10- Boat Trip to the Perfume Pagoda Complex 

Visiting the Perfume Pagoda Complex is a popular day tour from Hanoi and is worth the scenic journey. After a 1-hour drive from the city, you will reach the Perfume Pagoda by taking an extra one-hour boat ride on a beautiful river all along the way to Huong Tich Mountain. Then, you take a cable car to the temple complex or you can challenge yourself by hiking your way up the slopes! People often come here to pray for peace, health, and happiness as well as other problems.


The city of Hanoi offers a plethora of captivating attractions that are sure to leave visitors in awe. From its rich historical landmarks to its vibrant cultural sites and picturesque natural landscapes, Hanoi has something to offer everyone. The iconic Hoan Kiem Lake with its legendary Turtle Tower, the majestic Temple of Literature, and the bustling Old Quarter are just a few of the must-visit attractions that showcase the city’s charm and heritage. Moreover, exploring the vibrant street food scene and immersing oneself in the local markets provides a truly authentic experience. Hanoi’s top attractions not only reflect its deep-rooted history but also showcase its progressive modernity, making it a fascinating destination for travelers seeking a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Whether strolling through its ancient streets, discovering its fascinating museums, or enjoying the tranquility of its serene parks, Hanoi offers an unforgettable journey that will leave visitors enchanted with its beauty, culture, and warmth.


Image attributes: 
1- Hanoi Old Town Quarter 
Image by <a href="">Freepik</a>
2- The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Photo by Hans-Jürgen Weinhardt on Unsplash 
3- Ba Dinh Square 
Photo by Ajay Karpur on Unsplash 
4- The Hoan Kiem Lake - The Trutle Tower
Image by <a href="">Thể Phạm Khắc</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>
5- The temple of literature
By Xiquinho Silva -, CC BY 2.0,
6- Hoa Lo Prison Museum (Cropped & Color Saturized )
By Zack Knowles, CC BY-SA 3.0,
7- Thang Long Water Puppet Show (Cropped & Color Saturized )
By Gryffindor - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
8- St. Joseph's Cathideral 
By Christophe95 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
9- The imperial citadel (cropped & color saturated)
By Alex 69200 vx - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
10- Boat trip to the perfume pagoda complex
By Tango7174 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,