Visiting Hanoi Vietnam: A Visual Tour through the City

Charm and Folklore in the Streets of Hanoi Vietnam

Streets of Hanoi´s Old Quarter, Vietnam
Streets of Hanoi´s Old Quarter, Vietnam | Source

Busy Old Quarter of Hanoi Vietnam

Flower Seller, Streets of Hanoi, Vietnam
Flower Seller, Streets of Hanoi, Vietnam | Source

Hanoi: Atmosphere, Culture and Interesting Facts

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has a unique harmonious blend of old Vietnamese traditions with modern French style; a contradictory place where modern meets very ancient qualities of Asian lifestyle.

Hanoi is a very chaotic city, yet it maintains an elegant and graceful element. It has been growing around the historic old quarter in a positive way, conserving a friendly link with the existing architecture of old times; there is no ugly contrast, on the contrary, the buildings that are considered to be true relics are highlighted and well preserved across town.

The big population of Hanoi is immediately visible in the crowdedness of its streets, which are packed with bicycles, assembled bike-carets, tuk tuks, motorbikes, motorcycles, cars and pedestrians. It is absolute transit craziness!!! If there is one life saving tip I can give you is “Watch out!!!” The different kinds of vehicles come from everywhere with total disregard for civilized rules. It is quite funny really, but you do have to be careful to avoid crashing against any sort of moving object.

If you actually dare to drive a bike through the jungle-like streets of Hanoi, it is a good way to explore some of the sites that are somewhat far away from downtown: the Temple of Literature, the Ethnology Museum or the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex (Mausoleum, Museum, Pagoda and Presidential Palace).


Hanoi's Ethnology Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Vietnam's Ethnic Background, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, VietnamTraditional Peasant 's Costumes, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam Traditional Housing, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam Bride and groom in photographic session before the wedding, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, VietnamBride and groom in photographic session before the wedding, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, VietnamHandmade embroidery, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, VietnamWater Puppetry Room, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Vietnam's Ethnic Background, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Vietnam's Ethnic Background, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source
Traditional Peasant 's Costumes, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Traditional Peasant 's Costumes, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source
Traditional Housing, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Traditional Housing, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source
Bride and groom in photographic session before the wedding, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Bride and groom in photographic session before the wedding, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source
Bride and groom in photographic session before the wedding, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Bride and groom in photographic session before the wedding, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source
Handmade embroidery, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Handmade embroidery, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source
Water Puppetry Room, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam
Water Puppetry Room, Hanoi's Ethnology Museum, Vietnam | Source

Hanoi's Friendly Face

Streets of Hanoi´s Old Quarter and its friendly inhabitants. Hanoi, Vietnam.
Streets of Hanoi´s Old Quarter and its friendly inhabitants. Hanoi, Vietnam. | Source

Citizens of Hanoi

Vietnamese city dwellers are very open and extrovert. You will find many kind, cheerful individuals; nevertheless, some of them can sometimes be a bit aggressive in their approach.

Vietnamese –who have suffered communism-, are hungry for progression and quite ambitious. As a tourist, you are actually regarded as a gold mine by some traders and people involved in the hospitality business. Shop around and compare to avoid paying for overpriced goods or services, watch out for supposedly well intended advisors that are under commissions and work for a specific hotel or company. Be aware of the fact that there are many Vietnamese that will try to scam you. This doesn’t directly mean that everyone is an unscrupulous citizen, it just means you need to be conscious of the negative side to this travel destination.

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Southeast Asia Map

show route and directions
A markerHanoi, Vietnam -
[get directions]

B markerSapa, Provincia de Lào Cai, Vietnam -
[get directions]

http://hubpages.com/_1fclx5rkjd1r/hub/Sapa-Surrounding-Hill-Tribe-Villages-in-Vietnam

C markerHalong Bay, Quảng Ninh, Vietnam -
[get directions]

D markerLuang Prabang, Laos -
[get directions]

http://hubpages.com/_1fclx5rkjd1r/hub/A-Visual-Travel-Guide-to-Luang-Prabang-Laos

E markerHo Chi Minh City (Saigón), Vietnam -
[get directions]

Hanoi's Gastronomy

Hanoi has a massive variety of food choices. The old quarter is full of all kinds of Vietnamese restaurants, sidewalk eateries and street food vendors.

Within the restaurant category, there are some interesting international cuisine choices, including some chic avant-garde restaurants with mouth watering menus. I know this will come across as a very western recommendation but Tamarind Cafe (80 P Ma May) is one of this modern chic cafés with style that offers fusion vegetarian cuisine in very clever, well presented dishes. It really is a good choice and was one of my best meals.

In what Vietnamese food is concerned, I don’t have any specific advocacies. Most of them don’t even have identifiable names. Almost every place is going to be nice, Vietnamese food is packed with flavor. Just walk around and observe which one is full of Vietnamese locals, that would be the one to go to. Some Vietnamese restaurants have long tables that you can share with fellow dinners; those are a good option to have a look at what Vietnamese actually eat and order accordingly.

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Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamHoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, VietnamNgoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam Sunset at Hoan Kiem Lake, View of Tortoise Tower, Hanoi Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Vietnam
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam
Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi, Vietnam | Source
 Sunset at Hoan Kiem Lake, View of Tortoise Tower, Hanoi Vietnam
Sunset at Hoan Kiem Lake, View of Tortoise Tower, Hanoi Vietnam | Source

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake stands at the center of the Old Quarter and it represent a beautiful open space to walk around and enjoy some quiet time at sunset (they are quite beautiful to see from one of the benches in the green area surrounding the lake). In middle of the lake stand two interesting sites:

(1) a rock tower called Thap Rua or Tortoise Tower, that represents one of the landmarks of the city, and is just a sculpture you can appreciate from afar;

and

(2) Ngoc Son Temple, a religious building you can actually visit. While walking around this temple, you can hardly believe you are literally still immersed in the chaotic furry of random moving objects and noisy claxons of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Ngoc Son is a tinny beautiful temple in which the attention to detail and regard for aesthetics is ever present. The gates to the temples, the doors, the altar, the sculptures, the flowers, the pots and plants, everything has its unique Vietnamese delicacy and beauty. Red is the dominant color in this temple and beautiful pink flowered branches adorn the altar. I reckon there is not much to add to my personal description of this place. Just go ahead and take a look at the photographs that speak for themselves.

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Water Puppetry Performance

Water Puppets walking on water
Water Puppets walking on water | Source
Water Puppeteers come forth at the end of the show
Water Puppeteers come forth at the end of the show | Source

Water Puppetry

Just in front of Hoan Kiem Lake is the Municipal Water Puppet Theater which offers performances in the evenings. This is a traditional form of art in Vietnam and it is definitely one of the things you shouldn’t leave Hanoi without witnessing.

The puppets they use are more like a stiff wooden doll, fixed to a long horizontal stick that remains unseen, underneath the water. The puppeteer handles the puppet literally inside the water (which is the stage); not fully submerged but with water up to his hips and hidden behind a Vietnamese-style scenery.

The puppets move to the tune of live music, which is played by an elegantly attired orchestra composed of oriental music instruments. It is very unique and entertaining to see.

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Comments on "Visiting Hanoi Vietnam: A Visual Tour through the City" 15 comments

vietnamvet68 profile image

vietnamvet68 5 years ago from New York State

great write of the Vietnam today, enjoyed the read

God Bless


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I agree with Vietnamvet68. This was an interesting and well written hub about Vietnam today. Thanks for sharing.


Claudia Tello 5 years ago

Thank you vietnamvet68!

Thank you Happyboomernurse!

I appreciate your comments very much.


irka winniczuk 5 years ago

You certainly have a knack to point out the interesting features of the places you have visited. Very nice.


Claudia Tello 5 years ago

Irka, thank you for your comment, I appreciate it very much.


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

It just goes to show there really is lots to see and experience in Vietnam. Hanoi is certainly a top spot to visit in Vietnam. Though I've got Danang set on my sights next year!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

I know, I wanted to visit Hoi An as well but unfortunately hadn’t enough time to do so. I had to choose and my pick was Hanoi, Sapa (on the hill tribe villages of Vietnam), Tam Coc and Halong Bay. These Hanoi images are something I will always remember with a smile on my face.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting!


Turtlewoman profile image

Turtlewoman 4 years ago from California

Hi Claudia, you have captured some amazing scenery from Vietnam and its surrounding villages. I was born in the South, but actually haven't had the chance to visit yet. My family and friends visit all the time. What a beautiful hub- you are very well traveled! Voted up and shared.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

Excellent post


charmike4 profile image

charmike4 4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

Hanoi looks like a wonderful place to visit Claudia. I've had a number of friends visit this nation and it really needs to go on my list to visit one day soon. Any recommendations on a good hotel? Cheers Michael


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Turtlewoman,

Hey! I am glad you liked my photographs of Vietnam, including the ones of Hanoi, which is a very interesting place for a photographer like myself; a place where one can´t help but capture incredible images.

I am sure you could also write very interesting hubs of South Vietnam as well!!!! If you do, I´ll certainly check them out ;)

Thanks again for dropping by, for your interest and kind feedback.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Thanks MG Singh! I am glad you consider my work that way :). Hanoi was definitely a great inspiration for me to take the best images and write the best article I could.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi charmike4,

Hanoi, and Vietnam in general, is a great place to visit and have an exciting time; a travel experience in which you will definitely learn and be inspired by a totally different and beautiful culture. I hope you do get there one day, and when you do, please share your experience with us!!! :)

I visited Hanoi as part of a very long Southeast Asia trip and stayed in a low-budget guesthouse (nice and simple room with bathroom, which was all I needed). I do not remember the name of the guesthouse so I can´t help you on that one. It all depends as well on the kind of accommodation you are looking/paying for.

Nice to meet you Michael, cheers!!! :)


charmike4 profile image

charmike4 4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

Thanks for your reply Claudia. I normally stay in an international branded hotel or rent someone's house when I go on holiday as I travel with 3 small kids & my wife...they seem to demand creature comforts! Thanks for the head up!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

No problem, thank you. See you around.

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