Fun things to do in Hanoi

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Hanoi

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    On the streets - Art and clothes

    by akkipaa Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    We are in Vietnam, it's not a surprise that you find streets full of clothes and Vietnamese style painting. Prices are low and you can find all known brands here, just name it. I am not an expert with these, but probably you find illegal copies (against our laws), which might later be a problem to you in the customs (and this depends also from your origin country) and illegal originals, which are made in same factories that the brand ones are.

    The paintings are different, those are from street painters and you can find something suitable for your purposes also. We bought one (about 60*80cm) and now it's located in the wall of our living room. Heavy red colors, Vietnamese ladies in the field with those hats you get familiar when being here.

    I strongly recommend to make some clothes to your here locally. I made three summer short leave shirts (about 15$/each), trousers (specially designed by me to me :) and my wife made a "compatible" silk dress (you really can wrinkle to very small bunch). It's very handy (about 90$).

    I update later photo of this "bunching" also :)

    My shirt makers (giving two-days-delivery) The painting on our living room
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    On the street markets

    by akkipaa Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    It's a small pity if you don't understand Vietnamese as I don't. The is of course many benefits with language skills but one on the most important is that it would make shopping easier because shopping streets are named according to products sold in the streets. So, when you see tin pots you are on the Tin Pot's street, Lether street sells every kind if lether stuff and now you know what is sold in the Paint street. The list is endless, Silver Smith street, Bag street, Hat street and... Don't wait anything else, on tin pot street you find only tin pots. The only exception is, at least I noticed that, motorcycle washing points, those are common everywhere (believe me, there were three this kind of spots within 30 meters from my hotel door).

    It's partially food issue also, Cha Ca is a local specialty, fish made with dill and it's not a surprise that you find Cha Ca restaurant selling Cha Ca in Cha Ca street.

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    On the Streets

    by akkipaa Updated Jan 5, 2015

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    My style of traveling in the cities is jogging and walking. The best I know in a new city is just jumping on jogging shoes and apparel and just go out (on early morning), without maps and plans, to feel the atmosphere and get touch to new area. In Hanoi we stayed in a small Old Town hotel, less than a kilometer from Hoan Kiem lake making it perfect to research the close town. I keep my eyes and soul open, in a few days I don't need a map around to hotel and I have seen hundreds of events fascinating me and giving feed to my thoughts.

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    Ngoc Son Temple

    by Gili_S Written Sep 16, 2014

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    This is the Ngoc Son Temple, probably one of the most visited temples in Hanoi. It is about 200 years old and very small temple just on the northern short of the small Hoan Kiem Lake. Admission fee charged few dollars on the gate and you can spend about half an hour visiting this place.

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    Thap Rua

    by Gili_S Written Sep 16, 2014

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    This is the Thap Rua, that is the small structure in the middle of the Hoan Kiem lake. As far as I know it means Turtle Tower, I am not sure if one can visit this place, I never saw anyone getting there the few times I walked around the late.

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    Song Hong River

    by Gili_S Written Sep 16, 2014

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    Visit the Song Hong River. I was very curious to see the river so on my last day in Hanoi and manage to hassle of the terrible traffic and went to the river shore to take a view of the river. I haven't had the time for any river cruise, but maybe in the next time.

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    B-52 Lake

    by MrG27 Written Jul 28, 2014

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    For those who like history, treasure hunting, and like to go where most tourists do not venture I found an interesting site in Hanoi, Vietnam, one which is not even listed in the guide books that I consulted.

    There is a B-52 museum on Doi Can avenue, where the skeleton of a bomber is on display, along with various ground-to-air missiles, and a small building with the remnants of US airplanes.

    Now, if you make a left after visiting the museum, and then another left at the first intersection, follow the road until it narrows down, and you get to a “T”. Make another left here. You will find yourself amid a cluster of narrow alleys, and it is where the fun begins. Your goal is to find the remains of a downed B-52 bomber which is still in the middle of a small lake (Huu Tiep Lake). There are no street names, but if you go two blocks (or is it three blocks?) and make a right, you will come across a small lake where you can still see what remains of an iron bird. If you get lost, just ask some of the locals. The fun here is not just finding the wreck, but getting to see a neighborhood and getting a peek into the homes of the people who live here. This is part history, part treasure hunting.

    B-52 in Huu Tiep Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam
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    Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

    by PeterVancouver Updated Jul 19, 2014

    Flag Tower of Hanoi (also called Ha Noi platform) is located at Dien Bien Phu street. The tower structure was built together with Hanoi Citadel under the Nguyen dynasty (began in early 1805 and completed in 1812). The flag tower is composed of three tiers and a pyramid-shaped tower with the exterior walls imbedded in brick. The tower has a spiral staircase leading to the octagonal top inside it where a flag is hoisted. After the city was liberated on October 10, 1954, the national flag of Vietnam was raised on top of the tower to welcome visitors.

    The citadel itself has been the center of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption and as such, the Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Ha Noi was recognized as a world cultural heritage site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee on 1st August, 2010. Before that, it was named among the top ten special national relic sites (first batch) in the decision 1272/QD-TTg which the Prime Minister signed on August 12, 2009.

    Citadel flag tower
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    Vietnam Military History Museum

    by PeterVancouver Updated Jul 18, 2014

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    An interesting site a short walk from the Mausoleum .
    As with most Vietnamese Museums, camera's are not allowed but lockers are provided in the ones that simply ask for a small extra charge for you to take photographs.

    An intro by a Vietnamese Colonel:-
    Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi has so far received more than 17 million visitors, half of them foreigners from more than 150 countries. Report by the Voice of Vietnam Radio.

    Located in the centre of Hanoi, the Vietnam Military History Museum is one of the seven national museums with the greatest number of objects and visitors. With its unique objects and materials, the museum has become a cultural and historical centre and a popular destination for tourists.

    The Vietnam Military History Museum, previously the Army Museum, was founded in 1956 and opened to public three years later. In 1964, it was named the Vietnam Army Museum Academy and in 2002, it became the Vietnam Military History Museum.

    Of the museum’s 150,000 objects and documents, about 2,000 are on display in an area of about 3,200 square meters. The exhibits reflect the lively history of Vietnam’s national founding and construction from the Hung Kings to the Ho Chi Minh era through replications of some prominent battles against foreign invaders. They demonstrate the Vietnamese army’s strategies and art of war.

    Colonel Nguyen Xuan Nang, Director of the Museum, says that the museum is divided into six parts featuring six different themes: heroic Vietnamese mothers, heroic Vietnamese nation, heroic Vietnamese people’s army, the tradition of the Vietnam People’s Army, Vietnamese weapons and weapon production tools, the world’s support for Vietnam’s resistance wars and relations between the Vietnam People’s Army and those in other countries.

    Nang says: “The museum attracts visitors because it is located in a historical relic site - the Hanoi Flag Tower, which is closely associated with the capital. This is the only museum in Vietnam that has an outdoor display of large objects, weapons and war remnants of both Vietnam and its rivals. Foreign visitors are interested in major historical events including the Dien Bien Phu Campaign and the Ho Chi Minh Campaign. The museum keeps two sand-tables of these two campaigns and offers introduction and presentations in six languages”.

    Over the past 50 years, the museum has always paid attention to improving its displays and information. It has renovated the exhibit system, improving it in terms of scale, content and formats. Over the last decade, the museum has published 30 books and organised 70 exhibitions. Each year, the museum’s researchers collect about 600 objects. In particular, following the movement to collect and display war remnants that was active between 2009 and 2010, the museum received more than 10,000 objects from war veterans and visitors.

    Colonel Nang says: “The museum is now displaying two of the 30 recognised national precious objects. They are the MIG 21 plane coded 5121, which Hero Pilot Pham Tuan used during the Dien Bien Phu in the air campaign to shoot down a US B52 bomber, and a tank coded 843 which was the first to enter Independence Palace on April 30, 1975. In particular, the exhibition featuring the self-made weapons of the Vietnamese army attracts a lot of visitors, especially foreigners. Only after visiting the museum can they really understand how Vietnam, a small and poor country without modern weapons, defeated both the French and Americans”.

    MIG 21 Captured US M48 Patton medium tank Missile Launcher Battallion 77 downed 3 B52 Dec 72 Illushin 14 #482 transport for Ho Chi Minh Bell HU 1
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    Pho

    by Assenczo Updated Feb 18, 2014

    The Pho, a staple Vietnamese soup of mixed French-Asian origin is an institution in Viet Nam. The origins are traced to northern part of the country and the ingredients vary according to history, geography and taste. Pho can be found in the streets, the upmarket restaurants and Wikipedia too. Generally speaking, it has many ingredients as good soups always do thus increasing the possibility to be liked by many people. Pho is mostly noodle and some sort of meat plus veggies and seasonings. The northerners have concentrated on beef, in a very French-oriented style while the southerners have blasphemously corrupted it to include chicken instead. Nowadays such ideological rigidities are out of fashion and one can enjoy the whole spectrum of phos in one geographical location. As any foreigner, one might notice how noodles eaten with chop sticks can influence the Book of Manners in certain direction. It is quite obvious that with such imperfect apparatus, one quickly has to resort to slurping and smacking in order to keep the contents of this watery substance flow from bowl to mouth. This “handicap” is widely spread throughout Asia and makes some people from other corners of the world shivery with goose bumps. The Vietnamese popular contribution to the Book of Manners is the addition of spitting the indigestible residue or bones directly on the ground between their legs. This curious activity is followed by getting up and leaving the compostable material to be dealt with by the street vendors or dogs. No little wonder the pavement around the improvised street eateries is as black as the opposite side of the Moon. Bon Appetit!

    Do not spit between your legs!
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    The citadel

    by Assenczo Updated Feb 11, 2014

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    The Citadel is a huge complex of buildings with representational /military functions in downtown Hanoi just off the enormous expanse of Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. It consists of some very Chinese looking buildings, no little wonder considering that Chinese influence has been present in Viet Nam for one thousand years, to quote Ho Chi Minh himself. Today the grounds of this former Vietnamese glory are used for more refined activities. A competition for the best ikebana in town was underway with some specimen incorporating sculptures made of wood or stone. No less thrilling contest was taking place on the only surviving gate with married couples posing for the best pictures they could muster in the smoggy afternoon. Some ladies did not even have male partners at all – they were on their own in front of some very keen photographers posing away their confidence and beauty clad in traditional costumes. All this little theater must have a background just as in China, where in no time there were advertisements in at least two different media outlets of photo session trips to famous landmarks in the world. Apparently this vogue must have crawled southwards and the less fortunate had to replace a photo in front of the Bastille with one on the Hanoi citadel. On a more serious note the citadel has reportedly fulfilled its military duties during the war with America by hosting the headquarters of the air defence of the city in one of the basements of the adjacent buildings.

    Mini vs. Grand Dragon fantasy Viet Kimono!? Best day of my life Command and control
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    V. I. LE-NIN

    by Assenczo Written Feb 10, 2014

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    The main flag bearer of Hanoi is the tower just south the imperial gate. Across the street from it a small park renders a nice prelude to the diplomatic quarter of Hanoi. In the park, facing the citadel a statue of Lenin still stands undisturbed. Unless of course one does not take into account the countless attempts of the local children to climb up the back of the pedestal in order to have a great ride downwards on their buttocks. The statue has been a magnate for grown-ups as well. They seem to find that this is the best place to learn how to tango. Lenin – Castro – Che Guevara: this must be the connection! Or is it, considering that some very American-looking “cool” youths polish their skating skills there too. So the sequence may be the following: Lenin – perestroika – hoodies!

    Lenin presides It takes three to tango America vs. Russia vs. Argentina Sovereignty has been declared
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    B-52 End Game

    by Assenczo Updated Feb 10, 2014

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    Hanoi has its official grandeur in the face of Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. Then it has some not so obvious gems that take effort and time to investigate and find. One such secretive place is the spot where one of the B52 stratofortresses met its macabre fate. The problem in finding it is as much its location amidst a labyrinth of small alleys as the existence of a museum where another B52 plane, this time lovingly reassembled basks in the tropical sun, hence the confusion in the minds of potential helpers. They might know of the existence of only one of the sites and send you to the wrong one or simply do not know which one you might prefer. You definitely want to see the one with the plane in the water albeit the museum piece has its virtues too.
    The site is inspiring with its bizarre setting within what appears to be a well-to-do area in a pond (replacing a square in a European town) that is so rife with algae and other organic material that it resembles and smells like pomace/marc worthy of the finest grappa and last but not least with the fact that the hardware is still around. Considering Viet Nam as of year 2014 one ponders why it was shot down in the first place; most probably to plunder the pallets of coca cola, the boxes of blue jeans and some Hollywood blockbusters. Apparently, the healthy dose of democracy was left to ferment on the bottom of the pond for the future generations to enjoy.

    The plunge The pomace The jungle The cafe The memento
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    B-52 Corps(e)

    by Assenczo Updated Feb 10, 2014

    Hanoi has its official grandeur in the face of Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. Then it has some not so obvious gems that take effort and time to investigate and find. One such secretive place is the spot where one of the B52 stratofortresses met its macabre fate. The problem in finding it is as much its location amidst a labyrinth of small alleys as the existence of a museum where another B52 plane, this time lovingly reassembled basks in the tropical sun, hence the confusion in the minds of potential helpers. They might know of the existence of only one of the sites and send you to the wrong one or simply do not know which one you might prefer. You definitely want to see the one with the plane in the water albeit the museum piece has its virtues too.
    The site is inspiring with its bizarre setting within what appears to be a well-to-do area in a pond (replacing a square in a European town) that is so rife with algae and other organic material that it resembles and smells like pomace/marc worthy of the finest grappa and last but not least with the fact that the hardware is still around. Considering Viet Nam as of year 2014 one ponders why it was shot down in the first place; most probably to plunder the pallets of coca cola, the boxes of blue jeans and some Hollywood blockbusters. Apparently, the healthy dose of democracy was left to ferment on the bottom of the pond for the future generations to enjoy.

    Front view Haughty view Side view
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    One of the last statues of Lenin.

    by cachaseiro Written Apr 14, 2013

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    In Hanoi you have one of the last standing statues of Lenin.
    It's staning in the french quarter on the road called Dien bien Phu.
    It's in a little park and you will most likely drive past it if you are going up to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum or the one pillar pagoda.
    Whether you like the guy or not then i think it's worth making a quick stop to see what is in a way a bit of a historical statue these days where you do not have many of them left.

    Statue of Lenin in Hanoi. Lenin statue.
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