The Capital of Vietnam

With a history dating back more than 4,000 years, Hanoi holds the distinction of being Vietnam's capital and the most ancient capital in Southeast Asia. Its landscape is adorned with remnants from various historical epochs:

ho chi minh mausoleum in the morning

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam country

  • Co Loa Citadel (3rd century BCE): Vietnam's oldest fortified settlement.

  • Tran Quoc Pagoda (5th century): Hanoi's oldest pagoda.

  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel (11th century): The capital of several Vietnamese dynasties, served as the political center of Vietnam for 13 consecutive centuries.

  • Temple of Literature (1070): Vietnam's first ancient national university.

  • Hanoi Old Quarter (15th century): Hanoi's ancient trading hub.

  • O Quan Chuong (1749):  One of the four remaining city gates that were part of the original Thang Long Citadel.

  • Ngoc Son Temple (1841): The historic temple located on an islet in Hoan Kiem Lake. 

  • Long Bien Bridge (1898): Historic bridge spanning the Red River in Hanoi.

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (1973): The final resting place for Ho Chi Minh president. Ho Chi Minh President played a key role in the country's struggle for independence.

And there are many more historical sites and significant structures. Hanoi stands as the central point for politics, economics, and culture in Vietnam.

The UNESCO site Imperial Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Hanoi UNESCO Heritage site Thang Long Imperial Citadel

The Imperial Citadel served as the political and cultural heart of Vietnam for over a millennium, witnessing the country's evolution through various dynasties. It showcases a blend of traditional Vietnamese, Chinese, and French architectural styles.

From the imposing Hanoi Flag Tower to the intricate details of the Halls of the Mandarins, visitors can admire the architectural marvels that reflect the diverse influences on Vietnam's history. In July 2010, The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel was listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site.

You can purchase tickets for about 7 USD to visit this historical site during the day or opt for a night tour at a cost of 12 USD.

French Colonial Architectures

Hanoi History Museum

A mix of French and Indochina styles in the architect of the Hanoi History Museum

In the 19th to 20th centuries, Vietnam was a French colony, and the cultural blend of Vietnamese and French influences is vibrantly evident in Hanoi, the once capital of French Indochina. 

Some architectural landmarks showcasing the French touch include St. Joseph Cathedral, Hanoi Opera House, French Quarter, Old Quarter, Long Bien Bridge, Hanoi Station, Maison Center, and more.

Unique Night Shows

night shows in hanoi

Impressive shows to see in Hanoi

Being a significant cultural center, Hanoi is a hub for remarkable cultural programs, performances, and events. Some of the most renowned shows you can expect to see are:

  • The Quintessence of Tonkin: With meticulous attention to detail in costumes, lighting, and sound, these outdoor live performances engage local residents to depict the daily lives of ancient Vietnamese farmers or pivotal historical events in Vietnam.

    • Ticket: From 16 USD. You can check tickets online via the website or Facebook page of the Quintessence of Tonkin show.

    • Address: Da Phuc Village, Quoc Oai, Hanoi

  • Water Puppet Show: Water surface puppet shows feature intricately controlled puppets from behind the scenes, narrating the daily life events of ancient Vietnamese people, seamlessly intertwined with local music.

    • Ticket: From 4 USD

    • Address: 57b Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

  • Hoan Kiem Walking Street: The area hosts weekend events and serves as a communal cultural hub for city residents. It frequently showcases exhibitions, promotions, and cultural exchanges from cities across Vietnam and other nations.

    • Ticket: Free
  • Hanoi Opera House: is renowned for its eclectic array of artistic performances, encompassing music, theater, and professional art displays.

    • Ticket: You can check performances at website
    • Address: 01 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

In addition, museums like the Vietnam Women’s Museum and the Museum of Ethnology often host art exhibitions or cultural exchange events. You can check with your local friends or visit the museums’ websites for more information.

Chilling on cyclos

Cyclo in Hanoi Old Quarter

Tourists on Cyclo in Hanoi Old Quarter

Cyclos were a common mode of transportation during the French colonial era in Indochina. Today, these vehicles can still be found in specific locations like Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Hop onto a cyclo where 1-2 passengers sit in the front, letting the driver pedal you through the charming streets of Hanoi. Take in the sights up close, observe local life, and merge effortlessly into the flow of traffic.

It is indeed a delightful way to leisurely explore Hanoi, isn’t it? The cost for this activity is approximately 4-6 USD per ride, lasting around 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Shopping Hubs

shopping in hanoi

What to shop for in Hanoi - Is Hanoi worth visiting

Hanoi is a shopper’s paradise in Vietnam, especially if you love to indulge in retail therapy. From what I’ve noticed, there are two primary shopping styles catered to tourists when they visit Vietnam:

  • Experience the essence of traditional shopping: Hanoi beckons with iconic traditional items like silk, Bat Trang ceramics, tea, coffee, spices, and more. The Old Quarter unfolds a tapestry of souvenir choices, each showcasing diverse forms, materials, and lively colors.

  • Indulge in high-quality, affordable daily shopping: Hanoi offers excellent options, especially in footwear and clothing. Shopaholics can easily discover these products in the Old Quarter, Dong Xuan Market, or at various shopping centers.

Vietnamese Street Food Mecca

hanoi street food

The cuisine capital of Vietnam

Hanoi is a culinary paradise. It tops the list of foodie destinations in 2024, as voted by TripAdvisor users and surpasses iconic places like Rome (Italy) and Crete (Greece). Hanoi can be hailed as the Culinary Capital of Vietnam, where original creations and renowned dishes from various regions and even other countries are readily available.

Hanoi’s culinary scene from street food to Michelin-rated restaurants earns acclaim for its diverse ingredients and skillful fusion, creating the distinctive local flavors of Vietnam.

To me, skipping a Hanoi food tour would be a significant missed opportunity, especially for food enthusiasts exploring the city. The culinary hubs in Hanoi include the Old Quarter, West Lake, and Dong Xuan Market. Food prices generally start from 2 USD. 

Convenient for Travel Trips to Other Cities

is hanoi worth visiting

Travel from Hanoi

Another crucial aspect to consider when addressing “Is Hanoi worth visiting” is the convenience factor. You can effortlessly access and connect with all essential services, and secondly, it serves as a convenient hub for traveling to various destinations within and outside Vietnam.

When it comes to getting around from Hanoi, you have several choices, including planes, trains, long-haul buses, and motorbikes. Check out these popular routes:

  • Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay

  • Hanoi - Mai Chau - Sapa

  • Hanoi - Pu Luong

  • Hanoi - Ha Giang

  • Hanoi - Cao Bang - Bac Kan

To get the full picture, visit our article on Vietnam travel guide!

Is Hanoi worth visiting? I believe, and many others would agree, that Hanoi is not just a destination to consider but a must-visit when exploring Vietnam. For more details about Hanoi, feel free to explore other high-quality blogs on the New Asia Tours website or drop us a message on our site.