4 Things To Do On Your First Trip To Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, the second biggest city of this country has shrugged off its hostile war-torn image to emerge as one of Southeast Asia’s best and most culturally significant cities. There are countless museums, all offering visitors a chance to better understand Vietnam’s history of revolution, war, and art, while the tangled web of streets in the historic Old Quarter are a great place to wander around.
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Four things to do on your first trip to Hanoi.
- Explore the Old Quarter
The first thing on your agenda after dropping your bags at your hotel should be to explore the historic Old Quarter, preferably on foot. Granted, this is easier said than done since the sidewalks in Hanoi are nothing more than parking lots for motorbikes, but it’s essential if you want to get comfortable with the chaos sooner rather than later. Most hotels in Hanoi are located in the Old Quarter and many of the city’s sights are, too, so this is likely where you’ll be spending a good portion of your trip.
- Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake
Meaning Lake of the Restored Sword, Hoan Kiem Lake is at the center of Hanoi city life, at least figuratively anyway. Located in the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake is where people gather in Hanoi to rest, eat lunch, play, or simply take a walk around the perimeter of the lake.
- Visit The Temple of Literature
Ngoc Son Temple may be Hanoi’s most visited temple, but its prettiest is definitely the Temple of Literature. A quiet, green oasis, the Temple of Literature blooms in stark contrast with the concrete city surrounding it. With many landscaped courtyards, gardens, and pavilions, this place is definitely one for the photography-inclined! A place of study for the wealthy, The Temple of Literature was Vietnam’s first national university, and many monuments still remain on the grounds dedicated to the scholars who graduated here.
- Eat everything and make a pit stop at Bia hoi corner
Eating may be one of life’s necessities, but in Hanoi it’s one of its greatest pleasures, too. There are so many foods to try here, and like everything else, it’s all incredibly cheap. A few things you must try – bun cha (BBQ pork and noodles), pho xao (stir fried noodles with beef), bun nem (spring rolls), banh mi (Vietnam’s version of a sandwich), and of course, everyone’s favorite – pho (beef noodle soup).
Known as Bia Hoi Corner, the “pubs” around this intersection in the Old Quarter serve freshly-made local beer, without preservatives, for just 20 cents (5,000 VND) a pop will make you love the atmosphere at Bia Hoi Corner. This is one of the best places to come if you want to meet other travelers, expats, and locals.
You’ll find a lot of things to see and do in Hanoi. This city will keep you entertained on your visit but what really makes Hanoi amazing is the charm of the city. Why every traveler should visit!