HANOI TRAVEL GUIDE – 4D3N: WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO EAT?

Mentioning Hanoi often evokes images of its ancient town and millennia-old historical monuments. Yet, beyond its historic charm, Hanoi pulsates with the dynamic energy of a city evolving daily. The blend of cultural richness with vibrant, youthful features forms a tapestry of a lively capital, captivating visitors from afar.

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LONG BIEN BRIDGE

LONG BIEN BRIDGE

With a history of over 100 years, Long Bien Bridge is not only a traffic construction but also a meaningful living historical evidence of the courageous of Hanoi during the two greatest wars against the French colonialists and American imperialism. 

History

The Long Bien Bridge was constructed from 1989 to 1902 during French colonisation. Though the bridge was designed by French, it was built directly by more than 3,000 Vietnamese workers with indigenous construction materials like woods from Phu Tho, Yen Bai, Thanh Hoa province, cement from Hai Phong, Long Tho lime from Hue. Long Bien Bridge was the most significant work in Indochina at that time. On February 28, 1902, Long Bien Bridge was officially called Paul-Doumer Bridge, named after Paul Doumer – The Governor-General of French Indochina and then French president. After Hanoi was liberated on 10 Oct 1954, the bridge was renamed as Long Bien Bridge.

In 1903, Long Bien Bridge was the second longest bridge in the world, only after Brooklyn Bridge in London, England. The bridge is 2,290m across the river and has 19 steel beams spanning over 20 pillars with unique architecture. It consists of a single rail running in the middle and two lanes for bicycles and pedestrians. During the war of destroying the North by the US air force (1965 – 1972), Long Bien bridge was bombed 14 times and was later repaired in 1973. Hence, the bridge has been a living historical relic and now a famous historical landmark in Hanoi for locals and visitors. 

 

Things to do at Long Bien Bridge

There is a wide range of activities for you to try at this historical landmark of Hanoi:

  • Enjoy a panoramic view of the bridge
  • Walk along the bridge to enjoy the light wind
  • Admire the amazing sunrise and sunset, enjoy the view of the city
  • Capture the beauty of the old railway

Address: about 2km from Hoan Kiem Lake

Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/MsV63WiwkoWvMUmf8 

Photo sources: Shutterstock, Google, Unsplash

ONE PILLAR PAGODA (CHUA MOT COT)

ONE PILLAR PAGODA (CHUA MOT COT)

Hanoi is famous for many unique architectural works in which the One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot) an age-old sacred venue carrying cultural and historical imprints of the nation resides. Visitors of Silk Path coming to the capital are amazed by this impressive ancient masterpiece.

Introduction

Situated in the Ho Chi Minh Museum relics, One Pillar Pagoda attracts numerous tourists annually. 

Affiliation: Buddhism

Entrance fee: Free

Opening hours: Daily | 8.00 AM – 5.00 PM

Address: Chua Mot Cot Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.

  • From Silk Path Hotel Hanoi: 2km
  • From Silk Path Boutique Hanoi: 4km

Architecture

This pagoda is distinctive and unique in terms of architecture. The all-laid-on-a-pillar unique feature of One Pillar Pagoda’s architecture is a harmonious combination of spectacular ideas and architectural perfection. The structure includes 3 parts: a single round pillar, Lien Hoa Dai, and a curved pagoda roof. 

The round pillar is constructed from 2 stones that connect firmly. This stone pillar is approximately 4m high (excluding the sinking part under the foot) and 1.2m in diameter. The round pillar represents the sky and Yang while the square pond represents the law and Yin, which demonstrates the direction of circulation of the universe.

Lien Hoa Dai is a square wooden structure with each side of 3m width. There is a statue of Guan Yin Buddha worshiped inside the pagoda. The statue was designed following the dream of King Ly Thai Tong – Guan Yin Buddha sitting on a lotus.

The roof is considered the most important part of the work, especially in religious buildings. One Pillar Pagoda’s roof is curved on all 4 sides with a 3m width.

It is decorated with traditional patterns of two dragons facing the moon. This pattern, to Vietnamese people, symbolizes the holy power bringing the wish for wisdom and vitality to human beings. From a distance, One Pillar Pagoda looks like a lotus flower emerging from the water’s surface. The delicate beauty of the lotus is a symbol of intelligence, elevated personality, and simple virtue of Vietnamese people.

Legend

According to legend, Emperor Ly Thai To, who had no children, used to go to pagodas to pray to Buddha for a son. One night, he dreamt that he was granted a private audience to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who was seated on a great lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond on the western side of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and gave the King a baby boy. Months later, when the Queen gave birth to a male child, the Emperor ordered the construction of a pagoda supported by only one pillar to resemble the lotus seat of his dream in the honor of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

According to a theory, the pagoda was built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water.

Vietnam National Museum of History

Vietnam National Museum of History

Home to rich and diverse collections of historical relics and thematic exhibitions on Vietnamese culture and history, National Museum of History gives visitors a comprehensive view of the development of the country from the prehistoric period through the national formation period.

History

The Vietnam National Museum of History was built in 1926 under the name Louis Finot Museum by the Ecole Française d’Extreme-Orient and finished in 1932. After being taken over by Vietnamese Government, the museum changed its official name to the National Museum of Vietnamese History and opened to the public on 3 September, 1958. The National Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution was originally the Department of Indochinese Commerce that built in 1917 under the French time. The Museum was officially opened for visitors on 6 January, 1959. After more than half a century of operation, the entire resources of the former National Museum of Vietnamese History and the National Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution have been merged into a unique museum – The Vietnam National Museum of History as of today.

This is is a place to preserve, display, and introduce Vietnamese history from prehistoric to present through a system of extremely rich and valuable documents and artifacts, including many National Treasures. Housed in a colonial French building which is a cupola-shaped edifice, the museum was designed as a combination of French and Chinese architecture. The building designed by Hebrard, an eminent French architect, and urban planner, incorporates double walls and balconies for a natural airing system and protection from sunshine.

Features & Exhibits

The National Museum of Vietnamese History is spread across two sites and houses various artifacts from Vietnam’s history. Site One is home to the prehistory of Vietnam, right up onto the reign of the Nguyen dynasty. This exhibit is over 2,000 square feet and is divided into 4 major sections:

  • Section 1 covers the Stone Age (30,000 – 40,000 years) 
  • Section 2 displays the time during the Tran Dynasty 
  • Section 3 is about the Ho Dynasty to the August 1945 Revolution
  • Section 4 has Champa stone sculptures 

The main permanent exhibition is comprised of 18 pieces from the 7th to the 20th centuries – they were selected by the Prime Minister of Vietnam as  “national treasures”. The collection includes bronze drums and Ho Chi Minh’s prison diary. The museum itself houses around 200,000 items, spanning the Neolithic age, Bronze age, Sa Hunh, Oc Eo, and Hung periods, the Nguyen dynasty, the Cham period, and northern Vietnam’s Dong Son, a culture that existed about 1000 BC-100 AD.  It was earlier used as an archaeological research institution of the French School of Asian Studies.

As one of the best National Museums in Vietnam, their exhibition system is always updated with new information and materials. At Vietnam National Museum of History, visitors will experience outstanding representations about the history and culture of Vietnam that was formed during the process of constructing and defending the country.

Location, Opening hours & Tickets

Address: The first building is at 1 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi (Vietnamese History from Prehistoric period to Nguyen dynasty, 1945) and the second building is at 216 Tran Quang Khai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi (Vietnamese History from the mid-19th century to present)

Ticket: 

  • Adults: 40,000 VND/ person
  • Student from college and university: 20,000 VND/ student
  • Pupil from School: 10,000 VND/ student

Free Admission for: Children under 6 years old and Disabilities, according to the current regulation

Reduced Admission: 50% discount for the beneficiaries of preferential policies, the elderly, disabilities, according to the current regulation

Media fee:

  • Photograph fee: 30,000 VND/ camera
  • Video fee: 400,000 VND/ camera

Opening hours: Monday (Closed), Tuesday – Sunday (8.00 am to 12.00 pm, 1.30 pm – 5.00 pm)

Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/JPxQ6XDHnrdqxWpZA 

Photo sources: Unsplash, Google, Flickr

Other museums that you want to visit

  • Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hang Bai Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Ticket: 40,000 VND/ adult and 10,000 VND/ children (6-16 years old)

Opening hours: From 8.00 am to 5.00 pm everyday

Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/yxJ8cRmnq9EKDmF89 

  • Vietnam Military History Museum

Address: 28A Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

Ticket: 30,000 VND/ person with an optional extra camera fee of 20,000 VND 

Opening hours: 8.00 am – 11.30 am and 1.00 pm – 4.30 pm daily except Monday and Friday

Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/ApPcCm8C2ujGVttD8 

  • Vietnam Museum Of Ethnology

Address: Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi

Ticket: 

  • Adult: 40,000 VND/ person
  • Vietnamese students: 15,000VND/ student (valid student card required)
  • Pupils (age 6 – age 18): 10,000VND/ pupil
  • Beneficiaries of preferential policies on cultural enjoyment (elder people, severe disabilities etc.): 50% of ticket price
  • Minority ethnic people: 50% of ticket price (valid identity card required)

Free admission for: Children under 6 years old, special severe disabilities, ICOM members (valid membership card required), friends of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (valid card required), journalists (valid journalist card required), donors

Opening hours: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm everyday (except Mondays and New Year’s Holiday)

Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/WU1EmXXQhonVsbSS8 

TA HIEN STREET

TA HIEN STREET

Ta Hien Street – The Hanoi Beer Street, “Pho Tay” (Foreigners’ Street) or “international crossroad”, is one of the most famous local hubs for visitors coming to the Capital City.

 Local magnificence

Stretching 200 meters between Luong Ngoc Quyen and Hang Buom Streets, Ta Hien is one of the most crowded streets in Hanoi Old Quarter, embracing both significant ancient and modern features of the Capital City. 

@nanie.ng @callmelanh.2220

Also known as the beer street, this venue attracts numerous visitors daily as a recreation and entertainment hub with local “bia hoi” shops, minibars, lounges, and restaurants.

 

Ta Hien Street nightlife

hanoi ta hien beer street

Hanoi’s nightlife around Ta Hien Street has a multitude of exciting things to see. There are some lively bars and glitzy nightclubs conveniently set around Hoan Kiem Lake or in the Old Quarter, where you can enjoy great tunes and all sorts of booze as well as mix and mingle with fun-loving locals and expats.

However, a night out in Hanoi can not be fulfilled without sitting on plastic stools and enjoying “Bia Hơi” (Vietnamese draft beer) along the bustling streets. A must-visit for any first-time visitor to Hanoi, Bia Hơi Junction is widely regarded as the quintessential nightlife spot in Hanoi.

 

“Bia hoi” culture

Located at the corner of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen Streets in the Old Quarter, this ever-bustling beer haven opens throughout the day and late into the night, where you can see hundreds of people sitting on plastic stools with pint of “bia hoi” in hand. Being available at numerous makeshift bars within that junction, “bia hoi” is a Vietnamese draft beer containing about 4% alcohol. Although it is not strong as European beer standards, “bia hoi” is incredibly cheap, and you can enjoy a tall glass between VND 10,000 and VND 15,000.

“Bia hoi” junction attracts a steady following of locals, expats, and tourists who are looking to down some ice-cold beers all night long. Alternatively, several bars sell soft drinks and imported beers for about VND 30,000. In addition to numerous “bia hoi” joints with colorful plastic chairs spilling onto the streets, you can also find makeshift stalls selling various snacks such as steamed peanuts, fried tofu, skewered meats, and delicious beef jerky.

Silk Path guidance

  • Opening hours: Daily | 11.00 AM – Til late
  • Price:  VND 10,000 – VND 15,000/ beer cup 
  • Price range: VND 100,000 – 150,000/ person
  • From Silk Path Boutique Hotel & Silk Path Hotel Hanoi: 1.5km 

IMPERIAL CITADEL OF THANG LONG

IMPERIAL CITADEL OF THANG LONG

Situated in the heart of Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long captures visitors’ attention with outstanding cultural and archaeological values, reflected in its historical longevity. 

Location

  • Address: 19c Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Map:

From Silk Path Hotel Hanoi: 1.5km 

From Silk Path Boutique Hanoi: 3.5km

Historical relics

Hanoi Flag Tower (Ky Dai)

Built in 1805 under the reign of Emperor Gia Long, Flag Tower is one of the few constructions of the Hanoi Citadel, which has survived almost intact, through the French domination administration between 1894 and 1897. Rising 33.4 meters from the ground, Hanoi Flag Tower consists of a three-tier basement, three storeys, and a tower. It now lies within the Vietnam Military History Museum compound and is a timeless symbol of Hanoi.

On October 10th, 1954, the red flag with a yellow star, the National Flag, flew on the top of the Hanoi Flag Tower for the first time, recognized as a historical monument in 1989. That day, the people jubilantly welcomed the Festival of Victory, the day Hanoi was completely liberated. The people marched towards Hanoi Flag Tower, waiting for a historic moment: the hoisting ceremony of the National Flag on the top of the Hanoi Flag Tower. 

A special thing is that during the hottest days in Hanoi, the atmosphere inside the Tower is always cool and relaxed. The structure of the doors is so scientific that the rainwater can not flow into the Tower however heavy the rain is.

Main Gate (Doan Mon)

Doan Mon is one of the main entrances to the Forbidden City. Based on construction materials and the remaining architectural style of the relics, it can be affirmed that the current Doan Mon was built under Le Dynasty and restored in Nguyen Dynasty.

The monument is situated in the south of Kinh Thien Palace on the same axis as Hanoi Flag Tower. Doan Mon was built horizontally in U-shape. Doan Mon was built in the style of an ancient city wall with five gates symmetrically erected through a “deity axis”, also known as the “righteousness axis” of the Imperial Citadel.

The main architectural part followed the watch tower gazebo style with three rolling arches. Rolling arch architecture at the gates not only brought graceful curves but also embraces excellent load-bearing structures – a spectacular architecture still used in modern time tunnel projects.

Northern Gate (Bac Mon)

Chinh Bac Mon (Main Northern Gate ) or Cua Bac (Northern Gate of Thang Long Imperial Citadel) is situated on Phan Dinh Phung Street which was built in 1805 on the foundation of Northern Gate under the Le Dynasty with the architecture of a watch tower gazebo, on a wall of 8.71 m height, 17.08m width, and with 2.48m walls and is the only remaining gate to Hanoi Citadel under Nguyen Dynasty. 

The watch tower was built with wooden frames of eight roof styles and four doors in four directions. Rainwater on the watch tower gazebo was drained with two stone gutters. Standing on the gate, imperial troops could observe the outside and inside of the citadel as well as the movement of the enemy. Therefore, after occupying Hanoi Citadel, the French army still had to use the watch tower gazebo as the sentry box. 

Currently, the watch tower gazebo is being restored partly for worshiping two province chiefs of Hanoi Citadel, Nguyen Tri Phuong and Hoang Dieu who sacrificed for not being able to defend the citadel under the assault of the French army.

Kinh Thien Palace

Kinh Thien Palace is the central monument and the core of the overall historic sites within the Hanoi Ancient Citadel. It used to be a palace of great significance where the court held the most solemn rituals, welcomed foreign emissaries, and gave an audience to discuss affairs of state.

In 1428, after defeating Ming Dynasty invaders, King Le Thai To continued to set up the capital in Thang Long and ordered the renewal of the damaged royal citadel. Kinh Thien Palace was built during this period of time. In 1886, it was destroyed. Nowadays, only ruins of steps and the palace foundations remain (within the Hanoi Ancient Citadel). 

The traces of Kinh Thien Palace are now only the old foundation. Its stone dragons, representing the sculpture under the early Le Dynasty, are considered masterpieces.  

Since November 2004, officially open to visitors, the ancient citadel – Kinh Thien Palace has become one of the sights extremely attractive to tourists.

D67 Revolutionary House

D67 House (Meeting room of the Politburo and Central Military Commission), along with Basement D67 (Central Military Commission basement), was built in 1967 by the Defense Ministry in zone A to secure a headquarters against the raids of the U.S. Air Force in Hanoi. 

Historical and revolutionary relics – House D67 had associated with the operation of the Politburo, the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (before 1976, it was the Vietnam Workers’ Party), Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff of People’s Army of Vietnam since September 1968. In the relics of House D67, there is a Meeting room of the Politburo and Central Military Commission, the working room of General Vo Nguyen Giap and General Van Tien Dung.

House D67 is a simple military structure but has notably high usage value. In seven years, the house provided a safe place for the commanders in chief to work, plan policies and direct the successful implementation of the final phase of the resistance war against the US. House D67 is one of the most precious military relics since the 20th century.

Archaeological Site

Thang Long – the capital of Dai Viet (Great Viet) was very prosperous from the 11th – 15th centuries, under the reign of Ly – Tran – Early Le. But due to many causes and historical events, ancient Thang Long has only remained with memories of a magnificent and elegant capital city that make us irresistible to track and restore.

Archaeological excavation at 18 Hoang Dieu Street, which started in December 2002, was the largest archaeological one in Vietnam to date, aiming at preparing to build a new Parliament House. This archaeological site is situated at 18 Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, and is analyzed and divided into 4 zones, named A, B, C, and D by Archaeological Institute. In this area, archeologists have found a lot of different types of architectural monuments and relics with mixed dates, overlaying on top of each other over the past 1300 years.

  • Zone A is located adjacent to Hoang Dieu Street. This area has been discovered with many important architectural traces, typically the trace of “multi-room architecture” dating from the Ly – Tran Dynasties.
  • Zone B is located adjacent and parallel to Zone A with many large architectural foundation traces of Ly – Tran. In the north of this area, at hole B16, archeologists have found a ground of an architectural monad under Tran Dynasty with a large column base lotus-shaped stone pedestal (column diameter of about 52 cm) that is still in its original position.
  • Zone C is next to Zone B, adjacent to the campus of Ba Dinh Hall. This area has five new excavation pits. Although the excavation has been limited to a small area, in reconnaissance hole C3, archeologists have found architectural traces of the Ly Dynasty with systems of large square column footing reinforced with gravels, bricks and pile systems, and wooden pillars.
  • Zone D is located in the position of the current Ba Dinh Sports Centre, next to Doc Lap Street and next to the Ba Dinh Hall campus. This area has been excavated with 7 pits (D1 – D7). In this architecture, archeologists have found some relics like pieces of Ly’s dragon-decorated golden leaves and pieces of tiles showing that Kim Quang Palace and Hoang Mon Building were built here in the past.

Highlights

A Night at the Ancient Citadel (Evening tour)

  • Departure: 7.00 PM (Fridays & Saturdays)
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Sightseeing route: Pick up guests at the gate of the Imperial Citadel 19c Hoang Dieu – Take pictures to check in at Doan Mon – See art performances on the Doan Mon archaeological glass floor – Visit the artifact gallery – Offer incense in memory of the steps Emperor at Kinh Thien Palace – Visit the archaeological remains at 18 Hoang Dieu – Experience the royal well water – Decipher artifacts by laser light – Relax, enjoy lotus tea, royal lotus jam under the tree bodhi.

Source/ Info: Hoàng Thành Thăng Long, Vietnamnet

TRAN QUOC PAGODA

TRAN QUOC PAGODA

More than 1500 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda holds such an important role in the development of Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular. This is the oldest pagoda in the city and a famous sacred place of Buddhism that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

 

History 

Tran Quoc Pagoda was constructed in 541 and completed in 545 under the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De. It was first built on the bank of the Red River and named Khai Quoc Pagoda (“Khai Quoc” means “National Founding”). However, in the early 17th century, under the reign of King Le Kinh Tong, the pagoda was relocated to the Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet due to the river’s encroachment. A small causeway was constructed to link it to the mainland. Since then, the pagoda changed its name to “Tran Quoc” which means “National Defense”.  

Landscape and architecture

 

In the past, Tran Quoc Pagoda was known as the largest Buddhist center in Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Famous for stunning scenery and sacred sanctuary, Tran Quoc Pagoda was often visited by many kings and lords, especially on holidays like full moon day and New Year holidays. Since then, despite changes brought on by urbanization, the pagoda still preserves its fame and special characteristics in its architecture.

The pagoda is located right beside the dazzling West Lake and on an island which is linked by a bridge between the two most romantic lakes of Hanoi, which are Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. The total area of ​​the pagoda is more than 3000m2, including tower garden, ancestral house and upper hall.

The pagoda is constructed following the strict principles of Buddhism structure and architecture with many layers of buildings and 3 main houses: the Front Hall (Tien Duong), the house for incense burning and the Upper Hall (Thuong Dien) connected altogether into the shape of the word “Công” (工). The precinct of Tran Quoc Pagoda is highlighted by a high stupa which is composed of 11 floors with a height of 15m; each floor has a vaulted window holding a statue of Amitabha made from gemstone and on the top stands a nine-storey lotus. This stupa is situated symmetrically with the 50-year-old Bodhi tree gifted by former Indian President when he visited Hanoi in 1959.

In addition, Tran Quoc Pagoda is considered a small museum of ancient worship statues and priceless antiques. In the Front Hall, there are worshiping statues which all are engraved and polished meticulously by skillful craftsmen and bear spectacular features. Among them, the outstanding one is the statue “Thich Ca Thap Niet Ban”, which is evaluated as the most beautiful statue of Vietnam.

With a harmonious combination of the elegant landscape and Buddhist architecture, Tran Quoc Pagoda was recognized as a national monument in cultural and historical values. In 2016, Tran Quoc Pagoda of Hanoi was named one of the world’s 16 most beautiful pagodas by the Daily Mail, a British newspaper.

Location, Opening hours & Tickets

Address: Thanh Nien Road, Yen Phu ward, Tay Ho District, Hanoi

Ticket: Free entrance fee, only donation based

Opening hours: From 8.00 am to 4.00 pm every day

Dresscode: dress politely, knees and shoulders are covered

Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/rw19sNW5mAF7Xp5z8 

Photo sources: Unsplash, Google

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – Must-visit attraction in Hanoi

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Read our ultimate guide to visiting one of the must-see attractions when traveling to Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. 

Description

Read our ultimate guide to visiting one of the must-see attractions when traveling to Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – a sacred place built to honor Vietnam’s national hero: President Ho Chi Minh.

Location, Opening hours & Tickets

    • Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Ba Dinh Dist., Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 
  • Apr 1st – Oct 31st: 7:30 – 10:30
      • Nov 1st – Mar 31st: 8:00 – 11:00
  • Ticket prices:
      • Vietnamese visitors: Free
      • Foreign visitors: VND 25,000/ ticket
  • Get direction

About President Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh (19/5/1890-2/9/1969) is considered as the father of Vietnam and the founder of the country’s Communist Party. He dedicated his life to fighting for Vietnam’s independence and driving foreign invaders out of the country.

 

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

History

In contrast to the late president’s will that his body would be cremated, the ashes should be divided into 3 and buried in the northern, central, and southern part of Vietnam, the government has decided to preserve his body (with the support from Soviet Union) and placed it in the mausoleum so that people from any part of the country and foreign friends can visit, express their admiration and gratitude towards him.

 

The mausoleum began construction on September 2, 1973, and was formally inaugurated on August 29, 1975.  The monument is located next to Ba Dinh Square, the place that witnessed the historic declaration of independence by President Ho Chi Minh on September 2, 1945. 

 

 Architecture

 

 Although inspired by Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow, the monument still bears distinctive Vietnamese features in its architecture. All the materials used to construct the mausoleum from the exterior granite to interior wood as well as the trees, bonsais & flowers surrounding the attractions were contributed by people & from all regions of Vietnam.  

 

The structure of the Mausoleum consists of 3 parts, with a height of 21.6 meters and a width of 41.2 meters. The foundation is a traditional Vietnamese architecture – a three-step staircase. Looking from the outside, the center part of the building is crimson-red stones surrounded by twenty stout marble pillars which remind of the 5-room houses typically seen in the countryside of Vietnam. The roof of the Mausoleum has a triangular sloping shape, evoking the ancient architecture of the country’s temples & pagodas. On top of the main entrance side, there is the inscription: “PRESIDENT HO CHI MINH” written in crimson jade stone. The mausoleum is designed to be extremely sturdy: it can withstand floods, bombings, and up to 7.0 magnitude earthquakes.

 

Walking inside the mausoleum, you will find on the wall Ho Chi Minh’s famous quote “Không có gì quý hơn độc lập tự do“ (Nothing is more precious than Freedom and Independence), the and the gold-plated signature of him & 2 flags: Vietnamese national flag & The Communist Party flag. In the center, there is a glass box with the embalmed body of President Ho Chi Minh on a bronze bed with lotus patterns placed on a stone pedestal with an automatic lift system.

 

Do’s and Don’t’s – Rules & Tips when visiting the Mausoleum

Rules:

  • Clothing: Dress neatly and politely. Do not wear shorts or revealing clothes. Take off your hat when entering the mausoleum
  • Walk in line according to the instructions of the officers; do not jostle or disrupt the line
  • Do not put your hands in your pockets.
  • Do not take photos or record or make drawings in prohibited areas, especially inside the mausoleum.
  • Children under 3 years old are not allowed to enter the mausoleum

 

Silk Path’s suggestion:

  • There is a flag raising (April – October: 6 AM, November – March: 6:30 AM) & flag lowering (9 PM) in front of the mausoleum every day. Make sure to visit during this time to watch these ceremonies performed by guards. 
  • Arrive early to avoid long queues.  
  • Remember to check the opening time of the mausoleum because it is expected to be closed for two months in autumn (October and November) as the embalmed body is sent to Russia for some preventive maintenance and touching-up. 

HANOI’S AUTUMN SPECIALTIES: SCENERY, CULINARY & BEYOND

Calm and serene, accompanied by a cool breeze, the sky is overcast and rainy in both the early morning and late evening. These are the unmistakable signs that Hanoi’s autumn, the most enchanting season of the thousand-year-old capital, has made its return.
Whether this is your first time in Hanoi or not, there must be a fluttering feeling about the nostalgic autumn of Hanoi. So let’s wake up early with Silk Path, admire the romantic autumn sky, take a walk on the peaceful streets to appreciate the life, people and ‘specialties’ of Hanoi’s autumn.

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Hoan Kiem Lake – A must-see attraction in Hanoi

A national relic and cultural icon in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake has witnessed many ups and downs in Hanoi’s history. Undeniably, Hoan Kiem Lake is a must-visit destination for travelers when coming to Hanoi.

LOCATION

Hoan Kiem Lake is located in Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi: 

Get directions:

FACTS & FIGURE

  • Area: 12 ha
  • Length: 700 m
  • Shore length: 1.75 km
  • Mean depth: 1.2 m
  • Max. depth: 2 m (6.6 ft)
  • 3 names: Ta Vong Lake, Luc Thuy Lake, Hoan Kiem Lake

 

THE LEGEND OF HOAN KIEM LAKE

In the past, Hoan Kiem Lake was once known as Luc Thuy Lake (Green Lake) since its water reflects a mesmerizing green color year-round. Legend said that in the 15th century when Vietnam had been under the oppression of the Northern invaders, the Dragon King (Long Vuong) lent a heavenly sword “Thuan Thien” to Emperor Le Thai To (Le Loi) to fight against the enemy. After successfully chasing away the foreign invaders through the Lam Son insurrection, the country entered a blissful era of peace and prosperity, with the mighty rule of Le Loi. One day, when the Emperor was boating on Luc Thuy Lake, the sacred Golden Turtle (Kim Quy) suddenly surfaced and demanded the return of the heavenly sword that Le Loi borrowed. Le Loi gave the sword to the Golden Turtle. As quickly as possible, the Turtle received the sword and dived into the lake. To commemorate this event, Le Loi renamed Luc Thuy Lake Hoan Kiem Lake (the Return of the Heavenly Sword).

SIGHTSEEINGS AROUND HOAN KIEM LAKE AREA

 

Ngoc Son Temple

Built in the 18th century on Jade Island in the center of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple is dedicated to the great war hero General Tran Hung Dao, who defeated an armed force of 300,000 Mongolian soldiers sent by Emperor Kublai Khan to invade Vietnam in the 13th century, and the great scholar Van Xuong (Van Xuong De Quan). Ngoc Son Temple has long been one of the most remarkable architectural ensembles of Hoan Kiem District and Hanoi City. The whole complex is well-designed in harmonization with the surrounding landscape. Inside the temple are a large bronze bust and other deities. There are altars dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, some ancient artifacts including ceramics, and a preserved specimen of a giant turtle found in the lake weighing 250kg.

The Huc Bridge

Entering Ngoc Son Temple, visitors will come across The Huc Bridge (The Bridge of the Rising Sun) and walk through Tam Quan (Three-passage Gate). Outside the first gate are two Chinese letters indicating Phuc (Happiness) on the right and Loc (Prosperity) on the left. The Bridge, painted in bright red, which resembles life, hope, and the Sun, has 32 circular pillars made from concrete, wooden floor, and railings, with a touch of parallel and ancient architecture.

The Pen Tower

Behind the first gate of Ngoc Son Temple is Pen Tower (Thap But), a 28m five-storey architecture made from stones and located on Doc Ton Mountain dedicated to literature and poetry. The peak of the Tower has the shape of a feather quill pen pointing toward the sky. Its body is hand-carved with three letters “Ta Thanh Thien” (Written on the clear blue sky), followed by a large Fengshui construction: A second gate with Taoist symbols, also Dragon symbol on the right and Tiger symbol on the left. The last gate has a high wall, roof, and rolling doors. On the roof, there is a large stone representing an ink pot, named Dai Nghien (the Writing Pad or the Ink-slab). 

Turtle Tower

Turtle Tower – a three-storey tower on a large heap of land in the heart of Hoan Kiem Lake, about 350 square meters wide, is a unique combination of local Vietnamese and French colonial architecture and a sacred cultural-spiritual of Hanoi. The tower, built in 1886, gradually narrows to the top since its first two storeys are larger than the third one. The ground and first floors own three doors on the Eastern and Western sides, while two other doors are visible on the Southern and Northern sides. The first and the top floors are fenced with horizontal and vertical rails. A thrilling point lies in the mythical existence of giant hundred-year-old turtles living in Hoan Kiem Lake, by Turtle Tower. In the past, four turtles died: One in 1962 at the Chi Linh flower garden, one is stored in the Hanoi Museum, the other preserved in Ngoc Son Temple, and the last turtle passed away in 2016 and mummified on display at the Vietnam National Museum of Natural History.

Ly Thai To Monument

The Ly Thai To monument is a large bronze sculpture of Emperor Ly Thai To, the founder of the Ly Dynasty and Thang Long Imperial City since 1010, which later became the city of Hanoi. The bronze statue weighs 12 tons, stands at 10.10 meters, and is atop a 20-ton pedestal. The right hand of Ly Thai To holds the Chieu Doi Do (The Decree of the Relocation of the Capital City to Thang Long), and the left-hand points to the location where the construction began. The statue was erected to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Hanoi. It is venerated by the local people with flowers and incense. The monument of Ly Thai To is opposite Hoan Kiem Lake, located in Indira Gandhi Park (Dinh Tien Hoang Street), named after the slain Indian prime minister who was a supporter and friend of Vietnam.

 

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