Vietnam has gotten plenty of exposure thanks to social media but there's one city, in particular, that holds more ancient history and charm than any other in the country: Hanoi. This city is considered to be one of the most ancient capitals in the world, offering much for history buffs and those interested in learning about the culture as a whole. Add to the list the region's delectable cuisine, seemingly endless museums, unique shopping, and easy access to waterways and beaches, and you have a perfect destination for anyone interested in exploring all the best things about Vietnam.


Hanoi may only be one part of Vietnam but it's a crucial part of its history and heritage, with many museums dedicated to the timeline of the country. Additionally, the city's roots can be felt in its food and its sights, many of which cost nothing and can be seen just by walking around. Just outside of this city sits a countryside with lush parks and towering mountains, all helping to create the diverse landscape that is Vietnam and, at its heart, the city of Hanoi.

Spend Time Exploring The Food Scene

The food in Vietnam is hailed as some of the best in the world and it's worth having a small budget set aside to experience it all. The most popular sandwich in the country is the Bahn Mi, also known as the Bahn My, and has French roots as well as the Vietnamese flavors which make up the sandwich.

Traditionally, this sandwich is spread with pate (or has another type of meat) which is then topped with crunchy vegetables and fresh coriander and chiles, all of which seem to melt into a proper French baguette. Pho noodles are another staple in Vietnamese culture, and the bright, bold flavor of this broth combined with the fresh herbs and vegetables floating within it is a flawless match with traditional Vietnamese noodles.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most famous places in Hanoi and is worth a visit but not just because of its reputation. This lake is tranquil and serene and those feelings of peace might not be from the fact that this calm lake sits in the center of a city - it's also believed to have special powers.

According to Vietnamese legend, the lake is home to an ancient turtle that was hailed as a hero in popular folklore. Supposedly, this turtle still lives among many others in the lake.

Bach Ma Temple

Bach Ma Temple is the oldest temple in Hanoi and can also be found right in the Old Quarter. This temple has been renovated but has kept its original 11th-century beauty, which is when it would have originally have been constructed.

The temple itself would have been a dedication to honor the emperor of the time, Emporer Ly Thai, as well as the white horse that is said to have led him to the very spot which the temple sits today.

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Lotte Tower Observation Deck

If you want to get a bird's eye view of the city of Hanoi, there's no better place to do it than from the Observation Deck in the city. On the 65th floor, visitors can take in all of the city's best locations from its panoramic viewpoint.

Visitors are also permitted to explore other parts of the tower and will be rewarded with a grand view of the Old Quarter in Hanoi.

The National Museum Of Vietnamese History

This museum was built in 1925 and includes historical pieces dating all the way back to the 3rd century. The Champa and Khmer kingdoms are also represented here along with a collection of ancient Vietnamese jewelry.

The building itself is a perfect representation of both Chinese and French architectural styles and also has a history itself, as it was used as a school before being turned into a museum.

Imperial Citadel

Within Hanoi visitors can also find the Imperial Citadel which is also a registered World UNESCO Heritage Site. The site itself dates back more than 1,000 years and has a strong foothold in Vietnam's history, as it was of great importance during the Vietnam War and still stands today in relatively good condition.

This is also the location of several ancient places that were discovered in the citadel, serving as the foundations for ancient civilizations that lived there centuries prior.

Old Quarter Shopping

We've mentioned the Old Quarter several times and for good reason - it's a hub for central shopping in Hanoi and is also one of the most traditional cities, still existing in all of its old-world charm and history.

While the shopping is unbeatable, this is also where visitors can find various local restaurants that specialize in Vietnam's most traditional foods.

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