A capital of history
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is famous for its centuries-old architecture, cultural landmarks and vibrant street life. It is known as the city of lakes and is home to several monuments, including the Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda. It is also known for its bustling Old Quarter, famous pagodas, temples, and French colonial buildings, as well as its traditional Vietnamese food and coffee culture. Go to Ho Chi Minh City to eat, go to Hanoi to sightsee.
What to do in Hanoi
Hanoi is famous for the saying "Hanoi không vội được đâu", translation "There is no hurry in Hanoi". The phase reflects somewhat the vibe in Hanoi. There are four seasons in Hanoi and it can be different activities for different seasons. Though, there are some must-see and must-do in Hanoi that any visitor should not miss:
- Explore the Old Quarter by foot: Walk through the maze of narrow streets and enjoy the traditional architecture of the Old Quarter. Stop by the Hanoi Cathedral, or Saint Joseph's Cathedral, located in the city's historic French Quarter to get a famous street drink: sweet lemon iced tea.
- Pay your respects to the former president of Vietnam at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
- Visit the Temple of Literature: Admire the stunning architecture and learn about the history of this iconic landmark.
- Visit Hoan Kiem Lake: Enjoy a peaceful boat ride on the lake and take in the views of the surrounding city.
- Admire the beauty of One Pillar Pagoda: Marvel at the intricate design of this iconic Buddhist temple.
- Stroll around the night markets, where you can find a variety of goods and street food.
What to eat in Hanoi
Even with the massive food culture in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi still has some of its signature dishes that can stand proudly on the food map of Vietnam.
- Phở, the Saigonese claim that their Phở is the best and the Hanoian beg to differ. The difference between the two Phở noodle soups is that Hanoi Phở has a more subtle and lean taste. It goes best with a pair of non-sweet and hollow deep-fried breadsticks. Another main difference is that the chili sauce is sourer and spicier compared to the chili sauce for Saigon Phở.
- Bún Chả, a dish of grilled pork and vermicelli noodles served with herbs and a sweet and sour dipping sauce. If you do not try this dish, don't tell anyone that you have visited Hanoi.
- Bánh Mì, Bánh mì Hanoi is slightly different from Bánh Mì Saigon. I prefer Bánh Mì from Ho Chi Minh city, but there are some different nice flavors to Hanoi Bánh Mì.
- Chã Cá Lã Vọng, a dish of grilled fish with turmeric, dill, and peanuts, served with vermicelli noodles and herbs. It has a very distinct flavor so it might not be for everyone.
- Bún Bò Nam Bộ, do not let the name fool you, even the name suggested it is from the South, but this is a Hanoi-style fried beef noodle.
- Egg Coffee, a traditional Hanoian drink made with egg yolks, sugar, and strong coffee.