Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is the second-largest city in the country. It is also the second most populous in Vietnam with over 7.5 million in population. This East meets West city, mainly because of its Asian and Western flair, is consistently included in the list of the world’s top tourist destinations.
Since it is located in the northern region of Vietnam, the climate is less tropical compared to areas in the south. The city has a subtropical climate with a lot of precipitation. There is a recorded average of 114 rainy days per year. The Red River and its tributaries flow throughout the city, granting Hanoi its name that means “land in the river.”
Before it became the city it is known as today, Hanoi has faced many wars and struggled to claim its independence. It was occupied by the Imperial Japanese in 1940 and was liberated in 1945 before it was occupied again by the French in 1946.
After nine years of war, Hanoi was announced as the capital of North Vietnam. Finally, when the Vietnam War was over, it became the capital of a reunified Vietnam in 1976.
Today, it is also known as the “Paris of the East” mainly because of its French influences, which is obvious by looking at their tree-fringed boulevards and French colonial-era buildings and architectures. Because of this and many other factors, it has placed Hanoi in the top ten destinations by TripAdvisor in three consecutive years starting in 2014.
With a city rich in history, here are some other fun and interesting facts about Hanoi:
- Hanoi has the most historical sites in the country with over 3,800 places to visit and counting.
- Hanoi means the “city inside rivers” probably because of its location. It sits on the right bank of the Red River and is located 1,760 km north of Ho Chi Minh City.
- According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Hanoi will be the fastest growing city in the world thanks to its impressive GDP growth from 2008 to 2025.
- The Tran Vu Pagoda, located in West Lake, is considered the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, dating back to the 12th century.
- The Long Bien Bridge, designed by French architect Alexandre-Gustav Eiffel, was formerly dubbed as the longest bridge in Asia. The same designer was also the one who designed the world-famous Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.
- Among locals, Hanoi is considered the top honeymoon destination for newlyweds within the country.
- Some people might notice houses in Hanoi to be narrow; this is because property tax is based on the width of the house or the building.
Hanoi is another world on its own. It is more than a postcard-worthy place with its picturesque pagodas and diversified streets. Similar to the lotus flower, which is Vietnam’s national flower, it is robust and ever-growing despite all adversities. For those who want to explore Hanoi, below are some places and attractions that you might want to visit:
Hoan Kiem District – This area is also referred to as the “Old Quarter” and is one of the top tourist places in Hanoi. For those who want to travel back in time and experience and understand the city’s history, then this place should not be missed.
There are vendors on the streets, lots of locals riding their scooters, different restaurants, and shops. Visit the Dong Xuan market or drop by Saint Joseph’s Cathedral which is known as the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the city.
Hanoi Water Puppet Theater – This unique water puppet show boasts the beauty of traditional Vietnamese art. The attraction is popular with both locals and foreign tourists. Called the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, it’s located at Dinh Tien Hoang Street and just near Hoan Kiem Lake.
Hanoi Opera House – This beautiful political and cultural symbol lies in the heart of Hanoi. It is located in August Revolution Square and nearby other tourist attractions like the Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter. It is a venue for concerts, art shows, and dance performances and an ideal place to visit for couples and families.
Van Phuc Silk Village – Located in the Nhue River and 10 km of Hanoi Old Quarter, this village asks no entrance fee should you want to visit it. This village is known for its silk products made from traditional weaving. Many visitors leave impressed after they are given a glimpse of the manners and ways of the ancient village.
Bat Trang Pottery Village – Similar to Van Phuc Silk Village, you don’t need to pay an entrance fee to visit this old village. This place would be wonderful for families and kids so everyone gets to see the village’s traditional way of making porcelain and pottery that has spanned for more than seven centuries.
Discover even more of the best things to do in Hanoi.
From backpacker and budget-friendly hostels to 5-star luxury hotels, Hanoi’s got you covered. If you got the budget for it, the city boasts a number of outstanding 4 and 5-star hotels in the best parts of town.
Hotels and lodging:
- Read about the best hotels in Hanoi.
- Read about the top 5-star hotels in Hanoi.
- Read about the cheap hotels in Hanoi.
- Read about the top homestays in Hanoi.
- Read about the top hostels in Hanoi.
Unlike Saigon, which stays rather warm year-round, the weather in Hanoi can get downright cold in the winter. While it doesn’t snow, there are parts of Northern Vietnam, such as Sapa, that are known to receive snow from time to time.
Like much of Vietnam, Hanoi basically has two seasons, wet and dry. The dry season runs from November to April and the wet season is May to October.
Because of Hanoi’s blistering hot and humid summer, and bone-chilling winters, the most popular times to visit are the short spring and fall seasons. Book a trip in March, April, September, or October for the most pleasant weather of the year.
Activities near Hanoi
- Keangnam Landmark 72 Tower
- Keangnam Landmark Residential Towers 1 & 2
- Lotter Center Hanoi
- VietinBank Business Center Tower Hanoi
- Ho Chi Minh Museum
- Hoa Lo Prison Museum
- Vietnam National Fine Art Museum
- Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum
- Vietnam National Museum of History
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
- Vietnam Museum of Nature
- Vietnam Military History Museum
- Hanoi Museum