Hanoi Old Quarter
At the heart of Hanoi is the chaotic Old Quarter, where you can wander through the narrow “36 old streets” roughly arranged by trade. Here you can see various kinds of household goods and street food. There are also many spots to see, for instant, Bach Ma (White Horse) Temple, a Ly Dynasty temple founded in 1010 and reconstructed in the 18th-19th centurie, and Dong Xuan Market, a big, bustling covered market, packed with vendors selling food, clothing and goods at wholesale prices. From Dong Xuan Market, it is not difficult to walk to Long Bien Bridge, a historic cantilever bridge across the Red River. It was originally called Paul Doumer Bridge.
Hoan Kiem Lake
To the south of the Old Quarter, you will reach Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword), a tourist attraction with a photography popular landmark, The Huc Bridge, which is a red wooden bridge leading over the lake to the Temple of the Jade Mountain. Standing on the bridge, you could see, also on the lake, the Turtle Tower, associated with the Legend of the Returned Sword.
Water puppetry (Vietnamese: Múa rối nước, literally means: making puppets dance on water) is a folk art tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it is originated in villages in the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam, especially in Hanoi. Water puppet shows attract people due to their unique stage and characters.
Puppets, the main characters in a show, are made out of wood and controlled by hidden puppeteers via bamboo rods. Water puppet shows are performed in ponds, or, in case they are carried out in a water puppet theatre, a pool of water. Tales and legends associated with the country’s belief and history will be the main content of a show.
In present time, it is not always easy to find a water puppet show being performed in a village’s pond, depending on the occasion, but it has become more popular and available to pick a session from water puppet theatres. Visitors going to Hanoi can choose from several theatres, including Thang Long Water Puppet, Vietnam National Puppet Theatre, and Lotus Puppet Theatre, to enjoy the show.
Saint Joseph Cathedral
Walking a bit to the west of the lake, located on Nha Tho street, is Saint Joseph Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral with neo-gothic style, which was built about 120 years ago.
Hanoi Opera House
If you pass the lake to the south, you will find on Trang Tien street, the famous ice cream brand named after the street. Go along to the east, you’ll find the place, so called French Quarter, where you will see a lot of French architecture. And there locates the Opera House, where shows are still being performed. Sharing the same address with Hanoi Opera House, the National Museum of Vietnamese History is situated right to the next.
Quan Su Pagoda
All the way to the opposite direction, walking straight through Trang Tien and Trang Thi streets, less than 10 minutes, you will see Quan Su street on the left. Quan Su Pagoda, a Buddhist temple, the headquarters of the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam, is located at number 73. Very close to Quan Su Pagoda, there is Hoa Lo prison, a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for US prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.
Temple of Literature
Not far away to the west, looking for Quoc Tu Giam street, and you will be able to find the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam, hosted the Imperial Academy.
On the other side of the street in the back of the Temple of Literature (Nguyen Thai Hoc street), situates Vienam Fine Arts Museum, which is also worth to see. Just a few minutes from there, on Dien Bien Phu street, there is Vietnam Military History Museum. It covers 12,800 meters square and is opposite to the Lenin Park.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Right in the same area, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is located on Hoang Dieu street. This is the cultural complex, comprising the royal enclosure, first built during the Ly Dynasty and subsequently expanded by the Tran, Le and finally the Nguyen Dynasties. Also in this area, there are several places worth a visit. For example, Ho Chi Minh Mausolium, One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi Botanical Gardens.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Now you can navigate to the West Lake. Tran Quoc pagoda is the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, as known as Ancient Buddhist temple in peaceful digs, built in the 6th century on a small, charming island with mumerous shrines, and the entrance located on Thanh Nien street.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
A little bit away from the central of the city, in Cau Giay district, situates Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, which focuses on the 54 officially recognised ethnic groups in Vietnam.
In the North of Vietnam, surrounding Hanoi, are cities and provinces with gorgeous typical Vietnamese landscapes worth to explore.
Ha Long Bay
Less than 200 kilometers from Hanoi by bus, which takes approximately 3 and half hours, you will reach Ha Long Bay (Descending Dragon bay), the favorite destination among tourists. The bay is recognized by UNESCO as one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. Visitors can take cruise and get lost into the sights of thousands of limestone karsts and isles with variety of shapes and sizes on the water surface of the bay. Of course you can do windsurfing, scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking, or discover caves around the area, and many more when you are there. You can also take a short trip to Cat Ba island, the largest among 367 islands, spanning 260 kilometers square that comprise the Cat Ba Archipelago.
Sapa is a town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains in northwestern Vietnam, at a distance of 300 kilometers to Hanoi. Tourists can get to the village by bus or train. The well-known attractions in Sapa include the famous terraced rice fields and Fansipan, the highest mountain in Indochina, at 3,143 meters. But you can also enjoy the very interesting markets run by locals here.
September is the transforming time between summer and autumn, so the weather is cooler and more comfortable. Although the temperature is still in a high level, the hot in this time is not extreme than in June and July with less sunlight. Average temperature is from 24oC to 31oC, humidity is about 70%.
Clothing: Shirts, handkerchief, umbrella, etc.
The voltage used in Vietnam is uniformly AC 220 volts. The frequency of electric current is 50 Hertz. Power outlets with 2-flat-pin and 2-round-pin can mostly be used on same socket.
The Vietnamese currency is the Vietnam Dong. The exchange rate was 1USD = 22,655TRIỆU VND on June 2017. Money can be exchanged at banks and hotels. Banknotes: 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, 500,000 dong.
Hanoi Time zone is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +7)