HANOI: Hanoi is very compact. And the city’s most interesting places for tourists are all relatively close to each other, which makes it easy to enjoy, either on foot or by cyclo. You could probably explore the Ancient Quarter and visit all the places in one single day. Sightseeing on your very first morning in Hanoi should begin with a visit to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, without a doubt the city’s single most visited site and one of Vietnam's most revered places.
A group of structures consisting of a pagoda and a tower built in the middle of a lake. The entire group was officially called Dien Huu Pagoda and Lien Hoa Tower. However, the tower has traditionally been called the One-Pillar Pagoda. The pagoda is square-shaped with 9 feet in length on each side. The pillar is approximately 4 feet in diameter and 12 feet high. It was built to commemorate King Ly’s dream about the Quan An Buddha sitting on a lotus flower.
Ngoc Son Temple (The Restored Sword Lake)
Believed to have been a part of the Red River when it changed its course about 1,000 years ago at this location. In the past, the lake was called Luc Thuy (Blue Water) because the water remained blue throughout the year. It was later in the 15th century that its name finally changed to “Restored Sword”.
A 50 acre park located behind the Presidential Palace, this arboretum was built by French landscape designers in 1890. After the liberation from the French, the state rebuilt the gardens and opened the grounds and its extensive network of trails to the public
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho’s final resting place is located in front of his own stilt house. Instead of being cremated as requested, he was preserved and put on display for people to pay respect to. He lies in an air-conditioned glass enclosure for public viewing. The heavily guarded mausoleum is open in the mornings only.
Temple of Literature
Considered Hanoi’s first university, King Ly Thanh Tong founded this temple to pay tribute to education and to those of high academic achievement. Though, it closed its doors over 200 years ago, this place is still popular with art students. Many lined the courtyards trying to capture traditional Vietnamese architecture.
Hanoi’s Old Quarter
The Old Quarter has a history of over 2,000 years. The area started out as a snake and alligator infested swamp. It was later turned into villages with houses on stilts and was protected by the Chinese. After attaining independence in the 11th century, the cluster acquired a reputation as a crafts area. At present, there are more than 70 streets that are separated into quarters, each specializing in different products.