Hanoi Capital

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    Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade.

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    The West Lake is actually the largest in Hanoi hence the longest shore line where people of note can build their nests. It is also home to some of the most expensive 5 star hotels such as the Sheraton, the Intercontinental, the Somerset and the Fraser.

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    Vietnam Military History Museum pits the relative simple armoury of Vietnam victory against the more sophisticated but ultimately failed weaponry deployed by the French and the Americans. The Museum is closed on Mondays and Fridays. You can combine your visit to the museum with Lenin Park just opposite.

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    The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is located at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, across the street from the Temple of Literature. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Travelers interested in purchasing antique reproductions can do so here, but be sure to request certifications, which will make exiting customs more manageable.

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    The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is one of Hanoi’s most overlooked museums and is also one of its best. The museum was reopened in 2010 after a period of 4 years of renovations. The Museum is located within easy walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is closed on Mondays.

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    Vạn Phúc is a village traditionally associated with silk weaving in Hà Đông, 8 km south-west of Hanoi. In Vietnamese it is called both làng lụa Vạn Phúc “Van Phuc silk village” and làng lụa Hà Đông after the larger village area name.

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    Tran Quoc Pagoda can be found on the edge of West Lake on Thanh Nien Road. The pagoda opens daily from 7am to 11:30am and from 1:30pm to 6pm. Be aware that visitors must wear modest clothing with long sleeves to be allowed to enter.

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    Located next to Lake Ho Hoan Kiem in the Old Quarter, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater offers several shows each day that you can combine with a visit to the Old Quarter. This is very popular and always busy, so make sure to book in advance. Seats and leg-room are designed for smaller frames; ‘first class’ seats are cheap and strongly recommended.

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    Tam Dao is in a vast high mountainous region affected by tropical humid monsoons. The average temperature during the year is 22.9 C.The best time to visit Tam Dao National Park is during the summer, but remember to pack rain gear, as the area is affected by tropical monsoons.

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    If Saigon has Notre Dame Cathedral, then Hanoi is famous for St. Joseph’s Cathedral. This beautiful, neo-gothic style cathedral is located just a few blocks over from Hoan Kiem Lake in the old quarter and is a must see when in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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    The Presidential Palace is located off of Hung Vuong, just north of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and closed between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The entrance fee to the grounds is about VND 25,000.

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    Upon first look, Phu Tay Ho appears to be a traditional Buddhist temple. But locals are quick to inform that this beautiful religious and historical structure is actually a palace dedicated to three Mother Goddesses.

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    Perfume Pagoda is located approx 65 km (40 mi) south of Hanoi, up to a 2 hour bus ride. Be prepared: in such remote, captive locations it is commonplace to find an over-abundance of ‘enthusiastic’ hawkers; touts and a good tour guide will serve you well. Avoid visiting during religious holidays!

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    The One-Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot) is situated in the park behind Ho Chi Minh Museum. Half-light at early morning or sunset gives a beautiful and mysterious photographic view of the temple and its reflection across the pond.

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    Ngoc Son Temple, one of the most visited temples in Hanoi, located at the northern end of Hoan Kiem Lake. Public entrance is off Dinh Tien Hoang Road to the east of the lake. It is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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    The National Museum of Vietnam History is home to the finest collection of artefacts from Vietnam ancient and more recent history. If other Hanoi museums have overwhelmed you with propaganda and war, this museum will come as welcome relief both with its delightful setting and its super collection.

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    Long Bien Bridge was the first steel bridge spanning the Red River and has long been a point of pride for the Vietnamese. During the war against the French in 1954, the bridge served as a vital transportation link for moving food into Northern Central Vietnam.

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    The Hoan Kiem lake is located in Hanoi historical center between Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Thai To. It’s easily accessible via local buses, including the 9 and 36. Ngoc Son Temple, located in the northern part of the lake, is a popular destination for travelers.

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    Refusing to live in the Presidential palace, President Ho Chi Minh lived in a normal electrician’s house nearby. The Government had a simple and nature-oriented environment constructed for him to live and work. Walking around, visitors can feel his simple and pure lifestyle in an wooden tiled house on stilt, surrounded by a gardens full of fruit trees and a peaceful fishpond.

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    The Hoa Lo Prison, later known to American prisoners of war as the “Hanoi Hilton”, was a prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners and later by North Vietnam for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.

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    Hanoi Cooking Centre is both a restaurant and a cooking school run by an Australian expat who has lived in Vietnam for roughly ten years. All the chefs are Vietnamese and trained at KOTO, a hospitality training center and restaurant in Hanoi and Saigon. The centre is located in Truc Bach, a popular area of the Ba Dinh district that is about 10 minutes north of the Old Quarter.

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    Do Temple is a temple near Hanoi of which the central section was built in 1028 on the death of Emperor Ly Thai To, and the complex enlarged as seven of his descendant Ly Dynasty emperors were also buried at the shrine. Consider combining your visit to Do Temple with other nearby sites, like Dinh Bang Temple or Dong Ho Painting Village.

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    Bat Trang Ceramic Village, located on the Red River in northern Vietnam, has been an important ceramics center for centuries. The skilled artisans of Bat Trang village have been responsible for carrying on a tradition of making pottery that has a distinctive look.

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    The Hanoi Ancient Houses had a tube – like shape. Their width is usually narrow, sometimes only of 2m, while their length can amount up to 60 – 70m. Under such circumstances, to get enough light and fresh air, there is always a yard between houses. The principal construction material used is wood.