2 Days in Hanoi - Our "City for Peace"
Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam – with the given title "City for Peace", is the most interesting places for tourists. With a thousand years of history, Hanoi is one of the main cultural centers of Vietnam, where most Vietnamese dynasties have left their imprints. Nowadays, the city still has many interesting cultural and historic monuments.
As you come to Hanoi, stay for at least two days to visit most of the highlights of the city.
The first day
In the morning
Spend your first morning to pay a visit the heart of Vietnamese people – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex. Within the complex are Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Chi Minh’s House on stilts, the Presidential Palace and also the unique One Pillar Pagoda. Deepest impression is the embalmed body of President Ho Chi Minh in the Mausoleum. Just a few minutes of viewing, it is nonetheless an unforgettable moment.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Just about 15 minutes of walking from the Complex is the Temple of Literature. It was built in 1070, dedicated to Confucius and also the first university in Vietnam. The temple is one of the best examples of traditional Vietnamese architecture. Especially, the stone ‘stele of doctors’ in the temple was recognized as World Documentary Heritage by UNESCO in 2010.
Temple of Literature
In the aftrenoon
After having lunch, take a bus or taxi to Hoa Lo Prison Museum, a historical site reminds about war in Vietnam. Hoa Lo Prison was built by the French intended to hold Vietnamese prisoners, when Vietnam was still part of French Indochina. Later, it was used for American prisoners during the war against the American. Words cannot describe all, just behold the war with your own eyes.
Hoan Kiem Lake is the next stop. ‘Hoan Kiem’ means ‘Returned Sword’, related to a legend about King Le Loi who fought a war against the Ming invaders from China. The Turtle temple standing on a small island near the center of lake is linked to the legend. Across the red bridge (The Huc Bridge) is Ngoc Son Temple where you can see the giant turtle.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Then, you can take a cyclo tour around the Old Quarter for an hour to experience more about the life of locals. If you are a shopaholic or souvenir seeker, this is one of the best areas for you. You can stop by anytime to try street foods, drinks or snacks. The local food in Hanoi is reasonably cheap and delicious. Some famous traditional food are ‘pho Bo’ (beef noodle), ‘bun cha’ (rice noodles with meat balls), ‘cha ca La Vong’ (grilled fish), spring rolls...
Cyclo around the Old Quarter
The second day
In the second day, it is a good idea to take a tour to the surrounding areas of Hanoi to enjoy peaceful countryside. Duong Lam ancient village is located in Son Tay town, 40 km to the west of Hanoi. This village has a history of about 1200 years, well-known as ‘the homeland of two Kings’ (Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung). Today, Duong Lam still retains the basic characteristics old villages of Northern Vietnam with entrance gate, banyan tree, water well and communal house's courtyard. Arrive in Duong Lam then walk along village road or hire a bicycle to enjoy bucolic air and discover the daily life and farm work. This village is famous for ancient houses designed in traditional style dating back up to 400 years. You can go inside to explore the architecture and meet locals living in the houses. Have lunch at local restaurant, relax and continue to visit other historical relics: Mia Pagoda, Phung Hung Temple and Ngo Quyen Temple...
Comeback to the city in late afternoon, you can spend the rest of the day for shopping at Dong Xuan Market or souvenir shops in the Old Quarter area.
After two days discovering different aspects of Hanoi, the urban and suburban, your visit will be unforgettable time. However, there are still many other interesting destinations waiting for you to call on. If you cannot stay longer, don’t forget to come back in another time to enjoy a lot of interesting Hanoi tours.
Image sources: Internet