Hanoi is all about a full-on big Asian city experience like no other. With a continual sea of motorbikes in the Old Quarter, you will be astounded by it all if a first time visitor. No other place on earth like it. Here is the Baktrax Official Guide to Hanoi in Vietnam.
Hanoi dates back to 1010 when it began as a small settlement on the banks of the Red River. Although the area was settled as far back as prehistoric times.
Apart from a century when Hue was the capital, 1802-1945 Hanoi has been the capital for 1000 years.
Hanoi, often spelt Ha Noi has had numerous other names before the Nguyen dynasty renamed it Hanoi in 1831 (meaning between two rivers).
After the Japanese surrender in 1945 Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh claimed Hanoi until the French colonials took over in 1946 until their historic defeat in Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
Then it was the American war as it is known in Vietnam that caused massive damage from bombardments between 1955 and 1975 when it ended with the fall of Saigon.
The city put on a big celebration of 1000 years in 2010.
Main Attraction / What it’s famous for
Hanoi has many tourist attractions but just walking around the Old Quarter is all you need to feel the heart of the city. Also famous for its sea of motorbikes in the fascinating narrow streets.
A stroll around the nearby Hoan Kiem Lake is a great way that both locals and tourists get some respite from it all.
Things to do in/around
There are so many things to see and do in Hanoi that it would take weeks to see them all.
Museums include Ethnology, Fine Arts, Womans, B52 Victory, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh among others. The water puppets is another famous attraction which can be enjoyed by children & adults alike.
Hanoi is also the stopping off point for departures to two of the countries best attractions of Halong Bay & Sapa.
Or a day trip to the lesser-known Halong Bay of the rice paddies of Tam Coc.
Eating out in Hanoi is another highlight for visitors. Whether with the locals or other tourists you will be rewarded with famous Vietnamese food at every corner.
Maybe try a street food tour with a local guide to get right into the local food scene.
One tourist restaurant worth a special mention is the Gecko Restaurant for reasonably priced good quality meals. Its Vietnamese style Green Papaya Salad with chicken being about as good as it gets for lunch. Or a takeaway for the overnight train.
Hanoi has four seasons although they sometimes only seem like wet or dry.
- Spring: February to April when it is humid with drizzly rain. The average temperature is between 15C & 20C.
- Summer: May to August with July the hottest. Very humid with often late afternoon heavy rain. The average temperature is 32C.
- Autumn, (Fall)): Mid-September until November. Usually dry with warm sunshine and cool breezes. The average temperature is 25C.
- Winter: December until February. The average temperature is 17C but it can go below 10C with the humidity making it quite chilly.
So July to September is usually the wettest and July the hottest.
Hanoi can be enjoyed all year apart from possibly during TET (Lunar new year) when half the country is on the move making it very hard to get both transport and accommodation. Book very early if you want to experience it all.
Hanoi is unlike anywhere else and once you step out of your hotel it will have you both excited and relaxed at the same time. Fascinating and very safe as you explore the narrow streets.
10 things to do in greater Hanoi among many others.
- Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
- The Perfume Pagoda.
- Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake.
- Stroll the streets of the Old Quarter.
- The Temple of Literature.
- Take in a show at the Hanoi Opera House.
- Take in a Water Puppets show.
- Visit Dong Xuan Market even if just for a look.
- Take a street food tour with a local guide.
- Drink a cold beer before a delicious meal. Beer Hoi corner perhaps.
A visit to Hanoi will guarantee a unique travel experience with great life long memories.