Best attractions in Hanoi: Top 25

Hanoi attractions are so numerous that no review would simply not allow to list each of them. Therefore, in our rating we have included only what every tourist must see in Hanoi.

What to see in Hanoi first?

In compiling our list of “interesting places to see in Hanoi”, we took into account the reviews and recommendations of experienced guides and locals. In our general opinion, your informative trip should include the following excursions in Hanoi:

1. Old Quarter “36 Streets”

The Old Quarter "36 Streets" is the largest shopping district in Hanoi Richard Mortel

Several thousand years ago, there were 36 guilds in this famous quarter, each specializing in its field. The names of the streets of the district are “speaking”: Silver, Silk, Paper, etc. Now there is also a lot of manufacturing and trade activities. Why guide in Hanoi recommend to walk the 36 streets without fail? Because, just like many other attractions in Vietnam, this one is a huge open-air museum: there are unique exhibits-buildings and the atmosphere of ancient traditions.

2. Flag Tower

The Vietnamese flag on top of the Cat Co Tower in Hanoi trungydang

A rare architectural masterpiece that managed to survive in 1894-97 (hostilities with the French army). The tower with 3 platforms, 6 fan-shaped windows and 36 flower-shaped windows is dated 1812. The doors feature inscriptions in Chinese. If you don’t know what to see in Hanoi in 1 day, but you love architecture, your trip here will be the right choice.

3. Hanoi Citadel

South Gate of Hanoi Citadel katiebordner

In 2010, the citadel was added to the UNESCO list and opened to tourists. The area of the site is quite large: the museum specimens located here are restored structures. In other words, the modern citadel is a huge pavilions in the open air with exhibits in the form of architectural objects.

Official website: http://www.hoangthanhthanglong

4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Tribunes at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum on Badinh Square in Hanoi kinjosan
Nightlighting of the tomb of the first president of North Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên

The burial place of Vietnam’s first president. In addition to the memorial itself (with a glass tomb inside), reminiscent of the enormous lotus flower, the complex includes five other sites. Along the way you will see rare trees and products of precious stone. Harold Isakovich was the chief architect of the mausoleum.

5. Presidential Palace

The Presidential Palace is mustard yellow in a garden of mango trees Jorge Láscar

You will not be able to go inside the palace. Moreover, it is forbidden even to take photos of this important attraction. Do not try to violate the strict instruction: the palace guards are watching the tourists. Why then did we include the site in our list of things to visit in Hanoi without fail? The fact is that part of the building is open to visitors - the one where the Chinese president once worked and lived. The interiors have been preserved unchanged. In addition to the offices, you can see the workhouse, the house on stilts, the car park with 2 presidential cars, the lake and the orchard.

Check out the wonderful views of Hanoi in this fascinating video!

6. Landmark 72 Lookout

Entrance to the skyscraper with Landmark 72 Viewpoint An Nguyễn Hải
Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower - a complex of three skyscrapers at night Soyoungah

Do you want to have fun and see all the sights of Hanoi in one go? Then head to the 72-level Landmark Tower. The observation deck is located on the top floor of the skyscraper. Sturdy double-glazed windows allow you to see the panorama of the whole city. In addition, the building has an area for entertainment, a 5D movie theater and a museum of illusions.

Official website:

7. Museum of Optical Illusions

The Museum of Optical Illusions on the 72nd floor of the Keangnam Landmark Tower in Hanoi

A complex with a couple of dozens of funny 3D pictures to create amazing photos. You can take pictures of yourself in a boat made of paper or in the palm of the Buddha’s hand, for example. In addition to the three-dimensional paintings, there are a huge number of sculptures inside the museum, also made in 3D technique.

8. Hanoi Opera House

Facade of French-style Opera House in Hanoi Dennis Jarvis
The auditorium of the Hanoi Opera House from the stage side Vinhphat1808

The date of construction is the 20th century. The model was taken from the building of the opera house in Paris. The Hanoi Theater has a luxurious look both inside and out: huge mirrors, copper chandeliers from France, Italian marble floors. If you do not know where to go in Hanoi, but you like theatrical and opera performances, come here - you will not be disappointed. In addition to classical European plays, there are Vietnamese national operas. The repertoire also includes: exotic oriental shows, puppet shows, symphonic concentrations, and ballet.

Official website:

9. Puppet Theater on the Water

Presentation at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi Gryffindor

Seeing such top attractions in Hanoi is a must even for those who are not into theater or puppetry. Vietnamese craftsmen, skillfully operating small toy figures, demonstrate fascinating stories about their legends, traditions and holidays. The action is accompanied by the sounds of folk music.

Official website: http://thanglongwaterpuppet.

10. Vietnam Museum of Military History

The military museum exhibit on Clay Gilliland
Exhibits of Vietnam Museum of Military History in Hanoi calflier001

The date of creation is 1959. The complex was opened at the behest of Ho Chi Minh, the head and leader of the Republic. The center consists of 15 exhibition halls housing approximately 160,000 valuable examples of Vietnamese military history and its representatives. Among the exhibits: personal belongings of soldiers, shells, military weapons and equipment.

11. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Traditional Vietnamese hut at the Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology Daderot

The building, which resembles the shape of a drum, tells the everyday life and traditions of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups. Visitors are invited to see outfits, jewelry, everyday objects and houses in which people lived many years ago.

Official website: http://vietnammuseumofethnology

12. Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Women's Fashion Exhibition Room at the Vietnamese Women's Museum Aumusee

The exhibits will show you the role Vietnamese women have played in the society since ancient times and the role they still play today. The exhibits are arranged on three levels according to their themes: women in fashion, women in history and women in family.

Official website: http://www.baotangphunu

13. Museum of Fine Arts

Inside the Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi Smuconlaw
Exhibits at the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi Daderot

Talking about the main attractions in Hanoi, it is also worth briefly mentioning this unique museum. Let us tell you right away that the information about the exhibits presented here is in Vietnamese. Therefore, it is recommended to examine them with an experienced guide. The specimens relate to the history, ethnography and cultural customs of the Republic. There are rare objects from the Bronze Age and Neolithic, Paleolithic and feudal times, folk paintings and ancient sculptures.

Official website:

14. Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic

A concrete wall covered with colored mosaic in Hanoi Diggers2004
A mural painting of waterfowl along a street in Hanoi Erwin Verbruggen

An original and large-scale value that took three years to create. The best craftsmen from various parts of the world, including the Russian Federation, were invited to Vietnam to build the landmark. The length of the mosaic, which appeared in the Guinness Book of Records - more than 6 km.

15. Hanoi Cathedral

St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral in Hanoi Francisco Anzola

Catalytic Gothic cathedral, erected at the behest of the French government in Hanoi back in the 19th century. The exterior of the brick and granite building is striking in its grandeur and richness. The attention is attracted, for example, by several parallel and identical 30-meter towers with 5 bells on each. It is the oldest religious institution in the city and the main temple for Catholics in the capital. Anyone can visit it.

16. “Pagoda on One Pillar”

Steps leading to "One Pillar Pagoda", a Buddhist shrine in downtown Hanoi Staffan Scherz
The Guan Yin Statue inside the "One Pillar Pagoda" in Hanoi Gryffindor

The date of creation of the lotus-shaped object, which is located in the center of an artificial body of water, is 1049. According to legend, it was built in honor of the deity Guanyin, who gave Emperor Ly Thanh Thong’s wife the long-awaited opportunity to give birth to an heir. Over the years, the pagoda has been destroyed and reconstructed many times. It is now listed in the Guinness Book of World Records and on the UNESCO list of protected sites.

17. Changkuok Pagoda

Chang Quoc Pagoda on West Lake Island in Hanoi Thang Nguyen
A beautiful night view of Hanoi's oldest pagoda Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên

An object belonging to the cultural heritage of the country. The date of construction is 6th century. Due to constant flooding, the pagoda was moved to the peninsula of the western lake. The temple contains a gilded wooden statue of Buddha. One of the walls of the structure is decorated with a carved complete history of its creation.

18. Fragrant Pagoda

The temple in the Aromatic Pagoda Buddhist temple complex Everjean
The entrance to the Huongtit Cave to the Pagoda Inner Temple Tango7174

Religious Buddhist value, to which numerous pilgrims come during the Perfume Pagoda Festival celebrations. The date of construction is the 15th century. The complex now includes several temples. The Perfume Pagoda itself is located in a mountain cave, so the way to it is quite long and difficult. If, reading about the attractions of Hanoi, photos with names and descriptions of which we have now given, you are interested in this particular object, allocate a full day to visit it.

19. Temple of Literature

The main gate of the Temple of Literature in honor of Confucius and his followers in downtown Hanoi Zack Knowles

A well-known landmark not only in the capital, but also in the whole country, dedicated to Confucius. Students, poets, artists, and simply creative people alike gather here. Construction work was started on the orders of the Vietnamese emperor in the 11th century. Recommended for anyone interested in the classical architectural style of Vietnam. The square is divided by walls into 5 separate sections, each of which is unique and entertaining in its own way.

20. Long Bien Bridge

The first steel Long Bien Bridge over the Red River in Hanoi Marki Wolf Cobain

A calling card of the capital, built in the 20th century. In former years, the structure was recognized as the most beautiful and the longest in the world. Now you can walk around Long Bien on foot, taking in the views of the Red River, take a car, public transportation, or a train. We recommend going to see the bridge during daylight or morning hours, as the structure is not backlit.

Hanoi sights: what else to visit in Hanoi?

We have told you about the objects of Hanoi, which should be seen without fail. In addition to them, you should book a tour to:

21. “Hanoi Hilton

The French name "Maison Centrale" is preserved above the entrance to the prison museum David McKelvey
Museum exhibit - political prisoners - Vietnamese rebels at Maison Centrale Dennis Jarvis

A 20th century prison that has now become a famous museum. The original purpose of the prison was to incarcerate Vietnamese political criminals - they were held in truly nightmarish conditions. Later, prisoners of war from the United States Army were taken there. Here, for example, for a long time was a candidate for the post of President of America and Senator John McCain. Now the Hanoi Hilton is one of the most visited and fascinating museum complexes in the capital. Guests are invited to tour the unique interiors and exhibits on related topics.

Official website:

22. Returned Sword Lake

Turtle Temple in night illumination at Returned Sword Lake in Hanoi

The location of the natural attraction with a beautiful park is the central part of the city. At nightfall, numerous lights illuminate the body of water. There are restaurants and cafes, souvenir kiosks, gazebos and walking alleys. One of the main values is the temple of the turtle. According to legend, it was the turtle that helped save the emperor’s possessions by giving him a sword.

23. Jade Mountain Temple

The red wooden bridge of the Rising Sun leads to the Jade Mountain Temple User:Rolfmueller
A gate decorated with hieroglyphics and animal images behind the bridge to the temple Bùi Thụy Đào Nguyên
19th century Jade Mountain Temple in Hanoi Casablanca1911 at Vietnamese Wikipedia
A stuffed dead turtle in a window at the Jade Mountain Temple Casablanca1911 at Vietnamese Wikipedia

A traditional Buddhist religious center established in the 19th century. You can reach the sacred place through a red wooden bridge. One of the treasures here is a sculpture of a turtle that allowed the national hero of Vietnam, Le Luy, to win the great battle.

24. Tay Lake

Tay Lake is a popular vacation spot in downtown Hanoi

The city’s largest lake, spread over an area of 500 hectares. Locals call this natural landmark the most beautiful place of the country. On the shores are the best and most expensive hotels in Hanoi, palace buildings and unique temples.

25. Le Mat Snake Village

Breeding and catching snakes is a trade of Le Mat villagers
Snake venom medicinal tinctures

This is where delicacies such as snake meat and miracle potions are sent to different parts of the country. The villagers own entire farms of snakes: aspids, cobras, vipers, and others. Many of the reptiles grown here are deadly. Among the population are many famous snake healers. By the way, according to legend, once lived on the territory of Le Mat (in its river) a giant snake, terrifying the entire area. When you come here, you can eat snake food and buy unique souvenirs.

We hope you are interested in our sights and will definitely want to see them with your own eyes. Read also about Ho Chi Minh City’s Best Sights and get inspired for your next trip to Vietnam.

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