Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sightseeing in Hanoi: A Traveler's Guide

Sightseeing in Hanoi is one of the things you should include in your bucket list. A beautiful city located in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is easily one of the best cities in Asia with its rich culture, magnificent architecture, scenic landscapes, and bustling city life. There are a lot of places to visit in Hanoi, and it will take you more than just a day to see all. This is where this guide comes in handy.

Get Acquainted with the Culture.

First thing you should do once you get to Hanoi is to acquaint yourself with the city's rich culture. As the capital city, Hanoi is also the second most populated city in Vietnam. It has a long history-the earliest inhabitants were known to have settled around 3,000 BC-serving as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. One quick way to soak in the culture is to visit any of Hanoi's many museums, including the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Vietnam Women's Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, and Ho Chi Minh Museum to name a few. If museums are not your thing, you can also visit the Hanoi Opera House, if not to watch an opera, but to admire the structure's architectural beauty.

Visit Parks and Gardens.

Aside from the many museums, Hanoi also has a number of nature parks and gardens that the whole family can enjoy. Cuc Phuong National Park, about 100 km south of the city, is the foremost national park in the country. Endangered species, millennium-old trees, and various flora and fauna are within the park, along with caves and hot springs. There are also bike and walk trails for the adventurous. Another park, but with a different theme, is the Thanh Cuong Viet Palace. There's the Botanical Gardens located in the city. Offering a welcome escape from the city noise, the Botanical Gardens boasts of old trees, sculptures, and open spaces ideal for walking or having a picnic.

Take a Walk Near the Lakes.

Hanoi is a city built between two rivers, so it is no surprise that the city also boasts of a number of picturesque lakes. One of its famous lakes is Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Lake of the Returned Sword. It has a Turtle Tower in the center due to its association with the legend of a turtle that grabbed the emperor's sword and then disappeared. Another famous lake is the West Lake, which is also the largest lake in Hanoi. A number of gardens, restaurants and hotels, and other entertainment places can be found surrounding the West Lake.

Eat, Eat, Shop, Shop!

Vietnamese cuisine has seen a rise in popularity as the years pass by, and there's no better place to sample delicious local and fusion fare than in Hanoi. From the smallest eateries to the grandest restaurants, you are sure to find meals that will tickle your palate. One famous restaurant in Old Quarter Hanoi that you shouldn't miss is the Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant, which has been operating for over a century. Of course, after you eat, shopping is a given. You can buy just about anything from small trinkets to expensive, exotic d├ęcor in one of Hanoi's many markets. The Dong Xuan Market in the Old Quarter is a popular tourist shopping stop. You can visit the Van Phuc Silk Village, where the centuries-old art of weaving silk from silk worms is practiced.

No comments:

Post a Comment