Hanoi, Vietnam is a city where the old meets the new; where modern and medieval co-exist in a harmonious environment. This city is the oldest in all of Southeast Asia, and has served for more than a millennium as the country’s capital. As you wander through its streets, you’ll certainly get a sense of its history, and will have the opportunity to bask in the traditions, culture and atmosphere which make this such a well loved tourist destination. Visitors who travel to this city often say that it feels as if they’re stepping into another world, with the abundance of cultural and natural riches, the majestic edifices which contrast beautifully with the simplicity of the lifestyles of the local residents. Here Travelup takes you through three of Hanoi’s most incredible attractions.
West Lake, also known as Ho Tay is the city’s biggest lake, and is situated in the very heart of Hanoi. As you stroll along the fifteen kilometres of shoreline, you’ll find yourself following the same steps that ancient emperors and mandarins have walked over the course of the last few centuries. In the same area, you can also visit the beautiful peach gardens, or one of the country’s oldest pagodas, the Tran Quoc. This 6th century pagoda lies on a tiny island in the centre of Ho Tay Lake. The intricate pathways and spectacular architecture of this pagoda are something you certainly won’t forget in a hurry.
If the Tran Quoc has piqued your interest in this type of architectural structure, then you must visit the One Pillar Pagoda, thought by many to be one of the city’s most distinctive attractions. As you make your way around the surrounding pond, you’ll notice that this pagoda looks very much like a lotus emerging from the water. This structure was built for the Emporer Ly Thai Tong, who had dreamt of the Goddess of Mercy and wanted to make a stature to honour her. Due to this tale, the site is a place of worship for many of the local Buddhists, and it’s an incredibly peaceful place to spend an afternoon.
The Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh is a marble edifice, in the tradition of Stalin and Lenin, and is one sight which history enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on during a trip to Hanoi. This vast marble building was made using materials collected from all across the country during the early seventies and the roof of the structure was built in the likeness of a lotus flower. Deep inside the centre of this building lies Ho Chi Minh’s preserved body, protected inside a glass sarcophagus.