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Hanoi

Country
Vietnam
State
Thanh Pho Ha Noi
City
Hanoi
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

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Places to Visit
How to Reach

By plane

Most people arrive at the Noi Bai International Airport, 35 km (45-60 minutes) north of the city. Several airlines run flights from Noi Bai

By train

Trains to Nanning, China depart from Gia Lam Station (GPS 21.05213,105.87939), about 5km north-east of Hanoi Station, although tickets can be purchased from Hanoi Station. A ticket for a soft sleeper compartment (4-berth compartment) costs 568,000 dong per person. Be cautious buying these tickets from hotels or travel agents in the Old Quarter, as they may quote prices substatially higher.

By bus

Most of the "open-tour" bus itineraries either begin or end in Hanoi, with Hue the next (or previous) stop (12-14 hr, US$8-9), and from there to Hoi An, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh City, and other cities in Vietnam, depending on the bus company.

Key places to visit
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, National Museum of Vietnamese History, One-Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature Mieu, Hoan Kiem Lake


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Places to Visit

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. 8AM-11AM, closed M, F. The city down south may have his name, but only Hanoi has the man himself, entombed in distinctly Lenin-esque fashion - against his wishes, but that's how it goes. No talking, short pants, or other signs of disrespect allowed while viewing; photos are allowed only from outside, in the grand Ba Dinh Square. Purses are allowed into the tomb, but expect them to be searched by several bored soldiers along the way. Left luggage is handled in a complicated scheme: there is an office near the street for large bags, with separate windows for Vietnamese and foreigners, and a further office for cameras, which will be transported to a third office right outside the exit of the mausoleum. Items checked in at the first office, however, will stay there. Note that the mausoleum is closed for a couple months around the end of the year, when the body is taken abroad for maintenance

Ho Chi Minh Museum

   This gleaming white museum and its gloriously ham-handed iconography are the perfect chaser to the solemnity of the mausoleum. The building, completed in 1990, is intended to evoke a white lotus. Some photos and old letters are on display on the second floor, but the main exhibition space is on the third floor. It includes cars crashing through walls to represent the chaos of post-war American capitalism, soldiers charging around with electric plugs, a cave hideout re-imagined as the inside of Ho Chi Minh's brain, and several other postmodern confections integrated with the main story of the man's life and his country's struggle. One of the more informative museums in Vietnam, and perhaps one of the oddest in the world. Guides are available in English, French, Chinese and Russian, but don't bother; the displays are labeled in English and French, and it's hard to imagine the guides doing much other than belaboring the point. 15,000 dong


National Museum of Vietnamese History

National Museum of Vietnamese History -Bao tang Lich su Viet Nam, 1 Trang Tien St. 8AM-11:30AM, 1:30PM-4:30PM. This is a collection from Vietnamese history from about 1,000 years back until 1945. Many antiques and the such. 15,000 dong, students 8,000 dong and under 15, 2,000 dong. 15,000 dong for a camera/30,000 dong for a video

One-Pillar Pagoda

      Travellers find the One-Pillar Pagoda either charming and lovely or utterly pointless, depending on how many tour groups are crammed into the small grounds at the time of their visit.


Temple of Literature  Mieu

 
       The Temple of Literature was founded in 1070 and established as the country's first university six years later. The courtyard features numerous stone tablets, each mounted on the back of a tortoise, with the names of graduates. 10,000 dong

Hoan Kiem Lake

     A pleasant park in the centre of town, within easy walking distance from anywhere in the Old Quarter. It's the locals' favorite leisure spot, and a great place to watch people practicing tai chi in the morning or to sit and read in the afternoon. Hoan Kiem means "returned sword", and the name comes from a legend in which King Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used to drive out the invading Chinese. Later, while boating on the lake, he encountered a giant turtle, which grabbed the sword and carried it down to its depths, returning it to the gods from whom it had come. (You can see a version of the legend at the Water Puppet Theater - see below.) Rumor has it the giant turtles still inhabit the lake

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