Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam
Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam for a thousand year of culture always attracts tourists with its ancient features and thousand-year-old culture. Hanoi capital has long been a center for political, cultural and technical sciences, and a major center for international and national economic transactions of Vietnam. A tour around Hanoi will leave visitors unforgettable memories from the landmarks, historic monuments to the delicious cuisine.
The meaning of the name Hanoi
The name “Hanoi” is the combination of two separate words: Hà and Nội. In Sino-Vietnamese, Hà means river, Nội means interior. So Hanoi means “the hinterland between the rivers”. Hanoi is almost surrounded by the Red River and Day River.
Hanoi is located at 21.0278 ° north latitude and 105.8342 ° longitude east. Hanoi is bordered by Thai Nguyen, Vinh Phuc in the north; Ha Nam, Hoa Binh in the south; Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Hung Yen in the east and Hoa Binh and Phu Tho in the west.
Land area and population
The capital city of Hanoi, which was expanded in 2008, covers an area of 3,324,92 km² and is one of the top 17 largest capitals in the world. Hanoi is located on the right bank of the Da River and on the two sides of the Red River, in which the plain occupies 3/4 of the city. Therefore, Hanoi has a favorable geographic location to become a political, economic, cultural, scientific center as well as the important transportation hub of the country.
The population of Hanoi in 2015 is 7.558.959 people and is expected to reach 8.5 million by 2020. The residents in Hanoi are occupied mainly by Kinh people, other ethnic groups such as Dzao, Muong, H’Mong … occupy a very small proportion.
Districts in Hanoi
- 29 districts: Hoan Kiem, Dong Da, Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung, Tay Ho, Hoang Mai, Cau Giay, Thanh Xuan, Ha Dong, Long Bien, Northern Tu Liem, Nam Tu Liem, Ba Vi, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Dong Anh, Gia Lam, Hoai Duc, Me Linh, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Soc Son, Thach That, Thanh Oai, Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa.
- 1 Town: Son Tay
Climate and weather
Ha Noi enjoys tropical climate characterized by a tropical monsoon climate which is hot and rainy in summer, cold and less rain during winter. Because it is located in the tropical area, so Hanoi receives very abundant solar radiation and has high temperature all year round. The average total amount of radiation Hanoi is around 120kcal / cm2 and the average air temperature 23, 6 ºC annually.
Influenced by the sea, Hanoi has high humidity and rainfall. The average humidity is from 80 to 82%, and the average annual rainfall is over 1700mm / year (about 114 rainy days/year).
Called “the hinterland between the rivers”, Hanoi is surrounded by 7 large and small rivers including Red River, Da River, Duong River, Nhue River, Cau River, Day River and Ca Lo River. In the inner city, there are also two rivers which are To Lich and Kim Nguu rivers.
In the previous century, Hanoi used to have many large and small lakes. Although many lakes have been filled up for construction and expansion, there are still hundreds of large lakes dotted throughout Hanoi. The lakes in Hanoi not only create a cool atmosphere for the city but also are the beautiful landscapes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Thien Quang Lake, Ba Mau Lake, Bay Mau Lake, Linh Dam Lake and Westlake.
From Hanoi, you access to many other destinations of the country thanks to its extremely convenient transportation system.
Airports in Hanoi
There are currently 2 airports in Hanoi. Noi Bai International Airport, Gia Lam Airport (now a heliport)
Bus stations in Hanoi
There are bus stations such as Gia Lam, My Dinh, Luong Yen bus stations whose buses leave for other Northern provinces on Highway 1A, National Highway 2 and Highway 3, National Highway 5, National Highway 6.
Hanoi is the traffic hub of 5 national railways. There are intercity railways to Beijing (China) and many European countries.
Hanoi is an important traffic hub with Pha Den ferry to Hung Yen, Nam Dinh and Thai Binh; Ham Tu Quan ferry to Pha Lai.
Transfer to Hanoi and how to get around in Hanoi
Transfer to Hanoi
Traveling by plane
Currently, there are many airlines that operate Saigon-Hanoi flights such as Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines. From Noi Bai International Airport to the center of Hanoi you can take a taxi with prices ranging from 400,000 to 500,000. You can also take the shuttle bus of domestic airlines Jetstar and VietJet Air with prices ranging from 40,000 VND to 50,000 VND.
Traveling by train
There’s a railway connecting the North and the South. It’s North-South railway (Reunification Express Train) located on Le Duan Street which is a 10-15 minute drive from the city center.
How to get around in Hanoi
In the Hanoi Old Quarters
One of the interesting ways to get around in Hanoi Old Quarters is to take a cyclo ride. Many visitors to Hanoi choose to travel on cyclo, so they will have nostalgic feeling of Hanoi and explore the ancient beauty of the old quarters.
The second way to travel in this area is on electric cars which is a mean of green tourism. The ticket price ranges from 10,000 VND – 30,000 VND / person / trip. If you rent the whole car, you can visit the old quarters for 90 minutes with price ranges from 160,000 to 240,000 VND.
In other areas
The bus network in inner Hanoi is thick and convenient with relatively cheap tickets which are under 10.000 VND for a ticket. However, you should know clearly about the bus schedules and bus routes in order not to get lost.
Hanoi very crowded so it’s quite difficult to cycle in the city. Some hotels offer bike rental service with price ranging from 20,000 – 40,000 VND/bike/day.
Motorbike is the most popular mean of transport in Hanoi. Due to the traffic in Hanoi, you can only go at a speed of 35-40 km/h in the city.
Some motorbike rental services in Hanoi
- Phương Motor: 5 Hang Thung, Hoan Kiem.
- Cuong’s Motobike – No. 1 Luong Ngoc Quyen
- Off Road VietNam – 36 Nguyen Huu Huan
- Phung Motorbike: 13 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem.
- Quan Motorbike: 70 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem.
Traveling by BRT (Bus rapid transit)
Ticket price: 7.000 VND / trip. The buses are classified by their route:
- Route 1: Yen Nghia Bus Station – Kim Ma
- Route 2: Lang Hoa Lac high industrial park – Kim Ma bus station
- Route 3: Son Dong – Ba Vi
- Route 4: Phu Dong – Bat Trang – Hung Yen
- Route 5: Gia Lam – Me Linh
- Route 6: Me Linh – Yen Nghia – Lac Dao.
- Route 7: Ba La – Ung Hoa
- Route 8: Ung Hoa – Phu Xuyen.
Traveling by private car
You can rent a car and a private driver at your hotel, but it will be a bit expensive.
Traveling by motorcycle with Grab, Uber services
With your smartphone, you can easily book a motorcycle ride with Grab or Uber apps in Vietnam. Traveling this way is economical and flexible.
Traveling by taxi
It costs about 8,000 to 11,000 VND / km to go by taxi. You can either book a taxi with Grab or Uber apps or contact taxi firms available in Hanoi such as Taxi Hanoi, Taxi Mai Linh, Taxi Thanh Nga…
Hanoi’s top attractions
Sightseeings in the inner city of Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the heart of the city with the ancient Turtle Tower located on a small peninsula set amidst the lake. Next to Hoan Kiem Lake are impressive and valuable architectural works: Pen Tower (Thap But), Dai Nghien, The Huc Bridge, Tran Ba Temple, Ngoc Son Temple…
One Pillar Pagoda
Hanoi is the center of Buddhism in Vietnam so city there are many hundreds-year-old pagodas in Hanoi. The most famous pagoda is the One Pillar Pagoda, which is said to be one of the most outstanding pagodas in Vietnam. It is also a must-visit attraction in Hanoi. There is also Tran Quoc Pagoda, an ancient pagoda built in the dynasty of King Ly Nam De (6th century).
The Temple of Literature and the Imperial of Academy
The Temple of Literature is built to worship Confucius and for Doctor Stele. The Imperial of Academy is the first university of Vietnam. Today, the complex of the Temple of Literature and the Imperial of Academy has become a popular tourist destination of Ha Noi.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
A typical architecture in Neo-Gothic style. This place is the favorite spot for young Vietnamese people. They always come here to take photos.
Hanoi Old Quarters
Hanoi Old Quarters is the highlights of Hanoi’s attractions. 36 old quarters with ancient houses and streets still retain their appearance from the 19th century. You can wander all day in the old quarters, explore the peaceful and simply of Hanoi.
Hanoi Opera House
Located at 1 Trang Tien, the Hanoi Opera House is a smaller version of Opéra Garnier in Paris. It is also a place to host many big events of the country.
Ba Dinh Square – President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The historical Ba Dinh Square is the place where Uncle Ho read the declaration of independence. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the place where Ho Chi Minh’s body is located and kept. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is open five days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays morning. Visitors who want to enter the Mausoleum must dress elegantly, and keep quiet in the mausoleum.
Located not far from the city center, West Lake is the largest lake in Hanoi. You can rent a water bike or take a boat trip on the West Lake. The best time to visit this place is sunset. Next to the West Lake is the ancient village of Nghi Tam where local people still retains the elegant entertainment of the ancient Hanoians such as aquarium fish, bonsai. Nghi Tam is also known as the village of flowers, the village will be filled with fresh flowers every spring. Visitors can also visit the area near West Lake to Ngu Xa village with traditional bronze casting, Yen Phu village with incense making.
The suburban area of Hanoi
Bat Trang pottery village
Located on the left bank of the Red River, 20 km from Hanoi, you can take a motorbike or a bus to get there. Bat Trang is famous for ceramic production throughout the country. Walking around the village, you will see many pottery workshops, ceramic walls and unique rustic houses. Especially, at Bat Trang village, you can discover Bat Trang on the buffalo cart. Some small pottery workshops offer visitors chance to make themselves ceramic products or drawing on the ceramic cups. Here visitors can buy ceramic souvenirs, the price of a ceramic product is not expensive.
Duong Lam ancient village
This ancient Vietnamese village still retains the lifestyle of ancient Vietnamese. Visitors can also enjoy traditional rustic lunch at the yard of an ancient house or admire ancient architectural works. The most interesting thing to do is to rent a bike and take a bike ride around the village.
Hanoi is home to delicate dishes. Here are 6 Hanoi dishes visitors should try at least one.
Pho – Vietnamese noodle soup
Mentioning Hanoi, it is impossible not to mention pho – Vietnamese noodle soup, because phở is the characteristic dish of Hanoi for many generations and the popularity of phở spreads throughout the world. Pho Hanoi has many types, including beef noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, noodle rolls, … Each type of pho has its own unique flavor but is very delicious and attractive.
Bun cha – Vietnamese Grilled Pork with Vermicelli
Bun cha is a very popular dish of Hanoians, has received a lot of praise from tourists and is on the list of 10 best street foods in the world.
Bun thang is simple dish yet very feat. Main ingredients of bun thang include chicken, giò lụa (Vietnamese sausage), eggs and vermicelli.
Chả Cá Lã Vọng – Hanoi Fried fish
Chả Cá Lã Vọng is the perfect combination of the typical Vietnamese spices such as turmeric, dill, shrimp sauce, fish sauce. Chả Cá Lã Vọng is also a not-to-be-missed dish for foreign visitors to Hanoi.
Cốm – Hanoi young rice flakes
Cốm contains the beauty of Hanoi cuisine. The fragrant young green cereal grain wrapped in lotus leaf can be eaten instantly or cooked to other dishes… The famous cốm making villages in Hanoi are Me Tri village and Vong village.
Trang Tien ice cream
Trang Tien ice cream has long been a popular dessert for both Hanoians and tourists.
Address: 35 Trang Tien Street
Hotel de l’Opera
Address: 29 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
La Siesta Central Hotel & Spa
Address: 1B Cau Go Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
O’Gallery Premier Hotel
Address: 122 Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Address: 4-6 Ba Trieu Street | Hoan Kiem District, Lake Front & Night Market, Hanoi, Vietnam
Address: 26 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa
Address: 22 Ta Hien Street, Hoan Kiem Disttrict, Hanoi
Metropole Hotel Hanoi
Address: 15 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Address: 13-15 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Some notes/preparation before visiting Hanoi
- Make sure that the MAP application on your phone is always active because Hanoi has many small alleys. Or you can get a map of Hanoi at the Tourist information office.
- If you go shopping in Hanoi, remember not to go shopping in the early morning, avoid asking price without buying intention.
- Bring a thin jacket due to daily changes in the weather of Hanoi.
List of emergency telephone numbers in Hanoi
- Police: 113
- Fire: 114
- Ambulance: 115