Since the 2000s, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has emerged as a very popular tourist destination. As recently as the year 2000, only around 2 million tourists traveled to the formerly war-torn country, while today the country receives more than 7 million tourists annually. A large proportion of these visit the capital, which with its almost 7 million inhabitants must be considered a real city . Despite this, Hanoi is not the largest city in Vietnam, because it is Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is considered by many to be the most attractive tourist city.
Centrally located in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is a historic city with a lush climate. According to DigoPaul, Hanoi has hot and humid summers, and fairly cool and dry winters. With cool, however, we are talking about temperatures that rarely go below 15 degrees even in the winter months. It is in the autumn that one prefers to travel to Hanoi, as the weather is stable and the temperature is comfortable (from September to November).
Travel to Hanoi
Traveling to Hanoi is not something you do for a long weekend. The flight from Oslo Airport will take just over 15 hours, and you must expect at least one flight change. It is possible to fly, for example, to Thailand and Bangkok from Norway, and then change flights to Hanoi. There are also direct flights from other European airports. The official currency in Hanoi and Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong. It is a currency that is difficult for Norwegians to relate to, as 1 kroner corresponds to approximately 3100 dong. In other words, a Norwegian hundred note is equivalent to a staggering 313,000 dong.
However, the price level in Hanoi is «heavenly low». A hundred bucks will give you a luxurious meal at a fine restaurant – and then drinks are included. When it comes to security in Hanoi, you travel mostly safely. However, one should be aware of pickpockets and thieves, especially in the evening. There is a lot of such crime in Vietnam, and tourists are often considered easy victims, so one should take their precautions. Drinking tap water should be avoided.
Hotels and restaurants in Hanoi
There are plenty of places to stay in Hanoi, and there are very many “tourist class hotels”. One should in any case afford to live in a place with a high standard, as the prices are so low. For 500 kroner a night you can feel like a king in Hanoi. For a 100-lap you get a perfectly fine stay at a regular tourist hotel without the many facilities.
As mentioned earlier, eating in Hanoi is cheap. You rarely pay more than 100 kroner to pamper yourself at a good restaurant. You should also try Vietnamese food, a cuisine that is unknown to many Norwegians. The food they make is very similar to what is served in India and China, and there are also dedicated such restaurants in the city. Here you just have to try new restaurants every night, so that you really get to explore and challenge your taste buds.
Attractions in Hanoi
Hanoi is a lush and beautiful city that is not reminiscent of anything seen in Norway or Europe in general. It is a city in constant growth, although the gap between rich and poor is large. The city also has a lot of rich history that can be experienced through museums and old buildings.
Hanoi Old City
The Old Town of Hanoi has the original street design from Old Hanoi. Previously, each street had its own special product, be it jewelry, silk, etc. The street names in the old town still reflect this time. The area is known for its many specialty shops, especially silk shops. The old town is also known for its local restaurants, and there are also several clubs and bars here. If you are in Hanoi, you should definitely experience the old city!
Hoan Kiem sea
Hoan Kiem Lake is a beautiful lake right in the center of Hanoi. The area has a nice park with temples and fountains. A nice place to stroll where you can get a little break from otherwise hectic Hanoi.
Tran Quoc & Ly Quoc Su Pagoda
Vietnam has many unique temples, which are called pagodas. There are historic buildings that have been used for cremation of people for many centuries. In Hanoi you should visit Tran Quoc Pagoda and Ly Quoc Su Pagoda, both of which have a history of over 1500 years. The latter has undergone many changes thanks to war and colonization, but the ancient Vietnamese style is still well preserved.
No trip abroad without a trip to a local cathedral. In Hanoi, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is the most famous, and it is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in a Gothic style. It was built about 120 years ago, so it is not too old. You can find it at 40 Nha Chung Street.
Bat Trang pottery village
Vietnamese culture is very different from the Norwegian, and there is a lot of excitement you can experience and should seek out here. It is recommended to go to Bat Trang and visit the potters there, and get an insight into how the locals have made pots for many centuries. It is a very interesting job and many tourists choose to visit this part of the city.
Hanoi Flag Tower
One of the foremost symbols and landmarks in Hanoi, is the flag tower. It was built almost 200 years ago, when it was completed in 1812. Now it is simply a tall brick tower with a flag in it, which has not much other function than to be a symbol of the capital.