HANOI, Vietnam

Area Code 04, $1=16,000D, July 25, 2007

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Many Thanks to Tom McClive for up-dating and re-writing this section for us.

Photo Gallery : Snapshots of Hanoi
S.:Summer W.: Winter
S1 Hoan Kiem Lake: The symbol of Hanoi in the center of the town. The small white Turtle Tower and shrine sits in its center. A pleasant place to take a walk or relax under the trees. See if you can make it all the way around the lake without at least five people trying to sell you something. Come here to watch Hanoi hang out, and don't miss the morning activities, starting around 6:00. This is also where Hanoi works out; it's worth getting up for.
S2 Den Ngoc Son: A little shrine built on a small island on the north end of Hoan Kiem Lake.  It is dedicated to many famous writers and Tran Hung Dao, a hero who defeated Chinese(Mongols) in 13C. 2000D, pamphlet 3000D 7:30-21:00.
S8 Temple of Literature (Van Mieu): 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc. Entrance on Cat Linh Street.
Built in 1070. The first university in Vietnam. Dedicated to learning and to Confucianism. Marvelous and peaceful place, full of stone stelae mounted on stone tortoises, sanctuaries, many courtyards, and various exhibits.  2000D, pamphlet 3000D, bike parking 1000D? S.7:30-18:00, W.8:00-17:00
S10 Quang truong Ba Dinh: Huge open space where Ho Chi Minh declared independence in 1945, reading out the new Declaration to half a million people.  His mausoleum, house, and museum are just off this square.
S9 Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum: On Ba Dinh Square.  Closed for two months every fall. The preserved body of Ho Chi Minh is kept here. No stopping, talking, photos, or bags allowed inside.  Go early to avoid the monstrous lines. There is a free cloakroom near the beginning of the line. Free. W-F Su Winter 8:00-11:00, Summer 7:30-10:30
S12 Museum of Ho Chi Minh: On the square. Built in 1990 to commemorate his 100th birthday, the museum is dedicated to his life and his legacy.  Large, modern, and air conditioned.  Sleek exhibits, but hard to understand everything without help.   Talk to as many people inside as you possibly can. 5,000D Tu-Su 8:00-11:30, TuThSaSu14-16:00
S11 Mot Cot Temple: Small lotus shaped temple originally built in 11C, by Emperor Ly. Free
S Quan Su Temple: The attraction of this pagoda is the Buddhist school it contains.  Check out the monk students wandering around.  Free
S13 Lenin Park: Just south of a small lake (Thien Quang), which is a few kilometers south of Hoan Kiem lake.
The largest park in the city. Within is Bai Mauake. Lots of greenery; good place to relax. Popular with Vietnamese families and couples. 3,000D 6:00-23:00   Rec
S5 History Museum (Bao Tang Lich su): 1 Trang Tien Street. Houses articles dating from pre-historic periods (its concentration) and exhibits of historical events up to 1945. The Imperial days of the Nguyen Dynasty are well-represented. 10,000D student 5,000D Tu -Su 8:00-11:30, 13:30-16:00
S7 Art Museum (Bao tang My thuat): 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc. Collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, hill-tribe articles. Not huge. 10,000D Tu - Su 9:15-17:00
S6 Military Museum (Bao tang Quan doi): 28A Dien Bien Phu Tu.  Across the street from the statue of Lenin. Displays and memorabilia of the wars against France and the USA. Featuring artillery, tanks, fighter planes, etc. There's an interesting model of the President's house at the time of the fall of Saigon.  Many English explanations. 10,000D, camera fee: 2,000D Su 8:00-11:30,13:30-16:30
S4 Revolutionary Museum: 25 Tong Dan Street. Documents the wars (again) against French & American forces. Small, but showing many original documents. 10,000D Tu-Su 8:00-11:45, Sat 13:30-16:30
S3 Water Puppet theater: 57 Dinh Tien Hoang.   Traditional ritual performance held in Vietnamese villages since the tenth century. The puppets dive and swim in water, accompanied by music & songs. Stories are based on folk tales. Great fun. Very popular.  Puppets are small, so it's better to reserve front seats (1st class). You can buy tickets from GHs or tourist cafes (same price), but you have to go to the theater to reserve your seat. (possible a few days in advance).   1st class seat 40,000D (with cassette tape & a fan), 2nd class seat 20,000D (with a fan). 16:00, 17:15, 18:30, 20:00
S14 Ho Tay Lake: 4km NW from the town center. The largest and most beautiful lake in Hanoi. You can watch the sun set reflecting on the lake, very impressive. Boats are available.
S15 Opera House: E from the lake. Built in 1911 and restored in 2000. No tours available at this moment.

Sights Outside of Town
S Bich Dong: 120km S from Hanoi, 2.5 hours by car. Mountain scenery with unique rock formations similar to Halong Bay, a beautiful place. The film "Indochina" was filmed here.
No tours I could find.

Tours from Hanoi
Prices listed are those charged at tourist cafes for an organized tour. Transportation is by bus/mini-bus, with as many other tourists as they can sign up.   Shop around.  All trips can be done independently, but some (like Halong Bay) are very difficult on your own.
S Hanoi City Tour: $16 dep 7:15 return 17:00 including HCM Mausoleum, one-pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake and lunch
S Halong Bay:
Day tour
$21, dep 7:30, return 19:30. including lunch/tea 4 hour boat trip.
1 night( in Cat Ba town), 2 day Tour:
$27, dep 7:30, return 17:00 including 2 lunch tea, 2-three hour boat trip.
1 night(on the boat) 2 day Tour:
$29, dep 7:30, return 17:00 including 2 lunch tea, 1 breakfast, 2-three hour boat trip.
2 night(on the boat) 3 day Tour :
$49, dep 7:30, return 17:00 including all meals, boat trip, kayaking, trekking in the national park
S Perfume Pagoda: 65km SW from Hanoi.
Day trip:
$15 dep 7:00, return 18:00, including boat and lunch entrance fee.  It will cost you almost this much to do it on your own.
Getting there involves a two-hour drive, then a two-hour boat trip, then a trek up a mountain to the spectacular grotto.  Bring some water, or kids will be merciless trying to sell you some.
S Hoa Lu: Day trip $16. dep 7:30 return 17:00, including Boat trip lunch and entrance fee.
100km S from Hanoi. Tenth century ancient capital. You will see mountains, rivers & temple caves. It's called 'Halong Bay on land', a beautiful place.
S Mai Chau: 1 night 2 days $22(Old infp), includes food and accommodation. 145km NW from Hanoi. Hill-tribe village. Stay in one of the village houses.
S Sapa: including meals, 2 night trains(ac 1 class cabin) transport, entrance.
2 days 3 nights:
$65, Visiting hill tribe minority's villages of H'mong, Tay and Day tribes, such as Cat Cat, Sinh Chai, Lao Cai, etc.
3 days 4 nights:
$65-85, including trekking

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