Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany a friend on a week-long tour around Ha Noi. Before my time studying abroad, I used to take foreign friends on tours around Vietnam, gathering a little knowledge about various places. Now, I’d like to share my reviews of some of the fascinating places we explored, providing recommendations for you to consider when planning your adventures or showing around friends and visitors. Keep in mind that these are just basic insights, as the locals in Ha Noi might have already exhausted these destinations. If you have additional information or suggestions, please feel free to share!
- Vietnam Military History Museum: A fascinating museum with an extensive collection of wartime artifacts and weaponry. A must-visit for history enthusiasts, especially those from Western countries.
- National Museum of Vietnamese History: While interesting, be prepared for a vast array of historical events, which may overwhelm those with limited background knowledge.
Interestingly, this museum also has its quirky side. The translated descriptions have some funny misinterpretations. For instance, they referred to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) as the “puppet government.” While I disagree with imposing political views in exhibits, I can’t help but chuckle at the translation. A suggestion for Ha Noi museums (although I doubt they would take it): first, be accurate and respectful in naming historical events, roles, and individuals, and second, improve the translation to maintain professionalism.
- Fine Arts Museum: I’ve visited this museum several times, but on my latest visit, I felt uncertain about the authenticity of some of the renowned paintings. I couldn’t quite connect with them, even though I used to adore them in the past. Perhaps there’s some credibility issue with these works. While I’m not an expert, I’ve been passionate about art since I was young. If anyone has more information on this, I’d love to know.
- Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale): A place that leaves a haunting impression, as expected from a prison.
- One Pillar Pagoda, Uncle Ho’s Stilt House, and His Workplace: Worth visiting for their historical significance.
- Temple of Literature: Always a personal favorite; I always take my foreign friends here.
- Vietnamese Women’s Museum: Decent but can be skipped if you have a tight schedule (although I heard good reviews on TripAdvisor, not quite sure why).
- Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology: Cool place but quite far, so consider your travel time (also, the detailed description might be too specialized for some, but if you’re interested in ethnic issues, you might like it).
- Hoang Dieu Street, Phan Dinh Phung Street: No need for promotion; Ha Noi is generally dusty and messy, but this area stands out as the most beautiful.
- Cua Bac Church: Arguably the most beautiful church in Ha Noi, even better than the grand Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.
- Long Bien Bridge: No need for an introduction, just check it out.
- Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge: As above.
- Manzi Art Space on Phan Huy Ich Street: Here, you can enjoy coffee and explore artworks. Lately, they have a good selection of beautiful paintings.
- Binh Minh Jazz Club: A cool place, with jazz performances every night. Make sure to arrive early, as it tends to get crowded quickly.
- Serein Cafe: Their drinks are expensive, and the interior seems like a posh, faux-rich person’s house, but they have a great view of Long Bien Bridge for those Instagram-worthy shots.
- Flora Boutique: In my opinion, the best place to buy souvenirs for friends. Many practical items like laptop bags, wallets, etc. I personally like their products, so why not support them. But honestly, they do have nice stuff.
Ha Noi is a city full of hidden gems and iconic landmarks. As you explore these places, you’ll find an enchanting blend of history, culture, and vibrant modernity. Don’t hesitate to share your own experiences and recommendations with others to make their visits just as memorable!