Hanoi - Land of the Ascending Dragon
Hanoi - Land of the Ascending Dragon
Hanoi’s history dates back almost a thousand years to the founding of the city by Emperor Ly Thai To. In 1010 he renamed the area Thang Long – ‘Soaring Dragon’. Hanoi is a city rich in tradition and legend, the most famous of which is the Arthurian tale of Hoan Kiem Lake. Legend has it that in the 15th century Emperor Le Thai To vanquished the invading Chinese with the help of a magical sword. Whilst rowing on the lake an enormous turtle seized the sword from his grasp. The Emperor took this to mean that peace had returned and the sword had been given back to its guardian spirit. In honor of the event he renamed the lake ‘Ho Hoan Kiem’ – Lake of the Restored Sword.
The city’s main period of growth stems from the arrival of the French in 1888. Within a short time Hanoi was transformed into an elegant city with broad tree-lined boulevards, avenues and parks, making it one of the greenest cities in Asia. Fortunately many of the old boulevards and residences have survived and are used to house Foreign Embassies and other Government institutions.
Today Hanoi is a bustling capital city of nearly 4 million people. Its focal point is Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter, immediately to its north.
When the best time to visit Hanoi
Autumn (around September to November) and Spring (March and April) are two best seasons to visit Hanoi when the weather is pleasant with milder temperatures.
In winter, Hanoi is quite cold when the temperatures can fall below 10ºC (50ºF) and getting hotter in the summer averaging around 28-35ºC (82º-95ºF). Hanoi has high humidity year-round.
The rainy season in Hanoi is May to September. Heavy rains may happen sometimes in the summer; however, it is not consistent and does not affect your travel.
Hanoi weather by Month
– December – March: cold (sometimes as cold as 5 degrees) but mainly dry
– April – June: warm
– July – September: hot and humid and chances of showers
– October – November: warm, clear skies.
Getting There & Away
Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport is located 45 kilometers from central Hanoi.
– Vietnam Airlines
– Jetstar Airway
Please contact us to book flight ticket.
Car & Motorbike
Car hire is best arranged via our office. Rates almost always include a driver.
Getting around Hanoi by motorbike means relentless traffic, non – existent road manners and inadequate street lighting.
Bus & Mini Bus
Hanoi has 3 main long – distance bus stations of interest to travellers. They are fairly well organized, with ticket offices, fixed prices and schedules.
– Gia Lam Bus Station
– Luong Yen Bus Station
– My Dinh Bus Station
Hanoi’s main train station is located not far from the Centre of Hoan Kiem, on the border of Ba Dinh district on Le Duan Street. The easiest way to get here is to head west on Ly Thuong Kiet, which ends right at the station.
You can book and catch trains south to Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang, HCMC and other destinations.
All of these tickets can be booked at the station or at our office.
Several reliable companies offer metered taxis. All charge fairly similar rates. Flag tall is around 15,000d, which take you 1km to 2 km; every kilometer costs around 12,000d. Some dodgy operators have high – speed meters, so use the following more reliable companies.
– Thanh Nga Taxi (04.38.215.215)
– Van Xuan Taxi (04.38.222.888)
– Mai Linh Taxi (04.38.222.666)
A few cyclo drivers still frequent the Old Quarter, and if you’re going a short distance, it’s a great way to experience the city (despite the fumes). Settle on a price first and watch out for overcharging – a common ploy when carrying two passengers is to agree on a price.
Sights & Activities
This bustling area of 36 narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. Originally each of the streets names’ related to the products being sold there.
Ho Chi Minh Complex
Completed in 1975 the complex contains Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.
Temple of Literature
This is the site of Vietnam’s first university dating back to 1070. One of its main features is the stone stele mounted on the backs of turtles inscribed with the names of the university graduates.
Museum of Ethnology
A must see for anyone intending to visit either Mai Chau or Sapa. This museum is widely acknowledged as the best in the country and has an extensive display dedicated to Vietnam‘s 54 ethnic minority peoples.
Water Puppet Show
This is a uniquely Vietnamese creation with its origins dating back nearly a thousand years. Originally these plays would have taken place on lakes and ponds during the monsoon season, depicting daily life as well as numerous tales and legends.
New Day Restaurant: 72 Ma May Street Old quarters, Hanoi, Vietnam
Bun Cha: 1 Hang Manh, Hang Quat Truc Bach, Hanoi, Vietnam
Pho Thin Noodle Soup: 13 Pho Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam
The Gourmet Corner Restaurant: 32 Lo Su Str., Old Quarter Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi (Phone: 84 439351632)
City View Café: 7 Dinh Tien Hoang St, Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi (Phone: 04 39347911)