Travel attractions Hanoi today with hanoibylocals.com: Tay Ho (West Lake) is Hanoi’s largest lake, and its shoreline stretches for 15 kilometers. Many locals come here to exercise by walking or cycling the pathway that rings the shore, but there’s also two interesting temples in the vicinity. Tay Ho Pagoda is exceedingly pretty and dedicated to the mother goddess and Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the oldest still-standing temples in Vietnam (although it has been rebuilt several times). For most travelers, West Lake is a great place to get a skyline view of new Hanoi, as well as to feast on fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants that sit close to the shore. West Lake lies off Thuy Khue Street. Find more info on Hanoi By Locals.
The Hoa Lo Prison, sarcastically coined the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs, was originally built by the French to house Vietnamese political prisoners. The North Vietnamese Army later used the prison to house prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. Well known figures such as Senator John McCain, James Stockdale and Bud Day were just a few of the many prisoners of war that spent time in this prison. Two thirds of the prison was torn down to make way for the Hanoi Towers; the rest was turned into a museum and is now a popular tourist attraction in Hanoi. In 1999 a Hilton Hotel opened in Hanoi and was carefully named the Hilton
Established in 1889, Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. It’s also known as Hanoi’s largest indoor market, offering a wide range of goods such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories and clothing, as well as electronic and household appliances. Dong Xuan Market has a bustling wet market section on the ground floor, where locals shop for seafood, meat, and vegetables while the back section sells an array of pets (cats, dogs, and fish) and fresh flowers from all across Vietnam. If you’re looking to shop for souvenirs, head to the upper levels, where you can find numerous stalls selling tee shirts, fabrics, school uniforms, handbags, handicrafts, all of which are sold at wholesale prices.
This largest urban lake is a favorite location for tourists and Hanoi residents alike. It is where the high-end homes of Hanoi’s wealthy live, and contains a large number of hotels, restaurants, and luxury shops as well. It has been a popular location for residents here for thousands of years, and is home to one of Hanoi’s four sacred temples, as well as the oldest pagoda in the city. This pagoda, dating back to the sixth century, can be found on an island in the center of the lake. Boating, sightseeing, and shopping along the boardwalk are common activities here, and well worth the trip.
A relic of French Colonial rule, right in the heart of the old town quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral (Nha Tho Street) was built in 1886 and is a fine example of neo-Gothic architectural style. The façade is intricately decorated, with two bell towers, while inside are some delicate stained glass window details. The main entrance is kept locked except for mass. At other times, you can access the interior of the church from the back through the offices for the Diocese of Hanoi. If you look up while you’re wandering, the area has plenty of vernacular shophouse architecture, where merchants would traditionally live above their shops in very long but narrow two-storey dwellings, squeezed together on the alleyway rows. See even more info on https://hanoibylocals.com/.
Hoan Kiem lake represented the spiritual heart of the city, reminds Vietnamese people of a legendary story about the name Hoan Kiem, and reminds the traditional education and the dedication of General Tran Hung Dao. Located in the middle of one of the busiest streets of Vietnam capital, Hoan Kiem Lake offers plenty of trees and shaded spots in which to escape the busy life. Legend tells that the Heaven King sent Emperor Ly Thai To a magical sword, which he used to fight against Chinese colonization and got his distinguished victory. After the war, Ly Thai To returned the magical sword to a giant turtle, which grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths of this lake to restore the sword to its original owners. Being faithful and inspired, the locals name the lake after the highlighted milestone of Vietnam history – “Ho Hoan Kiem”, which means “Lake of the Restored Sword”.