Nature and history have bestowed Hanoi an abundant potential for tourism development. Traveling to Hanoi is to explore and experience the exciting things about the history and people of the capital city. Here are the must-visit places to get the panoramic view of the capital city and fully experience the beauty of Hanoi:
1. Hanoi with 36 streets
Hanoi Old Quarter is often called the famous name 36 guild streets from past to present. It is near Hoan Kiem lake-the symbol of Hanoi and when you get into this area, you can the characteristic like tube houses or handicraft at each street and the pace of life of locals.
In the old quarter, it used to be the craft guilds. Each street is named by commodity such as Hang Non (hat street), Hang Chieu (mat street)… In Hanoi Old Quarter, there is a mix between modern stuff and traditional stuff which locals still remain. Both sides, there are always old houses built 18th century and some of them built by French architecture or see handicrafts like making paper masks or stamp.. Besides, you can see the dynamic, hectic life of young generation with hip hop performance or luxury cars parking on streets or Western restaurants nearby there.
The old quarter has still retained architectural style of Vietnam and Asia, forming a unique architectural complex with closely built houses and busy streets.
Many activities in the daily life of urban residents such as daily living activities, trading, manufacturing, entertainment, festivals, create the vitality to its survival and development. In the 11rd century, it became a bustling trading area with separate wards specializing in making a type of item. Therefore, until now, the old town is still called 36 guild street. Each street will start with Vietnamese letter “Hang” as Hang Bac (silver street), Hang Bong (cotton street), Hang Ga (chicken street), Hang Ma (offering street)… Nowadays, just some streets still remains the traditional items as its name.
However, when you step into old quarter, you will clearly feel the features of Hanoi with pretty small moss-covered houses hidden behind the lush green trees.
2. Hoan Kiem Lake
The next stop in your trip to have the panoramic view in Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake, which is surrounded by the streets of Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Thai To, Hang Khay, with a total length of approximately 1,800m. Because the lake water is always green so it is also called “Luc Thuy” Lake (Luc is Green and Thuy is Water).
In the 15th century, the lake was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake (Restored Sword) and the short name is Sword Lake, which derived from the legend of King Le Thai To. After defeating Minh enemy, the golden turtle emerged above the lake to ask King Le Thai To to give the sword back. After the return of the sword, the King decided to rename into Sword Lake.
Hoan Kiem Lake has two floating islands. The large islet in the North is Jade Island, with Ngoc Son Temple. In the past, when King Ly Thai To moved to Thang Long, he named this temple of Jade Statue. Under Tran Dynasty, the temple was renamed Temple of Jade Mountain to worship heroes and martyrs who sacrificed in the war against Mongols.
The current Ngoc Son Temple was built in the 19th century by the scholar Nguyen Van Sieu (1865). He restored and built Tran Ba, The Huc Bridge (Morning Sunlight Bridge), The Ink Slab held up with 3 frogs, the Pen Tower inscribed with three words “Ta Thien Thanh” (Writing on the sky).
The 2nd island nearly lies in the middle of the lake towards the south. As legend, this place is a floating mound where the ancient turtles often emerged for sun bathing, so it was called Turtle Mound. Under the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, it was the place for the king to fish.
In the colonial time of French, a tower was built in the place with the square shape of 3 floors. The first floor is largest and the next floors’ size would be gradually shrunk. The East and West sides have 3 gates, the South and North 2 gates pointed at the top. Four angles of the gate would be curled at the end and on each top of the angle has 5-arm star. The Turtle Tower is a sacred and unique symbol of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.