Our charming capital Hanoi has aged well of over a thousand years. It’s a rapidly-growing, decidedly proud city, a place of more than 600 pagodas and dynastic temples, tamarisk-edged lakes, parks and elegant tree-lined boulevards of French-era villas, of national monuments and stately government edifices. Hanoi may have shrugged off several former names, including Thang Long, or "ascending dragon," but it hasn't forgotten its past, as sites such as Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Hoa Lo Prison attest. Here among sights tourist can browse busy markets, sip coffee at quaint cafes and visit prominent sites like the Grand Opera House, the Presidential Palace and Saint Joseph Cathedral add to the appeal of this city, which is easily explored by taxi.
Natural & Conditons
Covering an area of more than 918 square kilometers, Hanoi comprises two different topographical features: the delta and the Middle Region of the North. Most of the deltaic land lies on both sides of the Red River and its tributaries. Hanoi topography has an inclination in the direction North - South
Many rivers flow through Hanoi. The first, is the 1,183km long Red River flowing from its source in China’s Yunnan. The section flowing through Hanoi is 40km long and the Đuong, the second largest river in Hanoi. Besides these two rivers, Hanoi has many other waterways, which, although smaller and shorter, are connected with the long-standing history of Hanoi. For instance, the To Lich River has been linked to the development of Hanoi for 1,500 years, its junction with the Red River (at the beginning of Cho Gao Street) being filled in at the end of the last century.
In Hanoi region, pounds & lakes are also numerous, the largest one is West Lake and many small ones such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Thu Le Lake, Kim Lien Lake… giving more picturesqueness to the configuration of Thang Long.
Hanoi region, lying in a plain, far from sea, belongs to the hot climatic zone under the influence of the South and Northeast monsoons. Winter is cold and dry and from February to March, drizzles and the Northeast monsoon are frequent. It is hot from April to June, but from July to September, there are heavy rains and floods followed by Autumn which is the most beautiful season in Hanoi. Annual average rainfall in Hanoi is 1,678 mm. Temperature in January is 160C, in June 280C (sometimes reaching 360 - 380C). This gives an annual temperature variation from 80C to 400C.
From Hanoi, we can reach every part of the country thanks to a convenient communication system. You can fly from Noi Bai International Airport or Gia Lam airport, which was the principal airport of Hanoi before 1970, now being used for tourist helicopter flights to place of scenic beauty. Hanoi is also a railway junction for both domestic and international lines with routes to Beijing (China) and Europe... It is also a point where land and shipping routes converge. It is said, "all roads lead to Hanoi".
Hanoi has enjoyed many favorable conditions since long ago, since the day when King Ly Thai To decided to transfer his capital from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh) to Dai La which became the capital Thang Long in the month of July of the Year Canh Tuat (1010), by Royal Edict on the transfer of the capital. So, Ly Thai To was both the founder of the Ly Dynasty (1010 -1225) and that of Thang Long - Hanoi. Through the reign of Ly, Tran, Le, Mac, Thang Long was the cultural, educational, and commercial center of whole North Vietnam. When Tay Son and Nguyen Dynasty came to power, the capital was moved to Hue; and Thang Long started its new name. Down the centuries, Hanoi has been called many names, including Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital), from which the Europeans derived the name they eventually applied to all of northern Vietnam – Tonkin. The city was named Hanoi (The City in a Bend of the River) by Emperor Tu Duc in 1831. From 1902 to 1953, Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina was re-constructed and re-planned by the French. Over 2 wars defending the country, Hanoi has become the capital of the North, then unified Vietnam country, and kept its role until now.
People – Language
According to the latest statistics, the population in Hanoi is about 6.2 million people. The population is primarily the ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh) accounting for 99.1%; other ethnic groups: Dao, Muong, Tay accounting for 0.9%. Vietnamese is commonly used in almost fields in the region. Also, based on the statistics in 2006, urban residents accounted for 41.1% and the proportion of rural residents was 58.1%. The average population density in Hanoi today is 1,875 people per km2, the number of agricultural population is about 2.5 million people.
Area: 3,324.92 km².
- 10 Districts: Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Tay Ho, Thanh Xuan, Cau Giay, Long Bien, Hoang Mai, Ha Đong.
- 1 town: Son Tay.
- 18 districts: Ðong Anh, Soc Son, Thanh Tri, Tu Liem, Gia Lam, Ba Vi, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Hoai Đuc, My Đuc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Thach That, Thanh Oai, Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa, and Me Linh (from Vinh Phuc).
Hanoi is the capital of Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Since the days of old, whenever thinking of Hanoi’s culture, people have been of the same opinion that Hanoi is a land of civilization of refined culture and of, elegant manners.
There is a great number of libraries, theaters, together with historical relics, beautiful landscapes concentrating in the city. Hanoi also owns a large part of historical museum such as Vietnam Military History Museum, Vietnam history Museum…In total, Hanoi retains more than 10 museums, compared with the number of nearly 120 in Vietnam.
Hanoi has its own particularities, the initial Hanoi’s famous cultural thing is a series of traditional handicraft villages, such as Bat Trang ceramic and pottery village, Hang Bac silver-making street, Ngu Xa bronze-making, Phu Do noodle-making, Yen Phu incense, and Ngoc Ha flower, and Dong Ho picture villages. All of them have existed for centuries, and are still famous for 99% hand-made and 100% nature-originated products.
Besides, Hanoians are extremely good at making and tasting food. They have so many delicacies, for example, Banh cuon (steamed rice roll), Cha ca La Vong (La Vong grilled fish), Pho (noodle) with chicken or beef, Nem (spring roll), and so on. it can be said that this is the most attractive thing for foreigners to come and feel a “special Hanoi through Hanoi specialties”.
Adding more to Hanoi's culture, kinds of arts play very impotant role. Hanoi’s famous culture also lies in Folk performances, which are Water Puppet, Cheo, Tuong and A Dao… (a traditional kind of music performances).
Tet Nguyen Dan - 'Tet'
The major event in Hanoi which is enjoyed by both locals and tourists each year is the Tet Nguyen Dan, simply called The Tet by most people. This celebration takes place at the beginning of January or the end of February, marking the beginning of the New Year by the lunar calendar. It is a multi-day celebration which focuses on the gathering of family and friends but also includes much entertainment and festivities.
Other important holidays in Hanoi
There also are several other important festivals in Vietnam, influenced by the rich culture from the various ethnic groups in Vietnam. The exact data of the festivals are different every year. This depends on the position of the moon. Check out the below details to see some of the most important festivals that are being celebrated in Hanoi.
* Co Loa Festival is a parade through several locations in Hanoi and includes interesting sights such as wrestling and cockfighting. This usually takes place in Februrary.
* Keo Pagoda Festival, taking place in autumn, is a three day festival with music, boat races and other activities.
* Le Mat Festival is a parade on the water which occurs early each spring.
* Mid-autumn festival is a street fair geared towards children but enjoyed by all.
It should be noted that most festivals begin on the evening of the date which is listed as their start date and continue on for several days beyond that date.
Within Hanoi, there are a number of historical and beautiful places to get by. Mentioning about Hanoi, what comes first to tourists’ mind is the ever first historical University of the capital and also the nation - The Literature Temple (Van Mieu), which is also the place to worship Confucius, setting doctor steles. Youngsters and youth always come here to pray for success by touching the rock tortoises’ head before any examinations, cause it is believed to be very sacred.
Hanoi has been the Buddhism center for centuries, it is not surprising that there are about 600 temples and pagodas in Hanoi. For Buddhist tourists, among many great pagodas, Tran Quoc Pagoda should be the first to pay a visit. It is not only the oldest one among those 600, (6 century years old), but also one of the most gorgeous and sacred. The second that is worth visiting is Mot Cot Pagoda (One-Pillar pagoda), another symbol of the capital. Its special architecture is similar to a lotus on the top of water.
Located near the two symbolic pagodas and right in the middle of the capital it is the historical Lake – Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of Returned Sword), and Ngoc Son Temple with 100% natural beauty. Related to the Lake, Vietnam has a classic story telling about King Le Loi after winning over Minh invader, returned the magic Sword to the Tortoise down in the Lake. Since then, the Lake was named “Hoan Kiem”. It is more surprising that up to now, the historical Tortoise still sometimes appear up the Lake surface for a moment.
As for Catholics coming to Hanoi, there are also great Churches to come for praying and/or visiting. From 19th century, many Catholic churches were built in here. The biggest one is Cathedral. And Cua Bac church is a beautiful original typical French architect.
As you may have found out, Hanoi is more an antique and peaceful city than a modern one. This might be seen quite clearly when you take a walk around the 36 Old Quarter. This is a typical characteristic of Hanoi with small old streets, tube houses which still remain their shape from 19th century. Additionally, the beauty of Hanoi in the past is also found in the ancient citadel, right nearby.
Historical places that worth to pay a visit cannot be without Ba Dinh Square, the political area where President Ho Chi Minh read the Independent Declaration on the September 2nd, 1945. As famous as this is the House of Parliament, Presidential Palace, President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, etc.
To know more about Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular, both in terms of history, tourists should spend one or two days on visiting the nation’s Ethnology, Military, History, Ho Chi Minh,... museums. These will open a huge detailed picture of this antique and beautiful historical city.
Hanoi day tours
Tours in and around Hanoi city are available at all duration and price levels from different travel classes, in which one day or half a day tours from Hanoi are most popular among tourists thanks to its low prices and flexible time arrangements. Hanoi is a mix of busy modern life and sustainable values preserved for generations. As such, this capital city has become extremely attractive to tourists especially with Culture and History tours.