10 complimentary and low-cost things to do in HANOI, Vietnam

The excitement wavered eventually. After seven cities, travel fatigue caught up. I finally was not looking forward to chasing another waterfall, trekking to another summit, or sitting on another long ride. even before I set foot in Hanoi, the eighth stop on my banana pancake trail, I had already convinced myself to not push through with the trip to Sapa and just stay in the city center. All I wanted  was a time on my own without exhausting any a lot more energy, which I was not sure where to get. All I wanted was to kick back this time. The Vietnamese capital, however, appeared to be not the place for it at first glance.

Hanoi’s streets are probably the craziest I have seen. Motorists drive without any care in the world. Honking seem to be a national sport. In the six days that I stayed in Hanoi, I had seen four traffic accidents involving motorcycles. but I did not allow any of them to drive me away. I stayed and, to my surprise, a respite wasn’t tough in any way to find. I slowly explored the city. Taking my time, I dropped any travel plan and just trusted my feet to take me anywhere they wanted. This is how I spent my six days in Hanoi and where I recommend you to go must you find yourself in this charming city.

WHAT’S covered IN THIS GUIDE?

Meet Uncle Ho at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Visit Ho Chi Minh museum and One-Pillar Pagoda
Support girl Power at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum
Watch the Thang long Water Puppets
Admire the architecture of Hanoi Opera House
The Lake of the restored Sword: Hoan Kiem Lake
Walk around West Lake
See the St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Shop at Dong Xuan night Market
Food trip at Old Quarters
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Meet Uncle Ho at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh requested that he be cremated and his ashes be scattered all over the country. but it looks like his country is still not ready to let him go. Instead, the Vietnamese government preserved his body and housed it in a enormous mausoleum. Uncle Ho, as a lot of Vietnamese call him, was a revolutionary leader and is widely regarded as the daddy of modern Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is modeled after Lenin’s in Russia
Built from 1973 to 1975, the memorial is modeled after Lenin’s Mausoleum in Russia. It is a commanding structure  in the middle of Ba Dinh Square, where he read the declaration of independence in 1945.

Admission is complimentary but policies are implemented strictly. photography is prohibited inside. tank tops and short skirts not allowed, either. Uncle Ho’s body isn’t at the mausoleum all year (as it is often sent to Russia for maintenance) so make sure you check before going.

Visit Ho Chi Minh museum and One-Pillar Pagoda

Standing next to the Mausoleum complex is the Ho Chi Minh Museum, also built in honor of Uncle Ho. It takes visitors on a trip through the history of Vietnam, with a strong focus on the country’s struggles against the French and the US-backed South Vietnam government. The museum houses over 120,000 documents, films, and artifacts about the life and work of the revolutionary leader. Surprisingly, its interior is modern and sophisticated that the storytelling becomes just as fascinating as the stories themselves.

Opening Hours: 8am to 12pm daily, 2pm-4:30pm, Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday.
Entrance Fee: VND 40,000

The Vietnamese flag waving proudly in front of Ho Chi Minh Museum
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Inside Ho Chi Minh museum: modern and artful
One-Pillar Pagoda
A gate by the One-Pillar Pagoda

Support girl Power at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Another museum that is well-worth a look is the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, highlighting the role and contributions of women in the culture, society, politics, and nation building. well established in 1987, the five-story building boasts a lot more than 25,000 pieces of papers and objects. While they stage special exhibitions, the museum has three permanent collections that await guests: women and Family, women and Society, and Women’s Fashion. Prepare to be blown away by images of the women who played significant parts during the war! a lot more about it here.

Opening Hours: Daily, 8am-5pm
Entrance Fee: VND 30,000 (USD 1.4)

Vietnamese Women’s museum in Hanoi

Watch the Thang long Water Puppets

Puppetry is an crucial art form in lots of parts of ancient Asia and Vietnam is one of them. One type in particular, water puppetry, gained popularity in the countrysides. known locally as mua roi nuoc, water puppetry was done at the end of harvest season and in religious ceremonies. In contemporary Vietnam, water puppetry lives on. The Thang long Water Puppet theater showcases the art in their nightly shows in Hanoi. through these performances, they introduce lots of aspects of the Vietnamese culture and subcultures. It’s like Vietnam culture 101 done in a wet and wooden fashion. read a lot more about my experience enjoying the show here.

Admission Ticket: VND60,000 (USD2.8), VND 100,000 (USD 4.7)
Don’t judge. They are actually a lot more complex than they look.

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