Hanoi is an exotically charming city. It amazes visitors with busy street life, thousands of motorbikes, beautiful blend of culture from East to West, old to new. For me, it is a perfect place to start your holiday in Vietnam for many reasons.
Here are my top choices of things you should do in Hanoi
Attend laughing Yoga for free at Hoan Kiem Lake
Every day, summer or winder, local people who live around Hoan Kiem lake come to Ly Thai To statue to enjoy the new type of Yoga : laughing yoga. This is really a unique experience.
For me, the yoga combines not the morning exercises but also give you a very positive start of the day.
Visit Temple of Literature
No visit to Hanoi is complete without seeing temple of literature, locally known as Van Mieu. This was the first university of Vietnam. I suggest you take a guided tour so you can learn more about tales and history of this prominent site.
Eat Coconut Ice Cream in West Lake
Hanoi has a long list of French delicacy and ice cream is part of it. Many people will recommend you to try Trang Tien ice cream but I think the coconut ice cream at Bao Oanh shop is a perfect treat.
The ice cream is normally stored in a coconut which means you can eat both. Another advantage of this shop is the stunning view to Truc Bach lake and West lake.
Tour Hoa Lo prison
The prison was built in 1880 under the French colony. It is known by another name ” Hanoi Hilton” , it is the place where Sen. John McCain was confined when he was captured. His flight suit can still be seen here to this day.
Hoa Lo is a famous history site to uncover some facts about Vietnam – American war.
Explore the Museum of Ethnology
Located in the south part of the city, the museum hosts varied exhibition about Vietnamese ethnicity. Personally, it is one of the most interesting museums in Asia showcasing the diversity of Vietnamese culture formed by 54 ethnics.
Book a Food Walk Tour
Undoubtedly, if you read travel guides or posts from bloggers who once visited Vietnam, you can find a list of top dishes you should try. However, the food tour is more than that.
It is about how Hanoi people develop their cuisine and where you can sample the authentic dishes made by local families from generation to another. It is not mention that you will have chance to access secret food stops.
Watch the puppet Show at Thang Long theater
If China has shadow puppet, Vietnam has grateful water puppetry. This type of art depicts the rich tradition of local peasants. It is like a small screen to see how life went on in the old days.
Thang Long theater has good ambiance, music and skillful performers. Shows starts every 30 minutes from 10.00 am till 22.30 pm.