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Hanoi POSH Travel Guide

Tree Lined Streets
Tree-lined boulevards, parks and lakes: This is Hanoi.

The capital of Vietnam is a city of lakes and tree-lined boulevards. Although the transition to a market economy was perhaps most resisted in Hanoi, it's now well under way, and the city is as vibrant as its more well trodden southern counterpart. This guide to POSH Hanoi provides an overview of what to see and do in the Vietnamese capial. For all the detail about the sights, see my complete guide to Hanoi external link at

Hanoi was founded around 1010 AD, shortly after the Vietnamese had attained independence from nearly 1,000 years of Chinese domination. The city was founded by Emperor Ly Thai Tho, who built a citadel and a surrounding walled city just northwest of the current Old Quarter. Hanoi served as Vietnam's capital until the Emperor Gia Long decided to move the capital to Hue in the nineteenth century. In 1902, the French made Hanoi the capital of French Indochina and the Viet Minh declared the city the capital of independent Vietnam in 1945.

While much damage had been done to the city during the American War, much of it has been repaired. The city still retains a number of sites dating back nearly to its founding, as well as architectural treasures from the French occupation.

Map of Central Hanoi
Map of Hanoi
Click on any sight to see more information.

The sights of Hanoi are concentrated in two main areas. The Hoan Kiem Lake external link area is the "heart" of the city, both literally and figuratively. The lake itself is a favorite gathering place for locals in the evening. On a small island at the north end of the lake is the Ngoc Son Temple, dedicated to some of the heroes of Hanoi. Near the lake is the Water Puppet Theater external link, where you can see a performance of this unique Vietnamese art form. North of the lake is the Old Quarter, full of buildings dating back to its thirteenth century founding, as well as many shops to browse.

The other area is the district south of the West Lake. Here are some modern sights, such as Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda. A few blocks further south is the Temple of Literature external link with the Fine Arts Museum external link and Craft Link Shops near-by.


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