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Vietnam Travel Tips & Information


An enchanting mix of the old and new, Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, and commercial centre, Ho Chi Minh City, forms the two most travelled parts of the country.


Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)


Still fondly referred to as Saigon by the locals, “The Pearl of the Orient” still retains a charm reminiscent of its French-European heritage in the midst of rapid commecialisation. The city promises an endless fascination for tourists wanting to explore Vietnam’s rich 4, 000-year history.

Stroll through the streets and chance upon elegant neoclassical buldings and sidewalk vendors selling french rolls with pate; hints of a bygone era when the French ruled Vietnam. Or visit the many art galleries or antique shops if your passion is collecting art pieces on a budget.

Explore Ho Chi Minh City’s main markets, Cholon and Ben Thanh. Ben Thanh, the city’s central market has a personality that features a wonderful atmospheric mix of chaotic Oriental bazaar with orderly colonial structure. Purchase fine local lacquer ware, silks and fresh market produce.


As legend has it, Hanoi was founded in 1010 by King Ly Thai To upon sighting of an auspicious Golden Dragon rising from the sea.

Hanoi has been the capital of Vietnam since 1954. Studded with sapphire lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant parks, Hanoi also still retains many fine examples of colonial architecture and is sometimes referred to as the “Paris of the North”. History is on display at the several musuems in the city, of which the Fine Arts Museum is a must-see.


The area’s colonial-era buildings are home to many of Hanoi’s hotels, state stores and non-socialist embassies. Visit the infamous Hilton Hotel, where US prisoners of war were held. Enjoy the tranquil lakes such as Ho Tay, Hanoi’s largest lake, and Hoan Kiem Lake, a focal point of many morning activites such as Tai Chi.

Spindly streets and quaint buildings, harken the romance of 1930 French provincial towns. Include a visit to the Independence Museum, the One-Pillar Pagoda and picturesque lakes among the many charming attraction.

Hanoi: Things To See & Do

Quan Thanh Pagoda

This ornately decorated pagoda was founded in the era of the King Ly Thai To (1010-1028)

and erected as a dedication to the God Huyen Thien Tran, featuring in its midst an impressive

four-ton bronze statue of the God which cast in 1677.



Opening Hrs: 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Free of charge.


+ 8 84 829 8914 (Saigon Tourist Office)

Getting Here: Address: Thanh Nien and Pho Quanh Thanh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam.



Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

This museum features an astounding array of artefacts from all over Vietnam.



Opening Hrs: 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Tue to Sun.

Regular admission: VND20, 000, Reduced admission: VND5, 000 (college & university students) VND3, 000 (primary & secondary students), free admission

for children under 6 years of age and Vietnam’s ethnic minority members.


+84 4 756 2193 or email vme18@hn.vnn.vn

Getting Here: Address: Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi, Vietnam. Take     the #14 minibus which runs from Dinh Tien Hoang Street, north of Hoan Kiem lake,  to the Nghia Tan stop a few blocks from the Museum.


Dong Xuan Market

This large three-story market has hundreds of stalls offering a varied cornucopia of allsorts

from fresh produce to some pretty eccentric goods.



Opening Hrs: 7 a.m. onwards, daily.

Varies from one stall to another.


+ 8 84 829 8914 (Saigon Tourist Office)

Getting Here: Address: Dong Xuan and Hang Chieu Streets, Hanoi, Vietnam.



St. Joseph’s Cathedral

This historical cathedral offers a glimpse into a bygone era of the earliest days of colonial ruling.



Opening Hrs: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Free of charge.


+ 8 84 829 8914 (Saigon Tourist Office)

Getting Here: Address: Pho Nha Chung, At the end of Nha Tho, Hanoi, Vietnam.


Vietnam History Museum

This museum showcases items that mark the country’s historical developments, from prehistoric tools to dynastic thrones to a bust of Ho Chi Minh.



Opening Hrs: Tue – Sat 8 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. & 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

+84 4 8253518

Getting Here: Address: 1 Pho Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Hanoi: Events Highlights


Hanoi Hash House Harriers Family Run 1 March

An hour-long jog around town (hashing), open to locals and visitors alike; a great way to meet the locals and see the city and the surrounding countryside as it is as much a social gathering as an exercise.


Tet Festival 25 – 27 January

Vietnam’s main celebration of the New Year according to the Chinese Lunar calendar.


Lim Festival 20 February .

A festival with a patriotic atmosphere held at the Lim Pagoda celebrating the country’s much-beloved quan ho folk songs, reminding the people of their love for their country.


Perfume Pagoda           (Huong Tich) Festival 21 February

An annual festival where Buddhists flock to this famous Buddhist pilgrimage site to pray for happiness and prosperity for the new year.


Thay Pagoda Festival and Lang Festival 5 – 7 March

Twin festivals honouring the Buddhist monk To Dao Hanh, featuring water-puppet performances, traditional dragon dance and a procession along To Lich River.


Nui Ba Festival 7 March

Thousands of Buddhists and tourists flock to this mountain to worship and sightsee in an annual celebration honouring Denh, the woman of whom the mountain was named after.


Hung Temple Festival 15 April

A three-day worship festival for the Hung Kings, who were instrumental in the founding of the nation, marked by processions,

an elephant march and performances.


Ly Bat De Temple Festival 20 April

A festival honouring the reigns of the eight Ly Kings, filled with traditional activities such as human chess and cockfights.


Mid-Autumn Festival 14 September

A festival celebrating the autumn moon in the middle of the lunar year, filled with bags of fun for the children and mooncakes.


Keo Pagoda Festival October (tba)

A three-day three-night event honouring the Buddhist monk Duong Khong Lo, marked with processions, displays of weaponry, boat races and musical pageantry.

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