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Hanoi Capital

 

Area: 3,323.6 sq. km.
Population: 
6,844.1 thousand habitants (2012).
Administrative divisions: 
-12 urban districts: 
Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Dong Da, Hai Ba Trung, Tay Ho, Thanh Xuan, Cau Giay, Long Bien, Hoang Mai, Ha Dong, Nam Tu Liem, Bac Tu Liem.
1 town: Son Tay. 

17 rural districtsDong Anh, Soc Son, Thanh Tri, Tu Liem, Gia Lam (Ha Noi); Ba Vi, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Hoai Duc, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Quoc Oai, Thach That, Thanh Oai. Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa (former Ha Tay province) and Me Linh (a former district of Vinh Phuc province).

Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Muong, Tay, Dao...
Ha Noi is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the center of culture, politics, economy and trade of the whole country.

Geography
Ha Noi is located in the Red River Delta, in the center of North Viet Nam. It is encompassed by Thai Nguyen to the north, Vinh Phuc provinces to the west and south, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Hung Yen provinces to the east and south-east.

Ha Noi means "the hinterland between the rivers" (Ha: river, Noi: interior). Ha Noi's territory is washed by the Red River (the portion of the Red River embracing Ha Noi is approximately 40km long) and its tributaries, but there are some other rivers flowing through the capital, including Duong, Cau, Ca Lo, Day, Nhue, Tich, To Lich and Kim Nguu.

Climate: Ha Noi is situated in a tropical monsoon zone with two main seasons. During the dry season, which lasts from October to April, it is cold and there is very little rainfall, except from January to March, when the weather is still cold but there is some light rain. The wet season, from May to September, is hot with heavy rains and storms. The average annual temperature is 23.2°C (73.7°F) and the average annual rainfall is 1,800mm. The average temperature in winter is 17.2°C (62.9°F), but can go down to 8°C (46.4°F). The average temperature in summer is 29.2°F (84.6°F), but can reach up to 39°C (102.2°F).

History
Ha Noi is a sacred land of Viet Nam. In the 3rd century BC, Co Loa (actually belonging to Dong Anh District) was chosen as the capital of the Au Lac Nation of Thuc An Duong Vuong (the King Thuc). Ha Noi later became the core of the resistance movements against the Northern invasions. Located in the middle of the Red River Delta, the town has gradually expanded to become a very populations and rich residential center. At different periods, Ha Noi had been selected as the chief city of Viet Nam under the Northern domination.In the autumn of Canh Tuat lunar years (1010), Ly Thai To, the founder of the Ly Dynasty, decided to transfer the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La, and so he rebaptized it Thang Long (Soaring Dragon). The year 1010 then became an historical date for Ha Noi and for the whole country in general. For about a thousand years, the capital was called Thang Long, then changing to Dong Do, Dong Kinh, and finally to Ha Noi, in 1831. This sacred piece of land thereafter continued to be the theatre of many fateful events.

Tourism
Throughout the thousand years of its eventful history, marked by destruction, wars and natural calamities, Ha Noi still preserves many ancient architectural works including the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples. Famous sites include the One Pillar Pagoda (built in 1049), the Temple of Literature (built in 1070), Ha Noi Citadel, Ha Noi Opera House, President Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum...

Ha Noi also characteristically contains 18 beautiful lakes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, and Truc Bach Lake..., which are the lungs of the city, with their surrounding gardens and trees providing a vital source of energy.

Many traditional handicrafts are also practiced in Ha Noi including bronze molding, silver carving, lacquer, and embroidery. Ha Noi has many famous traditional professional handicraft villages such as Bat Trang pottery village, Ngu Xa bronze casting village, Yen Thai glossy silk...

Transportation
By road: Ha Noi is 93km from Ninh Binh, 102km from Hai Phong, 153km from Thanh Hoa, 151km from Ha Long, 474km from Dien Bien Phu, 658km from Hue, 763km from Da Nang, and 1,710km from Ho Chi Minh City.

By air: Noi Bai International Airport, over 35km from the city center, is one of the biggest airports of the country with various international and domestic routes. There are domestic flights from Ha Noi to Danang, Dien Bien, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang and international flights to many countries in over the world.

By train: Ha Noi Railway Station is Viet Nam's main railway station. It is the starting point of five railway lines leading to almost every province in Viet Nam.  

“A City of Peace” – Hanoi is worthy a center of politics, economy, culture and tourism of Vietnam – one of the most interesting and safe destinations of foreign tourists to Vietnam.

 

 The nightlife in Hanoi is an active nightlife generally divided in to two subcategories.  There are the quieter bars which are generally enjoyed by a slightly older and mellower crowd...

 The nightlife in Hanoi is an active nightlife generally divided in to two subcategories.  There are the quieter bars which are generally enjoyed by a slightly older and mellower crowd.  There may be live entertainment at these bars but it is generally played at a level which allows for conversation in the bar.  The other side of the nightlife is made up of the bustling clubs of the area, clubs which have at least one dance floor and DJ-based music or live bands playing so loud that dancing takes the place of conversation.

For those interested in the quieter bars, whether for the entire evening or just for starting out the night, the top pick is the Funky Monkey, which is active enough to draw in an all ages crowd all throughout the night but quiet enough to allow visitors to mingle with locals.  Other popular bars in Hanoi include Minh's Jazz Club, Da Gino, Emperor Pub and the Met. For those in the TayHo area try Daluva Wine and Tapas Bar which is modern and has great food all day as well, they also serve spirits and beer. Mostly Expat's at Daluva but a lot of fun !

For those travelers interested in the more active nightlife, the top pick is Apocalypse Now.  During weekdays, visitors can play free games of pool, but on weekend nights, all that takes place here is dancing, dancing, and more dancing.  This is a late night place where time can get lost because there are no windows here and the setting is designed to recreate the feel of the old bunkers of the Vietnam War.  It may not sound attractive, but this is the place where all of the trendier visitors generally go.  Other top club picks include Club Q and the Spark Club.

 

 

Hanoi bars and pubs guide

Ø  Grab a stool and a Beer Hoi

A couple of decades ago you wouldn’t have found a bar worth hanging out in around Hanoi as nobody had any money to spend. How times change. Though Hanoi’s nightlife is still not as lively as that of Ho Chi Minh City or Bangkok, there is an increasing number of places that offer a decent range of beers, wines and spirits and a cozy atmosphere

As with eating, the Old Quarter is the best hunting ground for bars, and as places are opening and closing all the time, it’s worth taking a spontaneous stroll and dropping by anywhere that looks appealing. Below we list the best places to down a few glasses and meet fellow travelers.

One aspect of Hanoi life that you should not miss out on are the bia hoi bars, which are no-frills shophouses that serve locally-made draught beer to customers sitting on tiny stools around tiny tables. The easiest spot to head for in the Old Quarter is at the junction of Ta Hian and Luong Ngoc Quyen, where all four corner stores serve the stuff. At less than 20 cents a glass, you could keep ordering up all night, and you’re unlikely to get legless as the alcohol content is very low.

All socializing should stop by midnight in Hanoi, and police are often out at the witching hour making sure the bars close punctually. After that, if you want to continue carousing, you’ll need to fork out for an expensive drink in one of the hotel bars, or splash out a cover fee to enter a hotel disco.

Ø  Recommended Hanoi bars and pubs

Funky Buddha: One of Hanoi’s hippest hang-outs, offering a dim-lit atmosphere and reasonably-priced drinks. 2 Ha Tien, (04) 3292 7614.

Cheeky Quarter: A welcoming vibe at this place with contemporary music and table football for fun. 1 Ta Hien, (090 403 2829).

Dragonfly: a hip venue featuring different events each night, such as Cuban nights on Tuesday and Laid-back nights on Sunday. 15 Hang Buom.

Green Mango: One of Hanoi’s best restaurants also has a cool lounge bar on the first floor. 18 Hang Quat, (04) 3928 9916.

Le Pub: Great location near Hoan Kiem Lake, good range of drinks and an extensive menu of eats as well. 25 Hang Be, (04) 3926 2104.

Red Beer: One for the serious beer drinker; a microbrewery serving up German and Belgian style ale. 97 Ma May.

Mao’s Red Lounge: One of the more popular bars in the Old Quarter for its cheap prices and punchy cocktails. 7 Ta Hien, (04) 3926 3104.

Funky Monkey: This two-floor combination of bar and lounge packs in the punters, especially at happy hour (4-9pm). 31 Hang Thung, (04) 3928 6113.

Hair of the Dog: This place offers a first floor lounge, second floor dancing, a shisha lounge and Sex on the Beach (that’s a cocktail), so get on down there.27 Hang Giay, (090 440 0701).

Minh’s Jazz Club: Great choice of location for an evening out, particularly for jazz lovers. Excellent music, food and booze. 31 Luong Van Can, (04) 3828 7890.

Finnegan’s: Every city seems to have its Irish Pub, and here’s Hanoi’s – the ideal spot to swap travel tales over a Guinness. 16a Duong Thanh, (04) 3828 9065.

Polite Pub: This place looks like a proper English pub, and even features live sports from the UK and elsewhere on TV. 5 Bao Khanh. (04) 3825 0959.

Legends Beer: The big attractions here are the view over Hoan Kiem Lake and the home-brewed beer. 109 Nguyen Tuan, (04) 3557 1277.

Half Man Half Noodle: This place wins the prize for the wackiest bar name, and draws in a regular crowd of expats. 62 Dao Duy Tu, (04) 3926 1943.

I-Box: Plush furnishings and elegant décor make this a neat place to hang out, particularly during happy hour (4-7pm). 32 Le Thai To, (04) 3828 8820.

Inside Bar: This inconspicuous place is one of the best bets for a late beer in Hanoi. 28 Hang Hanh, (090 320 2479).

R & R Tavern: Welcoming bar with draught beer, burgers and live music most nights. 10 Tho Nhuom, (04) 6295 8215.

Roots: Folks have been known to dance to the reggae and salsa sounds spun here, and it occasionally overruns the midnight curfew. 2 Luong Ngoc Quyen.

Angelina: Flashy hotel bar with DJs at the weekend and service till 2am nightly.Sofitel Metropole Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, (04) 3826 2618.

The Sportsman: A three-floor bar with live sports on TV, welcoming staff and filling food combos. 16 Tran Vu.

 

 

Shopping for handicrafts in Hanoi Vietnam

It’s easy to find mementoes of Hanoi to take back home both for yourself and as gifts for friends. And with prices ranging from less than a dollar to several thousand, everyone can find something to suit their pocket. You don’t have to hunt hard to find them either, as the biggest concentration of souvenir shops is in the Old Quarter, the most popular part of town for eating, sleeping and sightseeing.

One of the most popular items is the conical hat, worn by Vietnamese to shield them from the fierce sun outside but more likely to end up as a lampshade in a Western home. These are often beautifully made, and often cost less than a dollar, but you’ll need to pack it carefully (or wear it) to avoid it getting crushed in your luggage on the trip home.

Another unique souvenir is a water puppet. These quaint carvings of farmers, warriors and dancing maidens come complete with moveable limbs and in a variety of sizes. They make colourful ornaments for a living room and for most bring back happy memories of watching the puppets perform on a watery stage.

Several musical instruments are unique, such as the dan bau, a single-stringed instrument mounted on to a sounding box that produces a sound uncannily like the human voice. Such souvenirs are expensive and delicate, however, so you need to think carefully before buying one. At the other extreme, there are lots of small, ingenious instruments like local versions of a jew’s harp and castanets, that cost just a few cents.

Textiles and fabrics, particularly silk, are of high quality and with prices much cheaper than in the West, it’s tempting to buy some cloth for a suit or dress to be tailor-made, either here in Hanoi or back home. Ready-made clothes are also a good buy, particularly T-shirts which come with typical Vietnamese motifs such as the skyline of Ha Long Bay or the ubiquitous image of Ho Chi Minh.

The ao dai is instantly recognizable as the traditional Vietnamese dress that is worn by female staff in reputable organisations throughout the city. You can get one tailor-made for around $20-40, and the choice of colours and patterns is staggering. However, while this tight-fitting outfit flatters the slender Vietnamese, it doesn’t always do the same for the fuller Western figure.

Since Vietnam is famous in Western eyes for the war with the USA, many visitors hope to pick up a memento of that dramatic era, be it a dog tag, a Zippo lighter or a bullet casing. You may spot such items on sale in souvenir shops in the city, but you can also be sure that these are imitations, created to supply the demand for war memorabilia. Other unusual souvenirs are propaganda posters and buttons and badges of the Communist Party.

Recommended Hanoi shopping malls

Trang Tien Plaza: Covering around 20,000 square metres at 24 Hai Ba Trung, just near Hoan Kiem Lake, this  six-storey building has been used as a trading centre for around a century, and was designed by French architect Cluade Cuverlier. The building was undergoing renovation in early 2010 but designers say they are eager to maintain the historic feel of the place. 

Vincom City Towers: Opened in 2007 at 191 Ba Trieu, off Hai Ba Trung, this shopping centre is much more like what you’d expect to find in the West, and its space is similarly divided between designer fashions, cosmetics, home décor products, electrical appliances, as well as entertainment and eating venues. Prices are very steep as you might expect, so it’s only worth shopping here if you’re after something you can’t find elsewhere.

Recommended Hanoi markets

Cho Hang Da: located to the west of Hoan Kiem Lake off Hang Ga, this smallish market is also worth taking a look at. It features imported alcohol, ceramics, textiles and ready-made clothes and is often crowded with local shoppers.

Cho Hom: just outside the city centre at the junction of Hue and Tran Xuan Soan Roads, this market specializes in fabrics, though it also sells a dizzying variety of foodstuff and offerings for temples.

Cho Dong Xuan: this is the city’s biggest market and also one of the most convenient to visit as it is located in the Old Quarter, on Dong Xuan. Sprawling over two blocks, it is packed with every type of food you can imagine, but also sells some souvenirs such as conical hats. If you’re looking for fabrics, don’t miss the stalls upstairs where you’ll find an endless range of colours and patterns.

Cho Cua Nam: this place sees few tourists, being located some blocks north of the city’s train station. Yet if you’re in this part of town, it’s worth wandering through to see the bright, scented, tropical flowers on display.

19-12: named after the date of a key battle with the French in 1946, this small market occupies a couple of alleys that connect Hai Ba Trung and Ly Thuong Kiet. It’s limited to fruit and vegetables but is still worth visiting for the lively atmosphere and colourful scenes.

Flower market: located at the junction of Nghi Tam and Yen Phu Roads to the north of the city centre, this wholesale market specializes in flowers of all kinds. However, you’ll need to be a flower fanatic to make the most of it, as it’s at its busiest around 4:00-5:00, long before dawn. 

Night market: another convenient market is on Hang Giay in the Old Quarter, where the street is closed to traffic in the evenings. Most stalls sell souvenirs for tourists, though what’s on display is very similar to the stock in local shops.

Worship of Ancestor Custom 

Vietnamese believe that the soul of a dead person, even if dead for many generations, still rests along with their descendants on earth. The dead and living persons still have spiritual communion; in everyday life, people must not forget that what they enjoy and how they feel is the same for their dead relatives.

 

 

 

 

 

On the last day of every lunar year, an announcing cult, cung tien thuong, is performed to invite the dead forefathers to return home to celebrate Tet holidays with their families. During the last days before Tet, all family members visit their ancestors’ graves; they clean and decorate the graves, in the same manner that the livings clean and decorate their houses to welcome the New Year.

 

On the anniversary of an ancestor’s death, descendants and relatives unite and prepare a feast to worship the dead people and to ask for health and happiness for themselves. From generation to generation, ancestor worshipping customs have been religiously preserved. There are some small variations between those customs among the many Vietnamese ethnic groups, but the common theme of fidelity and gratitude towards the ancestors remains.

 

Source vietnamtourism.com
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