Are you going to Vietnam and are you planning a visit to Hanoi? I say: go! Hanoi is one of the most fun cities in Vietnam and Southeast Asia altogether. Stay at least 2 full days in this city to get an idea of the atmosphere.
1. French Quarter
This is kind of the tourist area of Hanoi. Make sure you get a hostel in the French Quarter. You will find the best restaurants and bars here! Definitely use a map, it is a web of streets where you easily lose your way!
Just walking around the French Quarter is a sightseeing in itself. One of my favorite restaurants is the Green Lantern. This restaurant has different rooms with different themes where you can sit and eat. Are you in for some ice-cream then you should visit Oh La La. This is an ice-cream parlor where they make the your ice-cream on the spot with nitrogen. This is not legal in Europe as far as i know but in Vietnam it is apparantly not a problem. Anyway within a few minutes you will have your special made dessert!
2. Water puppet show
Not the most special place to visit but a fun way of getting to know the Vietnamese symbolism. In Vietnam there are 4 important animals they use for everything: the phoenix, the dragon, the unicorn and the turtle. These animals you will see in the puppet show. It is all in Vietnamese but still you will learn more about Vietnamese symbolism! The entrance fee is 100.000 VND (about €3,80/$4,40).
3. The Womens museum
A whole museum dedicated to women. You will find this museum in Hanoi and it is worth visiting. The museum is pretty big so you will need at least 3 hours to see everything! The Women’s museum is about women in Vietnam, also about the minorities in the North of the country and there is a special exhibition about the Mother of all Mothers called Mother Goddess. She is worshiped by many Vietnamese people. I found this museum to be very interesting, one of the most interesting museums i have visited in Vietnam. The entrance is only 30.000VND (about €1,10/$1,30).
4. National Museum
In this museum you will find Vietnamese excavations from different eras, basically like any other National Museum but with a lot of historical information about Vietnam! The museum is small, there are only 2 floors for the exhibitions. The entrance fee is 40.000VND.
5. Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh
The mausoleum is located to the west of the French Quarter. There is a museum, a botanical garden and the one pillar pagoda. This is a nice place to walk around. The best way to get here is by taxi. From the French Quarter it would be around 50.000VND, negotiate a price before getting into the taxi otherwise you will end up paying half more!