Unveiling Vietnam’s Capital: History, Must-Sees, and Local Gems

On April 25, 1976, at the first session, the 6th National Assembly passed the decision to choose Hanoi as the Capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Since then, Hanoi has continuously developed until today.

  1. Where is Vietnam capital?
  2. History of the Capital
  3. What to do in Vietnam’s capital
  4. Tourist destinations in the Capital
  5. The famous local dishes to taste
  6. Which hotels should you choose to stay?
  7. Prices for spending in this capital
  8. Evaluate safety levels for tourists
  9. Famous tourist addresses near Hanoi
  10. Airport and flights to the capital
capital of Vietnam
A famous place in the Capital of Vietnam.

1. Where is Vietnam capital?

In the geographical map, the capital of Vietnam is located in the North of the country, and northwest of the Red River Delta – the second largest and richest delta in Vietnam.

With that good location, Hanoi retains many cultural imprints of the Red River civilization, and it is one of the cradles of human wet rice civilization.

2. History of the Capital

Many historical research results show that the first group of Vietnamese migrants chose the large plain around the To Lich River (belonging to Hanoi today) to stop and establish a village. As time went by, more and more people came here to make a living.

Capital of Vietnam history

In 544, Ly Bi ascended the throne. He chose this rich land as his capital. The king built a small surrounding wall next to the To River and named it “To Lich Giang Citadel”. A center of politics and culture in Vietnam was established for the first time.

In 866, Cao Bien developed this area into a larger-scale stronghold and re-named it “Dai La”.

In 1010, King Ly Thai To (Ly Cong Uan) moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La. He built here a truly majestic citadel in both scale and architecture. Then, he named this region Thang Long with the hope that Vietnam would forever be strong and stable. This is an important historical milestone, laying the foundation for the development of Vietnam from the ancient majestic Thang Long to today’s beautiful Hanoi.

Experiencing many historical upheavals, in 1831, King Minh Mang officially changed the name of Thang Long to Hanoi. The name Hanoi means “city surrounded by rivers.” At this time, it was just one city in the country.

On September 2, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square, giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This event once again affirms Hanoi’s vital strategic position in the country.

In October 1946, during the second session, the first National Assembly decided to choose Hanoi as the capital of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

By 1975, Vietnam was completely unified. The country “Democratic Republic of Vietnam” was renamed “The Socialist Republic of Vietnam”.

On April 25, 1976, at the first session, the 6th National Assembly passed the decision to make Hanoi the Capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Since then, Hanoi City has continuously developed until today.

vietnam capital nowadays
Daily life in the capital of Vietnam nowadays.

3. What to do in Vietnam’s capital?

As the cultural, economic, and political center of the country, Hanoi City, with its rich history of development, certainly gives you lots of exciting experiences. There are many fun activities for you to do, such as:

  • Visit and learn about culture at tourist destinations in Hanoi
  • Enjoy local food in Hanoi
  • Walk around and admire the scenery of Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Watch traditional art performances
  • Explore Hanoi’s 36 old streets
  • Experience culture at markets and shopping
coffee at railway hanoi
Many guests like to experience a cup of coffee at railways in Hanoi.

>> See more details at: Interesting activities to do in Hanoi.

4. Well-known tourist destinations in the Capital of Vietnam

The famous addresses that you should take time to visit and learn about history and culture when coming to Hanoi:

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, address: No. 2 Hung Vuong Street, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.
  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel, address: No. 19C Hoang Dieu Street, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.
  • One Pillar Pagoda, address: Doi Can ward, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi.
  • Quan Thanh Temple, address: No. 190 Quan Thanh Street, Quan Thanh Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake, address: Hang Trong ward, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
  • Long Bien Bridge, address: in Long Bien district, connecting Long Bien and Hoan Kiem districts, Hanoi.
  • Hanoi Opera House, address: No. 1 Trang Tien Street, Trang Tien Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
  • Train street, address: connecting Le Duan, Tran Phu, Cua Dong, and Phung Hung streets, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
  • Dong Xuan Market, address: located in Hanoi Old Quarter, Dong Xuan ward, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
  • Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, address: No. 01 Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi. You may want to check the famous museum in Hanoi to explore.
  • Temple of Literature, address No. 58, Quoc Tu Giam street, Van Mieu ward, Dong Da district, Hanoi.
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda, address: No. 46 Thanh Nien Street, Yen Phu Ward, Tay Ho District, Hanoi.
tran quoc pagoda in vietnam capital
Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of famous tourist destinations in this capital.

5. The famous local dishes to taste

It would be an unfortunate omission to come to Hanoi and not enjoy the famous delicious dishes here. With a thousand-year history of civilization, Vietnam’s capital has the opportunity to converge the unique culinary culture from all regions of the country. 

Here are the top famous dishes that you should try:

  • Noodle soup – Pho
  • Bun cha Hanoi
  • Hot rice spring rolls
  • Egg coffee
  • Cha Ca La Vong
  • Bread
  • Snail
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Cereal (banh com)
  • Donuts
bun cha hanoi
Bun Cha Hanoi is tasty to try.

6. Which hotels should you choose to stay in this Capital?

Hanoi Old Quarter, located in Hoan Kiem district, owns the most cultural relics and tourist activities. This is also the central area of the capital. Therefore, for convenience, you can choose to stay in the Old Quarter. In addition, you can consider accommodations in neighboring districts, such as Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung, and West Lake (Tay Ho).

Please check the hotels suggested here:

7. Prices for hotels, restaurants, and shopping in this capital

Hanoi is considered to have the highest cost of living in the country. Therefore, prices for hotels, meals, and other expenses in this city will be slightly higher than in other areas, but not a big difference.

The price for a night stay at a 3-star hotel in Hanoi will range from 25USD to 50USD. This price is not much different from Ho Chi Minh City. With homestays, room prices in Hanoi are almost not higher than in other cities in Vietnam.

In the field of dining, the prices here are equivalent to Ho Chi Minh City, but about 20% – 30% higher than tourist destinations in Central Vietnam. Depending on your choice, the cost of dining will vary.

With the affordable segment, you can get a delicious bowl of pho for around 50,000 VND. The Vietnamese snacks here are affordable for almost all tourists to try.

tasty hanoi pho
Hanoi Pho is a tasty local food.

In the high-end restaurant segment, prices on the menu will depend on restaurant size, food quality, or service style. The fluctuation range can be from 100,000 VND/ 1 dish to over several million VND.

Shopping in this capital is also quite an interesting activity for you. Exquisite traditional gifts such as silk scarves, lacquerware, art paintings, fine art stones, or beautiful small Vietnamese souvenirs are always chosen by tourists when traveling to Hanoi.

Most of these gifts are local handicrafts, so the prices are fair to international visitors. However, you can still try the bargaining experience by giving the price you want for the item you choose. Who knows, you may get an additional 10 or 20% discount compared to the price initially offered by the seller.

In short, the cost of activities for tourists in the Vietnamese capital is not too high compared to the common level in major cities across the country. Hanoi is one of the most attractive but economical tourist cities in Southeast Asia that you should experience.

>> Read more: How much money to carry to Vietnam?

hanoi flower seller
You, sometimes, can see colorful flowers on bicycles in Hanoi.

8. Evaluate safety levels for tourists

Vietnam’s capital is always considered a safe tourist city for travelers. Hanoi people are friendly, hospitable, and polite. You can find welcome or help everywhere.

Any illegal activity that affects the safety of tourists is seriously investigated and satisfactorily resolved by the local authorities.

The Hanoi Department of Tourism also provides a hotline number for tourists to promptly report when they meet any issues that affect their trip here.

Hotline number: 1800556896. Save this number to call whenever you need it during your exploration.

You can also contact Vietnamdrive anytime via phone and WhatsApp at +84934 889 667 for free travel support.

9. Famous tourist addresses near Hanoi

Hanoi is not only an exciting tourist destination in Vietnam but also a transit center to travel to famous places in the North of the country, such as Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Tam Dao, Perfume Pagoda, and National Park Cuc Phuong, and Duong Lam Ancient Village.

ninh binh landscape
Beautiful landscape in Ninh Binh becomes an attractive place near Hanoi to visit.

10. Airport and flights to the capital

Located about 30km from the center of Hanoi, Noi Bai International Airport is one of the main gateways for international tourists to this city. Currently, this is the most modern airport in Vietnam and the second largest after Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

On average, about 600 flights are taking off and landing at Noi Bai airport every day. Of these, about 200 international flights are arriving and departing. This is an advantage for the capital to become a key tourist destination of Vietnam.

That also shows that moving to Vietnam’s capital is easy, and many flights from various airlines in Vietnam can take you to Hanoi.

Please choose the most suitable flight for yourself and come to the beautiful Capital of Vietnam. A wonderful vacation is waiting for you here. The local people always welcome you.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.