Hanoi – Where to go? P2

Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital is a really beautiful city. Its beauty stands out with ancient and pensive features, and is mixed with lasting cultural and historical marks. Hanoi is beautiful, by the beauty of its elegant people, and by the beauty of its refined spirits, etc. Let’s discover Hanoi with us.

Hanoi - Where to go? P2

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Open mornings only, 8-11am; closed on afternoons, Mondays, and Fridays. Apparently closed October-December for maintenance of the body. Admission free.) The city down south may have his name, but only Hanoi has the man himself, entombed in distinctly Lenin-esque fashion – against his wishes, but that’s how it goes. No talking, short pants, or other signs of disrespect allowed while viewing; photos are allowed only from outside, in the grand Ba Dinh Square. Purses are allowed into the tomb, but expect them to be searched by several bored soldiers along the way. Left luggage is handled in a complicated scheme: there is an office near the street for large bags, with separate windows for Vietnamese and foreigners, and a further office for cameras, which will be transported to a third office right outside the exit of the mausoleum. Items checked in at the first office, however, will stay there. Note that the mausoleum is closed for a couple months around the end of the year, when the body is taken abroad for maintenance.

Hanoi - Where to go? P2

  • One-Pillar Pagoda. Tucked away between the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum. Travelers find the One-Pillar Pagoda either charming and lovely or utterly pointless, depending on how many tour groups are crammed into the small grounds at the time of their visit. Either way, it’s free.
  • Fine Arts Museum (Bảo Tàng Mỹ Thuật), 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Only party-approved art is shown here and there is no information in English and only little in Vietnamese. But it is an interesting museum at any rate, with pieces such as the wonderful pictures of soldiers on boats depicted on prehistoric bronze drums, Buddhist art, and revolutionary art of the 20th century wars. Also some interesting silk paintings. Entry is 20,000 dong (in 2008).
  • Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu) (On Quoc Tu Giam St., south of the Mausoleum. Admission 5,000 dong.) The Temple of Literature was founded in 1070 and established as the country’s first university six years later. The courtyard features numerous stone tablets, each mounted on the back of a tortoise, with the names of graduates.
  • Army Museum (Bảo Tàng Quân Đội), Dien Bien Phu Street (Admission 20,000 dong and 5,000 dong to take pictures). Vietnam’s military history extends back some two millennia, and this museum covers it on four buildings with interested pieces. Legends on museum exhibits are in Vietnamese, French and English. On display outside are the ubiquitous MiG-21 jet fighter, T-54 tank and many bombs and articles captured on Indochina and Vietnam wars.

Hanoi - Where to go? P2

  • Museum of Ethnology, (Bao Tang Dan Toc Hoc Viet Nam) Nguyen Van Huyen St, Cau Giay district. Open every day except Monday, 8:30AM-5:30PM. Admission 25,000 dong for foreigners. It covers mainly the culture and ritual practices of the various ethnic groups in the whole of Vietnam – one of the key attractions of the museum is the open-air exhibition, which has houses of some ethnic groups, which even comes with inhabitants in costumes. The museum features actual explanations of the exhibits in Vietnamese, French and English. Accessible by bus no. 14 that starts from Hoan Kiem Lake – ask the conductor when to stop, and take a 500 m walk towards the museum (backtrack a little from the bus stop, and when you see a large street perpendicular to the street that you dropped off, take that street and walk down the street until you see the Museum of Ethnology to your left). The Museum of Ethnology is houses the excellent Chocolate and Baguettes cafe, which has excellent fare at a reasonable price – an excellent pit-stop after the museum visit.

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