Besides being the capital city of Vietnam, it’s also one of the most visited and attractive cities in the north of Vietnam. If Hanoi isn’t in your itinerary yet, you should add it to your list of places to go to in Vietnam. The city has tried to retain traditional Vietnamese culture and you will therefore get a sense of a more authentic vibe here. There’s plenty of things to keep you occupied here as well, such as museums, souvenir shopping, markets, malls, night markets, etc. But besides that, there’s some very interesting facts about Hanoi that might make you even more intrigued to come here.
1. Long Bien Bridge was designed by the creator of the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, Alexandre Gustav Eiffel
This beautiful bridge in Hanoi connects Hoan Kiem and Long Bien, and was designed by none other than Alexandre Gustav Eiffel. It was built in 1903 and was then named the “Doumer Bridge” until 1954. It’s one of the main sights to see when you’re in Hanoi, although a bit further away situated from the Old Quarter. The bridge is still in use today and remains the historical symbol of the capital city that has witnessed the wars of Vietnam. It is a symbol of cultural heritage, longevity and beauty for the locals.
2. The Hoan Kiem Lake has lots of hidden tortoises
The color of the lake is far from crystal clear – it’s in fact greenish, which makes it impossible to see what’s beneath the lake. But what makes it special is that it’s a lake full of tortoises. But because of the color of the lake, it’s not always easy to spot them. The animals are considered sacred in Vietnam and therefore the Hoan Kiem Lake has become a holy place.
3. The meaning behind the name “Hanoi”
Hanoi literally means “city inside rivers” because the city is built on lowlands between rivers. There’s plenty of lakes here and amongst the most popular ones are Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, Truc Bach Lake, Ho Thien Quang Lake and Thu Le Lake. The locals refer Hanoi as the “city of lakes” so if you hear this, you’ll know it’s Hanoi they are talking about.
4. There are more than 5 million motorbikes
One of the things that shocks people the most when they go to Hanoi is the huge amount of motorbikes everywhere. Owning a car is a luxury and the streets of Hanoi are small, so it makes sense to either own a bicycle or a motorbike. There’s barely any traffic lights here either so you just have to cross the roads slowly and remember to not stop in the middle of the road. The drivers are skilled and used to people crossing all the time, but you’ll just hinder traffic if you stop midways. Don’t be surprised if you see entire families in one motorbike carrying groceries, animals or stacked up boxes either – it’s normal.
5. The Temple of Literature on the the 100,000 VND note
If you look at the 100,000 VND note, you’ll discover that the Temple of Literature is on it. The temple was built in 1070 dedicated to scholars, sages and Confucius. Nowadays it’s one of the most visited sites in Hanoi and is a symbol of literature. You will discover historic buildings from the Tran and Ly dynasties inside as well as five courtyards, gardens, ponds and a huge statue of Confucius.
6. Ho Chi Minh’s body is preserved and exhibited at the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi
Although Ho Chi Minh wished to be cremated after his death, his body was preserved and is now in the mausoleum in Hanoi. The mausoleum itself is a very interesting place to go to, where you’ll get to learn more about his life and what he did for Vietnam and its people. Make sure to go here early though, since it’s one of the most popular places to visit in Hanoi. It can get quite crowded, so if you want to wander around here without the crowd, make sure to go as soon as it opens the doors.
If you enjoyed the interesting facts about Hanoi and you’ve decided to travel here, make sure that you get a Vietnam visa first. You have three options, depending on where you are from: Visa on Arrival, E-Visa or go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.