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Updated by Fritzjames Stephen on Oct 31, 2014
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Seven Must-See Sights in Hanoi

Littered with engaging attractions the Vietnamese capital is an emerging Asian Mecca for travellers the world over. From scenic lakes to historic quarters here are the city's top 7 points of interest.

1

Old Quarter

Old Quarter

Tipped to be one of Hanoi's true cultural and commercial hotspots the Old Quarter contains the original design and architectural remnants of ancient Hanoi. At the turn of the 20th century Hanoi was made up of nearly 36 streets that are now considered the Old Quarter. Littered with old fashioned shop houses the thoroughfares down the Old Quarter contain specialty stores selling everything from jewellery to exquisite silks. Famed for its collection of quaint artisan goods the locale is also a food lover's dream come true as the best of Vietnamese cuisine can be enjoyed at Old Quarter eateries.

2

The Water Puppet Theatre

The Water Puppet Theatre

As a lesser known variation of Asia's traditional puppet traditions water puppetry performances are some of the most intriguing cultural highlights of a visit to Hanoi. Originating in the Red River Delta villages of the country in the 11th century this engaging performance art form uses wooden, lacquered puppets to convey folk stories in a backdrop that features a medium depth pool of water. During performances the puppets appear to be moving atop the water as audiences enjoy traditional tales and historic events relayed through this colourful and conventional medium.

3

West Lake

West Lake

Also known as Ho Tay Lake, Hanoi's West Lake occupies the north-western quarter of the city. A popular stopover for visitors and locals with a love of nature the large body of water is associated with many a local legend. The most well-known myth among these tells the story of a giant physician who built a giant black copper bell from the coal gifted to him by the Chinese emperor in gratitude for curing his illness. A golden buffalo kept within the Chinese emperor's vault is believed to have come to life and pranced across to Vietnam at the bell's ring. The creatures hurried footsteps are believed to have created a crevice near the Red River which later transformed in to the West Lake over time.

4

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Celebrating the cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups occupying Vietnam the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology focuses on the legacy of the 54 officially identified ethnic communities inhabiting the country. Located in Hanoi's Cau Giay District a mere 8km from the heart of the city this 3.3 acre attraction was founded in 1987.

5

Hanoi night market

Hanoi night market

Sprawled across Dong Xuan Market all the way to Hang Dao Street Hanoi's premier night market is a hotbed of activity on weekends. Selling everything from clothing, toys, sweets, stationary, dried fruit and other fresh produce and grocery items this bustling evening thoroughfare offers bargains galore for shopaholics.

6

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake

Also called the Lake of the Restored Sword, this scenic hotspot in Hanoi lies at the historic heart of the city. A popular venue for picnics and evening walks the tranquil and relaxed atmosphere of the locale makes it a favourite haunt for locals as well as tourists. Visitors staying in Hanoi business accommodation hubs such as the Somerset Hoa Binh Hanoi will be within close proximity of the lake and its recreational spaces.

7

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

As a fitting tribute to the iconic Vietnamese president that was responsible for the country's current development and progress the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum occupies pride of place in the middle of Ba Ðình Square. Located in the venue in which the visionary leader delivered his Declaration of Independence speech back in 1945 this sombre landmark simultaneously marks the nation's rebirth as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam after the decades long conflict.