There are a lot of interesting things about Hanoi but no matter how much you think you know about this amazing South East Asian city, i guarantee there’ll be at least one on this list that you had no idea about.
So with that said, let’s take a look at 10 things not many people know about Hanoi, Vietnam…
Hidden B-52 Wreckage: In the quiet residential neighborhood of Huu Tiep Lake, you can find the remnants of a B-52 bomber shot down during the Vietnam War. Locals have incorporated the wreckage into their daily lives, and it serves as a constant reminder of the city’s turbulent past.
The Vibrant Ceramic Mosaic Mural: Hanoi boasts the world’s largest ceramic mosaic, stretching over 4 kilometers along the Red River dike. The mural, created by numerous artists to celebrate Hanoi’s 1,000th anniversary in 2010, depicts various scenes from Vietnamese history and mythology.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral’s Hidden Twin Bell Towers: This neo-Gothic cathedral, built by the French in 1886, has two bell towers, one of which is often overlooked by visitors. The lesser-known tower houses an ancient clock mechanism that has kept time for over a century.
Long Biên Bridge’s Lesser-Known History: Designed by Gustave Eiffel, this iconic bridge was once the longest in Asia. Few people know that it also served as a critical supply line for the French during the First Indochina War, and was subsequently heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, forcing locals to rebuild it several times.
Hanoi’s Egg Coffee: A unique and delicious local treat, egg coffee consists of strong Vietnamese coffee mixed with egg yolk, condensed milk, and sugar. The result is a creamy, frothy beverage that’s both energizing and satisfying, typically served in cozy, hidden-away cafés.
The Ancient Banyan Tree of Vong Village: In Vong Village, located just outside Hanoi, you can find a 1,000-year-old banyan tree. Locals believe the tree holds sacred power and holds an annual ceremony to honor its longevity and significance in their community.
Hanoi’s Underground Bunker: Beneath the historic Reunification Park lies a hidden underground bunker built in the 1960s for Vietnamese leaders to take refuge during air raids. The bunker remains largely intact, with original furniture and equipment, offering a fascinating glimpse into the city’s Cold War history.
The 36 Streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter: Each of the 36 streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter is dedicated to a specific trade, such as silk, silver, or herbal medicine. Wander the narrow lanes to discover artisan workshops, family-owned businesses, and hidden architectural gems dating back centuries.
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: This traditional Vietnamese art form has been performed for over 1,000 years. The puppeteers stand waist-deep in water and use long rods to skillfully manipulate the wooden puppets, creating enchanting performances that depict folklore and legends.
Ghost Money Rituals: In Hanoi, it’s common to see locals burning “ghost money” made of joss paper as an offering to deceased ancestors. This ritual, which takes place on the first and fifteenth of each lunar month, is believed to ensure prosperity and good fortune for both the living and the dead.