7 Hidden Gems Of Hanoi, Vietnam: Exploring Uncharted And Overlooked Wonders Of The City
Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, is a popular destination for travelers seeking to explore its rich history, diverse culture and mouth-watering street food. While famous landmarks such as the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Old Quarter draw the majority of tourists, the city also offers a plethora of lesser-known attractions that remain off the beaten path.
So let’s have a look at some of Hanoi’s hidden gems, providing insights into their history and significance, and offers compelling reasons for travelers to explore these lesser-known wonders.
Nghia Do Park
Nghia Do Park, located in the Cau Giay district, offers visitors a serene escape from the city’s bustling streets. This spacious park, complete with lush greenery, walking paths, and a large pond, is a popular spot for locals seeking recreation and relaxation. The park also features an impressive outdoor fitness area with an array of exercise equipment catering to various age groups.
While Nghia Do Park may not have a long history, it plays a crucial role in the lives of Hanoi residents as a space for physical activity and social interaction. Travelers visiting the park can witness a slice of local life, observe traditional activities like tai chi and badminton, and engage with friendly locals.
Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural
Stretching along the Red River’s dyke, the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is a lesser-known yet stunning work of art that often goes unnoticed by tourists. Spanning approximately four kilometers, the mural was created to celebrate Hanoi’s 1,000-year anniversary in 2010.
The project, led by Vietnamese artist Nguyen Thu Thuy, involved local and international artists and received recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest ceramic mosaic.
The mural depicts scenes from Vietnamese history and culture, with vibrant ceramic pieces sourced from the traditional ceramic village of Bat Trang. The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural offers visitors a unique perspective on the city’s history and artistic heritage, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts and those interested in exploring Hanoi’s hidden attractions.
Voi Phoc Temple
Located in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh district, Voi Phoc Temple is a small, unassuming temple that often goes unnoticed by tourists. The temple, whose name translates to “Kneeling Elephant,” was built in the 11th century during the reign of King Lý Thái Tông to honor Linh Lang, a revered guardian deity. According to legend, Linh Lang transformed himself into an elephant to help the king defeat invading forces.
The temple, set amidst a tranquil garden, features a statue of a kneeling elephant, symbolizing Linh Lang’s legendary act of bravery. Visitors to the temple can experience the serene atmosphere, admire its architectural details, and learn about an essential figure in Vietnamese history and mythology.
The Vietnam National Museum Of History
Although the Vietnam National Museum of History is located near the popular Hoan Kiem district, it is often overlooked by tourists. The museum, housed in an elegant French colonial building, offers an extensive collection of artifacts, spanning prehistoric times to the present day. With over 200,000 items on display, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Vietnam’s rich history and cultural heritage.
The museum’s highlights include ancient ceramics, bronze drums, Champa sandstone sculptures, and artifacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. The Vietnam National Museum of History is an essential destination for history buffs and those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s complex past.
Long Biên Bridge
While Long Biên Bridge may not be as famous as some of Hanoi’s other landmarks, it holds historical and architectural significance. Designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel, the same engineer responsible for the Eiffel Tower, the bridge was completed in 1902 and served as a vital transportation link during the French colonial period.
The bridge, spanning over 1.6 kilometers across the Red River, was heavily damaged during the Vietnam War and has since been partially restored. Today, the bridge is a symbol of Hanoi’s resilience and a testament to its tumultuous history. Travelers can walk or bike across Long Biên Bridge, taking in panoramic views of the city and the Red River, and gain a unique perspective on Hanoi’s past and present.
Ba Vi National Park
Located approximately 60 kilometers west of Hanoi, Ba Vi National Park is an often-overlooked natural haven that offers a welcome respite from the city’s chaos. The park, spanning over 10,000 hectares, boasts lush forests, diverse flora and fauna, and picturesque landscapes. The park’s highest peak, Mount Ba Vi, stands at 1,296 meters, providing stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Ba Vi National Park is also home to several historical sites, including temples, pagodas and remnants of French colonial architecture but the most famous attraction is the Temple of the Tan Vien Mountain God, which requires a hike up a steep path lined with over 1,000 stone steps.
A visit to Ba Vi National Park allows travelers to immerse themselves in Vietnam’s natural beauty and explore lesser-known historical sites.
Phú Dien Market
Phú Dien Market, situated in Hanoi’s Bac Tu Liem district, offers an authentic and untamed glimpse into the city’s local market culture. The market is a vibrant and bustling hub of activity, where vendors sell fresh produce, meat, seafood, spices, and household items. Unlike tourist-oriented markets, Phú Dien Market provides a genuine experience of Hanoi’s daily life, free from the influence of commercial tourism.
Visiting Phú Dien Market allows travelers to engage with friendly locals, sample an array of traditional Vietnamese dishes, and witness the city’s market culture in its purest form. This lesser-known attraction offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the heart and soul of Hanoi.
Hanoi’s lesser-known attractions provide unique insights into the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty that are often missed by tourists. These hidden gems offer travelers the chance to explore Hanoi’s uncharted wonders, creating unforgettable experiences and memories. By venturing off the beaten path, visitors can gain a more profound understanding of Hanoi’s identity and its people’s way of life.