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Hanoi Where to Go

Hanoi Nightlife Old Quarter| Hanoi Night Life Tips| Best Night Clubs

Beside being one of the most ancient capitals in the world, when it comes to nightlife, Hanoi certainly has a reputation. Hanoi Nightlife is definitely is the most boisterous, especially in the Old Quarter. When the sun goes down, there’s always something to do whether it is joining some street activities or partying in the best night clubs in Hanoi,…

In this article, as the locals, we will provide you some Hanoi Night life tips you must know to make your trip in Hanoi fulfilled and perfect.

The activities will be broken down into 2 main parts for you to choose:

  1. Street Activities: For anyone who likes to join activities with local people
  2. Night Bars and Clubs: For those stylish party-goers out there want to have a really fun night out in Hanoi.

Let’s get started with the Street Activities first!

Street Activities in Hanoi Nightlife

1. The Walking Street

Don’t want to stay in one place? We have another option for you: Take a walk on the Walking Street.

The Walking Street is actually a 7km street that combines of 26 streets located around Hoan Kiem Lake. It only opens on the weekend, from Friday nights to Sunday nights.

In the Walking Street, all kinds of transportation are prohibited, you can only walk.

Walking along the street will take you several hours because there are so many activities to join. You can stop by to join some Vietnamese traditional games, enjoy some street art performances or simply walk around and immerse in the atmosphere.

People joining a traditional game in The Walking Street
People joining a traditional game in The Walking Street

Before going for a walk on walking street in the evening, why don’t you try some Hanoi Street Food Tours  to get energy for an exciting night?

2. Night Market

Got presents for family and friends at home?

No? Then you must go to the Night Market to grab some.

Same with the Walking Street, Hanoi night market is held from 18pm to 23pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

People buying stuffs in Night market
People buying stuffs in Night market

The open-air market runs through the Old Quarter, starting from Hang Dao Street to Dong Xuan Market. There are all kinds of products you can find here, from clothes, bags, accessories,… to household items, souvenirs, home decoration.

Address: Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, Hang Duong Street.

3. Ta Hien – Beer Street

You definitely cannot miss traditional Hanoi beers, it’s one of the best.

Want to grab some? Go to Ta Hien Street.

Nightlife in Hanoi Old Quarter – Ta Hien Beer Street
Nightlife in Hanoi Old Quarter – Ta Hien Beer Street

Also called the “International Crossroads”, Ta Hien Street is one of the most popular places for tourists in Hanoi. Always full of people, here sells delicious beers with great price.

Nowhere else can you see and experience the vibrant nightlife of Hanoi than in Ta Hien Street. Here you will be joined with many other local young people and tourists all over the world and might even gain some new friends afterward.

It’s definitely worth a try!

Opening Hours: Daily to late night

Address: Ta Hien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Would you like to go to throw a party? Then, this will be your favorite part. Just keep reading and find you suitable Hanoi Nightlife.

Now let’s move on to what party-lovers have been longing for: some of the best nightclubs in Hanoi.

Bars and Clubs in Hanoi Night life

1. Dragonfly Bar Lounge

Dragonfly Bar and Lounge is a very chilled out place that attracts both Vietnamese young people and foreigners come to dance and have fun.

The Bar plays a variety of music ranging from hip-hop to party pop music. There’s also a shisha lounge, pool tables, and big-screen TVs airing the latest sports events.

Opening Hours: 8a.m to Midnight

Address: 15 Hang Buom Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

2. Infinity Club Hanoi

Infinity Club is a favourite club of the locals. This is where the city’s stylish party-goers gather for a fun night out.

Infinity Club is a favorite place for the locals
Infinity Club is a favorite place for the locals

Located in Hang Bai Street, Infinity Club is only 10-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake. With a spacious dance floor, impressive lighting, reasonable price alcohol, not to mention having its own local DJs, Infinity Club is worth to pay a visit if you are planning to have some really good time in Hanoi.

Opening Hours: Everyday, from 9p.m to Midnight

Address: 45 Hang Bai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

3. Funky B

Compared to many other bars in the Old Quarter, Funky B has fairly large area with 2 different spaces. The outside space looks like an ordinary pub. However, the inside space is impressive with bird- cage shape wine cabinets.

The Outside space of Funky B looks like ordinary Pub The inside space of Funky B with bird-cage shape wine cabinets

The Bar has its own local DJs and also holds monthly performances by international DJs. They have all types of trending music, from Electronic Deep House, Funky House Electronic to Progressive House Funky,…

Opening hours: Everyday, from 9p.m to Midnight

Address: 2 Ta Hien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

4. King Pirates Pub

King Pirates Pub is a brilliant little pub hidden in the back streets of the old quarter. The Pub’s concept was inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean film series and everything in the Pub is designed and related to the Pirates’ themes.

The Pub is inspired by Pirates’ themes
The Pub is inspired by Pirates’ themes

The majority of customers here are foreign tourists. This small yet charming Pub serves a satisfying selection of rum drinks, local beers, and wines with reasonable price.

Customers are drinking Rum drinks
Customers are drinking Rum drinks

This Pub is praised for its friendly atmosphere and great customer services. The 2 owners are superb and very chatty.

So are you ready to “walk the plank”???

Opening hours: Every day, from 10a.m to Midnight

Address: 24B Hang Giay Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Although the list is still long, we have recommended you best things to do for your amazing trip to Hanoi. And don’t forget to enjoy the Hanoi Nightlife Old Quarter.


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Hanoi Where to Go

Hanoi Art Galleries – Top 10 Art Galleries in Hanoi

Are you curious about art in Hanoi?

Explore Hanoi Art Galleries and vibrant local culture with Hanoi Free Local Tours.

Here is original guide to your journey to learn about Vietnamese art with top 10 Hanoi Art Galleries including Hanoi art museum, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Art Cafe and Public Art destinations…

To know more about Art Gallery you can see on wikipedia Art Museum

Hanoi Art Gallery shows interesting local art for both locals and tourists
Hanoi Art Gallery shows interesting local art for both locals and tourists

Hanoi is the center of Vietnamese politics and economy, it is also the heart of local culture and contemporary art. The city has a vast amount of multi-faceted and unique galleries, which are scattered across the city. 

Here is top 10 highly-recommended Hanoi Art Galleries that reveal our local and special culture!

TOP 10 Hanoi Art Galleries

Here is top 10 highly-recommended Hanoi Art Galleries that reveal our local and special culture!

1. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is top 1 must-visit Hanoi art galleries in Hanoi for both locals and tourists to come, then learn about entire history of Vietnam fine arts.

Foreign artists usually take art tour in Hanoi to learn about different culture
Foreign artists usually take art tour in Hanoi to learn about different culture

As a local, I have been here many times for grasping new creative ideas, getting the unique insight about my culture and sometimes, making friends with foreigners to improve English.

This place is firstly impressive with hugest display of sculpture and arts in every angle of the museum. Let’s take a look at some original pictures ^^

Village and local life is material for many art products
Village and local life is material for many art products

 You definitely find vibrant inspiration in Hanoi from art

Fortunately, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is close to other local tourist destinations such as Hanoi Opera House, French Quarter Hanoi, Saint Joseph Cathedral, Hoa Lo Prison Museum.


  • Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
  • Contact: (84.4) 37332131

Check our Hanoi Free Local Tours.

2. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Far from the city center, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is another fascinating destination to visit and take yourself closer to locals.

Top 13 best museum to visit in Hanoi with indoor and outdoor display of real artifacts
Top 13 best museum to visit in Hanoi with indoor and outdoor display of real artifacts

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is also the best place for family trip to enjoy art in Vietnam and for friend group to have outdoor and fun weekend here.

Learn about not only Hanoi local art but also other parts of Vietnam
Learn about not only Hanoi local art but also other parts of Vietnam

In weekend, many Vietnamese parents take their children to Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to watch water puppet show or just play some outdoor activities for them.

“House on stills” – symbol of Vietnam’s local architecture

Visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to explore, learn and see the thorough history of Vietnam ethnology!


  • Address: No. 13 Nguyen Van Huyen Road, Cau Giay District
  • Contact: 024-3756 2193

3. 54 Traditions Gallery

The Gallery is the only gallery in Vietnam focusing on the antiques, artifacts and art of Vietnam’s 53 minority groups and the Kinh majority people.

54 traditions display diverse and extremely cool art
54 traditions display diverse and extremely cool art

They have over 1000 objects on display and objects from our collection have been exhibited in museums in Hanoi.

What they offer can be called antiques, art, or material culture.  They have a room dedicated to each of the following categories: The Central Highlands, Tribal Textiles, The Shamanic Tradition, Functional Objects and Water Puppets, Older Things.

On Tripadvisor, 54 Traditions Gallery has got many 5-star reviews from tourists around the world.


  • Address: 30 Hang Bun, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Contact: +(84)24 3715 0194/ 3715 1569
Sculpture presents local belief and traditions
Sculpture presents local belief and traditions

However, it is quite difficult to find 54 Traditions Gallery due to complex Old Quarter transportation and structure. If you need a local travel buddy, do not hesitate to contact us Hanoi Free Local Tour.

Or join our Free Walking Tour to have unforgettable local experience in Hanoi ^^

4. Zo Project Gallery

Zo Project is a social enterprise with a huge mission of keep “Zó” – traditional paper of Vietnam alive and bring it to the world.

Zó Project Gallery is situated in a strange but thrilling street – Hanoi Train Street.

It displays artistic products made from this traditional material and spread a national pride on special art material, a local spirit and combination of art and Vietnamese daily life.

Very cool earrings made of “zó” paper? Practical gifts for your friends and family
Very cool earrings made of “zó” paper? Practical gifts for your friends and family

While visiting Zo Project Gallery, you can buy this traditional paper as a gift for friends and family. Your contribution is really appreciated as it supports to keep this paper alive in Vietnamese culture.


  • Address: 10A Dien Bien Phu Street, Hang Bong Ward, Ba Dinh District
  • Contact: + (84) 169 499 2010

5. Green Palm Gallery

Run by art critic since 1996, Green Palm Gallery is the most professional and prestigious art gallery in Vietnam to promote artistic spirit of comunity and maintain a space for local artists to nurture their achievement in art.

Art researchers from the world visited Green Palm
Art researchers from the world visited Green Palm

Artists and collectors frequently come to this gallery to feel the pulse of the market and develop their connoisseurships of Vietnamese contemporary arts.


  • Address: 15 Trang Tien Street and 39 Hang Gai Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Contact: +84 97 762 7722

6. Hanoia House

Art and design can not live without craft so that Hanoia House relies on passion of craftmen and designers to build its own lacquerware expression.

Art of lacquerware strives to tell stories appreciating skillful and passionate artisans
Art of lacquerware strives to tell stories appreciating skillful and passionate artisans

Art of lacquerware strives to tell stories appreciating skillful and passionate artisans.

They are considered “treasures” of Vietnamese lacquerware, or “living handbooks” of ancient techniques.

Every step is made of passion, love and skilfull techniques
Every step is made of passion, love and skilfull techniques

For lacquer passionate artists or creative learners, Hanoia House is perfect art gallery for exploring one of the most impressive and special type of art in the world.


  • Address: 43 Nguyễn Thượng Hiền, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội
  • Contact: +84 24 3946 0851

7. Manzi Cafe

“Let’s go to Manzi and be Manzi”

Manzi is as much a gallery as it is a cafe so it’s more important here than anywhere else in Hanoi that you have a good look around before taking a seat.

But wait- there’s more! Manzi is plugged deep into the artistic communities of Hanoi, which means frequent cultural events ranging from cozy short film nights to large scale, week-long photography exhibitions.

You can also expect orchestral music, live poetry, and interesting talks (usually in Vietnamese) that address controversial issues facing Vietnamese society today.


  • Address: 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Contact:

We usually bring laptop to Manzi, taste a cup of coffee and enjoy art around at Manzi! If you want to join and have local experience in Hanoi, read more about our free local tour Now!

8. Tadioto Hanoi

Another option for being immersed yourself in Local culture and Traditional Art, then prepare to be wowed in Tadioto Hanoi!

The art is mesmerizing and frequently rotated. The drinks are delicious and beautifully presented.

  Tadioto is a cosy art gallery and cafe
  Tadioto is a cosy art gallery and cafe

We have been in Tadioto many times for both events and cafe meeting. These service is one of the most professional and comfortable cafes in Hanoi. Let’s pay a visit here and you might be surprised by this place!


  • Address: 24 Tông Đản, French Quarter, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
  • Contact:

9. Bat Trang Pottery Village

Bat Trang Pottery Village – combination of art galleries, gift stores and pottery making journey!

Why not try making pottery in Hanoi?
Why not try making pottery in Hanoi?

 Join our FREE Bat Trang Village Tour to have fantastic experience now!

10. Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Road

We, Hanoi locals are all known about Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Road. If urban people feel proud of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Road stands out as top 1 in  the heart of countryside people in Hanoi as the symbol of Hanoi and Vietnam.

  • TOP 1 WORLD Original and Special Architecture
  • Guinness Book of World Records for the  ‘World’s largest ceramic mosaic’

Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Road is meaningful architecture and prideworthy public art of Vietnam that shows Vietnam imagine to foreign friends, spreads inspiration to local community.

You can take your kids here for a walk after trip in Old Quarter or Long Bien Bridge

We’d love to take our friends around Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Road to enjoy art, listen to Hanoi stories and learn about our local culture.

Hanoi ceramic mosaic road represents our history and pride

Notice for tourists

SERIOUS Notice to visit Art Gallery in Hanoi:

Hey friends, listen!

There are local advice for you to explore art and local culture in Hanoi. From our experience, we think you MUST consider some facts:

  • Almost art galleries are gift shops
  • They will overcharge you. We are not sure about the price and their service…You might want to buy one as gift or sovenier
  • Transportation and Maps are really really really COMPLEX. It is worth visiting Hanoi Art Galleries, learn about local art. However, it might take a lot of time to find them! 

Vietnamese artists met foreign artists in an art gallery

Local tips from Hanoian guides

TIPS from locals to enjoy Hanoi Art Galleries:

  • Be sure about WHERE to go in Hanoi
  • Make friends with locals. Why not? Local artists are friendly and willing to exchange ideas, share their views on art.
  • Be accompanied by a free local guide. It definitely saves you a lot of time not being get lost and avoiding scams ^^

  Tourists are interested in Vietnamese traditional crafts

Finally, there are our local TOP 10 most popular-visited Hanoi art galleries. Do you want to join us to explore local art and have local experience with us?

Contact Hanoi Free Local Tour for the much more FREE AND LOCAL 5-star rated Tripadvisor experience with a local in your Hanoi adventure ^^


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Hanoi Where to Go

Halong Bay snorkeling

Halong Bay snorkeling – Best way to admire the fascinating underwater world

Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most stunning attractions. It is a declared UNESCO world heritage site located in the Gulf of Tokin, in the north shores of Vietnam. Ha long has acquired a reputation for majestic landscapes and tourist attractions.

The beauty of Halong Bay
The beauty of Halong Bay

If you are a nature and adventure lover, your trip to Halong Bay will not be complete without going snorkeling to admire the beauty of the underwater world. You will definitely marvel at colorful coral reefs with sparkling sea life and diverse creatures. Crustaceans, mollusks, and fish line the bay with an abundant supply of marine life to observe. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself into an aquatic world and swim with the cuttlefish or dance with the octopus.

Halong bay snorkeling is a must-do activity

That is the reason why Snorkeling is at the top of your to-do list when coming to Halong Bay.

Noted that:

  • The ideal time of year to go snorkeling in the bay is December when the water temperature is between 26C and 29C.
  • The coral reefs are largely concentrated near Van Gio Island, Cong Do Island and Trai Cave. These areas offer some of the best diving spots in the bay.
  • Many cruise providers cater special tours that include snorkeling excursions, but you will also find local companies that provide scuba diving training if you’re interested in going beyond snorkeling.
  • If you want to explore more Halong Bay and take your experience in this destination to the next level, our Things to do in Halong bay will give you more useful suggestion and advice on what to do to and make your excursion much more adventurous and interesting.

Top spots for snorkeling in Halong Bay:

1. Snorkeling Cat Ba Island:

Cat Ba Island can be found in the southern edge of Halong Bay and is a part of the UNESCO-recognized Cat Ba archipelago. This island is home to a diverse coral reef system. Around the foot of the island are clusters of red coral that house red swamp crawfish, abalone, pearl and colorful shoals.

Aquatic world is full of impressive and amazing creatures
Aquatic world is full of impressive and amazing creatures

2. Cong Do Island:

It is situated on the southeast of Halong, 25 kilometers from Bai Chay ship port. It is one of Halong’s charming island which still retains its primitive beauty. You can see a wide range of beautiful creatures when snorkeling there.

Cong Do Island covers an area of 23.36 square kilometers. The island features with a 172-meter hill which is covered by an evergreen tropical forest.

Furthermore, the lagoons around Cong Do Island are also home to various species such as shrimp, crab, fish, squid and aquatic plants.

Cong Do island
Cong Do island

One special feature of this island is that you will have a chance to see Red coral which is very rare in other islands.

Red Coral
Red Coral

3. Van Don Island ( Dao Cai Bau)

It is the largest and most populated and developed island in Bai Tu Long archipelago.

The area of Van Don district is 551.3 km2. Twenty of the 600 islands of Van Don Island district is populated. The largest, Cai Bau Island ( 17,212 hectares), is located near Cam Pha town. All the islands rest on limestone terrain, often at 200-300 meters above sea level with lots of karts caves and grottos.

Going snorkeling or scuba-diving there definitely give you memorable and amazing moments

Van Don Island
Van Don Island

Top cruises offering water-based activies such as Halong Bay snorkeling:

1. Lavender cruise Halong:

Lavender cruise Halong
Lavender cruise Halong
  • Address: 156, Bai Chay street, Halong Bay
  • It was given Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor for earning great reviews from travelers.
  • Reasonable price

2. Halong Phoenix cruise:

Phoenix Cruise Halong Bay

  • Hanoi Head Office: 81C, Ly Nam De street, Hanoi
  • Tel: 1900 0262 – (+84) 24 3747 8006
  • Halong Operation Office: Group 4, Area 5, Bay Chay street, Quang Ninh
  • Tel+842033511592/
  • The Halong Phoenix Cruiser team started operating cruises in Halong Bay in 2005, as a small division of South Pacific Travel. The actual “Phoenix” branding came later, in 2007.
  • A proud owner of beautiful vessels.
  • Halong Phoenix Cruiser launched its first junk boat in 2008 with 10 cabins. Its second cruiser that has 14 cabins started its career in 2011.
The sundeck on Phoenix Cruise
The sundeck on Phoenix Cruise
  • A responsible tour operator.
  • One special thing about Halong Phoenix Cruiser is that it is more than concerned about protecting the natural beauty of the bay as well as the culture of its inhabitants. It intends to minimize the negative impact of tourism while maximizing its positive impact. Waste management, garbage collecting, as well as the education regarding improving the environmental awareness are essential to it.
  • The leader in 3+ stars Halong cruise market
  • Halong Phoenix Cruiser received an award-winning tour operator. For 8 years in a row, from 2009 to 2017, it won The Guide’s “best tourism products and services” award. Its quality of services, of catering, of our cruisers facilities, and of our Halong tour itineraries are consistently recognized by both voters and customers.

3. Golden Phoenix Cruise:

The beautiful Golden Phoenix Cruise
The beautiful Golden Phoenix Cruise
  • Address: 8, Bai Chay street, Halong Bay
  • Golden Phoenix Cruise is a newly iron cruise which was launched in late Oct 2015 with modern style. The vessel brings travelers a 5-star service to experience Halong with the most reasonable price, in a very smooth and comfortable way.
  • Golden Phoenix Cruises features 21 cabins, lavishly furnished with comfortable bedding, private western style bathroom, safe box, qualified accessories, and all rooms have large windows which overlook the sea.

Hopefully, the information about Halong Bay snorkeling listed above is useful for anyone who is planning to visit the wonderful destination of Vietnam. If you have any question, feel free to contact Hanoifreelocaltours! 🙂 







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Hanoi Where to Go

HANOI OPERA HOUSE – One of the most spectacular buildings in Hanoi

Located in the French Quarter, Hanoi Opera House is not only a historical, artistic building but also a home to classical art lovers. In this article, everything you need when visiting the place is provided and recommended by locals. Let us show you around!

If you would like to have a local guide showing you around Hanoi for free you can see Hanoi Etrip 



No.01 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.

2.For visiting inside:

  • Ticket Price: VND 400.000/pax (50% discount for students)
  • Opening Time: 10:30 AM every Monday and Friday.
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes (from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM)
  • Ticket booking information:

Contact to get Tickets:

(024) 3 933 0131

(024) 3 933 0113/224

Hotline: 0961669988

OR you can buy a ticket directly at the Opera House No.01 Trang Tien Street.

  • Details:

Coming to the Hanoi Opera House, visitors will have about 90 minutes to explore the history of the theater, visit the exhibits associated with the theatre. After finishing the visiting tour inside the Opera House, visitors will enjoy a folk artistic repertoire at the audience room. Through this experience, visitors feel the most luxurious space of the place called “the Cathedral of art”.

The ticket price is still a controversial issue. Some people say VND 400.000 is too high for a theatre visiting, but some think it’s acceptable for a small tour with a performance included.

But what if you are a newbie in this city, if you know there are still a lot of must-go places to explore and you need to manage your budget, would you like to see and get useful information of Hanoi Opera House for free?

If your answer is Yes, then you can take a look at our Tours.

3.Hanoi Opera House Show Schedule:

The Schedule of Hanoi Opera House in 2018 is now available.

You can see the detailed show schedule here:

There is no fixed price for tickets. It depends on what the performance you want to watch. The average price is about VND 300.000 – VND 1.000.000/ ticket.


  •         Well dressing is recommended.
  •         Tickets don’t cover children and the place is not suitable for children under 6 years old.
  •         Do not smoke or bring food inside the Opera House.
  •         Don’t use any devices to record anything without permissions.
  •         Switch your phone to silent mode or airline mode when performances begin.
  •         You are not allowed to enter the Opera House 15 minutes before performances begin.
  •         Keep silence while you are watching.
  •         If you need assistance, please find deposit room or public health room.

II. Hanoi Opera House – A golden dream of artists

Not only it is a symbol of Hanoi in many aspects but it is also the Hanoi opera house is a stage of flourishing art. So many great performances have been displayed here that it is dream of all Vietnamese artists. Invited to perform in the stage is  a way to recognize their talent and contribution to art of Vietnam.

Vietnam is also well-known for traditional performing arts ranging from vocal and instrumental music, dance and theatre to pantomime, sung verse and beyond, such as: Tuong, Cheo, Mua roi nuoc (water puppets show), Four Palaces show,… If you want to discover more, you can join our free Tour which includes watching traditional performances. Or simply, take a look at our 41 Suggestions for visitors in order not to miss any must-go place in Hanoi.

Since completed, it has been the stage of various forms of music. Initially, only classical music can be performed four times per week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday such as Opera or Drama.

Nowadays, music lovers have much more choices when they come to the Opera house. No sooner had Vietnam been an opening country than many forms of music were imported to Vietnam. Therefore, on the stage of the Opera house, new performances have a chance to access to audiences.

For lovers of opera or drama people, they are satisfied with Carmen, the Secret Garden or Hamlet. They are the most performances in the world and were displayed in many countries worldwide. Should you love ballet, choose Casse Noisette or Swan Lake.

In addition, contemporary music, symphony or Vietnamese plays may bring to you relaxing minutes after the hard time of work in the weekend.

Despite being an art stage, the Hanoi opera house also has special functions for the Government. It is placed to celebrate art and cultural activities for political, social purposes or exchange culture with other countries. Conferences, seminars and press conferences under a plan of Ministry of Culture Sport and Tourism are taken place in the opera house as well.

III. Hanoi Opera House – A View Inside

It can be said that nowhere in Hanoi do you find a structure which has a perfect mixture of urban and capital architecture. So impressive the structure of the building is that everyone coming here has the same feeling – amazing.  The architects were inspired by ancient Greek architecture styles and Paris opera house.

Hanoi Opera House has the own values that are worthy of standing in the list of the world’s classics. Regarding its values of architecture and landscape, the Opera House is still the oldest, most representative, most important and most artistic art form, most suitable for high-quality art programs and it meets requirements of international performances.

The Hanoi Opera House is divided into three distinct parts.

  • 1st Floor: The first space at the entrance is the main hall with a T-shaped stone staircase leading up to the second floor. This is the first place to welcome guests to the theater, tile floor tiles using the stone combined with the decorative motifs in the spirit of classical, bringing a sense of luxury. Small chandeliers hanging on the wall are copper-plated in the ancient style, while the upper chandeliers are gilded with gold in a modern technology.
  • 2nd Floor: There is a Mirror room that is home to important ceremonies, signing important documents and welcomes dignitaries worldwide. The floor of the room is restored according to the Mozaic technique with stones from Italy. On the wall, alternating between the open doors are large mirrors with crystal lamps, chandeliers, and furniture in the classic French style.
  • 3rd Floor: A wide stage and a main auditorium with an area of 24x 24 with 870 seat surrounding give a strong impression on people. Equipped with modern equipment and designed soundproofed walls, auditorium can make you be deep in wonderful melodies worldwide.

IV. Hanoi Opera House – Wandering back in time

A historical evidence under the French colonization

Built from 1901 to 1911, it was a special project of French Government when French occupied Vietnam. An 11 year- construction in a colonial country is something which seems to be unbelievable. However, there are many other pieces of evidence proving that French colonists invested a great amount of money and workforce to this construction.

Its position was formerly a wetland area belong to two villages, Thach Tan and Tay Luong. Thus, the construction is a strenuous work. Under technical supervision of two famous architects Harley, Broyer and many comments of others architects, the work still demanded a huge workforce and materials. 300 workers were working continuously. They used 35,000 bamboo poles and concrete blocks of 0,9m thick. Besides, 12,000m3 of materials with 600 tons of iron and steel on the total area of 2600m2 are amazing figures for any construction.

Now, you may put a question “Why French decided to build an expensive building in Hanoi?”

In fact, in 1899, envoy of Hanoi – Richard decided to build a city council meeting building. The aim is entertaining. They wanted a place for Western artists to perform yearly for French colonists. Vietnamese elites were allowed to come to the house but they had to be dressed up and paid much money for tickets.

On 16/9/1945, the Golden week was held in the square to donate money, gold and necessary things for the Government when it was founded by Ho Chi Minh President.

On 2/9/1946, the Government celebrated one year anniversary of Vietnam Democratic Republic in the Opera house. At the same time, it was used to welcome Uncle Ho for the first time.

Hanoi Opera House has proved the development of Hanoi and Vietnam under the French colonization. Moreover, it is also a historical witness in those greatest days of Vietnam so there is no doubt saying it is one of the vital buildings in Hanoi.

You’ve got some basic things about Hanoi Opera House. Do you still want to explore other attractions in Hanoi with us? If so, don’t hesitate to take a look at our Free Tour with local guides!


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Hanoi Where to Go

TEMPLE OF LITERATURE HANOI | The first university in Vietnam


The beauty of The Constellation of Literature pavilion (Khue Van Cac) - the symbol of Hanoi
The beauty of The Constellation of Literature pavilion (Khue Van Cac) – the symbol of Hanoi

Temple of Literature is one of Things to do in Hanoi, a must-see historical site when visiting Hanoi, the Capital City of Vietnam.

Temple of Literature not only represents the enduring progress of Vietnamese culture ( sự thay đổi Văn Hóa Việt Nam theo thời kỳ)  , but also contributes significantly to both Confucian civilization (Đạo Khổng Tử) in Vietnam and other cultures in the world.

  • Temple of Literature was ranked as the cultural and historical site on 28th April, 1962.

Places you can be interested in:

I. Temple of Literature In Hanoi

I.1 Temple of Literature Hanoi introduction

How did Temple of Literature appear?

The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 during Ly dynasty to honor Confucius (Confucius was a Chinese teacher, Politician, Philosopher and Founder of Confucianism)


According to his philosophy, Confucianism, people must obey five relationships in the society:

  1. Ruler and Subject.
  2. Father and Son
  3. Elder Brother and Younger Brother
  4. Husband and Wife
  5. Friend and Friend

Imperial Academy

In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the “Quoc Tu Giam” or Imperial Academy, was established by King Lý Nhân Tông.  The Imperial Academy originally reserved only for  sons of the Kings and madarins. Finally, it was opened for all talented students.

General structure of Temple of literature

Temple of literature complex encompasses five walled courtyards connected by gateways. The number of courtyards, five, is the symbolic number of five basic elements forming the world:

  • Five basic elements: Metal  – Wood –  Fire – Water – The earth.

Phoenix  and dragon  symbols are used to represent the Empress and Emperor:

  • A phoenix represents beauty  – A dragon represents power.

The below is structure of 5 main parts of Temple of Literature Hanoi

I.2 The First Courtyard- Đại Trung Môn (The great middle gate)

Hanoi Free Local Tours 4. Temple of literature
Hanoi Free Local Tours 4. Temple of literature

The first courtyard extends from Đại Trung Môn (The Great Middle Gate) to the Đại Trung area.

Đại Trung Môn (The great middle gate) is a combination of the names of two great books of Confucianism:

  • Đại Học ( Great learning)
  • Trung Dung ( The Doctrine of the Mean)

Two smaller gates on the left and right side of Đại Trung Môn

  • Accomplished Virtue (Thành Đức)
  • Attained Talent (Đạt Tài)

In ancient Orient concept, left side is more important than right (From Confucius point of view). Therefore, Virtue is more important than Talent.

The carp symbol located at the top of the gate has a meaningful story due to Chinese legendary: “Many carps swim upstream against the river’s strong current in a contest held by God, but only few are capable of the final leap over the waterfall.  If a carp successfully makes the jump, it can transform into a powerful dragon.”

  • The carp overcoming waterfall: hardships that students must overcome if they want to get success in education
  • The carp becoming dragon: student’s promotion in social rank


In the past, students had to pass three exams to become government official: Regional exam (Hương examination), National exam (Hội examination) and Royal exam (Đình examination).

Firstly, those students passing the Regional exam (Hương Examination) would be named at the academy.

  • During the course at the academy, the students discussed literature, wrote poetry and learned about Chinese philosophy and culture. The students were enrolled for three to seven years. They had minor tests each month and four major tests each year.

After succeeded in the exams during the course, the students were awarded certification by the Ministry of Rites, qualified them to sit for the National exam (Hội examination)

Finally, after qualifying from National Exam (Hội examination) enables students to take the Royal Exam (Đình Examination), held at court.

In case the students failed the exam, they have to wait for three more years for the next exam.

I.3 The Second Courtyard- Khuê Văn Các (The Pavilion of Constellation)

tower in Temple of literature
tower in Temple of literature

Located in the Second Courtyard is Khue Van Pavilion (Pavilion of Constellation)

  • A unique architectural work was built in 1805 under Nguyễn Dynasty- regarded as the symbol of Hanoi in the present time.
  • Given the meaning of term ‘Constellation’ as the brightest star – that carry the wish for development and prosperity for education and culture of Vietnam.

On top of the pavilion is the combination of the circle and the square: 

  • The circle represents the sky
  • The square represents the earth.

This is the symbol of the yin and yang harmony. 

I.4 The Third Courtyard – Thien Quang well and Doctor Stelae

Thien Quang Well

In the center of the third courtyard is Thien Quang well (Well of Heavenly Clarity).  Some functions of Thien Quang Well are:

  • To keep the atmosphere of Văn Miếu complex to be tranquil
  • To purify people’s mind
  • Being as a mirror for people to arranging their dress before entering the most scared part of the complex

Doctor Steles

A general Doctor Stele includes 3 parts:

  • The first part wrote nice words toward the Emperor, his royal court and Confucianism
  • The second part commented on the importance of building steles and the responsibility of successful people toward the country
  • The third part was information about the exams and successful students

Originally, there are 91 doctorate steles.

However due to wars and natural disaster, there are only 82 left.

In putting the steles on the back of the tortoises:

  • The tortoises stand for longevity and wisdom so the names of successful students would last forever

I.5 The Fourth Courtyard- Đại Thành Môn (The gate to great success), and Đại Bái Đường (House of Ceremony)

Leading to the Fourth Courtyard of the temple is Đại Thành Môn (The Gate to the Great Success)

Right insight Temple of literature
Right insight Temple of literature

In the center of the fourth courtyard is the Đại Bái Đường (House of Ceremony)

  • The house of ceremony is a place for Emperors and Fellows to make their offerings to Confucius. New doctors come to House of Ceremony to kneel and bow to show their respect

In Đại Bái Đường, the pair of crane and turtle that present desire of longevity and eternity

Birds in Temple of literature

On each side of the fourth courtyard stands two areas. The original purpose was to keep altar Confucius and Chu Văn An (a master of the Imperial Academy), yet they have now been converted into souvenir shops and drinks stalls.

Adjacent to house of ceremony is Đại Thành Sanctuary where Confucius and his four greatest disciples are worshipped.

In the present day, the locals come to Đại Thành Sanctuary to pray for blessings with incense and offerings.

Stature in Temple of literature

I.6 The Fifth Courtyard, grounds of the Imperial Academy

The Fifth Courtyard Grounds of the Imperial Academy
The Fifth Courtyard Grounds of the Imperial Academy
  • In 1076, Emperor Ly Nhan Tong ordered the construction of an imperial academy as a fifth courtyard
  • In 1946, the courtyard was destroyed by the French.
  • In 2000, it was reconstructed on the ground of the original “Imperial Academy” as a temple.

The upper floor is dedicated to the three emperors who contributed mostly to the foundation of the temple and the academy:

  • Ly Thanh Tong (1023–1072), who founded the temple in 1070 (In the middle of altar)
  • Ly Nhan Tong (1066–1127), who founded the Imperial Academy (On the right altar)
  • Le Thanh Tong (1442–1497), who ordered the built of doctor statues in 1484 (on the left altar)

Around the Fifth Courtyard, some buildings hold a drum and a bronze bell. The drum is 2.01 metres wide, 2.65 metres high, has a volume of 10 m3 and weighs 700 kilograms. The bell was cast in 2000. It has a height of 2.1 metres and it is 0.99 meters wide.

The drum in Temple of Literature
The drum in Temple of Literature

II. Temple of Literature opening hours, price, dress code, map

II.1 Temple of Literature opening hours

Opening days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday

Opening time:

  • In summer ( From April to October) : 07:30-17:30
  • In winter (From October to April)     : 08:00-17:00

II.2 Entrance fee

Entrance ticket price (2017): 

  • Adult: 30,000 VND (~US$ 1.3) for Vietnamese and foreigners
  • Students: 15,000 VND (~US$ 0.7) (ID, students card required)
  • Children under 15: Free

II.3 Dress code

As Temple of Literature is a formal historical site, visitors should pay serious attention to the dress code as visitors need to be respectable.

In detail, no hat, shorts, mini skirt or tank-top…when being in worshipping/sanctuary area.

II.4 Map

Temple of Literature Map
Temple of Literature Map


5-6: The first courtyard

7: The second courtyard

8-9: The second courtyard

10-11: The fourth courtyard

12-13-14-15: The fifth courtyard

III. Free tour in Temple of Literature Hanoi

Visitors are highly recommended to book a free tour in Hanoi. Hanoi Free Local Tours are organized by groups of young passionate students, who are well-trained to have full knowledge about attractions in Hanoi and tour guide skills. Booking a tour is easy as visitors only have to go to websites and fill in a tour’s order. Visitors will receive a confirmation from tour director and they will be picked at their hotel or arranged meeting place at time as appointed.

Author: Kristen Nguyễn


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Hanoi Where to Go

2022| HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM|Hours-Inside-Dresscode-Transport



Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex

After 100 times of visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with travelers all around the world as free tour in Hanoi, today I would like to give you some useful information about this top Visit in Hanoi.

  • Address: Hùng Vương, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội
  • Phone: 024 3845 5128
  • At the end of this article is the summary of Openning hours, tickets and dresscode
  • Free tour Guides to Ho Chi Minh Complex : Hanoi Free City Tour

Ho Chi Minh (19/5/1890-2/9/1969) was the first president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, who dedicated his life to save the country from invaders. He was also the founder of Vietnam Communist Party.I, Ho Chi Minh Complex

For all Vietnamese family, he was regarded as the Great father or simply Uncle Ho.

1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The place was built to keep Ho Chi Minh’s body remained after he passed away so that he can somehow find contentment in seeing Vietnam united. The place so far has had millions of tourists as well as Vietnamese people from every part of the country visiting each year.

A corner of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
A corner of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The building was inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow but reflects Vietnamese architectural elements.

All the materials used for building the mausoleum were collected from many parts of the country which expresses Vietnamese people’s love to their dearest Father.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum inside

The embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved in the cooled, central hall of the mausoleum, which is protected by military honor guards.

The two flags on the wall are the national flag and the Communist party flag. Both are grafted from 4,000 pieces of rubies from Thanh Hoa province.

The body of Ho Chi Minh president lies in a glass case with dim lights.

You can also see the sentence “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”, which is a well-known quo te by President Ho Chi Minh.

2. Ba Dinh Square

Ba Dinh square is where Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum lies. Here on September 2nd, 1945 in front of thousands of Vietnamese people, President Ho Chi Minh read the Independence Declaration of Vietnam – marking the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Complex
Ho Chi Minh Complex

This is also a favorite place for the locals to have morning exercise or just simply take a walk around the beautiful square at night.

Detailed in formation: Ba Dinh Square – Where The President Read The First Proclamation Of Independence

3. The presidential Palace

The building was designed and supervised by a German architect for the French IndoChina Governor. The construction project started in 1900 and completed in 1906 with 30 rooms and named as “IndoChina Governor Palace”.

Phu Chu Tich
Phu Chu Tich

In 1954 the building was renamed “the Presidential Palace” and Uncle Ho was supposed to live and work there. However, Ho Chi Minh refused to live here because “it is not suitable for his poor and starving people”.

Not Allowed to go in

4. Ho Chi Minh Museum

The Ho Chi Minh Museum is the preserver of everything related to President Ho Chi Minh. The Museum was started opening on 2nd September, in 1990, to celebrate the 100th birthday occasion of Ho Chi Minh.

Ho Chi Minh Museum
Ho Chi Minh Museum

The museum was built in the shape of a white lotus flower. It has a priceless collection of military orders, mementos, photos of the Communist Party’s earlier achievements, the great August and October revolutions, exhibits related to Ho Chi Minh’s political activities, etc.

Museum opening hours

  • Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Closing days: Monday, Friday afternoon
  • Opening hours:
    + Morning: from 08:00 to 12:00
    + Afternoon: from 14:00 to 16:30

Entrance fee:

  • 40.000VND(Address: 25 Hung Vuong street)

5. One Pillar Pagoda


The pagoda was built in 1049, under the reign of Ly Thai Tong. It was a group of structures consisting of a pagoda and a tower built in the middle of a square lake.

The pagoda looks like a lotus blossoming from the square pond.

Entrance fee: Free 

6. Ho Chi Minh’s house

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum stilt house
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum stilt house

Having an idea that this small and simple house wasn’t suitable for a President, Vietnamese government decided to build his own house.

The House No.54

Tickets: 40.000VND/Adult

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Opening hours

  • Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Closing days: Monday, Friday

+ Hot season (from 1st April to 31st October): from 7:30 AM to 10:30 A(Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM

+ Cold season (from November 1 to March 31 of the following year): from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Entrance fee: Free (Address: 25 Hung Vuong street)

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Entrance fee: 40.000VND(Address: 25 Hung Vuong street)

One Pillar Pagoda

Entrance fee: Free

Ho Chi Minh’s house

Stilts House And The House No.54

Total Tickets: 40.000VND/Adult

II.Complex Dress code and Tips:

  • Short shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless shirts, tank tops and so on are not allowed.
  • Cameras, mobile phones and day packs can’t be taken inside. The guards will collect those things before you enter the mausoleum.
  • No shooting, video recording in restricted areas, especially inside the mausoleum
  • Putting your hands in your pockets and taking photograph is prohibited.
  • Children under 3 are not allowed to enter.

Author: Kalyn Trịnh


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Hanoi Where to Go

French Quarter Hanoi – A little Paris inside Hanoi

In the past, under the domination of the French colonialist, Hanoi was separated into three regions which are French area, Vietnamese area and concession area.

Up till now, the French area has been known as the French Quarter.

Compared to Hanoi Old Quarter, French Quarter might be not as bustling as its neighbor but it would take you to another part of Hanoi soul – the charming and elegant one. Let us help you to grasp some must-know things about the area.

Free French Quarter Walking Tour with Local University Students

I. Attractions in French Quarter

Through the ups and downs of history, the French architectural works reflecting the mark of Indochinese architecture left in Hanoi still brings a unique beauty and also the romantic fragments for the city.

Many people come to Hanoi and love Hanoi also because of ancient architecture in the breath of modern life. Let’s take a look at the French-style architecture left over in the capital through these charming attractions.

1. Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House is one of the few French architectural works which is preserved almost perfectly. The theater was built for a long time, from 1901 to 1911.  Inspired by the famous Opéra Garnier Theater in Paris, the Hanoi Opera House is actually a massive architectural work of its time, with a total area of 2,600m2.

Inspired by the famous Opéra Garnier Theater in Paris, the Hanoi Opera House is actually a massive architectural work of its time

The Opera House and the Opera House Square are home to many important historical events of the country such as rallies and demonstrations. This is where the National Assembly of Democratic Republic of Vietnam first met on March 2, 1946.

  • Address: 01 Tràng Tiền, Phan Chu Trinh, Hà Nội
  • Opened: December 9, 1911
  • Seating capacity: 598
  • Price: 400.000VND-2.000.000VND

 Details: Hanoi Opera House

2.  St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi

This is a well-known 19th century European style building. The Cathedral of Hanoi was built in 1884 and completed in 1886. The church’s style is a colorful Gothic architecture. The project is 64.5m long, 20.5m wide and two 31.5m high bell towers with large four-cornered stone pillars, topped with stone cross. When you come here, you will be overwhelmed by the solemnity of a religious architecture.

  • Address: 40 Nhà Chung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000
  • Phone: 024 3928 6350
  • Price: Free

3. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison was built in 1896 by the French colonialist, with the goal of detaining anti-colonialist and Vietnamese revolutionaries. This place is the most reminiscent of the heroic and painful past.

The artifacts displayed here are related to the struggle for independence of the Vietnamese nation. The prison site also features short documentaries, depicting scenes of American prisoners being detained there.

  • Address: 1 Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
  • Hours: 8:00Am- 17:30Pm
  • Phone: 024 3934 2253
  • Price: 30.000VND ( Discount 50% under-12-year-old Kids and students with card)

More details: Hoa lo Prison

4. National Museum of Vietnamese History

National Museum of VietnameseLocated at No.1 Trang Tien street, National Museum of Vietnamese History was built from 1925 to 1932. It was followed the style of Indochinese architecture which means  the surface structure is completely as same as French style at that time , but there was some architectural changes to adapt to climate conditions, landscape as well as traditional culture. Therefore, this Asian-European architectural combination has an elegant and unique beauty.

Today, the work is used as a museum to display and present historical materials and objects through periods and Vietnamese dynasties. On the premises of the museum, there are also cafes catering for visitors to relax after visiting and exploring history.

Each building is not only of artistic value but also of historical significance. It is in the hearts of those who have come to Hanoi that the past and the beauty of human values ​​in the land of thousand years of civilization. If you have the opportunity to Hanoi, do not miss these interesting destinations.

  • Address: 214 Trần Quang Khải, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 110000
  • Hours:  8AM -12:00AM, 13:30-17:30Pm
  • Phone: 024 8325 2853
  • Price: 40.000VND

More details: Vietnam National Museum of History (Hanoi)

  1. Cho Hom market

(This place is home to all kinds of fabric which would be the best choice for ones looking for material to make traditional customs)

  • Opening time: 6:00 – 17:00
  • Address: No.293 Tran Nhan Tong street

You’ve visited most places of French Quarter in Hanoi. If you’d love to have more information about French Quarter, Free french quarter walking tour with university student would be a good choice

3. Hotels, Cafés in the French Quarter

1. Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole

This hotel could be considered an iconic of Hanoi’s colonial work with a grandeur and timeless charm unmatched in the city, or elsewhere in the region. The hotel lies in the heart of Hanoi since 1901 near the Opera House. It’s important role is hosting playwrights, ambassadors and heads of state.

Hotel Sofitel Legend Metrpole from outside

2. Restaurants:

La Terrasse Du Metropole 

The high-class restaurant is located in the hotel. It has a Parisian side-walk style with air-opened sitting place to enjoy the Hanoian view. The menu is also covered with French food and beverage.

  • Opening time: daily 11:00 – 24:00
  • Address: No.15 Ngo Quyen street

Au Delice & Le Restaurant d’Arthur Hanoi

 The restaurant serves French cuisine as well as a wide range of drinks coming from many other countries in a homely setting.

  • Opening time: daily 9:00 – 22:00
  • Address: No.2B Ngo Thi Nham street

RICO Steak House

This is a classy South America dining restaurant which is best known for its extensive food menu comprising a mix of Australian and Argentinean beef dishes, pasta, salads and seafoods.

  • Opening  time: 11:00 – 23:00
  • Address: No.56 Tran Quoc Toan street


AMATO  is a Western style restaurant located behind the Hanoi Opera House. The menu offers a wide range of  European delicacies.

  • Opening time: Mon – Sat  7:30 – 23:00
  • Address: No.1A Trang Tien street


We chose Amato for my birthday meal based on the rave reviews and it did not disappoint. The tapas was delicious, especially the deep fried manchego and sundried tomato balls and the smoked prawns. To die for! We ordered 9 dishes for 2 and it was probably one too many. The service was excellent. We did have a problem finding it initially. You need to take the small lane that leads between what looks like a gated park (beside the opera house) and the Hilton entrance, then walk past the Hilton (on your right) and you’ll find it. A must visit if you are in Hanoi!


Sen is a buffet restaurant which will impress everyone by its “colorful” cuisines. This restaurant is followed Asian style in the architecture as well as its foods.

  • Opening time: 18:00 – 22:00
  • Address: No.60 Ly Thai To street

3. Shops:

Since the French quarter is home to luxury things so that shopping in this area involves high-end shopping malls and delicate boutiques as well as artistic  showrooms by local artists  and book stores.

Here, you can find high class brands such as: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Trang Tien plaza – a three-storey shopping mall located in Trang Tien – the most busy street in the neighborhood.

Also, there are other shopping choices for people who wanna look for local or chic designer art piece. Here are some galleries and boutiques highly recommended for this kind of demand:

Red Moon Gallery

  • Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Address: No.38 Trang Tien street

Thanh Bình Gallery

  • Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Address: No.25,27 Trang Tien street

Dong Phong Art Gallery

  • Opening time: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Address: No.3 Ly Dao Thanh street

Written by: Kalyn.


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Hanoi Where to Go

Top 13 Fascinating Museums In Hanoi – Travellers Should Not Miss

A view outside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at nightHanoi is an active city. There are countless places to see, from the classics to the new sites. But here Hanoi Local Experience would like to recommend some places for some quality quiet time, with 13 must-visit museums in Hanoi. If you are wondering what to see in Hanoi‘s museums, we have some suggestions for you down here.

All the museums are well sellected by many Travel Agency in Hanoi and HFLT’s travelers. 


Here is top 10 highly-recommended Hanoi Museums that reveal our local and special culture!

1. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

As known the city’s best informative and resourceful museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology offers visitors offers an insight into 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam in an effort to preserve cultural heritage and promote socio-cultural diversity within the country.

The outdoor display area exhibits a variety of Vietnamese homes as full-scale replicas, with great attention paid to the varying architectural styles set within the authentic and tranquil gardens.

It is located on a 43,799-square-metre property in the Cầu Giấy District, about 8 km from the city center. The proposal for the museum was officially approved on 14 December 1987. Construction lasted from 1987 to 1995, and it was opened to the public on 12 November 1997. The budget for construction of the museum was $1.9 million USD, with an additional $285,000 USD allocated for acquisition of artifacts.

You can occasionally watch Water Puppetry here. It will be one of the most fascinating experience in Hanoi without doubt.

  • Address: Nguyen Van Huyen road, Cau Giay district | Nghia Do, Cau Giay, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: Everyday except for Monday, 8:30-17:30
  • Entrance fee: 40,000 (or USD 1.50); camera fee: 50,000 (USD 2)

2. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison Museum will be a thought-provoking site for curious travelers that remains of the former Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US prisoners of war (POWs) during the American War. A stay in the Hanoi Hilton was no picnic. From day one, Hoa Lo was horrifically overcrowded – while its maximum capacity was 600 prisoners, over 2,000 were confined within its walls by 1954.

Hoa Lo Prison

 The vast prison complex was built by the French in 1896. Originally intended to house around 450 inmates, records indicate that by the 1930s there were close to 2000 prisoners.

  • Address: No. 1, Hoa Lo Street, Tran Hung Dao Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi City
  • Opening hours: everyday, 8: 00 – 17:00 (including festivals and holidays)
  • Entrance fee: 30.000đ/person

3. Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Hanoi

If you want to figure out the most insightful knowledge about Vietnamese women or just are curious about special cultural features, do not miss your chance to visit top 1 tourist attraction in Hanoi (ranked by National Tourism Department, 2016).

 Tripadvisor rated Vietnam’s Women Museum as Top 25 interesting museum in ASIA.

You can have free audioguide in Vietnamese, English and French.

  • Address: No. 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi
  • Opening hours: everyday, 8:00 – 17:00
  • Entrance fee: Normal Ticket: 30.000/person; University student ticket: 10.000/person, Free for government guest and primary students, secondary students and special disabilities

4. Ho Chi Minh Museum

The Ho Chi Minh Museum does exactly what, given its name, you would expect it to do. Opened in 1990 on the anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s birth, the Soviet-style museum is a bizarre hagiography brought to life.

this is also one of the most informative museums in Hanoi, undoubtedly in the country, Ho Chi Minh museum is conveniently located in Ho Chi Minh Complex.

Being here you will know more about Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

 The whole museum is a elaborate description of Ho Chi Minh’s life. The museum is a collection of artifacts, miniatures and various gifts gathered nationally and internationally. There is also description written in English and France, as well as guided tours on request.

It will be more amazing if you have a friendly LOCAL tour guide with knowledgeable and professional skills. Contact Hanoi Free Local Tour to start your stunning Hanoi trip now ^^

  • Address: No. 19, Ngoc Ha Street, Doi Can Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours:  8:00-11:30 | 14:00-16:30, everyday except Monday
  • Entrance fee: 10.000 VND/person

5. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

Ever been to a museum which surprisingly give you inspiration for a wonderful new journey, passion or interests. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum undoubtedly will be the most promising one!

With just a few hours, you will come across the historic and contemporary art works, archaeological and historical materials, and objects important to the history and nation of Vietnam.

  •  Adress: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
  • Opening hours: everyday (Monday to Sunday), 8:30 – 17:00
  • Entrance fee: Adult: 40.000 VND; University students with ID: 20.000 VND; Children (6 years old to 16 years old): 10.000 VND; Children under 6 years old: Free; Tour Guide: 150.000 VND


With Hanoi Free Local Tours, you can have your FREE tour guide but informatic and fulfilling experience here!

Why don’t you take a look on Hanoi City Tour to visit these beautiful museums?

6. Hanoi Museum

Hanoi Museum is a modern museum that will tell you about the city in the most creative and artist way. The building was listed on the Top museum’s beautiful architecture in the world.

  • Address: Pham Hung Road, Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi
  • Opening hour: 8:00 – 11:00 | 13:30 – 17:00
  • Entrance fee: Free

7. Vietnam National Museum of History

You will discover the Vietnam’s best account of its thousands of years of history in the Hanoi’s finest buildings.

 If other museums have overwhelmed you with propaganda and war, this museum will come as a welcome relief with both its delightful setting and its superb collection.

  • Address: No. 1, Trang Tien Street – No. 25, Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: everyday (closed on every first Monday of the month)
  • 8h00 to 12:00 | 13h30 to 17h00
  • Entrance fee: Normal ticket: 40,000VND/ person ; 50 % discount for: old people, veterans and disable people. (confirmed card or certifiable); Free for under 6 years old children

8. B-52 Victory Museum

Many foreigners are interested to learn more about Military history and victory of Vietnam. This place definitely tells you about the very memorable years of fierce war, the bravery and persistence of Vietnamese people.

For the outdoor exhibition, the most prominent thing is the evidence of the disastrous U.S.: a B52 of 48,07m wreck, wingspan of 56.42 m and many other aircraft debris.

  • Address: No. 157 Doi Can Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi City
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:30; 13:30 – 16:30 (except Monday and Friday)
  • Entrance fee: Free

9. Museum of People’s Public Security

Hanoi Police Museum or Museum of People’s Public Security provides the information about the heroic tradition of our nation’s public security officers through different development phases of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Numerous exhibits and photos provide interesting glimpses into little aspects of the Indochina wars and foreign intelligence operations in Vietnam during the 1980s.

  • Address: No.1 Tran Binh Trong Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 16:30, from Tuesday to Saturday weekly
  • Entrance fee: Free

10.Vietnam Military History Museum

The Vietnam Military History Museum Hanoi, also known as the Army Museum, houses an extensive collection of weaponry that was used throughout Vietnam’s war-filled history. Ideal for history buffs looking to know more about the country, there are plenty of authentic war relics, weapons, and detailed accounts by former soldiers who have fought against the French and American forces.   Notable attractions include the wreckage of an American B-52 bomber, an M107 self-propelled gun, and a military tank that had ploughed through the gates of Saigon’s Presidential Palace, thus ending the Vietnam War in 1975. You can also find classic propaganda videos, improvised weapons, a diorama of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, and exhibitions of artefacts dating back to the Hong Bang Dynasty (2879 BC).

  • Address: No.28A Dien Bien Phu Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 8h00 – 11:30 | 13:00 – 16:30 (everday except Monday and Friday)
  • Entrance fee: International Tourist: 40.000 VND/person

11. Vietnam Museum of Revolution

Inaugurated in 1959 and housing more than 40,000 exhibits, this museum enthusiastically presents the histories of conflict and revolution within Vietnam, from the liberation movements against the French occupation to the establishment of the Communist Party and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

  • Address: No.25, Tong Dan Road, Trang Tien Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours:  8:00 – 11:45 |13:30 – 16:15
  • Entrance fee: free

12. Air Force Museum

The Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum, Hanoi or Bao Tàng Phòng Không – Không Quân is located on Truong Chinh Street in the Bach Mai District of Hanoi. The museum is on the endpoint of the disused Bach Mai Airfield. Bach Mai Airfield was used as the air defense command and control center for the Vietnamese People’s Air Force during the Second Indochina War. Due to its location in the restricted area of a radius of 30 nautical miles (reduced to 10 in 1967) from the center of Hanoi and its proximity to the Bach Mai Hospital only 1 kilometer away, Bach Mai Airfield was off limits to US bombers during the early years of Operation (Rolling Thunder) with the result that North Vietnamese command and control was generally unmolested. Presidential approval was required for an attack on the airfield and this was done for the first time by F-105 Thunderchiefs of the 388th Fighter Wing on November 17, 1967. Bombing restrictions were lifted during Operation Linebacker I and the airfield was attacked on May 16, 1972. On December 21, 1972 during Operation Linebacker II, two B-52D’s were lost to SA-2 missiles while attacking the airfield. On December 22, 1972 a string of bombs missed Bach Mai Airfield and instead hit Bach Mai Hospital.

  • Address: No.173C Truong Chinh Road, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi.
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 11:00 | 13:00 – 16:30, everyday except Friday
  • Entrance fee: 20.000 VND/person

13. Vietnam National Museum of Nature

The Vietnam National Museum of Nature is a leading museum in the system of nature museums. It was established to showcase nature and environment, and exhibit information about basic features of Vietnam’s nature.

The museum is located on the campus of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology on Hoang Quoc Viet street, Nghia Do ward, Cau Giay district, Hanoi. In Hanoi, tourists should visit the leading nature museum of Vietnam.  The museum has relatively small exhibition space but is designed in harmony, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere. In particular, most of the specimens are on display in glass cases and models are placed outside. Going with the whole family and learning about local plants, animals is suitable for weekend outdoors.

  • Address: No 18(B-C), Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay, Ha Noi
  • Opening hours: 8h30 – 11h30 | 13h30 – 16h30
  • Openning days:  Thursdays to Sundays
  • Entrance fee: 20.000 VND/person

Now, there are 13 unmissable museums to visit in Hanoi that will make your Hanoi Local Experience truly, knowledgeable and memorable!


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Hanoi Where to Go

Top 3 Shows in Hanoi | Water Puppetry Show – Ionah – Four Palaces

The top 3 shows in Hanoi highly recommended below which are Water Puppetry, Ionah, Four Palaces show will give you the key into the Vietnamese culture – a mysterious and perhaps, an unknown land to most people outside the country.

1, Múa rối nước (Water Puppetry Show)

Show Information:

  • Showtime: 15:00, 16:10, 17:10, 18:30 everyday.
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Location:  Thang Long Theater, No. 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
  • Ticket Price: VND 100,000
  • For further details:

Are you curious about this unique traditional art form of Vietnam? As puppetry can be widely seen in many countries, Water Puppetry turns out to be the only one in Vietnam appearing a long time ago (Can you guess? Yes, it is now over 1000 years old.)

Top show in Hanoi for 1 hour
Top show in Hanoi for 1 hour

A rice-based agricultural country is perhaps the first thing most tourists think of when someone mentions Vietnam. Indeed, in the North Delta, there are many ponds and lakes that have become extremely animated water puppetry shows. In fact, due to natural conditions and the work of the farmer, it can be said that the water puppetry is built from the heart, the feelings of the working people. Hence, it reflects life and aspirations. At first, water puppet show was only outdoor with a combination of nature and human: the stage is attached in a vast space with the sky, clouds, winds, fire, smoke fog and hidden roofs with red curved tiles.

The show is various:

  • The praises of the farm animals raising: fishing, weaving, rice husking, rice pounding,…
  • Activities such as wrestling, horse riding, swinging, climbing, lion climbing, lion dancing, sword fighting.
  • The heroic examples of national heroes such as Bà Trưng, Bà Triệu, Trần Hưng Đạo
  • Chèo plays

Water puppets are shaped by lightweight wood such as figs, vines (which are readily available around the ponds) and painted with resinous paint (which is used for boat painting in the Northern Midlands). The remote control of puppets tangled by two types of machines: wire and pole with simple or complex tables, pile systems, small wires, soft wire, wood rods, bamboo poles.

Chú Tễu ("chú" means uncle, man, boy or Mr. in Vietnamese) is a recurrent and the most notable character in water puppetry
Chú Tễu (“chú” means uncle, man, boy or Mr. in Vietnamese) is a recurrent and the most notable character in water puppetry

Water puppets must be able to stand in the mud in the mud behind the control room of the puppet theater. Quotations are made from folk songs or from national dramas.

Highlights of Thang Long Water Puppetry:

  • Learn about the traditional culture of Vietnam.
  • Feel the peaceful beauty of the rural countryside of the North
  • Explore the techniques of masterful water puppetry of the artists.
  • Distinguish the differences between normal water puppetry and puppetry.
  • Review Vietnamese folk tales through a new perspective of water puppetry

2, Tứ Phủ (Four Palaces) show:

Show Information:

  • Showtime: every Thursday and Saturday
  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Location: Cong Nhan Theatre, No.42 Trang Tien Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
  • Ticket price:
  • Ticket box: Viet Theatre Box Office: P901, 9th Floor, Royal Building, No. 180 Trieu Viet Vuong Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
  • For further details, see here:
Four Palaces Show - A beautiful Journey into the spiritual world
Four Palaces Show – A beautiful Journey into the spiritual world

Apart from Chinese culture, Viet Belief is based on Mau Religion (Mother Goddess) which was recognized as a UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The Four Palaces show is an Incorporation of the traditional culture of Vietnam into special artworks. Drama, music, poetry, cinema … are the bridges conveying many messages, meaningful values in social life. That is why many works, in turn, are the indispensable spiritual thing in modern society nowadays.

"Mẫu" Religion worships Goddesses representing 3 realms of the Universe: the Goddess of Heaven (Red), Water (White), Mountains and Forests (Green)
“Mẫu” Religion worships Goddesses representing 3 realms of the Universe: the Goddess of Heaven (Red), Water (White), Mountains and Forests (Green)

The part where audiences happily clap along with the steps of the performers and the music during the show is said to bring domestic and international audiences moments of true Vietnamese culture.

In 45 minutes of performance, with 3 parts: The reincarnation of the Second Lady of the Highland (Chầu Đệ Nhị), the Reincarnation of the Tenth Prince ( Chầu Ông Hoàng Mười) and the Reincarnation of the Little Princess of Highlands (Chầu Cô bé hượng Ngàn), the audience was guided to the holiest and the most beautiful land of traditional Vietnamese culture.

The color of the clothes of mediums (Cô Đồng) reflects the token color of each of the four spirits of which they are possessed
The color of the clothes of mediums (Cô Đồng) reflects the token color of each of the four spirits of which they are possessed

During the show, you can hardly take your eyes off the colorful costumes of performers or decorations of the stage. The visual was designed using modern art videos combined with Vietnamese traditional worship paintings called Hang Trong painting. Moreover, there is a large projection screen with English subtitles to make you satisfied and enjoy the show.

One of the best things about the show is that at the final ritual of the show, to increase interaction, the audiences are particularly interested in receiving the “fortune” (lộc) as the truncated-cone-shaped cakes or beautiful lotus seeds packages.

The Medium is giving "Lộc" to the audiences
The Medium is giving “Lộc” to the audiences

This is a special performance for Vietnamese people who love Vietnamese culture and foreign tourists who really want to learn about the unique features of our Vietnamese culture. Also, for ones who want to sit back, learn something new while enjoying themselves, don’t miss the show.


  • Be there on time, the show starts punctually


Show Information:

  • Showtime: 19:45 every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • Duration: 75 minutes
  • Location: Star Galaxy Theater, No.87 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh District
  • Ticket price: VND 600,000 – VND 800,000
  • For further details and sales promotions, you can check out:
Ionah is a mixture of dance, theater, circus, and music
Ionah is a mixture of dance, theater, circus, and music

Along with the appearance of Cultural, Entertained Shows from international artists. In recent years, the public has been informed about the launch of a variety show called IONAH.

In big cities like Hanoi, the demand for the entertaining and cultural enjoyment of the people is always high. The explosion of different types of entertainment gives the audience many options to choose.

Beginning with iconic scenes of the Vietnamese capital the stage soon transforms into a magical and mysterious world
Beginning with iconic scenes of the Vietnamese capital the stage soon transforms into a magical and mysterious world

Just a short time after debut, Ionah quickly showed its irresistible charm. Not only families who are the loyal audiences are attracted, Ionah also attracted the attention of many young people. All of them were delighted to return to their childhood with beautiful memories of the circus, to the theater with their parents, but also excited and overwhelmed by the lively and wonderful image, sound of the show.

Modern art forms such as dance, hip hop, ... are combined with music, visual arts, lighting arrangements and advanced performance technologies
Modern art forms such as dance, hip hop, … are combined with music, visual arts, lighting arrangements and advanced performance technologies

It is a freedom of expression and also a challenge for the creative team. As not all the types of performances have the same way to tell the story or the idea of the director. In Ionah, the creative team chooses the circus as the background element. Besides, modern art forms such as dance, hip hop, … are combined with music, visual arts, lighting arrangements and advanced performance technologies. All the ingredients have been used so subtly to stand together on a stage, to share a story and create a very special performance.

The 75-minute show features some of the best acrobats and circus performers from Vietnam, accompanied by a blend of Western electronic and Vietnamese traditional music and using excellent theatrical effects
The 75-minute show features some of the best acrobats and circus performers from Vietnam, accompanied by a blend of Western electronic and Vietnamese traditional music and using excellent theatrical effects

In the context of many modern entertainment complexes that are constantly coming out, giving tourists options to explore Hanoi in many ways, watching a show in a theater does make a brand new way to pull people to the stage of the theater, sit back and admire the meticulousness and talent of the artists.


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Hanoi Where to Go

HOA LO PRISON MUSEUM HANOI (2022)|Opening Hours–Entrance Fee


Top.1 Things to do in House in Hanoi is Hoa Lo Prison. As a Local Tour Guide from Hanoi Free Local Tourrs, I will give you an article about Hoa Lo Prison, And give you some reasons why you should pay a visit to this tourist attraction.

Hoa Lo Prison, also known as Maison Centrale, is a representative of the period of Vietnamese revolutionary struggle against the French colonists.

Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison

Located in the heart of Hanoi Capital and known as one of the most inhumane prison in Vietnam with the most modern equipment at the time for the harshest punishment.

Hỏa Lò prison is a symbol of the Vietnamese patriots’ indomitable will and myriad sacrifice for the national independence.

B. Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale) through the course of time:

B.1. The French Colonial:

This prison was built by the French colonialist on the outskirts of the city, as the central prison city of both Central and Southern part of Vietnam.

It housed a variety of people, including political prisoners, patriots against the French colonial government.

In 1899, even when then construction was not completed, the French used Hỏa Lò for the capture of numerous political fighters against them.

Those years after, the prison was periodically updated with the increase in the number of chambers, the expansion in areas and the importation of up-to-date facilities.

B.2. World War II:

At the time of World War II, when the French lost, the Japanese claimed the victory and replaced the French’s position in controlling Indochina, Hỏa Lò prison was also under the Japanese regulations.

The battle between Japanese and French at the time in this area was a precious moment for the historical prison break which story still anchored until the present time.

B.3. Vietnam War (1954-1973)

As the French colonists left Hanoi as the result of the defeat at the battle of Dien Bien Phu and the 1954 Geneva Accords, Hoa Lo Prison was under the control of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

From 1954 to 1973, Hoa Lo prison was used for the detainment of spies from the South, the political prisoners who were against the Vietnam Communist Party and U.S solders.

Communist soldiers were imprisoned in the Hoa Lo prison
Communist soldiers were imprisoned in the Hoa Lo prison

Notably, the American senator John McCain and Pete Peterson, the first US Ambassador in Vietnam following the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between two countries in 1995.

John McCain was captured in Trúc Bạch Lake
John McCain was captured in Trúc Bạch Lake

The US prisoners sarcastically called Maison Centrale as “Hanoi Hilton.” As there were many US solders kept in other prison, US pilots were detained in Hoa Lo prison right in the center of the city as a way to prevent US’s aircraft from bombing Hanoi, given the two previous cruel bombs that the US dropped in 1968 and 1972.

B.4. Post-War Time:

The prison is continued to be in use after 1973 for criminal prisoners.

In 1994, the government decided to move the prison to the outskirts of Hanoi and built the Hanoi Tower for apartments and shopping mall.

Only a part of the prison remained and were preserved as the memorial of the Vietnamese patriots.

C. Hoa Lo Prison and the untold stories:

C.1. The life in prison:

25 to 30 prisoners lived in a shared room where they were fettered most of the time and had to share one toilet.

It was up to their attitude that their 1 or 2 legs would be fettered. The prisoners had 15 minutes every day for a walk and a bath.

They had to stand naked around the tank built in the center of the yard and poured the water as quick as they can onto their body with the watch of the guards and jailers.

Every day, they had two meals with rotten rice that already had maggot, stunned vegetables, foul dried fish and rarely with tough buffalo meat like rubber or old sow meat.

Further more, prisoners were forced to do sanitation right inside the cells. Those buckets contains the waste and excrement were left for days and weeks uncleaned, causing serious pollution and horrifying discomfort for the life of the prisoners.

C.2. The torture in prison:

When conducting the restoration, the staff met many Vietnamese veterans who spent a part of their lifetime in the prison and asked them to write down their memory of the life in Hoa Lo prison, in which they called the prison as the hell of earth for its cruel hundred methods of torturing

The cachot in Hoa Lo prison
The cachot in Hoa Lo prison
  • The colonists hung the prisoners up or down for beating with electric shock engine at their head or heart.
  • The prisoners were even stuffed with clothes soaked with gasoline to be burned.
  • Some prisoners were put into the water tank, and hit from outside, which seriously damaged the prisoners’ hearing ability and nerve system.

C.3. The fight in prison

During their time in this prison, Vietnamese patriots struggled for a better condition so as not to be killed.

They also organized a secret Communist movement inside the prison to lead the political will and unity.

They even went on a hunger strike to fight for their request to be treat properly as political prisoners

C.4. Series of escape:

  • In 1932, 7 prisoners pretended to be in serious illness and successfully fled on the way of being transferred to the clinic with the help from friends.
  • 1945 happened the miraculous prison break of more than 100 patriotic prisoners. At the time of World War II, taking the advantages of the disorder between the Japanese and the French, political prisoners mixed with common criminals exchanged prison uniform with daily clothes from visitors, walking out decently and escaped.
  • 1951 marked the most famous jail-break when 17 prisoners under death sentence organized the escape from the sewer tube.

The sewer tube’s mouth was small while the grid is stiff and dense; therefore, the mission to go into the tube to cut the grid was horrified since the tube was filled with garbage, toilet’s waste and clinics stinky bandage.

On the Xmas night in 1951, following the broken sewer, 17 prisoners broke out of the prison. Unfortunately, when they open the sewer door and stepped on the street, they confronted a group of patrolmen and only 5 of them successfully escaped and survived.

C.5. Life of the US prisoners:

Despite the ongoing debate about the life quality and condition in the prison, there is a small yet interesting story told by famous Vietnamese writer To Hoai about the Christmas treat of the US POWs (Prisoners of War).

As for the American, Thanksgiving or Christmas’ meals usually had turkey, even turkey was not familiar for or favored by the Vietnamese.

In the Christmas holiday’ treat, dozen of trucks were ordered to supply turkey to the prison.

D. Tour information:

D.1. Opening hour:

Every day, during the week (including holidays or Tet, New Year Eve), from 8am to 5pm.

D.2. Entrance fee:

Ticket price is 30.000 VND/each (≈ 1.2 USD)

D.3. Transportation:

Hoa Lo Prison is located on No. 1 Hoa Lo Street, a part of French Quarter, and is 1 km to the west of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Visitors can easily travel to Hoa Lo Prison either by taxi, bus or motorbike or bicycle. For motorbikes or bicycle, the fee for parking is 5.000 VND. For visitors who want to come here by bus, there are several available lines such as 02, 09, 23…

D.4. Free tour in Hoa Lo:

With the purpose of learning more about historical periods through the diverse perspective of the local and also to experience the unique insight about Hanoi, visitors are highly recommended to place a free tour organized by Hanoi Free Local Tours. Tour guides are groups of young passionate and energetic students, who are trained to have full knowledge about attractions in Hanoi and tour guide skill.

Booking a tour is easy as visitors only have to go to websites and place a tour’s order. Visitors will receive a confirmation from tour director and they will be picked at their hotel or arranged meeting place at time as appointed.

*As a historical site, formal dress up is recommended, yet is not too strictly required.

A. Construction and Architecture:

A.1. Construction:

The construction project started in 1896 and finished in 1899.

The prison was built next to the Court of Justice and Intelligence Department as the combination against the patriotic movement of the Vietnamese.

A.2. Name:

The formal name of the prison is Maison Centrale (Central House) given the French expectation of this as the most secured and solid prison in Indochina.

The other name of the prison, in Vietnamese, is Hoa Lo:

  • “Hỏa” means fire
  • “Lò” means Kiln

Since this area used to belong to a pottery village before the prison construction, the local named the prison as Hỏa Lò as the informal memorial name of the village.

A.3. Capacity:

Originally, the prison was designed to hold only 450 prisoners.

However, the actual number of prisoners was much higher, under the French domination

  • In 1913: 615 prisoners
  • In 1953: 2000 prisoners

Some detention rooms were too crowed that the weaker prisoners were requested to be taken out to avoid the choke.

A.4. Architecture:

The so called ‘unbreakable prison’ was constructed with extra thick bricks and tiles.

  • The besieging wall was built with steel bars and stone 4m high and 0.5m thick
  • The wall is topped with pieces of broken glass and high-voltage electric wire
The highly secured wall enveloping the prison
The highly secured wall enveloping the prison

Despite the varying chambers’ dimensions, all follows an identical design: tile roofs, solid walls, gray lacquered floors.

For the maximization of security, all equipment, from building material such as glass, steel, …to equipment such as doors, lockers, nails, …must be imported directly from France.

A.5. Map:


Hoa Lo Prison’s Map in the 20th centuries

The prison was divided in to 4 sections: A, B, C and D.

  • Zones A and B were for inmates are being considered, criminals or prisoners in violation of prison discipline.
  • Zone C was for the detainment of the French prisoners or foreigners.
  • Zone D was the place where prisoners who were sentenced waited for the execution date.

A.6. Famous artifacts:

The guillotine: known as the “human killer”, was brought by the French since the late 19th centuries.

The instrument is made of 3 parts:

  • A flat wooden surface
  • A cutting steel frame
  • A sharp blade.

When the prisoner is executed, the headman drags the rope and the blade drops down incisively.

On execution:

  • The head of the prisoner fell into the underlining tank
  • The remaining body was transferred into the calameae basket.

Particularly, after the execution, the French even hung the prisoners’ head at public place to threaten and undermine the Vietnamese’s will.

The execution row:

Prisoners who were sentenced to be executed were detained and had to wait for the fixed date.

They were fettered on the cement floor all day and night, and did everything in that one place.

Normally, they were detained in this row for ten months after being sentenced. However, some of them were killed right after three or four days.

The cachot:

Cachot is used to detain those who were punished for violating the rules of the prison. Cachot in Hoa Lo is “hell of hell” where the cell is cramped and dark.

Here, the prisoners are isolated, shackled all day and night and must eat, sleep, sanitate at the place.

The cachot’s custody is subject to death shortly due to edema, blurred vision, scabies for lack of proper hygiene, light and oxygen.

The iron shank:

Leg shank in Hoa Lo prison
Leg shank in Hoa Lo prison

This iron leg shank is composed of two parts:

  • The upper part is made of iron
  • The lower part is made of wood.

In an attempt to escape, the prisoners usually applied a layer of fat and burned coal to loosen the hole.