Situated in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem District is the hub of trading and entertaining, where the quintessence of rich culture, long-standing history, and age-old tradition are “converged”. Despite being the smallest natural area, the district of Hoan Kiem is not only the political-administrative center but also the commercial center, where a number of important political and cultural events in Hanoi take place.
I - An overview about Hoan Kiem district Hanoi
The district of Hoan Kiem is located in the center of Hanoi Vietnam, bordering Dong Da District to the West, Ba Dinh and Dong Da Districts to the Northwest, and Hai Ba Trung District to the South. Hoan Kiem is one of the three smallest districts in Hanoi, covering an area of 5.29km2 and has an estimated population of 187,634 residents.
In terms of administrative units, Hoan Kiem district consists of 18 wards, namely Chuong Duong, Cua Dong, Cua Nam, Dong Xuan, Hang Bac, Hang Bai, Hang Bo, Hang Bong, Hang Buom, Hang Dao, Hang Gai, Hang Ma, Hang Trong, Ly Thai To, Phan Chu Trinh, Phuc Tan, Tran Hung Dao, and Trang Tien.
- Postal code: 11000
- Hotline of People’s public security of the district: 0692 196 567
- Hotline of district police: 0243 825 6227
II - The huge potential for tourism in Hoan Kiem District
1 - Many beautiful landscapes and cultural-historical relics
There is a huge difference between Hoan Kiem and other districts in terms of the architecture and space because of the long-standing history and development, which is clearly reflected through the system of the ancient houses, especially in the area of Hanoi Old Quarter. The small alleys run through the uniquely designed old French houses constructed in the 19th century.
Along the old streets in Hoan Kiem District Hanoi are plenty of fashionable boutiques and nostalgic cafes, attracting a flock of foreign tourists to come to not only savor flavorful cups of coffee or cool beverages but also observe the pace of life of people in the Old Quarter. Furthermore, the district of Hoan Kiem has 190 relic sites including very valuable ones, typically Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Bach Ma Temple, Hanoi Old Quarter together with many high-value cultural and religious works like Hanoi Opera House, St Joseph Cathedral,...
2 - A wide variety of accommodations in Hoan Kiem District
Because of the very favorable position in the heart of the capital city, the district of Hoan Kiem is one of the districts that provide the best accommodation in Hanoi. Currently, there are 585 hotels and other types of accommodations with 12,404 rooms, of which 225 hotels are highly ranked such as Melia Hanoi (5 stars), Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi (5 stars), The Oriental Jade Hotel (5 stars), Somerset Grand Hanoi (4 stars),...
3 - Rich cuisine
Hoan Kiem District Hanoi also possesses rich and diverse cuisine with the dishes imbued with the beauty of traditional culinary quintessence and the absorption of foreign gastronomy, which creates the culinary uniqueness that attracts a large number of eateries. You can easily find countless stalls on the vendors selling a wide range of mouth-watering street food at reasonable prices but with amazing flavors. In addition, there are hundreds of restaurants with diverse dining spaces and various selections of menus serving both Vietnamese traditional dishes and exotic ones from Thailand, America, Korea, and Italy,...
4 - Vibrant nightlife in Hoan Kiem District
One of the best ways to “touch” the authentic beauty of Hanoi City in general and the district of Hoan Kiem in particular is by immersing yourselves in the hustle and bustle of the locality at nightfall. As located in the heart of the vibrant city of Hanoi, the nightlife in the Hoan Kiem District is extremely lively and colorful, especially the areas surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake and the Walking Street, where a myriad of exciting, dynamic activities, musical performances, and events take place. For those who would like to indulge in the living space after dark, just hit bars and pubs to get lost in the never-ending menu of cocktails, wine, and soft drinks or take a seat on Ta Hien Street - the beer junction of Hanoi to enjoy mugs of cool draft beer. The Hanoi night market next to Hoan Kiem lake with tons of things to buy & enjoy is not a bad idea.
III - Top 15 best attractions in Hoan Kiem District Hanoi
1 - Hoan Kiem Lake - the iconic symbol of Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake - Source: Internet
Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Sword Lake, Luc Thuy Lake, or Thuy Quan Lake, is situated in the heart of Hanoi. Surrounding the lake is weeping willow trees and colorful red phoenix flowers mirroring their images on the surface of clear emerald water. The highlight of the lake is the one-hundred-year Turtle Tower with European - Vietnamese architecture, which is Hanoi’s cultural symbol.
2 - Ngoc Son Temple & The Huc Bridge in Hoan Kiem District
The ancient and sacred temple of Ngoc Son, constructed in 1843 is located on the center of Hoan Kiem Lake which consists of many other architectural works, typically the Pen Tower (Thap But), the Ink-Slab (Dai Nghien), and the bright red The Huc Bridge (meaning welcoming sunlight bridge and is a symbol of Buddhist architecture, symbolizing happiness and energetic life).
Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem District features the religious characteristics of many dynasties along the long-standing history. In the temple, there are the altars, several artifacts, and a 250-kilogram well-preserved specimen of a giant turtle.
- Opening hours: 7am - 6pm
- Ticket: 30,000 VND/ticket ($1.3)
3 - Hoan Kiem Lake Walking Street
The walking street consists of many streets surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake to create a vast space for entertainment, event revenue, as well as sports and cultural activities to meet the needs of residents and visitors. It opens from 7pm from Friday to 12pm Sunday weekly.
The walking street in Hoan Kiem District - Source: vnexpress
During this time, there is a myriad of exhilarating activities on the street such as: playing folk games (tug of war, skipping, shuttlecock kicking, stilt walking,...), enjoying street musical performances, and traditional, cultural activities,... This is also regarded as a heaven of street food with a wide array of Hanoi cuisine, typically Trang Tien ice cream, Thuy Ta ice cream, sweet-salty donuts, fried fermented pork roll, and bagel twists with crunchy heat,...
4 - Vietnam National Museum of History in Hoan Kiem District
As one of the most famous museums in Hanoi, the Vietnam National Museum of History preserves, exhibits, and introduces Vietnam’s history from the prehistoric period until now with a system of valuable documents, and precious artifacts, many of which are “National Treasures”.
Currently, there are around 200,000 artifacts and documents of Vietnamese history and culture, of which are nearly 110,000 relics, antiquities, and 20 “National Treasures” and the valuable collection from the early Paleolithic era such as Vietnamese antique ceramics, Champa stone sculptures, and foreign decorative arts from China, Japan,...
The museum has 2 facilities located near each other, both of which are in the Hoan Kiem District, specifically:
- Facility 1: No.1 Trang Tien Street, Trang Tien Ward
- Facility 2: No.216 Tran Quang Khai Street, Trang Tien Ward
5 - Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Source: @Raphael Keller
Thang Long Water Puppet Theater was established in October 1969, proud to be the only water puppet theater in Asia that had the shows in 365 continuous days. The traditional water puppet in Vietnam has approached more than 50 countries over the globe such as Britain, France, America, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Korea, and China,...
- Address: No.57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hang Bac Ward - right next to Hoan Kiem Lake.
- Website: http://nhahatmuaroithanglong.vn
6 - Quan Su Pagoda - an ancient pagoda in Hoan Kiem District Hanoi
Quan Su pagoda was founded in the 15th century and officially became the headquarters of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in 1980. The architectural design and the decorative styles of the pagoda are typical of the large, outstanding pagodas in the North of Vietnam. The three-entrance gate features three roofs, in the middle of which is a bell tower. The main hall of the pagoda is decorated impressively sacred, featuring glorious large-sized gild statues.
- Address: No.73 Quan Su Street, Tran Hung Dao Ward, Hoan Kiem District
- Opening hours: 6am - 7pm
7 - Bach Ma Temple
Bach Ma Temple - Source: hanoi.qdnd
Bach Ma Temple, located in the heart of Hoan Kiem District, is listed as one of the most ancient temples in Hanoi including Voi Phuc Temple, Kim Lien Temple, and Quan Thanh Temple. It was built in the 9th century, worshiping the Long Do God, who had the merits to save the people and construct the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
The architecture of the temple is typical of the Nguyen Dynasty, reflected through the sets of doors which are extremely rare artifacts. The statues at the temple also show the professional skills of the ancient artisans. The intricate carvings clearly represent the mindset of the ancient people in the wet-rice civilization.
- Address: No.76 Hang Buom Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm
8 - Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge, the symbolic icon and landmark of Hanoi City, was constructed on September 13, 1889, by the Governor-General of France in Indochina. Over time, the bridge is like the historical witness during resistance wars against the Americans and the French, playing a critical role in guaranteeing traffic circulation and important shipments to support the Southern battlefields. Currently, this bridge is a popular place for teenagers and expats to take photos, sightsee and enjoy rustic street food.
9 - Ta Hien Street
Beer street in Hanoi - Source: vietnamnet
The non-sleeping beer street of Ta Hien stretches just 200m in the famous Hoan Kiem District Hanoi. It is a favorite spot for most foreigners when traveling to Hanoi to enjoy the bustling life at night as well as the wide array of mouth-watering street foods such as Banh mi, Bun cha, Vietnamese fermented pork roll,... and beer - the most popular one.
There are numerous kinds of beer for you to freely choose from black beer, draught beer to bottled beer. Everything is placed on the plastic tables and guests can comfortably chit chat with anyone, even strangers who are willing to give a friendly smile. Besides that, there are abundant cozy, noisy, friendly clubs & bars along Ta Hien Street.
10 - St.Joseph Cathedral - a masterpiece of Hoan Kiem District
Built in 1884, the St.Joseph Cathedral Hanoi features the Neo-Gothic architectural style which resembles Notre Dame de Paris. It is one of the first structures constructed by the French colonial government and is now one of the most ancient churches in Hanoi.
The interior of the church is impressively decorated with a system of colorful glass stained windows with high domes, meticulously embellished with elaborately decorative motifs and holy paintings, especifically, the sanctuary area.
- Address: No.40 Nha Chung Street, Hang Trong Ward, Hoan Kiem District Hanoi
11 - Dong Xuan Market
Dong Xuan Market - Source: afamily
Built in the 1889s, Dong Xuan Market is one of the oldest and biggest markets in Hanoi, strongly influenced by both ancient and modern French architectural style. The market is not only a busy trade center but also an important witness along the course of the history of the nation.
With more than 2,100 stalls and surrounding 71 kiosks selling a wide array of goods, this Hanoi’s largest market welcomes thousands of people every day for different purposes such as savoring local food, shopping, and taking pictures. At night, the market appears more splendid and vibrant with a wide range of items displayed in front of the stalls.
12 - Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House in Hoan Kiem District was built in 1901 under the French administration. After many ups and downs in Vietnam's history, the Opera House still remains the classic and luxurious original beauty.
The ancient architecture of the Gothic style, the Tuylory and the Opera de Paris are the inspirations of the Hanoi Opera House. Hanoi Opera House holds a myriad of art shows, dance performances and concerts in both large and small scales, the most famous one must be “My village”, which combines traditional dance, music and acrobatics.
- Address: No.01 Trang Tien Street
13 - Hoa Lo Prison in Hoan Kiem District
Constructed by the French in 1896, Hoa Lo prison (also called Maison Centrale) used to be the place of detention of many politicians, patriots and great revolutionaries during the resistance war against the US. It is dubbed as the “hell on earth” and regarded as the most horrible prison in Southeast Asia because of a number of brutal and inhumane forms of coercion and torture, typically cachot (dungeon) and guillotine. A night tour to Hoa Lo prison will give you an incredible impression about the harsh life of political prisoners through the light effects, the vivid stories and other performances.
- Address: No.01 Hoa Lo Street, Tran Hung Dao Ward, Hoan Kiem District
14 - Ma May Ancient House
Ma May old house - Source: nem-vn
Ma May ancient house is one of the houses that have typical architecture of the old Hanoi. It was built at the end of the 19th century with a total area of 157.6m2. All architectural structures, wooden materials, and furniture and ancient items (bowl, teapot, cup, pan, etc.) in the house are kept intact until now. Currently, the ancient house has become the place for guests to visit and gain more insight into the life in the past of the old Hanoian from the customs to lifestyle.
- Address: No.87 Ma May Street, Hang Buom Ward
15 - Vietnamese Women’s Museum
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Hoan Kiem District plays a crucial role in preserving and exhibiting the tangible and intangible heritages related to the history and culture of the Vietnamese women. Besides, it is also a center for cultural exchange between Vietnamese women and those on the globe. The museum is the comprehensive story about the Vietnamese women through themes displayed on different floors of the museum, namely: Women in the family, women in the history and the fashion of Vietnamese women.
- Address: No.36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hang Bai Ward
With the favorable location and many impressive architectural works that have been existing along the long course of national history, the Hoan Kiem District Hanoi is worth a visit so that you can discover the unique culture as well as gain more insight into the tradition and history of Vietnam