Sightseeing in Hanoi: A Traveler’s Guide

Sightseeing in Hanoi is one of the things you should include in your bucket list. A beautiful city located in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is easily one of the best cities in Asia with its rich culture, magnificent architecture, scenic landscapes, and bustling city life. There are a lot of places to visit in Hanoi, and it will take you more than just a day to see all. This is where this guide comes in handy.

Get Acquainted with the Culture.

First thing you should do once you get to Hanoi is to acquaint yourself with the city’s rich culture. As the capital city, Hanoi is also the second most populated city in Vietnam. It has a long history-the earliest inhabitants were known to have settled around 3,000 BC-serving as the capital of French Indochina from 1902 to 1954. One quick way to soak in the culture is to visit any of Hanoi’s many museums, including the National Museum of Vietnamese History, Vietnam Women’s Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, and Ho Chi Minh Museum to name a few. If museums are not your thing, you can also visit the Hanoi Opera House, if not to watch an opera, but to admire the structure’s architectural beauty.

Visit Parks and Gardens.

Aside from the many museums, Hanoi also has a number of nature parks and gardens that the whole family can enjoy. Cuc Phuong National Park, about 100 km south of the city, is the foremost national park in the country. Endangered species, millennium-old trees, and various flora and fauna are within the park, along with caves and hot springs. There are also bike and walk trails for the adventurous. Another park, but with a different theme, is the Thanh Cuong Viet Palace. There’s the Botanical Gardens located in the city. Offering a welcome escape from the city noise, the Botanical Gardens boasts of old trees, sculptures, and open spaces ideal for walking or having a picnic.

Take a Walk Near the Lakes.

Hanoi is a city built between two rivers, so it is no surprise that the city also boasts of a number of picturesque lakes. One of its famous lakes is Hoan Kiem Lake, or the Lake of the Returned Sword. It has a Turtle Tower in the center due to its association with the legend of a turtle that grabbed the emperor’s sword and then disappeared. Another famous lake is the West Lake, which is also the largest lake in Hanoi. A number of gardens, restaurants and hotels, and other entertainment places can be found surrounding the West Lake.

Eat, Eat, Shop, Shop!

Vietnamese cuisine has seen a rise in popularity as the years pass by, and there’s no better place to sample delicious local and fusion fare than in Hanoi. From the smallest eateries to the grandest restaurants, you are sure to find meals that will tickle your palate. One famous restaurant in Old Quarter Hanoi that you shouldn’t miss is the Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant, which has been operating for over a century. Of course, after you eat, shopping is a given. You can buy just about anything from small trinkets to expensive, exotic d├ęcor in one of Hanoi’s many markets. The Dong Xuan Market in the Old Quarter is a popular tourist shopping stop. You can visit the Van Phuc Silk Village, where the centuries-old art of weaving silk from silk worms is practiced.

Take a Walk, then Rest and Relax.

If you are looking for a more laid-back activity, all you need to do is walk around Hanoi’s less busy streets, visit a temple, or observe the bustling city from the confines of a quiet restaurant. After a long day of enjoying these Hanoi activities, you can simply relax in your cozy hotel in Hanoi, like Serenade Hotel, and maybe try that spa and get a well-deserved massage.

Try any, if not all, of the Hanoi sightseeing activities listed above, and you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time.

Things to Note Before Staying in Beach Resorts

Sun drenched beaches, long walks along the water’s edge, luxury suites with a view, a beach vacation is full of memory-making experiences. However, you should consider a few things before checking into a beach resort, hoping for a relaxing weekend.

Large resorts Vs boutique hotels

Some beach resorts will be in urban locales in the middle of all the action while others will be in secluded spots. There are also large resorts as well as boutique hotels. Beach bungalows will be ideal for you if you are looking for a quite getaway. If you want to spend your vacation sunning and participating in resort activities like golf, tennis, and water sports, you can consider more remote resort destinations.

Plan your budget

If you are looking for an all-inclusive experience, then book a resort that is more wallet-friendly. If you are ready to pay-as-you-go, then luxury hotels should be your choice.

Read up the amenities

Most resorts will have a menu of water sport options like paddle boats and windsurfing. These are no-cost items that give you a break from the daily sunbathing routine. Some resorts offer water sports, spa treatments, golf, off-shore fishing or other specialised amenities. If you are interested in any of these, make sure the resort offers these or they are available nearby. If you are a fitness freak, look for fitness-focused functions that can increase your endorphins. Look for opportunities to engage in beach yoga, golf, or other activities that get you up and active.

Ask for your food to-go

Dining at the same restaurant all through your stay can get monotonous. To change up the ambience, ask for your food to go. Eat down on the beach or go for room service and have a little picnic indoors.

Engage the kids

If you are travelling with kids, make sure there’s a kids club and plenty of kid-friendly activities at the resort. Ask for pool toys and a kid’s menu to make your kids feel special. Include them in happy hour by ordering any kind of smoothie.

Feel free to ask for an introductory lesson

Many all-inclusives offer free classes. Some resorts offer salsa classes, cooking classes, yoga classes, and sometimes even introductory swimming classes. While diving trips usually cost extra, feel free to ask for other introductory lessons that are offered free of cost.

Comfort is all that matters

You want to look your best on your vacation. But remember that fashion and function is not always related. A pair of comfortable shoes is a must while on a beach resort. You will be going for long walks along the beach and may even go for trekking, so make sure these trips are as comfortable, enjoyable and pain-free as possible.

Keep an eye on the forecast

No matter what time of the year you’re planning your beach vacation, weather around the water can change rapidly. Keep an eye on the forecast so you can anticipate a rainy day or a storm while you’re there, and be prepared. It is always good to pack a hoodie, an umbrella or other protection gear.

Do something new

Want to have amazing memories? Then try something new at the resort like snorkelling or parasailing.

Furnace Creek Inn

Definitely not your typical historic national park lodge the majority of which were funded and built by the major railroad tycoons of yesteryear. The Pacific Borax Mining Company was the force behind this unique diamond in the desert.

Opened in 1927, in what was then and still today one of the most remote desolate locations on the North American Continent. Death Valley National Park, California. Not a place you would normally associate with a lush green oasis of towering Palm trees and spring-fed gardens.

This national park lodge is a truly unique destination. This lavish adobe structure was built in the Spanish Mission style with adobe bricks hand made by Paiute and Shoshone Indian workers. This historic inn sets at the base of a hill in the Funeral Mountains near a natural hot mineral spring oasis.

If adobe walls could speak, its not hard to imagine what tales they could tell of the bygone business moguls and Hollywood types that have lounged around the hot spring fed pool shaded by lush palm trees. The Furnace Creek Inn is remnant of a luxury resort you would see in an old Hollywood picture show.

If you are looking for a unique luxury destination with historic 1930’s charm, or plan a trip to Death Valley National Park, this is one historical national park lodge you don’t want to miss.

This luxury inn has many activities available for your enjoyment. View Death Valley’s striking landscape, swim in one of two spring fed pools. Play basketball, volleyball or tennis at one of four courts. You can work out in the exercise room, enjoy the sauna or get a massage. Go for a horseback or carriage ride. Take a walk or a hike in the beautiful hills around the inn.

Play a round of golf at the worlds lowest in elevation lush 18-hole course. Maybe you just want to relax and do nothing. The Furnace Creek Resort has all the amenities you could possibly imagine.

The Furnace Creek Inn has a charming dining room that serves classical and uniquely southwester meals. In the same complex there is a steakhouse, cafe and a old fashion western saloon.

The Furnace Creek Inn offers guests 66-rooms in a variety of settings.

Standard, Deluxe, Luxury or Suites, a Pool Bungalow is also available the views differ from room to room. All have air-conditioning, televisions, telephones, free HBO, pay for view movies, refrigerators, bathroom amenities and even games for the kids. Most have decks or terraces and some have a spa.

The Furnace Creek Inn is open seasonally from mid-May until mid-October. This is definitely not a destination for the Summer. But in the Fall or Winter when the rest of the country is in a cold chill, this is a uniquely warm and relaxing place to enjoy.