Reimagining Hanoi Tourism

Reimagining Hanoi Tourism

After successfully controlling the COVID-pandemic, Vietnam fully reopened to international tourism that has given new strength to Vietnam's potential tourism market. Hanoi has also ramped up activities to stimulate tourism and continuously received high rankings in tourism from many international travel organizations and the international media, thus attracting a large number of domestic and international tourists.

Visitors go sightseeing in Hanoi on a double-decker bus. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP

Appealing cultural and heritage site tours


According to the latest statistics, Hanoi welcomed a total number of 12.38 million tourists in the first eight months of 2022, 4.2 times more than the same period in 2021. The number of international travelers reached 582,000 arrivals, while that of domestic tourists was estimated at 11.8 million arrivals. Its total tourism revenue is expected to reach 35.9 trillion dong (about 1.5 billion US dollars), which is up 4.4 times more over the last year.

Hanoi now has nearly 6,000 historical and cultural relics along with nearly 1,800 intangible cultural heritages. There are many relics and heritages recognized by UNESCO as world heritages such as the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the stone doctorate steles of the Le-Mac Dynasties in Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), Giong Festival in Phu Dong and Soc temples.

Hanoi has made efforts to reopen and improve the quality of many tours, sightseeing routes, tourism activities in the capital to accelerate travel recovery after a long interval of being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They include two special night tours of "Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long" and "Sacred Night - Living like Flowers" at Hoa Lo Prison and a tour to discover "French architecture in the heart of Hanoi".

Participating in the night tour "Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long", visitors will discover the global values of the world heritage site which has a history of many feudal dynasties in Vietnam such as the Ly, Tran, Le and Nguyen, spanning 13 centuries (from the 7th to 19th century) . In a large complex of about 20,000ha lit using modern lighting technology, visitors will discover the beauty of citadel architecture, subterranean vestiges of palaces and massive-scale archaeological areas with an exceedingly large volume of artifacts. They can enjoy acts which duplicate the living scenes of kings and mandarins in the ancient feudal dynasties.

If the tour "Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long" provides visitors a chance to learn more about the long period of Vietnamese feudal history, the tour "Sacred night - Live like flowers" at Hoa Lo Prison will leave a special impression on tourists with images that show the sufferings and unyielding fighting spirit of Vietnamese soldiers during the wars with France and America.


One of the other highlights in the journey to discover the capital is the double-decker bus tour that goes through many well-known streets and cultural and historical relic sites, such as Sword Lake, West Lake, Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam , the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Opera House and the Hanoi Flag Tower. From the top floor of the bus, visitors can enjoy the cool atmosphere as the bus goes through the streets shadowed by trees, the exciting and bustling atmosphere on the streets, and the beauty of cultural works of the thousand-year-old capital.

Stella Ciorra, Vice chairwoman of Friends of Vietnam Heritage, who has guided many international groups of tourists to learn about and explore Hanoi, said, “Every street and every corner of Hanoi is a heritage because it conveys many fascinating stories that make Hanoi history”.

Ancient Villages on the Outskirts of the City

Visitors to Hanoi can not only see heritage sites in the urban area of the city, but can also visit ancient villages in the suburbs, such as Duong Lam (Son Tay), Bat Trang pottery village (Gia Lam), Hong Van bonsai village (Thuong Tin), My Duc weaving village (My Duc), Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan village (Chuong My), Quat Dong embroidery village (Thuong Tin), To He (toy figurines made from glutinous rice powder) village in Xuan La  or  the Chuon Ngo mosaic craft village (Phu Xuyen). Each has its own beauty and unique traits. For example, Duong Lam ancient village is enjoyed by tourists with its peaceful countryside scenery of old houses built using laterite bricks, the banyan trees, the wharf and the communal yard. The Hanoi Department of Tourism is strongly promoting the development of tours to discover ancient villages to bring in more tourists. 

A corner of the over 1,000-year-old Duong Lam ancient village in Son Tay, Hanoi. Photo: Hoang Ha/VNP


Alex Qua, a Singaporean who made a trip to see the ancient village of Duong Lam by motorbike said that the countryside area in Vietnam is beautiful and peaceful, the old houses that are hundreds of years old in Duong Lam are unique and have great value. The locals there are very kind and hospitable. He liked the local specialties such as keo doi (candy stuffed with peanuts or sausage peanut candy), keo lac (peanut candy), keo vung (sesame candy) and especially a meal of countryside dishes prepared by Duong Lam villagers.

According to Cao Van Hien, owner of Hien Bao candy factory in Duong Lam, his keo doi factory has welcomed many delegations of tourists from Japan, the US and South Korea. They were very interested in learning about the process of making local sweets like keo doi, keo lac and keo vung. The village was selected to be the place for a contest of tourism products by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).



The bike tour "Footprints of the Bat Trang Ancient Village '' which was recently launched at the Hanoi Tourism Gift Festival 2022, has become a highlight in a variety of tourism products of the city. The tour gives visitors new experiences when cycling along the village’s winding brick roads to learn about the history of the ancient village which is well known domestically and internationally for making beautiful pottery products. One can also visit the Bat Trang Pottery Museum, a unique architectural work and a place for displaying many collections of products of the pottery village.

Nguyen Van Tai, Head of the Travel Department of the UNESCO Vietnam Tourism Club and General Director of VietSense Travel Company, said, “What makes travel agents like us feel most happy is the system of accommodations and dining services along with Hanoi's tourist attractions that have recovered quickly and are poised to keep up with the pace of the travel agent companies plans to promote tourism activities. Most visitors to Hanoi are very satisfied with the quality of tourism products and they also feel secure and safe.


Bat Trang pottery museum which honors the values and quintessence of Bat Trang craft village as well as promoting other Vietnamese handicraft products. Photo: Cong Dat/VNP


After the disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanoi's tourism has quickly recovered and prospered thanks to its own beauty and things to see. More foreign friends have learned about the safe, hospitable and attractive Hanoi after SEA Games 31 was successfully held in Hanoi and some neighboring localities the past May. Therefore, it is not surprising that this year, Hanoi has been continuously voted as a main tourism destination in the region and the world by major media organizations. This is an important indicator that Hanoi will continue to be a bright spot in attracting tourists, especially international ones.


A TripAdvisor listing ranks Hanoi on this year’s list of top 25 most popular tourist destinations in Asia and in the world voted for by the website's readers. Time Magazine (USA) voted for Hanoi as one of the three destinations in Vietnam, in the global list of 100 greatest places to explore on Earth. Deep Knowledge Analytics (DKA) ranks Hanoi on the list of the 50 best cities in the world for pandemic response. Recently, Vietnam's capital city has been listed among the 12 best places worldwide to travel to this fall by CNN Travel and won Asia's leading city destination at the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2022.