An ‘Awe Walk’ - a stroll within a place where you can intentionally shift your energy and attention outward instead of inward - is a type of tourism that anyone should try after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hanoi is among the top three most endorsed destinations for an ‘awe walk’ by travelers in Vietnam on this hotel booking platform, according to a report of Booking.com.
The other two cities of Vietnam on the list are Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An ancient town.
The report stated that when it is safe to do so, walking is a great way to discover hidden gems, interact with locals, and have a truly authentic travel experience.
“Not only can exploring Hanoi on foot brings some awe-spiring moments, but it is also a great way to discover the city and its truly authentic culture while learning little secrets and seeing hidden gems all around,” according to the hotel booking platform.
“However, it is recommended that you strictly follow the 5K message and local regulations during this time to welcome the city walk again once it opens up.”
You should pretend to be a tourist once and dedicate a day to just wandering around the capital from the bustling center to the rare havens of peace and quietness. The Hanoi Times recommends some ideal destinations for your walking tour around Hanoi below.
Set out first thing and make a beeline for Ba Dinh Square, where President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence on September 2, 1945. This area is a complex of historic sites, including Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and the Uncle Ho’s Stilt House where the former president lived and worked.
The mausoleum is open for visitors from 7.30am to 10.30am only daily except Monday and Friday. The Uncle Ho’s Stilt House, in the President’s Garden behind the mausoleum, has been preserved exactly the way it was at President Ho’s decease.
Visitors should allow at least an hour for the visit to both mausoleum and stilt house; entrance is free, then call in at the One Pillar Pagoda, beside the entrance to the stilt house.
This symbol of Hanoi is the reconstruction of a building that dates back nearly a thousand years. Keep straight on and you come to the Ho Chi Minh Museum, where over 2,000 mementos and pictures portraying the former president’s life and career are displayed. Open 8am-4pm (but closed for lunch 1lam- 1.30pm), the museum is open every day except Monday; entrance fee: VND30,000 (US$1.2).
Let’s walk down along Nguyen Thai Hoc Street to visit Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first national university. The temple was built in 1070 and is also one of several temples in Vietnam which is dedicated to Confucius, sages, and scholars.
End your morning with a stroll to the nearby Fine Arts Museum, which has a mind-boggling display of some 10,000 works of art in every conceivable medium - a comprehensive history of the nation’s arts from ancient times to the present day. There is also a fine collection of art from around the world.
Taking a western-style lunch at the next-door Goethe Institut before heading up to the Old Quarter Area in the afternoon. It is the place where the many street names are redolent with history. In times past, the name denoted the profession of the street’s inhabitants; today, though, this tradition has died out and the name no longer offers a clue as to what can buy there.
Make your starting point Hoan Kiem Lake, where is home to one of the most endangered freshwater turtles in the world. Ngoc Son (Jade Hill) Temple on the lake is well worth a visit that opens daily from 7.30am to 6pm.
Continue your journey of discovery by walking to Dong Xuan Market through Hang Dao, Hang Ngang, and Hang Duong Streets, the bustling center of Hanoi. On the way, call in at 87 Ma May Street, a house that has just been lovingly restored to show how Hanoians lived a century ago. Or turn left down Hang Gai and Hang Bong, known nowadays as the capital’s “silk road”. Art lovers should head south of the lake to Trang Tien with its dozens of galleries.
At rush hour (around 5pm), escape the crowds by going to Nha Tho Street for a drink or a coffee in one of its cafes, or have a glass of bia hoi while you wait for the bells to ring from the nearby St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
After sunset, check out the unique Vietnamese water puppets at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, 57 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, or taking a stroll around hunting for some beautiful silver souvenirs in Hang Bac Street.
Then, it’s time for a sumptuous dinner, visit any restaurant inside the ‘Ham Ca Map’ building that is opposite Hoan Kiem Lake to admire the capital at night from above while you eat.
After dinner, should you join the crowd and enjoy some impromptu performances on the Hoan Kiem Pedestrian Street. The joyful activities won’t be finished until late at night.
It’s midnight already and do you want to go home or still want to have a cocktail at a charming bar on Bao Khanh Lane? It’s up to you!