10 Amazing Hanoi Facts – What You Didn’t Know About This City

Fun, Interesting, and Unusual Facts about Hanoi, Vietnam

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: October 25, 2019

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is known as one of the most appealing cities in Southeast Asia. It boasts many interesting things ranging from ancient monuments, religious structures to modern architecture. If you are ready to explore in this beautiful city, apart from stunning sites, you also need to get a bit of insight into it by checking some Hanoi facts listed below.

1. Why Did People Name The Capital as Hanoi?

Hanoi street
(@thakur_asish_007)

In the past, when King Ly Thai To chose Hanoi as the capital of Vietnam, it was named Thang Long, which means “Rising Dragon”. Then, under the reign of Emperor Tu Duc, the name was changed into “Hanoi”. People explain that Ha means river and Noi means inner. Hanoi, thus, has the meaning of “inside the rivers”. This is because this beautiful city is situated between the Nhue River and the Red River in Vietnam.

2. Long Bien Bridge-A Design by French Architects

Long Bien bridge
(@shanewas.niloy)

Long Bien Bridge, which connects Long Bien and Hoan Kiem district in Hanoi, was created by a French architect named Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Constructed in 1902 with 1.68 km long, Long Bien Bridge is said to be one of the longest bridges in Asia. In addition, in its surrounding area, there are a lot of poor and homeless people living day after day.

3. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum
(@jeboinz)

Ho Chi Minh, the most beloved leader of Vietnam who played a significant role in Vietnam’s independence passed away in 1969. After that, Vietnamese people decided to build a mausoleum to commemorate him, which belongs to Ho Chi Minh mausoleum complex. But this construction was against what Uncle Ho had wished.

Ho Chi Minh wanted his body to be cremated and the ashes would be scattered over 3 regions of Vietnam so he could be present everywhere in this nation. However, the Vietnamese government then kept his embalmed body inside the museum and open it for everyone to come to pay respect.

4. Narrow Tall Houses to Avoid Tax

Narrow tall houses in Hanoi Old Quarter
(@markjlwang)

Another interesting fact about Hanoi you can easily realize when coming to this city is that the houses, especially in the Old Quarter, are very tall and narrow. As in previous years, the property tax was based on the building’s width; thus, the wider the house was, the more money people had to pay for the government. In order to avoid that strict law introduced by the French, Vietnamese people tried to erect their houses as narrow as possible.

This characteristic of tube houses in Hanoi seems to be unchanged today. Even though property tax is not a problem for some families anymore, they still build narrow houses because of the ascending population in such limited living areas.

5. Crazy Fascinating Traffic

Crazy traffic in hanoi

A lot of visitors are afraid of the traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam. Some of them can’t even go across the roads because of its chaotic. However, this noisy and crazy atmosphere is something you might not be able to see in any country in the world. The roads are filled with lots of motorbikes but the drivers don’t follow any paths as well as signals. 

When coming here, you will be taught the skill to walk down these chaotic streets. Just need to look both directions, give signals to motorbike drivers and go through. If you can manage the traffic in Vietnam, you probably make it wherever you are. 

6. A Victim of Wars

Hoa Lo Prison
(@runningawayfromhome)

Being in an important geographical location, Vietnam was the victim of so many severe wars between countries in the past. A lot of structures were demolished and a lot of people were killed. If you are keen on discovering Hanoi facts during war periods, you can visit Hoa Lo Prison, which was once called the “Hell on Earth” in Vietnam. 

7. The Temple of Literature is Printed on the VND 100,000 Note

Temple of Literature
(@vohonghuong)

Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam which represents learning and education, is printed on the backside of the VND 100,000 note. You may see Khue Van Pavilion with 4 round windows facing 4 directions, a lake for students look at their appearance before entering the temple and a lot of trees on the banknote. 

8. The World’s Largest Mosaic Mural

Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural
(source: azlocaltrip)

According to Guinness World Record, Vietnam has the largest mosaic mural in the world which is 4km in length. This idea was introduced by a journalist of arts and culture in 2007. She aimed to create the finest art on the drab dyke and boring walls in Vietnam. Her project finally completed in 2010, in celebration of Hanoi’s 1000th anniversary. 

This mosaic mural reflects the culture, history, and vibrancy of the capital of Vietnam throughout the years. It needed the contribution of more than 600 people to make and the final results were worth this effort.

9. A Hub of Vietnamese Food

Bun Cha - Vietnamese food
(@wonrang2)

Hanoi has every Vietnamese food in the whole country with the impeccable flavor which is not too sour, spicy or sweet like in other regions. Hanoi has lived through a deep history so its food is no doubt Vietnam’s true reflection. The most typical foods you can find here are Bun Cha, Pho, Banh Duc, Banh Mi, and Spring Rolls.

10. Beer Culture

Beer culture
(@sandar_kyi)

If you are planning to go to Hanoi, Vietnam, trying some beer and enjoy the beer culture should be added to your list. Vietnamese beer is cheap and cheerful, which is around 7000 to 15000 VND. In lieu of going to high-end restaurants or lively pubs, people here choose to gather around at some spots like Ta Hien Street. 

This place is called the haven for beer lovers in Hanoi. You will see a wide range of people sitting with a pint of beer in hand, chatting together and saying “1,2,3 cheers” very enthusiastically. 

Some Hanoi facts you may know, some are new to you. But after this post, you may gain some insight into this city and ready to discover it!

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