The 15 Most Instagrammable Spots in Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam's first university | © beggs/Flickr
Vietnam's first university | © beggs/Flickr
Photo of Piumi Rajapaksha
26 June 2018

Hanoi is an Instagrammer’s heaven with plenty of beautiful architectural landmarks, parks and natural landscapes to photograph. Here are some places you can take some awesome photos to spice up your Instagram feed.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Building
Map View
Hanoi Citadel | © katiebordner
Hanoi Citadel | © katiebordner

This royal enclosure was built in the center of Hanoi during the Ly Dynasty in 1010 and since then served as the political center of the country for 13 consecutive centuries, and as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Bridge, Buddhist Temple, Park
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Turtle Tower, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam, Southeast Asia, Asia
© imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

Just by the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular hangout spot for both locals and tourists. In the middle of the lake lies an island on which Ngoc Son Temple is built, connected by a scarlet bridge. Altogether, the sight is extremely scenic and often used as a backdrop for engagement photoshoots.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Museum, Park
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Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum | © Chris Yunker/Flickr
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum | © Chris Yunker/Flickr

Over here you will find the preserved body of beloved Uncle Ho laid to rest in a glass case. While you can visit and pay your respects, you are not allowed to take pictures inside. There are plenty of opportunities in the vicinity though such as the Bach Thao park, Ho Chi Minh Museum and Ba Dinh Square.

Hanoi Opera House

Opera House
Map View

The Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911. It is one of the most elegant structures of the whole city and was modeled to look like the Paris Opera House. You don’t necessarily have to buy a ticket and enjoy a performance since the cream-colored structure is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

Temple of Literature

Buddhist Temple, University
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Entrance | © Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr
Entrance | © Brian Jeffery Beggerly/Flickr

This is the oldest university in Vietnam, initially intended for noble families, however later taking a more egalitarian approach to admissions. Built in 1070, it’s one of the oldest and also one of the most beautiful structures in the city.

Hoa Lo Prison

Museum
Map View
Hoa Lo Prison was infamously called the Hanoi Hilton. Built by the French colonists in the late 1800’s, its purpose was to hold prisoners of war. A famous POW that was captured and held here was Senator John McCain. His uniform is displayed among the many eerie mannequins that depict horrific scenes of what it was like within the prison walls back then.

Perfume Pagoda

Buddhist Temple
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Perfume Pagoda river
Perfume Pagoda river | © Inaki Olavarrieta Moro / Alamy Stock Photo

These are a series of temples built into a mountain around the 15th century. To get there is an adventure, including a long boat ride and a rather arduous hike. Plenty of nature will surround you, giving many opportunities to take beautiful pictures.

Thu Le Park

Zoo
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Peacock | © Mateusz Drogowski/Flickr
Peacock | © Mateusz Drogowski/Flickr
Thu Le Park is where you can get some awesome shots of exotic animals as this place goes by another name: Hanoi Zoo. There are about 800 animals here, all taken good care of. The aim of the zoo is to conserve and protect regional animals that are under threat.

Bun Cha Huong Lien 2 Obama

Restaurant, Vietnamese, $$$
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Obama eating bun cha | © manhhai/Flickr
Obama eating bun cha | © manhhai/Flickr

It may be a little weird for you finding a bun cha restaurant up here in this list. This restaurant shot up to popularity when President Barack Obama was invited by American chef Anthony Bourdain to try a local lunch time meal favorite, bun cha. After they finished their meal, the table was left uncleaned and moved to a corner, where it is now a glass-enclosed shrine. The name of the restaurant changed too and they introduced a new item to the menu: The Obama Combo. Definitely Instagrammable, as it provides a little humorous insight into the culture.

Meal service:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Casual

Hanoi Train Street

Train Station
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Hanoi Train Street
Hanoi Train Street | © yeowatzup/Flickr

This is a narrow residential alley in the Old Quarter of Hanoi through which a train street runs terrifyingly close to the houses. As if on some silent cue, every resident packs up their daily lives in unison and moves back into their houses as trains go by twice a day. This is a very popular spot for Instagrammers and one of our favorites.