Unique Experiences To Have In Hanoi, Vietnam

Step off the beaten path and uncover the lesser-known wonders of Hanoi for an unforgettable travel experience as we discover five offbeat attractions that offer a different perspective of the city
Popular train street in Hanoi
Popular train street in Hanoi Shutterstock

Located in Vietnam, Hanoi stands as a city renowned for its historical legacy, cultural tapestry, and lively thoroughfares. Amidst the prominent allure of renowned landmarks such as Hoan Kiem Lake and the Temple of Literature that entice numerous visitors, this Vietnamese metropolis harbours a host of lesser-known yet intriguing treasures waiting to be discovered. Here, we present four unique experiences to embark upon during your stay in Hanoi.

Explore The Hidden Train Street

Originally constructed in the 1990s for transporting goods, Train Street has transformed into a residential area where trains pass astonishingly close to houses. This one-of-a-kind attraction provides an incredible experience as you witness trains whizzing by just inches away. With remarkable nonchalance, street residents press against walls or retreat into nearby doorways, swiftly resuming their activities on the tracks once the train has passed. The optimal time to visit is in the morning or late afternoon when the trains traverse the area. Situated between Le Duan and Kham Tien streets in Hanoi's Old Quarter, Train Street—specifically Ngo 224 Le Duan—offers a surreal sight that will inspire awe in the locals' daily lives.

Train street
Train streetShutterstock

Immerse Yourself In The Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda
Perfume PagodaShutterstock

Escape the bustling city and embark on a journey to the Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tich Mountains. Around 60 kilometres southwest of Hanoi, Perfume Pagoda gets its name from the fragrant scent of the surrounding flowers, believed to have therapeutic properties, and is one of the largest and unique religious sites in Huong Son Commune, My Duc District in Northern Vietnam. Reachable by boat and a short hike, this hidden gem offers stunning views and a serene atmosphere. Explore the pagodas nestled in the limestone caves and learn about the site's spiritual significance. The Perfume Pagoda is especially enchanting during the Huong Pagoda Festival, held from January to March. Take a boat ride on the Yen stream flowing between two mountains for 3 kilometres, visit Den Trinh before climbing Huong Mount or go down 120 stone steps to Huong Tich Grotto, meaning 'traces of the fragrance.'

Get Lost In The Quirky Book Streets Of Hanoi

Book Streets Of Hanoi
Book Streets Of HanoiShutterstock

Indulge your love for literature by wandering through Hanoi's book streets—Nguyen Van Binh Street, Dinh Le, December 19th Street, Lang Old Books Street, and Pham Van Dong Book Street. These vibrant streets have bookstores, cafes, and cosy reading corners. Discover an impressive collection of books, from ancient classics to contemporary works. Who knows if you'll get lucky enough to lay your hands on some rare finds at an affordable price. Immerse yourself in the city's literary culture as you enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee while browsing through the shelves. Don't forget to pick up a unique souvenir to remember your visit. Hanoi's book streets host various literary events, book launches, and author meet-and-greets, making it a haven for bookworms.

Enjoy The Thang Long Water Theatre

Thang Long Water Theatre
Thang Long Water TheatreShutterstock

Mostly unknown outside Northern Vietnam until the 1960s, the ancient art of water puppetry is one of the country's more curious highlights. Rice farmers working in the red river delta conceived this unusual art form over 1,000 years ago. The most revered performance house is Thang Long Municipal Theatre, located in the heart of Hanoi. At performances here, puppeteers stand waist-deep in the water behind a screen and operate the puppets on large rods to give the impression that the figures are moving across the water. The theatre is a 10-minute taxi ride from Hanoi's central station or a 25-minute walk. Between October and April, the Water Puppet Theatre can be very busy, so it is advisable to book in advance. You should reserve your seats away from the stage because the performance leaves your attire soaked up with water.

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