Hanoi – The City of Lakes and Temples

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The Vietnamese capital of Hanoi is the major attraction of Northern Vietnam and over the years it has become a cultural and commercial center of the region. The ancient city has over 600 pagodas and Buddhist temples that preserve the cultural roots of Vietnam. Also of historic importance are places like Hoa Lo Prison and the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. Our stay in Hanoi was more of a learning experience and here are the main sites that we explored,

Perfume Pagoda

Chua Huong or the Perfume Pagoda is one of the lesser-known tourist spots in Hanoi that can definitely impress you. The admission fee per person is VND 78,000. The pagoda is a sacred site called the “inner temple” located among the Buddhist temples of Huong Tich. The ancient pagoda is located inside a huge cave that looks like a dragon’s mouth. There are writings on the cave that dates back to the 18th century. There are many stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave that are believed to have miraculous powers. The place was amazing but the only challenging part is the uphill hike.

Chua Tran Quoc

Located on the shores of the beautiful West Lake is the ancient pagoda of Chua Tran Quoc. As per historians, the Buddhist temple is nearly 1450 years old. The picturesque watery landscape and the uniqueness of the temple’s architecture make the place look quite heavenly. The reflection of the temple and the tall coconut trees that surround the shores look pretty fascinating. Many tourists visit the place in the evening to view the sunset from this spot.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the most memorable places I have been to in Hanoi. The historic church was built in 1886 and illustrates the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Located in the Old Quarter, the cathedral is one of the most-visited Catholic churches in Vietnam. The twin tower of the cathedral looks striking from a distance. The interiors look simple compared to traditional cathedrals. Overall, it was a very peaceful experience.