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7 Top Photo Spots in Hanoi

To truly dive into the culture of Vietnam, visiting the capital city of Hanoi is a great place to plan a photo shoot. With a diverse combination of ancient tradition and contemporary development, you’ll be able to capture the old and the new in your photographs. Hanoi also brings together busy city life with more tranquil surroundings, and both inside the city and nearby there are numerous opportunities to photograph the beautiful landscape of Vietnam.


Hoan Kiem Lake

Not far from the bustling Old Town, the peaceful and serene Hoan Kiem Lake is a small patch of paradise right in the middle of a booming metropolis. Escape the crowded city streets for a while and come to this top photo site in Hanoi for images that convey the tranquility of this pleasant lake. At the center of Hoan Kiem Lake is a small island with an important temple, the Ngoc Son Temple, which was built in commemoration of Van Xuong, Tran Hung Dao, and La To, three significant figures of Vietnamese history. The beautiful red bridge stretching across the lake to reach the island is a great scene to include in your photo shoot, and from the bridge another small island on the southern side of the lake is visible which is known for the iconic Turtle Tower.


Municipal Water Puppet Theater

A unique cultural activity in Hanoi, the water puppet shows are a top photo event for photographers in Hanoi. An ancient form of entertainment, these detailed puppets enact traditional Vietnamese legends, usually in water pools, rather than in flooded rice paddies as the art originated.

While there are shows all over the city, some of the best can be found at the Municipal Water Puppet Theater, performed by professional puppeteers, and giving you a truly special event to include in your photo shoot of Hanoi.


Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The tomb of Ho Chi Minh attracts people from all over the country who journey to this spot as a type of pilgrimage. For photographers in Hanoi, the Mausoleum is an important photo site if you want to include some of the history and culture of the city.

At the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to see artifacts preserved from Ho Chi Minh’s life, as well as more detailed information about his career and work.


Old Quarter

At heart, Hanoi is an ancient city, and there’s no better way to experience this than by visiting the Old Town Quarter. Nearly a thousand years old, when you explore the streets of the Old Town you’ll come across unmistakable signs of age and bygone eras. What makes the Old Quarter a top photo site in Hanoi isn’t just the relics of medieval and colonial architecture, but how you’ll be able to include the cultural atmosphere of the city in your photographs. Along the narrow streets, there are numerous local shops and cafés, and street vendors take up whatever room is left to find a space to sell their goods. One place that is a must-visit site for photographers in Hanoi is the St. Joseph’s Cathedral, sitting almost directly center in the old town. This church dates back to when the French had colonized the region and is known for its elaborate decorations and stunning stain glass windows.


Tay Ho

The West Lake of Hanoi is the largest lake in the area, and a beautiful natural landmark perfect for anyone planning a photo shoot. With more than 15 kilometers of scenic shoreline, there are practically endless opportunities to capture meaningful images during your trip. There is a picturesque biking and walking path around the lake which will take you past the best attractions of the area.

Particularly noteworthy is the Tay Ho Pagoda, and important edifice that was built in honor of the mother goddess. For a panoramic view of the skyline of Hanoi, the shores of Tay Ho are the best place to go, and the breathtaking sight will make you realize why this such an amazing photo location.


Imperial Citadel of Hanoi

In 2010, the Imperial Citadel of Hanoi was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its importance in Vietnam’s military history. It’s a top photo site in Hanoi, and one that is both striking and historically noteworthy. Over 1,000 years of military history are cataloged in the artifacts preserved from this site, which were once parts of palaces that used to occupy where the Citadel now stands.

Another major attraction is the bunker in which historic weapons and some of the maps the army used to use are displayed for visitors to see. Don’t miss the chance to include this impressive landmark of Vietnamese military power in your photo shoot of the city.


Temple of Literature

An 11th century Confucian temple, this important religious site in Hanoi is a beautiful photography location that also holds cultural significance for the city. Once a site of education and study, the names of former students and scholars have been engraved into the mighty pillars of the temple.

The Temple of Literature is known for its beautifully maintained gardens, a perfect place to take some truly stunning photographs. At the center of the network of gardens is a historic pagoda with a statue of Confucius himself sits. Everything about the temple from the spectacular artwork and design to this historic meaning of the place make it one of Hanoi’s top photo sites.