Looking for something to do in Hanoi over the weekend, but worried about the rainy season dampening your day? Don't fret! There is much to see and do in Hanoi at any time of the year. Very much the cultural and artistic capital of the country, we have recommendations to keep you busy when the rains come. No matter what you favourite pastimes are, there will be something that takes your fancy. Whether you are into health, culture, shopping or eating and drinking, check out the best places to be this weekend.
Why not relax in the comfort of a spa? Pamper yourself in the type of venue that Asia does best. Le Spa Du Metropole at 15 Ngo Quyen - this is one of the best venues in the city for relaxing and forgetting about your cares. The spa has an extensive list of treatments and enjoys stunning facilities. This is the perfect place to chill out and spoil yourself. Alternatively, visit the Amadora Wellness and Spa at 250 Ba Trieu, in the heart of the city. This exquisitely furnished spa employs a combination of Champa art and modern Western themes to create a truly exotic location. Built over five floors, it includes 14 spa rooms just for skin care, two hair treatment rooms and a water based treatment pool. The highly trained staff at both of these venues offer many different types of treatments.
Le Spa Du Metropole
Dining out in Hanoi
If dining out is more your style, check out Don's - A Chef's Bistro on 16/27 Xuan Dieu, in Tay Ho District. Montreal-born chef Don Berger has created an impressive menu covering a range of specialities, from an oyster bar to fusion dishes of a sophisticated nature. An impressive wine cellar and cigar collection will complete your experience. For lovers of French dining, La Badiane at 10 Nam Ngu is a chic restaurant in the Old Quarter. The Australian beef tenderloin here commands the highest reputation in the city. The venue is a beautifully designed space in which to enjoy your meal.
La Badiane Restaurant
Culture and History
Culture lovers can catch a performance at the impressive 600-seat Hanoi Opera House. This French built colonial classic building is the spiritual home to the Hanoi Opera and the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra. The largest theatre in the country, it is a superb venue in which to watch a concert.
Of historical significance to the story of Hanoi, the “Hanoi Hilton” was the name given to the notorious Hoa Lo Prison by American POWs during the war. Built by the French in 1896 to house Vietnamese political prisoners, it once housed more than 2,000 of them in horribly cold, damp conditions. A small section of the jail remains today and is open to the public.
Hanoi Opera House
Of course like any other capital city, Hanoi has plenty for shopaholics. Vietnam is famous for its silks and you have to go a long way to find better than at Tan My Design, “the first shop on Silk Street”. Their second shop is a much larger affair and one of the best places in the country to find quality homeware, high-end clothing, art and more. Another superb local craft is quilt making, and Mekong+ is one of the leading players in the country. Incorporating Mekong Quilts and Mekong Creations, this highly ethical company enriches the lives of 340 female employees, with all profits sent back to the Mekong Villages from where the quilts originate. For high quality jewellery, check out Huong’s Jewellery where the owner Ngo Thi Thu Huong has been creating her delicate works since she was 18 years old. She now employs over a dozen craftsmen and women, working with imported silver and locally sourced precious stones, plus Phu Quoc’s famous pearls.
Tan My Design
As you can see, there is always plenty to keep you occupied in Hanoi when the weather turns bad.
Header photo by David McKelvey