Wondering where are the best photo spots in Hanoi? You are in the right place! I will help you discover the most beautiful places in Hanoi and make sure you get some wonderful postcards from your trip.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and it is one of the most unique places to visit in Asia. The local architecture has been influenced by Chinese and French, yet it has a unique local twist that will overwhelm and charm you simultaneously. This also means a lot of cool photo opportunities for photography lovers. In this article, you will find exact locations, the best time to take visit these places, what equipment to use, and many more photography tips.
My guide of the best photo spots in Hanoi is going to ensure that you don’t miss a single photo opportunity during your visit! I will add the exact location on Google Maps for every location – just click on the link to find it.
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Best Photo Spots in Hanoi
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature is one of my personal highlights and certainly deserves to be on the list of the best photo spots in Hanoi. It is a historical relic that provides a look into the history of Vietnam and it dates back to the 10th century.
Considering that it is a temple, it peaceful and quiet place in the middle of busy Hanoi. Inside you will find multiple attractions starting from the gate and ending with Imperial Academy. The pavilion together with a pond is one of the most beautiful places in Hanoi. This means that you have multiple photo spots within the Temple of Literature.
It is a busy location, so I highly recommend visiting the temple at the opening time. If you can’t make it in the early morning, you can consider 1 hour before closing time. It should give you enough time to visit the temple and capture its beauty of it. Anything between a wide-angle lens and a 35 mm lens will be useful here.
Location: Temple of Literature
Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND (1.17 EUR).
Opening Hours: every day from 8 am to 5 pm.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
Your Hanoi photography album can’t be complete without Tran Quoc Pagoda. This Pagoda is more than 1500 years old and the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi. It is located next to the West Lake and creates a beautiful skyline from the distance.
Once you get closer, you will see the bridge that leads you to the yellow pillar, and then on your left, you will find an impressive size stupa. Both of these places deserve to be photographed but stupa certainly requires a wide-angle lens. Also, there is a cool spot on the left side of the entrance right before the bridge.
Being one of the main attractions of Hanoi, this place is crowded most of the time, so I suggest you visit before the closing time. Depending on the season, you can wait for the sunset and see the sun setting down on the lake. A visit can take from 30 minutes to an entire afternoon.
Location: Tran Quoc Pagoda
Entrance Fee: free.
Opening Hours: from 7.30 am to 11.30 am and from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
The Huc Bridge, Dac Nguyet Lau and Ngọc Sơn Temple
Ngọc Sơn Temple is a beautiful place to visit in Hanoi. The sacred temple, along with other architecture, creates a historical complex that has been the pride of Hanoian for hundreds of years. In fact, you will meet a lot of locals who come here for photo shoots. Even wedding celebrations.
After the entrance, you will find another iconic attraction of Hanoi – The Huc Bridge. If you have the zoom lens, I suggest your photographer stays at the left side of the entrance gate and you head to the middle part of the bridge. With a 100 mm lens, you will create a unique view and will be able to capture the bridge and the pavilion.
If you don’t have the zoom lens, just head to the bridge and capture the beauty of Dac Nguyet Lau. a 35 mm lens is probably the best solution in this case. Also, I suggest you wear something red to match the bridge and yet pop in front of the pavilion.
After that, visit the temple and enjoy the peaceful vibes in the middle of the lake. The entire visit will take you around 1 hour, however, I suggest you visit as early as possible as it gets crowded shortly after opening.
Location: Ngọc Sơn Temple
Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND (1.17 EUR)
Opening Hours: 7 am to 6 pm (it says 8 am on Google, but that is not accurate).
Bach Ma Temple
Located in the heart of the Old Quarter, you will find Bach Ma Temple – another beautiful place in Hanoi. This temple dates back to the 9th century and hasn’t changed much since then. This was one of the few places that were not affected by French colonization so it kept its original charm. And believed to be sacred because of this. The Hanoi twist, remember?
It is a small temple and won’t take more than 15 minutes to visit, but make sure to take a walk around and appreciate the beauty hidden inside. If you ask me, the best photo spot is right after the entrance. From here you capture the red beams together with the altar.
Overall, this is a quiet place and you can take a great photo with a bit of patience any time of the day. Unless you are visiting during the Lunar New Year. The place is packed with people and events during that time, but it certainly comes with even better photo opportunities, so don’t miss it!
Location: Bach Ma Temple
Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: every day from 8 am to 11 am and from 2 pm to 8 pm.
Train Street of Hanoi – is it open in 2022?
2023 UPDATE: the train street in Hanoi is open to the public again.
Train Street has been the main attraction of the city and the best place to visit in Hanoi. However, as of December 2022, the most popular part of Train Street is closed. A policeman makes sure that tourists don’t get to the part where the street gets very narrow.
Luckily, the train street is long and you can still see the train passing Hanoi. I suggest you head to a cafe called Hanoi 1990s for some of the best train views. You can sit down for a drink and wait for the train.
When it comes to the train schedule, there is a lot of different information out there and even the coffee shop owners are not 100% sure when the train is going to come. I have seen the train passing at 9 am on the weekends. I will add the schedule below but keep in mind that the trains are often delayed and canceled.
Or you can simply take photos with the train street and forget about capturing the train. It is impressive to see but doesn’t look as nice in the photos. Then again, that is just my opinion.
Location: Hanoi 1990s
Train Schedule: Weekdays: 7 pm; 7.45 pm; 8.30 pm; and 10 pm. Weekends: 6 am; 9 am; 11.20 am; 3.20 pm; 5.30 pm; 6 pm; 7 pm; 7.45 pm; 8.30 pm; 9 pm; 11 pm.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is another great photo spot in Hanoi that you should add to your itinerary. This is a place where you can see a strong French influence in architecture as I mentioned before and take some great photos of Hanoi.
This is one of the oldest churches in Hanoi and it is deeply loved by locals, so my suggestion is to arrive early and take some photos at sunrise. In order to take photos you don’t need the enter the gate, but if you are planning to visit the inside of the Cathedral, make sure you check the time of the ceremony because that is the only time when it is open.
The Cathedral is located in a lively neighborhood with a lot of interesting coffee shops. Sipping a lemon tea with a view of the cathedral is something that Vietnamese love, so try it out and indulge in the local way of life once you are done with the photos. Trà Chanh Nhà Thờ coffee shop has a fantastic view from the balcony on the second floor.
Location: St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Entrance Fee: free.
Opening Hours: only during ceremonies, but open for photos any time of the day.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was one of my personal highlights of Hanoi. At first, I wasn’t even sure if it was worth visiting, but I ended up loving it. As of 2022, there are some works in the middle of the complex, however, this place has a lot of photo opportunities.
Doan Mon or the gate that you see in the photo is the main attraction of the citadel and one of the best photo spots in Hanoi. Behind the gate, you will find a cute lamp street and more picturesque corners. Plan to spend around one hour in the complex and get creative.
Location: Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND (1.17 EUR).
Opening Hours: from 8 am to 5 pm.
Street Art in Hanoi
If you are a fan of street art, Hanoi is a great destination for you, and here are some insider tips on where to find the best street art in Hanoi.
Phung Hung Street is 200 meters long and probably the most popular area for street art. Normally I am not a big fan of contemporary art, but here you will find unique paintings from daily life in Vietnam. Vietnamese and Korean artists participated in this project to add some colors to the lively streets and the results are absolutely fantastic.
Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is another place for street art lovers visiting Hanoi. This is the kind of street art that you can find in many other cities but still deserves a visit.
And you might find even more street art while wandering the streets of Hanoi. For example, the location of the photo is right in front of Cafe A99. We found it by accident when walking the train street.
The Note Coffee – the most Instagrammable cafe in Hanoi
Looking for the most Instagrammable cafe in Hanoi? The Note Coffee is what you are looking for. It is known for colorful, customer-written notes lining the walls. You might think there are a few stickers here and there, but no. Everything is covered with stickers – the walls, the tables, even some books, and the ceiling.
When you order your drink, you get a few stickers so you can leave your message to the world and add it to the current collection. It is a very cool idea if you ask me. And of course, one of the best photo spots in Hanoi.
If you are planning to take pictures, avoid the second floor as there is not enough light. You make your order on the first floor and then head to the third floor. I suggest you use a wide-angle lens and something like a 35 mm lens for some specific details.
Location: The Note Coffee
Opening Hours: on weekdays from 8 am to 10.30 am and on the weekends from 7 am to 11 am.
Turtle Tower is a small tower located in the middle of Sword Lake and certainly is worth photographing. The turtle has a special place in Vietnamese culture and history. It symbolizes longevity, strength, and intelligence.
I suggest you take a walk around the lake, play with the angles to capture the Turtle Tower, and create some beautiful photos from Hanoi. I personally think it looks the best from Lý Thái Tổ Monument. Zoom lens will do the rest.
Considering the location of Turtle Tower, I think it is best to start your day at the Ngọc Sơn Temple, take some photos of the Turtle Tower and then head to the Note Coffee for a well-earned breakfast.
Location: Turtle Tower
The Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is a perfect place for street photography lovers. And one of the best places in Hanoi to capture the vibes of this chaotic city. This is where you need to go to discover the soul of Hanoi – endless street food stands, cool vintage stores, and old Vietnamese architecture wrapped in traffic and mixed with unique scents of spices.
You need to grab your zoom lens and get lost in the mess. I am not going to share specific locations, but just try to capture the lively streets, the life of locals, and traditional architecture. These are the kind of photos that you see in travel magazines and you have the opportunity to live through these photos.
Just keep in mind, if you are taking a picture of a person, it is always better to ask permission first.
Mão Bookstore is one of the best hidden gems in Hanoi. Dinh Le Street is filled with bookstores, however, Mão Bookstore is the oldest bookstore in the area. Also, one of the most picturesque places in Hanoi.
This 2-floor store filled with books and artwork will take you to another world. It is a quiet and tranquil place and you can visit it for a relaxing afternoon. Apparently, many locals spent their childhood days here and now you can share that experience with them. When it comes to photography, you will need a wide-angle lens to fully capture the bookshop.
On Google Maps, the location will take you to Nhà sách Mão, but you have to take the small alley on the left side of this shop and then take the stairs up.
Location: Mão Bookstore
Entrance Fee: free, but consider making a donation.
Opening Hours: from 9.30 am to 7 pm.
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is a historical attraction in Hanoi and it serves as the resting place of Vietnamese Revolutionary leader and President Ho Chi Minh. It is a unique place to visit in Hanoi and features brutalist architecture.
In order to get in, you will need to go through security screening and follow the dress code – nothing short, sleeveless, or tight. You can photograph the front of the monument, however, it does get crowded. So my tip is to head behind the monument and bring your zoom lens. Pass the garden area and capture the Mausoleum from there.
If you want to visit the building inside, the opening times are different and cameras are not allowed. Also, be prepared to join a long line since the local people come from all over Vietnam to see this historical place in Hanoi. There is an entrance fee of 25000 VND (1 EUR) for foreigners.
Location: Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: from 5 am to 10 pm
One Pillar Pagoda
Another interesting attraction within the territory of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is the One Pillar Pagoda. It is actually known for being the most unique pagoda in Asia as it is hanging above a water pond on one stone pillar. This means it has to go to your Hanoi photography album.
Make sure you stop by when visiting Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and a wide-angle lens will be your go-to lens here. I suggest you choose a sunny day for visiting the entire complex as it gets quite dark around the pagoda when it is cloudy. As you can see, I was not lucky enough.
Location: One Pillar Pagoda
Entrance Fee: free
Opening Hours: from 5 am to 10 pm
Long Bien Bridge
If you are looking for Instagrammable places in Hanoi, Long Bien Bridge is a perfect spot for you. It is another historical sight and it gets very hectic during the day, but you can certainly create some unique photos from Hanoi on the Long Bien Bridge.
The best way to reach this place is to grab a taxi or use Grab. You will certainly need to bring your zoom lens and play with the depth of field. I personally think it is a perfect sunset spot in Hanoi, however, be mindful that the train still comes on this bridge. It is not frequent, but it is better to be careful.
It is an interesting attraction for history lovers and there are many walking tours that include this bridge. Despite being heavily bombarded during Vietnam War, it still holds many original pieces.
Location: Long Bien Bridge
Bonus location! Incense Village near Hanoi – Quang Phu Cau
And for those of you who are looking for a new location and unique things to do in Hanoi, I have prepared another bonus location. Quang Phu Cau is one of the biggest incense producers in Vietnam and during the coloring process, the entire village becomes a colorful fairytale.
So how to visit Quang Phu Cau and where to find the best incense near Hanoi? We decided to go by taxi and asked the driver to wait for us. From Hanoi to Quang Phu Cau Grab cost us around 400.000 VND (15.86 EUR); in total, we paid 1.000000 VND (39.66 EUR) for both ways and the waiting time. However, there is no guarantee that the driver will agree to wait, so if you are not in the mood to risk, you can book a private driver for a half day. The price is around 1300000 VND (51.56 EUR) and you can ask in of the many tour agencies in Hanoi – offices are on every corner in the center of Hanoi. Then there is public transport, but you will need to change the bus and we didn’t want to risk ending up in the middle of nowhere.
The peak season is from November until February because that is the time when the locals get ready for the Tet celebration, however, you can see the process all year around. Also, the paint drying process normally starts around 10 am and ends shortly after midday, that is the time when you should be in the village, so plan accordingly.
Where to find the best photo spots? I will add the exact location below, however, you will see the incense all over the town. The most popular area is from Trạm xăng Nghĩa Ngọc gas station until Đình Bầu. If you choose to visit Làng làm hương đỏ, you will have to pay 100000 VND (3.97 EUR) per person to enter.
Location: Làng làm hương đỏ
Equipment that I use for my Hanoi photos
- Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR
- Nikon Nikkor AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8G ED
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G
- Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
- Tamron SP 70 – 200 mm f/2.8 di VC G2
Further reading for the best photo spots in Hanoi
Other useful tips for visiting Vietnam
🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Vietnam? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo
This is the end of the best photo spots in Hanoi and I’m sure that after reading this article you are impatient to get to Hanoi and create some unforgettable postcards. I believe that these photography tips will help you take epic photos and find the exact locations of the best photo spots in Hanoi.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.