Hanoi's parks and gardens are a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Vietnam's capital. A highlight of your trip will be Hoan Kiem Lake. During the morning hours you’ll find locals practising tai chi in the gardens, close to the shore.
There’s also the beautiful Bach Thao Botanical Park – home to exotic plants – as well as the open space of Thong Nhat Park. Take time to stroll through the green spaces, enjoying the everyday of Hanoi life.
Established in 1958, Thong Nhat Park was named after Vietnam's desire for reunification. In the 1980s, it was briefly renamed Lenin's Park in honour of the Russian revolutionary’s 110th birthday. Today, this 50 hectare recreation area features manicured lawns and plenty of flowering trees. Locals come here to beat the summer heat, especially since there’s a large lake where people can sail swan boats.
If you want a place to enjoy a variety of activities, go to Thu Le Park. This 29 hectare area contains a lake where people enjoy boating, as well as a zoo. There are also eateries and places to play tennis and sing karaoke. If you want a moment of peace, visit the small Voi Phuc Temple nearby.
You'll find the Hanoi Zoological Garden inside Thu Le Park. This small zoo has animals from Vietnam as well as gifts from Australia, Europe, and Asia. Be on the lookout for the local sika deer, macaque monkeys, and blue and yellow macaws.
Behind Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum lies a lush green space that’s considered the lungs of Hanoi. Bach Thao Botanical Park's name means ‘hundreds of plants’ and it lives up to this meaning. Enjoy a large variety of indigenous trees, herbs and flowers, as well as species from around the world. Visit the botanic gardens between sightseeing, taking time out to enjoy lunch and refresh your senses.