If you’re heading to Hanoi for a holiday, do make sure you have the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in your list of to-visit places because it’s one of the few attractions in Hanoi that’s really worth checking out.
The hotel reception staff had given us the wrong information/direction on where the entrance to the Imperial Citadel was located and we wasted time doing a long detour. It took us quite a while to locate the entrance until we saw this sign that pointed us the right way.
If you’re coming from the Old Quarter, walk along Dien Bien Phu street and once you’ve passed Highlands Coffee, turn right. The entrance gate to The Central Sector of The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is just a stone’s throw away.
You should see this building where the ticket reception is. Ticket is priced at 30,000 VND per person. The main entrance to the Citadel grounds is within the ticket reception area as well.
This is what you’d see after you walk out the yellow building and onto the grounds of the Citadel.
This Citadel kinda reminds me of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
This Central Sector is the most important aspect of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. It served as the capital of Dai Viet from the 11th to 18th centuries. While the palaces no longer exist, we could still see remnants of the past that hold great value of Vietnam’s history and culture. In 2010, this place was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Citadel used to look like this in the olden days.
While the Citadel is open to visitors, archaeological excavation is also on-going at the same time. When artefacts are discovered, they will be displayed at the Exhibitions Gallery.
If you’re interested to explore a larger archaeological site (18 Hoang Dieu Street), after you’ve exited the Central Sector here, cross the road to opposite and show your ticket to the ticketing staff there to gain access to the place. Nothing fascinating there – it’s just a site with excavation works going on so it’s really for the ‘been there done that’ experience.
This is a French Military Administration Building that was built in 1897 after the French took control of the Citadel.
Around this ‘backyard area’ of the former palace are Exhibition Galleries where you can see more relics and read up on the Citadel’s history.
This underground bunker was the HQ of the Central Military Commission during the Vietnam War.
We walked past here one afternoon and was surprised to see so many people – well, mainly the graduating students taking pictures here as it was year-end graduation season. When we visited the Citadel early in the morning (before 9am), it was very quiet but very relaxing to walk around because there wasn’t a need to rush or anything.
The Citadel is open to visitors from 8.30am to 11.30am and 2.00pm to 5.00pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. It is closed on Mondays.
Estimated time required: approx. 2 – 2.5 hours
The Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
19C Hoang Dieu
Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Tel: +84 4 3734 5927