an Instagram guide to Hanoi, Vietnam: 5 classic places for photos + a map to help you find them

Vietnam in general is a very photogenic country. Upon every return trip, I find my eye glued to the viewfinder of my camera, getting trigger happy with the shutter button. My most recent trip to Hanoi proved that my love affair with Vietnam’s aesthetics is never-ending. For those new to the capital, overwhelmed by the affordable local food, derelict cafés, and French colonial architecture, here are 5 quintessentially “Hanoi” Instagram spots you’re likely to fall in love with photographing!


READ ON FOR CLASSIC PHOTO PLACES IN HANOI


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TRAIN STREET

Everyone who visits Hanoi wants a picture at “Train Street”. This Instagram hotspot is ideal for fun {albeit a tad overdone} photos. While they may be bordering cliché these days, it is easy to get creative with pictures at the famous train tracks thanks to the variety of scenery along the rails. From laundry lines and bicycles to quintessential stool-seating, Train Street photos are only as limited as your imagination— walk the tracks, get cozy at a café, pose it up near a colorful wall, and immerse yourself fully in everything this lively part of the city has to offer.

INSIDER TIP: Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time for photos before the train is due to arrive. No Instagram pic is worth risking your safety for— that should go without saying.

PEEP MY GUIDE TO HANOI TRAIN STREET HERE.

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ST. JOSEPH’S CATHEDRAL

You might be surprised to know that Vietnam is home to nearly 4 million Catholics. Those who already know that little fun fact won’t be shocked to see St. Joseph’s Cathedral in the Hoan Kiem/Old Quarter area of Hanoi, with church-goers arriving to attend one of the many mass services offered daily to the public. The Neo-Gothic architecture makes it stand out from the other buildings in the city. Getting a creative photo here is a fun little challenge and you’re likely to not be the only one snapping a pic.

INSIDER TIP: On the weekdays, children are dropped off for school in front of the Cathedral. The best time to get there for photos without people in them is just after the parents leave and the children are taken by their teachers to the school around the corner. I got there early and I was bombarded with children curious about my tripod. I then went and grabbed a coffee at Cong Caphe across the street and then went back for a people-free picture.

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CERAMIC MURAL WALL

This colourful wall, created with ceramic tiles, is begging for its photo to be taken. Every step along it reveals a different mural that has been artfully designed. Despite the inconvenience of getting a good shot due to the wall’s proximity to the road and the narrowness of the path, it is a vibrant spot for a photo and a cultural landmark in Hanoi that shouldn’t to be missed.

INSIDER TIP: There are only a few portions of the lengthy wall that have enough sidewalk space to get a photo of you with the wall and, even then, I’m not sure I advise using a tripod due to the narrowness of the path and its proximity to the highway

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CUTE CAFÉS

Oh the cafés of Hanoi. Where to even start. There are so many quirky spots, local haunts, and themed joints in Hanoi that, rather than picking out one, I decided to bundle them all together. For those looking to snap photos in what is essentially an endless number of rooms with different vantage points and furniture, head to Café Nola. Anyone wanting a colourful background and cutesy decor should make their way to The Note Coffee. My absolute favourite cafés in Hanoi, Loading T… and Hanoi Social Club, both make excellent photo spots {and the coffee at both these places is better than Nola and Note}.

YOU CAN FIND MORE CUTE CAFÉS IN MY HANOI CAFÉ GUIDE HERE.

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THE TEMPLE OF LITERATURE

The Temple of Literature is a cultural landmark in the city where students come to pray for good test results and exam marks. There’s no doubt the Temple of Literature in Hanoi is easy on the eyes, though I found it a bit underwhelming if I’m honest. The visual appeal, however, cannot be denied and the temple makes for a nice morning mix of culture and creative photography.

INSIDER TIP: Even with me getting here at opening, the temple was filled with group tours and visitors. This is a beautiful place to get creative with your shots. There also isn’t much shade, so if you plan on taking photos make sure you avoid noon-time when the sunlight will be directly over you.


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an instagram guide to Hanoi, Vietnam: the best photo spots in the city and a map to help you find them
an Instagram guide to Hanoi, Vietnam: the best places for pictures + a map to help you find them