History is important to help really understand a city. Without knowing Vietnam’s past, Hanoi is full of museums to help you learn atleast a bit. Within 1km you can visit many museum such as ‘The museum of the Vietnamese revolution’, ‘Vietnamese women’s museum’ or the ‘Temple of Literature’ ( I must admit there are slightly too many to choose, especially when time is limited).
We choose to visit the Hao Lo Prison which is near the Hoan Kiem Lake (and our hostel!). Even though the prison was built and used from 1896, most of the displays shows what it would have been like around the 1950s in Vietnam. At this time the Vietnamese struggled from independence from France. At its peak about 2000 prisoners living in the cells, however some did escape through sewers!