Meaning of Hanoi: The story behind the name of the capital of Vietnam

Meaning of Hanoi

As the Vietnam capital, the meaning of Hanoi becomes evident through its ancient temples, pagodas, and historical sites that stand as silent witnesses to the city’s resilience. Embracing modernity with its bustling economy, innovative architecture, and burgeoning art scene, Hanoi harmoniously blends tradition and progress. Visitors can explore Vietnam’s soul, cherishing its past while experiencing its dynamic and modern charm.

1. Names of Hanoi throughout the history

The meaning of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, has evolved over the course of its history, marked by several name changes that reflect different chapters in its development.

  • Thang Long (1010–1397), Ly Dynasty: Thang Long, meaning “Ascending Dragon,” was the first significant name in the history of Hanoi. Emperor Ly Thai To chose it when moving the Imperial City to Dai La Thanh after witnessing a golden dragon soaring into the heavens.
  • Dong Do (1397–1408), Ho Dynasty: Under the Ho Dynasty, the name changed to Dong Do. During that era, Thanh Hoa bore the name Tay Do, while Thang Long was referred to as Dong Do.
  • Dong Quan (1408–1428), Minh Dynasty: The name of the city changed once more to Dong Quan, which translates to “Eastern Gateway,” signifying its role as an important eastern entrance.
  • Dong Kinh (1428–1802), Le Dynasty: During the Le Dynasty, Thang Long was renamed Dong Kinh because Tay Do was already established as a province in Thanh Hoa.
  • Bac Thanh (1802–1805), Nguyen Dynasty: During the Nguyen Dynasty, the city’s name changed to Bac Thanh, meaning “Northern Citadel”. This name solidifies Hanoi’s significance as the primary northern stronghold of Vietnam.
  • Thang long (1805–1831), Nguyen Dynasty: When Emperor Gia Long moved to Hue, the city reverted once again to its original name, Thang Long. However, he transformed the word “Long,” originally signifying a “Dragon,” into the word “Long,” now representing “Prosperity”.
  • Hanoi (1831–Present): In 1831, Emperor Minh Mang merged Thang Long with nearby districts and provinces like Tu Liem district, Ung Hoa province, Ly Nhan district, and Thuong Tin province, effectively incorporating Thang Long’s territories into Hanoi.

Apart from its historical names, Hanoi has been alluded to by a plethora of names in literature and folklore, including Truong An, Long Bien, Long Thanh, Ha Thanh, Hoang Dieu, etc.

Meaning of Hanoi

2. What is the meaning of Hanoi?

The name “Hanoi” originates from the Vietnamese language. It is believed to be a combination of two words: “Ha” meaning “river” and “Noi” meaning “inner” or “inside.” Therefore, the meaning of Hanoi can be interpreted as “the city located within the river,” as it is situated on the banks of the Red River in northern Vietnam.

Meaning of Hanoi

3. History of Hanoi at a glance

Hanoi’s millennium-long history began in 1010 AD as the capital of the Ly Dynasty. It flourished as an imperial center and later endured French colonial rule. During the Vietnam War, it served as the capital of North Vietnam.

Following the war’s conclusion in 1975, Hanoi embraced economic reforms, leading to rapid growth and development. Today, the city is a harmonious fusion of its historical heritage and modern advancements, captivating tourists with its abundant cultural richness, delightful cuisine, and iconic landmarks. 

Meaning of Hanoi

4. What is Hanoi famous for?

Hanoi is a bustling metropolis that can be explored through its various districts. As visitors venture through these districts in Hanoi, they become deeply immersed in the profound meaning of Hanoi. Here are a few captivating highlights, enticing travelers to embark on an unforgettable journey:

  • Cultural, historical, and architectural landmarks: Hanoi travel unveils a treasure trove of cultural and historical landmarks, including the serene Hoan Kiem Lake, the historic Ba Dinh Square, the revered Temple of Literature, the iconic Long Bien Bridge, and the elegant One Pillar Pagoda. Each site holds significant historical and architectural value, offering a glimpse into Hanoi’s history.
  • Cuisine: Hanoi is a paradise for food enthusiasts with its delectable array of dishes. The city is renowned for its mouthwatering Pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup; bun dau mam tom, featuring vermicelli served with fried tofu and shrimp paste; and the tantalizing turmeric fish. Moreover, Hanoi is the birthplace of the world-famous egg coffee, a must-try delight for coffee lovers.
  • People: The people of Hanoi are known for their warmth, friendliness, and genuine hospitality. Visitors are welcomed with open arms, and the locals’ kindness adds a special charm to the city, making it a heartwarming destination for travelers.

Meaning of Hanoi

Among the various city attractions, one outstanding destination that visitors should not miss is VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City. VinKE provides an immersive educational experience with engaging activities suitable for all ages, while Vinpearl Aquarium showcases a diverse collection of marine life from around the world.

Additionally, make sure to include VinWonders Ha Noi Wave Park and VinWonders Ha Noi Water Park on your must-visit list. These exhilarating sites guarantee an action-packed adventure filled with endless fun for water enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.

Meaning of Hanoi


Meaning of HanoiMeaning of Hanoi

>>> Book tickets to VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium to create lasting memories with your friends and family! 

After uncovering the marvels of Hanoi, set forth on a journey to Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang and Ha Long with a stay at Vinpearl hotels and resorts to elevate your travel experience.

At Vinpearl, guests are treated to rejuvenating spas, savor delectable dining, and engage in exciting entertainment and recreational activities. For an unparalleled and opulent stay in Vietnam, Vinpearl stands as the paramount choice.

Furthermore, don’t forget to explore VinWonders, which offers thrilling adventures and entertainment for all ages.

Meaning of Hanoi


Meaning of HanoiMeaning of Hanoi

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In conclusion, the meaning of Hanoi transcends its status as a mere geographical location. Encompassing a rich tapestry of history, culture, and traditions, Hanoi epitomizes the soul of Vietnam. The city’s enduring significance lies in its ability to preserve its heritage while embracing modernity, making it a captivating destination for travelers seeking a profound understanding of the nation’s identity. Through its ancient temples, bustling markets, and warm-hearted people, the meaning of Hanoi continues to inspire and enchant all who encounter its timeless charm.

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