Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: Unveiling Timeless Beauty in Vietnam’s Capital

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is one of the most famous destinations in Hanoi, holding an important role in preserving Vietnamese history and culture. With each area in this spot, visitors will have a chance to discover an interesting story, attached to the long-standing traditions of locals.

In this blog, will review outstanding attractions in Thang Long Imperial Citadel, and show you a full guide for your journey here. Well, let’s read on to explore more about this historical relic with us!

History of Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Nguyen dynasty
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Nguyen dynasty

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long preserves a long-standing history of Vietnamese economy, culture, and society. This construct was built during the 7th to 9th centuries, under the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Over several times of transformation, its latest architecture was rebuilt under the Nguyen Dynasty, in the 19th century.

Thang Long Imperial Citadel has absorbed various nations’ cultures, such as Champa, China, and France. Besides that, its architecture also brings the beauty of Vietnamese ancient court decoration and sculpture art. In 2009, the central area of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. This makes it a must-visit destination for any visitor when having a holiday in Hanoi.

Architecture of Thang Long Imperial Citadel

Flag Tower (Ky Dai)

Flag Tower
Source: VOV

Flag Tower (Ky Dai) lies on Dien Bien Phu Street, impressing travelers with an image of a Vietnamese flag flying in the sky. Its total architecture was under the strong influence of the Nguyen Dynasty’s culture, which is a harmonious combination of the elegant beauty of royalty decorating arts in Vietnam.

Kinh Thien Palace

Kinh Thien Palace

Kinh Thien Place is known as the venue for organizing important royal ceremonies in the past. When coming here, visitors will surely be attracted by the excellent carvings, with each corner decorated in the Vietnamese imperial style.

Doan Mon (South Gate)

Doan Mon

Another outstanding site is Doan Mon, which is known as the main gate of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. It features a unique U-shaped structure, designed in an ancient watchtower gazebo, together with three rolling arches. This not only brings elegance but also increases the load-bearing capabilities of its total inside parts.

Bac Mon (North Gate)

Bac Mon

Bac Mon (North Gate) lies on Phan Dinh Phung Street and has a similar architecture to Doan Mon. It is considered a historical symbol of Vietnam, which witnessed all the heroic moments of famous figures like Hoang Dieu and Nguyen Tri Phuong. However, Bac Mon has undergone several restorations due to the damage by war or violence in the past.

Hau Lau (Princess Pagoda)

Hau Lau

Located in the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hau Lau is outstanding with its ancient yellow-colored design and a giant space of 3 floors. In the past, Hau Lau was built to serve the demands of queens and princesses. That’s also why many locals call Hau Lau as Princess Pagoda.

D67 House and Tunnel

D67 House and Tunnel

D67 House, also called General Headquarters, is one of the famous historical sites in Vietnam. It used to be a place to promote strategic plans to support the resistance war against the American colonists. Inside this relic, visitors will have a chance to see the working room of General Vo Nguyen Giap, Van Tien Dung, and the typical meeting room of “Cong San Viet Nam”.


Imperial Citadel of Thang Long 2

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is at 19 Hoang Dieu Street, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District, which is 2.5 kilometers from Hoan Kiem Lake. Nearby, you can visit other famous destinations such as the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Opening Time

Thang Long Imperial Citadel opens from 08:00 AM to 05:00 PM every day. However, we recommend you come here from 08:00 – 09:00 AM to easily visit because there are not too many travelers during this time. It is an ideal chance for you to discover all corners of the citadel, as well as take some pictures to save memorable moments for your journey.

Entrance Fee

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long 3

To visit the total attractions belonging to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, visitors need to pay entrance fees, depending on their age. In particular:

  • Adult: $1.3/person
  • Child aged 16 and above (with ID student): $0.65/person
  • Child under 16: Free

The “Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long” night tour

Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

“Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long” night tour is a new and unique program for tourists to Hanoi. When visiting this tour, you will enjoy royal dances, and banquets, as well as meet the palace guards, and maids on the stage. It is a wonderful experience for any visitor coming to Vietnam.

Besides that, don’t forget to enjoy some lotus tea, jam, or even cool water from the King’s well as the way to wish blessings and luck. If you are really into taking photos, keep a camera available in your hand to record any memory here. The tour will surely bring a magical and shimmering landscape.

  • Address: 19C Hoang Dieu, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District (Doan Mon Gate)
  • Opening time: 07:00 PM (Friday and Saturday)
  • Duration: 1.5 hour
  • Price: $13/person (Adult) – $6.5/person (Child under 12) – Free (Child under 5)

How to Get There

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long 4

If you are staying in the center of the city, let’s book a taxi or Grab a bike for the most convenience. However, you can also rent a motorbike, then follow Google Maps and ride to Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Remember to stop at the main gate on 19C Hoang Dieu Street and park your bike in the right location before starting your journey.

In case you rent your homestay or hotel far away from the city center, you can get there by the fixed bus routes, which pass by the Hoan Kiem Lake or Hanoi Old Quarter. From these sites, you can easily walk to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.

Travel Tips

To help you have a wonderful time in Thang Long Imperial Citadel, we will suggest useful tips, such as:

  • Park personal vehicles in the right location (19C Hoang Dieu)
  • Wear polite and elegant clothing
  • Be aware of protecting historical items, relics, and relevant artifacts
  • Don’t throw away littering


Our blog has just reviewed the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in detail, with a lot of interesting attractions that visitors should not miss. Remember to follow our full guide to have a better experience at this destination. If you want to know more about Hanoi, let’s refer to our blog about Hanoi attractions.


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