Hanoi has recently offered 15 night tourism products, including night tours of Vietnam Literature Museum, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hoa Lo prison relic site, Temple of Literature and night pedestrian streets.
Hoa Lo Prison launched night tours taking visitors on a rollercoaster ride of emotions in July 2022. Using light and sound effects, the 45-minute tour, called "Sacred Night - Glorious Vietnamese Spirit", tells the story of the prison, once called "hell on earth".
The tour takes visitors on a rollercoaster ride of emotions: horror at the brutality of the colonial prison, admiration for the prisoners and their sacrifice, and pride in the unyielding spirit of those who were part of Vietnam’s glorious history. Visitors also listen to moving stories about the struggles of the political prisoners.
The Vietnam Literature Museum, which covers an area of around 3,000sq.m and features displays of more than 3,454 artifacts representing the quintessence of Vietnamese literature, started offering night tours every Saturday and Sunday from late 2022.
On the “Decoding the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long” tour, visitors have the chance to walk through the ancient royal space, offer incense to commemorate the 52 ancestors at Kinh Thien Palace, and learn about Hanoi’s history through antiquities unearthed under the site.
The Temple of Literature's night tour offers tourists an entirely different experience as compared to the visit to the UNESCO heritage site during the day since it uses technology and lighting, rather than the theatrical format applied to other tours.
A centerpiece of the tour is in the Thai Hoc Hall, which is transformed on the theme of “Tinh hoa dao hoc” (Essence of Education) by the sparkling lighting system and 3D-mapping technology, telling the stories about Confucianism as well as the history of the first Vietnamese imperial university.
Meanwhile, Khue Van Cac (Constellation of Literature Pavilion) serves as a venue for stellar traditional music performances, Vuon Bia Tien Si (Laureate Stelae Garden) gives visitors a better insight into the list of scholar figures with support of the mapping presentation, and spotlights images of examination hall through the virtual reality technology.
Those night tours are often fully booked, proving their popularity. Many travel businesses have included those night tours in the journeys of domestic and international tourists.
Solutions to develop night tourism
These tours have brought many experiences to visitors, creating unique features of Hanoi tourism. However, they have also revealed shortcomings as some pedestrian streets operate inefficiently and there are not many products available. Therefore, the building of night-time tourism products should be calculated carefully to ensure the professionalism of the products.
Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued Decision 1894/QD-BVHTTDL on a project to develop various models of night tourism products, offering a wide variety of activities such as cultural and art shows, sport and health-beauty care, shopping and food.
Night tourism activities require the participation of many sectors and especially people. It is necessary for the city to issue an appropriate policy for these activities, thereby, it can develop specific tourism products such as cultural tourism, night-time culinary tourism, and shopping tourism.
In addition to a favourable policy, Hanoi should consider expanding night-time tourism products such as developing tourism services on both sides of the Red River and devising a plan for the construction of a modern shopping centre near the city’s centre, such as an underground shopping mall as in many countries./.