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Co Loa

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Co Loa

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Co Loa is a modern day town and ancient former capital of northern Vietnam slightly northeast of the modern capital of Hanoi.


The most ancient capital of the Red River delta region. Visits by foreign tourists are almost unheard of, though the place is close enough to Hanoi that if you're interested in history it's definitely worth a trip.

Get in and out[edit]

You can visit Co Loa by public bus number 17 from Hanoi. It costs 9,000 VND and takes about half an hour. It is the bus to the airport (Noi Bai) and runs every 10-15 minutes. The bus crosses the Red River out of Hanoi and continues up Highway QL1 before turning left onto Highway QL3. Then it turns right onto the smaller road that goes through Co Loa. The stop you want is the second one on this smaller road.

You could could alternatively hire a motorbike (or car). Just head east out of town across the Red River bridge, then keep going straight. Turn left (ie. north) immediately after driving up a slope and crossing a bridge over a second body of water distance later. Heading north, look carefully for a Co Loa sign on your right-hand side. (The whole thing is easier with GPS and a smartphone; or ask someone!)

Get around[edit]

You really need a vehicle to explore the surroundings.

See and Do[edit]

  • Co Loa Museum (apparently free) stands at the main intersection just north of the bus station on the southern edge of the former citadel. This shows you the time periods you're dealing with, and the historic layout of the area. The context provided isn't so good, and not everything is translated, plus some of the objects on display are replicas. If you use your imagination it's pretty interesting though.
  • There are two temples, one with a large circular body of water in front of it at which boat races are held at festival time also featuring some historic stelae written in Chinese characters, and one which is a sort of village Buddhist center. Both are of some significant vintage, but neither date from the period of the ancient city. Both charge nominal amounts (10,000 VND) for entry.
  • The ancient earthen walls are still preserved and form a couple of concentric rings around the center of the town. Little temples on the walls are named after various historic gates ('southwest gate'), etc.
  • Look out for the fields under plough by water buffalo: just as 2200 years ago when the town rose to prominence!
  • There's some tombs about, but none visually interesting.

Eat and Drink[edit]

There are some street food type venues but if you need Western food you might want to eat before leaving Hanoi. A few coffee and soft drink vendors are dotted around the middle of town and the bus station.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There do not appear to be any hotels in the town.


There do not appear to be any businesses offering wifi internet access in the town.

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