Dong Da District is southwest of central Hanoi, but it’s still one of the four central sections of town. This area has more of an urban atmosphere than Hoan Kiem, with plenty of international restaurants and shops. Hotels in Dong Da District are mostly mid- to upper- range, and they cater to affluent Vietnamese and business travelers who are more interested in facilities than historic atmosphere.
That said, there are a few historic sites in Dong Da. Van Mieu, a 11th-century Confucius temple is here. Adjoining this is Quoc Tu Giam, a celebrated center of Confucian learning founded in 1076. Much later, when Emperor Quang Trung drove out the Chinese in the late 18th century, he achieved his decisive victory right here in Dong Ba. To this day, an annual celebration is staged here.
Most of the accommodation in Dong Da District is to the north, close to Lang Pagoda and Thu Le Park. On the southern outskirts of the district near the So Crossroad and Hanoi Medical Institute is Vietnam Airforce Museum, which has some heavy machinery on display in its open-air exhibit. Look for the Soviet-era MiG fighter jet and the Mi-6 helicopter.
Depending on where they’re based in Dong Da District, tourists may decide they want to hire a motorbike. Just remember that Hanoi’s busy intersections may be overwhelming for inexperienced drivers. Before renting a motorbike, it’s a good idea to first hire a motorcycle taxi (xe om) to get a feel for what to expect. Regular taxis and pedicabs are also on hand.