What to Do in Hanoi Vietnam

What to Do in Hanoi Vietnam?

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam and looking for What to Do in Hanoi Vietnam? Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or visiting for the first time, Hanoi offers a unique blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and tantalizing cuisine. This comprehensive guide will uncover must-see attractions, hidden gems, and itineraries to help you make the most of your visit. Get ready to explore the magic of Hanoi!

What to do in Hanoi Vietnam

Hanoi is nestled in the heart of Vietnam and enchants visitors with its eclectic blend of ancient history and bustling modernity. This vibrant capital, known for its centuries-old architecture and rich culture, offers many experiences. From the quaint, labyrinthine streets of the Old Quarter to the serene, picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi melds the past and present.

Here, historic temples stand alongside French colonial buildings and traditional markets buzz with life. Food lovers can indulge in a diverse culinary scene, savoring local specialties like pho and bun cha. Whether exploring the exquisite Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or attending a traditional water puppet show, Hanoi promises a journey of discovery and charm.

Hanoi Vietnam

Nestled in northern Vietnam, Hanoi is a city brimming with history, culture, and picturesque landscapes. Known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich heritage that blends Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences, Hanoi is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Vietnam.

From the bustling streets of the Old Quarter to the serene beauty of West Lake, Hanoi captivates visitors with its diverse offerings. The city is also home to numerous museums, temples, and historical sites that tell the story of Vietnam’s past and present. Whether you are interested in history, food, or simply soaking in the local atmosphere, Hanoi has something for everyone.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of Hanoi, highlighting the top attractions, hidden gems, and practical tips to ensure an unforgettable experience. Let’s get started!

Top 5 Must-See Attractions in Hanoi

Embark on an unforgettable journey with Fantastic Travelers as we uncover Hanoi’s top 5 must-see attractions. From ancient temples to bustling markets, these iconic destinations offer a glimpse into Vietnam’s enchanting capital’s rich history and vibrant culture. Get ready to explore Hanoi’s hidden gems!

Top 5 Must-See Attractions in Hanoi

Hanoi boasts many iconic sites that should be on every traveler’s Itinerary. Here are the top five must-see attractions you can’t miss:

Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is the heart and soul of Hanoi. This historic neighborhood is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, each named after traditionally sold goods. The Old Quarter offers a glimpse into Hanoi’s commercial history from silk to silver.

Stroll through the bustling streets and explore many shops, cafes, and street vendors. Try some of Hanoi’s famous street foods, such as pho (noodle soup) and banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich). The Old Quarter also has several well-preserved colonial buildings and ancient temples, adding charm.

Whether shopping for souvenirs, savoring local delicacies, or simply people-watching, the Old Quarter is a vibrant and fascinating place to start your Hanoi adventure.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Located in the center of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city. According to folklore, the lake is named after a legendary sword that was returned to the Golden Turtle God who lives in its depths.

Hoan Kiem Lake is surrounded by leafy walkways, making it a popular spot for morning exercises and strolls. At the lake’s northern end, you’ll find Ngoc Son Temple, a picturesque temple accessible via a charming red bridge. The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, a national hero, and other cultural figures.

Visiting Hoan Kiem Lake offers a peaceful respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a great place to relax, enjoy the scenery, and observe local life.

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a historic site dedicated to Confucius and Vietnam’s scholars. Founded in 1070, it was Vietnam’s first university and remains an essential symbol of learning and culture.

The temple complex features beautiful courtyards, pavilions, and gardens. The Well of Heavenly Clarity and the stelae of doctors are among the highlights, with the latter inscribed with the names of graduates.

Wandering through the Temple of Literature, you’ll feel a sense of reverence and tranquility. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in Vietnam’s educational and cultural heritage.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

One of Hanoi’s most significant landmarks, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of modern Vietnam. It is located in Ba Dinh Square, where Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence in 1945.

The mausoleum is an imposing structure made of marble and granite. Visitors can pay their respects to Ho Chi Minh, whose embalmed body is on display inside. Nearby, the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the Presidential Palace offer insights into his life and legacy.

Visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a solemn and respectful experience, reflecting the Vietnamese people’s deep admiration for their beloved leader.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Water puppetry is a traditional Vietnamese art form from the 11th century. At the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, you can witness this unique performance that combines music, storytelling, and intricate puppetry.

The theater is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers several shows daily. The performances depict various aspects of Vietnamese rural life, folklore, and historical events, all brought to life by skilled puppeteers and traditional music.

Visiting the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a delightful cultural experience that adults and children will enjoy. It’s a beautiful way to immerse yourself in Vietnamese traditions and artistry.

Hidden Gems and Non-Touristy Things to Do

While Hanoi’s main attractions are worth visiting, the city also has plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Discover Hanoi’s hidden gems with Fantastic Travelers’ non-touristy adventures! Here are some non-touristy things to do that will give you a deeper insight into local life:

Explore Local Markets

Hanoi’s local markets are vibrant hubs of activity where you can experience the daily life of Hanoians. One such market is Dong Xuan Market, the largest indoor market in Hanoi. You’ll find everything from fresh produce to clothing and household items here.

Another market worth visiting is Long Bien Market, a wholesale market that operates primarily at night. It’s fascinating to see vendors unload trucks and arrange their goods, creating a bustling atmosphere that lasts until dawn.

Exploring these markets allows you to interact with locals, sample fresh fruits, and find unique souvenirs. It’s a sensory experience that will leave you with lasting memories of Hanoi.

Visit Lesser-Known Temples

While the Temple of Literature and Ngoc Son Temple are well-known, Hanoi is home to many lesser-known temples that offer a quieter and more intimate experience. One such temple is the Bach Ma Temple, one of the oldest temples in Hanoi, dedicated to the white horse deity.

Another hidden gem is Quan Thanh Temple, located near West Lake. This Taoist temple is dedicated to Tran Vu, the god of the north, and features beautiful architecture and intricate sculptures.

Visiting these lesser-known temples provides a serene escape from the crowds and a chance to appreciate Hanoi’s spiritual heritage.

Discover Hidden Cafes

Hanoi’s cafe culture is thriving, and the city is dotted with charming cafes that offer a cozy retreat. While some cafes are well-known, others are hidden in narrow alleys or hidden behind unassuming doors.

One such hidden gem is Cafe Dinh, located near Hoan Kiem Lake. This vintage cafe offers stunning lake views and serves delicious egg coffee, a Hanoi specialty. Another must-visit is The Note Coffee, a quirky cafe where customers leave handwritten notes on the walls.

Discovering these hidden cafes is a delightful adventure that allows you to unwind, enjoy a cup of coffee, and soak in the local ambiance.

A 3-Day Itinerary for Hanoi

Explore Hanoi like a local with Fantastic Travelers’ curated 3-day Itinerary. Dive into the city’s rich history, indulge in its culinary delights, and uncover hidden gems. Your ultimate guide to experiencing the best of Vietnam’s captivating capital awaits! If you’re visiting Hanoi for the first time and have three days to explore, this Itinerary will help you make the most of your trip:A 3-Day Itinerary for Hanoi

Day 1: Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at a local cafe in the Old Quarter. Spend the morning exploring the bustling streets, shopping for souvenirs, and trying street food. Visit Dong Xuan Market to experience the vibrant atmosphere and pick up some local treats.

In the afternoon, head to Hoan Kiem Lake for a stroll. Visit Ngoc Son Temple and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Watch a water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in the evening.

Day 2: Historical and Cultural Sites

Begin your second day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Pay your respects and explore the nearby Ho Chi Minh Museum and Presidential Palace. Next, head to the Temple of Literature to learn about Vietnam’s educational heritage.

After lunch, visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to gain insights into the country’s diverse ethnic groups. End your day with a relaxing walk around West Lake, where you can watch the sunset and enjoy a drink at a lakeside cafe.

Day 3: Hidden Gems and Local Experiences

On your final day, venture off the beaten path and explore some of Hanoi’s hidden gems. Visit Bach Ma Temple and Quan Thanh Temple for a quieter and more intimate experience. Spend time at Long Bien Market to see the bustling activity and interact with locals.

Discover hidden cafes like Cafe Dinh and The Note Coffee in the afternoon. Enjoy a cup of egg coffee and reflect on your Hanoi adventure. In the evening, head to a rooftop bar in the Old Quarter for a final view of the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Hanoi Nightlife and Evening Activities

Experience Hanoi’s vibrant nightlife with Fantastic Travelers’ guide to evening activities. Discover the best spots to enjoy the city after dark, from buzzing night markets and rooftop bars to cultural performances and hidden speakeasies. Let us show you how Hanoi truly comes alive at night!

When the sun sets, Hanoi comes alive with different energy. Here are some recommendations for enjoying the city after dark:

Street Food Tours

Hanoi is famous for its street food, and there’s no better way to experience it than on a street food tour. Join a guided tour that takes you to the best street food stalls in the city, where you can sample dishes like pho, bun cha, and banh mi.

These tours often include stops at local markets and hidden eateries, giving you a taste of authentic Hanoi cuisine. It’s a fun and delicious way to spend your evening discovering new flavors.

Live Music Venues

Hanoi has a thriving live music scene, with venues offering everything from traditional Vietnamese to contemporary jazz. One popular spot is Binh Minh Jazz Club, where you can enjoy live jazz performances in an intimate setting.

For a more eclectic experience, check out Hanoi Rock City, a venue that hosts a variety of music genres and live performances. It’s a great place to relax, drink, and enjoy local talent.

Night Markets

Hanoi’s night markets are bustling hubs of activity where you can shop for souvenirs, clothing, and local handicrafts. The most famous night market is in the Old Quarter, which operates on weekends and stretches along Hang Dao Street.

Another attractive market is the Quang Ba Flower Market, which operates late at night. You’ll find a stunning array of flowers and plants here, making it a colorful and fragrant experience.

Exploring Hanoi’s night markets is a fun way to immerse yourself in the local culture and find unique items to take home.

What to Do in Hanoi for 4 Days?

If you have four days to spend in Hanoi, you can explore the city more in-depth and take some day trips to nearby attractions. Here’s an extended itinerary:What to Do in Hanoi for 4 Days

Day 1-3: Follow the 3-day Itinerary

Follow the 3-day Itinerary outlined above, which covers Hanoi’s main attractions and hidden gems.

Day 4: Day Trips and In-Depth Exploration

On your fourth day, consider taking a day trip to one of the following destinations:

Halong Bay: Just a few hours’ drive from Hanoi, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning limestone karsts and emerald waters. Join a day cruise to explore the bay, visit caves, and enjoy water activities.

Ninh Binh: Often referred to as “Halong Bay on land,” Ninh Binh offers breathtaking landscapes of karst mountains and winding rivers. Visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, take a boat ride through Tam Coc, and explore the stunning Trang An complex.

Perfume Pagoda: Located about 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi, the Perfume Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains. The pilgrimage to the pagoda involves a scenic boat ride and a hike through lush scenery.

If you prefer to stay in Hanoi, explore more of the city’s neighborhoods on your fourth day. Visit the French Quarter for its elegant architecture, art galleries, and upscale cafes. Take a leisurely walk through the Ba Dinh district and discover more historical sites and museums.

Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Visit

To ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable trip to Hanoi, here are some practical tips:


Hanoi’s traffic can be overwhelming, but there are several transportation options to help you get around:

Taxis and Ride-Hailing Apps: Taxis are readily available, and ride-hailing apps like Grab provide a convenient and affordable way to get around the city.

Public Buses: Hanoi has an extensive bus network covering most city areas. It’s a budget-friendly option but be prepared for crowded buses during peak hours.

Cyclo Rides: For a unique experience, take a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter. These bicycle rickshaws offer a leisurely way to explore the narrow streets and soak in the local atmosphere.


Hanoi offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences:

Hotels: From luxury hotels to budget-friendly options, you’ll find many choices in Hanoi. The Old Quarter and French Quarter are popular tourist areas, offering easy access to attractions and dining options.

Homestays: For a more authentic experience, consider staying in a homestay. You’ll be able to interact with local hosts and gain insights into daily life in Hanoi.

Hostels: Hostels are a great option if you’re traveling on a budget. They offer affordable rates, social atmospheres, and the chance to meet fellow travelers.

Making the Most of Your Time

Here are some additional tips to help you make the most of your visit to Hanoi:

Plan: Research the attractions and activities you want to do in advance. A rough itinerary will help you make the most of your time and ensure you don’t get all the benefits.

Stay Hydrated: Hanoi can get hot and humid, especially during summer. Carry a water bottle with you and stay hydrated throughout the day.

Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting temples and religious sites, and always ask for permission before taking photos of people.


Hanoi effortlessly blends tradition and modernity, offering a rich tapestry of experiences for every traveler. Hanoi has something for everyone, from its historic landmarks and vibrant street life to its hidden gems and local delights.

By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared to explore the best of what Hanoi has to offer. Whether you’re here for three days or four, you’ll leave with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for this captivating city.

What to Do in Hanoi Vietnam? Plan your trip to Hanoi today and immerse yourself in the magic of Vietnam’s capital. And remember, if you have any questions or need further assistance, our team is here to help. Happy travels!


What is the best time of year to visit Hanoi?

The best time to visit Hanoi is spring (March to April) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. These seasons offer comfortable temperatures and less humidity, making it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

How do I get to Hanoi from the airport?

Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) is the main airport serving Hanoi. To reach the city center, you can take a taxi, ride-hailing service, or airport shuttle bus. The airport is approximately 30 kilometers from downtown Hanoi, and the journey takes about 40-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

Is Hanoi a safe city for tourists?

Hanoi is generally a safe city for tourists, with low levels of violent crime. However, like any major city, it’s important to stay vigilant and take common-sense precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and be cautious when crossing busy streets.

Can I use credit cards in Hanoi?

Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, upscale restaurants, and larger stores in Hanoi. However, smaller shops, markets, and street vendors often prefer cash. It’s a good idea to carry some Vietnamese Dong (VND) for small purchases and transactions.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan food options in Hanoi?

Yes, Hanoi has a growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants that cater to different dietary preferences. Many traditional Vietnamese dishes can be made vegetarian by substituting meat with tofu or vegetables. Look for local vegetarian eateries (called “quán chay”) or ask for recommendations from locals.

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