Welcome to Hanoi, the vibrant capital of Vietnam! This city is full of life and culture, and is a great place to explore. From the bustling streets of the Old Quarter to the tranquil lakes of Hoan Kiem, Hanoi has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an exciting adventure, this Hanoi Travel Guide will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful city.
Here you’ll find information on the best places to visit, where to stay, and what to do in Hanoi. So get ready to explore the city and discover all that it has to offer!
Ha Noi is Vietnam’s capital city. Located by the banks of the Red River and in Northern Vietnam, Hanoi is the second-largest in the country by population apart from Ho Chi Minh. Ha Noi is an old city. Hanoi is the connecting city to interesting sites in North Vietnam such as Halong Bay, Sapa, Ninh Binh, Hai Phong, etc.
It is also one of the most famous tourist attractions in Vietnam. Hanoi is on a great location facilitating to become an important economic, political, cultural, social, and scientific centre of Vietnam country.
How Hanoi is special?
Hanoi 36 streets, the name has come to the subconscious of many people with the most simple simplicity. They have names like Hang Mam, Hang Non, Hang Duong, Hang Muoi, etc which represent the main goods traded here. The old town has a very unique feature of the city, where the bustle is crowded. It always crowded but still retains the traditional cultural values from the thousands of ages of the land of the period.
Each street gathers workers from the famous craft villages around the ancient Thang Long citadel. Plus it turns each street here into a miniature village in the heart of Hanoi.
Here are a few factors that contribute to its uniqueness:
- Rich history and culture: Hanoi has a long and fascinating history dating back over a thousand years. As a result, the city has a unique mix of cultures, including Chinese, French, and Vietnamese. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is an excellent example of this cultural mix, with narrow streets, traditional shophouses, and French colonial architecture.
- Food: Hanoi is famous for its street food, which is both delicious and affordable. Some of the most popular dishes include pho (noodle soup), bun cha (grilled pork and noodles), banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich), and egg coffee.
- Lakes and parks: Hanoi is home to several beautiful lakes and parks, which provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The most famous lake is Hoan Kiem Lake, which is located in the heart of the city and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
- Traffic: Hanoi is known for its chaotic traffic, with millions of motorbikes, bicycles, and cars sharing the roads. However, despite the chaos, the traffic somehow flows, and accidents are relatively rare.
- Traditions and festivals: Hanoi has several unique traditions and festivals, such as the Tet Festival (Vietnamese New Year), the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival. These festivals are an excellent opportunity to experience Vietnamese culture and traditions.
Top things to do in Hanoi
1. Take a Stroll in and around Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is an interesting area for a traveller to discover. With its French colonial architecture and many tree-lined boulevards and alleyways, it is an exciting place to explore on foot and have street food at night. Walkthrough the most popular attractions like Hoan Kiem Lake, Hoa Lo Prison, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Especially, with a guide, you can walk inside the Old Quarter to see the real-life and small and very narrow house and roads of Hanoian.
2. Ha Long Bay Cruise with overnight
Most companies and cruises start the tour from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Therefore, staying at a hotel in Old Quarter driver will pick up you at your hotel for the trip. The Halong Bay trip from Hanoi should not miss when you come here. According to the time, you can choose 1 day or 2 or 3 days in Halong Bay. There are also many choices for an overnight cruise trip to this famous place.
3. A day trip to Tam Coc cave or Trang An Grottoes
With a short time, visitor can choose 1 day to Ninh Binh 100km away from Hanoi to visit Tam Coc cave or Trang An grottoes. Have a boat ride along the Hoang Long River surrounded by rice paddy fields and Limestone Mountains to get the beautiful scenery in Tam Coc. You can reach the complex system of caves and Limestone Mountains and temples in Trang An. Reach Trang An, there is another option for discover King Kong Skull Film scene with ethnic village remain here.
4. Water Puppet Show
The water puppet show is the special of Hanoi. It is a unique art of Hanoi and Vietnam. It will be a miss when visiting Hanoi without a water puppet show enjoyment. There are some theatres for choose such as Thang Long water puppet theatre near Hoan Kiem lake or within Ho Chi Minh museum. You will enjoy an hour-long performance of water puppets reenacting Vietnamese folktales and legends while accompanied by a live orchestra.
5. Duong Lam ancient village
Address: Duong Lam Village, Son Tay Town, Hanoi, Vietnam
Far from Hanoi city about 50 km, Duong Lam Ancient Village is the unique ancient villages in Hanoi. The village is the unique laterite museum for the mossy ancient houses for over 400 years old. It is the museum for the rural lifestyle and agriculture village. There are many ancient houses remains as original as well as traditional craft and career keep here. It makes a wonderful time to explore the countryside and old values of Vietnam
6. Bat Trang Ceramic village
Address: Bat Trang, Gia Lam District, Hanoi
Bat Trang traditional ceramic village is a tourist attraction for both domestic and foreign tourists. It is 60km from Hanoi city centre.
Bat Trang shows products in different shapes and styles. The price here is quite reasonable thanks to family companies. Travellers come here to buy their favourite ceramic products. Visiting this ceramic village, travellers can take part in many entertainment activities such as riding a buffalo vehicle to visit the village.
7. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Located on Hung Vuong – Dien Bien Street, this is the place to keep the remains of President Ho Chi Minh. In Hanoi, everyone wants to visit Uncle Ho’s mausoleum once. Besides, there is Ba Dinh Square where Uncle Ho read the declaration of independence giving birth to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Here you can also visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum where keep a lot of Uncle Ho’s memorabilia. It is a very interesting sightseeing spot for those who first come to Hanoi.
8. Tran Quoc Pagoda
It is situated in Thanh Nien Road in the eastern shore of West Lake and has a history of about 1400 years. Tran Quoc pagoda is the oldest temple in Hanoi city in particular and in Vietnam in general.
The construction of this pagoda started in 541 and completed in 545 under the reign of the King Ly Nam De on the bank of the Red river. At the first time, the pagoda was named as Khai Quoc meaned National Founder.
The pagoda is considered as a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism where worshipping Buddha and other famous characters.
Among the collection of pagodas in Hanoi, you cannot ignore this pagoda when visiting Hanoi.
9. Temple of Literature
Dubbed as the first university in Vietnam, Temple of Literature is not only a famous Hanoi historical monument but also a place of the quintessence of previous feudal historical periods and preserving the traditional values of Vietnamese soil.
Today, the Temple of Literature – Quoc Tu Giam is also a place for organizing poetry festivals. The place to praise outstanding and excellent students and a famous tourist attraction attracting a large number of domestic and international visitors. At the same time, this is also a rendezvous for “please calligraphy” of the people of Hanoi in the traditional Tet holidays. With the wish of a peaceful new year or in important exam seasons of the country with the successful faith of the “scholars.” ”.
10. West lake
West Lake is located in the Northwest of Hanoi inner city with an area of about 500ha, the road around the lake is nearly 20km long. This is the most romantic corner in the colourful picture of Hanoi, the world of clear winds, liberal and poetic. West Lake is not only a fun place in Hanoi that attracts visitors but it also contains national cultural values.
Around the lake are now more than 20 temples, pagodas have been ranked with many famous monuments with many valuable documents such as more than 100 steles, 165 couplets, 140 diaphragm, nearly 20 ancient bells, 60 deities, over 300 bronze, wood and stone statues.
11. Hoa Lo Prison Museum
Visiting Hoa Lo Prison is a moving experience. This old internment facility used to be named the Hanoi Hilton. This prison was used to house prisoners during the war between the United States and Vietnam.
Right in No 1 Hoa Lo Street, Hoan Kiem District, visiting the prison it shows you a part of Vietnam history clearly.
12. The Ethnology Museum
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology or The Ethnology Museum in Hanoi offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam. It is for an effort to preserve cultural heritage and promote socio-cultural diversity within the country. Just visiting the museum, visitors can see the vast research on offer at this public museum. And it is also a centre for ethnographic research.
Infact, the Museum was constructed on the land of 9,500 square meters, around 8 kilometers from the city centre. It took 10 years for the construction finish from 1987 to 1997.
13. National Museum of Vietnamese History
The museum was built between 1925 and 1932. This architecturally impressive museum was formerly home to the École Française d’Extrême-Orient. Its architect, Ernest Hebrard, was among the first in Vietnam to incorporate a blend of Chinese and French design elements.
The Vietnam National Museum of History has the French architectural style. It is one of the most attractive museums in Asia. It contains a large collection (40,000) of valuable objects depicting Vietnam’s history of construction and defense.
14. The Vietnam Woman’s Museum in Hanoi
Being one of the famous museums in Hanoi, Vietnam Women’s Museum was built in 1987 with the mission of spreading the public knowledge of Vietnamese women. It is also for the devoting to gender equality in Vietnam.
Moreover, it is being run by The Women’s Union of Vietnam that is well known as one of the most dynamic organizations. The museum finished in 1995 and has been successfully displayed 25,000 artifacts, photos and items with regards to Vietnamese Women contemporary life and cultural customs. At this museum, it is also chosen to hold a number of formal exhibitions such as Ao Dai which is the traditional dress of Vietnamese women or artworks about ethnic minorities.
15. Thang Long Imperial Citadel
Thang Long Imperial City is one of oldest cities in the world. Factually, Hanoi certainly has its own way to stand out from fellow Southeast Asian cities. Thanks to the rich culture, Thang Long Imperial City reflects as one of the most ancient historical sites.
The large central sector of Thang Long Imperial Citadel of Hanoi was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010
Location: Next to Ba Dinh Square, opposite the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and also near the Vietnamese Presidential Palace.
16. The Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam
The Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam is on 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi city. Just across the street from the Temple of Literature, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is easily to visit from afar. It attracts a lot of tourists both domestic and foreigners thanks to the collections of artifacts, but also in both art architecture and historic buildings
This building was built in French colonial where was the living space as a Girl School for Indochina high-ranked officers since 1930s. In 1966, it officially became Vietnam Fine Arts Museum where store many of Vietnamese artistic essences.
The museum displays not only paintings, ceramics and lacquers created by modern Post-war artists but also many of its contents date back as far as pre-historic and feudalism time.
Unfortunately, many of the art work found here are replicate, for the original has by and large been destroyed during Viet Nam war. It is worth heading here after you have visited the Temple of Literature. Guided tours in English and French are available at entrance door.
In 1966, The Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam first opens to welcome tourists. The area is 4,737 sqm while the display area is around 3,000 sqm.
17. Ngoc Son Temple
Located in the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple is one of the most notable Hanoi Temples, and one of the city’s most-visited. Also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain, it was initially built in the 18th century (though has underwent many renovations) on a small islet that is steeped in myth and legend. Walk through the famous The Huc Bridge with red color, Ngoc Son temple is dedicated to three national heroes. They are the General Tran Hung Dao who is celebrated for defeating the Mongols in the 13th century; La To, the patron saint of physicians; and the scholar Van Xuong.
Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake and then make a visiting to Ngoc Son temple it is the perfect time in your walking trip to Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter.
When is the best time to visit Hanoi?
When should we go to Hanoi? Hanoi is located in the tropical humid monsoon climate. So there are two distinct types of weather: hot, humid, rainy in summer and dry, cold in winter. Travelling to Hanoi is always beautiful in any season. Each season has its characteristics.
In particular, autumn tourism in Hanoi (from early September to the end of November) is the most beautiful, this is a pretty cool period, no sunshine is very convenient for sightseeing. Of course, coming to Hanoi in the winter is also very interesting, feeling the cold, enjoying the typical dishes is also a very attractive suggestion.
How to get to Hanoi city?
Same as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi is the biggest and the most important in North Vietnam.
Hanoi has Noi Bai international airport therefore, all flights to Vietnam have in this airport. It is 45 minutes from the city centre.
International flight: There are many different airlines have a flight to Noi Bai airport. It is easy for travellers to reach Vietnam by Hanoi first as well as end tour in Vietnam from Hanoi city.
Airlines within Vietnam country: Vietnam airlines, Jetstar Airlines, Vietjet airlines.
Airlines from foreign countries: Airasia, China Southern Airlines, Asiana airline, Eva airlines, Qatar airline, Korea Airlines, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Turkish airlines, Russian airlines, Cathay airlines, Angkor airlines, Laos Airlines, Singapore Airlines, etc.
Domestic flight: Airlines within Vietnam country: Vietnam airlines, Jetstar Airlines, Vietjet airlines.
It has flights every day at different times.
By private transport
If you are staying in Vietnam already, you can travel to Hanoi city by private car. With a short distance from the province around Hanoi in North Vietnam, this is the best way to travel to Hanoi. Although it is the most expensive transport, you can flexible time and have stopover en route as your arrangement.
There are trains from North to South and vice versa. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the main ones for these trains. Trains leave daily according to each time.
Hanoi has two train stations. Travel from North to South and vice versa, it is Le Duan street train station. Another is Tran Quy Cap train station for travel to Lao Cai.
Train schedule you travellers can reference at this link to have the plan of in and out Hanoi city. There are main cities stops along with the country. http://giotaugiave.vr.com.vn/, http://www.vr.com.vn/en
By open bus or public bus
The sleeper bus leaves Hanoi daily. Most buses stop in big cities along with Vietnam.
For example Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Vinh – Quang Binh – Hue – Danang – Hoi an -Nhatrang – Dalat – Ho Chi Minh City or vice versa.
The convenient of the open bus can pick up at some hotels and bus company address is in the city centre which is easy for the traveller to come to travel.
As for the public bus, a traveller must go to the bus station for the book ticket and travel.
How to travel around Hanoi city?
By Grab/Uber: It is cheap and convenient. You can choose to Grab ride from Noi Bai International airport to Hanoi Old Quarter around 13 USD each way. The same for Uber.
By taxi: There are many taxies in Hanoi city. You can wave a taxi everywhere. The recommend you choose a reliable taxi company to travel so that you can avoid not a good one. The famous companies are Mai Linh taxi (0243 838 38 38), Taxigroup (024.38.26.26.26)
Hanoi is one of the most attractive destinations in Vietnam. Furthermore, most of conferences and seminars held in this city. Therefore, Hanoi has a lot of different choices for accommodation. It has from the homestay, guesthouse to luxury hotels.
Most of the hotels are in the Old Quarter and this is the most convenient place for staying in Hanoi to tourist. Because when booking a tour in Hanoi or surrounding, most transport picks up and drop off at the hotel.
Here are some suggestions for accommodation with good quality to stay
- Luxury hotel: Sheraton Hanoi Hotel, Sofitel Metropole hotel, Melia hotel, Pan Pacific hotel, Apricot hotel, etc
- Deluxe Hotel: Mercure Hanoi Lazare hotel, Silk Path Hotel, Hanoi Pearl hotel, Boss Legend hotel, etc
- Superior Hotel: Quoc Hoa Hotel, Essence Elegance hotel, May De Ville hotel, etc
And it is easy to find superior to budget hotels along streets in Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake.
What to eat in Hanoi?
Here are the famous dishes you should not miss when travelling to Hanoi:
Pho is a long-standing traditional food that tourists cannot ignore when coming to Hanoi. People often say ” You have never been here If you come to Hanoi without enjoying Pho”. You can find the small burden on the sidewalk or enjoy the famous beef noodle soup, chicken noodle soup on Quan Thanh street or the Pho Bat Dan street.
The delicious pho restaurants in Hanoi must include Pho 49 Bat Dan (near the centre of the old town), Pho Thin 11 Lo Duc, Pho Bung Hang Trong, …
Cha Ca La Vong
Cha Ca La Vong is a unique dish of Ha Thanh people for many generations. Fish cakes served with tangy noodles, baked pies, roasted peanuts with herbs, spices with a strong, sweet and greasy flavour. Address: 14 Cha Ca street and 107 Nguyen Truong To. The price of a La Vong grilled fish is from 175,000 VND per person, the King Fish restaurant chain (located in many establishments such as 48 Nguyen Thi Dinh, 268 Giang Vo and 76A Mai Hac De).
Referring to the delicious dishes in Hanoi, it is impossible not to mention bun cha, scorched grilled chops marinated with spices mixed with green papaya cut pieces to eat with tangled noodles, fresh raw vegetables.
There are many shops. The old town area includes Hang Manh street bun (near the intersection of Hang Fans and Hang Non), Duong Thanh (near Hang Bong), 47C Mai Hac De bun cha, Huong Lien cha bun …
Vermicelli with shrimp sauce
Vermicelli with shrimp sauce with yellow fried rice, crunchy, spring rolls with a few slices of pork leg meat with a bowl of mixed shrimp sauce, chilli sprinkled with a little hot oil to beat cotton with marjoram is great.
Cheap and delicious address in Hanoi to enjoy shrimp-bean vermicelli noodles soup: Nga 4 Pham Dinh Ho and Hoa Ma, delicious sell at noon. The old town has a famous shrimp-bean vermicelli restaurant at 55 Phat Loc alley, near Hang Be – Hang Mam crossroads, open at noon. Both are delicious.
Hanoi is a vibrant and exciting city with a rich cultural heritage and plenty of attractions to explore. From the bustling Old Quarter to the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, there is something for everyone in Hanoi. Whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday or an adventure-filled getaway, Hanoi tours at Origin Travel has something to offer. With its friendly locals, delicious cuisine, and stunning scenery, Hanoi is a great destination for any traveler.