things to do in Hanoi, in Vietnam

There is a plethora of entertaining and fascinating things to do in Hanoi, such as visiting one of the many museums, temples and pagodas, or tasting delicious local delicacies and Vietnamese coffee.

Visit the old town and its cobbled alleyways for a journey through time or admire the French-influenced buildings with hanging flower baskets.

Explore the beautiful capital city on foot, by bike or on the back of a motorbike or depart on a day trip to the famous Ha Long Bay or breathtaking Ninh Binh Province.

What are you waiting for? Here are 72 fun and unique things to do in Hanoi!

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1 – Explore and photograph Hanoi Train Street

Hanoi Train Street, Vietnam

Hanoi Train Street is one of the most famous tracks in the capital city and was built in 1902. These train tracks are lined with local homes, balconies overflowing with flowers, shophouses selling handicrafts, cute cafes and art along the walls.

Walk the tracks, take a million photos or grab a ca phe (coffee) or bia (beer) at a local cafe or shophouse on either side of the line.

Please be aware that the train still runs on this line. The road closes twice a day for crossing, so make sure to take extra caution!

Directions on Google Maps

2 – Revel in the architecture at St. Joseph’s Cathedral

St. Joseph’s Cathedral of Hanoi in Vietnam

The oldest church of Hanoi, St Joseph’s Cathedral, was built during the French colonization in the 1880s. The design of the church as inspired by Paris’ famous Notre Dame; the entrance front is nearly identically designed with its Gothic-style square structure.

The church is still open for weekly mass, and it’s especially popular around Christmas time — service is in Vietnamese only. The church square in front is also a trendy spot amongst locals and tourists for photo-taking!

The entire area that surrounds it is utterly romantic lined with cute cafes, restaurants, hotels, and boutique shops selling fresh coffee beans, clothing, artwork, polaroid film and so much more!

Grab handheld waffle ice-cream desserts from Take Eat Easy Ice-cream, a coconut coffee at Cong Caphe or an insane fusion of Japanese and Italian Cuisine at 4P’s.

Directions on Google Maps

3 – Explore the Temple Of Literature

Temple Of Literature, Hanoi

Temple of Literature is a temple dedicated to Confucius which was built in 1070. You can visit this fascinating site during weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM, for VND 70,000/$2.75 (adults) and VND 35,000/$1.37 (Vietnamese students, elderly and people with disabilities).

Originally, the temple was home to the country’s Imperial Academy, the first national university of Vietnam. Later on it was a school for the country’s top-achieving scholars.

Explore the five separate courtyards, each filled with beautiful architectural structures and mythical statues. Find your reflection in the Well of Heavenly Clarity inside the third courtyard, and ring the 1,000-year-old bell inside courtyard two.

Out of the many things to do in Hanoi, this is a must-see, and city tours never skip the historical attraction.

Directions on Google Maps

4 – Visit Hoàn Kiếm Lake in the heart of the city

Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most beautiful areas in Hanoi.

Cross over the bright red Cau The Huc bridge to a tiny island, to reach the famous Ngoc Son temple, also known as the ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’. It’s dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, commander of the Vietnamese army during the Trần Dynasty in the 13th century.

Grab a coffee at the lakeside cafe, or soft-serve ice cream instead. Get your portraits drawn, take a million photographs, and explore the pagoda. Come night time, the lake is lit up by lights and lively activities, and during weekends, the roads around the lake are closed off to cars and bikes and become walking streets only.

Hoan Kiem Lake is steeped in ancient myths and magical tales, as the lake has many historical stories to tell.

The legend goes that there was a man Lê Lợi who was one day mysteriously presented with a golden sword from the heavens. During a battle with the Ming dynasty, he defeated the army with the magic sword.

After being named emperor, Lê Lợi took a ride out on a lake, when a giant golden turtle swooped the sword from his hand, returning into the waters. That is why Hoan Kiem Lake is known as the ‘Lake of the Returned Sword.’

Directions on Google

5 – Feel on top of the world at Lotte’s Observation Deck

Lotte Observation Deck, Hanoi

Want to see Hanoi from above? Head up to the 65th floor of the Lotte Centre to take in the incredible city views from the Observation Deck. There are different zones to visit, each with unique features.

Enter the Welcome Zone with an introduction theatre and photo zone. Here, dress up in a traditional áo dài and snap pics under glowing lanterns.

The Experience Zone is where the most action happens with its Observatory, View Terrace and Sky Walk made with glass, transparent floors.

Walk the Bamboo Road at the Attraction Zone and couples don’t miss the Love Story Zone.

Directions on Google Maps

6 – Visit the famous Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay in Vietnam

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as one of the seven new natural wonders of the world in 2011, make sure to schedule in time for a day trip to Ha Long Bay.

2.5-hours from Hanoi, enjoy a day out on the waters exploring the world-famous bay with its limestone cliffs that protrude into the sky.

You will need to book a boat tour to explore Halong Bay, visiting protected areas with a guide. Hop on board and spend hours navigating through grottos, stopping off to swim and kayak, and anchoring off at beachy locations.

Trek caves filled with magical stalactites and visit a local fish farm.

Many cruises also sail past Bai Tu Long Bay in the east of Halong Bay, stopping for water activities in this part of the protected reserve.

Enjoy a seafood BBQ and some boat trips including cooking classes where you’ll learn to make specialties like fresh Vietnamese spring rolls.

Instead of a day trip, it’s very popular to book an overnight boat stay in Ha Long Bay.

Hot tip: Check the best luxury Halong Bay cruises

Directions on Google Maps

7 – Choose a stay in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, i.e. the old town

Hanoi Old Quarter in Vietnam

As one of the most popular locations for travelers to stay in, as you arrive in Hanoi, the Old Quarter is an epic greeting.

Once the trading hub centuries ago, this part of the city is still a thriving and bustling area and summarises the magic of Hanoi beautifully.

Houses are lined with balconies dripping in plants, tourists are everywhere navigating the streets, and local ladies ride past on bicycles selling all sorts from donuts to hair clips.

Find local and international restaurants, cute cafes and a plethora of bars and nightclubs around.

Its roads are easy to walk on foot, and it’s the perfect chance to put your bargaining skills to the test – get ready to shop til you drop!

Hoan Kiem Lake and many other must-see attractions are close by, making it an ideal accommodation location.

A popular area for backpackers, the streets come alive at night, where street karaoke is one of the norms.

Directions on Google Maps

8 – If you’re craving the ocean, head to Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

En route to Ha Long Bay is Cat Ba Island in Hai Phong, and many day trips from Hanoi stop by both Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay – or you can choose to do them separately.

This small beachside town is super ambient. Visit beaches with soft sands and flat waters, and rent a bike and drive around the small island.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of water activities to enjoy from kayaking to snorkeling.

Explore the green hillsides, or hire out a private boat for the day for a tour of the neighboring islands. A popular boat tour takes guests to Lan Ha Bay which is the bay and waters that surround Cat Bar. Sail past limestone cliffs and through oceanic caves.

To reach Cat Ba Island, first travel two hours from Hanoi to Hai Phong. From here, catch a ferry and head for the island.

Hot tip: Explore the natural wonders and cultural treasures of Vietnam with the best day trips from Hanoi.

Directions on Google Maps

9 – Feel super cultured at Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House, Vietnam

The Hanoi Opera House, dating back to 1901, sits above the top of Hanoi’s Old Quarter district. You can’t miss the large yellow terracotta building and its fancy setting, including the theatre square in front.

The opera house was renovated from 1995 to 1997 and there are still live shows that take place today. Get ready for an evening of opera, the ballet, classical music performances or even the symphonic orchestra mixing it up with favorite anime theme songs.

Directions on Google Maps

10 – Similar to Sapa, day trip to Tam Đảo

Tam Đảo, Vietnam

A hotspot among trendy locals, drive 1.5-hours from Hanoi and discover a cute town filled with quaint coffee shops, trendy accommodation and all the European-esque feels.

Tam Đảo is elevated approximately 900 meters above sea level and offers cooler weather and tons of nature as the Tam Đảo National Park is here.

Go chasing the Silver Waterfall, and for something cultural to do, take a walk around the town’s attractions. Visit the stone Tam Dao Church, the Sky Gate viewpoint and don’t miss the night market.

In wintertime, the low clouds pull in and things become extra dreamy. Lala Land and Cầu Mây (Tam Dao Cloud Bridge) are two designated photography areas.

Directions on Google Maps

11 – Pay tribute at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

The final resting place of Ho Chi Minh is surrounded by a large green square park known as Ba Dinh Square and is one of the city’s most iconic attractions.

Make sure to visit the Ho Chi Minh memorial in the early morning and/or as part of a guided city tour as the crowds wind around corners from the start of the morning.

Built by government and parliament buildings, and next to the French Quarter, the area around the Mausoleum is so worth exploring!

Directions on Google Maps

12 – Find peace in nature at Hanoi’s Parks

best parks in Hanoi

Hanoi is famous for its bustling city; if you require a reprieve from the madness, here are some of the best parks to chill at, surrounding yourself in a flurry of nature.

Conveniently located close to famous city sites and near the Old Quarter, Hanoi Botanical Garden (also known as Bach Thao Park) is lined with green pathways, statues and towering trees.

Cau Giay Park is one of Hanoi’s more modern parks and has a great kid’s playground, with a lovely atmosphere to exercise or go jogging. The humongous grounds are split into three primary areas, with a lake in the middle.

Directly opposite Hoan Kiem Lake is Ly Thai To Park, an outdoor urban concrete park popular among families and home to the famous Lý Thái Tổ monument. Kiddies ride bicycles and miniature cars, teens skate the smooth floors, and Pokémon players are seen lurking nearby trying to catch ‘em all.

The massive Thong Nhat Park (also known as Công Viên Thống Nhất) is built around Bay Mau Lake, with many walking pathways connected around it and rows of ornamental flowers and wild orchids in bloom.

13 – Escape the Hanoi hustle in Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Drive only two hours outside of Hanoi and find the most tranquil scenes filled with lush landscapes, limestone mountains, temples and lakes in Ninh Binh. Preserving traditions and culture, it’s like stepping back in time to Vietnam 100 years ago …

This area kind of has a Ha Long Bay feel to it, but more mountainous than ocean vibes.

Boat along the Ngo Dong River (running through many areas of Ninh Binh), lazily appreciating the rice paddy scenery as you float on by.

Within Ninh Binh Province, there are other smaller villages and towns to explore, and if a day trip isn’t enough, book an overnight stay instead, for example, stay in Tam Cốc. Here are local homestays right on the river.

Visit one of the many historical and cultural attractions such as the Bích Động temple nestled in the hills, or the famous Buddhist Bái Đính Pagoda complex.

Take photos among pineapple fields at Đồi Dứa Tam Điệp and hike the surrounding mountainous areas like Hoa Lư and Tràng An.

Directions on Google Maps

14 – Get educated at Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum, Hanoi

Around the corner from the Mausoleum is the Ho Chi Minh Museum and it’s dedicated to the life and work of Ho Chi Minh. The museum is open from 8 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 4:30 PM (on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).

Made up of a collection of artifacts, displays and exhibitions divided into eight timeframe periods, learn about his early life from 1890 through to his last in 1969.

Starting with his younger days, explore his upbringing through to his time as a young man abroad. Investigate the years spent studying and forming the Vietnamese Communist Party from the 1920s to 1945.

Fighting for the country’s independence, Uncle Ho served as Vietnam’s president from 1945 until he passed away in 1969.

Directions on Google Maps

15 – Visit the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long

Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, Hanoi

Constructed in the 11th century on top of a 7th-century Chinese fortress, for hundreds of years, the Imperial Citadel was the grounds where political and royal matters of the court took place.

The Citadel is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM and is conveniently located around the corner from the Vietnam Military History Museum.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the only remaining citadel building from ancient Hanoi (when it was called Thang Long).

Explore the manicured garden and the ancient structures inside, however, even from the outside, it’s a historical sight worth seeing — and photographing.

Architectural features to admire are the Main Gate; the Kinh Thien Palace dating to the 15th century; the Lady Pavilion; the Northern Gate constructed in 1805; and the D67 Revolutionary House, i.e., the Politburo and Central Military Commission Meeting room.

Directions on Google Maps

16 – Take photos of the unique One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

One Pillar Pagoda is one of the most sacred temples in all of Vietnam and a must-see attractions that city tours never miss out on!

The Pagoda is located right to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and dates back to the 10th century, when the emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly Dynasty erected a wooden temple on a single piece of stone.

During the French rule, the pagoda was destroyed, however, the one stone on which it was built remained. In 1955, One Pillar Pagoda was rebuilt in the mirror image of the original.

Visit the inside of the pagoda, climbing a few steps to reach it. Built in the middle of a lotus pond, it gives the illusion that you’re floating.

Directions on Google Maps

17 – Discover the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi

Heading out of the main tourist areas, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is located in Cau Giay. The museum is open daily from 8:30 to 17:30 except Mondays and admission costs VND 40,000/$1.57 per person.

Outside you can see a replica of a traditional homestay-type house like you’d spot in local countryside villages, while inside you can wander the exhibition halls where garments, clothing, artwork and everyday-life objects are on display.

You get a sense of real city life and local buzz in this part of Hanoi, and it’s a massive district (it’s recommended to catch a taxi here so you don’t get lost). If you’re unsure of the best way to travel to the busy local neighborhood, opt for a city tour to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

Not only will you spend time here, but visit other must-see museums and attractions around Hanoi in one day, including all transport.

Directions on Google Maps

18 – Taste amazing local delicacies during food tours

food tours, Hanoi

Did you know that the food you find in Northern Vietnam vastly differs from the south? This is just one of the few things you’ll learn when joining a food tour around the capital city.

In general, Vietnam is a foodie hotspot, and chefs from around the world travel here to check out its interesting food scene and street-food culture.

Spot ingredients you’ve never heard of, and learn about the spices and produce that typically make up Hanoian flavor profiles.

The city is a very sociable one and restaurants and street vendors pour out onto the streets. The best way to experience a food tour is in the action of it all, so for a truly authentic time, a walking food tour is a fantastic option.

Along the way, taste different street foods, sample local ingredients and enjoy some iconic dishes.

Don’t forget to take notes of the names of foods which is very helpful in Hanoi as many menus and shop advertisements are written in Vietnamese.

19 – Walk among the terraced rice fields at Mù Cang Chải

Mù Cang Chải, Hanoi

Vietnam is renowned for its gorgeous terraced rice fields, and it’s the image you always see on travel brochures.

To see rice paddies with your own eyes, travel to famous Mù Cang Chải, 2.5 hours north of the capital.

An ideal time to visit the rural region is between May and June when it’s watering season, or in September through to October when the rice fields begin to ripen before harvest.

There are many beautiful spots around Yen Bai. Visit Thac Ba Lake or Tram Tau which is home to a massive natural hot spring bath.

The area is a super popular motorbike-trip destination as it’s not too far from Hanoi, and there are many local homestays here too.

Directions on Google Maps

20 – Visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Hanoi

Dedicated to the hard-working females of Vietnam throughout the ages, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum highlights their influence in society. The museum is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM and tickets cost VND 40,000.

Home to more than 30,000 artifacts, wander through the museum’s different collections, including propaganda posters targeting female soldiers, traditional jewelry, letters, books and even prison objects.

There are permanent and temporary exhibitions to learn from, showcasing topics like Women in History, Women in Family and Women’s Fashion. Read personal stories from real women, and some even talk about war times.

You’ll find around 10 different temporary exhibitions on display with artworks in various forms.

Directions on Google Maps

21 – Take a road trip to Ba Vi National Park

Ba Vi National Park, Hanoi

Ba Vi, a beloved favorite amongst locals and expats, is located only a 1.5 hour drive from Hanoi.

As you drive up the park’s main road, you’ll start to ascend the mountain and there are many pit stops along the way, from viewpoints to Vietnamese restaurants. Ba Vi also provides camping facilities inside the park and accommodation spots around the lake area of Phuong Dong Island.

There are many fun things to do in Ba Vi National park, such as wandering through a magical cactus and succulent greenhouse (Vườn Xương Rồng), as well as flower fields.

You can also explore a run-down Catholic church overgrown with greens, and head further up through misty clouds to one of the highest points. From here, you can trek to the Uncle Ho Temple on Emporer’s Peak mountain.

Directions on Google Maps

22 – Meander through Quảng Bá Flower Market

Quảng Bá Flower Market, Hanoi

Not only is Quang Ba Flower Market the biggest in the city, but it’s also a nighttime market. The market only opens up and functions properly from around 10 PM.

Explore this wonderland filled with all kinds of florals — and for ridiculously cheap prices. Watch as locals drive by carrying the biggest bunches of flowers you’ve seen on motorbikes, weaving in between people and the madness.

Tables and chairs are on one side serving Pho and Banh Mi’s till the early hours of the morning, people yelling flower orders and prices, the smell of a million flowers in the air …

It’s crazy and beautiful at the same time!

Directions on Google Maps

23 – Take a ‘Most Scenic Spots’ tour

Most Scenic Spots in Hanoi

Nicknamed the “city of love” in Southeast Asia and with its French influences, lakes and culture, Hanoi is naturally postcard perfect. So why not sign up for a “most scenic spots” tour?

These tours usually last between three and four hours and bring you to city highlights such as Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem, Truc Bach, Tay Ho (West Lake) and the French Quarter. Itineraries also consist of landmarks, monuments, roads and alleyways.

Get ready to see amazing locations such as the Banana Plantations, Long Bien Bridge, Train Street, the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the One Pillar Pagoda, the bright red Huc Bridge, Phung Hung Mural Street and plenty other gems!

24 – Visit the Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military History Museum, Hanoi

The Vietnam Military History Museum gives visitors a chance to learn about the Vietnam military and the wars they’ve fought throughout its history.

The open-air museum showcases real-life weaponry, artillery pieces, warplanes, tanks, rockets, bombs and mortars and is located by the French Quarter and the bottom of the Old Quarter.

Directions on Google Maps

25 – Go to Truc Bach Lake and buy banh xeo or ice-cream

Kem Tràng Tiền in Truc Bach Lake, Hanoi
credit to Kem Tràng Tiền

Looking for a romantic activity? Just 10-minutes away from the Old Quarter is the idyllic Truc Bach Lake area. Stoll the lake, Cross cute bridge ways, and meander past buildings that are very European-inspired. Alternatively, take a ride in a peddling swan boat around the lake.

Spot the oldest ice-cream shop (Trang Tien Ice Cream) — just look out for the bajillion motorbikes parked outside — and there are vendors all around selling a traditional sweet snack, banh xeo (a crispy thin rice wafer filled with sliced, sweet hard coconut inside), popcorn, candyfloss and spinning windmills.

From 4 PM onwards Truc Bach becomes super congested during rush hour, but at nighttime, it’s especially vibey.

Directions on Google Maps

26 – Feel as if you’re in Holland at Ho Tay Flower Garden

Ho Tay Flower Garden, Hanoi

The Ho Tay Flower Garden, set up right next to West Lake, is overflowing with all kinds of different flowers, growing on banks, or in perfectly manicured shapes and displays.

There’s a mini windmill inside the gardens and other cute photo opportunities. When the Tulips are planted, it feels like a mini-Holland!

There’s a Vietnamese restaurant here too and you will need to pay an entrance fee to enter the picturesque flower gardens.

Directions on Google Maps

27 – Visit Hoa Lo Prison, a former prison turned museum

Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi

Anyone who rebelled against the French colonization in the 1800s was put into the Hoa Lo Prison. After the country’s independence, during the Vietnam war, American soldiers were then held at Hoa Lo.

To commiserate these times, later on, the prison was transformed into a museum, which is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. The museum is dedicated to those that stayed at the Hoa Lo Prison and houses artifacts pertaining to the time, as well as exhibitions illustrating the past.

There are both permanent and temporary expos, including artifacts like prisoners’ uniforms and personal belongings, as well as a selection of photographs.

Directions on Google Maps

28 – Visit the famous Mua Cave

Mua Cave, Vietnam

Mua Cave, located in Ninh Binh province, is a popular day excursion from Hanoi. Travel 2.5-hours from the capital and climb up 500 mountain steps to enjoy unparalleled views of Vietnam country. It takes between 15 minutes to half an hour to complete the summit.

There are dragon statues in the air to pose with, remains of ancient buildings once built on top of the mountain, and take in the scenes of unending hills and lakes outstretching in front of you.

One of the most famous points is a section overseeing the Ngo Dong River and Tam Coc’s natural beauty.

Directions on Google Maps

29 – Leave the tourist area and head to West Lake

Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi

Smack bang in the middle of the Tây Hồ area is the gorgeous West Lake – where some of the best sunset views happen in Hanoi.

Considered the home to the expat community in Hanoi, Tay Ho is full of incredible restaurants, epic bars, boutique shops, parks, temples, yoga studios and lakeside cafes.

Grab a bicycle or your walking shoes and adventure around West Lake. You can start at the beginning of Tay Ho and venture all the way around to the Ba Dinh area on the other side.

(On the other side of West Lake, many popular tourist attractions are close by like the Mausoleum.)

En route take photos at the famous dragon statue, stop by Chùa Vạn Niên Temple with its zen crystal garden and enjoy a ca phe sua da (iced Vietnamese coffee) at a balcony cafe.

Two famous pagodas are on West Lake, Quan Thanh Temple and Trấn Quốc Pagoda which floats on the water. Both are walking distance from each other, and whilst you’re on this side of the waters, grab a soft-serve at the famous kem (ice cream in Vietnamese) shop across the road.

Sit on bamboo mats around the lake in the evening, snacking on sunflower seeds and sipping on tra da (iced tea).

Directions on Google Maps

30 – Visit the Vietnam National Museum of History

National Historical Museum, Hanoi

Down the road from the Hanoi Opera House find the Vietnam National Museum of History. The museum is open all week (except Mondays) from 8 AM to 12 PM and from 1:30 PM to 5 PM.

We recommend taking around 2 hours to explore the museum. Be aware that tickets are single-entry, so if you run out of time before closing midday, you must repurchase a second entrance ticket.

Housing over 40,000 different artifacts, there are two levels within the museum and rooms are divided into various categories or periods throughout history. Discover statues, utensils and tools used by locals in ancient times, ceramics, jewelry, and much more!

Directions on Google Maps

31 – Admire the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural (Con đường Gốm sứ)

Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural, Vietnam

The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is a standout feature of the city and is completely free!

The wall starts in the Old Quarter, running along the Au Co highway and eventually ending after the Flower Market in the Tay Ho area. Dedicate about an hour or two to walk the entirety of the wall.

The art piece is made completely from mosaic artworks created and provided by different artists, schools and organizations.

Directions on Google Maps

32 – Visit Bat Trang Pottery Village

Bat Trang Pottery Village tours, Hanoi

Hop into a taxi, catch a local bus, or if you’ve rented a scooter, head to Bat Trang Pottery Village, 30 minutes from the city center.

There’s a daily covered pottery market where you can shop for all sorts of vases, plates, bowls, ashtrays, mugs, keyrings, sculptures and other souvenirs. The prices are affordable, and outside the market are a few local shops where you can grab snacks, refreshments or a bowl of phở.

You can also sign up for one of the pottery workshops to give ceramic-making a spin.

Directions on Google Maps

33 – Take in the Hanoi scenes via bicycle tours

bike tours, Hanoi

Pretend to be a local, and navigate the ins and outs of Hanoi by bicycle tour. It’s a perfect way to check out many must-see attractions in one day, moving faster than on foot. Different expeditions cruise around certain parts of the capital, for example, around Hoan Kiem, West Lake or the Old Quarter.

Apart from inner-city tours, there are bike tours that start in the city and then cross the Long Bien bridge over the Red River and into the countryside districts of Hanoi.

34 – Shop til you drop at the shopping streets

shopping streets in Hanoi

For fast fashion from brand names like Zara and TopShop for affordable prices, hit Made in Vietnam Street (officially Tạ Hiện Street). Look out for the ‘Made in Vietnam’ shops along here.

Looking for a new pair of kicks? Shoe Street (Hàng Dầu Street) is lined with little shopfronts selling all sorts of knock-offs.

Stock up on trendy sunglasses or reading glasses at Sunglass Street (Lương Văn Can Street). Some sunglass shops can turn your purchase, or existing pair, into prescription glasses.
shopping streets in Hanoi, Vietnam

Traveling with kids? Head to Toy Street on the corner of Chả Cá and Hang Ma Street, and Party Stationery Street is just further down Hang Ma Street.

Known as Hipster Shopping Street i.e. Cầu Giấy Street, shop the latest affordable local fashion trends and leave space in your suitcase for scarves from Silk Street (Hàng Gai Street).

For all your sewing, knitting and crafting needs visit Sewing Street on the corner of Hàng Bồ and Lương Văn Can Street.

Pretend like you’re in Paris in the 1920s at Hanoi Book Street, locally called Phố sách Hà Nội.

Finally, for local delicacies, stop by Hanoi Specialities Street (Hàng Đường Street) and taste all sorts of pickled and dried foods.

35 – Meet cute animals at the Hanoi Zoo @ Thu Le Park

Hanoi Zoo, Hanoi

Visit the Hanoi Zoo (at Thu Le Park) to see animals native to Vietnam. From reptiles to fish to mammals to birds to amphibians, the zoo is home to wildlings from the key five animal groups.

Keep your eyes peeled for the likes of rock pythons, the Eurasian Griffon, Phayre’s leaf monkeys, black panthers, raccoon dogs, Asian black bears, greater hog badgers, binturong, the small Indian civet, sambar deer, the clouded leopard and many other unique and rare species.

Directions on Google Maps

36 – Visit Hanoi Ancient House

Hanoi Ancient House, Vietnam

On Ma May street you can find one of the most special attractions of the city: Hanoi Ancient House. Constructed in the 19th century, the two-story home is decorated in traditional Vietnamese design with its original architecture still in place.

From the furniture to the decor, and even the authentic setup of each room, built around a courtyard entrance it’s typical of what a household resembled 100 years ago.

Comprising two levels, the interiors have been preserved like a moment in time. Still popular in local homes today, the first floor is where the family would trade goods. Also on the same level (and through the courtyard) are the living area and kitchen.

Employing a classic Vietnamese housing layout; the bedrooms are on the second floor.

Directions on Google Maps

37 – Sign up for a Jeep tour

jeep tours, Hanoi

Sign up for a jeep tour and enjoy cruising the streets of Hanoi in style as you get to see some of the city’s most famous attractions. Choose between a half-day or a full-day excursion, and different tours visit varying attractions.

All the planning and map routing is taken care of – this can be tricky in Hanoi as road names are all in Vietnamese and many alleyways and areas look similar. You can get easily lost. Some jeep tours are fully customizable, and you can determine exactly where you’ll be driven to.

If you’ve done all your sightseeing in Hanoi already, there are jeep tours that head out of the city center.

38 – Buy silk for really cheap at Van Phuc Silk Village

Silk Village, Vietnam

Unlike many countries, you can buy silk materials and goods in Vietnam for very cheap prices. Shopping around Hanoi, there are many stalls and shops selling by-products.

Much of the silk comes directly from the Van Phuc Silk Village, located 30 minutes outside of Hanoi. Considered a luxury fiber, take a day trip out to the traditional village perched next to the Nhue River.

Arriving at the local silk village, learn about the process of silk manufacturing, turning raw silk into textiles. They only use traditional looms to weave the silk threads, which has been the original practice of silk-making in Vietnam for decades.

You can shop for many silk products in the village from scarves to dresses, pillowcases, ties and much more!

Directions on Google Maps

39 – Visit the Air Force and Air Defence Museum

Air Force and Air Defence Museum, Hanoi

Home to 73 military artifacts, the Air Force and Air Defence Museum (Bảo Tàng Phòng Không – Không Quân) displays life-sized air defense and air force machines, from aircraft to missiles.

The outside of the museum hosts the real McCoy, a Mil Mi-6 helicopter, MiG-21 jet fighter, an A-37, tankers, cannons, missiles and anti-aircraft artillery.

The inside exhibition is filled with smaller artifacts, photographs, and other printed materials. These are split into eight thematic displays.

Directions on Google Maps

40 – Pay your respects at the Chùa Quán Sứ

Chùa Quán Sứ, Hanoi

Chua Quan Su, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Hanoi, is right in the middle of the city. The temple is open every day, and admission is free.

It dates back to the the 14th century and in 1858 it became the headquarters for Buddhism in Vietnam. The temple’s “three-door” entrance gate, topped with a three-tier sloping red-tiled roof is a standout architectural delight.

Within the grounds are also the bell tower, main hall, monk rooms, a library and a lecture hall. Apart from the glistening gold statues of various Buddhas, there is also a waxed statue of the revered Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Thanh Tu.

Directions on Google Maps

41 – Discover the ancient city, Hoa Lu

Hoa Lu, Vietnam

Hoa Lu was once the capital of Vietnam during the 10th century to early 11th century. It is located in Ninh Binh Province, 90 kilometers outside of Hanoi and is a perfect day trip.

Explore multiple palaces, such as Bao Thien Tue Palace, and temples dedicated to the different head dynasts.

Climbing a flight of stairs, compare Dinh Tien Hoang Temple (Dinh Dynasty) and Le Hoan Temple (Le Dynasty), both only built in the 17th century.

Spot the famous One Pillar Pagoda, i.e. Nhat Tru Pagoda inside the complex, and if you’re up for a challenge, trek to the top of Ma Yen Mountain from here.

Directions on Google Maps

42 – See a real fighter plane at the B52 Victory Museum

B52 Victory Museum, Hanoi

The B52 Victory Museum is primarily focused on the 1972 Hanoi-Dien Bien Phu victory in the air event, when 15 American B-52 planes were shot down.

The museum is open every day except Mondays and Fridays from 8 AM to 11 AM and 13:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Admission is free.

The B52 Victory Museum is also known as the Museum of Hanoi’s armed forces and retells ‘process of building, fighting and maturing of Hanoi’s armed forces’ over the years.

The exhibition is divided into two parts. The indoor display centers on three themes: “Determining death for the Fatherland to live, ” “Dien Bien Phu in the air” and “US Strategic and Tactical Air Force.”

The outdoor display exhibits real weapons and equipment employed by the armed forces, as well as one of the shells of an American B-52 aircraft.

Directions on Google Maps

43 – Visit Lang Pagoda

Lang Pagoda, Hanoi

Lang Pagoda (also known as Chieu Thien Tu), located in the Dong Da District and was constructed during the 12th century under the reign of King Ly Anh Tong.

The pagoda is one of Hanoi’s oldest-standing temples and dazzles with its architecture, for example, its three-entrance gate and its antiquated octagonal house from which sticks of incense burn.

Admire the 198 treasured statues inside, one of which is the king sitting on his throne, and paintings and stelae (rectangular stone tablets).

44 – Find yourself chilling at Trill Rooftop Cafe

Trill Rooftop Cafe, Hanoi
Credit to Trill Rooftop Cafe

Trill Rooftop Café is vibey and many young locals and expats come here to hang out and spend the day around the pool; swimming, drinking, working on tanlines and having a laugh with best friends.

You can also take full advantage of the vistas from 26 stories high above ground zero. Sunsets from up here are insane, the reddening sun feeling even closer! Or when it’s a full moon, (photographers) gasp at photos of la luna and the detail you’re able to capture on a professional camera.

You will need to pay an entrance fee to use the pool.

Directions on Google Maps

45 – Walk around Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square

Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square, Hanoi

In between the main hub of the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake is Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square.

Around the square, there’s a plethora of cafes (The Note Coffee and Cong Caphe are two iconic ones), boutique shops and local stalls, and during the weekends this entire area is closed off and transformed into a walking street.

The famous Tòa Nhà Hàm Cá Mập building is home to Highlands Coffee and amazing bird’s eye views.

Look out for the giant Aldo shop sign and you know you’re in the right place.

Running parallel to the square is a road nicknamed “Sunglass Street.” Shop for super affordable glasses and spectacles, with a mixture of rip-offs and original brands.

Directions on Google Maps

46 – Catch a boat ride to the Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda, Vietnam

Only accessible by boat traveling down the Day River, the Perfume Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Vietnam. To reach the pagoda you’ll need to ascend the mountain, or instead of trekking, catch a cable car ride up instead!

Not just one, the historical site is a complex made up of different temples and pagodas, and there are also caves to visit via boat on the water.

Check out the Den Trinh shine, then Thien Tru Pagoda (also known as Heaven Kitchen) which is one of the main pagodas. During Tet (Chinese New Year and Vietnam’s New Year too), major festivities happen at this pagoda.

Moving on to Giai On Pagoda, the temple is famous for its blue pond inside, the Thien Nhien Thanh Tri Pond. The main temple, Huong Tich, is the largest and it’s located inside of a cave which makes it extra special.

There are other caves to explore, including Phat Tich Cave and Tuyet Kinh Cave where you can spot Buddhist shrines and stalagmites.

Located in the Huong Son Mountains, the perfume pagoda is also called the Huong Pagoda, or in Vietnamese, Chùa Hương.

Directions on Google Maps

47 – Take a Hop on Hop off bus tour around Hanoi

bus tours, Hanoi

Out of the things to do in Hanoi, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to see all of the most famous city attractions whilst learning facts about each from a local guide along the way.

Choose between riding a retro bus, or opt for a bus tour on a double-decker bus and get to see Hanoi from a different view. Buses tour through popular districts and areas, like the Old Quarter, French Quarter, and Hoan Kiem.

There are designated bus stops allocated in these areas, and you have the freedom to jump on and off the bus, explore and then hop back on when you’re ready.

48 – Visit the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum

Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi

The Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum is open daily from 8:30 to 5 PM and admission is 40,000 VND/$1.60 for adults and 10,000 VND/$0.40 for children between the ages of 6 and 16.

Explore the different art in Vietnam throughout the ages dating back to early history some 3,000 years ago to modern times with contemporary art on show. Find oil paintings and ones done in silk, explore folk paintings, sculptures and a collection of Vietnamese ceramics from the 11th century until today.

Directions on Google Maps

49 – Take a day trip to Trang An

Trang An, Vietnam

Take a boat ride across the deep green waters of Trang An, located on the Red River Delta, bordered by thick limestone mountains stemming from the waters.

Boat tours never miss an opportunity to show visitors the antiquated temples straddling the river, navigating your way through karst caverns. Officially, the area is called Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex, and it includes not just the river cruise, but other sites nearby.

Both Tam Cốc – Bích Động and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital (dating to 968 CE) form part of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cruise through grottos, explore historical caves with examples of prehistoric life and spend some time kayaking. Here are two outlined kayaking routes; one is eight kilometers, the other five.

Pass by landmarks like Trinh Temple and Kong Skull Island filming location where the 2017 flick was shot!

Directions on Google Maps

50 – Have fun in the sun at Hồ Tây Water Park

Hồ Tây Water Park in Hanoi
credit to Hồ Tây Water Park

Looking for a family-friendly day out? Head to Hồ Tây Water Park, located right on the corner of West Lake in the Tay Ho district.

The park is open daily, but opening hours depend on the time of your visit. If you visit between May 2nd and May 26th, the park is open from 9 AM to 6 PM on week days, and from 8 AM to 8 PM during the weekend. From May 27th the park is open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM.

Ticket prices depend on your height. If you are taller than 135 cm, you pay VND 180,000/$7.07 during the week and 195,000/$7.66 during the weekend. If you are between 90 cm and 135 cm, you pay VND 150,000/$5.90 during the week and VND 170,000/$6.70 during the weekend.

Race down water rides, slide through dark tunnels or cross obstacles where one hand slip lands you back in the pool. Grab a tube and cruise down the park’s lazy river, or you can chill on land at picnic benches shaded by trees.

Ho Tay Water Park gets very busy, especially in summer. It’s also very crowded from 4 PM onwards when schools end for the day. Arrive early and take advantage of shorter waiting lines for rides and tickets.

Directions on Google Maps

51 – Visit Bach Ma Temple

Bach Ma Temple, Hanoi

Bach Ma Temple is located on Hang Buom, one of the Old Quarter’s most bustling streets and is open daily from 9 AM to 5:30 PM.

As legend goes, Emperor Ly Thai To was wandering through the area in search of the perfect place to erect the citadel walls for Thang Long (now known as Hanoi) when a white horse appeared out of the temple gates.

This exact scene was all promised to the king in a prior dream when a revered deity, Long Do, appeared to him, promising a white horse would lead him to victory. (The original site already contained a temple built in the 9th century to worship Long Do).

Hence, the temple’s name translates to “white horse” and upon entering, there is a statue of the majestic steed.

From its facade, it looks like the classic Vietnamese buildings you see in Hanoi, with a butterscotch-colored exterior, and adorning the top of the entrance is a swooping dragon.

Directions on Google Maps

52 – Discover another flower field, Vườn Hoa Bãi Đá Sông Hồng

Bãi Đá Vườn Hoa Sông Hồng in Hanoi

Right next to the banks of the Red River, Vườn Hoa Bãi Đá Sông Hồng is extra popular among the locals for coming to take photographs. The garden is busiest between September and November.

Find rows of gigantic sunflowers, pink and purple Cosmos, sakura, dahlias, roses and bunches of other colorful florals depending on what’s in bloom that season. There are cute structures that have been built for photo ops like bamboo water wheels, red wooden bridges and view-point huts.

The flower garden is especially popular for having a picnic and feels extra romantic among all the rainbow fields.

There’s a designated outdoor chill area with beanbags littered everywhere, and you can buy food and drinks here too. Chimi Farm is around the corner for strawberry picking!

Directions on Google Maps

53 – Relax and unwind at the spas

spas, Hanoi
credit to Long Bien Golf Course

After all the city exploring and walking, your body will love you for treating it to an afternoon at the spa. There are tons of spas and wellness centers around the city, and you can find a fantastic massage for really affordable prices.

Choose between different treatments, like a traditional Vietnamese massage, enjoy a facial and get your nails done.

Soak in a traditional wooden bath followed by a herbal steam at Alisa Bella Spa, or get a facial from Mf Boutique Spa. Try Vietnamese Cupping at Serene Spa or La Belle Vie Spa’s signature Bamboo Stick Massage.

Welcomed with a classic tea set, choose from Spas Hanoi’s extensive menu (from hot stone to deep tissue treatments). From foot therapies to special body scrubs, the ornate Estheva Spa is conveniently located in the heart of the Old Q.

Enjoy a traditional tea bath spa experience at Hương Sen Massage Spa, and for all your mani and pedi woes, book a visit to one of the many salons … Nail art is a thing in Hanoi!

54 – Take the kids to VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City

VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City in Hanoi
credit to Long Bien Golf Course

Times City is like a town of its own which has a shopping mall, parks, restaurants, school, hospital and the VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium! The Aquarium is open from 10 AM to 10 PM (weekdays) and from 09:30 AM to 10 PM (weekends and holidays).

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children if you book more than 7 days in advance. If you book after, tickets cost $10 for adults and $7 for children.

Check out the different areas, such as the freshwater fish, saltwater fish and reptile areas, plus the Aquarium Specimen Exhibition. Walk through the glass transparent tunnel where huge stingrays glide above your head, watch a mermaid show, join a fish or penguin feed and more!

Also here is VinKE, a fun and educational play area for the little ones where they can dress up in different roles, like a traffic officer or chef. The space has play areas like Step-Up Dance Club, Oceanographic Academy and over 200 arcade games!

Directions on Google Maps

55 – Cross the Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge, Hanoi

Long Bien Bridge connects Hoan Kiem district and Long Bien (just outside of central Hanoi). The bridge is used by motor vehicles, including cars, bikes and even trains. A pedestrian pathway allows you to wander alongside the bridge, with the river on the other side of you.

It’s also a popular spot for taking photographs. Sporting French architecture and unique positioning, the middle of the bridge doesn’t allow motor vehicles to drive here, and this is where photos are taken.

Directions on Google Maps

56 – Have a day trip to magical Mai Chau

Mai Chau, Vietnam

Mai Chau is one of the top places to learn more about the various ethnicities of Northern Vietnam, particularly groups from this area.

There are a whopping six minority tribes calling Mai Chau home, and the three most well-known are the White Thai (the predominant ethnicity here), the Muong (one of the North’s earliest inhabitants) and the Hmong (known as the hill tribes in countries like Thailand and Tibet).

Whether cycling around the village (the most popular mode of transport in Mai Chau and highly recommended), shopping the local craft and textile market (amazing!) or sampling the local dishes, you’re in for a cultural treat!

The nature in these parts is stunning, from endless rice fields to jungle-y hillsides, and walks and hiking are well-favored.

Directions on Google Maps

57 – Sign up for a scooter or motorbike tour

Motorbiking in Hanoi

Would you like to explore Hanoi by motorbike? Opt for an organized bike or scooter tour, where you have the option of riding the motorbike yourself, or you can hop on the back of one of the designated tour drivers.

Scooter and motorbike tours guide you through the mind-boggling streets of Hanoi, driving the group to must-see attractions, different districts and things to do in Hanoi.

If you’re a first-time driver, choose a scooter tour on a Vespa, as scooters are easier than a motorbike to drive.

If you’re a seasoned rider, choose a motorbike tour driving a manual Minsk. There is also the option of driving a semi-automatic motorbike instead (where you won’t have to worry about using a clutch).

58 – Admire the art along Phung Hung Mural Street

Phung Hung Mural Street, Hanoi

The Phung Hung Mural Street is an art project that sprung up in 2018 under the hands of Vietnamese and Korean artists. An area of the former citadel fort walls, between Phan Dinh Phung and Hang Bong Streets, was given a make-over, or rather, splash of paint (ing).

Comprising 17 artworks, each one shows off a different medium and subject matter, the individual pieces honoring Hanoi and all its glory, recounting its history from the very beginning up until modern times.

3D illusionary images create larger-than-life murals, photographs have been blown up and reworked … there are even a few wood etchings.

Directions on Google Maps

59 – Take a fun beer tasting tour around the city

beer tasting in Hanoi

In recent years, craft beers have become popular in the city and there are beer tours that solely focus on the craft drafts. Learn about the brewing processes, and get merry whilst doing so.

Travel to local drinking holes and different bia hois (these are everywhere and refer to local beer drinking halls famous for their blue tables and low chairs).

Bia Corner in the Old Quarter is a very popular spot for travelers to go drinking cheap beers, and it’s always vibey.

Don’t be surprised if your beer order arrives with a cup of ice as this is common practice in the city. During summertime, you’ll be thankful.

60 – Hang out for the evening on the side of Nhật Tân Bridge

Nhật Tân Bridge, Hanoi

Nhật Tân Bridge is en route to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport, and anyone arriving in Hanoi by plane will have to cross the bridge via car or motorbike to enter the city.

It is known as the “friendship bridge,” and at night time many young couples and friends drive to the bridge, park their motorbikes on the side, and hang out.

In the evenings, the entire bridge is lit up by colorful neon light sequences, dancing off the Red River below.

It’s not only the longest cable-stayed bridge in Vietnam, but one of the biggest in Southeast Asia.

61 – Walk through the 18th-century city gate, Ô Quan Chưởng

The Old Gate, Hanoi

Ô Quan Chưởng, also known as the Old Gate, is the last remaining gate of the imperial capital Thang Long. It can be found in the city’s historical quarter, right near the start. It runs down Hang Chieu Street, bridging Thanh Ha and Dao Duy Tu.

Built in 1749, it was reconstructed in 1804 and its antiquated walls you see today are pure evidence. Back in the day, this was Hanoi’s original entry bridge-way where a watch tower once stood, built to observe unknown visitors entering the city.

Surviving raids during the French invasion, its original name — Dong Ha Mon — was changed to its current in honor of those who fought to save this monumental piece of history.

Directions on Google Maps

62 – Perfect your backswing at Long Bien Golf Course

Long Bien Golf, Hanoi
credit to Long Bien Golf Course

The Long Bien Golf Course is open until 11 PM and is located in Long Bien. It boasts not one, not two but three golf courses!

Sporting Nelson & Haworth design, courses A, B and C total 27 holes, but each is a nine-hole play. Both A and B have a Par 36, and C a Par 35.

Spread into three sections, enjoy golfing in an attractive space, each course featuring waterways, artificial lakes and tropical palms. The clubhouse’s Him Lam Restaurant and wine cellar help out any hungry or thirsty players.

There’s an on-site Pro Shop if you require any gear, or work on your swing and aim at the driving range.

Directions on Google Maps

63 – Watch a water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi

Forget about an ordinary puppet show … experience the traditional performing art in a whole new way at Thang Long Water Puppet. This activity is particularly interesting for children.

Unlike most puppet shows where puppets act on strings or the puppeteer’s hands, the entire show takes place in water using wooden puppets. This is why it’s called a water puppet show.

The performances are themed around Vietnamese folklore and historical stories, and the shows are accompanied by live musical acts.

Thang Long Theatre is in the Old Quarter, right near Hoan Kiem Lake. Thanks to its location, masses of tourists flock to the water puppet show, including many Hanoi city tours (usually ending off here).

It’s an important part of local culture, as locals have been putting on puppet shows since the beginning of the 11th century, and is one activity you shouldn’t miss.

Visiting the theater in the evening? After the show, couple the experience with authentic dinners, such as a buffet feast at Hanoi’s iconic Sen Tay Ho, included with specific bookings.

Directions on Google Maps

64 – Visit Chùa Vạn Niên Temple

Chùa Vạn Niên Temple, Hanoi

Chùa Vạn Niên Temple straddles West Lake, which means you’ll need to enter the pagoda from the opposite side (off Lac Long Quan Street).

It is a courtyard garden filled with rose quartz, jade, carnelian, citrine and other crystals lining intricate pathways, Buddha statues in all shapes and sizes, colorful prayer flags flank the walls and graceful monks walk around in quiet contemplation.

After you’re finished exploring the sacred space, grab a cà phê or baked treat from one of the dozens of trendy cafes, coffee shops and bakeries alongside the water.

Directions on Google Maps

65 – Visit Đầm sen Hồ Tây in May or June

Đầm sen Hồ Tây in Hanoi

Đầm sen Hồ Tây is right next to the Water Park and Buffet Sen in the Tay Ho district and the secret spot is home to ponds of blooming Lotus flowers with a giant ferris wheel in the background.

Buy bunches of fresh pink or white Lotus flowers, or come and take photos. A highlight of Dam Sen is dressing up in traditional Vietnamese clothes, known as an áo dài, putting on a nón lá (conical bamboo hat) and hopping onto a rowing boat.

Here, they rent out the traditional clothing. Have your photograph taken among the lotus ponds which looks like a scene from the countryside.

Directions on Google Maps

66 – Go cafe hopping!

coffee shops in Hanoi
credit to TUNG dining

Coffee culture is huge in Vietnam, and you’ve probably seen the famous Vietnamese coffee, cà phê đá (iced coffee) on many artisanal coffee houses’ menus in other countries. More of a lifestyle, there are tons of cafes scattered throughout the city, some of them so pretty they belong straight on Instagram.

Feel like you’re on the streets of Paris at G-Cafe @ Gather Vietnam. Grab a Buddha bowl and kombucha and chill in the dramatic courtyard. If you’re a fan of Korean dramas or grew up watching Gossip Girl … recreate your own scenes and moments at De Ville Cafe.

It’s a sin not to try an egg coffee from Cafe Giảng. Established in 1946, its owner is believed to be the originator of the famous drink! Roasting beans from around the globe, Kafeville knows a thing or two about artisanal cups, with super-skilled baristas working the brews and drips.

A bookstore and coffee shop in one? Consider us sold! Picture-perfect in every way, Tranquil Books + Coffee’s drink list is ultra-creative. Pull into Xofa Café & Bistro’s espresso bar or sit in front within the courtyard, the building dripping in vines.

Undoubtedly, Cong Caphe has one of the best coconut coffees in town.

67 – Shop Dong Xuan Market, a trading center since 1980

Dong Xuan Market, Hanoi

Hanoi’s largest indoor market is made up of three levels and you’ll find everything and anything from snacks to nicknack goods like sunglasses, purses, toys and all sorts.

A special one for fashion designers and dress-makers, the second and third levels solely comprises stalls selling fabric … for very, very good prices per meter!

Travel tip: Get clothes tailor-made in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi or Hoi An. It’s super affordable, you’ll be shocked.

Surrounding the market on the ground floor on the backside, there are roadside stalls selling other random goods, especially household items like tin kettles and spoons, among others.

Directions on Google Maps

68 – Learn the local secrets with cooking classes

cooking classes, Hanoi

If you’re an avid cook or want to try something new, a cooking class is an awesome activity to try in Hanoi. Choose what time you’d like to take your class, for example, in the morning or evening, and these tours are guided by an English-speaking local.

Visit a local fresh market, learn about and pick your ingredients, and head to a local’s home for your private cooking extravaganza.

Through the hands-on class, students are shown how to make classic Northern dishes, like the capital’s famous bún chả or Hanoian fried spring rolls (nem).

Have you ever tried egg coffee before? Another Hanoian specialty, be shown how to recreate the yummy, sweet foamy drink during an Egg Coffee Cooking Class — recommended for any aspiring baristas out there!

69 – Eat till you can’t anymore at Hanoi’s best restaurants

best restaurants, Hanoi
credit to TUNG dining

Apart from the incredible street food to find around Hanoi, there are some amazing restaurants serving both local and international cuisines.

Foodies, fine-dining is affordable in Hanoi, so do take advantage.

Speaking of, for an extraordinary 20-course meal, book a table at T.U.N.G Dining for a world-class gastronomic experience. In the mood for tapas? Grab a table at El Loco Tapas Bar on West Lake in Tay Ho for an evening of Spanish food and sangria.

Also located in Tay Ho, head to Cousins for exquisite French food, and it’s one of Hanoi’s longstanding restaurants.

Take advantage of Buffet Sen’s incredible buffet-style restaurant. As an all-you-can-eat, the large restaurant has various food zones where you can eat as much sushi, prawns, spring rolls, pasta, local delicacies and so much more.

During the daytime, grab a hearty meal at Hanoi Social Club, with many veggie and vegan options on the menu. Feeling fusion? PIZZA 4P’s is a mix of Italian and Japanese, and don’t forget to order their burrata pizza.

For all things salmon, you’ll love Salmonoid and one of the city’s other best French restaurants is Maison Vie. Lastly, the Metropole’s La Terrasse is ideal for a Sunday vibe, and once a year, the metropole hosts an entire food week where Michelin-star chefs come to cook!

70 – Shop at Hanoi Weekend Night Market

Hanoi Weekend Night Market, Vietnam

Held every weekend, a few streets are closed down to vehicles at the bottom of the Old Quarter and rows and rows of market stalls open for the Hanoi Weekend Night Market.

The weekend market is open from Friday to Sunday, from 7 PM until around midnight, and is set up along Hang Dao, Hang Ngang and Hang Luoc Streets.

Find all sorts of typical market goods, from clothing to accessories, souvenirs, magnets, paper cut outs, art, toys, bags, socks … you name it. The market sells very cheap goods and is an excellent spot for trying street food and bite-sized sweet treats.

Locate chi’s on bicycles selling bánh rán (fried Vietnamese donuts filled with mung bean paste), or vendors serving fresh nem, bánh mìs, bánh gối (i.e. pillow cakes), skewered BBQ meat sticks and bowls of chè (a sweet soup).

Directions on Google Maps

71 – Let your hair down and enjoy the nightlife

nightlife, Hanoi
credit to HERO Club

From bia hois to bars and nightclubs, there’s something to tickle everyone’s fancy if you’re in a festive or social mood.

Pub crawls usually end off at 1900, where you can dance the night away until the early hours. Situated in the Old Quarter, it’s frequented by backpackers, expats and youthful crowds.

Get your full of Vinahouse at Hero Club. The main stage is swarmed by dancing cages, and don’t be surprised to see fruit platters and Hubbly Hookah pipes floating around.

With 19 beers always on tap, lake views and DJs taking over on the weekends, intimate Standing Bar is a total vibe.

Welcoming international DJs and even Boiler Room events, Savage is thee place for house-heads and insane electro beats. It’s got all the feels of a banging European club.

The OG nightclub in Tay Ho, Hanoi Rock City was one of the first dance spots and has been loved ever since, especially by the expat crowd. Expect themed nights, and its Halloween party is the best in town!

Get fancy at Polite & Co, a super ambient jazz and cigar lounge, or enjoy fine wine, craft beers and delicious cocktails at Turtle Lake Brewing Company around West Lake.

72 – Take in the sunset at the best rooftop bars

best rooftops in Hanoi
Credit to Terraço Sky Bar

In a city made up of buildings erected upwards, there are many rooftop spots to visit for drinks and views.

Located on the 65th floor, Top of Hanoi is an iconic spot for sunset hour. SKYLINE overlooks the Old Quarter and it’s especially romantic in the evenings when the city lights twinkle below.

Try one of Terraço Sky Bar’s signature cocktails, inspired by Hanoi, and they offer cocktail and tapas pairings too! Located on the 20th floor, The Summit Bar sits right on West Lake and is another fantastic choice as the sun starts to set over the water.

Listen to smooth jazz while enjoying a glass of vino at Lighthouse Sky Bar and try one of their signature cocktails.

Take advantage of Moonlight Sky Bar’s sundowner hour, offered with wine, cocktails and beers. Its setting in the Old Q is gorgeous, with panoramic vistas of Long Bien Bridge and Hoan Kiem Lake.

Another Old Quarter locale, the sunsets from Sol Sky Bar are next-level … and so are the drinks!

How to get to Hanoi?

Are you flying directly into Hanoi from a neighboring city or overseas destination? All flights land at Noi Bai International Airport — a 30 to 45-minute journey from the city center, depending on where you are staying.

Eliminate the hassles of striking a deal with local taxi drivers or high conversion rates and pre-book airport transfers in Hanoi.

Upon arrival, your private driver awaits you, holding a sign with your name. Hop into a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle (the city reaches soaring temperatures in summer) and be driven directly to your stay.

Planning on visiting worldly wonder Ha Long Bay? There are shore excursions in Hanoi that get you straight here, or alternatively, opt for a transport option to Hanoi after a Ha Long Bay cruise.

Where to stay in Hanoi?

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Hanoi.

The iconic Sofitel Legend Metropole is one of the best hotels in Hanoi, and the interiors, architecture, service and experiences are 5-star. Perched right on West Lake and with its unending sunset views, the luxurious InterContinental Hanoi Westlake offers guests a beautiful stay.

If you prefer to stay out of the touristy areas, check into the stylish JW Marriott Hotel. It’s an awesome choice for traveling families with large gardens, loads of green spaces and kid-friendly activities.

Mia Casa by Satori looks like it belongs on a Pinterest board, and the interiors are trendy and contemporary-cool. Sporting plush interiors and touches of traditional design, the regal Hanoi Center Silk Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the Old Quarter and close to must-see attractions.

Enjoy staying at Fraser Suites Hanoi in Tay Ho, and the luxury apartments and studios are perfect for either couples or families. Plus, there’s a load to do in this neighborhood, including bars, places to eat, cafes and parks.

Peridot Grand Luxury Boutique Hotel offers everything you expect in a boutique stay and the rooftop pool is next-level! A long-standing city hotel with excellent service and all the bells and whistles, the Melia Hanoi has it all ….

Visiting Hanoi on a budget?

Save a few extra dong where you can and embark on one of the free walking tours in Hanoi.

Highlighting the best of the capital city’s attractions, and then some, kick off your holiday with these sightseeing adventures and become better acquainted with its maze of streets and alleyways.

Cruise around Hoan Kiem Lake, be guided to famous sites like St Joseph’s Cathedral, and even get in a quick round of shopping at Dong Xuan Market.

Explore the Old Quarter, learning of the city’s history simultaneously. There are free food tours too, guiding you to favorite local spots.

Where to go next?

If there’s one other destination to add to your Northern Vietnam Bucket List it’s undoubtedly Sapa. Journey here via train (a once-in-a-lifetime experience) or private vehicle. Up to ten hours by train or roughly 5.5 hours by car, Sapa multi-day trips from Hanoi are a must!

For something a little closer, Pu Long is one of the most magical places in all of Vietnam, and is located on the top of a mountain. A unique way to get here is via motorbike (for experienced riders only), or join Pu Luong Nature Reserve multi-day trips from Hanoi.

Other multi-day trips from Hanoi favor destinations such as Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh.

The rest of the country deserves exploring, and thanks to its transportation avenues, Vietnam is super easy (and affordable) to travel.

Board a 1.5-hour flight and you’re in the City of Bridges. Among the must-see things to do in Da Nang visit the Big Buddha, enjoy endless beach days or day trip to imperial Hue. 30 minutes from Danang is Hoi An.

With its French influences, lantern-laden streets, seaside location and incredible tailors, the things to do in Hoi An you won’t find anywhere else in the country.

Of course, you cannot leave Saigon off the list, and there are many things to do in Ho Chi Minh City other than just its war-related presence. Southern flair at its best, even the food is different!

Final thoughts

True adventurers, foodies, backpackers and history geeks; let the magic of Hanoi whisk you away! There’s truly no other place quite like it in not just Vietnam, but the whole of Southeast Asia!

Have you ever visited the capital city before? What were some of your favorite and most memorable moments or activities? Share with us in the comments; we love to hear from our readers.

As always, happy travels!

“I live to travel, and travel to live.” With gypsy blood running through her veins, Shannon is a freelance travel writer who has lived on five continents and counting, and is endlessly inspired by new cultures, countries and landscapes. Inscribing words onto paper, since she could talk, she lives and breathes delicious words and stories. Hailing from sunny South Africa, she has an affinity for Southeast Asia and all things spiritual, and is also a qualified Reiki practitioner. When not with her head buried in storytelling (or books) or watching sunrises in new lands, you’ll find her in the kitchen or with a paintbrush in hand. Shannon has written for major travel publications such as TripCanvas.