Hanoi Vietnam: SEE & DO, TIPS - All You Need to Know

An A-to-Z Guide for your trip to the capital of Vietnam

A comprehensive Hanoi for a cultural exploration in Hanoi

Apart from its “thousand years of civilization” past, Hanoi with its distinctive features, rich cultural identity, and distinctive way of life make it an ideal destination for travelers.

You may enjoy amazing local food, a bustling nightlife, and a tonne of fantastic tourist attractions when you visit there.

Let’s join Hanoi Explore Travel to get a comprehensive collection of Hanoi Travel Guide and experiences, covering everything from A to Z, and get ready to explore the city!

The ideal times to visit Hanoi

You can visit Hanoi at any time of year because of its four distinct seasons, each of which has its own beauty. The best times to visit Hanoi, nevertheless, are during the flower seasons, particularly in autumn, according to travelers’ experiences there

  • Flower season: There are several flower seasons in Hanoi throughout the year, including peach blossoms in January, ban flowers (mountain ebony) in February, sua flowers in March, lotus flowers in July, blackboard tree flowers in September and October, and daisies in October and December.
  • Autumn – early winter: This is the most picturesque time of year to visit the city when it captures the poetic and incredibly romantic essence of Hanoi. Now that it’s colder outside, the sun isn’t as strong, and the streets are filled with the aroma of blackboard tree blossoms.

How to get to Hanoi

By plane

The most convenient way to get to Hanoi is by plane. There are many flights to Hanoi every day from all over the provinces, so you can easily choose the most suitable flight schedule.

Located 30 kilometers from the city center, there are 3 main means of transportation to the city center from Noi Bai airport :

  • Taxi: Prices range from 350,000 – 450,000 VND/trip. You can also take Grab or Uber for cheaper prices.
  • Bus: From the airport, there are 4 bus routes to the city. Bus route no.07 (T1 Terminal – Cau Giay), bus route no.17 (T1 Terminal – Long Bien), bus route no.90 (Kim Ma – T1 Terminal – T2 Terminal), and bus route no.86 (Hanoi Railway Station – T1 Terminal – T2 Terminal). The first three routes have ticket prices ranging from 8,000 – 9,000 VND/turn, route no.86 costs 30,000 VND/turn.
  • Shuttle bus: Domestic airlines all have buses to transport passengers to the city center at a price of 40,000 VND/person (no need to take the airline’s flight).

By train

The Hanoi railway station is conveniently situated in the heart of the city, making traveling by train an easy option for individuals wishing to go there.

However, if traveling from the southern provinces, it will take you almost two days for the journey and the ticket price is not much different from flying. Therefore, according to Hanoi travel experiences, this will be only a suitable choice for those traveling from the Northern or Central provinces.

Via coach bus

Traveling by coach is another affordable option for visitors coming from nearby provinces. Hanoi has 4 bus stations: My Dinh, Giap Bat, Nuoc Ngam and Gia Lam to serve the transportation needs of passengers to the capital.

Means of transportation in Hanoi

  • Motorbike: Renting a motorbike in Hanoi is very simple. You can ask the hotel or call the motorbike rental service directly. The rental price of a motorbike is about 120,000 – 180,000 VND/day.
  • Taxi: For a comfortable trip, you can choose to travel by taxi. There are many reliable taxi companies in Hanoi like Mai Linh, Taxi Group…
  • Cyclo: The cyclo, which is still in use to support tourism, is an iconic aspect of the old quarter. In the old town, it’s easy to find a cyclo and ride it while exploring the narrow streets and hearing the driver tell fascinating tales.
  • Tram: Taking the tram is an additional fascinating option to explore the old quarter. Tickets for the 15-minute tram ride cost 15,000 VND and are sold at the Hoan Kiem Lake area.

Top attractions to visit when traveling to Hanoi

As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi offers a wide range of tourist sites and entertainment options that allow tourists to fully immerse themselves in Vietnamese history, culture, and people.

Here are some of the top-rated tourist destinations in Hanoi for you to consider:

Places to visit in the city center

When visiting Hanoi, there are a lot of must-see locations in the city center, so you can still explore a lot of the capital without having to go far!

Ba Dinh Square – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – The top attraction in Hanoi

  • Address: No.2 Hung Vuong street, Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District
  • Ticket price: 25,000 VND (1.07 USD) per person

As one of the most important historical relics of the capital, Ba Dinh Square is where Uncle Ho once read the Declaration of Independence, and is now where Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is located to remember his gratitude.

The Presidential Palace, where Uncle Ho lived and worked in the 1960s, is the campus behind the mausoleum. There are stilt houses, fish ponds, and rustic gardens, allowing visitors to understand more about Uncle Ho’s simple life during his lifetime

Time to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum:

  • Open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays
  • In summer (April 1st – October 31st): 7:30 am – 10:30 am (open on weekends until 11:00 am)
  • In winter (November 1st – March 31st): 8:00 am – 11:00 am

Hoan Kiem Lake

Located right in the center of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is a lake associated with an important historical story of the capital. With a diverse historical architectural complex surrounding, Hoan Kiem Lake has become a must-see destination for anyone traveling to Hanoi.

Along with Hoan Kiem Lake, there are a number of monuments with significant cultural and historical value that have also become the symbols of the capital, including Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower, Dai Nghien, and Hoa Phong Tower.

Several of the old quarter’s well-known streets, including Hang Dao and Luong Van Can, come together at this lake. Its advantageous location makes it easy to stroll around the lake and explore other well-known attractions in surrounding areas while visiting Hanoi.

In particular, the area around Hoan Kiem Lake also served as Hanoi walking street. This area can turn into a large fair with a variety of goods and activities over the weekend. Along with shopping, there are several restaurants nearby where you may find something to eat.

Old Quarter Area – A place to enhance your cultural experience in Hanoi

It can be said that “36 streets of Hanoi” is what has made it famous. Starting out as a residential area outside the imperial city, the neighborhood has been bustling for several hundred years with handicraft and commercial activities.

Coming to the old quarter today, you can still see the ancient, time-tinged space of low-style houses, tiled roofs, and moss walls.

>>> See more tips for exploring the Hanoi Old Quarter in one day so that you don’t miss out on the most wonderful experiences here!

Attractions in the old quarter: Bach Ma temple, Ancient house at No.87 Ma May street, O Quan Chuong Gate, and of course the indispensable culinary here.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi

  • Address: No.40, Nha Chung street, Hang Trong ward, Hoan Kiem District
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 21:00

When you come to Hanoi, don’t miss visiting St. Joseph’s Cathedral. If you have ever been impressed by the distinctive architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City, which comes with both old and modern features, then visit the Cathedral in Hanoi. Here you will see an ancient architectural work built by the French in the 19th century. You can walk from Hoan Kiem Lake to the church to snap check-in pictures because the Cathedral is pretty close by!

Hanoi Opera House – An ideal spot for photography in Hanoi

  • Address: No.1 Trang Tien street, Chuong Duong Ward, Hoan Kiem District
  • Ticket price: 120,000 VND/person for visiting tours and 400,000 VND/person for tours with performance tours
  • Tour time: 10:30 – 12:00 on Mondays and Fridays.

With the intention of making this location into a sizable center for the arts and culture at the time, the French constructed the Hanoi Opera House after the model of the Opera Garnier in Paris.

Nowadays, the Opera House serves as the primary location for significant capital events and activities. In addition, to accommodate visitors to Hanoi, the theater also offers visiting tours that include enjoying the distinctive “Soul of Vietnam” show.

Dong Xuan market

  • Address: Conveniently located in the old quarter area, the market is easily accessible by foot from there.
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 18:00

There is Ben Thanh market in Saigon, and Hanoi has Dong Xuan market. Existing since the 19th century, Dong Xuan market is still the biggest wholesale market in the whole Northern area. But the market also sells a variety of retail goods, including clothing, accessories, and home appliances, if you’re a visitor looking to purchase some souvenirs.

Hoa Lo Prison – one of the most famous historical relics in Hanoi

  • Address: No. 1, Hoa Lo street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.
  • Opening hours: Everyday from 8:00 to 17:00. Especially on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the prison will close later. Some experiential tours are open from 19:00 – 19:45.
  • Ticket price: Visiting ticket costs 30,000 VND/adult. For those above 60 years old and students, the ticket price will be 15,000 VND/person.

Hoa Lo Prison was built by the French colonialists to arrest and torture patriotic soldiers and leaders. After converting the purpose of use, the prison was preserved and restored to become a unique tourist attraction of the capital.

One-Pillar Pagoda – A symbol of Vietnamese feudal architecture

  • Opening hours: 7:00 to 18:00 everyday. The duration for each tour usually ranges from 1 – 3 hours.
  • Ticket price to visit One-Pillar Pagoda is 25,000 VND/person.

The pagoda is located on the campus of Dien Huu Tu, with the architecture of a small Quan-yin Buddha worship space, built on a stone pillar in the middle of a lotus pond.

As its construction during the Ly Dynasty, the One Pillar Pagoda has been a symbol of a thousand-year-old capital of civilization. The architecture of the One-Pillar Pagoda reflects the cultural values of Vietnamese people in feudal society.

Temple of Literature – A famous historical relic in Hanoi

  • Address: No.58, Quoc Tu Giam Street, Van Mieu Ward, Dong Da District
  • Opening hours: 7:30 – 18:00 (Monday to Friday), 8:00 – 21:00 (Saturday, Sunday)
  • Ticket price: 15,000 – 30,000 VND (0.62 USD – 1.27 USD) per person

Temple of Literature or Temple of Literature – Quoc Tu Giam is one of the most well-known representations when referring to Hanoi’s thousand years of civilization. Built in the 11th century, the Temple of Literature – Quoc Tu Giam consists of two main areas. One is the Temple of Literature, a shrine dedicated to the Confucian saints and sages. The second is Quoc Tu Giam, considered the first university in Vietnam.

The Temple of Literature is not only rich in cultural, educational, and historical significance, but it also boasts distinctive architecture bearing the mark of time. Its architecture is deeply influenced by the concept of yin and yang in Eastern philosophy.

Thang Long Imperial Citadel – Explore the World Cultural Heritage in Vietnam

  • Address: No.19 Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
  • Opening Days: Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday)
  • Operating hours: from 08:00 to 17:00. Particularly for night tours from 18:00 to 21:00 on Saturday and Sunday
  • Ticket prices: 30,000 VND/adult, Students from 15 years old, seniors from 60 years old: 15,000 VND/person. Free admission is applied for children under 15 years old.
  • Typical works: Hanoi flag tower, Doan Mon, Kinh Thien Palace, Hau Lau, Cua Bac

This is a massive relic complex of more than 140 hectares, built over many dynasties. Thang Long Imperial Citadel is one of the most prominent historical relics of feudal history, associated with many historical events in Vietnam. Although not as majestic and large as the Imperial Palace in Hue, Thang Long Imperial Citadel still can take you back to the glorious history of the Vietnamese feudal dynasty.

West Lake – A quiet destination for your trip in Hanoi

In addition to Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake is a must-see destination in Hanoi. Don’t miss West Lake if you want to explore Hanoi’s most well-known cultural attractions throughout your trip.

Around the West Lake area are ancient villages and traditional craft villages such as planting flowers, making Do paper… When you’re done wandering, spend some time kayaking on the lake and taking in the serene yet stunning sunset.

Places to visit around West Lake:

  • Nghi Tam ancient village, Nhat Tan village with flower and ornamental planting
  • Ke Buoi village with the craft of making Do paper
  • Tay Ho Temple worshiping Princess Lieu Hanh (one of Vietnam’s Four Immortals)
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda: Located on the east side of West Lake, the pagoda was built during the Ly Dynasty and still has statues hundreds of years old.

Ceramic Mosaic Mural – Hanoi Ceramic Road

A ceramic road was constructed in honor of the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long, Hanoi, and also listed in the Guinness record as the longest ceramic road in the world.

The ceramic road is located less than 1 kilometer from Hanoi city center (Hoan Kiem Lake). This work creates a quite lengthy road by passing through the streets of An Duong Vuong, Yen Phu, Tran Quang Khai, Tran Nhat Duat, and Tran Khanh Du before finishing at the Van Kiep border gate.

Walking Street around Hoan Kiem Lake

  • Operating hours: From 19:00 every Friday to 24:00 every Sunday

The walking street has become a gathering spot every weekend night for residents of the capital. The streets are lined with street activities, like rope jumping, tug-of-war, and mandarin square capturing. Mingling with that lively atmosphere is music from performing arts groups, such as violin, saxophone, Cheo, or Cai Luong.

Ta Hien Beer Street – A vibrant destination in Hanoi

It might be a big mistake to list travel experiences in Hanoi without including Ta Hien Beer Street. If you want to experience the lifestyle of young people in the capital, or the vibrant and bustling atmosphere of Hanoi at night, come to Ta Hien street. There is no need to be fancy, just a glass of lemon tea, a cup of draft beer, and a few snacks are enough for an all-night conversation.

Destinations nearby Hanoi

Quang Phu Cau incense village: Unique check-in location on the outskirts of Hanoi

Quang Phu Cau Incense Village is about 35 – 40 kilometers from the center of Hanoi capital. This is the oldest incense-stick craft village in Hanoi, having been established over a century ago. Quang Phu Cau Incense Village attracts many tourists to learn about the cultural values of Vietnamese people. When you visit Quang Phu Cau incense village, you will have the chance to capture numerous interesting check-in pictures in addition to learning about the traditional technique of making incense sticks.

Duong Lam ancient village

Visit Duong Lam village if you’re looking for an ancient village in the center of Hanoi. This is one of few ancient villages that still has the intact architecture and lifestyle of the past.

When you stop at Duong Lam, the village entrance, banyan tree, water wharf, and communal house yard bring back old memories. You also can walk along the rough laterite walls, eat a rustic meal, or cycle around, and breathe in the fresh air.

  • How to get there: You can travel by bus (bus route no.70, no.71, no.77), taxi, or motorbike to Son Tay town, then ask locals for directions to Duong Lam ancient village

Bat Trang pottery village

Bat Trang, one of the most well-known pottery villages in the nation, has managed to hold onto its artisan village traditions to this day. Take a day trip to Bat Trang, you may experience pottery-making and make lovely little things yourself, just like a true potter.

How to get to Bat Trang Ceramic Village in Hanoi

  • By Bus: From Hanoi city center, you take the bus to Long Bien and then take bus route no.47 to Bat Trang.
  • By Motorbike: From Chuong Duong bridge or Vinh Tuy bridge, just go along the Red River dyke and you can reach the pottery village

Ba Vi National Park

  • Sightseeing ticket price: 60,000 VND/person
  • Address: Tan Linh commune, Ba Vi district

If you are looking for a trip to explore nature and mountains, consider going to Ba Vi National Park. Only 30 kilometers from the city center, Ba Vi National Park is a vast forest surrounding the Ba Vi mountain range, with many poetic natural sceneries.

What to eat in Hanoi

If you have a trip to Hanoi, don’t forget to explore Hanoi cuisine with some of the delicious dishes below:

Hanoi Pho

The rich flavor of Hanoi pho is hard to forget. In contrast to Southern pho, which is frequently served with herbs like cilantro and basil, Hanoi pho is served with a lot of onions and no these herbs. Here are some popular places to try delicious Hanoi Pho:

  • Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan – Address: 49 Bat Dan Str, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Pho Suong – Address: 24 Trung Yen Lane, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
  • Pho Vui – Address: 25 Hang Giay Str, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su – Address: 10 Ly Quoc Su tr, Hang Trong Ward, Hanoi
  • Phở bò Khôi Hói- Address: 50C Hang Vai Str, Hanoi

Bun thang

This is a delicate noodle dish with a variety of ingredients, including eggs, chicken, pork sausage, and mushrooms. All of them are julienned and combined with a broth that has a sweet and strong flavor of dried shrimp.

Bun thang is an excellent option for warming your tummy after walking around to explore the Old Quarter.

Recommended places to try: Bun Thang Ba Duc – Address: No.48, Cau Go street, Bún thang Hàng Hành – 29 Hàng Hành, Hoàn kiếm, Hà nội..

Xoi Xeo

This is a popular breakfast for Hanoians. While wandering around, find and try the “childhood” sticky rice flavor that most Hanoi residents enjoy.

You will be left feeling incredibly satisfied with the flavor of the aromatic sticky rice, mixed with fried onions, smashed mung beans, and a hint of cooking oil.

Recommended place to eat in Hanoi:

  • Quán xôi Thái – Address: 37 Nguyen Sieu Str, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
  • Xôi Cát Lâm – Address: 24B Duong Thanh Str, Hanoi
  • Xôi Yến – Address: 35B Nguyen Huu Huan Str, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Hanoi Bun cha

Bun cha is a well-known delicacy in Hanoi that can be found in many restaurants and roadside stalls. This dish consists of rice vermicelli accompanied by grilled pork belly, fried rolls, sweet and sour dipping sauce, and incredibly tasty pickles and herbs.

Recommended place to eat in Hanoi:

  • Bún Chả Que Tre – Address: 33 Hang Giay Str, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
  • Bún Chả Ta – Address: 21 Nguyen Huu Huan str
  • Hàng Quạt Bún chả – Address: 74 Hang Quat
  • Bún Chả Đắc Kim – Address: 01 Hang Manh Str

Bun dau mam tom – rice vermicelli with fried tofu and shrimp paste

This is one of the most famous delicious dishes in Hanoi because of the perfect combination of fresh rice vermicelli, Vietnamese sausage with green rice, small intestines, pork leg meat and fried tofu. Bun dau mam tom is best when eaten with shrimp paste and herbs such as perilla, Vietnamese balm, mint, etc. The dipping sauce from shrimp paste is what gives Bun dau mam tom its distinct flavor. Because it tastes rather salty, a little kumquat juice, sugar, and a little chili are frequently added to help produce a unique flavor.

Rib porridge

Hanoi porridge is special because it is cooked from rice flour instead of regular rice grains. Hot porridge, mixed with the rich flavor of ribs, served with some fried dough sticks “Quay”, creates an extremely unique and unforgettable dish.

Cha Ca La Vong

Cha Ca La Vong is a unique delicacy that is served directly on the table. In a small pan, delicious chewy fish pieces with a hint of dill are fried till golden brown. After tasting a bite of the hot fish cake accompanied by rice noodles, herbs, and a tiny bit of shrimp paste, diners undoubtedly won’t forget its delectable flavor.

Recommended place to eat in Hanoi:

  • Chả Cá Lã Vọng – Address: 14 Chả Cá Str
  • Thăng Long Grilled Fish – Address: 21 – 31 Đường Thành Str
  • Chả Cá Kinh Kỳ – Address: 43 Cửa Đông Str, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

Black chicken instant noodles

After exploring all day, treat yourself to a late-night snack of hot noodle soup with black chicken. The chicken is cooked in a can with typical herbal spices, which helps the chicken pieces become tender without sacrificing their natural sweetness. This dish is extremely delicious when eaten with a little instant noodles and a squeeze of lemon.

Street snacks

Hanoi is also famous for a wide variety of snacks that you should not miss, such as pillow cake, boiled snails, spring rolls, fried fermented pork rolls, grilled pork rolls, salty donuts, dried beef salad, skewered-meat sandwiches, yogurt with purple sticky rice and sweet soup.

Egg coffee

It would be a mistake to travel to Hanoi and not partake in the experience of having egg coffee at the city’s oldest cafés. The rich flavor of the egg cream combined with the fragrant cups of pure coffee creates a flavor that is very unforgettable.

Recommended place to eat in Hanoi:

  • Cafe Giang: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Hanoi
  • Oriberry Coffee

Address 1: No. 25, Xuan Dieu Street, Hanoi

Address 2: No. 36, Au Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem

  • Dinh Coffee 13, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hanoi
  • Leu Coffee & Bar: 2nd Floor, No. 1, Ta Hien Street, Hanoi

Trang Tien Ice Cream – Sweet frozen treat for your Hanoi trip

  • Address: No.35 Trang Tien street, Hoan Kiem District

Because of its distinct flavor and natural freshness, many people still favor Trang Tien even though a lot of new local and international ice cream brands have recently been introduced in Hanoi. The secret to making this dish attractive to many people is the traditional way of making it, without using preservatives.

Trang Tien offers a wide variety of ice cream varieties, the most well-liked of which are popsicles, ice cream cones, and fresh ice cream. The once luxurious dish is now quite cheap for everyone to enjoy, costing only 10,000 VND (0.42 USD) per stick.

Recommended souvenirs for a trip to Hanoi

During your trip to Hanoi, you may find a wide variety of unique souvenirs and specialties to buy as presents for family, friends or relatives. Here are some examples of Hanoi specialties and souvenirs to consider:

  • Food specialties: Lotus tea, dried salted apricots, durian, and Vietnamese green rice cake, etc.
  • Souvenirs and handicrafts: Pottery, embroidery, rattan, silk, etc.

With the collection of Hanoi travel guide and experiences to Hanoi listed above, hopefully you will have the most fascinating and memorable vacation in Hanoi!