What to do in Hanoi for 4 days | BEST Hanoi Itinerary 4 days 3 nights

Coming to Hanoi but you are still unsure of what to do in Hanoi for 4days. Don’t worry. I’ve created a variety of itineraries to Hanoi with various time lengths thanks to my more than ten years of experience working in the tourism industry and extensive experience as a tour guide for foreign travelers.

In this blog, I offer you some detailed Hanoi 4-days itineraries to help you save as much time and money as possible!

And if you’re still having difficulty in coming up with a suitable Hanoi itinerary, don’t hesitate to contact us for FREE Itinerary Planning with round-the-clock support.


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Hanoi Itinerary 4 Days in Brief


Option 1: 2 Days in Hanoi City: 1 day outside of Hanoi and 1 day for day trip

This is regarded as the most ideal option for a 4-day itinerary in Hanoi

Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter, French Quarter, Water Puppet Show

Any tour in Hanoi will take visitors to the city’s most well-known attractions. Therefore, we advise scheduling a full-day city tour and an evening water puppet show.

  • In the Morning

Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi is the resting place of Vietnamese revolutionary leader – Ho Chi Minh. When coming here, visitors can learn more about the life of President Ho Chi Minh and the admiration that the Vietnamese have for him while also admiring the impressive architecture of this complex.

  • Location: No.25, Hung Vuong street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi
  • Opening time: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Opening hours: From 8.00 to 12.00 in the morning and 2.00 to 4.30 in the afternoon
  • Entrance fee: 40.000 VND
  • Dress code: Don’t wear shorts, short skirts, tank tops,…

Visit One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar pagoda is a should-not-miss destination with an unique traditional architecture, featuring the entire building lying on a single pillar in the middle of a lotus pond. This pagoda is regarded as an iconic Hanoi landmark because of its close ties to Vietnamese history and culture.

  • Opening Time: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Built: 1049
  • How to get there: 3-minute walk from the Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Location: Google Maps

Ho Chi Minh Complex

Hoan Kiem Lake

One Pillar Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Go sightseeing at West Lake and Tran Quoc Pagoda

West Lake is the largest lake of the capital with a shore length of 17 kilometers. It is renowned as the best place in Hanoi to view the sunset in addition to being a popular entertainment destination with a variety of gardens, hotels, and villas.

Tran Quoc Pagoda, which was built on the shore of West Lake around 1500 years ago, has played a significant part in the religious and spiritual life of the Hanoi people.

  • Location: Thanh Nien street
  • Entrance fee: Free admission
  • Opening hours: 11:00 – 11:30 & 3:00 – 16:00 (From Monday to Saturday); 7:00 – 16:00 (Sunday and Holidays)

After exploring the Ho Chi Minh Complex, tourists can choose to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda and West Lake nearby.

  • In the afternoon

Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

Hoan Kiem Lake (known as Sword Lake) and Ngoc Son Temple are the most famous tourist attractions in Hanoi. Taking a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake will provide you with intriguing moments that will let you relax after a long day. Additionally, it gives you a great opportunity to learn about the daily life of the locals.

The Ngoc Son Temple and The Huc Red Bridge on the jade water lake give off an imposing appearance during the day but become incredibly dazzling at night.

  • Opening Time: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Entrance Fee: 30,000 VND
  • Built: 18th Century
  • Location: Google Maps

Explore Hanoi Old Quarter

  • The Old Quarter is considered as both the capital’s hub and the primary tourist destination in Hanoi. Initially, it was the commercial hub with at least 36 handcraft guilds.
  • Though the Old Quarter has grown busier, more modern and larger with more than just 36 streets, some of its original characteristics have been preserved.

>>> Read more:

Enjoy water puppet show

An evening pleasure that shouldn’t be missed is watching a water puppet show. Water puppetry is one of the earliest traditional arts in Vietnamese culture. The puppeteers will stand in the deep water and control the movements of puppets through bamboo rods to tell Vietnamese folk tales, legends and myths.

Watching water puppet shows is the favorite activity for children as well as one of the best things to do in Hanoi on rainy days or at night.

Water puppet price

  • 1st Class Seat Ticket – 200000 VND/pax
  • 2nd Class Seat Ticket – 150000 VND/pax
  • 3rd Class Seat Ticket – 100000 VND/pax
  • Show timings: At 13:45, 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30, 20:00, 21:15 from Monday to Saturday.
  • At 09:30, 13:45, 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30, 20:00, 21:15 on Sunday
  • It is necessary to pick up your ticket at the ticket office at least 30 minutes before the show starts.
  • At Thang Long water puppet theater, each show is appropriately 45 minutes long.

>>> You can check a thorough schedule here with Hanoi City Tour

Water Puppet Show

Day 2: Cooking Class & Street Food Tour

After the first full day visiting famous tourist attractions in Hanoi, it is recommended to spend the second day on a street food tour in Hanoi to explore Vietnamese cuisine.

In the morning

  • Tourists can enroll in a half-day cooking class that ends just before lunch so they can enjoy what they have made. The cooking class will begin with a trip to the local market to prepare necessary ingredients for the dish. The shopping experience at a local market will help you gain a deep understanding of Vietnamese daily life.
  • Then, the delicacies will be explained in detail to the tourists, along with instructions on how to prepare them. All dishes in cooking class are the most signature and well-known dishes in Vietnam.

In the afternoon

  • In the afternoon, tourists can take a Street food tour around the Old Quarter, which is considered as the haven of street cuisine. Even celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain came here to sample the best dishes in Hanoi.
  • The two dishes that best represent Hanoian cuisine are the iconic Vietnamese steamed rice rolls and pho bo (rice noodle soup with beef). Next, let’s stop at a barbecue stand to savor some delicious grilled pork.
  • Your final stop needs to be Ta Hien Beer Street to get some fresh beer or Cafe Giang, at No. 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, to try the most delectable and well-known egg coffee in the birthplace of this unique dish.

Cooking Class in Hanoi1

Cooking Class in Hanoi2

hanoi street food walking tour

street food tour in hanoi

Day 3: Bat Trang Ceramic Village and Hanoi Night Market

  • The third day in your itinerary will give you more insight into Hanoi. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, let’s take a short trip to the outskirts of Hanoi to experience the tranquil countryside.
  • Bat Trang ceramic village is the best option for a half-day trip outside of Hanoi. Tourists coming here will have the chance to purchase the renowned ceramic products in the capital. Particularly, tourists can take part in a workshop to make some pottery at hand, then bring home a homemade cup or vase as a souvenir.
bat trang ceramic village

Return to the city center, walk around the night market in Hanoi. Here are three famous and worth-visiting night markets:

Night market at Hanoi Old Quarter

  • Location: Along Hang Dao street (Clothing street) to Hang Giay street (Paper product street)
  • Opening hours: From 18:00 to mid-nights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Long Bien Night Market

  • Location: Near Long Bien Bridge
  • Opening hours: Every day from 23:00 to the early morning of the following day

Quang Ba Flower Market

  • Location: No.236, Au Co street
  • Opening hours: From night to the early morning of the following day

Hanoi Night Market

Hanoi Old Quarter Night Market

Long Bien Night Market

quang ba flower market

Day 4: Take a day trip from Hanoi

Ninh Binh and Halong are the two closest destinations to Hanoi and also the most well-known tourist destinations in Vietnam. Therefore, on the last day of your itinerary, you should consider a day trip from Hanoi to either Ninh Binh or Halong

  • Option 1: A day-trip to Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is a stunning tourist attraction with just a 2-hour drive to the South of Hanoi. As a Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site, it offers a lot to experience as. In a day-trip to Ninh Binh, tourists can take in the beautiful limestone karst landscape or visit the oldest, most majestic and largest pagodas in Vietnam.

Mua Cave has been recently renowned as the most beautiful scenic view point in Northern Vietnam. The two other outstanding attractions are Trang An and Tam Coc, but there is no need to talk about their beauty.

You will embark on a two-hour boat cruise in the morning in Trang An or Tam Coc to take in the breathtaking scenery. Then, select one of the following destinations to visit after lunch: Mua Cave, Bai Dinh pagoda, or Cuc Phuong national park.

We have some beforehand information about Ninh Binh Tours and Things to do in Ninh Binh for you to check out!

Tam Coc Ninh Binh

Trang An Landscape Complex

An Tiem Cave Ninh Binh

Mua Cave View Point – Ninh Binh
  • Option 2: A day-trip to Halong

With the new expressway, traveling from Hanoi to Halong now only takes around 2 hours. Tourists will have the option of taking a 4- or 6-hour Halong Bay cruise.

Basically, a 6-hour cruise itinerary will include a visit to Trong Mai Islet, Lu Huong Islet, Cho Da Islet, Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go cave; swimming activity at Ti Top beach, kayaking activity. Even though the trip is short, you will undoubtedly have enjoyable experiences.

>>> EXPLORE Deluxe Halong Bay Day Trip 6 Hour Cruising <<<

Floating village in Halong bay

halong bay

Option 2: Hanoi 4 Days Package Tour – Hanoi & Halong Overnight Cruise

Following the first option for a 4-day stay in Hanoi, let’s check out the second recommended option – Hanoi 4 Days Package Tour – 2 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay

  • First Day: Arrival
  • Second Day: Hanoi City Tour
  • Third Day: Hanoi – Halong Bay
  • Fourth Day: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure

Who is it for:

  • For those who just have a limited amount of time in Vietnam, this option will offer you the chance to explore Vietnamese history, culture and cuisine in Hanoi.
  • Four days here will enable you to recharge, unwind, and spend more time with your companion in Halong Bay after many hectic days.

Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter & French Quarter

In the morning – Hanoi Old Quarter

  • One of Hanoi’s most well-known locations, the Old Quarter, will be the first stop on a 4-day itinerary.
  • The Hanoi Old Quarter, with its more than 2000-year history of development, is regarded as the beating heart of the city.
  • Here, the crowded streets full with people passing and trading reflect the bustling life of Hanoians in the most vivid way.
  • The Old Quarter primarily comprises 36 old streets, each of which was given its name after a certain type of handcrafts that were once offered there. Most shops are still selling this type of merchandise nowadays.
  • This neighborhood also preserves the timeless values of Hanoi’s architecture, culture, historical sites, and religion.
  • This itinerary is designed to facilitate travelers’ great walking tours of some must-see locations

Here are some places around the Hanoi Old Quarter that you absolutely must visit:

Hoan Kiem Lake – known as Sword Lake, is located in the heart of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. The lake serves as both a well-known tourist destination and the focal point of community life.

Hanoi Ancient House: This ancient house, which can be found at 87 Ma May Street in the Old Quarter, was constructed in the late XX century and still preserves most of the traditional architecture of ancient houses in the area.

  • Opening Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Entrance Fee: 10,000 VND
  •  Built: 11th century, 18th century
  •  Location: Google Maps

Bach Ma Temple: Despite the fact that the majority of the current construction dates back to the 18th century, Bach Ma Temple, located in the heart of the Old Quarter, is thought to be Hanoi’s oldest temple. The temple was initially erected in the 11th century during the reign of King Ly Thai To in memory of a white horse that appeared and guided him to the location where he could successfully build the new citadel walls.

  • Opening Time: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Entrance Fee: FREE
  • Built: 11th century, 18th century

Dong Xuan Market: Located in Hoan Kiem district, Dong Xuan market was initially constructed by the French in 1889. This market has undergone numerous renovations, the most recent being in 1994 when a fire almost completely destroyed it.

  • Opening Time: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Entrance Fee: FREE
  • Built: 1889
  • Location: Google Maps

Quan Chuong Gate: The Quan Chuong Gate was constructed in 1749 as one of the gates to guard the Thang Long ancient citadel. It is currently the only gate that still exhibits the typical architecture from the feudal era in Vietnam.

Long Bien Bridge: was built between 1889 to 1902, when Vietnam was a French colony. It is therefore considered as a witness to Hanoi’s resilience in the two resistance wars against the French and Americans as well as the drastic changes of this city in the new era.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi Ancient House

Bach Ma Temple

Dong Xuan Market

Quan Chuong Gate

Long Bien Bridge

In the afternoon

  • Many Vietnamese buildings were destroyed during the French colonial era in the late 19th century and replaced with opulent new French-style villas and architectural works.
  • When compared to Old Quarter’s alleys that are narrow, the French Quarter’s architecture makes it easier to go around. The French Quarter is also home to some of Hanoi’s most luxurious restaurants and hotels.

Let’s take a look at some must-try tourist attractions below:

Hanoi St. Joseph’s Cathedral: St. Joseph’s Cathedral is located on Nha Chung street, one of the busiest streets in Hoan Kiem district. It is a late 19th-century Gothic Revival church that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Hanoi for nearly 4 million Catholics nationwide.

  • Opening Time: Mass weekdays at 5:30 AM and 6:15 PM; Saturday at 6:00 PM and several times on Sunday
  • Entrance Fee: FREE
  • Built: 1886
  • Location: Google Maps

Hanoi Opera House: Located in the city center, Hanoi Opera House was built by the French during a-10 year period, from 1901 to 1911. Tourists can stop by to gaze upon and take pictures of the magnificent French neoclassical architecture outside. Additionally, by purchasing a ticket to an opera, you can learn more about the inside of the opera house.

Hoa Lo Prison: Hoa Lo was a prison used by the French colonialists for political prisoners in the Indochina war and then used by the Northern Vietnam government for American POWs during the resilience war against the US.

  • Opening time: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Entrance Fee: 30,000 VND
  • Built: 1896
  • Location: Google Maps

Day 2: Visit Halong Bay

Cruise tours are extremely popular in Halong, and a variety of cruises offer itineraries ranging from 3-star to 5-star grade service for you to select based on your preferences. To have the best experience, it is advised to book a 2-day-1-night cruise in advance and follow this itinerary.

Here is a sample itinerary for 2 days and 1 night in Halong Bay

At 8.00 in the morning, departing from Hanoi, it will take about 2 hours to get to Halong Bay. Tourists then complete the necessary steps to board the cruise and listen to the staff provide a quick overview of the cruise. Have lunch on the cruise.

So what is exactly to do on a Halong Bay cruise? You just need to relax while the cruise slowly sails across limestone islands and stops at famous tourist spots in the bay.

  • Surprise Cave (Sung Sot Cave)

Sung Sot cave was first discovered by the French in 1901. The cave is located in the center of Halong Bay with a total area of more than 10,000 meter square.

  • Ti Top Island

Ti Top island is regarded as one of the most alluring tourist sites in Halong Bay. This island is the harmonious combination of white clouds, blue sky and jade sea water.

Tourists to Ti Top Island can swim, relax on the beach, or climb to the top of the island for a sweeping view of HaLong Bay after arriving.

  • Sunset Party on the sundeck

What could be more wonderful than enjoying afternoon tea and watching the sunset on deck with your companions. Then, tourists will have dinner on the cruise and take part in board games, squid fishing or just hanging out before taking an overnight cruise.


Sung Sot Cave

Titop Island

Sunset party in halong bay

Swimming on Halong Bay
Swimming in halong bay

Day 3: Halong Bay – Back to Hanoi

  • Tai Chi Exercises

Start a day with Tai Chi practice in the early morning, then have breakfast while the cruise continues to sail to other beautiful islands and islets.

When visiting Halong Bay, kayaking is a fun activity that you should not miss. It’s worth trying to paddle out in a small kayak across the jade sea water, crawl through the caverns, and touch the stalactites. Ha Long Bay has been voted by National Geographic Adventures as one of the top 25 Kayak tours in the world.

  • Trong Mai Islet (Fighting Cock Rocks)

Trong Mai Island – often referred to as “Ga Choi” (Fighting-cock), is one of the first tiny limestone islands you’ll see on your Halong Bay trip. This limestone karst island in Halong Bay is one of the most well-known due to its shape, which resembles a pair of chickens emerging from the jade sea water. Trong Mai Island, with its artistic and symbolic worth, has also been dubbed the emblem of Halong Bay.

  • Dau Go Cave

The cave, located on Dau Go island in Halong Bay, is around 5000 square meters in size and 17 meters high. There is a clear well encircled by four antiquated walls at the end of the cave. Dau Go cave is renowned for its diversity of plants, including mosses, ferns, woody plants, and others, in addition to its exquisite stalactites. For these reasons, it is considered as one of the most beautiful caves in Vietnam.

After the 2-day and 1-night cruise in Halong Bay, tourists will return to Hanoi in the afternoon and stay overnight in the capital.

Kayaking in Halong bay

taichi session on halong bay cruise

Day 4: Hanoi City Tour

On the last day of the itinerary, if you still have time, let’s take a visit to Ho Chi Minh Complex and the Temple of Literature!

Here are some suggested destinations:

  • Ho Chi Minh Complex – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, is the final resting place in Hanoi of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh
  • West Lake: With a shore length of 17 kilometer, west lake is the largest lake of the capital and also a famous entertainment location with many gardens, hotels and villas.
  • Long Bien Bridge: Long Bien is a historic steel bridge that crosses the Red River and connects the districts of Hoan Kiem and Long Bien. It was initially erected by the French with the name the Paul Doumer Bridge. Up to present, the bridge has become the historical and cultural proof, serving as the iconic landmark and pride of Hanoians.

Option 3: Hanoi 4 Days Adventure Tour

1 day in Hanoi, 1 day in Ninh Binh and 2 days in Halong

  • First Day: Arrival
  • Second day: Ninh Binh 1 Day Tour
  • Third Day: Overnight on Halong Bay Cruise
  • Last Day: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Who is it for:

  • Although the itinerary is not too long, it will undoubtedly give you a lot of exciting experiences in the north of Vietnam, namely at three well-known tourist destinations: Hanoi, Halong, and Ninh Binh.
  • With a variety of group activities including kayaking, cycling, and other activities available, this option will be excellent for family-type, couple-type, and friends-type itineraries.
  • Undoubtedly, it will be your unforgettable trip that ties your family bond and gives you fresh energy for your monotonous daily life!

Halong Bay Cruise

Sunset party in halong bay

Hanoi Old Quarter

Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival + Half Day City Tour

Morning time

  • At Noi Bai Airport, our guide will hold up a sign with your name and wait for you at the entrance to the security area. After that, ride in a private vehicle to your hotel in the city center and take a rest.

Afternoon time

  • The first stop on a half-day city tour of Hanoi is the Temple of Literature, the country of Vietnam’s first university, followed by either the Vietnamese Women’s Museum or the neighboring National Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Take a cyclo through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, which is regarded as the city’s heart and soul.
  • A water puppet show will round up your half-day trip before spending a night in Hanoi. Water puppet is a unique theatrical art form created by Vietnamese farmers, which is definitely a must-try thing here.

Day 2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh 1Day Trip

  • Ninh Binh is just a 2-hour drive from Hanoi but can help you escape from the bustling capital. It is a well-known destination with impressive landscapes, featuring lush rice paddies and waterways amid limestone mountains.
  • Your bus to Ninh Binh will depart from Hanoi at about 7:50 in the morning and return to Hanoi after your Ninh Binh day trip finishes.

Tourists can pick one of the most remarkable and recommended tours on Tripadvisor – the world’s largest travel review site as listed below:

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

  • Take the bus to Halong Bay between 7:45 and 8:15 in the morning. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its spectacular sceneries of caverns and thousands of islands and islets.
  • Once on board, tourists will get a warm greeting before setting sail towards Halong Bay. Halong Bay, located in the Tonkin Gulf, is one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. It features thousands of limestone karsts that soar from the jade sea water like works of art.
  • From the deck of the bat-sail cruise, tourists may take in the tranquility and view one of the Far East’s most stunning natural beauties, created by a number of islets dotted with limestone arches, breathtaking cliffs, and a plethora of white sands and serene coves.
  • The cruise will make a stop at a floating village on the bay so that you may visit and learn about the local life before spending the night in a private cabin.

Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure

  • Tourists will continue to spend the morning on cruise. Joining a Tai chi class in the early morning will help you get ready for a new day.
  • Watch the sunrise on deck and have breakfast at a beautiful restaurant called Halong Bay
  • Take a visit to one cave, then check your cabin carefully while the cruise is back to the harbor. At around 4:00 p.m., your trip is scheduled to arrive in Hanoi. For the rest of the day, you can unwind at your hotel or explore Hanoi Old Quarter on your own.
  • Prepare your luggage for transportation to the airport based on the time your flight is scheduled to depart.

Local tips for Hanoi itinerary in 4 days and 3 nights

  • Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and sunglasses, especially in summer
  • When visiting the city center, you should wear sneakers or sandals and comfortable clothes because walking is the main and most convenient way to get to tourist sites.
  • You should not wear too short clothes when visiting temples, pagodas, and particularly Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • You can absolutely visit Halong Bay in 1 day. However, if you are really interested in this destination, it is recommended to spend 1 more night on cruise so that you can visit more tourist sites and experience more interesting activities.
  • There are a variety of things to prepare for 4 days in Hanoi. I suggest Hanoi Explore Travel if you need advice from a local expert.
  • With the three proposed Hanoi 4-day itineraries listed above, I hope you’ve already figured out what to do in Hanoi for 4 days.

Also, hope that you will have an unforgettable journey in Vietnam. Feel free to contact for a FREE ITINERARY PLANNING or further recommendation!

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