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7 Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor November 27th, 2019 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Destination, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

Vietnam has always been a popular tourist destination for everyone who wishes to see more of the world and it’s not only because of how budget-friendly it is. With its rich history and equally interesting culture, the country is the perfect gateway to get started on your globetrotting!

Photo by Radek Kucharski CC BY 2.0

What better place to start your tour than in the country’s capital, Hanoi. As one of the country’s centers for culture, trade, and entertainment, it is the perfect introduction to this lovely country. This Northern Vietnam city perfectly mixes the old with the new, creating an ideal travel destination for both locals and foreigners alike.

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam1
Photo by Guerretto CC BY 2.0

At present, it is the second-largest city in the country and is one of the fastest-growing ones as well. It has also become a favorite vacation spot for those who want to know more about this Southeast Asian country.


Are you ready to see more of this Northern Vietnam beauty? We’ve compiled some of the best experiences you’ll ever have while in Hanoi.

1. Grab some Pho

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam
Photo by Raita Futo CC BY 2.0

There’s nothing quite like the taste of soft rice noodles soaked in savory, warm broth made with either beef or chicken. Just the thought of it already makes you hungry, doesn’t it?

As the origin of this mouth-watering dish, no Northern Vietnam journey will be complete without the authentic pho experience. Walk around town and you’ll find street food stalls selling this delicacy scattered all over the place. Try one and you might just be surprised with what hidden gem you might find.

Suggested Tour: This Foodie Tour will have you experience some of the best Vietnamese favorites and local delicacies on this side of the country.

2. Watch the Water Puppet Show live

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam
Photo by Dennis Jarvis CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the city’s pride is their widely-known Thang Long Water Puppet Theater where one can watch renditions of local Vietnamese tales and legends with the use of puppets seemingly floating above the water. This tradition is still very much a part of the local culture and is one of the city’s main attractions. Make sure to book your tickets as early as you can as these amazing performances can get sold out quickly!

Suggested tour: This Special Hanoi Night Out ticket gives you better access to the show and a chance to try some of Hanoi’s specialties with your native guide 

3. Look back on History

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam
Photo by Jean-Marc Astesana CC BY-SA 2.0

One trip that you should not miss out on while in the city is touring its historical landmarks to get a glimpse of the past. The country has undergone major changes all throughout its history and it’s really humbling to learn about what they went through in order to be where they are right now.

Hoa Lo Prison, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda are some of the most remarkable pieces of history in the city. Drop by to see the city in a different light.

Suggested Tour: Book this day tour for an authentic Hanoi life experience.

4. Spend a day in the Old Quarter…

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam
Photo by Richard Mortel CC BY 2.0

If you mention Hanoi, one thing that comes to mind is the Old Quarter, one of the city’s most prominent districts. Here, you’ll find a perfect balance of the past and present as generations-old streets get lined up with modern stalls and businesses. It’s definitely a hotspot for anyone who wants to get the best out of their visit!

Suggested Tour:  This fun food tour lets you explore the Old Quarter, takes you to the best stores in the neighborhood and will even let you taste the most popular delicacies in the area! 

5. …Or the French Quarter!

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam
Photo by a_brlnr CC BY-SA 2.0

Aside from the Old Quarter, another popular destination in town is the French Quarter where most embassies, government buildings, upscale establishments, and houses are situated. The French Quarter has this distinct beauty, thanks to its French architecture style buildings lining up the streets.

Suggested Tour: To see more of the Hanoi French Quarter and what it has to offer, book this private tour.

6. Go shopping in Van Phuc Silk Village

This one is for the fashionistas who can’t get enough of shopping, especially when traveling! Van Phuc Silk Village is just a quick drive away from the capital and best known for producing traditional silk. Find yourself weaving (pun intended) through the different shops all around the area selling some of the best-quality silk you’ll ever find.

Suggested Tour: This Van Phuc Silk Village half-day tour already includes transportation so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and prepare for shopping!

7. Enjoy the Hanoi Nightlife

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam
Photo by chatnarin pramnapan CC BY 2.0

The best way to cap an exhausting day of adventure is by getting a bottle of beer (or maybe even two, if you wish!). The capital has some of the most interesting pubs and bars in town and it’s a nice experience to conclude your stay in Hanoi.

Some recommendations are 88 Lounge in Tay Ho for some upscale drinking, stalls around the Bia Hoi area for that genuine Hanoi experience, and places like 1900 or Savage if you’re into full-blown partying.

8. Find accommodation in Hanoi, Vietnam

Where to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam

Where to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam if you’re a Backpacker

See You At Lily’s

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam

Price: A bed in a mixed dormitory room costs around $6; a classic twin room is for $26

Hours: Check-in from 14:00 until 00:00

Style: Modern

Star: 4.5 star

Location: 16 Ngõ Huyện, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Booking: Booking.com, Agoda

You can also know more about See You At Lily’s by reading the reviews.

Where to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam for Families or Couples

Aquamarine Hotel and Travel

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam

Price: A deluxe double twin room is around $25; suite costs around $37

Hours: Check-in from 14:00 until 00:00

Style: Modern

Star: 5 star

Location: 46 Lương Văn Can, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000

Booking: Booking.com, Agoda

You can also know more about Aquamarine Hotel and Travel by reading the reviews.

Where to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam if you want Luxury

O’Gallery Majestic Hotel & Spa

Things to Do in Hanoi Vietnam

Price: A deluxe double room is around $98; an executive double room is around $230

Hours: Check-in from 14:00

Style: Modern

Star: 5 star

Location: 38 Trần Phú, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam

Booking: Booking.com, Agoda

You can also know more about O’Gallery Majestic Hotel & Spa by reading the reviews.


Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How can I get a visa to Hanoi?

If you’re a Filipino traveler, you can stay in Vietnam for 21 days without a visa! All you need is your passport and round-trip tickets. Most ASEAN countries also don’t require a visa when going to Vietnam. There are also a few Western countries like the UK, Germany and more who do not require a visa, provided that they only remain in the country for a certain period of time.

2. Is it safe to travel to Hanoi?

Yes, it’s relatively safe in Hanoi. Of course, you still have to remain vigilant at all times, just as when you’re traveling to other places to avoid being scammed or pickpocketed. When traveling around, make sure to only ride trusted taxi companies or book a Grab or if you have a Vietnamese number, you can also register for Be (a similar app to Grab but in Vietnamese).

3. Is it expensive to visit?

Not at all! Vietnam is a really-budget friendly destination in general. You can even get yourself a decent meal for as low as $1! Accommodations are pretty affordable too ($6 for a bed in a hostel is not bad!), as well as public transportation.

4. I’m from the Philippines, how do I get to Hanoi?

There are a lot of flights coming from different airports in the country going to Hanoi on a regular basis. You might even be lucky to score seat sales if there are any!

5. When is the best time to visit Hanoi?

To make the most out of your trip, the best time to go is between February to April. This is when spring comes in and the weather’s mostly clear.

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Written by Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor

Two Monkeys Travel Group – Community Travel Blog is a travel blog and website. We quickly grew into a valuable source of inspiring travel stories, advice, itineraries and travel guides, with the aim of demonstrating how to live a sustainable life of travel, whilst living your own definition of success. If you'd like to contribute and write a guest post, contact us at [email protected]