The Ultimate Vietnam Experience: Top Things to Do in Hanoi

Discover the top things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam, with this comprehensive guide. From exploring the historic Old Quarter to visiting iconic landmarks like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and sampling delicious local cuisine, this article provides valuable insights for travelers. Find essential travel information, including entry requirements, transportation options, weather conditions, and safety tips. Immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture, learn about the rich history, and make the most of your trip to Hanoi.

Image: The Ultimate Guide: Things to Do in Hanoi for an Unforgettable Experience

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a bustling metropolis with a rich history and culture. There are many things to see and do in Hanoi, from exploring the ancient Old Quarter to visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Popular Tourist Attractions and Landmarks

  • Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword): This historic lake is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. There is a small island in the lake that is home to a temple, and you can also rent paddle boats to explore the lake.
  • A photo of Hoan Kiem Lake, a historic lake in Hanoi, Vietnam. The lake is surrounded by trees and buildings, and there is a small island in the middle of the lake.
    A view of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Temple of Literature: This Confucian temple was built in 1070 and is one of the most important historical sites in Hanoi. The temple complex is home to a number of buildings, including a library, a lecture hall, and a number of shrines.
  • A photo of the Temple of Literature, a Confucian temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. The temple complex is home to a number of buildings, including a library, a lecture hall, and a number of shrines.
    The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: This mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Vietnamese independence movement. The mausoleum is open to visitors from 7:30am to 10:30am daily, except on Mondays.
  • A photo of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Vietnamese independence movement. The mausoleum is open to visitors from 7:30am to 10:30am daily, except on Mondays.
    Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Hanoi Opera House: This beautiful opera house was built in 1911 and is a popular venue for performances of traditional Vietnamese music and dance. The opera house is also home to a number of art exhibitions throughout the year.
  • A photo of the Hanoi Opera House, a beautiful opera house in Hanoi, Vietnam. The opera house was built in 1911 and is a popular venue for performances of traditional Vietnamese music and dance.
    The Hanoi Opera House in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: This museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the cultures of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. The museum is a great place to learn about the diversity of Vietnamese culture.
  • A photo of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, a museum that houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the cultures of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. The museum is a great place to learn about the diversity of Vietnamese culture.
    The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Street Food: Hanoi is famous for its delicious street food. You can find everything from pho (rice noodle soup) to banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches) to grilled meats and seafood. Be sure to bargain with the vendors before you buy anything.
  • A photo of a variety of street food in Hanoi, Vietnam. The food includes pho (rice noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches), and grilled meats and seafood.
    A variety of street food in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Best Time to Visit and Weather Conditions

The best time to visit Hanoi is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. The weather is warm and sunny during this time, with average temperatures ranging from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius (75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit).

The rainy season runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 27 to 33 degrees Celsius (81 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit). There is also a lot of rain during this time, so be sure to pack an umbrella or raincoat.

Local Customs, Etiquette, and Cultural Practices

Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting Hanoi:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against petty theft.
  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.
  • Avoid pointing your feet at people or objects, as this is considered rude.
  • When eating, use your right hand only.
  • Tipping is not expected in Hanoi, but it is appreciated.
  • If you are invited to someone's home, bring a small gift, such as flowers or fruit.

Hanoi is a fascinating city with a lot to offer visitors. From its rich history and culture to its delicious food, there is something for everyone in Hanoi. Be sure to do your research and plan your trip accordingly so that you can make the most of your time in this amazing city.

Flight Options and Prices

There are many airlines that fly to Hanoi, including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, and AirAsia. Flights from major cities in the United States, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, typically start at around $500 round-trip. Flights from other Asian cities, such as Bangkok, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, are typically much cheaper, starting at around $100 round-trip.

Local Transportation Options

The best way to get around Hanoi is by motorbike. Motorbikes are cheap and easy to rent, and they can get you around the city quickly. If you don't feel comfortable driving a motorbike, you can also take taxis or buses. Taxis are relatively expensive, but they are convenient and reliable. Buses are much cheaper than taxis, but they can be crowded and slow.

Airport Information

Hanoi's main airport is Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). The airport is located about 45 kilometers from the city center. There are a number of ways to get from the airport to the city center, including taxis, buses, and the Airport Express Train.

  • Taxis: Taxis are the most convenient way to get from the airport to the city center. Taxis are metered, and the fare from the airport to the city center typically costs around $15.
  • A photo of a taxi driving through the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam. The taxi is yellow and has the word
    A taxi driving through the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Buses: There are a number of buses that run from the airport to the city center. Buses are much cheaper than taxis, but they can be crowded and slow. The fare for the bus from the airport to the city center is around $1.
  • A photo of a bus driving through the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam. The bus is blue and has the word
    A bus driving through the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Airport Express Train: The Airport Express Train is a fast and convenient way to get from the airport to the city center. The train runs every 30 minutes, and the journey time is around 30 minutes. The fare for the train from the airport to the city center is around $3.
  • A photo of the Airport Express Train arriving at the Hanoi Railway Station. The train is red and has the words
    The Airport Express Train arriving at the Hanoi Railway Station.

Public Transportation Maps and Routes

The Hanoi Public Transport Corporation (Hanoibus) operates a network of buses that serve most parts of the city. You can find bus maps and routes on the Hanoibus website.

A screenshot of the Hanoibus website. The website has a blue background and the words
The Hanoibus website, where you can find bus maps and routes for Hanoi.

The Hanoi Metro is currently under construction, but it is expected to be completed in 2025. The metro will have 3 lines, which will serve most parts of the city. You can find metro maps and routes on the Hanoi Metro website.

A screenshot of the Hanoi Metro website. The website has a green background and the words
The Hanoi Metro website, where you can find metro maps and routes for Hanoi.

Hanoi is a fascinating city with a lot to offer visitors. From its rich history and culture to its delicious food, there is something for everyone in Hanoi. Be sure to do your research and plan your trip accordingly so that you can make the most of your time in this amazing city.

Types of Accommodations Available

There are a variety of accommodations available in Hanoi, to suit all budgets and styles. Here are a few of the most popular types:

  • Hotels: There are many hotels in Hanoi, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury. Some of the most popular hotels are located in the Old Quarter, which is close to many tourist attractions.
  • A photo of a variety of hotels in Hanoi, Vietnam. The hotels are located in different parts of the city and range in price from budget-friendly to luxury.
    A variety of hotels in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Hostels: Hostels are a great option for budget travelers. There are many hostels in Hanoi, located in all parts of the city.
  • A photo of a variety of hostels in Hanoi, Vietnam. The hostels are located in different parts of the city and offer a variety of amenities, such as shared dormitories, private rooms, and free Wi-Fi.
    A variety of hostels in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Vacation Rentals: Vacation rentals are a great option for groups or families. There are many vacation rentals available in Hanoi, located in all parts of the city.
  • A photo of a variety of vacation rentals in Hanoi, Vietnam. The vacation rentals are located in different parts of the city and can accommodate groups of all sizes.
    A variety of vacation rentals in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Reviews and Ratings for Hotels and Accommodations

There are a number of websites where you can read reviews and ratings for hotels and accommodations in Hanoi. Some of the most popular websites include TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Agoda.

Proximity to Tourist Attractions or City Center

When choosing an accommodation in Hanoi, it is important to consider its proximity to tourist attractions or the city center. If you are interested in visiting the Old Quarter, you may want to choose an accommodation that is located there. If you are interested in visiting other parts of the city, you may want to choose an accommodation that is located near a metro station or bus stop.

Here are some of the best-rated hotels in Hanoi, with their proximity to tourist attractions or the city center:

  • Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi: This 5-star hotel is located in the heart of the Old Quarter, within walking distance of many tourist attractions.
  • A photo of the Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi, a 5-star hotel located in the heart of the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam. The hotel has a French colonial-style architecture and offers a variety of amenities, such as a rooftop bar, a spa, and a fitness center.
    A 5-star hotel in the heart of the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Melia Hanoi: This 5-star hotel is located in the West Lake area, about a 10-minute drive from the Old Quarter.
  • A photo of the Melia Hanoi, a 5-star hotel located in the West Lake area, Hanoi, Vietnam. The hotel has a modern design and offers a variety of amenities, such as a swimming pool, a gym, and a business center.
    A 5-star hotel in the West Lake area, Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • JW Marriott Hanoi: This 5-star hotel is located in the Cau Giay district, about a 20-minute drive from the Old Quarter.
  • A photo of the JW Marriott Hanoi, a 5-star hotel located in the Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam. The hotel has a luxurious design and offers a variety of amenities, such as a spa, a fitness center, and a rooftop bar with stunning views of the city.
    A 5-star hotel in the Cau Giay district, Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • La Siesta Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel: This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of the Old Quarter, within walking distance of many tourist attractions.
  • A photo of the La Siesta Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel, a 4-star hotel located in the heart of the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam. The hotel has a traditional Vietnamese design and offers a variety of amenities, such as a rooftop terrace, a fitness center, and a bar.
    A 4-star hotel in the heart of the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Golden Lotus Hotel Hanoi: This 3-star hotel is located in the Old Quarter, within walking distance of many tourist attractions.
  • A photo of the Golden Lotus Hotel Hanoi, a 3-star hotel located in the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam. The hotel has a modern design and offers a variety of amenities, such as a swimming pool, a gym, and a restaurant.
    A 3-star hotel in the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Traditional Dishes and Local Food Specialties

  • Pho: Pho is a noodle soup that is considered Vietnam's national dish. It is made with rice noodles, beef broth, and a variety of herbs and spices.
  • A photo of a bowl of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. The pho is made with rice noodles, beef broth, and a variety of herbs and spices.
    A bowl of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.
  • Banh mi: Banh mi is a Vietnamese baguette sandwich that is often filled with pork, ham, sausage, pickled vegetables, and cilantro.
  • A photo of a Vietnamese baguette sandwich filled with pork, ham, sausage, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. The sandwich is garnished with cilantro and served on a wooden cutting board.
    A Vietnamese baguette sandwich filled with pork, ham, sausage, pickled vegetables, and cilantro.
  • Bun cha: Bun cha is a dish of grilled pork meatballs and noodles served with a dipping sauce.
  • A photo of a dish of grilled pork meatballs and noodles served with a dipping sauce. The meatballs are cooked on a grill and served with rice noodles, cucumbers, and a dipping sauce.
    A dish of grilled pork meatballs and noodles served with a dipping sauce.
  • Cha ca la Vong: Cha ca la Vong is a dish of stir-fried catfish served with turmeric noodles and dill.
  • A photo of a dish of stir-fried catfish served with turmeric noodles and dill. The catfish is cooked in a turmeric sauce and served with rice noodles and dill.
    A dish of stir-fried catfish served with turmeric noodles and dill.
  • Nem nuong: Nem nuong are grilled spring rolls that are made with pork, shrimp, and vegetables.
  • A photo of grilled spring rolls made with pork, shrimp, and vegetables. The spring rolls are wrapped in rice paper and cooked on a grill.
    Grilled spring rolls made with pork, shrimp, and vegetables.

Popular Restaurants and Street Food Markets

  • Quan An Ngon: Quan An Ngon is a popular chain of restaurants that serves a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes.
  • A photo of the exterior of Quan An Ngon, a popular chain of restaurants that serves a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes. The restaurant is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
    A popular chain of restaurants that serves a variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes.
  • Pho Bac: Pho Bac is a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves some of the best pho in Hanoi.
  • A photo of the exterior of Pho Bac, a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves some of the best pho in Hanoi. The restaurant is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
    A Michelin-starred restaurant that serves some of the best pho in Hanoi.
  • Bun Cha Huong Lien: Bun Cha Huong Lien is a popular restaurant that serves bun cha, a dish of grilled pork meatballs and noodles.
  • A photo of the exterior of Bun Cha Huong Lien, a popular restaurant that serves bun cha, a dish of grilled pork meatballs and noodles. The restaurant is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
    A popular restaurant that serves bun cha, a dish of grilled pork meatballs and noodles.
  • Cha ca La Vong: Cha ca La Vong is a popular restaurant that serves cha ca la vong, a dish of stir-fried catfish served with turmeric noodles and dill.
  • A photo of the exterior of Cha ca La Vong, a popular restaurant that serves cha ca la vong, a dish of stir-fried catfish served with turmeric noodles and dill. The restaurant is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
    A popular restaurant that serves cha ca la vong, a dish of stir-fried catfish served with turmeric noodles and dill.
  • Ngon Ngon: Ngon Ngon is a street food market that is located in the Old Quarter. It is a great place to try a variety of different Vietnamese dishes.
  • A photo of the exterior of Ngon Ngon, a street food market that is located in the Old Quarter. The market is crowded with vendors selling a variety of Vietnamese dishes.
    A street food market that is located in the Old Quarter. It is a great place to try a variety of different Vietnamese dishes.

Dietary Restrictions or Considerations

If you have any dietary restrictions or considerations, it is important to be aware of the following when eating in Hanoi:

  • Pork: Pork is a common ingredient in many Vietnamese dishes. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may want to ask your server about the ingredients in a dish before ordering.
  • Fish sauce: Fish sauce is a common seasoning in Vietnamese cuisine. If you are allergic to fish, you should avoid dishes that contain fish sauce.
  • Spicy food: Vietnamese food can be quite spicy. If you are sensitive to spice, you should ask your server to make your dish less spicy.

Overall, Hanoi is a great place to experience the delicious food of Vietnam. With so many different dishes to choose from, you are sure to find something to your taste.

Day trips and excursions:

  • Halong Bay: Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. You can take a boat tour to explore the bay and see its limestone karsts.
  • A photo of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. The bay is filled with limestone karsts and is a popular tourist destination.
    A view of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam.
  • Tam Coc: Tam Coc is a beautiful valley located in Ninh Binh Province, about 90 kilometers from Hanoi. You can take a boat tour to explore the valley and see its limestone karsts and caves.
  • A photo of a boat tour in Tam Coc, a beautiful valley located in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam. The valley is filled with limestone karsts and caves.
    A boat tour in Tam Coc, a beautiful valley located in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam.
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Vietnamese independence movement. The mausoleum is located in Ba Dinh Square, the center of Hanoi.
  • A photo of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Vietnamese independence movement. The mausoleum is open to visitors from 7:30am to 10:30am daily, except on Mondays.
    Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • One Pillar Pagoda: One Pillar Pagoda is a Buddhist temple located in the Hoan Kiem Lake. The pagoda is built on a single lotus-shaped pillar and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Hanoi.
  • A photo of One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam. The pagoda is built on a single lotus-shaped pillar and is located in the Hoan Kiem Lake.
    A Buddhist temple built on a single lotus-shaped pillar in the Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Temple of Literature: The Temple of Literature is a Confucian temple complex that was built in the 11th century. The temple is dedicated to Confucius and other scholars.
  • A photo of the Temple of Literature, a Confucian temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. The temple complex is home to a number of buildings, including a library, a lecture hall, and a number of shrines.
    The Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Museums, galleries, and historical sites:

  • Vietnamese Women's Museum: The Vietnamese Women's Museum is dedicated to the history and role of women in Vietnam. The museum is located in the center of Hanoi.
  • A photo of Vietnamese Women's Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam. The museum is dedicated to the history and role of women in Vietnam and is located in the center of Hanoi.
    A museum dedicated to the history and role of women in Vietnam.
  • Bao Tang Ho Chi Minh: Bao Tang Ho Chi Minh is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Ho Chi Minh. The museum is located in the center of Hanoi.
  • A photo of Bao Tang Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Ho Chi Minh and is located in the center of Hanoi.
    A museum dedicated to the life and work of Ho Chi Minh.
  • National Museum of Vietnamese History: The National Museum of Vietnamese History is the largest museum in Vietnam. The museum exhibits artifacts and documents that tell the story of Vietnamese history.
  • A photo of National Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi, Vietnam. The museum is the largest museum in Vietnam and exhibits artifacts and documents that tell the story of Vietnamese history.
    The largest museum in Vietnam exhibits artifacts and documents that tell the story of Vietnamese history.
  • French Quarter: The French Quarter is a historic district in Hanoi that was built by the French in the 19th century. The quarter is home to many colonial-era buildings, restaurants, and shops.
  • A photo of French Quarter in Hanoi, Vietnam. The quarter is a historic district that was built by the French in the 19th century.
    A historic district in Hanoi that was built by the French in the 19th century.
  • Hanoi Opera House: The Hanoi Opera House is a beautiful opera house that was built in the early 20th century. The opera house is located in the center of Hanoi.
  • A photo of the Hanoi Opera House, a beautiful opera house in Hanoi, Vietnam. The opera house was built in 1911 and is a popular venue for performances of traditional Vietnamese music and dance.
    The Hanoi Opera House in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Outdoor activities:

  • Hoan Kiem Lake: Hoan Kiem Lake is a large lake in the center of Hanoi. The lake is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and relaxation.
  • West Lake: West Lake is a large lake located in the west of Hanoi. The lake is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and relaxation.
  • Tuan Chau Island: Tuan Chau Island is an artificial island located in Halong Bay. The island is home to a number of resorts and beaches.
  • A photo of Tuan Chau Island in Hanoi, Vietnam. The island is an artificial island located in Halong Bay that is home to a number of resorts and beaches.
    An artificial island located in Halong Bay that is home to a number of resorts and beaches.
  • Cycling: Hanoi is a great city for cycling. There are many bike paths and roads that are safe for cycling.
  • Hiking: There are a number of hiking trails located in the surrounding area of Hanoi.

Events, festivals, and cultural celebrations:

  • Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnamese New Year): Tet Nguyen Dan is the most important holiday in Vietnam. It is a time for families to get together and celebrate the new year. Tet Nguyen Dan is usually celebrated in late January or early February.
  • Ho Chi Minh's Birthday: Ho Chi Minh's Birthday is a national holiday in Vietnam. It is celebrated on May 19th.
  • Bao Dai's Birthday: Bao Dai's Birthday is a national holiday in Vietnam. It is celebrated on October 2nd.
  • International Book Fair: The International Book Fair is held every year in Hanoi. The fair is a great place to buy books, meet authors, and attend cultural events.
  • Water Puppet Theatre: Water Puppet Theatre is a traditional Vietnamese art form. The performances are held in a pool of water and the puppets are made of wood and leather.

Hanoi Travel Tips

  • Visas: Citizens of most countries need a visa to enter Vietnam. You can apply for a visa at the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country of residence.
  • Currency: The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong (VND). You can exchange your currency for VND at the airport, banks, or currency exchange bureaus in Hanoi.
  • Transportation: The main mode of transportation in Hanoi is by motorbike. You can also take taxis, buses, or the metro.
  • Accommodation: There are a variety of accommodation options available in Hanoi, from budget hostels to luxury hotels.
  • Safety: Hanoi is generally a safe city, but it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against petty theft.
  • Language: The official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese. However, many people in Hanoi also speak English.
  • Culture: Vietnamese culture is a blend of Chinese, French, and other influences. Be respectful of local customs and traditions.

Here are some information about internet access and mobile network availability in Hanoi:

  • Internet access: There is free Wi-Fi available in many public places in Hanoi, such as cafes, restaurants, and hotels. You can also purchase a SIM card from a local carrier to access the internet on your mobile phone.
  • Mobile network availability: The two main mobile networks in Vietnam are Viettel and Mobifone. Both networks have good coverage in Hanoi.