Hanoi Travel Guide: Top 101 Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam

Welcome to Hanoi, the enchanting capital city of Vietnam! Nestled in the northern part of the country, Hanoi is a city that seamlessly blends the rich tapestry of its history with the vibrant pulse of its modern urban life. With a history dating back over a thousand years, Hanoi is a city that has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, the struggle for independence, and the rapid transformation of Vietnam into a dynamic and thriving nation. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will take you on a journey through Hanoi, exploring its history, culture, cuisine, attractions, and much more.

History and Culture

Hanoi’s history is as old as the nation itself. Founded in 1010 AD by King Ly Thai To as Thang Long, which means “Ascending Dragon,” the city has served as the capital of various Vietnamese dynasties, from the Ly and Tran dynasties to the Nguyen dynasty during the 19th century. Each dynasty has left its mark on the city’s architecture, culture, and traditions, making Hanoi a treasure trove of historical and cultural heritage.

The Old Quarter, a maze of narrow streets and traditional houses, is a living testament to Hanoi’s rich history. Stroll through its bustling streets, and you’ll encounter ancient temples, pagodas, and communal houses, all of which provide a glimpse into the city’s spiritual life and cultural traditions. Be sure to visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, which dates back to 1070 and is dedicated to Confucius.

Hanoi is also a city of lakes, with Hoan Kiem Lake, meaning “Lake of the Returned Sword,” at its heart. Legend has it that Emperor Le Loi was given a magical sword by a turtle deity, which he later returned to the lake. Today, the lake is a tranquil oasis amidst the urban hustle and bustle, and it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.


Hanoi is a paradise for food lovers, and its cuisine is a reflection of the city’s diverse culinary influences. From street food stalls to elegant restaurants, you can savor a wide range of flavors that combine French, Chinese, and indigenous Vietnamese elements. Some must-try dishes include:

  1. Pho: Hanoi is famous for its pho, a delicious noodle soup made with beef or chicken, fresh herbs, and rice noodles. Enjoy a bowl of steaming hot pho at one of the many street-side stalls.
  2. Bun Cha: This local specialty features grilled pork served with rice noodles and herbs. It’s a flavorful dish that’s both filling and satisfying.
  3. Banh Mi: Vietnamese baguette sandwiches filled with a variety of ingredients, including meats, vegetables, and sauces. You’ll find these street food classics all over the city.
  4. Cha Ca La Vong: A unique dish of grilled fish marinated with turmeric and dill, often served with rice vermicelli and fresh herbs.
  5. Egg Coffee: Hanoi is known for its creamy egg coffee, a sweet and indulgent drink that’s a perfect pick-me-up.


Hanoi boasts a plethora of attractions that cater to every interest. Some of the must-visit places include:

  1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Pay your respects to Vietnam’s founding father, Ho Chi Minh, by visiting his mausoleum, where his embalmed body is on display.
  2. One Pillar Pagoda: This iconic pagoda is built on a single stone pillar and is a symbol of Hanoi. It’s a serene and picturesque spot.
  3. Hoa Lo Prison: Also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” this historical site provides insight into the city’s turbulent past, particularly during the Vietnam War.
  4. West Lake: Explore the largest lake in Hanoi, which is surrounded by parks, temples, and a vibrant street food scene.
  5. Museum of Ethnology: Discover the diverse cultures of Vietnam’s many ethnic groups through fascinating exhibits and demonstrations.
  6. Water Puppet Theatre: Experience the unique art of water puppetry, a traditional Vietnamese form of entertainment that dates back centuries.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Hanoi offers an array of shopping experiences, from bustling markets to high-end boutiques. The Old Quarter is a haven for shoppers, where you can find everything from silk garments and traditional handicrafts to contemporary fashion and art. Don’t forget to haggle for the best deals at places like Dong Xuan Market and Night Market.

Hanoi is a city of contrasts, where ancient traditions coexist with modern innovations. Its rich history, vibrant culture, and delectable cuisine make it a destination like no other. Whether you’re exploring the historical sites, savoring local delicacies, or simply taking in the lively atmosphere of the streets, Hanoi promises an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a journey through the heart of Vietnam – Hanoi, a city that will capture your heart and leave you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Hanoi Travel Guide: Things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam for Visitors

Hanoi City Guide: A Brief History Of Hanoi, Vietnam For Visitors

Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, is a place where the pages of history come alive. Nestled in the northern part of the country, Hanoi boasts a rich and captivating history that spans over a millennium. As you explore its ancient streets, historic landmarks, and cultural treasures, you’ll uncover a tapestry of events, dynasties, and influences that have shaped this vibrant and enduring city.

Early Beginnings

The history of Hanoi dates back to the early years of the 11th century when King Ly Thai To, the first ruler of the Ly Dynasty, decided to move the capital from Hoa Lu (present-day Ninh Binh) to a more strategically located area. This marked the birth of Thang Long, which means “Ascending Dragon,” later renamed Hanoi. The legend behind the name involves the appearance of a dragon during the king’s contemplation, symbolizing good fortune.

Dynastic Capitals

Hanoi has served as the capital of several Vietnamese dynasties, each contributing to its rich cultural and architectural heritage.

  1. Ly Dynasty (1010-1225): During the Ly Dynasty, Thang Long prospered as a center of culture, trade, and administration. The city was adorned with temples, pagodas, and the iconic Turtle Tower (Thap Rua) on Hoan Kiem Lake.
  2. Tran Dynasty (1225-1400): Hanoi continued to thrive under the Tran Dynasty. Tran Hung Dao, a celebrated military commander, led successful campaigns against Mongol invasions.
  3. Le Dynasty (1428-1788): The city’s name was changed to Hanoi (“Inside the River”) by Emperor Le Thai To. This period saw the construction of the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, dedicated to Confucius.
  4. Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945): Under Emperor Gia Long, Hanoi was named the capital of the unified Vietnam in 1802. French colonial influence began during this period, eventually leading to the colonization of Vietnam.

Colonial Rule and Resistance

The late 19th century marked a significant turning point in Hanoi’s history when French colonial forces occupied the city. Under French rule, Hanoi underwent a transformation, with wide boulevards, neoclassical architecture, and the construction of the Hanoi Opera House and Presidential Palace. However, this era also saw growing resentment among the Vietnamese people, leading to various anti-colonial movements and uprisings.

One of the most iconic moments in Hanoi’s history came on September 2, 1945, when President Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence at Ba Dinh Square, in front of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a site that remains a symbol of national pride to this day.

The Vietnam War

Hanoi played a pivotal role during the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The city endured heavy bombing campaigns by the United States, and many of its historic sites were damaged. Hoa Lo Prison, famously known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” housed American prisoners of war.

Despite the destruction, Hanoi’s resilience prevailed, and after the war, the city was gradually rebuilt and restored. Today, remnants of wartime history can still be explored, including the Hanoi Hilton and the B-52 Victory Museum.

Modern Hanoi

In 1976, Hanoi was officially designated as the capital of a reunified Vietnam after the end of the war. The city has undergone rapid modernization and development while retaining its historical charm. Visitors to Hanoi can now explore a vibrant metropolis that harmoniously combines its rich past with a dynamic present.

Hanoi’s history is a testament to the resilience and enduring spirit of the Vietnamese people. From its legendary origins to its periods of dynastic rule, colonial occupation, and wartime struggles, Hanoi’s story is a reflection of the nation’s journey towards independence and development. As you explore the ancient streets, historic landmarks, and cultural treasures of Hanoi, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for this remarkable city and its enduring place in Vietnam’s history.

Hoan Kiam Bridge At Night Lit Up And Red in Vietnam

Hanoi Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Introduction to Hanoi

For many travelers, Hanoi is just a hub, a pit stop on their way to the two big tourist attractions in Northern Vietnam, Sapa and Ha Long Bay.  This is a shame, as Hanoi, formerly the capital of French Indochina (which spanned Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam at its height) boasts plenty of cultural highlights and other attractions well worth your time.  So, instead of rushing off to the mountain heights of Sapa, or the deep blue sea of Ha Long Bay, book a room for several days here.  Doing so will give yourself time to truly experience a metropolis that oozes history, culture, and a contagious optimism for the future, as many rising skyscrapers indicate.

Cultural Experiences in Hanoi

If you are museum buff, you are in luck, as Hanoi boasts a multitude of worthwhile attractions dedicated to telling the story of this city and of the Vietnamese people. The first museum you should check out, and the one that you should be sure to attend if your time in town is limited, is the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh.  Inside this shrine to the leader of the Vietnamese Communist revolution is the man himself, embalmed and preserved, just as he was the day he died.  Don’t expect to get any photos of the late leader of Vietnam, as photography is strictly prohibited.  Also, be sure to dress appropriately, so no exposed shoulders or knees … you are in the final resting place of a national icon!

Following this, stroll down the street to the Temple of Literature.  This structure has been around for eons, founded in 1070 as a place of worship, serving as the nation’s first university.  Throughout the courtyard, observe the names of graduates that came out of these halls of learning through the centuries.

Another museum that is worth your attention is the Ho Chi Minh Museum (not to be confused with the mausoleum).  In this peculiar place, the life and times of the former leader is detailed, with some bizarre modern art broadcasting some sentiments, such as the cars crashing through a wall, which represent the introduction of capitalism (Doi Moi) to the country in the mid-1980’s.For some live theatre that Hanoi is famous for, head to Hoan Kiem Lake, located near the city centre.  Here, you’ll see the Water Puppet Theatre, with wooden puppets suspended just above the surface of the lake, dancing and splashing about, as their tale is backed by the musical stylings of Vietnamese folk musicians.

Hanoi modern architecture in Vietnam

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Hanoi, Vietnam

After this very entertaining show, head north of here to the Old Quarter, a chaotic mix of narrow streets, markets, residences, and traditional restaurants.  It is very easy to get lost in the catacomb-like laneways, but just enjoy wandering from one place to the next, take tonnes of pictures, and just find a Xe Om (motorbike taxi) to bail you out if you truly lose your way!

Finally, if you are a war buff and want to see more artifacts of the Vietnam War, then go visit Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton by imprisoned American POW’s.  The place had a brutal history before the war with the Americans, as this jail was used to torture and execute prisoners involved with the successful insurrection against the French prior to 1954.  Prison officials claim to have the flight suit of John McCain (US Senator and former presidential candidate) on display, so if the history of modern warfare is an interest of yours, be sure to check this place out for yourself.

Evening Activities in Hanoi

As the day winds down and work comes to a close, join the Vietnamese masses on the sidewalks, and cheer the beginning of their free time with a Bia Hoi.  This beer is some of the cheapest brew you’ll ever buy anywhere in the world, amounting to the paltry sum of $0.25 USD a glass at its lowest.

Next, head out of town to the suburb of Le Mat, where cobra meat (and blood) is on the menu.  Definitely not the most conventional meal you’ll eat (nor the cheapest), but it’ll give you a story to tell the folks when you return home!  Those a little less adventurous should visit one of the many street food stalls set up throughout Hanoi, serving up Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) Pho Bo/Ga (beef/chicken noodle soup), or Com Tam (grilled pork served over broken rice), among others.  Just be sure that the stall is popular, lacks flies, or that the meal is cooked in front of you, to ensure maximum cleanliness.

Those who appreciate proper classical music should check out a show that UNESCO recognized as culturally significant to the Vietnamese. A ten minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ca Tru Hanoi Club practices a form of chamber music and singing that is hauntingly beautiful.  Those looking to stretch their culture comfort zone should definitely put this concert hall on their list of places to experience in Hanoi.

source: Allan Su on YouTube

Top 101 Things To Do in Hanoi For Visitors

Hanoi, the captivating capital of Vietnam, offers a wealth of experiences for visitors. From its ancient temples and historic sites to its bustling street markets and delectable cuisine, Hanoi is a city that never fails to delight and enchant. To help you make the most of your visit, here’s a comprehensive list of 101 things to do in Hanoi:

1-10: Explore Hanoi’s Historical and Cultural Heritage

  1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Pay your respects to the revered leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and view his embalmed body.
  2. One Pillar Pagoda: Visit this iconic pagoda, built on a single stone pillar, which is a symbol of Hanoi.
  3. Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam): Explore Vietnam’s first university, dedicated to Confucius, and its tranquil gardens.
  4. Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton): Gain insight into the city’s history, particularly during the Vietnam War, at this historic prison turned museum.
  5. Hanoi Opera House: Admire the stunning French colonial architecture and catch a performance if you can.
  6. St. Joseph’s Cathedral: Visit the Neo-Gothic church in the heart of the Old Quarter.
  7. Tran Quoc Pagoda: Explore Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple, situated on an islet in West Lake.
  8. Ngoc Son Temple: Cross the iconic red bridge to this temple on Hoan Kiem Lake’s Jade Island.
  9. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: Experience the unique art of water puppetry, a traditional Vietnamese performance.
  10. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: Discover the country’s diverse ethnic groups through fascinating exhibits and demonstrations.

11-20: Delve into Hanoi’s Ancient Streets

  1. Old Quarter: Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets, each specializing in different goods, and shop for souvenirs.
  2. Dong Xuan Market: Haggle for the best deals on clothes, electronics, and local products in this bustling market.
  3. Hang Gai Street (Silk Street): Browse high-quality silk products and tailor-made clothing.
  4. Hang Bac Street (Silver Street): Explore a street filled with silver shops offering unique jewelry pieces.
  5. Hang Quat Street (Fan Street): Find handcrafted fans, lanterns, and decorative items.
  6. Hang Duong Street (Sugar Street): Sample traditional Vietnamese candies and snacks.
  7. Hang Thiec Street (Tin Street): Discover metalwork, including brass and copper products.
  8. Bat Dan Street (Bowl Street): Try Hanoi’s famous Bun Cha, a local dish of grilled pork and noodles.
  9. Ta Hien Street (Beer Street): Sip on a glass of local beer and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
  10. Ma May Street: Visit heritage houses that showcase Hanoi’s architectural history.

21-30: Savor Hanoi’s Culinary Delights

  1. Pho at Pho Gia Truyen: Taste authentic Hanoi pho at this renowned eatery.
  2. Bun Cha at Bun Cha Huong Lien (Obama Bun Cha): Try the dish famously shared by President Obama and Anthony Bourdain.
  3. Banh Mi 25: Enjoy delicious Vietnamese sandwiches at this popular street food stall.
  4. Cha Ca La Vong: Indulge in Hanoi’s famous grilled fish dish.
  5. Egg Coffee at Cafe Giang: Savor the rich and creamy Vietnamese egg coffee.
  6. Bun Rieu Cua: Try a flavorful crab noodle soup at Bun Rieu Cua Thanh Tri.
  7. Banh Cuon: Sample delicate rice noodle rolls, often served with pork and mushrooms.
  8. Xoi Xeo: Taste sticky rice with mung beans and fried shallots, a popular breakfast dish.
  9. Bia Hoi Junction: Join locals for fresh, cheap beer and street food in the evenings.
  10. Quan An Ngon: Dine at this restaurant that offers a wide range of Vietnamese dishes in a charming setting.

31-40: Hanoi’s Parks and Lakes

  1. Hoan Kiem Lake: Stroll around the “Lake of the Returned Sword” and admire the Turtle Tower.
  2. West Lake: Enjoy a leisurely walk or bike ride around Hanoi’s largest lake.
  3. Lenin Park (Thong Nhat Park): Relax in this peaceful park and observe locals practicing tai chi.
  4. Ba Vi National Park: Explore the lush national park, home to hiking trails and a French colonial-era hill station.
  5. Hanoi Botanical Garden: Discover a green oasis in the heart of the city.
  6. Long Bien Bridge: Walk or bike across this historic bridge for stunning views of the Red River.
  7. Thu Le Park: Visit the city’s zoo and botanical gardens for a family-friendly outing.
  8. Cuc Phuong National Park: Venture outside the city to explore one of Vietnam’s oldest national parks.
  9. Hanoi Zoo: Spend time with a variety of animals at this centrally located zoo.
  10. Ba Be Lake: Take a day trip to this beautiful natural lake located in Bac Kan Province.

41-50: Discover Hanoi’s Art and Museums

  1. Vietnam Fine Arts Museum: Admire a vast collection of traditional and contemporary Vietnamese art.
  2. Vietnamese Women’s Museum: Learn about the role of women in Vietnam’s history and culture.
  3. Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural: Marvel at the world’s longest ceramic mosaic on Tran Quang Khai Street.
  4. National Museum of Vietnamese History: Explore exhibits spanning from prehistoric times to the present day.
  5. Contemporary Art Centers: Visit spaces like Manzi and Nha San Studio for contemporary art exhibitions.
  6. Hanoi Opera House Exhibitions: Attend art exhibitions and cultural events at this architectural gem.
  7. Dong Ho Painting Village: Discover the traditional art of woodblock printing in the nearby village.
  8. Gallery Old Quarter: Browse a variety of art galleries in the Old Quarter.
  9. Kinh Do Theater: Enjoy traditional Vietnamese water puppet performances.
  10. Book Street (Pho Sach): Browse a wide range of books and literary events on this street near Hoan Kiem Lake.

51-60: Engage in Cultural Experiences

  1. Cyclo Ride: Take a cyclo (bicycle rickshaw) tour through the Old Quarter.
  2. Hanoi Street Photography: Capture the city’s essence through street photography.
  3. Ao Dai Photo Shoot: Dress up in a traditional Ao Dai and have a photoshoot at scenic locations.
  4. Calligraphy Lesson: Try your hand at Vietnamese calligraphy at the Temple of Literature.
  5. Silk and Craft Workshops: Create your own silk products or handicrafts in workshops across the city.
  6. Water Puppetry Workshop: Learn the art of water puppetry from local artisans.
  7. Traditional Art Performances: Attend folk music, dance, and theater performances.
  8. Bamboo Dragonfly Making: Join a workshop to make traditional bamboo dragonflies.
  9. Cooking Classes: Learn to prepare Vietnamese dishes at one of the many cooking schools.
  10. Cultural Festivals: Check for local festivals and events happening during your visit.

61-70: Historical Sites and Memorials

  1. Long Thanh Photo Studio: Visit this studio to see old photos of Hanoi and its residents.
  2. B-52 Victory Museum: Explore the history of Hanoi during the Vietnam War.
  3. Army Museum: Discover the military history of Vietnam.
  4. Flag Tower of Hanoi: Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city.
  5. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: Wander through the ruins of this ancient citadel.
  6. Dien Huu Pagoda: Visit this pagoda with a unique fusion of Buddhism and Confucianism.
  7. Hanoi Ancient House (87 Ma May): Step back in time with a visit to this well-preserved traditional house.
  8. Ba Dinh Square: Stand at the spot where Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence.
  9. Hanoi Ceramic Road: Admire ceramic artworks along this 4-kilometer-long road.
  10. Flag Lowering Ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Witness the solemn daily ceremony at sunset.

71-80: Day Trips from Hanoi

  1. Perfume Pagoda: Take a boat ride to this complex of Buddhist temples in a picturesque setting.
  2. Tam Coc: Explore the stunning karst landscapes and rice paddies of Ninh Binh Province.
  3. Hoa Lu Ancient Capital: Visit the ancient capital of Vietnam, often called “Halong Bay on land.”
  4. Duong Lam Ancient Village: Step back in time in this well-preserved ancient village.
  5. Bat Trang Ceramic Village: Discover traditional pottery-making techniques in this nearby village.
  6. Halong Bay: Embark on a cruise to the breathtaking limestone karsts of Halong Bay.
  7. Mai Chau: Experience the beauty of the Mai Chau Valley and its ethnic minority communities.
  8. Sapa: Trek through terraced rice fields and encounter diverse indigenous cultures.
  9. Cao Bang: Explore the remote and rugged landscapes of Cao Bang Province.
  10. Ninh Binh: Visit the ancient capital and its surrounding natural wonders, including Trang An.

81-90: Shopping and Souvenirs

  1. Lacquerware: Purchase intricately designed lacquerware products.
  2. Silk Products: Shop for silk scarves, clothing, and accessories.
  3. Handicrafts: Browse the many shops offering handmade crafts and souvenirs.
  4. Ao Dai: Consider having a traditional Vietnamese dress tailor-made for you.
  5. Coffee and Tea: Buy high-quality Vietnamese coffee and unique tea blends.
  6. Antiques: Visit antique shops for a piece of Vietnamese history.
  7. Embroidery: Admire and purchase exquisite embroidered art.
  8. Artwork: Invest in contemporary or traditional Vietnamese artwork.
  9. Tailored Clothing: Get custom-fitted clothing made by skilled tailors.
  10. Dried Fruits and Snacks: Pick up local snacks and dried fruits for souvenirs.

91-101: Outdoor Adventures and Nature

  1. Biking: Rent a bicycle and explore the city or countryside.
  2. Boating on West Lake: Take a boat ride on Hanoi’s largest lake.
  3. Climbing at Long Bien Bridge: Try rock climbing at this historic bridge.
  4. Hiking: Explore the nearby hills and mountains for scenic hikes.
  5. Bird Watching: Discover the diverse birdlife in Hanoi’s parks and wetlands.
  6. Kayaking: Paddle through the waters of Halong Bay or Ba Be Lake.
  7. Camping: Experience the great outdoors in the surrounding national parks.
  8. Hot Air Ballooning: Take a hot air balloon ride for panoramic views.
  9. Gardens and Parks: Relax and picnic in the city’s numerous green spaces.
  10. Fishing: Try your hand at fishing in Hanoi’s lakes and rivers.
  11. Visit Local Villages: Immerse yourself in the daily life of rural villages surrounding Hanoi.

Hanoi is a city of endless exploration, where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with modern life. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, cuisine, or outdoor adventures, Hanoi has something to offer every visitor. So, make the most of your time in this vibrant and historic city by checking off these 101 must-do activities, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

source: Rhett and Claire on YouTube

What To Eat and Drink in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a food lover’s paradise. Renowned for its diverse and flavorful cuisine, Hanoi’s culinary scene offers a tantalizing array of dishes that reflect the city’s rich history, culture, and local ingredients. From street food stalls to elegant restaurants, here’s a detailed guide to what to eat and drink in Hanoi:

1. Pho (Phở): Let’s start with Vietnam’s most famous dish, pho. A steaming bowl of pho is a breakfast staple, consisting of rice noodles, fragrant beef or chicken broth, and thinly sliced meat. Garnish with herbs, bean sprouts, lime, and chili for a burst of flavors.

2. Bun Cha: This Hanoi specialty features grilled pork patties served in a sweet and savory broth with rice noodles, fresh herbs, and spring rolls. It’s a delightful combination of textures and flavors.

3. Banh Mi: A Vietnamese sandwich, banh mi is a fusion of French and Vietnamese flavors. A crispy baguette is filled with various ingredients, including meats, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and sauces, creating a perfect harmony of taste and texture.

4. Bun Bo Nam Bo: This noodle dish features tender slices of beef, stir-fried with fresh herbs, peanuts, and crispy shallots, served on a bed of rice vermicelli. It’s both flavorful and refreshing.

5. Bun Rieu Cua: A delicious crab noodle soup, bun rieu cua combines a tomato-based broth with vermicelli noodles, freshwater crab, tofu, and herbs. The flavors are both sweet and tangy.

6. Cha Ca La Vong: A specialty of Hanoi, cha ca la vong consists of marinated and grilled fish served with vermicelli noodles, peanuts, and fresh herbs. It’s a unique and aromatic dish.

7. Com Ga (Hanoi Chicken Rice): Fragrant rice cooked with chicken broth, topped with tender poached chicken, and served with a side of ginger sauce. It’s simple yet incredibly tasty.

8. Goi Cuon: Fresh spring rolls are a healthy and delicious choice. They typically contain shrimp, herbs, rice vermicelli, and sometimes pork, all wrapped in translucent rice paper and served with dipping sauce.

9. Xoi Xeo: A popular breakfast dish, xoi xeo consists of sticky rice topped with mung bean paste and fried shallots. It’s often enjoyed with savory accompaniments like pork or chicken.

10. Cha Ca: A seafood lover’s delight, cha ca is a sizzling skillet of turmeric-marinated fish (usually catfish) cooked tableside and served with rice noodles, herbs, and peanuts.

11. Egg Coffee (Ca Phe Trung): Don’t miss this creamy and sweet coffee concoction. Whipped egg yolks and condensed milk create a rich and indulgent coffee experience unique to Vietnam.

12. Ca Phe Sua Da: For a refreshing pick-me-up, try Vietnamese iced coffee. It’s made with strong brewed coffee dripped over ice and sweetened with condensed milk.

13. Bia Hoi: Join the locals at a bia hoi corner, where you can enjoy freshly brewed draft beer that’s light, crisp, and incredibly affordable. It’s the perfect way to unwind in the evening.

14. Nem Cua Be (Crab Spring Rolls): These deep-fried spring rolls are filled with a flavorful mixture of crab meat, pork, mushrooms, and glass noodles. Dip them in a sweet and tangy dipping sauce for a delightful contrast of flavors.

15. Bun Thang: A traditional noodle soup featuring delicate flavors, bun thang consists of chicken, shrimp, thinly sliced fried egg, herbs, and broth. It’s a visually appealing dish often enjoyed during festivals.

16. Che (Dessert Soup): End your meal with a bowl of che, a sweet dessert soup made from a variety of ingredients like beans, fruit, jellies, and coconut milk. It’s a delightful way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

17. Ca Phe Trung (Egg Coffee): For a sweet and velvety treat, try egg coffee. It’s made by beating egg yolks and condensed milk together until they form a frothy, meringue-like topping over hot coffee.

18. Nem Ran (Fried Spring Rolls): These crispy spring rolls are a popular appetizer or snack. They’re typically filled with a mixture of ground pork, vegetables, and vermicelli noodles.

19. Mi Quang: Originating from Central Vietnam but widely available in Hanoi, mi quang is a noodle dish featuring turmeric-infused noodles, shrimp, pork, herbs, and peanuts, all served with a flavorful broth.

20. Ca Kho To: This caramelized fish dish is a delicious example of Vietnamese home cooking. Catfish is cooked in a clay pot with a savory-sweet sauce made from fish sauce, sugar, and aromatics.

21. Banh Xeo: Often referred to as Vietnamese pancakes, banh xeo are crispy, savory crepes filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs. They’re typically served with a side of dipping sauce.

22. Banh Cuon: These delicate rice paper rolls are filled with a mixture of ground pork, mushrooms, and shallots. They’re often topped with fried shallots and served with a dipping sauce.

23. Cha Ruoi: If you’re feeling adventurous, try cha ruoi, a dish made from sandworms. It’s typically sautéed with garlic and chili, creating a unique and savory snack.

24. Banh Tom Ho Tay: Enjoy crispy shrimp fritters made from whole shrimp coated in a batter and deep-fried. They’re often served with a side of sweet and sour dipping sauce.

25. Hu Tieu Nam Vang: This noodle soup, originating from Cambodia but popular in Hanoi, features a clear and flavorful broth, minced pork, and various toppings like shrimp and quail eggs.

26. Bun Oc (Snail Noodle Soup): For an adventurous culinary experience, try bun oc. This noodle soup features freshwater snails in a flavorful broth, often garnished with herbs and fried tofu.

27. Chao Ca: Vietnamese fish congee is a comforting rice porridge cooked with fish, ginger, and herbs. It’s a soothing dish often enjoyed for breakfast or as a light meal.

28. Ca Loc Nuong Trui: Grilled snakehead fish is a delicacy in Hanoi. It’s typically marinated with lemongrass and grilled to perfection, served with herbs and dipping sauce.

29. Bun Moc: A lesser-known but delicious noodle soup, bun moc features ground pork and pork balls in a flavorful broth, often garnished with herbs and fried shallots.

30. Banh Duc (Rice Cake): A simple yet satisfying dish, banh duc is a steamed rice cake served with savory toppings like minced pork, fried shallots, and fish sauce.

source: Flora and Note on YouTube

Top Restaurants In Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a city steeped in culinary tradition. Its diverse food scene reflects the rich tapestry of Vietnamese culture and history. From street-side stalls to upscale dining establishments, Hanoi offers an abundance of gastronomic delights. Here’s a detailed guide to the top restaurants in Hanoi, where you can savor the city’s most exquisite flavors:

1. Quan An Ngon:

  • Cuisine: Traditional Vietnamese
  • Overview: Nestled in a charming French colonial villa, Quan An Ngon is a mecca for Vietnamese cuisine. With an extensive menu that features dishes from all over Vietnam, it offers a delightful journey through the country’s culinary landscape. From banh xeo (crispy pancakes) to bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), the authenticity and variety here are unparalleled.

2. La Verticale:

  • Cuisine: French-Vietnamese Fusion
  • Overview: La Verticale, led by renowned chef Didier Corlou, is where culinary innovation meets Vietnamese tradition. The restaurant’s menu fuses French culinary techniques with Vietnamese ingredients, resulting in dishes that are both familiar and exotic. The duck confit with ginger and lemongrass exemplifies the marriage of flavors that makes this dining experience unforgettable.

3. The Gourmet Corner Restaurant:

  • Cuisine: European, Vietnamese
  • Overview: Perched in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, The Gourmet Corner Restaurant provides not only delectable food but also breathtaking views of Hoan Kiem Lake. Offering a menu that marries European and Vietnamese cuisines, it’s an ideal choice for those seeking both a gastronomic and visual feast. The ambiance here is perfect for a romantic evening.

4. Duong’s Restaurant & Cooking Class:

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Overview: Duong’s Restaurant isn’t just about savoring Vietnamese cuisine; it’s also an opportunity to learn the art of Vietnamese cooking. Duong, a passionate chef, offers cooking classes that allow you to delve into the secrets of Vietnamese culinary traditions. Her restaurant, with its welcoming atmosphere, is where you can taste the fruits of your culinary endeavors.

5. Home Hanoi Restaurant:

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Overview: Home Hanoi Restaurant lives up to its name by providing an intimate and cozy dining environment. Their menu showcases traditional Vietnamese dishes prepared with meticulous attention to detail. Their banh xeo, a Vietnamese pancake filled with shrimp and herbs, is a standout dish worth trying.

6. Green Tangerine:

  • Cuisine: French-Vietnamese Fusion
  • Overview: Housed in a charming colonial villa, Green Tangerine is a testament to the fusion of French and Vietnamese flavors. The menu features dishes that seamlessly blend the best of both culinary worlds. Try the grilled duck breast with passion fruit sauce for an extraordinary taste experience. The restaurant’s romantic ambiance further enhances the dining experience.

7. Bun Cha Huong Lien (Obama Bun Cha):

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Overview: For an authentic taste of Hanoi street food, head to Bun Cha Huong Lien, famous for being the place where President Obama and Anthony Bourdain enjoyed a meal. Their bun cha, a dish of grilled pork with noodles and herbs, is a must-try. The casual and bustling atmosphere adds to the charm of this local eatery.

8. Pho Gia Truyen:

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese
  • Overview: No visit to Hanoi is complete without indulging in a steaming bowl of pho, and Pho Gia Truyen is a revered establishment for this iconic dish. This humble eatery has been serving pho for generations, perfecting the art of creating a fragrant broth and tender beef or chicken. Join locals and fellow travelers in this unassuming gem to savor one of Vietnam’s culinary treasures.

9. Sen Restaurant:

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese, Seafood
  • Overview: Sen Restaurant offers a refined dining experience in a serene setting overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake. The menu features traditional Vietnamese dishes with a focus on seafood. Signature dishes include the delicate crab spring rolls and the aromatic grilled shrimp with lemongrass.

10. Highway4: – Cuisine: Vietnamese, Fusion – Overview: Highway4 takes Vietnamese cuisine to the next level with a contemporary twist. The menu offers a diverse range of dishes, including some inspired by ethnic minority recipes. Their focus on regional ingredients and creative cocktails makes it a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Try their unique infused rice liquors for an authentic taste of Vietnam.

11. KOTO (Know One, Teach One): – Cuisine: Vietnamese, Western – Overview: KOTO is not just a restaurant; it’s a social enterprise that empowers disadvantaged youth by providing them with vocational training in the culinary arts. The menu features both Vietnamese and Western dishes, and dining here supports a noble cause. Enjoy your meal while knowing you’re contributing to positive change in the lives of young people.

12. Essence Restaurant: – Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian – Overview: Essence Restaurant, located in the heart of the Old Quarter, offers a diverse menu of Vietnamese and Asian cuisine. With a focus on fresh and local ingredients, they serve dishes that showcase the depth of Vietnamese flavors. The bun cha, a classic Hanoi dish, is a standout here.

13. The Hanoi Social Club: – Cuisine: International – Overview: If you’re craving a break from Vietnamese cuisine, The Hanoi Social Club provides a haven for international flavors. From sandwiches and salads to hearty breakfast options, it’s a cozy and artistic space that caters to a diverse palate. Don’t miss their delectable cakes and pastries for dessert.

14. Chim Sao Restaurant: – Cuisine: Vietnamese – Overview: Chim Sao Restaurant offers a truly authentic Vietnamese dining experience. With a menu featuring regional specialties and a charming, rustic ambiance, it’s an excellent place to explore the diverse flavors of Vietnam. Their clay pot dishes and grilled seafood are particularly popular choices.

15. Cau Go Restaurant: – Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian – Overview: Cau Go Restaurant, perched high above the city, provides stunning panoramic views of Hanoi’s skyline. The menu focuses on Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, offering a range of dishes to suit various tastes. The setting is ideal for a romantic dinner or a special celebration.

16. The Hung Snake Restaurant: – Cuisine: Vietnamese, Snake – Overview: For the adventurous foodie, The Hung Snake Restaurant offers a unique culinary experience. Specializing in snake dishes, the restaurant serves a variety of preparations, from snake spring rolls to snake blood wine. It’s a place where you can delve into the exotic side of Vietnamese cuisine.

17. Madame Hien: – Cuisine: Vietnamese – Overview: Madame Hien, set in a beautifully restored colonial villa, offers a taste of Hanoi’s heritage cuisine. The menu features dishes that hark back to the city’s culinary traditions, including family recipes passed down through generations. The decor and ambiance provide an elegant backdrop for a memorable meal.

18. Quan An Ngon: – Cuisine: Traditional Vietnamese – Overview: Quan An Ngon is a renowned restaurant that offers an extensive menu of Vietnamese dishes from various regions. Set in a charming French colonial villa, the restaurant provides a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. It’s an ideal place to sample a wide array of Vietnamese flavors in one sitting.

Hanoi sunset bicycle ride by the lake in Vietnam

Tours For Visitors To Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a vibrant and historically rich destination that offers visitors a wide range of tours and experiences to explore its unique culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in learning about Vietnam’s history, savoring its delicious cuisine, or immersing yourself in the local way of life, Hanoi has something to offer for every traveler. Here, I’ll outline a variety of tours and activities that visitors to Hanoi can enjoy.

1. Hanoi City Tour:

  • Overview: Start your journey in Hanoi with a comprehensive city tour that covers the major highlights. These typically include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter. This tour offers a great introduction to Hanoi’s history and culture.
  • Duration: Full-day tours are common, but you can also opt for half-day options.

2. Street Food Tour:

  • Overview: Vietnamese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its flavors and diversity. A street food tour in Hanoi allows you to sample a wide variety of local dishes, from the famous pho to bun cha, banh mi, and egg coffee. You’ll explore the bustling food stalls and markets of the Old Quarter, guided by a knowledgeable local foodie.
  • Duration: Usually, these tours last for a few hours, making them perfect for an evening adventure.

3. Ha Long Bay Cruise:

  • Overview: Located a few hours from Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning limestone karsts and emerald waters. Take a cruise to explore this natural wonder, visit hidden caves, kayak in the bay, and enjoy fresh seafood on board.
  • Duration: Most Ha Long Bay tours are either day trips or 2-3 day cruises, depending on your preference.

4. Hanoi Cyclo Tour:

  • Overview: Experience the charm of Hanoi from a traditional cyclo (cycle rickshaw). A cyclo tour will take you through the historic streets of the Old Quarter, around Hoan Kiem Lake, and past notable landmarks. It’s a leisurely way to soak in the city’s atmosphere.
  • Duration: Typically, cyclo tours last for 1-2 hours.

5. Water Puppet Show:

  • Overview: Water puppetry is a unique art form in Vietnam, and Hanoi is one of the best places to experience it. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre offers captivating performances that depict scenes from rural life and folklore using water puppets.
  • Duration: Shows are usually around 45 minutes long.

6. Bat Trang Ceramic Village Tour:

  • Overview: Located just outside Hanoi, Bat Trang is a famous ceramic village with a history dating back over 1,000 years. You can take a guided tour to see local artisans at work, try your hand at pottery, and shop for beautifully crafted ceramics.
  • Duration: Half-day tours are common.

7. Perfume Pagoda Tour:

  • Overview: The Perfume Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist temples nestled amid limestone mountains. Accessible by a scenic boat ride along the Yen River, this tour includes a hike to the main pagoda and exploring various temples and caves along the way.
  • Duration: Full-day tours are popular for this excursion.

8. War Remnants Museum:

  • Overview: For those interested in history, the War Remnants Museum provides insight into Vietnam’s tumultuous past, especially during the Vietnam War. The museum displays photographs, artifacts, and exhibits that shed light on the war’s impact on the country.
  • Duration: You can spend a few hours exploring the museum.

9. Hanoi Art Galleries and Markets:

  • Overview: Hanoi is a hub for art and craft lovers. Explore galleries like the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum and visit local markets such as Dong Xuan Market to shop for traditional art, silk, and handicrafts.
  • Duration: Depending on your interests, you can spend a few hours to a full day exploring these artistic venues.

10. Trekking in Sapa:

  • Overview: While not in Hanoi itself, a visit to the mountain town of Sapa is a popular excursion. You can trek through terraced rice fields, visit ethnic minority villages, and enjoy stunning mountain views.
  • Duration: Most Sapa tours are 2-3 days in length.

These are just a few of the many tours and activities available to visitors in Hanoi. The city’s rich history, diverse cuisine, and stunning natural surroundings make it a fascinating destination with something to offer every traveler. Whether you’re interested in cultural immersion, adventure, or simply relaxing by the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi has it all. Be sure to plan your visit based on your interests and the duration of your stay to make the most of this captivating city.

Hanoi drone shot in Vietnam overlooking the water and houses

Hanoi Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a bustling city that welcomes visitors from all over the world. To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay, it’s crucial to choose the right accommodation option that suits your preferences and budget. Hanoi offers a wide range of choices, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels. In this detailed guide, we’ll explore different types of accommodations in Hanoi to help you make an informed choice.

Luxury Hotels:

  1. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi:
    • Overview: One of the most iconic hotels in Hanoi, the Sofitel Legend Metropole combines French colonial charm with modern luxury. It’s centrally located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers elegant rooms, excellent dining options, a spa, and a beautiful courtyard.
    • Price Range: High-end
  2. JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi:
    • Overview: Situated in Hanoi’s new business district, this 5-star hotel offers spacious rooms with modern amenities, multiple dining options, a rooftop bar, and a luxurious spa. It’s a great choice for both business and leisure travelers.
    • Price Range: High-end

Boutique Hotels:

  1. La Siesta Trendy Hotel & Spa:
    • Overview: This boutique hotel in the heart of the Old Quarter is known for its stylish design and personalized service. It offers comfortable rooms, a rooftop bar, and a spa. The staff is highly praised for their hospitality.
    • Price Range: Mid-range
  2. Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa:
    • Overview: Located in a quiet street in the Old Quarter, Essence Hanoi offers well-appointed rooms, a charming restaurant, and a spa. The hotel’s warm and friendly atmosphere makes it a popular choice for tourists.
    • Price Range: Mid-range


  1. Hanoi Charming 2 Hotel:
    • Overview: This budget-friendly guesthouse offers clean and comfortable rooms with modern amenities. It’s centrally located, making it convenient for exploring Hanoi’s attractions on foot.
    • Price Range: Budget
  2. Hanoi Serenity Hotel:
    • Overview: Nestled in a quiet alley of the Old Quarter, this guesthouse provides affordable rooms with friendly staff. It’s an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers who want to experience the local culture.
    • Price Range: Budget


  1. Central Backpackers Hostel:
    • Overview: Popular among backpackers, this hostel offers dormitory-style accommodation with a vibrant atmosphere. It has a lively bar, regular events, and helpful staff who can assist with travel plans.
    • Price Range: Budget
  2. Hanoi Rocks Hostel:
    • Overview: Another top choice for backpackers, Hanoi Rocks Hostel offers a fun and sociable environment. It has dormitory and private rooms, a bar, and various activities for guests to enjoy.
    • Price Range: Budget

Serviced Apartments:

  1. Somerset Grand Hanoi:
    • Overview: If you prefer a more home-like experience, Somerset Grand Hanoi offers spacious serviced apartments with fully equipped kitchens. It’s suitable for long-term stays and provides access to a fitness center and pool.
    • Price Range: Mid to high-end
  2. Fraser Suites Hanoi:
    • Overview: These serviced apartments are known for their modern amenities, including well-furnished apartments, a gym, and a rooftop bar. It’s an ideal choice for families or travelers seeking extended stays.
    • Price Range: Mid to high-end

When choosing your accommodation in Hanoi, consider factors such as location, budget, and the type of experience you desire. Hanoi’s diverse range of hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and serviced apartments ensures that there’s something for every traveler, whether you’re looking for luxury, comfort, or a budget-friendly option. Make sure to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best possible accommodation for your stay in this vibrant and historic city.

source: Island Hopper TV on YouTube

Hanoi 7 Days Travel Itinerary

A 7-day travel itinerary in Hanoi, Vietnam, allows you to immerse yourself in the rich history, culture, and cuisine of this captivating city. Hanoi offers a perfect blend of ancient traditions and modern life, making it an ideal destination for an extended visit. Here’s a detailed 7-day itinerary to help you make the most of your trip to Hanoi:

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

  • Morning: Arrive at Noi Bai International Airport. Check-in to your chosen accommodation, whether it’s a luxury hotel, boutique hotel, guesthouse, or hostel.
  • Lunch: Head to the Old Quarter for your first taste of Vietnamese cuisine. Try the famous “pho” (Vietnamese noodle soup) at a local eatery.
  • Afternoon: Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple located on a small island in the lake. Take in the serene surroundings and the iconic red bridge.
  • Evening: Explore the bustling night markets of the Old Quarter. This is a great place to shop for souvenirs, street food, and local crafts.

Day 2: Historical Hanoi

  • Morning: Start your day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House. Learn about the life of Vietnam’s revolutionary leader.
  • Lunch: Savor a traditional Vietnamese meal at a local restaurant near the Mausoleum.
  • Afternoon: Visit the One Pillar Pagoda and the nearby Temple of Literature, which is Vietnam’s first national university and a well-preserved example of traditional Vietnamese architecture.
  • Evening: Enjoy a water puppet show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. This traditional art form depicts scenes from rural life and legends.

Day 3: Hanoi Street Food Adventure

  • Morning: Take a cooking class to learn how to prepare some of Hanoi’s most famous dishes, such as spring rolls and bun cha.
  • Lunch: Enjoy the dishes you prepared during the cooking class.
  • Afternoon: Embark on a street food tour through the Old Quarter. Taste a variety of local snacks and dishes, including banh mi, bun cha, and egg coffee.
  • Evening: Visit Ta Hien Street, known as “Beer Street,” to try local beers and soak in the lively atmosphere.

Day 4: Day Trip to Ha Long Bay

  • Morning: Depart early for a day trip to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside.
  • Lunch: Have lunch on board your cruise ship as you sail through the stunning limestone karsts and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay.
  • Afternoon: Explore the Thien Cung Cave and visit a floating fishing village. You can also go kayaking or swimming if you wish.
  • Evening: Return to Hanoi in the evening and have dinner at your hotel or explore a local restaurant.

Day 5: Explore Hanoi’s Neighborhoods

  • Morning: Take a leisurely stroll through the French Quarter, admiring the colonial architecture. Don’t miss the iconic Hanoi Opera House.
  • Lunch: Enjoy a French-inspired meal at a cafe or restaurant in the French Quarter.
  • Afternoon: Visit the Museum of Ethnology to learn about Vietnam’s diverse ethnic groups and their cultures.
  • Evening: Head to the West Lake area and dine at a lakeside restaurant. The area is known for its peaceful atmosphere.

Day 6: Day Trip to Perfume Pagoda

  • Morning: Depart for the Perfume Pagoda, located about 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi. The journey includes a boat ride along the Yen River and a hike up to the main pagoda.
  • Lunch: Enjoy a vegetarian meal at one of the local restaurants near the pagoda.
  • Afternoon: Explore other temples and caves in the area before returning to Hanoi.
  • Evening: Have dinner at your accommodation or try a local restaurant in the Old Quarter.

Day 7: Arts, Crafts, and Departure

  • Morning: Visit art galleries and markets in Hanoi, such as the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum and Dong Xuan Market. Shop for traditional art, silk, and handicrafts as souvenirs.
  • Lunch: Savor a final Vietnamese meal at a restaurant of your choice.
  • Afternoon: Depending on your flight schedule, you can do some last-minute shopping or relaxation before checking out.
  • Evening: Head to Noi Bai International Airport for your departure, or continue your journey if you have more time to explore Vietnam.

This 7-day itinerary offers a balanced mix of cultural exploration, culinary adventures, and relaxation, allowing you to fully experience the charm of Hanoi. Be sure to adapt the plan to your own interests and preferences, and don’t forget to savor the local flavors and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant street life.

source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Hanoi?

After your trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, you have a plethora of captivating destinations to explore both within the country and in neighboring countries. Your choice will depend on your interests, the duration of your trip, and your budget. Here are some wonderful destinations to consider for your post-Hanoi travels:

1. Ha Long Bay:

  • Overview: If you haven’t already visited during your stay in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is a must-see. Known for its stunning limestone karsts, emerald waters, and floating fishing villages, it offers a serene and picturesque escape.
  • How to Get There: Ha Long Bay is approximately a 3-4 hour drive from Hanoi. You can book a guided tour or opt for a private transfer.

2. Sapa:

  • Overview: Located in the northern highlands of Vietnam, Sapa is renowned for its terraced rice fields, ethnic minority villages, and trekking opportunities. It offers a completely different experience from the bustling streets of Hanoi.
  • How to Get There: Take an overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai, followed by a scenic drive to Sapa.

3. Hue:

  • Overview: Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, is steeped in history and boasts a rich cultural heritage. Explore the ancient citadel, royal tombs, and enjoy boat rides along the Perfume River.
  • How to Get There: You can fly from Hanoi to Hue or take a train, which offers a scenic journey through Vietnam’s countryside.

4. Hoi An:

  • Overview: Hoi An is a charming town known for its well-preserved ancient architecture, lantern-lit streets, and vibrant culinary scene. It’s also famous for its tailor shops, where you can have custom-made clothing.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Da Nang, and then take a short drive to Hoi An.

5. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon):

  • Overview: In stark contrast to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis in southern Vietnam. Explore its historical landmarks like the Cu Chi Tunnels, visit the War Remnants Museum, and enjoy vibrant street markets.
  • How to Get There: You can fly from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, and there are also overnight trains available.

6. Angkor Wat, Cambodia:

  • Overview: For a cross-border adventure, consider visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Marvel at the ancient temples and immerse yourself in the rich Khmer history and culture.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat.

7. Luang Prabang, Laos:

  • Overview: If you seek a tranquil and spiritual experience, Luang Prabang in Laos is a UNESCO-listed city with serene temples, lush landscapes, and a laid-back atmosphere.
  • How to Get There: You can fly from Hanoi to Luang Prabang or consider taking a scenic overland journey through northern Laos.

8. Bangkok, Thailand:

  • Overview: If you’re interested in exploring a major Southeast Asian city, Bangkok is a vibrant and diverse destination. Experience its bustling markets, historic temples, and world-class street food.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Bangkok, a short journey that provides easy access to Thailand’s capital.

9. Bali, Indonesia:

  • Overview: For a tropical getaway, Bali offers beautiful beaches, lush landscapes, and a rich cultural scene. Explore temples, go surfing, or simply relax by the sea.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

10. Phnom Penh, Cambodia:

  • Overview: Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital and offers a mix of history, culture, and modernity. Visit the Royal Palace, the Killing Fields, and explore the city’s vibrant markets and riverfront.
  • How to Get There: You can fly from Hanoi to Phnom Penh, making it an accessible destination from Vietnam.

11. Yangon, Myanmar:

  • Overview: Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, is known for its impressive Shwedagon Pagoda, colonial architecture, and bustling markets. It provides an opportunity to explore Myanmar’s unique culture.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Yangon International Airport.

12. Siem Reap and Beyond, Cambodia:

  • Overview: Beyond Angkor Wat, Siem Reap offers opportunities to explore the Cambodian countryside, visit floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake, and engage in cultural experiences.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Siem Reap or explore overland options in Cambodia.

13. Ninh Binh, Vietnam:

  • Overview: For a shorter and more local trip, consider visiting Ninh Binh, often referred to as “Halong Bay on land.” Explore the stunning karst landscapes, take a boat ride through Tam Coc, and visit ancient temples.
  • How to Get There: Ninh Binh is just a few hours’ drive from Hanoi.

14. Danang and Hoi An, Vietnam:

  • Overview: If you haven’t visited these central Vietnam destinations from Hanoi, they are worth considering. Danang offers beautiful beaches and modern amenities, while Hoi An is a historical gem.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Danang, and it’s a short drive to Hoi An.

15. Tokyo, Japan:

  • Overview: If you’re open to a longer international journey, Tokyo offers a blend of traditional and modern Japan. Explore temples, vibrant neighborhoods, and savor Japanese cuisine.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Tokyo’s Narita or Haneda International Airports.

16. Luang Namtha, Laos:

  • Overview: For an off-the-beaten-path experience, visit Luang Namtha in northern Laos. It’s a gateway to trekking in the Nam Ha National Protected Area, where you can experience pristine nature and interact with local ethnic communities.
  • How to Get There: You can fly from Hanoi to Luang Prabang, Laos, and then travel by road to Luang Namtha.

17. The Mekong Delta, Vietnam:

  • Overview: Explore the Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam, known for its lush landscapes, floating markets, and a unique way of life. Take boat trips along the Mekong River and discover the delta’s hidden gems.
  • How to Get There: You can take a flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and then travel by road to the Mekong Delta.

18. Chiang Mai, Thailand:

  • Overview: Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, is known for its rich history, beautiful temples, and vibrant night markets. You can also explore the lush surrounding countryside, go trekking, and visit hill tribes.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Chiang Mai International Airport.

19. Bagan, Myanmar:

  • Overview: Bagan is famous for its ancient temples and pagodas scattered across the arid plains. Explore this archaeological wonder by e-bike, hot air balloon, or horse-drawn carriage.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Nyaung U Airport in Bagan.

20. Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (or Vice Versa):

  • Overview: Consider an epic journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (or the reverse). Traveling by train, bus, or motorcycle will allow you to experience Vietnam’s diverse landscapes and cultures, including the Central Highlands, coastal cities, and rural areas.
  • How to Get There: Depending on your preferred mode of transport, you can book tickets for trains, buses, or domestic flights.

21. Baliem Valley, Papua, Indonesia:

  • Overview: For an adventurous and off-the-beaten-path experience, consider visiting Baliem Valley in Papua, Indonesia. It’s home to indigenous tribes, offers stunning mountain landscapes, and opportunities for trekking and cultural immersion.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Jayapura, the capital of Papua, and then take a domestic flight to Wamena, the gateway to Baliem Valley.

22. Hanoi to Saigon by Motorcycle:

  • Overview: If you’re an adventurous traveler and have a passion for motorcycling, consider a classic journey from Hanoi to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) by motorcycle. This trip offers an authentic glimpse into Vietnam’s countryside and local life.
  • How to Get There: Rent or purchase a motorcycle in Hanoi and plan your route, which will take several days.

23. Luang Prabang to Vientiane, Laos:

  • Overview: Explore more of Laos by traveling from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, the capital. Along the way, you can visit scenic spots, rural villages, and cultural attractions.
  • How to Get There: You can take a domestic flight from Luang Prabang to Vientiane or opt for a scenic bus journey.

24. Seoul, South Korea:

  • Overview: For a unique cultural experience, consider a trip to Seoul, South Korea. Explore the city’s palaces, temples, markets, and indulge in Korean cuisine. Don’t miss a visit to the DMZ, the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Incheon International Airport in Seoul.

25. Bhutan:

  • Overview: For a truly unique travel experience, consider a visit to Bhutan, known for its stunning Himalayan landscapes, vibrant culture, and focus on Gross National Happiness. Explore monasteries, fortresses, and hike in the pristine wilderness.
  • How to Get There: Fly from Hanoi to Paro International Airport in Bhutan.

These are just a few options for your post-Hanoi travels, and the possibilities are endless. Be sure to plan your trip based on your interests, budget, and the time you have available. Whether you choose to explore more of Vietnam, visit neighboring countries, or embark on an entirely new adventure, the region offers a wealth of diverse experiences waiting to be discovered.

Hanoi train track down the middle of the street in Vietnam

Hanoi Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a mesmerizing destination that offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and experiences to travelers. As we conclude this travel guide, let’s reflect on some final thoughts and tips for making the most of your visit to this vibrant city.

1. Immerse Yourself in Local Culture:

  • Hanoi is a city deeply rooted in tradition and history. Take the time to explore its temples, pagodas, and historic sites to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s cultural heritage.
  • Engage with locals, try to learn a few basic Vietnamese phrases, and partake in cultural activities, such as a water puppet show or traditional tea ceremonies, to connect with the local way of life.

2. Savor the Culinary Delights:

  • Vietnamese cuisine is world-famous for its fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and balance of textures. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local dishes like pho, bun cha, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls.
  • Explore street food stalls and markets in the Old Quarter for an authentic dining experience. Be adventurous and sample dishes you’ve never tried before.

3. Navigate the Old Quarter:

  • Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a maze of narrow streets, each specializing in a particular trade or craft. Stroll through the bustling streets, visit local shops, and soak in the chaotic yet charming atmosphere.
  • Bargain when shopping in the Old Quarter markets, but do so respectfully. It’s all part of the local culture.

4. Mind the Traffic:

  • Hanoi’s traffic can be overwhelming with an abundance of scooters and cars. When crossing the road, follow the locals’ lead. Walk at a slow, steady pace, and traffic will flow around you.
  • Consider using ride-sharing apps or taxis for longer journeys to avoid the hectic traffic.

5. Be Mindful of Dress Code:

  • When visiting religious sites like temples and pagodas, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. It’s a sign of respect for the local customs and beliefs.
  • Carry a scarf or shawl in your bag in case you need to cover up while sightseeing.

6. Plan Your Visit:

  • Hanoi has a tropical monsoon climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Consider the weather when planning your trip; the best time to visit is during the cool, dry months from November to April.
  • Book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or festivals.

7. Safety and Health:

  • Hanoi is generally safe for tourists. However, exercise caution with your belongings, and be aware of common travel scams.
  • Stay hydrated and take precautions against mosquito bites, especially in rural areas. Consult a healthcare professional regarding vaccinations and health advice before your trip.

8. Explore Beyond Hanoi:

  • While Hanoi offers an array of experiences, consider exploring other parts of Vietnam. Take day trips to nearby destinations like Ha Long Bay, Sapa, or Ninh Binh for diverse landscapes and cultural insights.
  • If time allows, consider a journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) by train or motorcycle to experience the country’s geographical and cultural diversity.

9. Respect Local Customs:

  • Learn about Vietnamese customs and traditions. For example, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple.
  • Respect local customs and etiquette, such as showing deference to elders and not pointing your feet at people or religious objects.

10. Embrace the Chaos:

  • Hanoi can be chaotic and noisy, but that’s part of its charm. Embrace the energy of the city, and you’ll find that it adds to the authenticity of your experience.

In conclusion, Hanoi is a city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. It’s a place where the past and present coexist harmoniously, making it a captivating destination for travelers seeking an authentic and enriching experience. By immersing yourself in the local culture, savoring the cuisine, and exploring the city’s many facets, you’ll create lasting memories and a deep appreciation for all that Hanoi has to offer. Enjoy your journey in this enchanting capital of Vietnam!

In Hanoi’s heart, where stories unfold, A city of tales, both ancient and bold. With streets that wind through history’s embrace, Hanoi welcomes you with charm and grace.

Upon Hoan Kiem’s tranquil shores we tread, Where legends of the turtle’s wisdom spread. Its temple whispers secrets of the past, A moment’s respite from the bustling blast.

The Old Quarter’s maze, a lively affair, Where scooters hum and vendors share. In each alley, a new delight to savor, From steaming pho to vibrant flavors.

Temples and pagodas, a spiritual art, Speak of devotion from every heart. Burning incense fills the air with grace, As travelers find solace in this sacred space.

Sample street food in the evening’s glow, From banh mi’s crunch to egg coffee’s flow. As night descends and lanterns ignite, Hanoi’s beauty shines oh-so-bright.

From the ancient streets to the modern scene, Hanoi’s treasures are vast, sights to glean. In every corner, a story unfolds, In this city of legends, so ancient and bold.

So wander, explore, and take it all in, Let Hanoi’s essence seep deep within. For travelers, this city’s a dream come true, Hanoi, with love, we bid adieu.

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  1. says: HNE

    Yes, That’s my Hanoi, our proud city :). I am glad to hear you had time to visit a lot of our city attractions and taste great street foods especialy try to drink “Bia hoi”.
    I really enjoy your post and thank you for sharing this and love our Hanoi!