3 days Hanoi itinerary – What to do in Hanoi for 3 days 2 nights
When my friends visit Hanoi, they show me their lists with long of tourist attractions, interesting things to do and asking me to suggest a Hanoi itinerary. Due to the short amount of time, it is challenging for them to get in local life and have fulfilling experience in Hanoi.
As a local and culture explorer in Hanoi for more than 20 years, I gave them my recommended 3 days Hanoi itinerary for unforgettable experience here.
Like other locals, I start my day with pho – a fresh bowl of noodle and beef or chicken that fill in my full energy to begin a busy working day!
Pho can be found in every street of Hanoi, in a luxury restaurant or in a street food store. I usually begin my busy working day with a bowl in a restaurant nearby The Old Quarter.
Early morning is the best time for you to immerse yourself in local daily lifestyle. Take a seat in a street restaurant and let’s enjoy pho like a local in Hanoi!
Explore the traditional side
Then, be friend of Hanoi by taking a walk around The Old Quarter.
The Old Quarter is called “where all stories happen” for twenty-something locals like us. Much of Hanoi charm lies in the Old Quarter, but sometimes you need a little local knowledge to locate them.
Nearby and around The Old Quarter is another local highly-recommended attractions. I will feature and steer you towards some of the historical, cultural destinations in Hanoi including Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi Opera House, Bach Ma Temple…
If you want to save your time and visit as many as possible places, I suggest you to hire yourself a motorbike and transport like a local in Hanoi. Remember to wear helmet and bring your ID with you.
Or more convenient, you can explore Hanoi with a free local guide in motorbike.
It is double-benefit option because you can learn not only about destinations but also can listen to local stories and knowledge that only local can share.
“What is egg coffee?”. I received a lot of the same questions about the “weird” coffee in Hanoi from my foreign friends. My answer for these questions is to take them to my favorite cafe that offer the best local taste of egg coffee.
It is enough for your fruitful day in Hanoi, relax and get ready for the second exciting day!
In the second day, you can have a banh mi for your breakfast. With pho, banh mi (Vietnamese bread) is highlighted as Vietnam representatives on the world cuisine map.
Locals can eat banh mi for breakfast, for lunch or dinner. It is convenient and full of protein for your trip to Bat Trang Pottery Village.
However, Bat Trang Village is quite far from the center of Hanoi. You should get up early and know exactly how to get there. My suggestion for you is to use Bus 47 from Long Bien bus stop. If you have any question about this issue, you can contact us or book a free local tour.
Long Bien Bridge
After short trip to Bat Trang Village, you can visit Long Bien Bridge – our local pride on bravery and courage of Vietnam through country’s long history.
Long Bien Bridge is more than 100 years old bridge, built by French during French war. Whenever I walk across Long Bien Bridge, I feel proud of my hometown and appreciate what I have today.
This bridge means to us as a symbol of sacrifice for country freedom and history witness of Hanoi development.
Bat Trang pottery village and Long Bien bridge takes you a morning and a haft of afternoon, then what should you do next?
Enjoy tea in local style!
Fully participated in above activities, I must be very thusty! Why not try drink a cup of tea in local style!
Tea (tra), local tea is different from British tea or American tea. Such kind of tea is unable to be found in any place in this world.
On Tripadvisor, many tourists are curious about preschool sized chair on the street. It might be pretty funny at the first time you see it and if you are tall, you might have issues sitting on.
If you want to have a travel local buddy to take seat, have a chat like a local, contact us!
Day 3: A full amazing day like a local
Watch Water Puppet Show
I have watched Water puppet show many times in some important festivals in Hanoi. If you want to watch this show, there are two theaters near the Old Quarter for you to choose.
Eat like a local
Vietnamese local food is highlighted on the top cuisine magazines in the world by Chef Gordon Ramsay, USA President Barack Obama…
The reason is not mainly about the local passion for food but also about the creativity of locals and our commitment to change, adapt new things, learn new techniques and put their heart on cooking!
Spend your afternoon in a street food tour, explore every hidden corners and taste a single unforgettable dish in Hanoi.
If you are too lazy to search about must-try foods in Hanoi but desire to taste all, contact for detailed guide and support! We are free local guide and also foodie, photographers that up-level your experience in Hanoi to the much more awesome!
Shopping like a local
If you are a passionate shopper, I must be your friend ^^ Whenever I visit different city and other country, I love to go shopping and buy myself, my family and friends local gifts. However, I normally was upset of buying fake products and overcharged local gifts. I do not ever want you to face the same problems and have bad experience in my city.
Listen to my local tips that I applied smartly in my trips:
Ask about the price before deciding to buy it. Ask them firstly to know how much it costs, then ask them again to make sure that they say the “reasonable” price for you!
Use Vietnam Dong (local currency). Local stores are rarely acceptable to card payment. You should convert your money into Vietnam Dong for more convenience.
Be accompanied by a free local guide. Why not? It is the best way to make sure you won’t be overcharged and have awesome local experience in Hanoi.
Capture the young spirit
You won’t ever know a city without exploring the young and nightlife here!
Hanoi is young city with rapid change everyday. The city offers no-where-the-same experience in this world with busy and exciting night life.
Finally, I hope that my local tips and Hanoi Itinerary for 3-day-suggestions would give you useful information and support you to get prepared before you visit Hanoi. If you have any question, contact us!
We selected information on Wikitravel Hanoi, and our local tour guides working for at least 5 year experience for this article.
you will chat directly with local guides, she will help you out.
Summary Itinerary for 5, 6, 7 days in Hanoi, North Vietnam
The summary 5 days Itinerary:
Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter And French Quarter
Day 2: Hanoi City Sightseeing
Day 3: Halong Bay
Day 4: Go to Ninh Binh
Day 5: Back to Hanoi
Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter And French Quarter
Day 2: Hanoi City Sightseeing
Day 3: Halong Bay (2 days)
Day 5: Back to Hanoi
No more than 3 days in Hanoi city. (1 day for Halong Bay can be a bit short)
For all the places in Hanoi ( Hanoi Old Quarter, French Quarter, City), you can consider doingHanoi free tours with Local university students.
If you are planning less than 3 days in Hanoi, Here is for you:2 days in Hanoi
the best way to enjoy Ninh Binh is taking a day trip from Hanoi from AZ Local Trip See Ninh Binh Tours and request them for more advice on the location you are going to do
The summary 6 days Itinerary:
Option 1: 2 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay, 2 days in Sapa)
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Free Old Quarter Walking Tour with Local volunteers)
Day 2: Hanoi – Halong bay day trip
Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi street food tours with AZlocal NPO
Day 4: From Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai – Sapa – Cat Cat Village)
Day 5: Sapa – Muong Hoa Valley – Lao Chai – Ta Van — To Hanoi at night.
Day 6: Hanoi City around Free and Easy day (Detailed below)
The first option covers Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa. But if you are in a group with elders and kids, this itinerary will not be highly recommended. To explore Sapa, you have to walk or trek a lot down the roads and villages and this might be difficult for kids and elders. It also takes a lot of time to go to Sapa (by train or shuttle bus) so this itinerary is a little bit rushed. Young people and adventurous souls might be suitable for this trip.
Option 2: 3 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay, 1 day in Ninh Binh
Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi (Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi Nightlife)
Day 2 – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise
Day 3 – Halong Bay – Back to Hanoi
Day 4 – Hanoi Around the City (Ho Chi Minh Complex, Hanoi Citadel, Temple of literature) + French Quarter + Enjoy Foods to prepare for the next day
Day 5 – Ninh Binh Day Trip: Hoa Lu – Tam Coc
Day 6 – Hanoi Free & Easy day
We would highly recommend this itinerary with groups of elders and kids or those who want a relaxing trip. The itinerary is not too rushed but you also can experience the most out of 3 destinations.
The summary 7 days Itinerary:
Option 1: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Ninh Binh (4 days in Hanoi, 3 days in Halong Bay, 1 days in Ninh Binh)
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi Tour (Free tours with local volunteers)
Day 3: Ninh Binh
Day 4, 5: Halong Bay
Day 6,7: Hanoi
Option 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Sapa (2 days in hanoi, 3 days in Sapa, 2 days in Halong Bay)
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2, 3: Halong Bay
Day 4,5,6: Sapa
Day 7: Hanoi Departure
Option 2 of the 7 days hanoi itinerary covers Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa. Sapa is a small town in Northern Vietnam and known for its beautiful ethnic minorities’ villages, spectacular scenery with rice terraces and picturesque valleys. However, visiting Sapa requires you to do some trekking and walking, so that elders and kids should consider in case they cannot do so. Anyways, this tour is relaxable and not rushed as you have much time for enjoying yourself. This itinerary is like option 1, suitable for everyone from groups with elders or kids, families, friends and solo travelers.
5 Days in Hanoi (Detail)
Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter And French Quarter
You’ve just got to the Old Quarter. You see the crowded street full of people and motorbikes.
You can feel it—the atmosphere of the Old Quarter. Now it’s time to explore it a little bit.
Hanoi Old Quarter
Have you ever heard of this: “Hanoi has thirty-six streets and guides?” It’s a mixture of both traditional and modern—exciting and relaxing—at the same time.
Things that you can do here:
Walk and sightsee the people and the street
Shop local products
Try street food on the way from local restaurants
Join the mystical adventure through 36 streets and guides:
Start: Cau Go Street
End: Le Thai To Street
As your exciting exploration is going, remember to look out for the way—the traffic can get crazy sometimes.
Now let’s move to…
Sightsee Sword Lake
What is the most popular attraction in hanoi—the one that everyone in Hanoi must know?
It’s impossible for you to visit Hanoi without knowing—or seeing the Sword Lake.
Things that you can do here:
Sit on the rock chair and sightsee Sword Lake
The scenery in Hoan Kiem Lake is always magnificent no matter the weather.
After that you can visit…
Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple is just a few steps away from Sword Lake. It’s on Sword Lake, once you cross the Red Bridge.
Hanoi French Quarter
Visit the Opera House, The Opera house is the feat of French architects.
Once you come here, you can learn a lot about the history—also observe the astounding construction inside.
Things that you can do here are:
Observe the magnificent architectural construction by the French.
Learn about history. You will learn about the reason behind the creation of the Opera House.
Watch the performance. Here in the Opera house—you can see one of the most amazing traditional performances—by the most talented people in the country.
Located on Trang Tien Street, it won’t take you a long time to get here from the Old Quarter:
Address: 01 Trang Tien Street
Price: 400,000 VND(~$18)/ticket
And now, you will…
Visit Long Bien Bridge
If you love learning about history—then Long Bien Bridge is a must-see.
Things you can do here are:
Learn about history.
Long Bien Bridge is the witness of a hundred years of history. Here you will learn about the amazing stories behind this attraction.
2.Watch the sunset and take photos. Watching the sunset from the bridge is wonderful.
It crosses the most well-known river in Hanoi—the Red River.
From The Opera House, it’s only takes 10 minutes by Taxi:
Address: Next to Long Bien Station
Drink Beer In Ta Hien Street
It’s very exciting and fun during the day in the Old Quarter. You got it. What about the night?
Even better. At night, the street is full of people coming to all the bars in the Old Quarter to chill and relax.
Things that you can do:
Drink beer and cheer with the other
Drink some bia hoi (vietnamese craft beer) on Ta Hien or Luong Ngoc Quyen while sitting and chilling on the sidewalk with other people.
You can make some friends with other foreigners
Address: Ta Hien Street and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street or
Price: 50,000 VND (~$2.3)/bottle
Day 2: Hanoi City Sightseeing
After one exciting day. You just can’t get enough of Hanoi.
Want to experience more? Let’s go, shall we?
Visit Ho Chi Minh Complex
Interested in history, architecture and sightseeing? You have to visit Ho Chi Minh Complex—a must see in Hanoi.
See Flag Ritual.
If you arrive early then you can see the flag ritual here—at 6 am.
Visit Ba Dinh Square
See 240 squares of grass. Learn about the glorious history of Vietnam.
Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Here, you can see the image of our great president Ho Chi Minh.
Visit One Pillar Pagoda
One pillar Pagoda is the signature of Vietnamese Culture. It has the best designs and scenery in Hanoi. An ancient and elegant pagoda on top of a lotus lake—it’s extremely beautiful.
Coming here, you can sight-see the wonderful view of the pagoda.
From Ho Chi Minh Complex—One Pillar Pagoda is only 4 minutes walking from there:
Address: Doi Can Street
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
If you like ancient history—you can not miss the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was recognized as UNESCO World Heritages in 2010.
To see Imperial Citadel of Thang Long:
Address: Quan Thanh Street
Time: 8AM-12:30PM, 13:30PM-17PM
Price: 30.000 VND (~$1.3)
Now it’s time to…
Visit Temple Of Literature
Temple of Literature is the first University of Vietnam. Therefore, needless to say the culture and historical beauty of this attraction.
Sightsee the historical and cultural beauty
Temple of Literature is only 7 minutes from Imperial Citadel of Thang Long:
Address: Quoc Tu Giam Street
Time: 8:30-11:30 & 11:30-16:30
Price: 30,000 VND (~$1.3)/Ticket
Water puppet Theater Show
Interested in traditional Vietnamese art? Then you should go see a water puppet theater show. It’s Unique Vietnamese traditional art.
It describes daily life of Vietnamese farmers, entertainment with people (swimming contest, dragon dancing,…) or historical legends
It tells stories about:
Vietnamese farmers life
Communal entertainment of vietnamese (swimming contest, dragon dancing,…)
Historical legends (The Return of Sword on Sword Lake,…)
Thang Long Puppetry Show:
Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street
Price: 100,000 VND/pax ($4.5) + 30,000 VND ($1.4)/cup of coffee
Day 3: Halong Bay ( 2 days)
You’ve made the most out of your time in Hanoi in those 2 days.
Now…. It’s time for a fresh experience. It’s time to taste the saltiness of the sea.
And no other place can beat Ha Long bay for its beauty.
Go to Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is located in Quang Ninh, 160km in Hanoi so it would take 4 hours by bus.
On the way to Ha Long, you can sightsee and take pictures of the Red River.
Sightsee and eat lunch on Junk Boat
Get on a junk boat, a beautiful sun deck, lie in bed and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the bay.
Things you can do:
Have lunch on Board.
Coming to HaLong Bay without tasting the fresh seafood would be a waste. Trust me. You wouldn’t want to miss it.
Note: If you visit HaLong Bay for 2 days, you will lose 1 day in Hanoi or 1 day in Ninh Binh.
Want to exercise a little bit? Try kayaking.
Kayaking and sightseeing the beautiful bay of a thousand year old island is a one of a kind experience you can’t forget.
Things you can do:
Kayak to Thien Son Cung Cave.
Thien Son Cung Cave is a must see. It has a magnificent view.
Take some photos of the wonderful scenery.
Day 4: Go to Ninh Binh
Yesterday you had a great time in Ha Long Bay. And for today—we will visit Halong Bay again!?
Wait, but this time… It’s Halong Bay on land. It’s called Trang An Complex. Trang An was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014—needless to say the beauty of this place.
Trang An is located in Ninh Binh. It takes 3 hours by bus from Giap Bat bus station. You can totally arrive and leave at the same time.
A few tips:
Bring some extra clothing—going to the caves will be cold.
Sneaker and a little bit of food to snack on the way.
Best way to enjoy Ninh Binh is taking a day trip from Hanoi (Would love to recommend Ninh Binh one day tours by AZ Local Trip because of their careful recommendation before the tours)
You had a long day. It’s time for you to rest.
Day 5: Back to Hanoi
Visit Bat Trang Pottery Village
Bat Trang pottery village is one of the most well known traditional handicraft villages.
Local artisans who use both traditional and modern techniques to create beautiful porcelain artworks.
Bat Trang Pottery Village is 13km Southeast of Hanoi. To get there you can use a day tour or bus.
Things you can do here are:
Purchase ceramic products
You can purchase the finest handmade ceramic products—vases, bowld, cups and plates.
Address: Bat Trang Village, Bat Trang commune
Price:100.000-200000 VND ($5-10)/piece
Create your own ceramic products.
You can create your own product by joining a workshop. It’s an amazing experience.
Address: Bat Trang local workshop, Bat Trang Village, Bat Trang Commune
Price:25.000 VND (~$1)/session
In The Afternoon
Want to keep some memories of this trip? Want to buy some gifts for friends and family?
This is the chance for you to do—buy shopping around Hanoi. Hanoi has a lot of things you can purchase including traditional food and products
It’s time for you to wrap it up and prepare for departing tomorrow. But if you still have some spare time then you can…
Let’s have a great time in Hanoi.
Cause time waits for no one.
Day 6 or day 7 (Hanoi, North Vietnam) in case you are going to Plan
Stay longer for Halong Bay for 2 days 1 night, some travelers even choose 3 days 2 nights for Halong Bay ( other time for Hanoi, and Ninh Binh), think about Bai Tu Long (less touristy), or Lan Hạ Bay, instead of Halong Bay (especially from November to February)
For Sapa in case of 7 days itinerary Hanoi
Around 3days – 2nights in Sapa is enough for your trip.
– Visit the local markets: Coc Ly on Tuesday, Lung Khau on Thursday, Can Cau on Saturday and Bac Ha Market is held every Sunday.
– 2 days trekking down to the villages nearby the Sapa town then overnight at the village to get the experience.
– Visit the waterfall or visit the dragon mountain.
Having only one day in Hanoi? With such a tight schedule, I have to admit that it’s hard to explore Hanoi to the fullest.
However, that’s why I’m writing this post. Being Hanoian since the very first day of my life, I love and have a deep understanding of this beautiful city. And for tourists coming to Hanoi for the first time, I’ve listed down what you cannot miss if you only have the best Hanoi 1 day tour, including what to do, what to see and what to eat.
Just follow my local detailed Itinerary for only one day in Hanoi, you will catch a glimpse of Hanoi without tiring yourself out!
Some tourists could not believe that they could get into the mood of a new city in just a day. Therefore, they waste their opportunity of exploring a new local life and experience sleeping in a hotel, waiting for a new flight for a longer vacation.
Hanoi Free Local Tours provides travelers withFree Tours guided by Local University Students to make sure that Your day in Hanoi will be really worthy
Hanoi 1 Day Itinerary Summary
Some notes for you:
One day is enough for you to get a taste of local Hanoi. Just do not try to see too much!
If you’ve got yourself only 1 Day in Hanoi, it is crucial for you to base yourself near the Old Quarter (Central area of Hanoi)
Visit The Old Quarter and Eat Hanoi local food
1. In The Morning – Hanoi 1 day tour
Breakfast with Pho
Pho – beef noodle is the most famous and popular dish in Hanoi. We have pho for our breakfast daily which brings us enough energy to start a new day! In other parts of Vietnam, you can also find pho but I promise that the original taste of Hanoi pho is much better!
Your 24-hour-Hanoi exploration will not miss Pho in your one day trip.
Spend Your Morning in Hanoi Old Quarter
The Old Quarter shows you a different face of Hanoi. It features young and exciting Hanoi covered by an old and ancient Hanoi. As a young local here, I’d prefer to present you both sides of my hometown to feel the real local experience!
In addition, I carefully select the below destinations for your one day in Hanoi. Following the Itinerary, you undoubtedly see Hanoi with vivid local life!
Obviously, it is impossible for you to see all Hanoi offers. However, we suggest starting your days in the city center early to engage deeper in the local life.
Hoan Kiem Lake is a top 1 must-visit destination for tourists and locals in Hanoi. You can take a slow walk around the lake, watch locals doing their first daily activities. Some locals do exercise near the lake, others commune to work and prepare for the coming busy day.
You do not need to walk a full-round around Hoan Kiem Lake but the view from any corner is definitely the same – Amazing. In the center of Hoan Kiem Lake, there is Pen Tower (Thap But) that you might take notice of and question: what is it? It is one of my favorite symbols that represent Vietnam!
Around Hoan Kiem Lake, there are other fascinating spots such as Ngoc Son Temple and The Huc Bridge you should note to visit!
Hanoi Ancient House – Back in time with ancient Hanoi architecture
Hanoi Ancient House was a typical house of Hanoi in the past. It was built in 1010 in the Ly dynasty and is still maintained as a symbol of Vietnamese architecture!
Dong Xuan Market – The biggest indoor market in Hanoi
Local market for both locals and tourists to buy what you need during your stay in Hanoi!
Long Bien Bridge – The oldest bridge in Hanoi & a favorite spot for photography
The best way to save your time is to be accompanied by a local travel buddy. You can check our Free Local Tour and get yourself ready to join an exciting tour with a Hanoi local!
Lunch with banh mi
Spending your lunch time in a street food store, enjoying banh mi (Vietnamese bread) is not a bad option. Banh mi is highlighted on the Top world cuisine magazine as special, authentic and tasty Vietnamese food.
In Hanoi, we can eat banh mi for breakfast, for lunch or even for dinner. Banh mi is delicious, convenient and …fast-but-healthy-food. I am sure that you could not resist the taste of Hanoi banh mi. Some famous chefs did visit Hanoi to find out the recipe of banh mi.
I personally feel proud of “banh mi” and Vietnamese cuisine. It is not just food, but mainly about our sophisticated combination of modern creativity and local knowledge in cuisine.
2. In The Afternoon – Hanoi 1 day tour
Spend Your Afternoon In Hanoi French Quarter
Hanoi French Quarter is another popular place to get into the local spirit of Hanoi. You definitely visit these destinations and enjoy the inspirational lifestyle here!
St. Joseph Cathedral – “Notre Dame de Paris” of Hanoi
A rush walk across St. Joseph Cathedral to visit the fascinating cathedral in Hanoi!
Hanoi Opera House – Neoclassical French architecture featuring Gothic themes
The beautiful Hanoi Opera House was built by the French in 1911. It is the biggest theater in Vietnam and speaks volumes as historical and cultural evidence of Vietnam under French rule.
The interior is even more magnificent than the exterior with many arguing it is aesthetically even more appealing than the Paris Opera House.
Vietnamese Women’s Museum
The 3 destinations above could take your whole afternoon. For other choices of attraction 4, 5, 6, see more in French Quarter Hanoi.
In case you still have time?
Other City Sightseeing
If you would like to visit these places below, you need to miss some destinations above or be quite rushed!
If you are not in a rush and tired, you can also spend time exploring the Old Quarter. But, if you are, do not be ambitious to cover every destination!
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to learn more about local culture and history. If you do not know about my country’s history, no problem! Ho Chi Minh is our former prime minister who is called Uncle Ho. He played a vital role in bringing freedom to Vietnam and revolutionizing the country.
It doesn’t take a lot of time If you visit other close destinations to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Ho Chi Minh Museum and One Pillar Pagoda. All these destinations belong to Ho Chi Minh Complex.
For locals, it is very important to visit “Uncle Ho” for the first time in Hanoi to show your respect to the Uncle of Vietnam.
Temple of Literature
The list of “what to see in hanoi for a day” can not miss Temple of literature
The architecture of the Literature Temple presents strongly the unique Vietnamese culture. Each building has a spiritual meaning and stands for the educational principles of Vietnam in the past.
It is a ritual that we ask from “Ong Do” a word that might be luckiness, health or wealth…All presents the hope of locals to the new year with new success and new good things coming.
3. At Night
Dinner with Bun Cha
Locals love “bun cha”, I love “bun cha”. And you will be sure to love it too! Spend your dinner at a luxury restaurant or even a street store, then order yourself a bow of bun cha. You definitely miss this dish whenever you come home!
Drink beer in Ta Hien Beer Street
Drinking Hanoi beer is not merely for your thrust. It is a Hanoi lifestyle and one of top 41 things to do in Hanoi for any visitors. If you need a travel buddy or a local team to drink with, have a chat on the street, why not contact us now?
If you need any support from Hanoi locals, directly ask questions and book a free local tour to see the truly, novel, resh spirit of local experience for only one day in Hanoi
Vietnam is called “motorbike country”. It might be scary for you to first-time see the crowded and complex transportation in Hanoi for the first time. Fortunately, you have many choices to choose your best suitable vehicle to go around the city: Motorbike, Taxi or very convenient Uber/Grab..
Where should we first visit in a Hanoi itinerary 4 days?
1.1 In The Morning
1.1.1 Visit the Old Quarter
Let’s start the day with visiting the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
Where should you start?
Start off at Cau Go Street. The best way to explore the Old Quarter is to use a free Hanoi Walking Tours.
This way, you will get young and passionate people walk you through every single corner of the Old Quarter.
Not only will it be easier for you to find the direction—but also better if you want to learn about the history and name of the street.
End your exploration at Le Thai To Street. It’s not the end of the exploration.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi has been existed for a long time, it’s always been a bustling area of the city. This has always been the place for small business and merchants do business.
And this has created the many street with their featured profession and business like Salt street, Sugar street, Cigarette street, Chicken street,…
Now the Old Quarter has been an appealing place for people who want to learn more about Thang Long capital and Hanoi.
People from every corner of the world like Europe, Africa, America and Asia come here to enjoy the traditional food, culture and beauty of Hanoi.
1.1.2 Eat Pho
For the best pho, you can try Pho Gia Truyen at 49 Bat Dan Street. This restaurant is always crowded because they can still keep the delicous and original taste of Vietnam traditional pho. The price is 35,000 VND (US$1.5) for a bowl of Pho.
It’s time to take some rest.
Because in the afternoon we will explore more.
It’s time to try some local food. Throughout the walking, you can stop by and try some traditional food of Vietnam.
The Old Quarter obviously has all kinds of amazing Vietnamese food—that are not only delicious but still can keep their traditional taste.
If you come to Hanoi without trying Pho then it would be a waste. Pho is the most popular traditional food of Vietnam. It’s delicous with noodle, spices, beef and beef soup.
1.2 In The Afternoon
1.2.1 Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda
Take a taxi or Uber to Tran Quoc Pagoda. This is a must see destination on a 4 days itinerary.
It is located on the small peninsula of the West Lake.
Remember to wear formal clothing—no skirts, no shorts. Avoid seemingly rude behaviors like—smoking, taking pictures, crossing arms or speaking too loud.
If you are spiritual, on this itinerary, once you get inside you can do your praying ritual. Walk along the pagoda and see the amazing stones, statues and architecture of the pagoda.
If you are interested in spirituality and history—Tran Quoc pagoda is a must see.
The pagoda is considered as the most ancient pagoda in Hanoi with its history line of more than 1,500 years.
In 1962, Tran Quoc pagoda was listed as historical heritage of Vietnam.
The construction of Tran Quoc pagoda is a architectural feat. It’s located on a only peninsula of the biggest lake in Hanoi—West lake. This makes Tran Quoc pagoda the most beautiful pagoda in Vietnam.
Once you’re hungry, it’s time to..
1.2.2 Eat Banh Tom (Crisp shrimp pastry) and Banh Bot Loc
Go to Thang Long restaurant at No 1 Thanh Nien Street to try the best Banh Tom. This restaurant has been serving Banh Tom and Banh bot loc for a long time. The price will be 100.000 VND ($4.3)/pax
You know what West Lake is also famous for? Banh Tom (Crisp shrimp pastry)
Banh Tom has been the traditional food in the mind of many people living in Hanoi. The main ingredient is shrimp and sweet potato being deep fried in oil—making it so crispy and delicious. This in combination with the sweet and sour fish sauce create the perfect dish.
Banh Bot Loc is also another dish made of Shrimp. With the main ingredients are made of small shrimp, bacon, jew’s ears being put into tapioca powder—Banh bot loc has a strange and yummy texture and taste. It will also be dipped into traditional sweet fish sauce—giving it an amazing taste.
Now once you get some energy…
1.3 At Night
1.3.1 Bike around the West Lake
Go to 96 Yen Hoa Street. The price of hiring bike is cheap and reasonable here. The regular price is 50.000 VND (US$ 2.2) for 6 hours. That’s a lot of time for bike riding!
Day 2: Explore Hanoi
What else we should visit today?
2.1.1 Visit St.Joseph Cathedral
If you’re interested in French architecture then you must visit St.Joseph Cathedral.
To continue our itinerary, go to Nha Chung Street. St.Joseph Cathedral is located at No 40 of Nha Chung Street, next to Hang Trong garden. You should visit the cathedral in morning since it’s usually closed by noon.
Being one of the oldest historical relic of Hanoi—still—St.Joseph Cathedral has the ancient beauty of Hanoi. St. Joseph Catheral has been existed for more than 3 centuries, witness all the change of Hanoi.
The cathedral was designed according to Gothic style (Renaissance) —resembles Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral with high and curvy arch.
Though having an ancient and mysterious on the outside—once you step into the cathedral, you will be surprised by the magnificent and glorious look inside the cathedral.
Now it’s time to grab some food.
2.1.2 Eat local food: Cha ca (fish meatball)
There are many Cha ca restaurant in Hanoi, mostly from the Old Quarter.
One of the best and most popular cha ca restaurant is Cha Ca La Vong at No 14 Cha Ca street. The regular price is 150.000 VND ($7.5)/pax.
Cha ca is the traditional food that everyone living in Hanoi Old Quarter knows about. Cha ca in Hanoi is different from cha ca in other places.
Cha ca Hanoi is made by filtering the best flesh of the fish, then deep fry to make it crispy.
After that, you can eat cha ca with basil, cumin and other spices. It can be served with special shrimp sauce or fish sauce with peanuts on top.
2.2.1 Visit Museum of Fine art
Go to No 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. The museum opens from 8:30 am—5:00 pm. The ticket price is 10.000 VND (US$0.4)
Then Museum of Fine Art is a must-see place for people who are into the art on the itinerary to explore Hanoi.
Vietnam Museum of Fine Art was built in the 30s of 20th century as a place for daughters of French officers to live in.
Now it is the place to save the cultural and artistic value of Vietnam.
Here in the museum, you can see the statues from the 16th century, exhibits from the 17th century and painting from the 20th century.
Every single exhibits is cherished and arranged beautifully to help the audience taste the best of artistic value.
The best thing you can see national treasure like the statue of Buddha with 327cm of height, paintings from famous painters like To Ngoc Van, Nguyen Sang.
2.2.2. Visit Temple of Literature
Which is the first university in Vietnam?
If you want to the cultural signature of Vietnam then you have to go to Temple of Literature.
Go to 58 Quoc Tu Giam Street. The ticket price will be 30.000 VND (US$ 1.3).
The opening time is:
7:30 – 18:00 from Monday to Friday
8:00 – 21:00 from Saturday to Sunday.
For dress code, no shorts and miniskirts.
Temple of Literature in Hanoi is not only a historical place representing the long progress of Vietnamese culture.
It made a big contribution on both Confucian civilization in Vietnam and human culture in the world also.
Temple of literature was ranked as the cultural and historical site on 28th April, 1962.
2.2.3 Eat Local Food: Banh My (vietnamese sandwich)
For the best banh my, you should try Banh My Ngon at no 49 Thanh Street. The price is 25.000 VND (US$ 1.1)/piece.
Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) is considered as one of the most delicious sandwiches in the world.
Banh Mi is delicious and diverse combination of pork, pate and veggies, stuffed into a crunchy baguette.
Other combination of banh my can have head cheese, pork sausage, cucumber and vegetables.
2.3 At Night
2.3.1 Eat street food at Hang Buom
Go to Hang Buom Street. The price will be extremely cheap 15,000-30,000 VND/dish.
Walking through the Old Quarter and enjoy the street food has now become the habits of Hanoi people on the weekend.
Go through the night market, there are many kinds of traditional food like shells meat ball, sticky rice with grilled bird, grilled meat ball, grilled meat, che,….
Che and juice are the best choice for walking and enjoying at the same time.
You would have plenty of time on 4 days itinerary in Hanoi, so take your time to feel the atmosphere here.
Day 3: Beyond Hanoi
3.1 In the Morning
3.1.1 Visit Trang An – Bai Dinh complex
Since you get plenty of time with the 4 days itinerary, why don’t we go further?
If you want to see the wonder of Vietnam then you have to see Trang An complex.
You should also arrive early at 5 or 6 in the morning to have more time to spend here—since Ninh Binh is 85 km from Hanoi it would take 2-3 hours to get there.
Once you get to Ninh Binh, you can use taxi or xe om to get to Trang An.
When you get there it’s time to…
Trang An now draws more and more attention to its tourism activities.
With the natural beauty mixed with cultural and historical beauty, Trang an was listed as important heritage of Vietnam and recognized an world heritage by UNESCO in 2014.
The whole place is a beauty of glorious mountains and lengthy rivers connecting with caves—bringing the extraordinary beauty of the scenery.
Coming here, you can not help but absorbing the pure and subtle beauty of nature with the historical value from the mountain, the river, the cave and the jungles.
If you have any question or if you want to book a tour to Trang An, don’t hesitate to ask AZ Local Trip they will answer you in just a minute for any question.
3.1.2 Visit Trang An grottoes
The cruise will take about 3-4 hours and you should also bring along sunscreen and hats. The best time to start the cruise is 8AM
If you want to stand up to take some picture during the cruise, be sure to ask the guide first—since it can be dangerous for people on the boat.
It has one of the most breath-taking grottoes in the world. Trang an is famous for having many stalactites which make the atmostphere breezing inside the cave.
It would be one of a kind experience when you can sit on the boat—seeing all kinds of moss and algae under the water and sense the freshness and purity of the environment.
The journey through unique caves like Sang cave, Seo cave, Dark cave, Drunk cave will be an amazing exploration.
The current price is 150.000 VND (US$ 6.5)/pax. The boat can only take 4-5 people at once.
Kids with height less than 1m will get a free ticket.
3.1.3 Eat burned rice and goat meat
Go to Huong Mai restaurant at No 850 Tran Hung Dao Street next to Vissai hotel. The price will be 50,000-150,000/pax
People often say that “if you come here without eating burned rice and goat meat then you’ve never been to Ninh Binh.”
Goat meat in Ninh Binh is more delicious than other provinces for 2 things:
The goat is raised on the mountain, eat many kinds of leaves and herbs – making the flesh more firm.
The second is the special method of cooking.
Especially the stir fry goat meat—with the crunchiness and sweetness of the meat—when you eat with other kinds of herbs like basil, cumin it would be extremely delicious.
Along with goat meat, burned rice has become the delicacy of Ninh Binh. If you come here without trying burned rice with goat meat soup then it would be a waste.
Ninh Binh burned rice is mention by many people because of its flavor and crunchiness. Burned rice from Huong Mai is considered the most delicious burned rice in Ninh Binh.
These food you hardly get in another places with the same taste.
3.2 In the Afternoon
3.2.1 Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda
On this 4 days itinerary, we should not miss Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Bai Dinh Pagoda has the most records in Asia and Vietnam—you will be amazed with the numbers of statues and the size of the pagoda.
Take a taxi to Bai Dinh pagoda. Once you come here, the one way ticket will be 30,000 VND/ pax for the distance of 1.5km.
You should must formal clothing before coming into the pagoda. Also bring along water and snacks because the pagoda is very big.
Bai Dinh is a pagoda complex includes 2 part:
The Old Bai Dinh Complex
The New Bai Dinh Complex.
In the old Bai Dinh Complex, you will get to visit:
The Dark cave
Cao Son temple.
In the new Bai Dinh there are many national feat you can visit:
The biggest golden buddha statue in Asia
The biggest La han hall in Asia,
The biggest copper bell in Vietnam
The most La Han statues in Viet Nam
The biggest pagoda in Vietnam
The biggest well in Vietnam.
Best way to enjoy Ninh Binh is taking a day trip from Hanoi Ninh Binh Tours
Notes: Request for advice from AZ Local Trip carefully before booking. Because there are many travel agency providing these day trips.
3.2.3 At Night
You have a long day travelling and moving, it’s time to take a break and rest to prepare for tomorrow.
Don’t be so rush, you still have one more day for your 4 days itinerary
Day 4: Back to Hanoi
Your 4 days itinerary in Hanoi has one day left. Where should we go now?
4.1 In the Morning
4.1.1 Visit Le Mat Snake Village
Coming to Le Mat Snake Village, you will see a lot of snakes.
Take a taxi to Le Mat Street. Le Mat village is located in Long Bien District—it’s 9.7km from Hanoi.
To enjoy best dishes of snake, go to The Hung Restaurant located at 33 Le Mat Street.
The price is 100,000-200,000 VND (US$ 4.4 – 8.7)/pax.
Now in the village there are hundreds of household raising snakes, dozens of snake restaurant and a lot of cultural events about snakes being held annually.
The snakes are brought to the village, tamed and familiarized and now become close like a pet in the household.
Le Mat is considered the Snake trading center in the North, also the most popular snake village of Vietnam.
Tourists coming to Le Mat not only able to visit the snake farm but also touch the non-venomous snakes.
You can also have the chance to see on your own eyes the chefs cooking a snake. The kind of snake that people enjoy the most here is Cobra.
All meals made of snakes are amazing, from snake heart, snake blood, to snake soup, snake sticky rice and stewed snakes.
Many people coming to Le Mat might feel shocked at first but later on find it extremely interesting.
For the afternoon, it’s time to get back to the Old Quarter .
4.2 In The Afternoon
4.2.1 Eat Che and Banh Troi.
Do you have a sweet tooth?
Go to No 1 Bat Dan Street. The price is 15.000 VND to 25.000 VND ($0.75-1) for a bowl of Che.
When we talk about traditional Che, nowhere can serve better Che than Che Ba Thin. Not having the various options like other che—rather sticking with the traditional recipe of Northern Vietnam—Che Ba Thin can still keep the traditional taste of Che.
Traditional che with simply recipe of green and black beans of Northern Vietnam. Nothing could be better than a bowl of che on a cold and breezing weather.
4.2.2 Eat Banh Ran
Banh Ran is the kind of fast food that you can find in every where in Hanoi. It’s the vietnamese version of donuts.
Go to Banh Ran Goc Da at No 52 Ly Quoc Su. For normal serving, the price is 50.000 VND/pax.
Banh ran can have a sweet or salty taste, depends on personal preference.
Sweet Banh Ran will includes beans and sugar being rolled in a dough then deep fry till the point of crunchiness.
Salty Banh Ran will contain pork, jew’s ear and mushroom being deep fried.
Banh Ran Goc Da is the most popular banh ran store. They have been serving banh ran for decades. On regular day, the restaurant is always crowded.
4.2.3 Buy some souvenirs
Want to keep some memory of Hanoi on this special 4 days itinerary?
Want to bring some gifts to friends and family?
There are a lot of things you can buy in the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter has everything for you to buy—many of which contain traditional value of Hanoi.
You can buy Non La (asian conical hat)
Go to Hang Non Street in the Old Quarter. The price is 30.000 (US$ 1.3) VND/piece
Non la is the familiar image of Vietnamese women though being simple and subtle but also very elegant. Non La can not also be used as a head cover—it also the symbol of Vietnamese farmer.
Non La can be a unique gift and souvenirs from Vietnam.
4.3 At Night
Your 4 days itinerary is nearly end.
Tomorrow you’ll be leaving Hanoi. So it’s better to prepare and take a break for early arrival.
But if you still have some time you can go to Ta Hien or Luong Ngoc Quyen to enjoy some beers there.
You will have a great time with local and other foreigners.
So that’s the perfect 4 days itinerary in Hanoi. There are a lot of things you can do in Hanoi with an itinerary 4 days.
Hanoi 2 days – what to do and see in Hanoi for 2 days
Hanoi, the city offers you an endless number of monuments, museums, cultural events, stores, markets, a surprising nightlife and numerous lively neighborhoods.
Organizing such a short itinerary to cater for all tastes is impossible. Nevertheless, my local 2 Days in Hanoi includes the mainmonuments, museums, gardens and most important shopping streets in Hanoi.
Depending on your preferences, you can spend more time discovering the stores in the city, visiting the museums you find most interesting, relaxing in Hanoian cafe, or strolling through the streets during the following circuit.
Bat Trang – A traditional Vilage producing many types of poteries will be one of the top choice
In the afternoon
Get back for Museums of ethnology, The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a museum in Hanoi, Vietnam, which focuses on the 54 officially recognised ethnic groups in Vietnam
Option 2: Ha Long Bay
In the morning
In the morning you can move from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
If you do not know how to transport from two destinations, you can contact us for supporting you to arrange the best local tour!
Ha Long Bay was gifted with the natural beauty with splendid mountains and thousands of islands, creating a mysterious and dreamy scene.
The place was recognized by UNESCO as world’s heritage and becomes one of the most visited place in the world—attracting thousands of visitors anually.
Coming here, you get to see a lot of magnificent caves, see stalactites in caves like Thien Cung, Sung Sot and Luon. But that’s not all!
You get to see other attractions like mount Dog, mount Dinh Huong, mount chicken, mount frog… And on top of that, you can get to kayak though Ba Hang village.
But then, where to stay?
There are a few hotels you can choose including:
Van Nam Hotel: The hotel is located on Vuon Dao Street. The minimum price is $10. This is the perfect choice if you want to save money. With beautiful and convenient view—not to mention friendly service, this is the best choice for medium price.
Alex Hai Ninh Hotel: the hotel is at 28A Anh Dao Street. Located a little bit further from the Bay—the hotels still has good furniture and equipment. The price is about $8-$10. This is a popular choice for tourists. There is no wifi, tv or fridge.
Saigon Halong Hotel: the hotel is located on Ha Long Street, this is a medium price hotel. Among the most rented hotel in Halong. The minimum price is $30. Sometimes the discount can be up to %30, 40%. There are a lot of benefit and support, like of 4 stars and 5 stars hotels like: golf court, swimming pool, spa, massage, tenix, gym.
As you get your accommodation done, now you’re thinking:”What food can i try here?”
Halong Bay is famous for the delicious and fresh seafood like Cu Ky, Be Be, Sa Sung, Ngan, squid. These food are the delicacy of Halong Bay everyone must try.
Where to try these food?
You can go to Vuon Dao Street. There are a lot of restaurants here serving tourists daily. One of the best restaurant is Toan Huong Sea food at No 1 Vuon Dao Street. The price is 50.000-300.000VND ($2.5-15)/pax.
After that you can go back to your hotel, take a small break
In the afternoon
Kayak and sightsee
After on-boarding registration, you will go explore Thien Cung (heaven) Cave.
Have just been discovered since 1993, Thien Cung cave has already been famous with natural beauty just like a heaven. This has been the place that no one should miss when they come to Ha Long Bay.
The deeper we go inside, the more amazed we become by witnessing the sparkling and lively beauty of the stalactites. On the cave, the scenery seems like a gigantic painting—in which as we listen to the mystical story of this cave—we can imagine all the characters appearing.
Swimming in Ha Long Bay
Yes, you can definitely relax in the beach in Ha Long Bay.
To spend less time and explore as much as possible local experience here, book aHanoi City Tours then get prepared for your time in Ha Long Bay!
Thien Cung cave
The cave is located in the north of Dau Go island, about 4km from the bay.
After that you can go sight see Hon Cho Da (dog island), Hon Ga Choi (Ga Choi island), Hon Coc (Coc island)
Hon Cho Da (Dog island) is a tall island, having the shape like a dog taking guard of the giant gate. The image of a dog taking guard is a familiar scene to vietnamese. In every traditional pagoda and ancient house, there will be 2 stone dogs guarding the gate.
Hon Ga Choi (Fighting Cock island) is 5 km from Bai Chay. After visiting Hon Cho Da, Dinh Lu Huong then you will have the opportunity to see the scenery of Hon Ga Choi with the shape of 2 giants chickens fighting on the sea surface.
Hon Con Coc is 12km from Bai Chay. This island looks like a frog sitting on the surface of the vast water.
Want to keep some memory of Ha Long Bay?
Want to buy some delicacy from Ha Long—so you can enjoy when you get back to Hanoi?
There are diverse types of souvenir to buy in Ha Long Bay. You can buy yourself some dried seafood or handmade craft. The most popular things to buy in Ha Long is dried squid and traditional craft made from sea shell in Ha Long Bay.
After a day full of activities, you might be tired. You should take a short nap to come back Hanoi and finish your 2 days in Hanoi with a lot of unforgettable memories.
Or, you are still energetic to end your trip in Hanoi with street performance or a beer Hanoi with locals!
Sing, dance together with locals in street music perfomance
Hanoi is colorful country with a young lifestyle. It is changing every second so that I hope 2 days in Hanoi is enough for you to taste local culture and get in the mood of Hanoian daily life!
If you need any support or want to meet our free local guide, do not delay your passion to travel and hesitate to join aHanoi Free Local Tours
It seems that two days is a little bit short – but it could be your optimal choice. There are a lot of tourists coming to Hanoi choose to visit Hanoi in 2 days.
Just 2 days, you might not visit all the must – see places in Hanoi, try all the amazing street food. But… You will experience the most popular, the most typical, must-try food and must-see attractions.
Pleaces in Hanoi for 2 days : The Old Quarter (Half day) – French Quarter (Half day) – City Discover (Half day) + Street foods + Show..