Wondering Things to do in Hanoi? Where to visit?
For the best traveling experience ever?
Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan!
After surveying over 10,000 foreign tourists of Hanoi Free Local Tours we can now give you a list of the 41 best things to do in Hanoi.
Hanoi Free Local Tours is a student-run organization in which university students help travelers discover Hanoi for free as the way of improving theirselves. (No money expected, not tip-base, and 5 star-rated as well).
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The 41 things to do in Hanoi list below is divided reasonably into 4 categories adapting to the neighborhoods, time management.
To begin with the heart of Hanoi, a map of top-selected things to do will help you to save time going directly to the best destinations!
1.Sightseeing at Ngoc Son Temple
This historical site is located in Ngoc Island which belongs to Hoan Kiem complex. Visiting it also a must-do thing that you’d better not miss.
Here you will not only get more about the history of Hanoi but also the beauty of architecture and culture.
2.Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake
If you come to Vietnam without visiting Sword Lake then it would be a waste!
It’s the most popular attraction in Hanoi—it’s a must-do thing in Hanoi!
In the morning, you get to feel the peaceful atmosphere. At night, you get to see the lively picture of Hanoi in the evening. Not only is the signature of Hanoi, it’s also one of the best place for you to chill and relax.
Just by simply wandering the lake area, you can easily experience the peaceful and charming beauty of the city as well as feeling the soul of the local life here
3.Visiting St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Want to see some European construction?
You must go to St.Joseph’s Cathedral!
The church was built by the French in December 1886. It is the oldest church in Hanoi.
4.Visiting Hanoi Opera House
If you want to see the landmark of Hanoi—then you must check out The Opera House. The place is located in the French Quarter in Hanoi.
To get more about the Opera House here
5.Visiting Hanoi Ancient house
If you’re in love with history then you should visit Hanoi Ancient House.
No.87 Ma May house is one of the 14 ancient houses in Hanoi built around the end of the nineteenth century. The total area of the house is 157.6m2, is constructed perpendicular to the street, the length of the land is 28 meters, the width of the front 5 meters and the width of the rear is 6 meters.
The house has changed its owners many times. In 1945, a northern drug dealer bought the house. From 1954 to 1999, there were 5 families living there
What makes visitors coming Hanoi Old Quarter hardly miss the No.87 Ma May house is in addition to exploring the living space and architecture typical of a Hanoi old town house, the house is also one of the most frequently held cultural events
6.Visiting Bach Ma Temple
As you walk through the Old Quarter, you should also visit Bach Ma temple! Having the existing architecture of the temple is style of the XIX century, Bach Ma temple is beautiful and imposing.
The architectural feature is a unique way of construction in the Nguyen dynasty.
7. Exploring the small Alleys of the Old Quarter
Want to have some adventure?
Try exploring the small alleys of the Old Quarter. The Alley is traditional way of construction in Vietnam. Even though it can be a bit strange as you discover the alley, you will find many interesting things inside like hidden shops and restaurants.
Also, here you can find a lot of local street foods which look so good!
8. Shopping at Dong Xuan Market
If you are a shopaholic, you cannot miss Dong Xuan market – A paradise for shopping. Dong Xuan market is the busiest and most popular traditional market of Hanoi.
The market is very diverse and suitable for all interests, all objects.
Behind the market is the shop selling pet birds. Foods are mainly sold in Bac Qua market. And north of the market is the restaurant which serves traditional dishes of the Hanoi as vermicelli, noodle soup
Located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, with its history associated with the formation and development of the ancient Thang Long, Dong Xuan Market is not merely a commercial point, but also a cultural, spiritual place of Hanoians.
9. Sightseeing from Long Bien Bridge
Interested in sightseeing?
Then you must see Long Bien Bridge. Long Bien bridge becomes the usual spot for people to hang around at night. You might wonder what to do there?
Nothing could be better than seeing the Red River—while sitting in a small corner, eating some baked corns and potatoes by locals. It’s a cozy and relaxing experience.
10. Cyclo around the Old Quarter
Do you love unique experiences?
Then taking a Cyclo ride around Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter is definitely a must-choose thing to do in Hanoi. Following some comments of the world most famous tourist website – Lonely Planet, visitors had better not miss the experience with Cyclo – a Vietnamese 3-wheel bicycle taxi when coming to Hanoi.
So, those are recommended things to do in the Old Quarter. How about the places outside that?
Let’s go ahead to check a list of things you should do Around the Old Quarter!
Starting from Hoan Kiem Lake – the heart of Hanoi, we would like to take you to the following places arranged in order.
Take a look at the map first:
11. Visiting the National Museum of Vietnamese History
The place is the best choice for history lovers.
Located in the French Quarter, the Museum displays and presents historical materials and objects through periods and Vietnamese dynasties.
On the premises of the museum, there are also cafes catering for visitors to relax after visiting and exploring history.
12. Hoa Lo Prison
Are you into Vietnamese history? Then Hoa Lo Prison is a must-see.
From a traditional pottery village, Hoa Lo was turned in a place for punishment and suffering. Once you get here you can learn about the painful history and witness the pain of prisoners of Hoa Lo.
13. Temple of Literature
If you want to the cultural signature of Vietnam then you have to go to Temple of Literature
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.
Learn more about Temple of Literature here
14. Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum
Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum 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.
15.Visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh is considered as the great father of Vietnam, who dedicated his life to save the country from invaders.
The construction project started on the 2nd of September 1973 and completed on the 21st of August 1975.
When you come to Ho Chi Minh mausoleum at night , you will see a pretty and peaceful night space which attracts a lot of people’s eyes. It is Ba Dinh square that taking off and raising flag ceremonies are hold every morning and evening.
Learn more about Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
16.Visiting Hanoi Flag Tower
Hanoi Flag Tower is the only construction that is still intact in the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Complex. Hanoi Flag tower was construction under Nguyen dynasty on the land of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
17. Visiting Thang Long Citadel
Have you heard of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long?
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was listed as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2010. Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was built by many kings throughout history and now has become the most precious heritage of Vietnam.
Once you get here, you can see the old walls and the flag tower of Vietnam.
18. Visiting Tran Quoc Pagoda
If you love religious places then you should go to Tran Quoc pagoda.
Located on a small peninsula on West Lake, Tran Quoc is extremely magnificent. 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 Things to do in Hanoi (around the Old Quarter) list is not finished yet.
Check more for things to do and places you can go with a scooter or a motorbike. (see more: Hanoi Motorbike Tour)
19. Visiting Van Phuc Silk village
Situated on the bank of Nhue River, about 10km south west of Hanoi Old Quarter, Van Phuc silk village is famous for its traditional weaving and premium quality silk products.
Visitors will have a chance to witness the process of making silk. Extracting raw silk starts by cultivating the silkworms on mulberry leaves. Once the worms start pupating in their cocoons, these are dissolved in boiling water in order for individual long fibers to be extracted and fed into the spinning reel.
20. Visiting Le Mat snake village
Village is one of the most famous places for many dishes cooked from snake. Out of Hanoi city, Le Mat village has a tradition of capturing snakes since the eleventh century. Snake meat has been a good and valuable food for people.
21. Visiting Museum of Ethnology
Are you interested in different cultures of vietnam?
If so then go to Museum of Ethnology .
Coming to Museum of Ethnology you get to see the traditional features of 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam. You will learn about how different ethnics group carry out their marry, funeral, their clothing and their entertainment.
22. Seeing Aquarium at the mall “Times City”
Are you an animal lover?
If so, you should go to the Aquarium at Times City to see the first and only Aquarium of Hanoi. Coming here, you get the chance to see the amazing sea life with more than thousands species of animals.
23. Iceskating at the mall Royal City
When was the last time you do Iceskating?
If it’s been a long time then you can do Iceskating at Royal City. The place is equipped with modern facility.
24. Bike riding around West Lake
Nothing could be better than riding the bike around the West Lake – a famous place in Hanoi.
West lake is the biggest lake in Hanoi. You can hire some bike to ride around and enjoy the fresh atmosphere. The Street is not crowed—it’s usually peaceful and relaxing. It could be the perfect place for you ride a bike and have a conversation with your friends and family. Once you’re hungry, you can get some ice cream at shop around the lake.
25. Drinking cold beer
Drinking cool beer is a common thing to do in Hanoi at night, it can also be considered the best thing to do in Hanoi at night.
Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street are the most popular places to grab some beer. It’s always crowded at night when a lot of locals and foreigners enjoy beer together. Now it has become a gathering destination for party lovers. Grabbing some beer, feeling the music and having fun with locals and foreigners would be great to spend your night.
26. Wandering around the Walking Street
If you really want to have some fun then go to Walking Street.
On weekend there are no vehicles around Hoan Kiem lake so people can freely have fun on the Street. Activities you can enjoy are shuttlecock kicking, salsa dancing, singing, trying traditional food and game. Now it’s become a regular thing to go on Walking Street on the weekend to hang out.
27. Watching Water Puppet Show in Hanoi
Interested in traditional cultural art?
You should see Water puppet show in Hanoi.
This traditional performing art has been existing for more than a thousand year. And now it has become the symbol of art of Vietnam. Water puppet show is a Vietnamese folk culture performing the life of Vietnamese farmers (catching fishes, tending buffalo, cultivating …) or historical legends.
28. Shopping at Night Market
Want to buy souvenirs?
Visiting night market in the old quarter of Hanoi is an interesting activity. Visitors would have a chance to buy a variety of goods with reasonable price. The Street gets crowded at night, especially on weekend when a lot of people hang out on the Street.
29. Drinking Lime tea
Want to have a grab some drink?
Then try some “tra chanh” – lime tea.
Though this is not a traditional dish but it has become the most favorite beverage for youngsters in Hanoi. Also, lime tea shops don’t serve only “tra chanh” but also sunflower seeds, peach tea,.. Enjoying the drinks while gathering with friends and observing beautiful Streets would be an interesting experience for tourists.
30. Eating Trang Tien ice cream
Are you craving for some dessert?
While walking around Hoan Kiem lake at night, you can hardly miss Trang Tien Street—the most beautiful, bustling and famous one.
The most popular ice cream store is Trang Tien ice cream. The store was founded in 1958. It now becomes the most popular place to get ice cream in the Old Quarter. Nothing could be better than walking through the Street while enjoying a cone of ice cream.
31. Visiting Skyline Observation Deck
Want to explore a different view of Hanoi?
Go to Hanoi Lotte observation deck, which is near by Skywalk. Standing on the 65th floor of Lotte center, at that height, you can clearly see the beautiful and sparkling view of Hanoi.
32. Eating Street food
If you are a true foodie then you must go to Hang Buom Street at night. You could not imagine how many things you could do and could eat there.
At night, there are many kinds of tasty Street food being served in every single corners. There are so many kinds of food for you to try including: barbecued beef, Che, Banh Troi Tau, hot pot and so on. Nothing could be better than having some food while walking on the Street enjoying your night.
33. Watching “Four Places” show
This is another activity at night for visitors who love to explore the culture.
The 45-minute show gives you a perspective of some of the traditional ceremonies performed the indigenous folks in Vietnam.
The performance is based on Dao Mau religion – which was recognized as an Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO
34. Spending night at Hanoi Night Club
Are you a party-lover?
Then hesitate no more. Going to a night club in the Old Quarter is a must-do thing once you visit Hanoi.
Most of night clubs here will satisfy you with cool music and drinks and fun-loving locals, expats.
35.Visiting Bat Trang Village
Interested in Vietnam traditional porcelain?
Come and join pottery class—have an interesting experience in how to make pottery product by yourself.
Bat Trang Pottery Village has the longest tradition of making pottery in Vietnam. The pottery here is diverse in their styles and shapes. One of the best thing here is you can see for real the artisans making pottery. You can also create your own pottery products by joining a workshop.
36. Visiting Duong Lam Ancient Village
This is the first ancient village being given the title historic relic in 2006. With interesting features about ancient architect, Duong Lam old village still has the basic feature of an ancient village with village gate, temple and pagoda.
37. Visiting Dong Ho Painting Village
Dong Ho Painting Village for a long time has been popular for art of retaining the cultural and traditional value of Vietnam. Dong ho Villiage is very popular for traditional work.
Well, the list is still going on. Don’t change your link now.
We are here to recommend you more things to do in provinces near Hanoi. These destinations will cost you at least one day. These also are famous attractions recognized by UNESCO.
41 things to do in Hanoi list continues with the following places:
38. Visiting Ninh Binh Province
Trang An complex in Ninh Binh is the best choice for busy travelers. Just one day tour package includes dozens of must-see sites.
Trang An now draws more and more attention to its tourism activities. The tour covers religious worship, history, boating, excavation learning, and an optional cycling choice for those who loves biking.
39. Visiting Ba Vi National Park
Coming here you get to climb the mountain and inhale in the fresh air of the jungle. The main travelling destication is Cactus garden, Ngoc Hoa cave, Old church, french prison, Tan Vien temple,…
40. Visiting Ha Long Bay
Designated a World Heritage site in 1994, Halong Bay is a vision of ethereal beauty and, unsurprisingly, northern Vietnam’s number one tourism hub.
Activities to do in Ha Long bay includes: Floating on the boat, visiting caves, sun set party, cooking class, enjoying kayaking to discover Halong Bay…
41. Visiting Sapa
The natural landscape of Sa Pa is combined with people’s creativity along with the terrain of the mountains, the green of the forest.
The picture of Sa Pa is arranged in a harmonious arrangement to create a region with many romantic poetry and attractive scenes
You’ve seen all 41 things to do in Hanoi and around.
With this list – from now on – you won’t be run out of things to do in Hanoi.
Let’s grab your belongings and start your journey.