Hanoi– the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand year. Considered one of the most progressive cities in Southeast Asia. Hanoi City is located at the north region of Vietnam 90 km away from the coastal area of the region. It is the centre of their cultural imprint. With the increasing infrastructural development, Hanoi attractions will always hunt you back.

What to do in Hanoi?

There are always fun things to do in Hanoi, from museum hopping, night markets, art & cultural show, down to temple visits (whew! You need good cardio for this!) and street food feast (get ready for mouth-watering dishes). Visiting famous sights in Hanoi will make your travel one of a kind.

best things to do in hanoi vietnam

Is Hanoi a budget-friendly city to travel?

Yes! As of 2019, bus fare costs 9000 VND (Vietnamese dong- Hanoi currency) which is less half a dollar (0.40 USD), that fee will take you for an hour drive from the airport. For dorm type rooms, it is around 3 USD per day. Hanoi food price? Go where the locals go and you won’t worry about the price.

Is Hanoi safe?

Basically, yes it is safe. Some usual things are in the air for a tourist, like overpriced food or overcharged taxi fare, be cautious, especially if your fund is quite limited. Dose up your road awareness too, as they do not have paths for walkers, motorbikes in Hanoi goes gaga when in the road. Overall, this city is safe.

When is the best time to visit Hanoi?

Hanoi City is located in the northern region, and all four season is there. You can choose between March and April or September to November, these months have least amount of rainfall.

Here’s our suggested fun and  best things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam 

1. Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Museum is the preserver of Uncle Ho’s (Ho Chi Minh– first Prime Minister then President of North Vietnam) contribution to Vietnam revolutionary history. Paying a visit to this museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Hanoi. This museum will take you to the history of Vietnam. Over 120,000 + documents and artefacts are being displayed about the life of their revolutionary leader. The architectural design (built in the 1970s) has a modern aspect to show, strongly influenced by the Soviet.

Witness the core of Vietnam history in this sightseeing in Hanoi. You may catch the changing of guards too as you visit.

You can book these amazing Hanoi cultural tours: Hanoi: City Sights and Temple of Literature Motorbike TourHanoi: Half-Day Small Group Tour or 24-hour Hanoi Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, one of the best Hanoi tourist spot. The final resting place of the Ho Chi Minh. The mausoleum is purely constructed from materials around Vietnam only, same in its garden, where plants are collected in the different region. Visiting this Hanoi attraction is not just your average tour, it also makes you part of a unique history.

Ba Dinh Square is considered the most important tourist spot in Hanoi. This is the place where the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam was read. Within the area, you will see these important buildings, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Presidential Palace and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Walking around this district makes your Hanoi excursion more significant.

This is absolutely the best free thing to do in Hanoi! Paying respect to their history while mesmerising its ambience.

3. Old Quarter

Ta Hien Street Old Quarter Hanoi Vietnam

Old Quarter, the epicentre of history and culture as well as the modern status of Hanoi city. Architecture in Old Quarter reveals a fascinating glimpse of its rich history dating back in the fifteenth century. Lots of Pagoda, temple and different worship places, scattered within, depicting Old Quarter’s diverse religious foundation. There are so many things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter, as it is a dynamic area; full of restaurants, cafes, trinket stalls (perfect for your travel souvenir collection) and musical entertainment all over the street.

Do you want to see streets with the same first name for 30+ times? Come to Hanoi Old Quarter and walk around it! Or in case you want to see the Old Quarter in style, you can book this Hanoi Old Quarter: 1-Hour Cyclo Tour

4. Vietnam Military History Museum

Vietnam Military Museum

The locals commonly call it as “Army Museum”. This popular attraction in Hanoi (located in Central Hanoi) should be ticked off from your travel spot list, as this museum is in top 7 of Vietnam’s national museum. There are lots of authentic military relics and detailed accounts from former soldiers who have fought against the Americans and French colonisers. In this place, you will see a collection of weaponry, used, captured, destroyed from the timeline of the Vietnamese war.

This is the best place in Hanoi to see an up-close look in the wrecked military tank that ends the Vietnam War in 1975.

5. Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake Pagoda in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem lake a.k.a. the Sword Lake. It is located in the historic district of Old Quarter. With a span of nearly 4 kilometres, you will spot wedding photographers, fitness group, kids and families enjoying Hanoi’s scrumptious, famous coconut ice cream.

You have to make sure that this is in your must to do in Hanoi- to go around at this legendary lake especially on weekends when the streets are shut down for cars. Plus, if you are looking for a fun thing to do in Hanoi at night, this is the venue, as the monuments and red bridge come alive.

6. Famous Vietnamese food Pho and Buncha

Vietnamese Pho

Pho (pronounced like “fun” with the silent “n”), this noodle soup’s taste completely rely on a well-made soup stock, clear but flavourful. Originally sold by street vendors. A hot pho’s real deliciousness comes out when shared with your significant other, such a romantic thing to do in Hanoi.

Bun Cha, originally in Hanoi City. At Hanoi night market, this dish is overflowing, eaten by the locals and the tourists. Bun (a vermicelli noodle), Cha (meat part), it must be eaten the Hanoi style- mix it all together in the bowl and consume it like Pho! *

These Vietnamese foods are the mixture of its colonial visitors and ancient flavours, spices and techniques. For an amazing food tour experience, you can book these food tours in Hanoi: Discover Hanoi’s Street Food by Night or Hanoi: Guided Street Food Tour

7. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Water Puppet Show in Hanoi

If you are looking for a cultural thing to do in Hanoi, watching a show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is the best pick! Full of life, colourful and engaging audience is in one roof. Be fascinated by how the puppets are visually entertaining yet educating. The performances (played by the local artists) are accompanied by local Vietnam music, played on different musical instruments like horns, bamboo flutes, and single stringed guitar.

This is suitable for all ages. If planning to seat in the front row for a more lively experience, kindly bring a small raincoat or towel just in case you get wet! 

If you fancy to personally see the awesome water puppet show, you can book these tours: Water Puppet Theatre Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket or this one with the hotel delivery option.

8. Joseph’s Cathedral

St Josephs Cathedral Hanoi Vietnam

Arno Kohlem [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

St Joseph’s Cathedral located at the junction of Nha Tho and Nah Chung streets, west side of Hoan Kiem Lake. Built with bricks and stone slabs, a Neo-Gothic style, resembling Notre Dame de Paris of France. The cathedral’s stained glass mosaic windows are produced in France before being transported in Vietnam. One interesting to do in Hanoi is walking around the cathedral as the history and architecture are impressive and services are held in many languages.

Spending some time in this place is a unique thing to do in Hanoi. From the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city, this is the oasis of tranquillity.

9. Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi

Ngoc Son Temple or the Temple of the Jade Mountain is the most visited temple in Hanoi City. Located on a tiny island in the north area of the majestic Hoan Kiem Lake. Entering the Ngoc Son Temple is an exciting thing to do in Hanoi as you have to cross in a wooden, red painted bridge (The Huc Bridge or Bridge of the Rising Sun). You can also witness some local people worshipping in the temple as you pass by.

Want to see a traditional Vietnamese styled temple? Pay a visit here and be amazed at Hanoi City’s most impressive entrance gate!

10. Hanoi Night Market

Hanoi Night Market

When the night falls, different markets In Hanoi City closes the traffic to pave way for this weekend experience. A large number of stalls are up with various products to sell such as clothes, silk-made handbags, and handicraft products from Hanoi itself. Vietnamese food is much in presence too. Consider this in your “Local things to do in Hanoi” list, that both locals and expats enjoy. Walking through the early streets of Hanoi is full of fun and excitement

You might want to extend your stay till another weekend, for cheaper booze (Bia Hoi, local beer), shopping and free shows? Because night markets in Hanoi City are the best!

Here are the suggested tours in Hanoi, Vietnam

There you have it!  I’m sure this suggested places to visit and things to do in Hanoi will be perfect for a memorable trip.

Have you been to Hanoi?
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