27 Best Things To Do and See In Hanoi| Hanoi Old Quarter in 2022

Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam, where all of you can have unforgettable moments. Please read carefully and note in your list these 27 best things to do in Hanoi to make sure your tour is better. 
Event over 1000 - years old passed over. The capital still preserved all about culture, customs, living rhythms, and traditional history, combining modern Vietnam. That is why you will never find it boring while in Hanoi. You will love those things. LET's come and explore Hanoi through your eyes. There are plenty of things waiting for you!!!

 

1. When is the best time to visit Hanoi?

Weather is a crucial factor when traveling. Your whole trip mood depends much on it. To make your trip most enjoyable, take notice that the best time to visit Hanoi is in the autumn - the period between the beginning of September and the end of November. It is when summer is terrible heat has ended, but the true winter has not come yet. It also has very little rain and becomes rather dry at this time.
Furthermore, this is the time to enjoy the fragrance of Alstonia scholaris (Vietnamese call Hoa Sữa), known as Hanoi street autumn signature.
Read more: Detail when is the best time to visit Hanoi

2. What to do and see in Hanoi  (12 best things)

2.1. Drive a motorbike or book a motorbike tour to explore the city

This is the first thing to do??? It sounds crazy, especially when you see the traffic in Hanoi with many motorbikes seem to be crazy. However, believe me!!! That would be an unforgettable memory of your life. Because the locals are used to going by motorbike every day, they have a lot of experience driving on the small and narrow streets. We are sure they will take care of you during your Hanoi motorbike tour.
 

hanoi motorbike tours

Visitors enjoy the Hanoi motorbike tour

2.2. Discovering the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hung Vuong Street

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built in 1973 as the resting place of the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. The mausoleum is located at the same place where Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence in 1945. Ho Chi Minh’s body is located in the central hall and is protected 24 hours by a military guard. Every year, people from all over the country come to visit Uncle Ho's mausoleum, from the elder to the young, to remember the leader of the nation. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is open from 8:00 am to 11:30 am, except Friday. This is a highly recommended place to visit on any Hanoi trip.
 

ho chi minh mausoleum complex 

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

2.3. Walking around Ba Dinh square of 320 meters in length

Ba Dinh Square in Hung Vuong Street is the largest square in Vietnam. It is the historical destination where the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was built. Ba Dinh square is a historical place and witnessed a dozen significant historical moments. On September 2, 1945, at this square, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence, giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It is also famous for its size, containing up to 200,000 people, with 168 square meters of green grass. If you want to find a place to walk around at night, Ba Dinh Square is a great destination to visit.
 

2.4. Visiting Tran Quoc pagoda - the oldest pagoda in Hanoi

Visiting Tran Quoc pagoda is among the best things to do in Hanoi. It is because the pagoda is more than 1500 years old, and is considered the oldest pagoda in the capital. It was, in the past, the Buddhist center of Thang Long under the Ly - Tran dynasties. In 2016, Tran Quoc Pagoda was on the list of 16 most beautiful temples in the world, voted by the British Daily Mail.
Experiencing many restorations, the pagoda now has a total area of more than 3000m2. Tran Quoc Pagoda is highlighted by a high stupa erected in 1998. This stupa includes 11 floors, each one has a vaulted window. On the top, there is a gemstone nine-story lotus. All are free to visit the pagoda, so why don’t you take the time to discover inside?

 

tran quoc pagoda photo 

This is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi

2.5. Adventuring Hoa Lo prison

If you want to know more about Vietnam’s history, the Hoa Lo Prison Museum is a must-visit place to discover. Hoa Lo Prison Museum is, also known as Maison Centrale, considered a “hell on Earth” during the war period. It displays many proofs of the sufferings of the Vietnamese revolutionaries during the early 20th century. The most gruesome relic must be the French guillotine, which was used on the Vietnamese rebels. The prison is located at number 1 on Hoa Lo Street, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem. It is open every day, from 8 am to 5 pm.

hoa lo prison 

Hoa Lo prison

2.6. Visiting the Temple of Literature - First Imperial Academy in Vietnam

The Temple of Literature is known as one of the most amazing places to visit in Hanoi. It was built in 1970 and is considered the first university in Vietnam. Tourists can easily find a long list of literature in the temple. Names of Vietnam’s finest scholars were engraved onto a stone stele. Every Year, students often visit and touch the turtle's head to pray for passing the examination. The Temple of Literature is at 58 Quoc Tu Giam, with the tickets for adults being 20,000vnd and 10.000vnd for the children.
 

temple of literature in hanoi 

Temple of Literature 

2.7. Watching a water puppet show

One of the best things to do in Hanoi is to enjoy a Water Puppet Show. This kind of art appeared in the 11th century and is still a feature of Vietnamese people. In the show, the artists use the stage for the water puppets, which are controlled by puppeteers hiding behind a bamboo screen. The inspiration for the shows are stories from the people's daily lives of famous historical legends. With only 4 to 5 dollars, you can enjoy the unique art of Vietnam!

  • Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang street, nearby Hoan Kiem Lake. 

  • Time table: 15:30 – 16:10 -17:00 - 18:30 - 20:00

  • Price: from 4 USD - 9 USD

    hanoi water puppet show history

    The traditional unique performance
     

2.8. Wandering around the Thang Long imperial citadel

The Imperial City of Thang Long is a must-visit place in Hanoi. It is one of the best things to do in Hanoi for any traveler. The place was considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. It is a complex of historic imperial buildings. The Thanh Long imperial citadel was first constructed in 1011 under the reign of the Ly dynasty. In the past, The Imperial City of Thang Long was the vital seat of military power. Nowadays, people can come and visit the whole complex for only 30.000vnd. 
 

the imperial citadel hanoi 

The imperial citadel Hanoi

 

2.9. Visiting the Hanoi opera house on Trang Tien Street

Hanoi Opera House is a European-style building with Italian marble floors and French murals on the ceilings. It was built in 1901 and completed 10 years later. Hanoi Opera House is the work of two architects Broyer and Harley, modeled on the magnificent Opéra Garnier theater in Paris. This is among the most famous architectural and cultural landmarks in Hanoi which no traveler can ignore. Nowadays, the Hanoi Opera House is the center of many art shows and concerts. You can come to visit it at number 1 Trang Tien Street, Phan Chu Trinh.

2.10. Discovering nightlife in Hanoi with joy

When the sun goes down is also the busiest time of Hanoi. Tourists can participate in many entertainment activities such as visiting the Ta Hien beer street, exploring the night market, finding a pub or bar, or just walking around Hoan Kiem lake.
If you want to explore Hanoi nightlife, you can sit down and enjoy a cup of beer in The Old Quarter, watching people around. You can also visit the night market on Saturday, where tourists can buy souvenirs for the trip. Another activity is to go to a bar on Ta Hien street and listen to music for fun. To get a great view of Hoan Kiem Lake, you should book dinner at Luc Thuy restaurant. You should also walk around and experience street food while taking photos.
 

beer street hanoi old quarter 

Visitors enjoy the beer street at Ta Hien

2.11. Visiting Quan Thanh temple - one of the four sacred temples in Hanoi

Quan Thanh Temple on Thanh Nien Street is also known as Tran Vu Temple. It was built during the Ly Thai To period, in the 11th century, worshiping Huyen Thien Tran Vu, a principal deity in Taoism. The temple is considered one of the four sacred temples in Hanoi, together with the Bach Ma temple, Kim Lien temple, and Than Linh Lang Temple.
Quan Thanh has Buddhist architecture, popular religion in Vietnam. Quan Thanh temple is a popular place for many people, both inhabitants, and foreigners, to come and visit. It takes about 15 minutes for visitors to get to the temple from the Old Quarter.
 

2.12. Watching the sunset on Long Bien bridge

One of the best places to visit to have a great view of Hanoi is Long Bien Bridge. It was built from 1899 to 1902 by French architects. The whole body is made of steel and is tightly layered. Long Bien Bridge is famous because it was the first steel bridge to span the Red River. These days, many young people still love to walk on the bridge at night and watch the city life. It is right next to the Old Quarter, which is very convenient for travelers to come.
 

long bien bridge panorama view 

Long Bien bridge

 

3. What to do and see in Hanoi old quarter (15 best things)

Hanoi old quarter is the "heart and soul" of the Hanoi capital. It is a place to preserve the ancient cultural relics of the legendary and a tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists must visit in Vietnam. Let's find out the best thing to do in the old quarter.

 

3.1. Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake - A must-do thing in Hanoi

Located in the heart of the capital, also consider the symbol of Hanoi. Hoan Kiem Lake is associated with an important historical story of the capital. Around here also have various historical architectural complexes, becoming a place not to be missed for anyone to travel in the capital.
If you ask any person in Hanoi where a traveler should visit, they will tell you about Hoan Kiem Lake. Of course, this is one of the best things to do in Hanoi. Hoan Kiem Lake is the place no travelers miss during the tour!
 
There is a story related to the lake. People say that emperor Le Thai To used the sword with magic from the lake to banish the Chinese. After that, a giant golden turtle appeared to take the sword back. These days, Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular place for all genders of people to come, visit, and rest all day. Visiting the lake and enjoying Trang Tien ice cream is what we highly recommend travelers experience.

  • Address: Right in the middle of the old town, in Hoan Kiem district

  • Monuments nearby Hoan Kiem Lake: Turtle Tower, Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, Pen Tower, Dai Nghien, Hoa Phong Tower, etc.

 hoan kiem lake 3

Hoan Kiem Lake

3.2. Visiting Ngoc Son temple and listening to the story

Ngoc Son Temple is a temple attached to Hoan Kiem Lake. People built the temple to commemorate the 13th-century famous Tran Hung Dao. He was a brave military leader who helped to fight the Yuan Dynasty to protect the country. To visit Ngoc Son Temple, visitors need to cross the classic red floating bridge. Every day, many people come here to visit, relax, and pray for their families.

 

3.3. Explore the old quarter by Rickshaw or electric car

Besides exploring the city by motorbike, visitors can take a Rickshaw or electric car to explore the old quarter. The price for the Rickshaw is around 5 USD, and it takes around 1 hour around the old quarter. Visitors can catch around the old quarter, do not forget bargain and clearly about price before taking it. For the electric car, visitors can buy a ticket at Hoan Kiem lake in front of the Thang Long water puppet show.
 

Rickshaw or electric car in hanoi old quarter

Rickshaw and electric car what would you like?

3.4. Discovery of the narrowest street in the old quarter

This is also one of the highlights of the Hanoi old quarter, the small alleys are deep, and only one person goes, with an area of ​​50 to 60 cm. Entering each small alley is like entering a tunnel
Visiting the small alleys will help visitors better understand the life of Hanoians, you can visit alleys 86 or 96 Hang Buom street, and 55 Hang Chieu street.

 Discovery narrow street in hanoi

3.5. Join the Hanoi street food tour

Hanoi Street Food - food on foot for around 3 hours will help visitors try a lot of street food  - such as Pho (noodle soup), Banh Mi, Egg coffee… Meanwhile, visitors can learn more about the culture and lifestyle of Hanoian.
 

hanoi street food tours

Food on foot tour

3.6. Join Hanoi cooking class tour

If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture, especially Vietnamese cuisine. Don't forget to book the cooking tour.
The local tour guide will pick up from the meeting point and take you to the local market, where you can get see the daily life of local people,
The tour guide also shares with you a lot of information about vegetables and fruits and how to cook them. After cooking it you can enjoin by yourself.
The tour costs about 20 USD and around 4 hours.

 

hanoi cooking class tour

Cooking class tour

3.7. Take a free walking tour

The tour guide for Hanoi free walking tour mostly are students they are very friendly and enthusiastic and will help visitors explore some famous destinations in the city such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son temple, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo prison. The tour is free, however, if you enjoy it and feel happy you can give some tips to your guide.

3.8. Taste Egg coffee

This is a top thing you must try in the old quarter, even if you are a big fan of coffee or not
It's made with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk, yogurt, and coffee powder. Egg coffee can find at any place in Hanoi, the however best Egg coffee in Hanoi old quarter you can find at Giang coffee or Dinh coffee.
Giang Coffee 
Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan street
Time opening 08-00 -22-00
Price from 30.000vnd
Dinh Coffee
Address: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang
Time opening 08-00 -22-00
Price from 25.000vnd

cafe-giang

Egg coffee

3.9. Shopping in Hanoi old quarter

There are many things visitors can shopping in Hanoi old quarter. Visitors can visit Dong Xuan market the biggest market in Hanoi, visit the night market, or explore:

  • Hang Gai Street - The best place to buy quality textiles, clothes

  • Hang Trong street – To Tich for handicrafts and Lacquer wares

  • Ly Quoc Su Street - Shopping factory outlets, coffee, and tea.

 

hanoi night market

Hanoi night market 

3.10. Stop at Bach Ma temple

Bach Ma temple or White horse temple, was built in the 9th century. This is one of the four sacred protecting temples of Thang Long ancient citadels - now Hanoi. Visitors can still see the antiques and the ingenuity and sophistication of the artisan.

  • Address number 76 - 78 Hang Buom Street

  • From Tuesday to Sunday:

  • Morning: 07:00 to 11:00, Afternoon: 14:00 to 17:00

  • Entrance fee: free

3.11. Kim Ngan communal house

Kim Ngan communal house was built during the Late Le Dynasty in the 14th century, to worship the ancestor Hien Vien.
This is also the organizer Ca Tru festival - an art form recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

  • Address: 44 Hang Bac street

  • Opening time: 8am -5pm 

  • Entrance fee: free

3.12. Ma May ancient house

Ma May ancient house or Heritage house built-in 1890 with Vietnamese tubular architecture, cover 157,6 square meters, and 2 floors. Nowadays, is become a place introducing to visitors the cultural and daily life of local people.

  • Address: 87 Ma May street

  • Ticket price: 10,000 VND per person.

  • Morning: 8:00am -12:00pm

  • Afternoon: 13:00pm – 20:00pm
     

3.13. Admire Old city gate ( Vietnamese Ô Quan Chưởng)

O Quan Chuong - Old city Gate, also known as O Dong Ha, built in the reign of King Le Hien Tong (1749), this is the only gate that still exists in 5 of the old Thang Long citadel. It's still there even though Hanoi has gone through many wars.

  • Address: Near Hang Chieu – Dao Duy Tu street

  • Entrance fee: free

Old east gate 1

Old city gate

3.14. Explore Dong Xuan market

If Ben Thanh is the biggest market in Sai Gon, Dong Xuan Market is the biggest market in Hanoi. The market built in the 19th century, Dong Xuan, is still the largest wholesale market in the Northern region.

  • This is not the only place for trading. It is also a famous attraction for a visit for local and international tourists.

dong xuan market 1 

Dong Xuan market 

3.15. St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi Vietnamese call "Nhà Thờ Lớn" It is very easy to find the cathedral in the busy old town area with Gothic featuring architecture. This is the oldest cathedral in Hanoi. Attract a lot of visitors, especially Christmas and New Year festivals.

  • Address: No.40 Nha Chung street, Hoan Kiem

st josephs cathedral hanoi 

Overview of St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

 

There are many amazing things to do, enjoy, and discover in the capital. We hope that with this list of best things to do in Hanoi, you all can have unforgettable tours in the future!

 

4. Travel in Hanoi – How to travel in Hanoi?

Travel in Hanoi is very easy, there are many attractions, restaurants, and shopping areas, and hotels are located close to each other. Mostly local people will go by motorbikes, while public transportations, taxis, buses, and private cars are available when you travel to other places.

travel in hanoi 

Travel in Hanoi

Hanoi is a pretty small city, and most travelers choose to stay at Hoan Kiem district (which included the old quarter and French quarter) while other visitors will stay in Ba Dinh, Tay Ho (West Lake), and Hai Ba Trung district. Here are our suggestions for your trip to visit the city.
 
Motorbike: As mentioned above, there is the most popular in Hanoi, and finding a place to renting a motorbike is very simple. You can contact with hotel or contact with rental service directly. The price about 100,000 – 150,000 VND/day (4$ USD – 8$ USD. Normally they will require a deposit of some money or your passport.
Taxi: This is very convenient for travel. Popular taxi companies in Hanoi are Mai Linh (Tel: 024.38.222.666), Taxi Group (Tel: 024.38.26.26.26), V20 (Tel: 024.38.20.20.20)
Cyclo: Or rickshaw - a typical image of the old town is the cyclo that is still kept for tourism. You can easily catch one in the old quarter, walk around the small streets while listening to exciting stories from the driver. The price is about 100.000vnd/ 1 hour.
Electric car: This is also a very interesting way to visit the old town. Tickets are selling at the Hoan Kiem lakeside area (near Thang Long water puppet show). The prices are 200.000vnd/ 35 minute (1 car maximum 7 people) or 300.000vnd/ 60 minute.
Hop-on, hop-off bus
This will take you through 15 stops with 20 famous spots in the capital such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Cathedral, Hanoi Flag Tower, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hoa Lo Prison, Vietnam Women's Museum, etc.

  • Depart from Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square (Opposite 7 Dinh Tien Hoang) (From Monday to Friday - 09h00p - 10h45p - 14h30p - 16h15p)

  • Departure from Hanoi Opera House. From 09:00 am to 17:00 (Saturday and Sunday), one bus departs every 45 minutes.

There are 3 types of tickets are 300,000 VND / 4 hours; 450,000 VND/ 24 hours and 650,000 VND/ 48 hours. (Time for use from 9:00 am – 17:00 pm)
On the bus, free Wi-Fi and audio guide including Vietnamese, English, Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese, Russian, German, Spanish, and many other languages will help tourists easily experience.
 
Besides that, you can book grab bike or car via the app: Grab, Be, Go Viet, etc. very convenient and reasonable price.

5. Where to stay in Hanoi old quarter - Best area to stay in Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. There are plenty of options for you can choose from 3 stars to 5 stars, and all options are available: Hotel, homestay, guest house, hostel, etc. Most visitors will stay in the Hoan Kiem district (which includes Hanoi old quarter and French quarter) near restaurants, shopping centers, and many attractions. Here are some good hotels:

Hanoi Boutique Hotel & Spa

  • Address: 7 Ngo Gach alley, Hang Buom street

  • 20 from USD/night

Lavender central hotel & spa Hanoi

  • Address: 39 Hang Bac street, Hanoi

  • Price from 25 USD/night

Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa

  • Address: 94 Ma May street, Hanoi

  • Price from 45 USD/night

Silk Path Hotel Hanoi

  • Address: 199 Hang Bong street, Hanoi

  • Price from 100 USD/night

Besides that, many people also choose to stay in West Lake, Ba Dinh, or Hai Ba Trung. It's quieter and has more chances to interact with local people.
  
>>> Read more: Best area to stay in Hanoi

6. Recommend 2 days in Hanoi itinerary

We would like to advise as below:

6.1. One day in Hanoi – Visit the most famous sports in the city and try authentic food

Morning: Visit Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Minh complex, West Lake
Afternoon: Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo prison, cyclo in the old quarter and spend time visiting Water puppet show
Evening: Shopping in the old quarter, visit the night market and walking area
Food and drinks must try: Pho (noodle soup with chicken or beef), Bun Cha (BBQ pork with vermicelli and spring rolls), Banh mi (Bread), Bia hoi (draught beer), and Egg coffee.

6.2. One day in Ninh Binh or Halong Bay

You can visit Ninh Binh or Halong bay for a day
Ninh Binh:

  • You can visit the first capital of Vietnam, Hoa Lu or Tam Coc, considers "Halong Bay on the land."

  • Bai Dinh pagoda – biggest pagoda in South East Asia or Trang An – World Heritage site

 
>>> Read more: Ninh Binh - All you need to know
  
Halong bay: One of the new 7 wonders of the world with spectacular landscape, you can go swimming or kayaking, visiting caves.

>>> Read more: Halong bay - Everything you need to know 

We also have many other Hanoi Itineraries. Please email us for more details.

7. Tips for travel in Hanoi

  • If you choose to stay in the old quarter, you should book the room in advance, especially in high sessions (from October to February) and holidays.

  • Hanoi's roads are quite complicated, with many alleys and a bit crazy traffic. Don't forget to bring a hotel card or map to avoid getting lost.

  • Hanoi is very safe, but thefts still happen. Please be careful with valuable things, especially when you visit a crowded area or go out late in the evening.

  • If you visit sacred areas such as Temple, pagodas, or Ho Chi Minh mausoleum should pay attention and wear long clothes.


>>> Click here to check out: Free walking tour with local students and visit the most famous places in Hanoi
 
>>> Read more Hanoi tours with the best prices, services, and itinerary
Go Viet Trip hope this article will help you understand more about Hanoi if you need any more help. Please feel free to contact us: Email: Goviettrip@gmail.com or hotline +84968667589. We are guarantee about quality and prices. Get a full refund if you do not feel happy with our services.

Author Hoan Nguyen

He has over 10 years of experience working in the tourism sector and operator. He has traveled to many places in Vietnam and around the world.

 Photos: Go Viet Trip, Internet

 

author hoan
My name is Hoan and I come from Hanoi, with more than 10 years working in the tourism industry (both as a tour guide then tour operator). I am very proud to say that I can give you the best advice for your trip to beautiful Vietnam.
 

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