Hanoi old quarter is the "heart and soul" of the Hanoi capital. It is a place all visitors want to visit, it's the place to preserve the ancient cultural relics of the legendary in Vietnam. Every day attracts many domestic and foreign tourists.
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
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.
Ngoc son Temple
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.
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 tour
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.
Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan street
Time opening 08-00 -22-00
Price from 30.000vnd
Address: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang
Time opening 08-00 -22-00
Price from 25.000vnd
Egg coffee in Hanoi
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 25 USD and around 4 hours.
Hanoi cooking class
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
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
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
The traditional unique performance
Besides walking explore city, 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.
Hop on hop off bus Hanoi
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.
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
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
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?
This is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi
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.
The French Quarter is also one of the famous tourist attractions in Hanoi. Visitors can visit many famous buildings of the capital such as the Opera House, Vietnam History Museum, Hilton Hanoi hotel...
Hanoi opera house
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, weekly attracting thousands of local and international tourists. Visitors can buy and sell, visit the stalls, as well as participate in performances, traditional games and other activities.
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.
>>>You may need this: Hanoi Nightlife | Top 13+ must do and see at night in Hanoi 2023
Visitors enjoy the beer street at Ta Hien
In recent years, to diversify tourism products and attract more tourists, Hanoi has organized more nighttime activities and tours such as named "Sacred Night — Glorious Vietnamese Spirit" at Hoa Lo prison and especially "Quintessence of Education" at Temple of Literature since November 2023.
Train Street is a famous check-in for international tourists when visiting Hanoi. Visitors can come to take photos, enjoy a beer or a cup of coffee and watch the train pass away. It's such a good experience.
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
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 city gate
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.
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
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!
>>> 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