Visiting Hanoi? Looking for the best things to
do or places to visit in Hanoi today?? Check out my Hanoi Bucket List of 2019
which includes classic
Hanoi tourist attractions and the latest trendy spots in
Top Things to do In Hanoi - Hanoi must-see point of interests and you will
know what to do!
1. Explore The Old Quarter
Without a doubt, Hanoi Old Quarter is the busiest hub in the city and one of the
best Hanoi things to do. In fact, no tourist coming here without visiting the
Hanoi Old Quarter. Since it’s the center of the city, it’s easy to go everywhere
Here you can find small streets with many street vendors, selling food and
souvenirs on the street. The streets are packed with scooters, bicycles, and
cars. It is truly a local experience that will give you an idea of what it is
like to live in Hanoi. Here you can try some tasty street food as well.
A tip for you: if you go by yourself, you need a map as the streets are very
narrowed and confusing. Better to go with a tour guide who knows the area as it
saves your time and you can visit the most of it.
2. See The Embalmed Body of The Great Father of Vietnam
You might be wondering who is the person that so loved by Vietnamese people and
called by the name The Great Father. He is no one else but Ho Chi Minh - the
first president of Vietnam after Vietnam declared its independence in 1945.
Ho Chi Minh was the one who had the most contribution to the independence of
Vietnam and as an act of respect, Vietnamese Government decided to embalm his
body, installed it in an imposing concrete-and-granite block that stands before
a vast square with dim lights. By this way, people can always come to this place
to visit the Great Father. Now, the embalmed body placed inside Ho Chi Minh
Mausoleum - a privately guarded place.
One interesting fact is that you can rarely find any of the photos of the
embalmed body itself and inside the mausoleum. You may hear about it but you
can’t see it. This place is strictly guarded and you can’t take photos. If you
want to see, you have to go there by yourselves.
Address: Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 07:30 - 10:30, Saturday & Sunday 07:30 - 11:00
3. Discover The Old Imperial of Hanoi - UNESCO World Heritage Site
A fact that not many people know about is that Hanoi is among one of the most
ancient capitals in the world. This city just celebrated its 1000th birthday in
2010. At the time when Hanoi was chosen as the capital of Vietnam more than a
century ago, it was given the name “Thang Long” which means “the flying Dragon”.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long that still remains today has become an
intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and
cultural importance. It was the center of regional political power for almost 13
centuries without interruption. This site was selected as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site and worth paying a visit for anyone want to dig deeper into the
history and culture of Vietnam - top Hanoi things to do indeed.
Address: 19C Hoang Dieu Street, Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh District.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 08:00 – 17:00
Price Range: 30.000 VND
4. Visit Hoa Lo Prison - "Hell On Earth"
As a country of wars, there’re many prisons scattered throughout the territory
of Vietnam. Hoa Lo Prison or Hanoi Hilton is one of the most popular.
Described as “Hell On Earth”, Hoa Lo Prison can be creepy for the fainted
hearts. This prison can inspire sorrow, disgust, and, depending on your
politics, different flavors of outrage.
Most exhibits relate to the prison’s use up to the mid-1950s, focusing on the
Vietnamese struggle for independence from France. A gruesome relic is the
ominous French guillotine, used to behead Vietnamese revolutionaries.
Hoa Lo Prison is truly a thought-provoking site and definitely worth
do in Hanoi even if you’re not keen on history. This can be some scary things
for some people and you’ve got my warning!
Address: 1 Tran Hung Dao, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem District.
Hours: 8 am-5 pm
Price adult/child: 30.000 VND/free
5. Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake - Things to do Hanoi
What I’ve found interesting of Hoan Kiem Lake is that although located in the
middle of chaos city with crazy traffic like Hanoi, it still remains the
serenity and gives out this peaceful feeling. Hoan Kiem Lake is also a charming
social and cultural center for Hanoi citizens.
You can see people practice tai chi in the morning, couples take wedding photos
around the lake. The lakeside offers an excellent opportunity to take in the
local color, and it's an easy walk to the Old Quarter afterward.
While strolling around
Hoan Kiem Lake, don’t forget to visit
Ngoc Son Temple and
The Huc Bridge.
6. Visit the Temple of Literature
Here is the thing: Asian culture really emphasizes education. We can see that
from Chinese culture, Korean culture and Japanese culture. Vietnamese culture is
not an exception.
Temple of Literature is the first university of Vietnam and has proven its
historical and cultural importance. Nowadays, students always come here before
exams or in Lunar New Year to wish for the best luck in their study.
The temple is laid out in a sequence of five courtyards from south to north,
spanned by three pathways running through the Temple's length. This things to do
is surely for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the history and culture of
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8:30 - 11:30 & 13:30 - 16:30
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da District.
Priceadult/child: 30.000 VND/free
7. Watch a Water Puppet Performance
Vietnamese art performances don’t win a point in fanciness or complexity. In
fact, the performances are normally seen in small stages. However, each
performance is unique in its own way. Water Puppet Show is a one-of-a-kind
performance you cannot see anywhere else.
Water Puppet Show is truly a unique form of art. It’s not plainly a music show
or a play. It somehow a mixture between two of them and with storylines of
The main actors are puppets controlled by artists. The whole performance happens
to be on the water. Sounds interesting, right?
If you’re curious enough, note down on your list of Hanoi things to do to come
and figure out how they perform it!
Address: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hang Bac,
Hoan Kiem District.
Opening Hours: Daily 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00
Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: +84 43 824
Price Range: 100.000 VND
8. Lap Up The Coffee Culture
If you thought Europeans were the world’s coffee connoisseurs, try to taste the
authentic Hanoi coffee will make you reconsider. Just like Banh Mi, coffee was
introduced here by the French colonists in the late 19th century. However, the
Vietnamese quickly started to modify and make their own recipes and create a
In my experience, to taste the really delicious and authentic Hanoi coffee you
should check out the street pavement coffee shop instead of drinking the coffee
at your hotel or a big restaurant.
An absolute must-try is the local egg coffee (ca phe trung) - the very very very
delicious and famous coffee of Hanoi. For the best and original egg coffee, come
to Giang Cafe, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street. This things to do won’t disappoint
you, just trust me with that!
9. Shop at Dong Xuan Market
Finding some Vietnamese goods? Dong Xuan Market is a good consideration.
Dong Xuan Market is housed within a four-storey Soviet-style building on the
northern edge of Hanoi Old Quarter. This is the largest indoor market in Hanoi
and you can find almost anything here. The market offers a wide range of goods
such as fresh produce, souvenirs, accessories, and clothing, as well as
electronic and household appliances.
Opening Hours: Daily 06:00 - 19:00.
Address: Dong Xuan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
10. Pay a Visit To The “Notre Dame de Paris” of Hanoi
The French colonists used to build many sites and constructions in Hanoi. All of
them has this unique French architectural style which is really easy to spot.
If you are still wondering about things to do in Hanoi, pay a visit to
St.Joseph's Cathedral, one striking example of French architecture. The
cathedral is said to be a smaller version of the Notre Dame de Paris. Familiarly
called by the locals as “The Big Church”, St. Joseph Cathedral is the
headquarter of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi for more than 4 million
Catholics in the country.
>>> See the Hanoi French Quarter
Take Your Time And Tour Around Hanoi French Quarter and St.Joseph's Cathedral
through Hanoi Free Walking Tours
Opening hours: For Outside visit: all the time. For Inside visit: visitors can
only enter the Cathedral in Hanoi in the opening time of ceremonial practice as
the following schedule:
Weekday: 5:30 am and 6:15 pm
Saturday: 6:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 am, 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm
A special ceremony is on 19th March every year.
Address: 40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District
11. Sky-high City View at Lotte Center
Where to find the best view of Hanoi from above? Lotte Observation Deck is the
answer without hesitation!
Lotte Observation Deck Hanoi offers beautiful panoramic views of the city as it
is located on the 65th floor of the Lotte Center. From this height, you can
observe Hanoi skyline and take gorgeous pictures.
Address: 54 Lieu Giai Street, Cong Vi, Ba Dinh District.
Prices are influenced by a number of factors, including age and time of day. It
is more expensive to visit during the day than in the evening; evening time is
considered from 18:30-22:00 (Summer) / 17:30-22:00 (Winter).
For 3-7-year-olds, or over 65 the fee is 110.000-90.000 VND (day/night)(5-4
Those aged between 8-19 years pay 170.000-110.000 VND (7-5 US$)
20 to 64-year-old pay an entrance fee of 230.000-130.000 VND (9-6 US$)
12. Catch Sunset Moment in West Lake
West Lake is known to be the best spot to watch the sunset in Hanoi and the best
time to watch sunset during summer time. Before sunset, many people come here
including professional photographers with the hope of catching the picturesque
Sunset in West Lake is very romantic and peaceful. I feel blessed only looking
at such a breathtaking view.
13. Go On a Street Food Adventure in Hanoi
And yes, here comes one of my favorite things to do among all. Leaving out
a Hanoi street food tour would be the biggest mistake! Even if you don’t have
much time in Hanoi, just don’t skip a street food tour. Why?
Because all the street food is such a blessing to your taste buds! I’ve tried
all of the street food that I could and none of them was even close to average.
The thing that I like the most about the food is the balance of all the taste
and ingredients when mixed together.
However, remind that most of the dishes will taste better if you follow the
right way to eat them. For example, only how to put in the sauce and herbs to
enlighten the taste varies among different dishes. And unfortunately, only the
locals know how to eat the food properly so you can enjoy it the most.
14. Visit the Women’s Museum
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum delivers a beautifully presented tribute to the
women of Vietnam across the ages. There are plenty of historical contexts
alongside a wealth of information on today’s more modern Vietnamese woman.
This museum features displays across five floors delivered over three sections –
women in a family, women in history and women’s fashions. There are more than
1000 artifacts on display depicting the many faces and changing roles of
If you have an interest in museums, don’t leave out Women’s Museum. It’s a very
modern museum with unique architecture and one of the popular Hanoi things to
Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem District.
Opening Hours: From 08:00-16:30 every day except Monday
Price Adult/child: 30.000D/Free
15. Hop On a Cyclo in Hanoi
Are you tired of walking around? Then taking a cyclo is a good choice to explore
the Old Quarter. Cyclo is unique transportation of Vietnam and I think it’s
really fun to give it a try!
Cyclo is like a bicycle but with 3 wheels and 1 seat in the front. You will seat
in the front and the peddler will ride you around the Old Quarter really slowly.
By this way, you can discover all 36 streets which is something you can’t do by
just walking around.
However, some tourists have said that this could be a scary experience because
of the crazy traffic in Hanoi. But that's just worrying because accidents rarely
16. Attend a Cooking Class
Remember I talked about taking a Hanoi street food tour and how delicious the
If you wonder how Vietnamese people make their food, why not attending a cooking
class? It sounds like a great idea and lots of fun you will have. A cooking
class with local chef will give you detailed instructions and tips. Some classes
even allow you to go to the local wet markets to buy the ingredients yourself.
What a great way to experience local life!
17. Hanoi Night Market
If you’re lucky enough to stay in Hanoi at the weekend, visiting Hanoi Night
Market is definitely one of things to do you cannot miss. The market runs
through the Old Quarter district from 7 pm onwards, starting from Hang Dao
Street and running north to the edge of Dong Xuan Market.
Pedestrian streets and historical sites within the area are illuminated with
decorative lights, making this a popular spot for traveling photographers. You
will find many things in the market at cheap price. If you’re not keen on
shopping, you can stroll along the market to enjoy the local atmosphere.
18. Sit Behind a Motorbike
Another way to come down the streets and join in the traffic is by taking a
Hanoi motorbike tour. In my opinion, this is the most local and fun experience
that you can ever have in Hanoi.
You might never ride a motorbike before and this could be your chance. In Hanoi
Motorbike Tour, you will seat behind the driver and she/he will take you around
the city, visit the famous attractions, taste local food and give you some
insights and stories about this beautiful city on the way.
I know that Hanoi’s traffic can be hard but don’t worry, these tours are safe.
And trust me, give it a try and you won’t regret the experience.
19. Discover Hanoi Nightlife in Hanoi Old Quarter
When the sun goes down, then it’s the perfect time to explore Hanoi Nightlife.
Hanoi Nightlife has much to offer with a multitude of things to do, from
relaxing, chilling activities to fun and dynamic activities. One of the top
things to do in Hanoi you would love!
20. Grab Some Beer at Ta Hien Street
Ta Hien Street is known as the first street where the majority of foreign
tourists set foot on when coming and before leaving Hanoi. Therefore, everyone
is familiar to call Ta Hien Street with the name "Pho Tay" (Foreign Street).
Ta Hien street is super famous for beer, from Vietnamese traditional beer to
luxury foreign beer. Not only for beer lovers and night owls, Beer street Hanoi
is a paradise to discover Vietnamese cuisine. All the best Hanoi street foods
are here! If you are a food enthusiast, don't miss this delicious chance to
savor it all!
There is no proper pub here, not even a proper table in Ta Hien Street.
Customers will sit on small stools around a little taller plastic or wooden
stools on which food and beer bottles are placed. If you have a night in Hanoi,
just don’t miss the chance of going to Ta Hien and grab some beer.