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Things to do in Hanoi

Things to do in  Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi

Between maze-like streets, a never-ending sea of traffic, and crowded marketplaces, Vietnam's ancient capital can be overwhelming at first. But just beneath the surface, you'll find Hanoi's rich heritage and proud cultural traditions are waiting to be discovered. Start your city tour in the atmospheric Old Quarter, where countless craft shops and food stalls line dozens of narrow ""trade streets."" Around Hoan Kiem Lake, beautifully restored, French Colonial buildings, including the Grand Opera House and the Presidential Palace, flank wide, stately boulevards, and a painted footbridge leads to the antique Ngoc Son Confucian temple on the lake. Learn more about Vietnam's most influential leader at the Ho Chi Minh complex, where you can see ""Uncle Ho's"" former house-on-stilts, as well as his earthly remains (housed in the mausoleum). Don't miss the Temple of Literature, built in the 11th century as the country's first university, or the excellent Museum of Ethnology. Take a tasting tour to sample some of Asia's best street food, which might include classic bun cha (slow-roasted pork served with rice vermicelli, herbs, and lettuce), followed by thick, sweet, and highly addictive Vietnamese coffee. Enjoy a traditional water-puppet show and a cyclo (three-wheeled taxi) ride, and you'll soon feel right at home in Hanoi. When you're ready to explore farther afield, Hanoi makes an easy transport hub: Junk boat cruises on UNESCO-listed Halong Bay are just a few hours away, while south of the capital, highlights include the Perfume Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda, and the Trang An grottoes.

Top 10 attractions in Hanoi

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is renowned for its spectacular scenery. One of the most popular tourist attractions in northern Vietnam, Ha Long Bay is known for its sparkling emerald waters, more than 1,600 towering limestone islands and islets, caves, and traditional floating villages.More
Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter, a triangular area surrounding Hoan Kiem Lake, has been the cultural heart of Hanoi for nearly 2,000 years. Daily routine starts early and builds to a friendly bustle in this ancient neighborhood, where streets have distinct character and are named after the crafts once made there, such as silver, silk, and paper.More
Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

The Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon) is a 100­-year-­old performance hall with architecture modeled on the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris. Nha Hat Lon was erected by the French colonial administration at the turn of the 20th century and is a landmark building in Hanoi. It was built in a typical French style with classic gothic features.In 1997, the modernization and repair of the building was undertaken by Vietnamese French architects, and the decorative designs on the ceilings, arches, walls, and doors were renewed. Home to the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra, the Opera House also hosts the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Ballet, plus both traditional and modern local productions.No tours of the building are offered but the exterior makes for some good photo opportunities. In terms of atmosphere, the Opera House is best seen at night when it is illuminated by lights.More
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

The art form of water puppetry originated at least 1,000 years ago in the rice fields of north Vietnam. Particularly if you’re traveling with kids, you’d be remiss to leave Hanoi without catching a show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. A Vietnamese orchestra accompanies the water puppets, with some modern special effects.More
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

One of the most visited attractions in Hanoi, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of “Uncle Ho,” the beloved founder of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He lies here in state, embalmed and in a glass case, with a military honor guard watching over him and the many visitors who come to pay their respects.More
Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake)

Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake)

A key landmark in the historical center of Hanoi, charming Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword) offers a peaceful escape from the hectic pace and crowds of the city. It’s a popular meeting spot, and also makes a great place to people watch and experience local culture.More
Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam)

Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam)

Few truly historic buildings exist in Vietnam, which makes the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam) extra special. First built as a Confucian temple in 1070 AD, it became Vietnam’s first university (Quoc Tu Giam) and operated as one for more than 700 years. Between ponds, gardens, and tranquil courtyards, it’s a haven in the heart of the HanoiMore
One-Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot)

One-Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot)

Built on a single pillar and rising out of a square-shaped lotus pond, the One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot) is said to resemble a lotus flower. Originally built in the 11th century, the pagoda has been rebuilt over the years, most recently in 1955 after it was destroyed by the French, and remains one of Hanoi’s most iconic pagodas.More
Tran Quoc Pagoda (Chua Tran Quoc)

Tran Quoc Pagoda (Chua Tran Quoc)

One of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, and the oldest in Hanoi, Tran Quoc Pagoda (Chua Tran Quoc) was built in during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De (AD 541–547) and moved to its present location in 1615. Located on an islet within West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda offers beautiful architecture, historic relics and artifacts, and a serene and scenic environment.More
Long Bien Bridge (Cau Long Bien)

Long Bien Bridge (Cau Long Bien)

Designed by the same architect responsible for the Eiffel Tower, Long Bien Bridge (Cau Long Bien) was the first bridge to span the Red River in Hanoi, providing a vital transport link between cities and towns in Northern Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the bridge was bombed in American air attacks, and yet today, it still stands as a testament to the nation’s tumultuous history.More

Trip ideas

Halong Bay Cruises from Hanoi

Halong Bay Cruises from Hanoi

How to Spend 3 Days in Hanoi

How to Spend 3 Days in Hanoi

Food Tours in Hanoi

Food Tours in Hanoi

Top activities in Hanoi

2-Days Sapa Tour from Hanoi

2-Days Sapa Tour from Hanoi


Recent reviews from experiences in Hanoi

Rebekah_O, Mar 2020
Private Walking Tour of Hanoi City
Best way to see Hanoi, J was amazing and so knowledgable, he took us to a local restaurant, we would never have found our way without him!
Private city tour of Hanoi
Lynne_S, Mar 2020
Private Hanoi City Full-Day Tour
Great way to see the sites of Hanoi.
Cat Ba island
profacas, Feb 2020
Off The Beaten Track To Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay (2 days 1 night)
We were treated to the most wonderful service, incredible meals and the right amount of organised activities.
Great Experience
Joseph P, Jan 2020
Hanoi By Night Foodie Motorbike Tour- 4 hours
Great value for what you pay & an awesome way to see the city/experience the traffic.
Very Nice
Zina F, Jan 2020
Hanoi Luxury Private City Full Day Tour
I would highly recommend this tour, it gives you more or less everything you need to see in Hanoi.
tour guide HOA the best
poolczar, Dec 2019
Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hanoi Private Tour
He command of english was exceptional.
Great tour
CCVVJJ, Nov 2019
Small Group Hanoi Street Food Tour with a Real Foodie
Command of English was excellent.
Airport Transfer to Hotel
Peter M, Nov 2019
Private Transfer Between Hanoi Airport (han) And Hanoi City Center
Driver very courteous although did not speak much English so we communicated through google translate.
Brad H, Nov 2019
Full-day Hanoi City and Countryside By ANTIQUE Minsk Motorcycle and Gaz69 Jeep
This tour provided a fun and unique way to see the sights in and around Hanoi.
Ha Long Bay Full Day Trip
Meander297020, Oct 2019
Halong Bay Full Day Trip with Fast Expressway Transfer Round Trip
He was very helpful and can speak and understand english very well.
Sizzling Hanoi
drjklmrhyde, Jul 2018
Full-Day Halong Bay Islands, Cave, Kayak. Lunch. NATIONAL HIGHWAY Transfer
Everyone who visit Hanoi is a must to see Halong Bay Island and Cave.
My best tour in Hanoi Very nice...
Dimitrios N, Jan 2018
Perfume Pagoda Day Tour from Hanoi
My best tour in Hanoi Very nice and unique locations The tour schedule was properly organized in order to have enough time in all attractions Our guide was polite fun and provided us with useful information I would recommend this tour
This was our favourite tour, we were...
KAREN B, Oct 2017
Hanoi Street Food Adventure Tour
This was our favourite tour, we were introduced to many various street foods some including Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup, Vietnamese spring rolls, Crispy Seafood pancakes, fresh fruit, Vietnamese beers etc etc.
I can highly recommend taking this...
Rune B, Aug 2018
Hanoi City Sightseeing and Street Food Tour
There is no better way to see this beatiful city than on the back of a motor bike.
Tour Guide by the name Duc who...
Shirley_Chong SL, Aug 2018
Full-Day Hoa Lu and Tam Coc - Mua Cave DELUXE Tour from Hanoi Including Lunch
Tour Guide by the name Duc who speaks fluent English.
Overall it was nice- we visited a...
Katrinah S, Nov 2017
6 Hours Halong Bay Cruise On Titop Island & Swimming -go By New Highway
Our guide was nice, he speaks fluent English, and he made sure everyone in the group was properly taken cared of.
A good trip which gave a good...
Sarah D, Dec 2017
Private Tour: Hanoi City Tour Including Water Puppet Show and Cyclo Ride
A good trip which gave a good overview of interesting places to visit in Hanoi.
One of the best tours weve ever...
Betsy V, Mar 2018
Hanoi City Sightseeing and Street Food Tour
Our guides were knowledgeable, fun and spoke great English.
Loved this tour, a wonderful way to...
John T, Mar 2018
Small-Group Street Food Bike Tour of Hanoi Old Quarter
Loved this tour, a wonderful way to see the streets of Hanoi.
Best thing we did in Hanoi by far...
Brent C, Mar 2018
Half-Day Hanoi Food Tour by Motorbike
They all spoke English well and did a great job explaining the sites.

All about Hanoi

When to visit

Given its northern location, Hanoi has more distinct seasons—and lower temperatures—than most of Vietnam. Travelers who prefer moderate weather should consider planning a trip between November and April. Mid-autumn, during the Full Moon Festival, and mid-winter, when it’s Lunar New Year, are among the most memorable times of the year to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions