Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a fascinating blend of old and new, traditional and modern. It’s a city that is rich in history, culture, and charm, and is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vietnam. From its ancient temples and grand colonial architecture to its bustling street markets and delicious street food, Hanoi has something for everyone.
In this post, we’ll explore the top 16 things to do in Hanoi that will give you a comprehensive and authentic experience of the city. So let’s dive in and discover the best that Hanoi has to offer!
1. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-visit attraction in Hanoi. This grand monument is the final resting place of the beloved leader of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. The mausoleum is an impressive structure made of black granite and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Inside the mausoleum, you can see the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh.
2. Explore the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is the heart of Hanoi, and it’s a fascinating place to explore. The area is filled with narrow streets, ancient temples, and traditional houses. You’ll find plenty of street vendors selling local delicacies, and you can also shop for souvenirs and handicrafts. It’s an excellent place to soak up the local culture and get a taste of Hanoi’s unique charm.
3. Visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the political center of Vietnam for 13 centuries. The citadel is an impressive complex of buildings, palaces, and courtyards. You can explore the various exhibitions and artifacts to learn about the history of Vietnam.
4. Take a Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Hanoi. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and is home to the iconic red bridge, which leads to the Ngoc Son Temple. You can take a leisurely stroll around the lake and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
5. Discover the Rich Cultural Heritage at the Museum of Ethnology
The Museum of Ethnology is located in the Cau Giay District of Hanoi. It’s one of the most popular museums in Vietnam, providing an insight into the country’s diverse ethnic groups and their unique customs and traditions. The museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits, including replicas of traditional houses and displays of traditional costumes, musical instruments, and handicrafts. The exhibits are informative and engaging, and provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Vietnam’s ethnic communities.
6. Explore the National Museum of History
The National Museum of History in Hanoi is located in the Hoan Kiem District of Hanoi. The museum is housed in a beautiful colonial-era building and contains a vast collection of artifacts spanning over 2,000 years of Vietnam’s history. The exhibits include ancient pottery, bronze artifacts, stone carvings, and traditional costumes, providing a unique insight into the country’s culture and traditions. The museum also has displays on the country’s struggles for independence and its contemporary history. The exhibits are informative and well-presented, making it a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts.
7. Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is a stunning example of Vietnamese architecture and is dedicated to Confucius. It was built in 1070 and was Vietnam’s first university. The temple is an important historical and cultural site, and it’s a must-visit attraction in Hanoi. You can explore the beautiful courtyards, gardens, and buildings and learn about the history of the temple.
Hanoi tour that features the Temple of Literature:
8. Visit the Hanoi Train Street
The Hanoi Train Street is a narrow railway track that runs through a residential area in Hanoi. It’s an interesting sight to see as the train passes through the street, just inches away from the houses and shops. You can find a small café nearby where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the trains go by.
*Note: the F&B businesses in train street as we are updated, are not allowed to open due to tourist safety reason. However, some tourists are still able to sneak in and have nice instagram pictures.
9. Admire the historic Long Bien Bridge
Long Bien Bridge is an iconic bridge that spans the Red River in Hanoi. It was built by the French in 1903 and was an important transportation route during the Vietnam War. Today, the bridge is a popular attraction for visitors, providing a great opportunity to take photos of the city’s skyline and the Red River.
If you are first-time visitors to Hanoi, you may want to learn more about some travel tips to this charming city:
10. Sample the Local Cuisine
Hanoi is known for its delicious cuisine, and you should definitely take the time to sample some of the local dishes. Pho, a noodle soup, is a popular dish that you must try. You can also try Bun Cha, a grilled pork dish, and Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich. Don’t forget to try the famous Vietnamese Egg Coffee, a unique and delicious beverage that originated in Hanoi.
11. Watch a Water Puppet Show
A water puppet show is a unique and entertaining experience that you can only find in Vietnam. The shows are performed in a pool of water, and the puppeteers control the puppets with long bamboo sticks. The shows often tell traditional Vietnamese stories and are accompanied by music and singing. It’s a fun and fascinating way to learn about Vietnamese culture.
And here are the bonuses for you. Let’s discover some lesser-known tourist attractions in the outskirt of Hanoi with VN Discovery.
12. Explore the Bat Trang Ceramic Village
The Bat Trang Ceramic Village is a traditional pottery village located on the banks of the Red River, in Gia Lam district, about 14km from the center of Hanoi.. The village has been producing ceramics for over 1,000 years and is a great place to learn about the art of pottery. You can visit the local workshops, watch the artisans at work, and even try your hand at making your own pottery.
13. Van Phuc Silk Village
Van Phuc Silk Village is a traditional silk village located in Ha Dong district, about 8 km southwest of Central Hanoi. The village is known for its high-quality silk products, which have been produced for over a thousand years. You can visit the local silk workshops to see the artisans at work and learn about the silk-making process. The village is also a great place to purchase some unique silk souvenirs.
14. Chuong Conical Hat Village
Chuong Conical Hat Village is a small village situated in Thanh Oai district, about 30 km northeast of Hanoi. The village is known for its traditional conical hats, which have been made by local artisans for centuries. You can visit the local workshops to see the artisans at work and learn about the hat-making process. The village is also a great place to purchase some unique conical hats as souvenirs.
15. Vac Bird Cage Village
Vac Bird Cage Village is a small village located in Thanh Oai district, about 20 km south of Hanoi. The village is known for its traditional bird cages, which have been made by local artisans for generations. You can visit the local workshops to see the artisans at work and learn about the bird cage-making process. The village is also a great place to purchase some unique bird cages as souvenirs.
16. Quang Phu Cau Incense Village
Quang Phu Cau Incense Village is a small village situated in Ung Hoa district, about 30 km southeast of Hanoi. The village is known for its traditional incense, which has been produced by local artisans for centuries. You can visit the local workshops to see the artisans at work and learn about the incense-making process. The village is also a great place to purchase some unique incense as souvenirs.
Hanoi is a city that captures the heart of anyone who visits it. Its bustling streets, ancient temples, and unique culture create an enchanting atmosphere that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Whether you’re strolling around the Old Quarter, enjoying a cup of egg coffee, or exploring the lesser-known attractions of the city, Hanoi will leave you with unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. We hope that this guide to the top things to do in Hanoi has given you some inspiration for your trip to this amazing city.
Don’t forget to contact VN Discovery, trusted tour operator in Vietnam, for expert guidance and personalized tours that will help you make the most of your visit to Hanoi.