The capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city, Hanoi in winter is a pleasure place to visit. The city is wild and wonderful even muddling through the destructions of war city and a recent government to control its functions. The beautiful yet rushing city of Hanoi is located on the banks of the Red River and is regarded to be one of the most prehistoric capitals in the world. What craft the city so special amongst the travelers are the well-preserved colonial buildings, antique pagodas, unique museums, vibrant nightlife, skills and handicrafts, a multicultural community and affordable luxuries. And if your planning to spend your winter in Hanoi then you have a lot more to add to your holiday experience.
The city owns a serene countryside, featuring lush parks, grassy mountains, and traditional villages. The iconic Ha Long Bay is the essence of the city. It doesn’t matter which season it is. Hanoi is vibrant all the time. The historic periods of French and Chinese occupations offer a rich glimpse into the fact that people in Hanoi are proud, ambitious and flexible. The city welcomes you wholeheartedly and lets you connect with the locals in a charming way.
13 Things To Do In Hanoi In Winter
If you are in Hanoi during the winter season, don’t lose your heart as there are so many things you can do while being in Hanoi during the chills. Here is a list of some fine things that you shouldn’t miss while you are traveling to Hanoi in winter–
- Annual Flower Festival – Celebrate With Family
- Christmas Concert – Attend It Once
- The Halong Bay – Opt For Activities
- Cruise Ride – Explore The Waters Of Hanoi
- Hanoi Cathedral – Pay A Visit
- Pho & Hot Egg Coffee – Must-Try Delicacies
- The Mosaic Wall – Gape At The Beauty
- Hanoi Opera House – Treat Your Ears
- Hanoi Run – Best For Children
- Christmas Market – Buy Some Souvenirs
- Local Cuisine – Gorge On Some Tasty Food
- Water Puppet Show – A Traditional Act
- Hanoi Nightlife – Best Way To Cap The Day
1. Annual Flower Festival – Celebrate With Family
The last week of December in Hanoi is dazzled with the annual Flower Festival that you shouldn’t miss. Hoan Keim is decorated with beautiful flowers and the arrangement is done while keeping the cultural setting in mind. One of the major spots for tourists, Hoan Kiem is inundated with a number of tourists admiring the beauty of it. The Dinh Tien Hoang Street filled with flower statues is the best thing you’ll see during the festival. The fun is not just limited to flowers but there are traditional performances, folk games at le Thai To, and a scene of nicely arranged musical instruments, floral and local symbols as well. According to the locals, this flower festival is regarded to be the opening fete for the country’s Tet or the New Year Celebrations falling in the month of January.
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2. Christmas Concert – Attend It Once
Winter is all about Christmas and the best way to celebrate the festival in Hanoi is by going for a Christmas Concert. Though Christmas Day isn’t a public holiday here in the country, the people of Vietnam still celebrate it with full enthusiasm and excitement. There are concerts held in a number of institutes and theaters that you can visit and explore. The Geothe institute is known for conducting a Christmas concert featuring classical music and carols at the courtyard of the institute. There is more to the celebrations. You can also be a part of a fun Christmas Party at Ca Phe Thy Bay. The place is filled with tourists, good food, great music and lots of fun games if you wish. If you have hired a tour guide, ask him to take you to different celebrations organized to attract visitors.
3. The Halong Bay – Opt For Activities
This bay was well known for its water sports activities, mainly kayaking, until the local government stepped in and banned the activity because of the environmental damages due to tours and travels. However you can still enjoy the beauty of this Bay even in winters. Admiring the gorgeous scenery of the Halong Bay while fishing is the best thing you can do to help yourself relax. The bay is filled with beautiful limestone and caves that allures visitors from all over the world. In addition to this, natives are always willing to help you out. Once here, you can feel yourself diving deep into the nature as this place is far from the city life, untouched by modernity and you can also take help from the locals for a boat ride inside the cave. If you enjoy sunbathing or tai chi, this place must be on your bucket list.
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4. Cruise Ride – Explore The Waters Of Hanoi
If you love cruise and wish to join one, then just for about US$469, you can get about three days and two nights to on board a junk boat cruise on the Halong Bay. The cruise lets you explore the wonderful islands of Halong, along with experiencing the luxurious amenities on the boat and the World Heritage of Hanoi. Look for the tour permissions if they’ll let you explore the isolated lagoons. This is an adventure of its own kind. Luxuries on the boat include tanning decks, five suite cabins, food and drinks, night fishing, bars, and a free hotel pick-up. You have to pay separately if you wish to get some booze on your trip.
5. Hanoi Cathedral – Pay A Visit
Christians embrace only 7% of the total population of Vietnam but the churches here celebrate the Yuletide season with full enthusiasm and respect. A number of locals and tourists gather at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral to witness its extravagant interior and exterior historic architecture that dates centuries back. This is a sight you’d never want to miss. People admiring the architecture and participating in the festivals serves to be the major reason for joy. The neo-Gothic Cathedral is also known as the Hanoi Cathedral. The church offers a number of things to do in Hanoi in winter season. There are restaurants nearby offering delicious Vietnamese cuisine with special menus. It is highly recommended to visit here before the scheduled mass as the church gets crammed full easily. For schedules, you can get them at the gates. However if you are visiting the church on a regular day, the best way to enter is to pass through the Diocese of Hanoi and ring the small bell located on the upper right side of the door.
6. Pho & Hot Egg Coffee – Must-Try Delicacies
Since you are in Hanoi during the winter season, it is common you catch a little cold and have a gooey nose. The best way to keep yourself warm and comfy is to have a bowl of noodles. All you have to do is to drop by the street stores and get yourself a bowl of the mouthwatering Pho noodles. There are tourists everywhere so you can share your table with them. A mug of hot egg coffee is the best thing to pair with your noodles. The best thing about this coffee is it is manually whisked. It is recommended to choose a restaurant filled with customers which implies the restaurant is well-renowned and worth getting in. If you are a die-hard foodie then the Old Quarter is the perfect place for you as it is crowded with people and you‘ll get a lot of better choices that you can do in Hanoi.
7. The Mosaic Wall – Gape At The Beauty
Hanoi is home to the world’s largest mural wall located at the Dyke Road near the Old Quarter, along the Red River. Officially recognized as the largest ceramic mosaic wall by area in the Guinness Book of Records, visiting this magnificent wall is the best thing you can do on your trip to Hanoi. This wall was made public on the occasion of the thousand-year anniversary of the founding of Hanoi, earlier known as Thang Long, founded by Emperor Ly Thai To, in the year 2010. The wall was designed by Vietnamese journalist and artist Nguyen Thu Thuy. Several Vietnamese and international artists along with a vast number of children were included in the designing of the wall. Every 100 meters of this 800 meters wall features a new design that showcases Vietnamese historical periods, modern artworks, and children’s drawings. Different companies, embassies and organizations like the British Council have known to sponsor a few sections of the wall.
8. Hanoi Opera House – Treat Your Ears
Most people think Opera is boring and not worth a visit. But that is not the case with the Hanoi Opera House. This is another place where you can feel the energetic Christmas vibes, apart from the cathedrals. Catch the live Nut Cracker performance of the Vietnam National Ballet radiating the sophistication of the winter. After this, you can spend some quality time while taking pictures in the foyer of the Opera House where there is a giant Christmas tree, gifts and everything related to the festival. As per the suggestions, you can take anyone with you, either a local friend or your family. This is the place where you can enjoy at your lungs top.
9. Hanoi Run – Best For Children
Traveling to Hanoi is definitely all about having a rich time in the city. However, a little charity would surely make this trip memorable and valuable. Hanoi organizes a charitable run for children, which is regarded to be a highly predicted event in the month of December since 2000. More like a fun run, this marathon attracts over 10,000 participants to raise around one billion VND to help children battling with cancer and heart disease. This initiative is a result of the partnership done between Canada and Vietnam. This isn’t a race, so there is no competition involved. Refreshments like coffee and water are given to the participants for free. You can either book your participation earlier or on the day of the fun run. Participate with your friends and family and give your best in this noble cause.
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10. Christmas Market – Buy Some Souvenirs
Traveling is incomplete without shopping and buying some of your favorite items and souvenirs to remember your amazing trip. Tay Ho District offers you the best shopping experience in Hanoi. The place is filled with a number of restaurants, bars and shopping centers that you would love to explore. You can get anything here, from food to fashion attires. Right next to the Old Quarter, there is West Lake, known to be the best shopping destination in Hanoi. You can get special discounts during the winter season.
11. Local Cuisine – Gorge On Some Tasty Food
While traversing on the streets of Hanoi, one cannot ignore the scent of tasty food cooking at every corner. Vietnamese food is a delicate blend of sweet, salty, sour, and hot flavors. You will not find complex dishes with a dozen ingredients, rather you will see simple ingredients that help the dish to stand out. One must try local cuisines like Goi Cuon which is nothing but a simple spring roll which is stuffed with minced meat, green veggies, and coriander. It is generally served with a bowl of peanut sauce, mint, and lettuce.
12. Water Puppet Show – A Traditional Act
Another thing that you cannot miss in Hanoi is to watch the famous puppet show that too in water. The tradition has been going on since the 11th century and is expected to go on. Earlier, farmers used to attach puppets on fishing rods and perform a show in a dire situation when rice paddy fields got flooded by water. Now, a show is created which portrays a play of some legendary figures.
13. Hanoi Nightlife – Best Way To Cap The Day
One of the best things to do in Hanoi in winter is to enjoy Hanoi nightlife with your friends or family. Without comparing it with any other nightlife, head to the top bars and clubs in Hanoi and groove on the top numbers that are played there. Some of the best areas are Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake which are packed with amazing bars. Make sure that you reach a bit earlier as most of the bars get closed by midnight.
Apart from the wonderful activities mentioned above, Hanoi is widely famous for its nightlife. Water Puppet Theatre, Binh Minh’s Jazz Club, and Hanoi Press Club are some of the most visited clubs in Hanoi. Either shopping or cuisine, Hanoi in winter is one of the best destinations to explore. So, plan a trip to Vietnam and make your winter happy and happening.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hanoi In Winter
A. The temperature in Hanoi dips to 17 degrees Celsius in winter months that starts from November and lasts till April.
A. Yes, Hanoi experiences distinct summer and winter seasons. From November to April, the temperature dips down and the rest of the year, the sun shines brightly making it the summer months.
A. Generally, Hanoi is a safe place to explore for all kinds of travelers however one must practice some caution to avoid any mishappenings.
A. December marks as the coldest and driest months of the year in Hanoi as the temperature dips to 16 degrees Celsius. It sometimes further dip in the night.
A. You explore all the major attractions in Hanoi is two days and then explore nearby places on your trip.
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