Exciting Things To Do In Hanoi

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Cover Image Credit: CharlieLe for Pixabay

Hanoi – the capital city of Vietnam in Southeast Asia is a diverse blend of art, culture, and food with a touch of Asian, Chinese and French ascendancy. It is rapidly developing and the second-largest city of Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh. The luxurious cruise tours and Vietnamese dishes with recipes from famous cuisines used by generations enhances the city’s image. The train that passes in between small houses is an unusual but unique sight.

Hanoi is famous for its ancient architecture, museums, food, cooking and culinary classes. Beautiful yet simple streets, delightful nightlife combined with entertaining street performances increase one’s excitement while exploring multiple things to do in Hanoi.

Best Time to Visit: February to April and October-November.
Ideal Stay: 6- 7 days.

10 Amazing Things To Do In Hanoi

If you are planning a trip to Hanoi, you must know that there are a plethora of things to do here. You will never run out of them and it has something for everyone! Let’s take a sneak peek at the things you must do without fail while on a trip to Hanoi.

1. Sightseeing At Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO Heritage site – popular for scuba diving, hiking, and sightseeing which are few important things to do in Hanoi while on a trip to Vietnam. It is also called as King Kong Island as it is surrounded by breath-taking views of mountains and forests. One can explore the scenic and beautiful features of different isles and caves while on a cruise or a boat. The boat/cruise tour during shimmering nights is mostly preferred by the visitors.

Fees: INR 933 /- for day cruise per head, INR 1,795 for an overnight cruise.
Best Time to Visit: October – December

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2. A Visit To The Temple of Literature

The architectural Temple of Literature is the first University in Vietnam. It has an interesting insight into Vietnamese history and architecture. It is a must-see sight, away from the chaos of Hanoi. A visit to the Temple of Literature is one of the first things to do in Hanoi city. To get an audio guide or tour guide is advisable for better understanding of the history and culture of Vietnam.

Fees: INR 92 /- entrance fee per head.
Timings: Summer Timings (April to October): 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM (Closed on Saturdays)
Winter Timings (October to March): 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Closed on Saturdays)

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3. An Hour Of Entertainment At Puppet Theatre

An hour at Puppet Theatre is one of the top things to do in Hanoi. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a world-famous theatre with highly-skilled traditional live performances in the waist-deep pool. Watch the moving puppets underwater, performances by talented musicians, folk songs and fun atmosphere make Puppet Theatre a worthy place to go. A visit to this theatre is one of the best things to do in Hanoi while visiting Vietnam.

Fees: INR 651 /- per head.
Timings: 8.00 AM – 6.00 PM.

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4. Shop At Dong Xuan Market

Market Front

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Xuan Market – a heart of street shopping was built by French administration and is the largest market of Hanoi. Numerous wholesale traders sell all kinds of accessories including clothes, footwear, household items, foodstuffs et al. It is the best place for shopaholics – a bustling and an interesting location to look for anything and everything.

Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM.

Suggested Read: 7 Best Places For Shopping In Hanoi To Soothe The Shopaholic Soul In You!

5. A Walk Around Imperial Citadel

The Imperial Citadel In Hanoi

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Imperial Citadel is located at the centre of the city covering an area of 45 acres. It is a complex full of ancient imperial buildings, historic sculptures, military bunkers and a stone dragon. It is a UNESCO World heritage site and a peaceful place to spend some quality time. It is indeed one of the must-see landmarks in Hanoi.

Fees: INR 92 /- ticket per head.
Timings: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (closed on Mondays).

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6. Trek At The Landscape of Sapa

Sapa In Hanoi

Image Credit: phongnguyenhuy for Pixabay

At a distance of 253 km from Hanoi, Sapa is located with astounding beauty at its peak. Under the filler and richer arms of clouds, in the lap of exquisite scenery, surrounded by nut-brown forest and crinkled mountains, Sapa is a Paradise in Vietnam and a must-visit place. Trekking in Sapa is one of the best things to do in Hanoi.

How to Reach: A train from Hanoi to Lao Cai and then a bus from Lao Cai to Sapa would be a convenient option.
Ideal Stay: 3 days 2 nights.

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7. Picnicking At Hoan Kiem Lake


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Hoan Kiem Lake stands for the lake of return sword – earlier known as “Luv Thuy Lake.” It is a serene and one of the most beautiful spots in Hanoi. The lake surrounds the Ngoc Son Temple and a wonderful turtle tower that shimmers stunningly during night. With tall-bare trees around, impressive striking views and charming greenery, one would be mesmerized at Kiem Lake. A small picnic here would be memorable and would be one of the many fun things to do in Hanoi.

Fees: INR 92 /- for entry into temple.
Timings: 8.00 AM – 5.00 PM.

Suggested Read: Hiking In Hanoi: Indulge In The Enchanting Views Of Nature With A Soul-Stirring Trip

8. Get Close To Nature At Ba Vi National Park

Forests over Mountains

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Ba Vi National Park is a most tranquil, relaxing and beautiful spot near Hanoi covering an area of about 10,000 hectares. The park is surrounded by three-peaked heaven touching mountains, peaceful forests, and historic temples. It is a perfect place to have an amazing time, away from the hustling and bustling city life. The fascinating waterfall and verdant lake make it a perfect visit to relax and chill. A visit to Ba Vi National Park is one of the best and fun things to do in Hanoi!

Fees: INR 46 /- ticket per head. Extra charges for vehicles can be asked.
Timings: 6.00 AM – 7.00 PM.

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9. Discover Hai Lo Prison Memorial


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Hai Lo Prison is a famous and historic museum in Hanoi. It was earlier known as the Maison Central by the French. The museum focuses on the prison’s role during French colonial period – an insight on the sufferings of Vietnam soldiers during the Vietnam War. Hai Lo Prison Memorial is an interesting place to discover epic history and have a glance at Guillotine and Death row cells. A visit here is one of the important things to do in Hanoi city.

Fees: INR 93 /- per head.
Timings: 8.00 AM – 5.00 PM.

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10. Explore The Old Quarter

An old style street

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A trip to Hanoi is incomplete without exploring the Old Quarter as a walk around here is one of the top things to do in Hanoi at night. Hanoi city basically split into three parts – French Quarter, Ba Dinh and the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter contains nearly 40 streets and flocked by a whole bunch of locals. The famous Train Street is located in the West of the Old Quarter. It has wide varieties of cafes, restaurants, street food, and narrow lanes that can be seen everywhere.

The Old Quarter is one of the busiest areas in Hanoi. People don’t really rest here after a busy day; their fun actually starts during the night. The happening nightlife of the old quarter brings in so much fun with street acts/dance acts, food and cafes. Therefore, walking around the Old Quarter is one of the top things to do in Hanoi at night.

Timings: Open 24 hours

Further Read: 10 Intriguing Hanoi Museums Every History Lover Must Visit

With so many things to do in Hanoi, one must not miss a trip to this wonderful place. A lively city with great ambience, plethora of tourist attractions and a great many natural beauties are bound to steal your heart away. If you are planning a trip to a Southeast Asian country – then Vietnam should be in the top 3 destinations!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Hanoi

Is Hanoi safe to travel?

Yes, Hanoi is very safe to travel to but one should be aware of dark and lonely lanes during nights for safety.

How many days should I spend in Hanoi?

A short trip for 4-5 days is enough to explore Hanoi or a 2 week tour is preferred by visitors for a good stay.

Where is Hanoi located?

Hanoi is located in the northern region of Vietnam, situated in the Red River delta, nearly 90 km away from any coastal area.

Where is the centre of Hanoi?

Hoan Kiem District is the centre of Hanoi with the popular Joan Kiem Lake.

Is there Uber in Hanoi?

Yes, Uber is facilitated in Hanoi. You can book rides and get more information about bookings on the Uber app.

How to reach from Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter?

You can catch a bus from Hanoi Airport which will take you directly to the Old Quarter. It would probably take 1 hour to reach.

How do you get from Hanoi to Sapa?

You can reach Sapa from Hanoi through the night train. It will take about 8 hours to reach Lao Cai. Lao Cai is the city just 30 kilometres away from Sapa. You can catch a direct local bus or private bus from Lao Cai which will drop you at Sapa.

How long are the shows are at Water Puppet Theatre?

The Water Puppet Theatre is world-famous and each of its shows contains mostly 50 minutes of a performance.

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