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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

#1
Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

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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 home to sparkling emerald waters, more than 1,600 towering limestone islands and islets, caves, and traditional floating villages.More
#2
Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

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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
#3
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

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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
#4
St Joseph’s Cathedral (Nha Tho Lon)

St Joseph’s Cathedral (Nha Tho Lon)

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Located in Hoan Kiem district, the neo-Gothic St. Joseph’s Cathedral is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Hanoi and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi. Modeled after Notre Dame in Paris, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the most famous and striking landmarks in Hanoi from the colonial era.More
#5
Perfume Pagoda (Chua Huong)

Perfume Pagoda (Chua Huong)

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One of Vietnam’s most important pilgrimage sites, the Perfume Pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples, grottos, and shrines dotted around Huong Tich Mountain. The shrines lie amid a flooded valley of towering karst cliffs and lotus fields—a stunning backdrop that makes for some incredible photo opportunities.More
#6
Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter

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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
#7
Vietnam National Museum of History

Vietnam National Museum of History

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Located in the Hoan Kiem district of Hanoi, the Vietnam National Museum of History forms part of the Vietnam National Museum. With an extensive collection of over 200,000 objects, including numerous precious artifacts and antiquities, it traces the history of Vietnam from prehistoric times to the present.More
#8
Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Pu Luong Nature Reserve

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Home to spectacular limestone panoramas and terraced rice paddies, Pu Luong Nature Reserve is the ideal choice for travelers looking to get off the beaten path. Although the reserve is a popular weekend getaway for Hanoi locals, Pu Luong sees few foreign visitors and has therefore managed to maintain an authentic feel and tranquil atmosphere.More
#9
Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison

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Built by the French in 1896 to hold Vietnamese political prisoners and known originally as Maison Centrale, Hoa Lo Prison was taken over by the Vietnamese in 1954. During the American War (Vietnam War), it housed American POWs, who referred to it as the “Hanoi Hilton.” Today, parts of the original prison have been turned into a museum.More
#10
Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam)

Temple of Literature (Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam)

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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

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

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Recent reviews from experiences in Hanoi

star-4
Great walking day tour in Hanoi
Walter_S, Mar 2021
Private Guided Tour of Hanoi
Andrew, the guide, accompanied me to visit many historical places in the city.
star-5
Awesome!
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!
star-5
Private city tour of Hanoi
Lynne_S, Mar 2020
Private Hanoi City Full-Day Tour
Great way to see the sites of Hanoi.
star-5
Cat Ba island
Gillain_P, 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.
star-5
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.
star-5
tour guide HOA the best
Barrie_R, Dec 2019
Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hanoi Private Tour
He command of english was exceptional.
star-5
Great tour
Chiran_J, Nov 2019
Small Group Hanoi Street Food Tour with a Real Foodie
Command of English was excellent.
star-5
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.
star-5
Fantastic!
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.
star-5
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.
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Hanoi old quarter back street tour
Carol G, Oct 2019
Hanoi Old Quarter with Cyclo Tours for Small Group
She is totally committed to showing Hanoi while practising her English skills.
star-4
Sizzling Hanoi
Bernardo_Y, 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.
star-4
It was a great trip to see some of the...
Minh D, Jan 2016
3-Night Best of Hanoi: City Tour and Halong Bay Overnight Cruise
It was a great trip to see some of the highlights of Hanoi as well as enjoy Halong Bay.
star-5
I only had a limited time in Hanoi...
NhatAnh_T, Mar 2018
Private Tour: Hanoi City Tour Including Water Puppet Show and Cyclo Ride
Our guide Kien spoke good English and was friendly, informative and helpful.
star-5
One of the best tours weve ever...
Beth_V, Mar 2018
Hanoi City Sightseeing and Street Food Tour
Our guides were knowledgeable, fun and spoke great English.
star-4
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.
star-4
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.
star-5
Loved this tour, a wonderful way to...
John_S, Mar 2018
Small-Group Street Food Bike Tour of Hanoi Old Quarter
Loved this tour, a wonderful way to see the streets of Hanoi.
star-5
Great tour with plenty of...
Colleen P, Jan 2018
Small Group Hanoi Street Food Tour with a Real Foodie
Great tour with plenty of opportunity to see the real Hanoi and taste street food as it should be...
star-5
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.

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
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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