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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 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
#3
Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon)

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Over a century old, the Hanoi Opera House (Nha Hat Lon is a national landmark due to its neoclassical French architecture and Gothic embellishments. Home to the Vietnam Symphony Orchestra, the opera house also hosts the Hanoi Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Ballet, and both traditional and modern local productions.More
#4
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

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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
#5
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
#6
Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake)

Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake)

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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
#7
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
#8
Long Bien Bridge (Cau Long Bien)

Long Bien Bridge (Cau Long Bien)

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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
#9
West Lake (Ho Tay)

West Lake (Ho Tay)

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West Lake (Ho Tay), the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi, provides a tranquil escape from the chaos of Vietnam’s capital. Lakeside cafés offer gorgeous views; historic attractions such as the Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple provide insight into Vietnam’s past; and 5-star hotels offer fine dining and luxury accommodation.More
#10
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

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

3-Days Halong Bay Cruising Tour with Meals, Kayak, Beach, Activities, Transfser
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Hanoi

star-5
Great tour!
Hannah_C, May 2022
Highlights & Hidden Gems With Locals: Best of Hanoi Private Tour
Anne is informative and has excellent command of English.
star-5
5-star Great tour - highly recommend
Tobias_S, Mar 2022
Small Group Hanoi Street Food Tour with a Real Foodie
We thoroughly enjoyed the food tour organized by him, and also heartening to see tourism coming back!
star-5
A different side of Hanoi in a fun way!
Crystal_K, Jul 2022
Hanoi Jeep Tours: Food+ Culture + Sight + Fun in Vietnam Army Legendary Jeep
We got to see a side of Hanoi that was very non-touristy, which was great.
star-5
Fun day in northern Vietnam, wonderful guide
Nathaniel_M, Jun 2022
Hoa Lu Tam Coc Full-Day DELUXE Tour Including BUFFET LUNCH & River Boat Ride
I did this tour with a 2 childhood friends and we all had varied opinions on the different activities, for example I personally thought the traditional boat ride went on too long but enjoyed the bike ride.
star-5
Incredible tour with fun guides and local spots
Ryan_B, Jun 2022
Motorbike City Tours - Hanoi City Insight Motorbike Tours
Riding the bikes was a blast and great way to see the city.
star-5
A MUST Day Trip from Hanoi!
Crystal_S, Jun 2022
Hoa Lu - Mua Cave - Tam Coc - Day Trip from Hanoi
This place was like being transported to the jungle - there were bridges, waterfalls, lakes, caves, and walkways to get lost in.
star-5
Do try it if you haven't
Sarah_K, Jun 2022
Motorbike City Tours - Hanoi By Night Foodie Motorbike Tours
If you have troubles deciding what to do in Hanoi, try this, it is a new experience riding on the motorbike in Hanoi's traffic and Mike and his crew know their stuff!
star-5
Great way to pack a ton of food experience into one night
Geoffrey_L, Apr 2022
Small Group Hanoi Street Food Tour with a Real Foodie
The walking part of the tour was also super nice, both to see a bit more of the Old Quarter (with good stories and narration from Tony) and to digest a bit between food stops!
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
Amazing!
Dee, Feb 2020
Hanoi Jeep Tours: Food+ Culture + Sight + Fun in Vietnam Army Legendary Jeep
Attentive and dedicated, he took us around Hanoi and showed us the sights that tourists don't get to see ordinarily.
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
Motorbike City Tours - Hanoi By Night Foodie Motorbike Tours
Great value for what you pay & an awesome way to see the city/experience the traffic.
star-5
Very Nice
Zainab_J, 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.
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
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
Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Ha Long bay : FOOD, CULTURE, SIGHT & FUN Journeys
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.
star-5
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.
We perform checks on reviews

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.

Time Zone
ICT (UTC +8)

People Also Ask

What is Hanoi known for?

The Vietnamese capital and your base for exploring Northern Vietnam, Hanoi is known for street food, colonial-era architecture, and a charming Old Quarter set around the Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake). The 11th-century Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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How many days do I need in Hanoi?

Four days in Hanoi gives you time to explore the Old Quarter, take a cooking class, ride a bike in the countryside, visit the Imperial Citadel, catch a water puppet show, learn about indigenous cultures at the Ethnology Museum, and discover the Vietnam War at Hoa Lo Prison.

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Is Hanoi safe for tourists?

Yes. Pickpockets, bag snatchers, and taxi scams are not uncommon, but violent crime is rare. However, many tourists have died on Vietnam’s roads. Only rent a scooter if you have a license and insurance, always wear a helmet, and never drink and drive: it’s illegal to drive with any alcohol in your bloodstream.

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What can you do in Hanoi for free?

Take a sightseeing stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter, then admire Gustave Eiffel’s Long Bien Bridge. Free-to-enter religious sights include Bach Ma Temple, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, while Quang Ba Flower Market is fascinating. Many parks see free group exercise sessions early in the morning.

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What can $100 get you in Vietnam?

US$100 buys a lot in Vietnam. A budget hotel can cost as little as $15, a glass of bia hoi (draft beer) under $0.50, while a simple meal might cost just a couple of bucks. Mid-range hotel rooms start at around $50 and aspirational restaurants at about $10.

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Is Hanoi worth visiting?

Yes. Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital and offers more than 1,000 years of history, including the UNESCO-listed Thang Long Imperial Citadel, not to mention a wealth of museums. And the food is to die for: it was here that Barack Obama chose to eat street food with Anthony Bourdain.

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