Find out what we have in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi

  • August 07,2023
  • 25 views

Discover the heart of Vietnam's capital through an exploration of the top 10 things to do in Hanoi in this article. Immerse yourself in the perfect fusion of tradition and modernity as we unravel the captivating attractions that make Hanoi a must-visit destination. Join us on a journey to uncover the essence of this dynamic city now!

HA NOI – CAPITAL OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF CULTURE

With over 1,000 years of rich history, Hanoi stands as a testament to Vietnam's enduring past. It has served as the capital for numerous dynasties. From feudal times to colonial rule and into the modern era, the city has been a witness to pivotal historical moments.

As the economic, political, and cultural heartbeat of Vietnam, Hanoi boasts a multi-faceted economy. Industrial parks and international trade centers dot the landscape. They play crucial roles in the nation's economic tapestry alongside flourishing industries, services, and a vibrant tourism sector.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Hanoi

Hanoi – where ancient history meets modern vibrancy

Hanoi is the cradle of Vietnamese culture, evident in its classical architecture and the daily lives of its people. The Old Quarter and the Temple of Literature vividly showcase this cultural heritage. Beyond its historical significance, Hanoi is a magnet for tourists, drawing millions each year to landmarks such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ba Dinh Square, and the Long Bien Bridge.

One of Hanoi's standout features is its culinary scene, a gastronomic journey filled with sophistication and a myriad of flavors. From the globally renowned Pho to local favorites like Bun Cha, Banh Cuon, Bun Thang, and Cha Ca La Vong. The city's diverse cuisine reflects the unique "soul" of its capital and its people.

Are you excited to explore now? Join us as we embark on the top 10 things to do in Hanoi today!

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HANOI FOR YOUR UPCOMING TRIPS

Embark on a journey of discovery in the heart of Vietnam's capital with our guide to the top 10 things to do in Hanoi for your upcoming trips. From ancient cultural treasures to vibrant culinary experiences, we have curated a list that captures the essence of this historical city below. Get ready to explore the diverse facets of Hanoi ensuring an unforgettable adventure awaits you.

VISIT ALL HISTORICAL PLACES

Discover captivating historical sites that offer a glimpse into the nation's storied past. Join us as we highlight a selection of must-visit destinations that demand your attention on your journey!

Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square

Exploring Ba Dinh Square and paying respects at Uncle Ho's Mausoleum stands out as a paramount experience among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi. These sites hold profound historical and cultural significance in the tapestry of Vietnam.

Situated on Hung Vuong Street, Ba Dinh Square is not just the largest but also the most historically crucial square in Vietnam. It was the very site where President Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Declaration of Independence, marking the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Uncle Ho's Mausoleum

The solemn scene of Uncle Ho's mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square welcomes tourists

Encompassing an expansive 32,000 square meters with a capacity for 200,000 people, Ba Dinh Square is adorned with lush green lawns, creating a refreshing ambiance. It serves as a popular spot for both locals and tourists to unwind and stroll.

A visit to Ba Dinh Square is incomplete without a stop at Uncle Ho's Mausoleum, revered as one of the country's most significant landmarks. This grand architectural marvel houses the preserved body of President Ho Chi Minh. Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, the mausoleum draws visitors from far and wide who come to express their admiration for the revered leader.

For an even more immersive experience, partake in the morning flag-raising ceremony and the evening flag-lowering ceremony.

Temple of Literature

Immerse yourself in the allure of the Temple of Literature, a captivating gem among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi. This tourist hotspot not only showcases stunning architecture but also unveils the rich history of Vietnamese intellectuals during the feudal era.

Distinguished as Vietnam's inaugural university, the Temple of Literature has played a pivotal role in shaping the nation's intellectual landscape. Its sprawling 50,000 square meters bear witness to the spirit of scholarly pursuit that defined early Vietnam. 

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Temple of Literature

Coming to the Temple of Literature, you will not only learn about history but also take beautiful photos

Moreover, whenever explore the grounds don't forget to feature Van Lake, Giam Garden, and Khue Van Cac, and marvel at stone steles. As well as dignified campuses with lotus ponds, and millennia-old walls.

Beyond its physical beauty, the Temple of Literature safeguards invaluable artifacts and documents. Notably, UNESCO has recognized 82 doctoral steles housed here as "World Documentary Heritage."

In contemporary times, the Temple of Literature remains a hub for activities honoring the tradition of venerating masters. A visit to this site promises a unique and enriching experience, firmly securing its place among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi!

Thang Long Citadel

Thang Long Citadel, a pivotal destination firmly holds its place among your top 10 things to do in Hanoi. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this citadel encapsulates centuries of Vietnamese history and culture.

Dating back to the 11th century, the Citadel served as the political epicenter of ancient Vietnam for over a millennium. It stands as a tangible connection to the country's intricate past that unveils the dynamic shifts and triumphs of various Vietnamese dynasties.

As you step into the Citadel, you're transported through time. The remnants of palaces, gates, and ancient roads tell compelling stories of bygone eras, painting a vivid historical panorama for every visitor.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Thang Long Citadel

Thang Long Imperial Citadel is a historical relic and precious cultural heritage of the Vietnamese people

The formidable South Gate, known as Doan Mon, stands proudly as a symbol of the Citadel's enduring strength. The architectural splendor of this entrance showcases the brilliance and craftsmanship of ancient builders. Meanwhile, the ongoing archaeological excavations unveil hidden treasures, providing a glimpse into life within the citadel's walls.

Nestled amidst Hanoi's modern landscape, the Thang Long Citadel seamlessly blends historical significance with architectural grandeur. From the Kinh Thien Palace to House D67, each relic within its confines offers a profound insight into Vietnam's cultural and political evolution.

WANDER AROUND BEAUTIFUL LAKES

Hanoi boasts a distinctive feature with numerous large lakes gracing the heart of the city. Exploring the scenic surroundings of these lakes stands out as the premier experience in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake stands as the epitome of Hanoi's allure, seamlessly blending history, nature, and cultural significance. It is located in the center of the city and is one of the most famous places in Hanoi, promising unforgettable experiences.

Approaching the lake unveils a serene haven amidst the urban hustle, a picturesque expanse that instantly captivates tourists. Situated in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is the city's most iconic water body. It was named "Lake of the Returned Sword" due to its legendary association with King Le Thai To return a magical sword to the Turtle God.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake located in the heart of Hanoi city is the connection point of the old quarters with a bustling pace of life

Surrounded by lush greenery, the lake provides an airy and pleasant view, offering a tranquil ambiance. It's a favored spot for both locals and tourists to engage in exercise, relaxation, or leisurely strolls.

The shimmering waters, complemented by the iconic red bridge leading to Ngoc Son Temple, paint an idyllic scene. This charm is heightened during sunrise or sunset, when the hues reflect off the water, casting a spellbinding aura. Hoan Kiem Lake, with its captivating beauty, ensures an essential and enchanting experience in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

West Lake

Ranked among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi, West Lake unfolds as an expansive haven of tranquility, promising diverse experiences to visitors. This vast reservoir weaves together a delightful blend of nature, culture, and urban vitality.

The scenic allure of West Lake is nothing short of enchanting. Verdant greenery encircles the lake and sets the stage for leisurely walks or cycling along its shores. As the sun dips below the horizon, the lake mirrors the sky's hues to create a breathtaking panorama.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - West Lake

As the sun sets over West Lake, the sky turns a deep shade of orange and pink, leaving behind the last streaks of sunlight

Exploration along the lakeside reveals a harmonious coexistence of modern lifestyle and tradition. Trendy cafes, restaurants, and boutiques line the waterfront, seamlessly blending with ancient temples and pagodas.

Beyond its visual appeal, West Lake carries profound cultural significance. It narrates Hanoi's history through centuries-old pagodas and captivating origin tales. Tranquil islands within the lake offer a peaceful retreat, inviting travelers to explore and reflect in this soothing environment.

Besides, visitors can indulge in boat rides, savor lakeside dining, or explore popular attractions such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HANOI – CHECK IN AT LONG BIEN BRIDGE

Long Bien Bridge, a historic landmark steeped in the capital's narrative, remains a resilient testament to the city's journey. Its enduring presence has etched an indelible symbol in the hearts of inhabitants. This also makes it a must-check-in destination among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

The inaugural steel bridge spans the Red River, connecting Hoan Kiem and Long Bien districts. This architectural marvel holds a pivotal role beyond being a mere transportation artery. Long Bien Bridge played a crucial part in two resistance wars against foreign invaders, embodying the spirit of resilience.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Long Bien bridge

Long Bien Bridge holds a special attraction with historical ups and downs and poetic, nostalgic beauty

Moreover, the bridge serves as a symbolic link, connecting the tranquil life along the Red River basin with the bustling energy of the city. Its unique architecture, resembling a winding dragon, is a testament to its strength, pride, and graceful flexibility. Crafted from high-quality steel using modern construction techniques, the bridge seamlessly blends aesthetics with safety.

Long Bien Bridge's open and breezy ambiance has made it a favored rendezvous for couples. A leisurely walk across the bridge offers a view of people and vehicles in motion, providing a calming escape from the enigma and worries of daily life.

The bridge's vista transforms with each passing season, offering tourists a kaleidoscope of emotions. Whether during sunrise or sunset, the panoramic view from Long Bien Bridge unfolds in increasingly poetic hues.

Application Vietnam Visa Online

DISCOVER HA NOI OLD QUATER

Taking on a journey through Hanoi Old Quarter unveils a captivating exploration of the capital's history, culture, and traditional way of life. Nestled in the city center, the Old Quarter stands as one of the capital’s most renowned places, making it a key highlight among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

Covering approximately 100 hectares, the Old Quarter comprises 10 wards and 76 streets. Upon arrival, the seamless blend of classical architecture and modern development becomes apparent. Narrow, winding streets adorned with small houses and traditional shops paint a unique cultural tableau of the ancient town.

With roots dating back to the Ly – Tran dynasties in the 11th century, the Old Quarter served as the bustling trade hub of the ancient Thang Long capital. The houses, characterized by slanted tile roofs, small tube structures, and a prevalent yellow paint color, embody the classic architectural style of the era.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Old Quater

Hanoi Old Quarter is the gathering place of 36 streets as the ancients called them

A distinctive feature of the Old Quarter lies in its craft streets, where accomplished craftsmen of Hanoi converge to collaborate. Each street specializes in trading specific items, reflecting its name. 

For instance, Hang Bong Street is dedicated to quilts, blankets, and cushions, while Hang Bac Street focuses on gold and silver jewelry processing and trade. Hang Ma Street is known for worshiping items, votive goods, toys, and decorations for festive occasions like the Mid-Autumn Festival and Christmas.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HANOI – WATCH A PUPPET SHOW

Experience the uniqueness of Hanoi by catching a water puppet show, an iconic intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam with a tradition spanning over 1,000 years. This captivating art form has thrived in both peaceful and prosperous times, leaving an indelible mark on Hanoi's cultural landscape.

The stage itself is exceptional, featuring a water surface where wooden puppets take center stage. Crafted from light fig wood, chosen for its buoyancy, these puppets undergo meticulous shaping, polishing, and painting to infuse them with vividness and soul.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - water puppet show

Water puppetry is a picture that reflects spiritual life when using sacred characters that always bring peace to life

During performances, puppeteers, concealed behind a bamboo curtain, skillfully manipulate the puppets using large sticks. The seamless coordination of sound and light effects is crucial to creating vibrant and engaging puppet shows.

Water puppet performances often revolve around typical Vietnamese themes, bringing folk tales and legends to life with humor and charm. Subjects like fishing and farming are portrayed in a delightful manner. Enhancing the spectacle is a Vietnamese orchestra, employing traditional instruments such as drums, wooden bells, horns, and bamboo flutes.

Two renowned venues to enjoy these water puppet shows in Hanoi are:

  • Thang Long Puppet Theater at 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Street.

  • Vietnam Puppet Theater at 361 Truong Chinh Street.

These locations provide a delightful immersion into the rich cultural heritage of Vietnam through the enchanting art of water puppetry. This makes it a must-include activity in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

TAKE ON A CYCLO RIDE

To truly immerse yourself in the vibrant life of Hanoi, one of the top things recommended by us is to take a cyclo ride. We assure you that this will be an experience that promises not to disappoint.

Cyclos, once a mode of transport exclusive to the aristocracy in 1939, have evolved into a convenient and affordable means of exploring the city, particularly catering to the tourism industry. You can traverse the charming streets of Hang Trong, Hang Bai, Hang Gai, and Hang Thiec, and even venture to landmarks like Dong Xuan Market or the Hanoi Opera House aboard this traditional three-wheeler.

Riding a cyclo offers visitors a unique perspective to appreciate the serene beauty of the old quarter that provides a respite from the noise and pollution of traffic. Capture the idyllic scenery, take photographs, and immerse yourself in the rich history and ancient features of Hanoi while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - cyclo ride

Exploring Hanoi in a slow and relaxing way with a traditional cyclo that makes many tourists enjoy

What makes the cyclo ride even more special is the opportunity to hear inspirational stories from the driver about old Hanoi. These tales, ranging from street anecdotes to historical narratives, evoke a sense of nostalgia for the bygone years. 

Don't be afraid, as the English fluency of the cyclo riders ensures seamless communication. All that makes this experience a must-addition to the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HANOI – GO SHOPPING AT DONG XUAN MARKET

Venturing into the heart of the capital a visit to Dong Xuan Market stands as an indispensable experience. This experience earned its rightful place in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi. This bustling marketplace, steeped in history and cultural significance, unfolds as a vibrant tapestry of commerce, local life, and sensory delight.

Dong Xuan Market boasts a sprawling expanse of stalls and shops and offers a diverse array of goods. From traditional Vietnamese crafts and textiles to modern electronics, the market caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. The labyrinthine alleys brim with the hustle and bustle of vendors and shoppers creating an atmosphere that is both dynamic and captivating.

As you traverse deep into the market, the air becomes infused with the aroma of exotic spices, the vibrant colors of fresh produce, and the lively chatter of eager vendors showcasing their wares. Dong Xuan Market is a sensory haven, where the sights, sounds, and scents harmonize to create an immersive shopping experience.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Dong Xuan market

Dong Xuan Market is a wholesale market for traders in all Northern provinces of Vietnam

Moreover, locals and tourists alike converge to explore the richness of Vietnamese craftsmanship and culinary traditions here. The market is a treasure trove for those seeking authentic souvenirs, from intricately woven textiles to handcrafted ceramics.

Beyond the material transactions, Dong Xuan Market is a microcosm of daily life in Hanoi. The market pulses with the energy of the city, making it not just a shopping destination but a cultural immersion.

EXPLORE BA VI NATIONAL PARK

Ba Vi National Park emerges as a must-visit tourist destination in Hanoi. Located just under 60km from the city center, this national park beckons those seeking a refreshing escape into the untamed beauty of mountains and forests.

Renowned for its pristine air and majestic landscapes, Ba Vi National Park offers a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts. Delve into the heart of the park, where a mystical natural forest enveloped in mist awaits. 

The expansive pine forest, adorned with vibrant green hues, provides a picturesque backdrop, allowing visitors to capture enchanting moments reminiscent of Alice's wonderland. During the fall season, the entire forest transforms into a golden spectacle with beautiful leaves.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Ba Vi national park

Camping in Ba Vi is a relaxing weekend activity that many young people, family groups, and tourists choose when coming here

The journey continues to Ba Vi ancient church, an architectural gem showcasing French antiquity. This church exudes a magical allure, occasionally veiled in dense fog. Then adding an element of mystery to its timeless beauty – a defining feature of this renowned national park.

The exploration doesn't end there; Ba Vi National Park boasts additional attractions like Thien Son Suoi Nga, Cactus Greenhouse, Thuong Temple, and Ao Vua tourist area,… All deserving of a spot on your itinerary.

Furthermore, the park and its surroundings offer a range of accommodations, including motels, hotels, and resorts, ideal for camping or picnics on pleasant days. During the fall season, visitors can kindle a campfire and organize a barbecue party amidst the expansive forest.

Whether reveling in the beauty of nature or discovering cultural gems, a visit to this park is a pivotal part of the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

SPEND A DAY IN DUONG LAM OLD VILLAGE

When exploring the millennia-old civilization of the capital, don't just limit yourself to architectural wonders. Make sure to include a visit to Duong Lam Village to gain insights into the country's life. This unique experience stands out as one of the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

As you approach Duong Lam, you will pass through the Mong Phu gate. This remarkable structure showcases arch architecture and laterite layers, reflecting the distinct cultural influence of the Le Dynasty. 

Adjacent to the gate stands a venerable 300-year-old banyan tree, providing a serene resting spot. The overall scene paints a tranquil, ancient, and distinctive landscape. Upon entering the village, you can encounter clean brick roads bordered by dark yellow laterite walls, All create an atmosphere of warmth and unique beauty found nowhere else.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Duong Lam village

Lam U Duong village has gone through many ups and downs of time but this place still retains almost intact its old beauty

The old house of Mrs. Dien is a must-visit to delve into the rich traditional culture of the North. This 200-year-old house, adorned with layers of moss and weathered, pale tiles, exudes an unmistakably ancient charm in its decoration style.

In the heart of the village stands the Mong Phu communal house, constructed almost four centuries ago with a distinct blend of Vietnamese-Muong architecture. This site emulates the structure of a house on stilts, featuring wooden floors elevated above the ground.

Venturing further, explore other notable destinations like Mr. The's old house, the Mausoleum, and the temple of Ngo Quyen, and take a pause at the roadside Lang Café. With its rustic wooden tables and chairs, it offers a perfect spot to sip on a refreshing cup of iced tea.

TASTE ALL DELICIOUS HANOI DISHES

Hanoi, a city with a rich cultural heritage in Vietnam, is renowned for more than just its ancient architecture and enchanting scenery. It also stands out as a captivating culinary paradise. Let's explore the must-try dishes as you embark on the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

Pho

Indulging in a bowl of Pho for breakfast ranks among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi. This long-standing traditional dish boasts a distinctive Northern flavor. It also secured the 9th position in CNN's prestigious "Top 10 best foods in the world" list, reaffirming its status as Hanoi's most renowned delicacy.

The artful preparation and the unique seasoning techniques of Hanoi locals contribute to the excellence of this dish. A hot bowl of Pho encompasses a harmonious blend of broth, white noodle soup, beef, herbs, scallions, and onions.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Pho

Pho is not only a famous and delicious specialty of Hanoi but also the national dish of Vietnam

What sets Pho apart is its clear, fragrant, and sweet broth derived from meticulously simmered beef bones. The choice of noodles is a crucial aspect, requiring a delicate balance to avoid being too soft or too firm. 

To elevate the experience, a perfect bowl of Pho invites customization with spices such as garlic vinegar, chili, lemon, and pepper. It all depends on tailored to individual preferences.

Bun Thang

According to our recommendation, Bun Thang epitomizes the meticulous nature of Hanoi's people. This dish boasts an intricate composition of over 20 diverse ingredients, resulting in a delightful fusion of beauty and flavor.

Bun Thang is a masterpiece that harmoniously combines vibrant colors, distinct flavors, and an artful presentation. Beyond the essential elements of vermicelli and broth, the dish features thinly sliced fried chicken eggs, shredded chicken breast, pork rolls, shrimp, squid, laksa leaves, mushrooms, and more.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Bun Thang

Bun Thang is famous for the sophistication and elegance of the Hanoi people

Upon the first taste, visitors are treated to an unforgettable experience characterized by the sweetness of the broth, the kick of chili spice, and the richness of the various ingredients. This culinary delight encapsulates a unique gastronomic adventure, earning its place among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

Bun Cha

Bun Cha, a renowned dish that even won the heart of former President Obama, is an indispensable mention in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi. As you navigate the city, you can easily spot food stalls offering Bun Cha on every street, alley, or market, inviting you to savor its delectable flavors.

A serving of Bun Cha consists of vermicelli paired with a delightful combination of sweet and sour sauce featuring kohlrabi and vinegared carrots. Completing the ensemble are succulent pieces of grilled meat, infused with the enticing aroma of charcoal and pepper.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Bun Cha

Bun Cha is a characteristic of the culinary quintessence and Hanoi people

When enjoyed, Bun Cha is accompanied by a side of fresh raw vegetables and herbs, creating a harmonious blend that produces a rich and irresistible taste. While it may seem reminiscent of Bun Thit Nuong in the South at first glance, the distinctive flavor of Hanoi's Bun Cha sets it apart.

Cha Ca La Vong

Upon your visit, the question of what to eat becomes a non-issue, as the savory and nourishing Cha Ca La Vong ensures a delightful culinary experience. This refined dish is meticulously curated by the chef, from the selection of ingredients to the intricate preparation process.

Cha Ca La Vong includes freshwater fish, typically snakehead fish or catfish, marinated in a blend of turmeric, galangal, and aromatic spices. The dish is expertly pan-fried, achieving a crispy outer layer while preserving its tender and juicy texture.

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi - Cha Ca La Vong

Cha Ca La Vong is not only elaborately prepared and delicious in flavor but is also very nutritious

A dining experience of Cha Ca La Vong offers a platter of fresh herbs, including dill, cilantro, and scallions, complemented by roasted peanuts and rice vermicelli noodles. To elevate the overall taste, a dipping sauce is meticulously prepared by combining shrimp paste, lime juice, sugar, and chili. This sauce introduces a tangy, sweet, and subtly spicy dimension to the dish's profile.

What truly distinguishes Cha Ca La Vong is its distinctive tableside preparation. Traditionally, a sizzling pan of fragrant fish is brought directly to your table, accompanied by an array of side elements. This leaves diners with a memorable and flavorful encounter, making it a top choice among the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

Exploring the vibrant tapestry of Hanoi, with its rich history, cultural gems, and culinary delights, offers an unforgettable experience. Whether immersing yourself in the historical depth of Thang Long Citadel or enjoying the tranquility of Ba Vi National Park, this capital presents a tapestry of experiences that solidify its place in the top 10 things to do in Hanoi.

Once your bags are packed, it's time to set off on an adventure that promises cultural richness, culinary delights, and memorable moments. Have a memorable trip!

In case you require additional support with your Vietnam visa, do not hesitate to reach out to us by phone at +84 28 7303 6167 or send an email to [email protected]. Our assistance is always available!

CONTACT US TO GET MORE INFORMATION