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10 Best Things To Do In Hanoi, Vietnam


by Fallon Surratt


Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, is a city that seamlessly blends rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Located on the banks of the Red River, this captivating destination offers a plethora of attractions that cater to every type of traveler. From exploring ancient temples and witnessing the grandeur of French colonial architecture to savoring delicious street food and immersing yourself in the local way of life, Hanoi has something for everyone.

In this article, we will take you on a journey through the 10 best things to do in Hanoi, allowing you to make the most of your visit and create unforgettable memories. So, grab a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on an exciting adventure in this enchanting city.

Explore the Old Quarter

Immerse yourself in the charm of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a bustling and vibrant neighborhood filled with narrow streets, historic architecture, and an array of shops, markets, and local eateries. Grab a delicious bowl of pho from a street vendor, browse through the unique boutiques and art galleries, and get lost in the enchanting atmosphere of this cultural hub.

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Paying homage to the iconic leader of Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a must-visit landmark in Hanoi. Take a guided tour of the mausoleum and witness the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh, surrounded by a serene garden. Learn about the life and legacy of this revered figure in Vietnamese history.

Explore the Temple of Literature

Step back in time at the Temple of Literature, the oldest university in Vietnam. Marvel at the beautiful traditional Vietnamese architecture, stroll through the tranquil gardens, and learn about the country’s rich scholarly heritage. Don’t forget to visit the stelae of Confucius and the Well of Heavenly Clarity.

Take a Cyclo Ride around Hoan Kiem Lake

Experience the sights and sounds of Hanoi from the back of a cyclo, a traditional Vietnamese bicycle taxi. Take a leisurely ride around the scenic Hoan Kiem Lake, enjoy the refreshing breeze, and admire the iconic red bridge leading to the Ngoc Son Temple. It’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the city’s bustling energy.

Sample Street Food at Dong Xuan Market

No visit to Hanoi is complete without indulging in the incredible street food at Dong Xuan Market. From steaming bowls of pho to delicious banh mi sandwiches and mouthwatering Vietnamese desserts, this bustling market is a paradise for food lovers. Explore the vibrant stalls and savor the authentic flavors of Vietnam.

Watch a Water Puppet Show

Get entertained by the unique art form of water puppetry, a traditional Vietnamese performance that dates back to the 11th century. Head to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater and watch as puppeteers bring stories to life using water-filled pools as their stage. It’s a captivating and culturally enriching experience.

Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Delve into the diverse ethnic cultures of Vietnam at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Discover a vast collection of artifacts, clothing, traditional houses, and interactive exhibits that showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage. Gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s ethnic diversity and traditions.

Explore the Tran Quoc Pagoda

Situated on a small island in the West Lake, the Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi. Marvel at its striking architecture, admire the serene Buddha statues, and take in the peaceful atmosphere. Don’t forget to capture the picturesque views of the pagoda against the backdrop of the lake.

Wander through the Hanoi Botanical Garden

Escape the bustling city and retreat to the tranquility of the Hanoi Botanical Garden. Take a leisurely stroll through the lush greenery, enjoy the beautiful flowers and plants, and relax by the peaceful lakes. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with nature in the heart of Hanoi.

Shop at the Night Market in the Old Quarter

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Hanoi at the famous Night Market in the Old Quarter. Browse through an array of stalls selling clothing, accessories, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, sample delicious street food, and haggle for the best prices. It’s a shopper’s paradise!


In conclusion, Hanoi, Vietnam offers a myriad of exciting activities and attractions that cater to every traveler’s interests. From exploring ancient temples to indulging in mouth-watering street food, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. The top 10 things to do in Hanoi include visiting the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, exploring the historical Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, immersing in the rich culture of the Old Quarter, and tasting the famous egg coffee. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to take a leisurely stroll around West Lake, visit the Temple of Literature, and witness a traditional water puppet show. With its captivating history, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals, Hanoi is truly a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience.


Q: What is the best time to visit Hanoi?

A: The best time to visit Hanoi is during the months of September to November and March to April. During these periods, the weather is milder, with pleasant temperatures and less rainfall.

Q: Is it safe to explore the streets of Hanoi at night?

A: Yes, Hanoi is generally a safe city to explore at night. However, it’s always advisable to take necessary precautions, such as avoiding poorly lit areas and keeping your belongings secure.

Q: What is the currency used in Hanoi?

A: The currency used in Hanoi (and throughout Vietnam) is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It is recommended to carry some cash with you for small purchases, as many establishments may not accept credit cards.

Q: Are there any specific dress codes to follow when visiting temples in Hanoi?

A: Yes, when visiting temples in Hanoi, it is respectful to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees. Wearing comfortable shoes for walking is also advisable.

Q: Can I drink tap water in Hanoi?

A: It is not recommended to drink tap water in Hanoi. It is best to stick to bottled water, which is widely available and affordable.

Q: Is it necessary to learn Vietnamese before visiting Hanoi?

A: While learning some basic Vietnamese phrases can be helpful, it is not necessary to be fluent in the language. Many locals in Hanoi can communicate in English, especially in popular tourist areas.