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How To Spend 2 Days In Hanoi Itinerary


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Hinda Hernandez



Welcome to Hanoi, the vibrant capital city of Vietnam. With its rich history, unique culture, and bustling streets, Hanoi offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern attractions. Whether you have just 48 hours or a few days to spare, this two-day itinerary will guide you through the must-see sights and experiences in Hanoi.


From exploring the charming streets of the Old Quarter to delving into the city’s cultural and historical sites, this itinerary is designed to help you make the most of your time in Hanoi. Get ready to immerse yourself in the local culture, indulge in delicious Vietnamese cuisine, and discover the fascinating stories that make Hanoi a truly enchanting destination.


As you follow this itinerary, remember to take your time and soak in the unique atmosphere that Hanoi has to offer. Don’t be afraid to wander down the narrow alleyways, try street food from local vendors, and engage with friendly locals, as these experiences will give you a true taste of the city’s essence.


So let’s embark on a whirlwind journey through Hanoi’s highlights and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Day 1: Exploring Old Quarter

Your first day in Hanoi will be dedicated to exploring the enchanting streets of the Old Quarter. This historic district is the heart and soul of the city, with its labyrinthine streets, traditional architecture, and bustling markets.


Start your day with a hearty breakfast of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, at one of the many local eateries in the Old Quarter. After fueling up, take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets, where you’ll find shops selling everything from textiles to souvenirs.


Make sure to visit the Dong Xuan Market, the largest covered market in Hanoi, where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and browse through an array of local products. From clothes and accessories to fresh produce and spices, this market is a treasure trove of Vietnamese goods.


As you explore the Old Quarter, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake. Located in the heart of the district, this serene lake is surrounded by picturesque parks and historic sites. Take a leisurely walk around the lake, cross the red bridge to visit the Ngoc Son Temple on the small island, and embrace the tranquility amidst the bustling city.


For lunch, indulge in some street food delights. Try the famous Banh Mi, a Vietnamese baguette filled with various savory ingredients such as grilled pork, pate, pickled vegetables, and herbs. Wash it down with a refreshing glass of Vietnamese iced coffee, known as Ca Phe Da, for a perfect combination of flavors.


In the afternoon, venture off the main streets and explore the hidden gems of the Old Quarter. Discover charming art galleries, antique shops, and traditional Vietnamese houses that have been preserved for generations. Take a cyclo ride, a traditional Vietnamese bicycle rickshaw, for a unique and leisurely tour of the bustling streets.


As evening falls, the Old Quarter comes alive with vibrant nightlife. Head to Ta Hien Street, also known as “Beer Street,” where you can relax at an outdoor bar, sipping on a cold glass of local beer and enjoying the lively atmosphere. Alternatively, delve into the street food scene by joining a food tour, where a knowledgeable guide will introduce you to the best local dishes.


After a day filled with exploration and gastronomic delights, retire to your hotel and rest up for another exciting day ahead.


Day 2: Cultural and Historical Sites

On your second day in Hanoi, immerse yourself in the rich cultural and historical heritage of the city. From ancient temples to colonial architecture, this day is dedicated to exploring the iconic landmarks that define Hanoi’s unique character.


Start your day with a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university. This well-preserved complex is a testament to the country’s dedication to education and Confucianism. Take a leisurely stroll through the serene gardens, admire the beautiful architecture, and learn about Vietnam’s scholarly past.


Next, make your way to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can pay your respects to the founder of modern Vietnam. This massive granite structure houses the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh and is a symbol of the nation’s reverence for its revolutionary leader. Make sure to check the opening hours and dress respectfully for your visit.


Adjacent to the mausoleum is the Ho Chi Minh Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the life and achievements of the late president. Explore the exhibits, photographs, and artifacts that showcase Ho Chi Minh’s contributions to Vietnam’s struggle for independence.


After visiting the mausoleum and museum, take a short walk to the nearby One Pillar Pagoda. This unique wooden structure, supported by a single stone pillar, is considered a symbol of Hanoi and is a must-see attraction. Marvel at the pagoda’s elegance and learn about its significance in Vietnamese Buddhism.


For lunch, head to one of the local restaurants near the West Lake area. Indulge in some Vietnamese delicacies such as bun cha (grilled pork with rice noodles), nem cua be (crispy crab spring rolls), or cha ca (grilled fish with vermicelli noodles).


In the afternoon, explore the historic Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton.” This former prison complex provides a chilling glimpse into Vietnam’s tumultuous past. Walk through the eerie corridors, see the recreated prison cells, and learn about the stories of the Vietnamese revolutionaries and American prisoners of war who were held here.


End your day at the Ngoc Son Temple, located on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake. Cross the picturesque Huc Bridge and marvel at the temple’s intricate architecture and stunning lake views. Take a moment to soak in the peaceful ambiance and reflect on your time in Hanoi.


As the sun sets, consider taking a leisurely walk around the lake or finding a cozy rooftop bar to enjoy a drink while watching the city’s skyline come alive.


Hanoi is a city steeped in history and culture, and exploring its cultural and historical sites will provide you with a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s past and present. Take your time, savor the experiences, and let the charm of Hanoi leave a lasting impression on your journey.



As your two-day journey in Hanoi comes to an end, reflect on the memories you have created and the experiences you have had in this captivating city. From the vibrant streets of the Old Quarter to the cultural and historical landmarks, Hanoi offers a perfect blend of tradition, history, and modernity.


During your time in Hanoi, you explored the charming streets of the Old Quarter, indulged in delicious street food, and delved into the city’s cultural and historical sites. You immersed yourself in the local culture, interacted with friendly locals, and discovered the stories that make Hanoi truly special.


It is important to remember that this two-day itinerary is just a starting point, and there is so much more to see and do in Hanoi. Take the time to explore other parts of the city, such as the vibrant French Quarter, the captivating West Lake area, or even venture outside the city to discover the beauty of Ha Long Bay or the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.


Whether you are a history enthusiast, a food lover, or someone seeking to experience the authentic Vietnamese culture, Hanoi has something to offer for everyone. The best way to truly appreciate this incredible city is to embrace its energy, wander its streets, and engage with its people.


So, as you bid farewell to Hanoi, take with you the memories and the spirit of this enchanting city. May your journey continue to be filled with new adventures and unforgettable experiences.


Chào Tam biệt! (Goodbye)