Hanoi has never run out of excitements, from enjoying the local food scene to visiting historic landmarks, and a rainbow of activities in between. It’s no wonder why some may get confused trying to plan their visit, especially when time’s a luxury. So if you’ve ever felt the same, check out our suggestion for your Hanoi 2-day itinerary!
Note: This itinerary is designed based on the assumptions that you'll be staying in Hanoi's central area and spending 2 days and 2 nights in Hanoi
Find the best places to stay in Hanoi below:
Breakfast: Pho and Traditional Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Pho is one of Hanoi favorite breakfast items
To kick off the Hanoi 2-day itinerary, start with a steaming hot bowl of beef noodle soup, then get energized with a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee. For the most authentic experience, we suggest trying out Pho Bat Dan, one of the best Pho places in town and Coffee 24, which is located on the same street.
Begin your morning with Vietnamese iced coffee
Address: 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 AM - 10 AM; 6 PM - 8:30 PM
Price: VND 50,000
Address: 28 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7 AM - 11 PM
Price: VND 30,000 - 50,000
Hoan Kiem Lake is most beautiful in the early morning
Hoan Kiem Lake is a must-visit destination if you ever find yourself in Hanoi. It’s a combination of three different attractions: Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, and Hoan Kiem Lake itself. Located right in the center of such a bustling metropolis, however, the lake showcases a totally opposite identity: calm and sacred. It’s the epicenter of both local and foreign activities, surrounded by an array of fancy restaurants and cafes.
Inside the Ngoc Son Temple
Address: Hoan Kiem Lake, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: All day (Ngoc Son Temple: 8 AM - 6 PM)
Entrance fee (Ngoc Son Temple only): VND 20,000
It’s not hard to find street vendors in the Old Quarter
Our Hanoi 2-day itinerary continues with a walk to the famous Old Quarter, one of the most concentrated places for tourism. This area is characterized by interconnecting small streets and alleyways, antique houses, tiny shops, and a whole lot of eateries and beer restaurants. Back in the days, each street was named after the special product sold there, but now, only the name remains as locals mostly convert to providing services.
Address: Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi (To the East of Hoan Kiem Lake)
Opening hours: All day
St. Joseph Cathedral is a must-visit destination
Located just minutes away from Hoan Kiem Lake, St. Joseph's Cathedral is the oldest church in the city. It features a classic French design, resembling that of the Paris Notre Dame. Apart from being one of the city's prime attractions, the Cathedral is also a hip spot for young locals and the birthplace of Hanoi’s “lime tea culture”. So after your visit, stop by a streetside tea shop right in front of the church for a cup of cool iced tea.
Address: 40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Monday - Friday: 5:30 AM and 6:30 PM
Saturday: 5 AM and 6 PM
Sunday: 5 AM, 7 AM, 8:30 AM, 10 AM (in French); 11:30 AM (in English); 4 PM (for kids); 6 PM and 8 PM (for young people)
Entrance fee: Free
How can you resist the Bun Cha?
Let get fueled up for our Hanoi 2-day itinerary journey with a serving of Bun Cha, one of the famous staples of the city’s cuisine. The dish combines familiar ingredients such as pork, fish sauce, and noodles to create a truly mouth-watering wonder. Bun Cha Cua Dong is one of the best locations to try it!
Address: 41 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 10:30 AM - 8 PM
Price: VND 50,000 - 60,000/serving
Hoa Lo Prison is the witness to Vietnam heroic past
Next on our attraction list is Hoa Lo Prison, which was dubbed as the “Hanoi Hilton” by American soldiers. Now, it’s converted to a museum, teaching generations about the wartorn past of Vietnamese people, as well as raise awareness about peace and solidarity.
Address: 1 Hoa Lo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 AM - 5 PM (closed for lunch 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM)
Entrance fee: VND 30,000
Temple of Literature
High-school graduates come to the Temple wishing for good luck for their university's entrance exams
Built in 1070 under the order of Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, the Temple of Literature is the first university of Vietnam and a special national relic. The Temple now serves as a tourist attraction of Hanoi, displaying various artifacts and monuments.
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 AM - 5 PM
Entrance fee: VND 30,000
Vietnam Military History Museum
This statue is made from scraps of American aircrafts
Moving on with our Hanoi 2-day itinerary, Vietnam Military History Museum is the next destination. The museum showcases a collection of items relating to the development of the Vietnam military, from ancient times to the 20th century.
Here you can also witness the centuries-old Flag Tower, which was a crucial guard tower of the Thang Long Citadel and now a sight of the museum's premise.
Address: 28A Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 AM - 11:30 AM; 1 PM - 4:30 PM (Closed on Monday and Friday)
Entrance fee: VND 40,000
Long Bien Bridge is a hotspot for photographers
Long Bien Bridge is so important a landmark and was once the longest bridge in Indochina. Finished in 1902, the bridge still functions for commuting purposes nowadays. You can travel by a motorbike or on foot on the bridge and admire the sunset casting down on the Red River.
Address: Long Bien Bridge, Long Bien, Hanoi (Enter from Long Bien Station)
Cha Ca is a well-balanced dish comprising fresh fish and a variety fo herbs!
What’s the better way to wrap up the first day of our Hanoi 2-day itinerary than an aromatic serving of Cha Ca. It’s one of Hanoi’s unique creations that not many foreigners know about. The dish combines fresh fish fillets marinated in galangal, dills, green onions, all served on a sizzling hot pan - the herbs will surely wake up all of your senses. Locals prefer to have it with the fermented shrimp paste, but if you're not used to the somewhat pungent, feel free to skip it or ask for other sauces to your liking
Address: 32 Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay, Hanoi
Opening hours: 10 AM - 10 PM
Price: VND 150,000 - 250,000
Banh Cuon is simple, yet fulfilling for an energetic day
Banh Cuon is one of the most famous dishes to come out of Hanoi, along with Pho and Bun Cha. The ingredients used are ubiquitous: minced pork, rice batter, shallots, fish sauce, and traditional seasonings. However, to get Banh Cuon right requires decades of practicing and refining the recipe.
Address: 12 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 AM - 2 PM; 5 PM - 10 PM
Price: VND 35,000 - 50,000
No need to say much about Egg Coffee!
It would be such a shame coming to Hanoi without trying out Egg Coffee, a Giang Cafe’s original creation that became an international sensation. The coffee shop hides in a small alley, but as the one best stop for both locals and internationals for egg coffee, it can be super crowded inside. Try your best to get the waiter's attention to make your orders.
Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7 AM - 10:30 PM
Price: VND 35,000 - 50,000
Dinh Le is one of Hanoi 2 book streets, located near Hoan Kiem Lake. You can find both Vietnamese and international copies here for cheap since most of the stores sell used books or don’t have to pay as high overhead as other bookstores in the city.
Address: Dinh Le, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 6 AM - 12 AM (All day on the weekends)
You’ll get a certificate upon completing the dish!
Experience your Hanoi 2-day itinerary with a cooking class to learn how to prepare classic Hanoi staples such as Pho Cuon or famous Vietnamese dishes. Apron Up Cooking Class is one of the best-reviewed establishments that we recommend. Put on an apron, cook, then taste your creation.
Address: 66 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 AM - 10 PM
West Lake on a summer afternoon
Our Hanoi 2-day itinerary takes you to West Lake, the largest body of water in Hanoi. West Lake boasts a tranquil and fresh atmosphere, completely different from that of Hanoi’s bustling city center. For your last hours in Hanoi, spend some time to mellow down, visit the nearby temples and pagodas, or even take part in fishing with the locals.
Address: West Lake, Tay Ho, Hanoi
Read on about our Guide to Tay Ho District
There are two options for your last dinner in Hanoi 2-day itinerary: to go ultra-local or go in full swing with Western dishes.
BBQ Beef is perfect for large groups
Address: 47 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 5 PM - 12 AM
Price: VNd 50,000 -150,000
Enjoy the romantic setting for two!
Address: 38 Gia Ngu Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 9:30 AM - 11 PM
Price: VND 100,000 - 500,000
Ta Hien is most busy during weekends
Have a cold glass of Bia Hoi in Ta Hien Corner to wrap up your Hanoi 2-day itinerary! Sit down with locals, enjoy the cheerful vibe, and remember the last amazing couple of days.
Address: Ta Hien - Luong Ngoc Quyen Junction, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Opening hours: 5 PM - 3 AM
Price: VND 15,000/glass
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Whatever you choose to do in your time here, Hanoi will never let you down. The city marries ancient traditions and cultural beauty with modern twists and takes, creating a vibrant environment for you to experience. Rate and share our article if you find it useful, and we see you next time with more insightful blogs into Vietnam travel.
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© Written by Dung Tran for itourvn.com