Hanoi is a harmonious combination of the old and the new, of traditions and modern values. Hanoi also features a unique identity, enriched by a thousand-year-old history. It may take years for anyone to truly "experience" Hanoi, but what if you only have one day? Well, check out our following Hanoi checklists to spend your perfect day in the city!
Proper preparation means a pleasant experience. Don't miss anything on our Hanoi checklists for a perfect day in Hanoi.
- Summer: We recommend cotton/linen clothes or any breathable materials to fight the heat. Also, bring an umbrella or a rain poncho in case of heavy pouring.
- Winter: The temperature in winter can vary greatly, so you should pack different coats.
- Long-sleeved shirts and pants are must-haves if you're visiting places of worship in Hanoi.
Like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi can be quite rainy.
Shoes: You're going to walk a lot, so a comfortable pair of shoes will be great. Nothing's worse than having sore feet after a long day of non-stop actions.
Pro tip: Scan all documents and send them to your email in case you lose them.
Money: Remember to exchange for Vietnam Dong (VND) beforehand or as soon as you arrive in Hanoi. You can easily do this at the airports, gold shops, or banks for a better rate. See our list of money exchange spots in Hanoi.
Sunscreen: It's your ultimate weapon against extreme heat in Hanoi's summer days. Wear it whenever you're going outdoors to protect your skin. Use non-greasy sunscreen formula for outdoor activities in Hanoi.
Water bottle: A portable travel water bottle helps you stay hydrated throughout your tour in Hanoi.
Refill your water bottle before heading out to save money.
Portable charger: You're going to use your phone a lot to navigate and take pictures, so keep one around for your convenience.
Bug sprays: Bugs, especially mosquitos, will make you suffer if you are ill-prepared. So bring your DEET bugs repellent to keep them away.
Items you MUST NOT pack: Illegal drugs, weapons, pornography, or controversial documents. Bringing just one of these can mean fining or imprisonment.
For more information, check out our in-depth guide on How to Pack for Hanoi
There are various famous attractions and fun activities for travelers in Hanoi. Scroll down for detailed information on must-see destinations and what kind of actions awaiting you there!
Visit The Huc (Morning Sunlight) Bridge that leads to Ngoc Son Temple, on Hoan Kiem Lake. Faraway in the center of Hoan Kiem Lake, you'll find the Turtle Tower, where giant turtles used to sunbathe.
Address: Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Entrance fee: Free
Note: Ngoc Son Temple: VND 30,000/adult (from 15 years old); free for children under 15 years old.
The iconic The Huc Bridge.
See Saint Joseph's Cathedral: Completed in 1886, this is the oldest church in Hanoi with French Colonial architecture. Nowadays, it serves as a famous attraction for both tourists and young locals.
Address: 40 Nha Chung Street
Entrance fee: Free
Saint Joseph's Cathedral.
Hanoi Old Quarter: It includes 36 streets named after the goods that were made or sold there. You can take a cyclo or an electric bus tour to admire the old streets. Find these vehicles near the North shore of Hoan Kiem Lake for VND 300,000/electric bus tour and VND 150,000/cyclo tour.
Find top-rated hotels in the Old Quarter:
Temple of Literature: Built in 1070, the temple, which is Vietnam's first university, is dedicated to Confucianism, sages, and scholars. It now stands to honor Vietnamese most excellent doctors, whose names are engraved on 82 stone stelae.
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam Street, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 AM - 5.30 PM daily
Temple of Literature.
Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology: The museum features many artifacts of Vietnam's ethnic minorities. It offers a rare chance to learn about the country's diverse culture right in its capital city.
Address: 1 Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8.30 AM - 5.00 PM, Tuesday to Thursday
Water Puppet Theater: Water Puppet Show is a traditional art form that tells the most exciting Vietnamese myths and legends. The insightful knowledge provided through a fun experience makes the show a must in our Hanoi checklists.
Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi:
- Thang Long Water Puppet Theater (57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem District)
Daily shows: 5.00 PM and 6.30 PM
West Lake: This is the largest fresh-water lake in Hanoi. You can go jogging, ride bikes, indulge yourself in the vibrant culinary scene, or check out Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple nearby, which are two popular attractions of the city. See full Hanoi's West Lake guide.
Find bus tickets for your day trip from Hanoi:
Hanoi obtains a unique culinary identity spanning from the common to the exotic. Don't miss these delicious dishes during your visit!
You're not in Vietnam when you haven't tried Pho.
Pho: Unlike in the South, the Hanoi Pho has a clearer and lighter broth. When an order comes, thin slices of fresh beef are blanched, combined with white rice noodles, and green onions in a bowl of aromatic broth. Best places to have Pho in Hanoi:
Pho Gia Truyen (49 Bat Dan Street)
Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su (10 Ly Quoc Su Street)
Hanoian Bun Cha.
Bun Cha: Bun Cha combines freshly grilled pork balls, fish sauce, vermicelli rice noodles, with a side of greens. All create a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. Best places to have Bun Cha in Hanoi:
Bun Cha Hang Than (34 Hang Than Street)
The Morning Bun Cha (2 Hang Khoai Street)
Cha ca La Vong: This dish is so famous that the street is even named after it. Cha ca La Vong is made by grilling slices of river fish marinated with galangal and spices, then served in a sizzling pan with dill and green onions.
Banh Gio: Banh Gio (Vietnamese Pyramid Rice Dumpling) is too good a dish to miss out on. It has minced pork and wood-ear mushrooms wrapped inside a thick rice dough and layers of banana leaves. Try it here:
Banh Gio Co Beo (5 Thuy Khue Street, Tay Ho District)
Banh Gio Dao Duy Tu (16 Dao Duy Tu Street, Hoan Kiem District)
Hanoi's unique creation: Egg Coffee.
Egg Coffee: This is the Hanoian take on the classic cappuccino. Bold Robusta coffee combines with rich, creamy egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk, creating a pleasant taste that will leave you smiling. The best egg coffee in Hanoi:
Cafe Giang (39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street)
Bia Hoi plays an important role in Hanoi's drinking culture.
Bia Hoi (brewed craft beer): Introduced by the French, this golden beverage now stands as the most popular drink in Hanoi. Find it at the corner of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, from 11 AM to midnight, and have yourself a refreshing glass of beer for VND 10,000.
Hanoi offers a rainbow of souvenirs for you to choose from, which sometimes makes it hard to decide what to buy. Here is our shopping checklist to help you make up your mind
Silk, one of the best gifts from Hanoi.
Lotus Tea: An elegant gift from Hanoi - tea infused with fragrant lotus flowers, which is perfect for an afternoon tea-break. Our recommendations:
Dong Son Tea
Silk: Hanoi is famous for its handicraft villages, producing various items, including silk. Buy this specialty on Hang Gai Street, where there are hundreds of shops selling silk items. Remember to bargain down 30% of the listed price.
Embroidery: Embroidered products are unique gifts that you can bring home from Hanoi. Their sizes, shapes, and images vary but mostly project traditional Vietnamese lifestyle. Recommended stores:
Ninh Khuong Embroidery
Tan My Design
Hanoi offers endless possibilities to play, to explore, and most importantly, to have an enjoyable experience. We hope our Hanoi checklists will help you choose easier from the many opportunities that Hanoi has.
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© Written by Dung Tran for itourvn.com