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How to Explore Hanoi in One Trip

hanoi-train-street-station-hanoi-in-one-trip Hanoi's Train Street

Let’s face the fact that Hanoi has such a culturally and historically rich background that it is nearly impossible to condense every must-do activities in one single trip. Therefore, here we have picked out the top experiences for you to make the most out of your visit to Hanoi in one go.

Our Tips and Advice to Explore Hanoi in One Trip

  • Our best advice to explore the best of Hanoi in one trip is to start from the center and slowly make your way to more discoveries when you still have time. The central districts hold the majority of Hanoi’s historical backgrounds, where you can grasp a general understanding of both Hanoi’s past and modern lives.
  • How to travel around Hanoi in one trip: motorbikes, taxis, motorbike taxis
  • Some alternatives to tour around Hanoi in one trip: Hanoi bus tour, cyclos in Hanoi (do beware of the cyclo scams - one ride should cost around VND 200,000 - 300,000)

hanoi in one trip cyclo

A cyclo trip can take you on a sight-seeing tour around Hanoi, but it is not ideal when the weather is too hot

  • Due to the current situation of the Coronavirus, entertainment facilities and tourist attractions still does not open to the public at least until further notice on April 30th

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Main Attractions to Explore Hanoi in One Trip

The Old Quarter

The Hanoi’s Old Quarter was once a bustling trading point from the feudal times all the way to the early colonial period, now it is the tourist epicenter with endless facilities and services for visitors in Hanoi. Having said that, the area still bears significant traces of the ancient time’s lifestyle. There is an impressive combination of thousand-year-old pagodas, French architectures, and modern shops and houses. Still, then you will also come across an impromptu market set against a seemingly abundant temple. A walk around the area will take you from one surprise to another, and see our Hanoi’s Old Quarter Guide for the main sights to see.

hn old quarter street hanoi in one trip 2

hn old quarter street hanoi in one trip

The traditional lifestyle contrasting with the bustling modern scene at the Old Quarter

Hanoi’s Museums

From the Old Quarter, there are many Hanoi’s famous museums in the vicinity so you can gain deeper understandings about the story of Hanoi.

Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Address: 1 Hoa Lo, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem District
Entrance fee: VND 30,000
Opening hours: 8 AM - 5 PM

hoa lo prison hanoi in one trip

The gruesome imprisonment of the Vietnamese political inmates depicting in the Hoa Lo Prison

Read our full Hoa Lo Prison Museum guide

Vietnamese Women’s Museums

Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem District
Entrance fee: VND 30,000
Opening hours: 8 AM - 5 PM

hanoi in one trip women museum

Vietnamese women’s traditional costumes exhibited inside the museum

Read our full Vietnamese Women’s Museum guide here

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Hanoi’s Ancient Temples

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Address: Thanh Nien Street, Yen Phu, Tay Ho District
Free entrance

Amidst the dozens of temples and pagodas in Hanoi, the Tran Quoc Pagoda is the most prominent Buddhist sanctuary to the locals standing in the middle of West Lake. Here you can have a glimpse into the local’s spiritual life, as well as admiring the timeless architecture.

hanoi in one trip tran quoc pagoda 3 1

The iconic tower resembles a blooming lotus flower

Tay Ho Temple

Address: Xom Chua, Quang An, Tay Ho District
Free entrance

Not so far from the pagoda is the Tay Ho Temple, which is also situated on an “archipelago on the lake” of the West Lake. However, the temple honors a character in the Vietnamese legends rather than a religious figure.

hanoi in one trip phu tay ho 7

Discover the local’s spiritual life at the Tay Ho Temple

For more ideas to travel around here, see our full Hanoi Attractions and Activities guide

Food Tour in Hanoi in One Trip

In contrast with a food tour in Saigon, which is a hodge-podge of recipes throughout Vietnam, a culinary adventure in Hanoi bears strong traditional tastes that have been passed down for generations. A case in point is Pho: The broth of Saigon’s Pho is much sweeter and fattier than Hanoi’s pho, and Saigon people would have Pho would several types of herbs while Hanoi’s locals don’t

hanoi in one trip pho beefballs

Saigon's Pho has a sweeter taste

hanoi in one trip hanoi pho

While in Hanoi, Pho's broth looks clearer and taste slightly blander

See the Best Pho Restaurants in Hanoi

Other Breakfast Suggestions to Spend One Trip in Hanoi

- Banh mi
hanoi in one trip banh mi cart

Check out Hanoi Locals’ Favorite Places for Breakfast

- Egg coffee
egg coffee 7 hanoi in one trip

See more Egg Coffee Spots in Hanoi

Hanoi Lunch Suggestions:

- Bun Cha 

hanoi in one trip bun cha

See the Best Places to Try Bun Cha here

Bun Rieu

hanoi in one trip bun rieu

Hanoi Dinner Suggestions:

hanoi in one trip chicken noodles

Mi Ga Tiem (Herbal Chicken Soup with Noodles)

hanoi in one trip grilled dishes

Hanoi Grilled Dishes

hanoi in one trip crab hotpot
Crab Hotpot

Other Local Experiences to Enjoy Hanoi in One Trip

hn old quarter street 4 hanoi in one trip

Cool down with some iced tea or at a hipster cafe in front of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral

hanoi in one trip street snacks

Try some local snacks on the streets

Bia hoi hanoi in one trip

Grab a glass of “Bia Hoi” at a local vendor

Final Takeaways on How to Explore Hanoi in One Trip

No matter how much time you spend in Hanoi, it’ll never seem to be enough, let alone traveling Hanoi in one trip only. We tried our best to comprise a comprehensive guide around Hanoi for travelers with limited time, but do let us know below what other activities would you include in your one trip in Hanoi.

Related articles

Local Things to do in Hanoi

Hanoi Street-side Culture

Places to Eat and Drink in Hanoi


© Written by Kim Hoang for



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