Being the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is filled with plenty of attractions to visit and activities to enjoy. From historical sites with significant importance to walking streets with its charm. Starting from the center of Hanoi, it is easy to visit multiple locations in a half-day excursion, given their relative proximity to each other. With lots to discover around Hanoi, it can be overwhelming to decide which options will be worth your time. If you are only visiting Hanoi for one or two days, let us recommend some places to visit on your Hanoi half-day tour.
To make the most use of your time, we recommend that you start your day as early as possible so that there is enough time for you to enjoy everything.
The Ho Chi Minh Complex is on the grounds of the great Ba Dinh Square
Without a doubt, we highly recommend that first-time visitors to Hanoi make a trip to the Ho Chi Minh Complex. It is an area that includes the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Ho Chi Minh Relic Site, and the One Pillar Pagoda. Because of the large number of attractions in one area, you will be able to make the most out of your half-day trip, especially if you decide to make the complex the starting point of your day. In which case, you will most likely spend the majority of your morning here exploring all the attractions.
Visiting the Mausoleum is a unique and fascinating experience that you can only get in Hanoi
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is where the body of the past leader of Vietnam is on display for the public to pay respect. This historical site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Museum is the largest and most modern museum in Vietnam
The Ho Chi Minh Museum is dedicated to the life of the late Ho Chi Minh. Here is where guests can learn about the past leader of Vietnam's impact on the country through many historical documentations.
President Ho Chi Minh spent most of his days at the stilt house
The Ho Chi Minh Relic Site includes the French colonial Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House, where he lived and worked. The area also reflects the late president of Vietnam’s love for nature and features a large fishing pond with a variety of trees planted all over the grounds.
The One Pillar Pagoda is constructed from wood on a stone pillar
The One Pillar Pagoda was designed to replicate the rising of a lotus blossom from a pond. Built during the reign of King Ly Thai Tong in 1049, the pagoda carries an ancient tale to its construction based on the king’s hopes and dreams of having an heir to the throne.
The Temple of Literature is known as the first university of Vietnam but was originally built in honor of Confucius
After exploring the Ho Chi Minh Complex, the next point of interest we recommend is the Temple of Literature. If you are coming from the Ho Chi Minh Complex, the ride over to the Temple of Literature will take roughly 5-10 minutes, varying with traffic.
The Temple of Literature is one of the oldest historical sites in all of Hanoi, dating back to the 11th century. It is a breathtaking location with an architectural style that reflects the feudal period. In the past, many scholars from all over the country traveled here in the pursuit of knowledge.
Expect to spend about an hour at the Temple of Literature and then make time for lunch. We recommend trying out some of the native foods of Hanoi while you are in the area. There are plenty of restaurants close by for you to choose.
The Hanoi Old Quarter is the heart of the city as it reflects the local lifestyle in its bustling streets and commerce
To complete your half-day trip of Hanoi, we recommend that you take a leisure exploration of the Hanoi Old Quarter on foot. The ride from the Temple of Literature to the center of the Hanoi Old Quarter is about 10 minutes, depending on traffic. The area is a mixture of old and modern French and Vietnamese architecture. This quirky combination gives the area its unique charm that is embraced by the locals.
There are plenty of things to do within the area. We recommend strolling around Hoan Kiem Lake, exploring the St. Joseph Cathedral, visiting the Dong Xuan Market, or attending the world-famous water puppet show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater.
You can take a stroll around the scenic lake or admire the view from a nearby cafe
Hoan Kiem Lake is centrally located in Hanoi and is a popular area for both tourists and locals. In the center of the lake is the Ngoc Son Temple, which is accessible by The Huc Bridge.
St. Joseph Cathedral has a neo-Gothic style
The St. Joseph Cathedral is one of the grand examples of French architecture in Hanoi. The Cathedral is hidden between the neighborhoods of the Old Quarter and is quite a surprise to stumble upon.
Dong Xuan Market has existed for over 100 years
The Dong Xuan Market is a large, mostly indoor market that is a great place to buy souvenirs. The majority of wholesale goods are inside the building, while typical food goods are sold outdoors. There are lots of vendors and stalls serving full meals and snacks all around the market.
Water puppet is unique to the S-shaped country only
Water puppet is an indigenous art form of Vietnam, accompanied by a live music set using traditional Vietnamese instruments. Attending the show is a great way to relax after spending the morning exploring the city.
To go around, we highly recommend you to use a motorbike taxi if you are traveling solo or as a pair. This is the most common and convenient option readily available at any time throughout the city. For families or groups of three or more people, getting a taxi is the best choice to accommodate the whole party. If you are starting the day from your hotel, you can ask the staff members to call a taxi for you.
We hope that you have found this brief recommendation of places to visit on your Hanoi half-day tour useful. Our recommendations were made to ensure that the most number of places can be visited efficiently within a half-day trip of Hanoi. In case you want to adjust your plan, feel free to check out all the other attractions and activities that Hanoi has to offer.
© Written by Long Tran for itourvn.com