Top 8 Things to do in Hanoi

If you’re looking for an exciting and (mostly) hassle-free introduction to Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi is a great place to start. Granted, it can be a bit chaotic at times – especially during the Tet New Year Festival – but the city’s vibrant culture and stunning scenery more than make up for any bumps in the road.

Since Hanoi is such a popular tourist destination, it can be hard to find unique experiences here. That said, there are plenty of things to do that don’t involve shelling out big bucks on pricey tours.

The Best Tours in Hanoi

Hanoi is best known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious food. The city is famously full of ancient temples and colonial-era buildings, all adorned with intricate carvings and colorful tiles. The city’s impressive urban landscape is a result of centuries of human habitation. Over the years, however, it has gradually been replaced by more modern cities like Ho Chi Minh City.  Today, Hanoi still retains a large amount of its former glory, thanks in part to ongoing efforts to preserve its unique history and heritage. That being said, we have listed some of the ideas for visitors to enjoy the beauty of the city.

Take a walking tour of Old Quarter: Hanoi’s ancient quarter is filled with winding alleyways, ornate architecture, and centuries-old temples. Start your tour at Hoan Kiem Lake and take a stroll down Lane 1 to see some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as the Temple of Literature and the Thu Bon Gate. Continue on to explore two more lanes of the old quarter before finishing up at Tram station Dong Khoi. This 2-hour walk will give you an excellent overview of the city’s main attractions.

The War Remnants Museum is located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and is home to a vast array of military artifacts from all periods of Vietnam’s history. Highlights include antiques from the French colonial period, weaponry and equipment from the American war, as well as Korean and Chinese relics. The museum is also home to changing exhibitions, so there is always something new to explore.

The Buddhist Temples of Van Don and My Son: Hanoi is well-known for its centuries-old Buddhist temples, but there’s also a fair amount to see if you venture out of the touristy center. The two most popular destinations are the Temple of Literature in Van Don and the Temple of Heavenly Kings in My Son.

The Temple of Literature in Van Don is a fascinating site not just because it’s one of Vietnam’s oldest temples, dating back to the 12th century, but also because it contains some incredible treasures. Among them is a beautiful 11th-century bronze statue of the Buddha known as the “Treasure Buddha.”

The Temple of Heavenly Kings in My Son is another popular destination, and for good reason. It features an enormous statue of the Bodhisattva Maitreya (the future Buddha). Ascending up around his waist are 108 smaller statues representing all manner of creatures, from dragons to monkeys.

Visit Ba Dinh Pagoda: Also known as the Temple of Heaven, Ba Dinh Pagoda was built in 1225 AD by Emperor Ly Thai to commemorate his victory over the Mongols. The pagoda is unique for its many elaborately carved dragons that adorn both the roof and walls of its main prayer hall. You can also enjoy a view from atop the pagoda if you take one of these guided tours offered by local tour operators.

See Hai Van Pass: Located just outside Hanoi, Hai Van Pass is one of Vietnam’s highest mountains and offers stunning views across the Red River Delta region. Take a hike up to the pass or explore its forested slopes on foot or by bike; either way, you’ll be rewarded with amazing scenery that’s perfect for taking pictures or just enjoying nature.

Tour Halong Bay: Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations and for good reason. The crystal clear waters, limestone cliffs, and lush tropical foliage make this UNESCO World Heritage Site a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Take a day trip from Hanoi or book a tour that includes visits to the bay’s many islands, such as Big Cave, Pink Pearl Island, and Cat Ba National Park.

Visit the Hoa Lo Prison: Located in the heart of the city, Hoa Lo Prison is one of Vietnam’s most notorious prisons. Over the years it has housed some of Vietnam’s most notorious political prisoners and war criminals, including Le Duan, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Ngo Dinh Diem. Today the prison is open to visitors who can explore its cells, torture chambers, and execution grounds.

The Cu Chi Tunnels are a system of subterranean tunnels dug by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The system runs for almost eighty kilometers, making it one of the longest and most complex underground complexes in history. The tunnels were used as an important part of the Viet Cong’s strategic plan and were a key weapon in their fight against the United States and South Vietnam.

Today, the Cu Chi Tunnels are a popular tourist destination and are considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the tunnels on foot or by bike, and there is also a range of facilities available including restaurants, souvenir shops, and museums.

The Best Places to Stay

There are many great places to stay in Hanoi, Vietnam’s historic and vibrant capital. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious escape or simple cleanliness and comfort, the best travel agency in Hanoi can help you with that. Check out these options:

  1. L’Auberge du Lac Resort: This upscale resort is perfect for those who want all the amenities of a top-notch hotel with the added luxury of private waterfront access. The rooms come with both Western-style and traditional Vietnamese decor, and there are lots of on-site amenities including a spa, pool, gym, and tennis courts. It’s also centrally located in Hanoi so you can easily explore the city center while you’re there.
  2. APA Hotel: If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider checking out APA Hotel which has comfortable rooms and an excellent location just steps away from Old Quarter shopping streets and Hoan Kiem Lake. There’s also an on-site restaurant that serves international dishes, as well as a rooftop bar that offers splendid views of the cityscape.
  3. JW Marriott: This internationally renowned property is perfect for those who want squeaky clean lines combined with all the modern amenities one could hope for in a hotel room. Top features include an impressive fitness center and heated indoor pool that’s open year-round (as long as there’s enough water pressure!). There’s also an on-site restaurant serving up southwestern cuisine, and a bar that’s perfect for after-dinner drinks.
  4. Sofitel Legend Metropole: This luxury hotel is perfect for those who want all the modern amenities and style of a top-notch property, with an added touch of Vietnamese elegance. The rooms come with a variety of luxurious touches such as down duvets, marble baths, and ensuite Jacuzzis. There are also many on-site amenities, including a spa, pool, gym, and business center.
  5. Holiday Inn Express Hanoi Dong Khoi: If you’re looking for a budget-friendly but the comfortable option, consider checking out the Holiday Inn Express Hanoi Dong Khoi which is close to Old Quarter shopping streets and Hoan Kiem Lake. The rooms are average in size but comfortable enough and come with all the standard amenities such as air conditioning, cable TV, and Wi-Fi access.

Is Hanoi Vietnam cheap?

Despite its popularity, Hanoi is still a reasonably affordable city to visit. A 7-day trip to Hanoi averages $1,143 for a solo traveler and $2,053 for a couple. Lodging is more affordable at around $22 to $111 per night, while most vacation rentals cost an average of $90 to $340 per night.


If you’re looking for things to do in Hanoi, the options are practically endless. Whether you’re a tourist looking to explore the city’s famous sights or someone who just wants to take a break from work and enjoy some local culture, there’s something for everyone on this list. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today and let us know if we can help you plan any of the activities on this list!