This post was last updated on February 21st, 2020 at 08:38 am
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. You can write a book about this city. When you first arrive in Hanoi you will be amazed! Everything is happening around you and you need several days to get used to the crowds and all the new impressions. We will tell you everything you need to know about Hanoi in Vietnam.
We became addicted to this city, where life takes place 24/7, but in a relaxed way. Where locals drink coffee in front of the door in the morning and come together in the evening to drink Bia Hoi (a kind of draft beer) to watch the crowds of tourists. This is our favorite city in Asia.
Where you can join a morning session of Thai Chi at Hoan Kiem Lake or watch a game of chess between two elderly Vietnamese. The city has so much to offer that it leaves countless impressions.
The old quarter is super cozy, there are many nice bars and restaurants and in the evenings the streets are illuminated with colorful lighting. Hanoi is a city you plan on staying for two days but end up staying for two weeks.
TIP – Rent a scooter. This is the best way to explore this fun city and its surroundings!
The Nicest City Center in Asia
The surrounding streets are equipped with cozy and atmospheric restaurants, street musicians, hotels and hostels, markets and famous shops. For the real night owls; the nightlife here is particularly good. For those looking for more culture, Hanoi has plenty of entertainment with the Army Museum, Hỏa Lò Prison, Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh (although you would expect it in Ho Chi Minh City) and much more.
As one of the few cities, Hanoi survived the war well and most of the really beautiful buildings are still intact. The French style can still be found everywhere (baguettes can be bought everywhere) and in combination with the typical Vietnamese life, this makes Hanoi a feast for the eyes and heart.
Hanoi is not only one of the most popular cities, but it is also a city where you can book many tours to other places in Vietnam. Almost all trips to Ha Long Bay and Sapa depart from Hanoi. You can find many small offices/stores where you can book a tour. We recommend trying some of them!
13 Best Things to Do in Hanoi
The sights in Hanoi are actually too many to mention. The city has countless sights that attract thousands of tourists every year. We recommend planning at least 3 full days here so that you can see the most important things in town! We will tell you about the most important ones.
1. Go to Hoan Kiem Lake
The most important attraction in the city is undoubtedly Hoan Kiem Lake. This lake is centrally located in Hanoi, impossible to miss, and is a gathering place for both locals and tourists. The name Hoan Kiem Lake means “Take Back Sword” and refers to a legend from the 15th century.
It is said that Lê Loi, who later became emperor, received a sword from heaven with which he expelled the Chinese from Vietnam. When Lê Loi sailed over the lake, he came across a turtle who asked him to return the sword.
If you visit the lake you see an island with a pagoda in the lake. In that pagoda, you can see a turtle that was taken out of the lake in 1963. According to a scholar, this turtle was 500 years old and the locals still believe that the turtle lives in the lake. A must-see during your stay in Hanoi.
TIP – Try to have a drink at City View Cafe in the evening. Here you have a beautiful view!
Hoan Kiem Lake by day in Hanoi, Vietnam. You can walk all around it!
2. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Against the wishes of Ho Chi Minh, a mausoleum was built for this leader after his death. Ho Chi Minh had recorded in his will that he wanted to be cremated, after which his ashes would have to be scattered over different parts of Vietnam.
This last wish was not respected. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is probably the biggest highlight of Hanoi. It attracts hordes of visitors on weekends and national vacations.
Inside the Mausoleum
Once you are in the building you will enter a marble hall where you will find the most cited rule of Vietnam; “Nothing is more important than independence and freedom”. When you go through the hall you enter a cold, dark room where the charismatic hero of Vietnam is located.
The majority of visitors are Vietnamese and one of the most special things to see is their reactions. Most show deep respect for their old leader.
TIP – Entrance is free. In the fall, the mausoleum is closed for a few weeks for maintenance.
Rules when visiting the mausoleum
If you want to visit the mausoleum, check the limited opening hours. You must leave bags and cameras at the reception. Be respectful (which is no more than logical). Wear suitable clothing and not shorts, sleeveless shirts, or vests. Hats must be taken off.
3. Enjoy the View in Ba Vi National Park
For those who just want to escape the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, you can have a great time in Ba Vi National Park. Ba Vi National Park is not a well-known attraction and this park will not be on the list of many tourists. However, if you have more time in this region, this park with its wonderful tranquility and natural beauty is definitely worth a visit.
If you go with your own transport (scooter) then go back to Hanoi on time. It can be quite dark on the way back! Renting a scooter will cost you around $7 to $10 a day. On Flamingo Travel you can book a day tour where you take scooters to the park.
Red River Valley
Ba Vi National Park is home to some endangered plant species in its protected forest area. The mountain is 1,276 meters high but the climb is definitely worth it with a view of the Red River Valley and Hanoi in the distance. The park is not the largest park in Vietnam, that would be Yok Don National Park at Da Lat, but it is definitely worth a visit for those who have some time in Hanoi.
TIP – Entrance fee is 15,000 dong p.p.
4. Visit the Water Puppet Theater
The Hanoi Water Puppet Theater is located on the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. The puppeteers stand in water up to their waist, behind a cloth. They control the dolls, which sometimes weigh up to 15 kilograms, with bamboo sticks.
Special lighting effects are used and there is always a live band to accompany the show musically. Don’t expect an opera.
TIP – Tickets cost between 60,000 and 100,000 dong ($2.60 to $4.30) and are sold at the door.
4 non-standard highlights
The above highlights are the famous highlights in Hanoi, but there is much more to see than this. Hanoi is a great city with many beautiful things. We have made a list of 4-not-so-standard highlights in Hanoi.
5. Visit the Perfume Pagoda
The perfume pagoda is an impressive temple complex that is believed to have been built in the 15th century. This Buddhist temple is situated in a beautiful setting among the mountains on a sort of hill with a large staircase surrounded by forests and rivers.
The temple is not located in Hanoi itself, but about 60 kilometers south of the city in the Son Mountains. The journey to the temple is an experience in itself: you first drive through the landscape for two hours before you travel by boat to the foot of the mountains and then visit the temple.
TIP – A fun day tour is organized by Central Backpackers.
6. Explore the Hanoi Old Quarter
A must-see in Hanoi. The old part of the city is full of charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples, and pagodas. You will find the neighborhood near Hoan Kiem Lake. It is the most important commercial area of Hanoi.
There are even small companies here, some of which are around 1000 years old. Unfortunately, many old specialties have been changed over the years and replaced by contemporary (tourist) trade. Still, it is super fun!
The old shops, buildings, and houses along the narrow streets provide a nice atmosphere. The old center always stood behind huge walls and heavy wooden gates until well into the nineteenth century.
Apart from a gate on the east side of Hang Chieu, the walls have disappeared. The best way to discover the Old Quarter is by walking or by stepping into a cyclo.
7. Go to the Hanoi Opera House
The Opera House is located in the heart of the French Quarter and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Hanoi. It was built in 1911 and inspired by an opera house from Paris, which you can clearly notice. Complete with giant pillars, ornate railings, and gothic domes.
It is easy to visit because it is pretty much in the center. Up to 100,000 visitors can enjoy classical performances ranging from Vietnamese opera and dance performances to music concerts by world-famous artists.
TIP – Performances usually start at 100,000 dong (about US $4.30)
8. Enjoy the Street Food!
If you like good food, Hanoi is perfect. Ho Chi Minh is sometimes called the Paris of Asia, but we found the food, and especially the street food, in Hanoi much better. Especially in the Old Quarter, you can eat well everywhere. The different joints are often not that far apart so that you can try a lot of goodies in one evening.
Of course, the street snacks are fun to try, and often very tasty. However, the restaurants here are also very good. In particular, the smaller restaurants that are tucked away in one of the many small alleys. We found it by far the best in Hanoi! We definitely recommend it!
You can get delicious bowls of traditional Vietnamese noodles almost everywhere!
9. Shopping at the Hanoi Night Market
This market runs from Hang Dao Street to Dong Xuan Market and is a nice place to visit. Many people come here in the evening hours during the weekend to walk or do some shopping. You can find everything here in terms of clothing and also delicious food!
People come here to shop or just enjoy the atmosphere. There are a lot of foreign tourists who just quickly step in and out. It is a nice place to buy souvenirs for the home front.
10. Drinking Bia Hoi
If you are in Hanoi you should try this phenomenon. Bia Hoi means something like “draft beer”. Hanoi is THE place to give it a try. The beer is brewed daily, matured for a short period of time and once it’s ready they deliver a fresh batch to each bar.
These bars are great places to relax with a beer and some food. In addition, it is a place where a lot of locals come, so if you want to get in touch with the locals of Hanoi, drinking Bia Hoi is the thing to do.
Often the locals also like to chat with tourists. You can get a beer for about $0.35 per glass.
TIP – The place where many travelers come is the Bia Hoi Corner at Ta Hien Street and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street.
11. Visit the Imperial Citadel
The impressive citadel of Thang Long, a relic of Vietnam’s history, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010. Rightly so, because it is a beautiful building. It is also known as the Citadel of Hanoi.
Many objects date from the period between the 6th century and the 20th century, including foundations of old palaces and old roads. In addition, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics, and pottery from China and many places in Asia.
Located in the Ba Dinh district, it is less than a 15-minute walk from attractions such as the Quan Thanh Temple, the Vietnam Military History Museum, and Cua Bac Church.
TIP – Entrance fee is 30,000 dong ($1.30) and it is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Mondays.
12. Visit the Military Museum
The Military Museum is easy to recognize thanks to a large collection of weapons and vehicles at the front. The museum shows Soviet and Chinese vehicles in addition to French and American weapons captured during years of war.
The centerpiece is a MIG-21 jet fighter, built in the Soviet. It is in the midst of the wreckage of French planes that were shot down in Dien Bien Phu.
TIP – Entrance fee is 40,000 dong plus 20,000 dong for your camera.
Aerial view of the Military Museum airplanes
13. Drink Coffee in Hanoi
Perhaps the highlight of the city. The coffee! Although we are not really coffee drinkers, we found the coffee delicious here. We were drinking coffee daily while we never drink coffee at home. In Hanoi, the coffee is world-class. Hanoi is full of cozy coffee shops, which in turn all have a unique atmosphere and specialty. Consider Vietnamese coffee with coconut ice cream (fantastic) or Egg coffee.
As said above, Hanoi is full of great coffee places. There is even a whole street dedicated to coffee, the Nguyen Huu Huan. We also recommend the following:
- The Note Coffee ➜ 64 Luong Van Can, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam
- Cong Caphe ➜ 32 Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam.
- Giang Cafe ➜ 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam
- Huong Viet ➜ 13 Hang Ca Street, Hang Dao Ward, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam
The Hanoi Nightlife
The Hanoi Nightlife offers a multitude of interesting things to see and do. You can go to a lively bar or glitzy nightclub in the city, but you can also take a leisurely stroll and try the best street food. Enjoy the cheapest beer in the world on a stool (which is way too small) on the sidewalk or visit a show at the opera house. When it comes to going out into the Hanoi Nightlife scene there is something for everyone to choose from. Here are some of the best things to do in Hanoi during the late night hours.
1. Bia Hoi Junction
The best nightlife in Hanoi is not only found in luxury bars, but also right there on the sidewalk. To meet fellow travelers, who share your love of beer; visit the Bia Hoi Junction at the intersection of Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dinh Liet Street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. A cold beer will only cost you about 7,000 VND (US $0.30) there.
This is a great place to people watch while sitting on a small plastic stool chewing freshly cooked street food. There will also be plenty of other travelers, backpackers and young Vietnamese students to meet and share travel stories with.
2. Water Puppet Theater
The water puppet show in the Thang Long Theater of Hanoi is based on an 11th century tradition. In those early days, farmers began to perform with dolls in the flooded rice fields while hiding behind a bamboo screen. Nowadays, the shows take place in a swimming pool, but the artists are still hiding behind a screen, making it look like the dolls are floating magically over the water. Although you can see similar shows in many cities in Vietnam, the north is the true origin of this art form.
3. Walk through Old Streets
Another way to explore Hanoi’s nightlife is to walk through the old streets. As the sun sets and the lights turn on, the city changes into a whole different world. This not only means that clubs and restaurants try to attract guests with flashy neon lights, but city landmarks such as the Opera House and other monuments are beautifully lit and take on a completely different atmosphere than during the day.
This makes it very worthwhile to walk past your favorite places again in the dark. You can start with a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake and enjoy seeing the park come alive with people dancing and wanting some exercise. Then go to the Old Quarter, walk past the colonial buildings, take a look at some of the city’s iconic hotels and observe daily life in the small streets.
4. Weekend Night Market at the Hanoi Old Quarter
The Hanoi Weekend Night Market is held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is a busy, bustling gathering of roadside stalls and local food vendors who supply huge crowds of locals and tourists. It runs through the Old Quarter district from 7 p.m.
Pedestrian streets and historic sites in the area are illuminated with decorative lights, making it a popular place for traveling photographers. When it comes to shopping, the fashion items on sale won’t attract much attention because you’ll find the usual range of cheap t-shirts, handicrafts, accessories, shoes, sunglasses, and souvenirs.
5. Visit the Best Bars in Hanoi
When it comes to the Hanoi Nightlife, of course you can’t skip the great bars. The best bars and pubs in Hanoi are conveniently located in the old quarter and are gaining huge popularity among the city’s tourist and expat community. Here are some of the best bars you can find in Hanoi during the late night hours.
Binh Minh’s Jazz Club
If you’re a fan of great live jazz, visit the Binh Minh Jazz Club in the heart of the French Quarter of Hanoi. Here you will find the best jazz musicians in the country, including the Vietnamese jazz pioneer Binh Minh himself, on stage every evening from 9 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.
Polite & Co.
In the heart of the of the Hanoi Old Quarter, in a crumbling building with a very British façade, you can find the Polite and Co. Inspired by the 1920s Gentlemen’s clubs, they specialize in cocktails and whiskeys. The interior has very dark wooden furniture, a full bar and candlelight.
Nê Cocktail Bar
The mix and match decor only adds more charm to the place. Where home-infused gins are popular and cocktails are made to order, it is definitely one of the best places in town for a late night drink!
6. Visit the Beer Gardens
Hanoi is extremely popular for tasting special beers in Vietnam. If you are planning to go out at night in Hanoi, it is wonderful to start in a real beer bar. Here are some of the best options you will find.
Legend Beer Hanoi
Legend Beer, one of the city’s most popular beer bars, is located at 1 Dinh Tien Hoang and is best-known for its view of an always busy and chaotic roundabout, next to Hoan Kiem Lake. When you sit here during the busy rush hour you can take beautiful pictures of the chaotic traffic.
Legend Beer serves its home-brewed drinks and a selection of German specialties such as pork leg and sausages every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Because it is quite popular with tourists who want to take photos, the prices here are a bit higher than in the rest of the old quarter, but the view makes up for it.
New Sphinx Beer Bar
For a true experience of the local drinking culture, go to a beer bar such as the New Sphinx. Every evening, guests gather in the ancient Egyptian bar to drink (a lot of) beer and shout at each other about the deafening live music. Food is also served here, but the emphasis is certainly on the drinks.
The 100 Beer Garden
Prefer a drink outside and enjoy the cool night air? Then the 100 Beer Garden is a place where you can enjoy. With many different craft beers, this place attracts beer lovers from all over the world.
Come here with your friends and test the many different types of craft beer made by breweries in Vietnam and try some delicious bar food.
7. Visit the Best Clubs
If your favorite kind of nightlife includes dancing with a real party atmosphere while going out in Hanoi, visit one of the many clubs, such as:
Hero Club Hanoi
One of our favorite club atmospheres is found at the Hero Club Hanoi. Enter and be enchanted by the cool design of old propaganda posters and images of superheroes. To preserve the theme, the DJ booth is in an old Soviet truck.
The music here varies from Deep House and EDM to R&B and hip hop. Being one of the city’s most popular clubs at the moment, it regularly collaborates with Vietnamese and international artists for nights of endless dancing on the top hits of the artists.
Hanoi Rock City
For a mix of culture and parties, Hanoi Rock City is the perfect place. They offer an eclectic mix of DJ nights, live musicians, art exhibitions and much more. Drinks here are a bit more expensive than in other clubs in Hanoi, but the experience in Hanoi Rock City is unique and super fun. The crowd is a mix of Vietnamese and international artists, creatives, expats and travelers. An evening here is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
8. The Opera
If you want a more chic night out in Hanoi, choose this highlight. One of the most famous sights of the city, the Opera House deserves a visit, whether you want to see a show or not, especially at night when it is beautifully lit.
If you want to see the inside of the Hanoi Opera House, you must book a ticket. It is worth the price because the interior is beautiful and the shows that are organized here are excellent. Performances usually include opera, ballet, musicals and modern dance. Both Vietnamese and international artists perform here regularly, so check the Hanoi Opera House website for more information about their upcoming performances.
9. Enjoy the Street Food
Just because it is getting late does not mean that the food stalls are closed. On the contrary, when the Hanoi nightlife starts you will see many more popping up, especially in areas around bars and clubs. Keep your eyes open for street food sellers who attract a largely Vietnamese clientele. That way you know for sure that the food is authentic and good.
A very nice way to experience the food scene of Hanoi is with a tour. With a night tour you can explore streets and small alleys with a local guide in search of the best food. Sit among the locals on the street and observe the Hanoi nightlife all around you.
10. The Best Sky Bars
Other great experiences in Hanoi’s late hours are the Sky Bars, or a rooftop bar with a great view. Here are some of the best sky bars in Hanoi:
Lighthouse Sky Bar Hanoi
In the old Hang Be Street you will find one of the newest and most stylish rooftop bars in Hanoi: Lighthouse Sky Bar. Located on the top three floors of the fantastic hotel La Siesta Premium Hang Be, it is a great place for many occasions. The terrace is in the open air with both comfortable lounge sofas and bar stools in the front row. So you can choose to relax more “in the back” or be in the front with the fantastic view of Hanoi.
Twilight Sky Bar Hanoi
Twilight Sky Bar is a chic rooftop bar, located at the top of the Hanoi La Siesta Central Hotel & Spa, close to Hoan Kiem Lake in the Hanoi Old Quarter. The bar on the eighth floor is close enough to feel the streets of the city, but high enough for a fantastic view of the city skyline and the nearby lake. You can order delicious cocktails, along with a lot of Trappist beer and an extensive range of international wines. There is also a menu with Asian snacks and more filling Western dishes.
The Best Restaurants & Street Food
Hanoi, the bustling and busy capital of Vietnam. It’s one of our favorite cities when it comes to food. You can find so many delicious Vietnamese dishes here. In fact, you are in the right place on almost every street, but we have listed the best restaurants in Hanoi for you.
This Vietnamese food restaurant is definitely a hotspot in Hanoi! The restaurant wants to keep the traditional culture of Vietnam, but with a modern twist. Finding a perfect balance between traditional and modern is their mission. With great respect for traditional meals, they have given these dishes a modern touch.
They work with recipes that have been around for generations, from street food to family dinners. If you want a real taste of Vietnam, this is the place to be. We were very pleasantly surprised when we came to this restaurant for the first time. It lies in a beautiful location and has delicious food.
Price: At around 10 dollars per meal it’s slightly more expensive than most restaurants but it’s worth it!
Address: 34 Châu Long, Trúc Bạch, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000 (Google Maps)
TIP – Let the employees advise you on the best meals. We got fresh traditional spring rolls with grilled pork, beef salad, mango salad and the grilled duck as main course. It was amazing!
2. Bun Cha Ta
Bun Cha is a traditional Vietnamese dish that you should eat at a real Vietnamese restaurant at least once in your life. We ate the best Bun Cha during our food tour at Bun Cha Ta, a small restaurant in the middle of the city, where you will find many locals. For a small price you can eat delicious food here.
Price: 60,000 to 110,000 VND (US $2.60 to 4.74) for a meal.
Address: 21 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội (Google Maps)
3. Banh Canh Ghe Ut Coi
On the way to the St. Josef Cathedral we happened to bump into this restaurant. Here too you will find few tourists. The food is incredibly cheap. We opted for fresh spring rolls (60 cents) and a noodle soup (2 dollars) for lunch. I think we lost around 5 dollars for a fantastic lunch. Delicious!
Price: US $0.60 to $2 per meal.
Address: 2B Quang Trung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hàng Trống Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội (Google Maps)
4. Pho 10
They only serve Phở (noodlesoup) here but it is one of the best in Hanoi! If you visit Hanoi this is really a must-try dish. You can get in different varieties like beef or chicken. This place is popular among both locals and tourists so it can get busy. We waited in line in front of the door for a few minutes and then we were let in by the friendly staff. It was well worth the wait.
Price: Meals are around 60,000 VND (US $2.60), depending on your choice.
Address: 10 Lý Quốc Sư, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội (Google Maps)
TIP – The chilies here are quite spicy, beware!
5. Bánh Mì 25
Another must-try food is the Banh Mi sandwich. Banh Mi 25 is a small food truck where you can get delicious Banh Mi. Cheap, simple, but also very tasty. You can choose from many different toppings like BBQ pork or honey chicken, and the sandwich is quite large for its price. Definitely recommended!
Price: US $1.50
Address: 25 Hàng Cá, P, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội (Google Maps)
6. Kem Dừa Caramen Chè Cực Ngon
We went to a place that is very hard to find for most tourists but it has the most delicious dessert in all of Hanoi; coconut ice cream. You can literally eat the ice cream and shaved coconut from the inside of the coconut. A perfect dessert for a hot day, of which there are plenty in Hanoi.
Price: 60,000 VND or US $2.60
Address: TTGDTX, 16 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội (Google Maps)
The Best Hotels & Hostels
Although Hanoi has an almost unlimited number of options in terms of hotels & hostels there are some that gave us that extra special experience. We have tried every single one of these hotels & hostels and left with great memories. Take a look at some of the best hotels & hostels in Hanoi below!
Just a 5-minute stroll from Hoan Kiem Lake, the affordable Classic Street Hotel is located on Hanoi’s old Hang Be Street, close to the Ngoc Son Pagoda and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Decorated with a traditional Vietnamese interior, with beautiful photo impressions of Ancient Vietnam on each room’s walls, you can find amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, tea and coffee making facilities and a bathroom with shower. You will also find a restaurant serving Vietnamese dishes.
You can book both international and domestic airline tickets at the tour desk or you can buy a tourist map there. Transport to and from the airport is also offered. Classic Street Hotel’s 24-hour reception offers luggage storage. We recommend the Hoan Kiem area for travelers who are interested in friendly people, people watching and delicious Vietnamese food.
Price: Around 32 dollars a night (for 2 adults), depending on the season.
The cozy Silk Collection Hotel & Spa offers a modern and elegant accommodation with free Wi-Fi throughout the building and a 24-hour front desk. This non-smoking property lies at just 300 meters from Ngoc Son Temple and 400 meters from the famous Hoan Kiem Lake. The tastefully decorated rooms and suites are air-conditioned and feature a wardrobe, a minibar, a seating area and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. It includes a private bathroom which is fitted with a shower, hairdryer and bathrobes. At this hotel you can also enjoy a relaxing massage at the spa or get assistance with arranging excursions. Transfer from/to the airport is available for an extra charge.
Price: Around 30 dollars a night (for 2 adults), depending on the season.
The Hanoi 3B Premier Hotel is located comfortably on Hang Than Street at the end of the historic district of Hanoi. The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. All rooms have air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. You can also enjoy a daily breakfast buffet, welcome drinks, daily cleaning and free bottles of water every day. The Ba Dinh area is a great choice if you are interested in coffee, history and the Old Town.
Price: Around 35 dollars a night (for 2 adults), depending on the season.
Hanoi House Hostel & Travel is located in the heart of the old quarter, serving as both a hotel and a hostel. Rooms include air-conditioning, satellite TV, a fridge and a hairdryer. Some of the rooms enjoy the comfort of a seating area and a bath. The hostel also offers bicycles, car rental, and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is served in the on-site café. Famous sights nearby include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at a 15-minute drive and the Temple of Literature at a 20-minute walk.
Price: From 10 dollars for a bed in a dormitory style room up to 42 dollars for a bridal suite, depending on the season.
Located at a 2-minute walk from the old city gate in the Hoan Kiem district, the Little Charm Hanoi Hostel offers elegant accommodation, an on-site Italian-style restaurant, an indoor swimming pool and a bar. All of its dormitory style rooms are equipped with personal lockers and personal reading lights. You also have access to the shared bathroom with a shower and free toiletries. Every morning a continental breakfast is served. One great thing about this hostel is that it also offers a currency exchange facility and an ATM.
Price: 9 to 15 dollars per night.
Hoan Kiem Area (Hanoi City Center)
Hoan Kiem is the commercial center of Hanoi, where most of the highlights can be found. North of Hoan Kiem Lake lies the Hanoi Old Quarter, where you will find charming colonial architecture, art galleries, boutiques, street markets, restaurants, cafes, and temples. The French Quarter in the south houses the most luxury hotels and chic shopping centers.
- Old Quarter ➜ Suitable for travelers looking for cheap hostels. Popular with backpackers.
- French Quarter ➜ Suitable for travelers looking for more expensive hotels.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Hanoi is from December to February, in which you have a pleasant to hot temperature and hardly any precipitation. The highest average temperature in Hanoi is 35°C (95°F) in June and the lowest is 20°C (68°F) in January. The humidity is lowest during these months and that is something to take into account because the Hanoi weather can be very hot. The rainy season starts in the north (March to September) and ends earlier than in the south (May to October).
The busiest months in Vietnam, and also in Hanoi, are July and August. Outside of those months, it is best to travel between November and March.
Hanoi is located in the north of Vietnam and has a typical monsoon climate. That means hot summers with lots of rain and dry cold winters. The city is fairly sunny throughout the year.
Do you want to know what the climate and weather forecast are in Hanoi? Below you will find the average temperature and rainfall per month, so that you know whether you should count on rain or sunshine. This way you will always be prepared for your trip.
Average temperature and rainfall in Hanoi, Vietnam
Whether you’re looking for culture, a special long-distance trip or just planning an active holiday: you want good weather when you travel. That is why it is useful to check the current forecast for Hanoi in advance so as not to be surprised by bad weather conditions.
Take the TET festival into account. This is the largest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam. It is celebrated on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar. It can take up to seven days. Keep in mind that the whole country is free and goes on vacation or visits family. This means crowded buses, tours, and accommodation. We recommend booking in advance.
Hanoi Tourist Map
Download the Hanoi Map here.
How to Get to Hanoi
When you arrive or depart from Noi Bai (Hanoi) Airport it is useful to know how to get from Hanoi airport to the city center or from the city center to the airport. You don’t want to spend an hour figuring out the cheapest way or paying too much for a taxi.
Noi Bai Airport
Noi Bai International Airport is the largest airport in North Vietnam and serves Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The airport is located at a distance of 45 kilometers (about 28 miles) from the city center. The new International Terminal 2 was opened late 2014. The airport terminal offers various services, shops, restaurants, money exchange offices, cash machines and transport options.
Upon arrival in Hanoi you first have to arrange your visa, after which you can pick up your luggage. See below how to get from the airport to the center of Hanoi.
Terminal 1 or 2?
The two terminals at Noi Bai Airport offer two different types of flights. Terminal One (T1), the older terminal, is used for almost exclusively domestic flights. Terminal Two (T2), opened late 2014, offers international flights.
The two terminals are approximately one kilometer (about 0.6 miles) apart. If you transfer from a domestic flight to an international flight, or vice versa, take the travel time between the terminals into account. A shuttle bus runs between the two terminals approximately every 15 minutes. The signs at the airport indicate where the stop for the shuttle bus is.
From the Airport to Hanoi by Bus (and vice versa)
The bus is the cheapest way to get from the airport to Hanoi, but it’s also the most crowded and the one that takes the longest.
Bus 86 connects the arrivals from the airport directly with the stops of the city of Hanoi. The bus ride takes about an hour to arrive at the bus station and costs VND 35,000 (about US $1.50) per ride. This yellow-orange bus follows a route from the airport, down through Hoan Kiem Lake and the old quarter of Hanoi and ends at Hanoi Central Station.
When you leave you can also use this bus to go from the center to the airport. The bus runs from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bus 7 runs from Noi Bai bus station to Kim Ma, on the west side of Hanoi. Bus 17 runs from Noi Bai to the Long Bien bus station, on the northeast side of the Hanoi Old Quarter. Buses run every 15-20 minutes from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
From the Airport to Hanoi by Shuttle Bus (and vice versa)
There are several shuttle buses from the airport to the center of Hanoi.
Vietnam Airlines minibuses leave every 30-40 minutes from arrivals at Terminal 1. Tickets cost VND 40,000 (approximately US $1.60) each way. This shuttle bus also runs from the center to the Hanoi Airport from the Vietnam Airlines booking office (01, Quang Trung street). The costs for the Hanoi airport shuttle are 40,000 VND and the journey takes between 40-60 minutes, depending on the traffic.
Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air also offer buses to the center, but you can only arrange these buses directly through the airline.
From the Airport to Hanoi by Taxi (and vice versa)
Taxis can be found outside the Noi Bai arrival terminals on the first island beyond the arrival hall (you will see a line of taxis). You may be approached by “helpful” people in the terminal who ask if you need a taxi, but do not accept their offers.
Airport taxis charge a flat rate of around US $18. By taxi, the fastest way to get from the airport to the center of Hanoi is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
TIP – Make sure you have a paper with the exact name and address of your hotel with a telephone number and show it to the taxi driver.
Using Grab for Transport Between Hanoi Airport and the City Center
Another alternative to the regular taxi is the taxi app Grab (Android | Apple), to call a taxi or rental car to pick you up at the arrivals hall. You do need internet for this app, so make sure you have a working Vietnamese SIM card. After you get off the plane, pass the checkpoints and collect the luggage, you will see many stalls or kiosks that all sell Vietnam SIM cards.
In Vietnam, a SIM card must be correctly registered at the time of activation with the correct information from the owner, including name, date of birth and ID number (passport number).
Car with driver
Some hotels offer pick up from the airport. An alternative is to rent a car with driver yourself to pick you up and bring you to the center.
Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
The most popular trip in the north of Vietnam is a cruise through beautiful Ha Long Bay. But how do you travel from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay or from Ha Long Bay to Hanoi? To know the answer you first have to find out exactly where you want to go.
Ha Long Bay is a big area, so check carefully where you want to be in Ha Long Bay:
- Ha Long (City): The largest city in Ha Long Bay with the most hotels.
- Cat Ba: This is the largest island in Ha Long Bay, covered with mountains and jungle. You can also spend the night here and drive around the island.
- Tuan Chau Island: A newly developed tourist zone just outside of Ha Long City, known for its recreational offerings and beach resorts. This is also the place where most cruise boats depart from.
- Bai Tu Long: Bai Tu Long Bay is also called the alternative to Ha Long Bay. Boat trips to this bay leave from Ha Long.
- Hai Phong: Not directly in Ha Long Bay, Hai Phong is the largest city in the region with train connections to Hanoi and its own airport. Hai Phong is also used to travel to Cat Ba.
TIP – When searching for availability and prices, keep in mind that some online websites do not use Ha Long Bay but Ha Long.
Tours in Ha Long Bay
When you book a cruise in Ha Long Bay, this almost always includes transportation from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. With a single cruise you can book this as an extra service. This service usually means that when you stay in the Hanoi old quarter, you will be picked up by a van at your hotel that will take you to the bus station which will then take you to Ha Long Bay. After your cruise you will be taken back to your hotel in Hanoi in the same way.
TIP – Only bring necessities during the cruise and ask if the hotel can safely store your other luggage for when you return.
Bus from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
Buses per day: There are many buses per day that run from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay; luxury buses, comfortable minibuses, local buses, limousine buses etc. The bus station depends on which bus company you choose. More luxurious bus companies will pick you up at your accommodation in Hanoi (old quarter). The bus trip takes around 3.5 to 4.5 hours.
Bus companies: The SinhTourist, Group tour, Rosa Eco Bus, Ninh Quynh Car Vip, KumHo Viet Thanh, Tam Bao Anh Limousine (and much more).
Price: Depending on which bus you choose, the price is from 4 to 20 US dollars.
Booking Tickets: You can book bus tickets online through 12GoAsia or through your accommodation.
Train from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
Hanoi Railway Station: Hanoi Train Station or Long Bien Railway Station.
Train station in Ha Long Bay: There are no trains directly to Ha Long Bay. The last station is Hai Phong City, about 40 km (about 25 miles) from Ha Long Bay. From Hai Phong you can take a ferry to Cat Ba or a bus/taxi to Ha Long Bay.
Price: A train ticket costs between 2 and 5 dollars.
Travel time: 2.5 – 3 hours.
Booking Tickets: You can book the train from Hanoi to Hai Phong at the train station, at a local travel agency or online via 12GoAsia.
Taxi or Car from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
You can also rent a car with driver or a taxi to travel from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay. You can choose from small cars to luxury vans for 12 people. A car/taxi costs between 70 and 130 dollars depending on which car you choose.
Airplane from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
The most expensive, but amazing, option is with a seaplane. These flights are operated by Hai Au aviation. Prices are from 175 dollars for a single ticket and for 400 dollars there is a “scenic flight” of 15 minutes, where you can get a view of Ha Long Bay from above. The seaplane lands at Taun Chau Island in Ha Long Bay, 10 km (about 6 miles) from Ha Long. You can also opt for just a flight from Ha Long Bay; a 25 minutes flight costs around 110 dollars.
Hanoi to Da Nang
Many backpackers start their journey through Vietnam in the north and then head south. For example, you can make a stopover in Da Nang, where you can rest on the beaches and explore mountains. Here you can read here how you can easily travel from Hanoi to Da Nang.
1) From Hanoi to Da Nang by Airplane
The distance between Hanoi and Da Nang is quite large, around 800 kilometers (497 miles), so it can be quite tiring to travel overland on this route. Fortunately, there is a large selection of cheap flights every day that go directly from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to Da Nang International Airport. Jetstar and VietJet Air offer the cheapest tickets; with them you can fly to Da Nang for as little as 25 US dollars, although you do pay more for Jetstar. The flight takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Buying tickets: We recommend using Skyscanner to find cheap tickets.
2) From Hanoi to Da Nang by Train
The train is one of the slowest means of transport on this long route, but if you opt for the “sleeper class”, you do have a decent bed at your disposal. You can choose from day and night trains, all departing from Hanoi Central Station. In most trains you pay around 32 to 38 US dollars for a place in the “sleeper class”. If you really want to travel on a low budget, you can get a seat for 20 US dollars. Keep in mind that the journey takes 15 to 17 hours.
Buying tickets: You can buy the cheapest tickets at 12GoAsia and at the train station.
3) From Hanoi to Da Nang by Bus
Various bus companies run this route several times every day. Hoang Long leaves from Nuoc Ngam Bus Station and with them you pay around 20 US dollars for a single journey, which lasts 15 hours and 30 minutes. If you want to keep some money in your pocket, you can opt for Futa Bus. This carrier sells tickets for 14 US dollars, but you are on the road for 18 hours from Giap Bat bus station to Da Nang. Sleeping buses in Vietnam are only pleasant for smaller people due to limited space, so we recommend the more comfortable train or traveling by airplane.
Hanoi to Hoi An
Hoi An itself doesn’t have a train station or an airport, the nearest train station/international airport is in Da Nang. Once you arrive in Da Nang you can take the bus to Hoi An. See our recommendation above on how to get from Hanoi to Da Nang.
The distance between Da Nang and Hoi An is 20 kilometers (about 12 miles). You can choose between a private car, taxi, bus or scooter to reach Hoi An. Grab is also available in Da Nang and Hoi An.
1) From Da Nang to Hoi An by Private car
If you have already booked your stay in Hoi An, ask your accommodation if they can arrange a private pick-up for you. Give them the address, this can be the airport, train station or a hotel in Da Nang, and a car will pick you up at the specified time. The costs vary, but this is the most comfortable option. It costs between US $20 and 30, depending on whether you need a car with 4, 7 or 16 seats.
2) From Da Nang to Hoi An by Taxi
Taxis are the most convenient way to go from Da Nang to Hoi An, because you can take a taxi from the center or the airport and travel further without making a reservation. It takes around 30 – 45 minutes and costs somewhere between US $16 and 26. Make sure the driver knows where to go. Some of them are not so familiar with Hoi An and can eventually drive in circles to find your destination. To prevent scams, it is best to choose a well-known taxi brand:
- Mai Linh Taxi
- Vinasun Taxi
- Song Han Taxi
- Tien Sa Da Nang Taxi
There is a new taxi service at the Da Nang airport, Dichungtaxi (shared taxi). If you book a taxi on their website, the system sends your booking information to a driver and picks you up. You can share the taxi with other people in the same way by choosing the “share” option. If not, you can just take the “private” taxi.
3) From Da Nang to Hoi An by Bus
There is a direct bus line for tourists between Da Nang and Hoi An; Bus #1, for only 30,000 VND (US $1). Although the bus is the cheapest travel option, it takes a little longer; 45 to 60 minutes to reach Hoi An. Bus services start at 5.30 a.m. and stop at 6.00 p.m. with 1 bus leaving every 20 minutes.
The easiest way is to use Google Maps and look with the route explorer to find the nearest bus stop and the bus arrival time. The ticket can easily be purchased on the bus, but make sure you pay the right price: 30,000 VND. If you arrive from the airport, this option is less convenient because the nearest bus stop is around 3 km (about 1.8 miles) away. But if you take the train, there is a bus station near the train station, just a 10-minute walk from the station.
4) From Da Nang to Hoi An by Scooter
You can also rent a scooter in Da Nang and drive to Hoi An yourself. It is not a great option if you have a lot of luggage, but if you are staying in Da Nang and want to make a day trip to Hoi An, this is a very nice option.
The average price for renting a scooter is 130,000 VND (US $5.60) per day. There are stores that offer cheaper services, but this is often because they are older scooters; make sure there is nothing wrong with the scooter if you choose this option. Here are some famous scooter rental companies in the city of Da Nang:
With the various off and online navigation apps on your phone, it is very easy to drive from Da Nang to Hoi An yourself. The drive to Hoi An is fairly easy and the traffic is minimal. You only drive along the coast and arrive at An Bang Beach in Hoi An.