Top 10 things to do in Hanoi that you should not miss

Top 10 things to do in Hanoi that you should not miss

Are you planning a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam? And you wonder what to do in your trip to Hanoi to make your journey complete with great memory? Below are local share on “top 10 things to do when you travel to Hanoi” - discover the most hidden treasures that this city has to offer.

Top 10 things to do when travelling to Hanoi - unvail the hidden gems of Hanoi beauty

Hanoi has been the capital city of Vietnam for more than 1000 years old.Being named as Thang Long ( Ascending Dragon),  Dong Do ( Eastern Capital)…etc, Hanoi has been chosen as its official name since 1831 with its meaning as “ the land inside the river – Red River”.Like other cities in the world, Hanoi is always at its bustle & hustle as well. The city is busy  as the second biggest township in Vietnam of 8 million people & heavily motorbike traffic cultures.Besides, Hanoi also shows her great charms of rich local cultures, colonial achitectures, beautiful lakes and brilliant history –being considered as the most interesting city in Asia.Travelling to Hanoi, it is a must to visit Hanoi’s top attractions and to have special local travel experiences – travel like a local Vietnamese.You can have a good reference of “top 10 things to do when you visit Hanoi – exploring the most hidden gems of Hanoi” in this blog with us and plan your interesting journey to discover  this interesting capital of Vietnam.

Hanoi top ting to do - Tran Quoc pagoda

Tran Quoc pagoda on the west lake

1.Early wake-up and join locals in their morning exercises and traditional markets : Long Bien fruit market & Quang Ba flower market.

Travel like a local and join them in their interesting daily actitivities : morning exercices along peaceful lakes to start a day with heathy taichi, joga, jogging or biking in the moment of quiet & pristine early morning – not with so much noice of motorbikes or traffic.It is a nice time to contemplate the peaceful beauty of Hanoi at dawn.Moreover, it is more authentic to visit some traditional markets meeting from the midnight till the morning, to be named as Long Bien fruit & vegetable market, Quang Ba flower market.They are operated as whole-sale markets where you can experience the locals’ daily trades to start their full business day.They get up early trading typical items and load on motorbikes to transfer to other markets or set up their own stalls at their residential areas.Imagine that you are in a colorful marketplace of different beautiful flowers on their own seductive scents – great chances for photo hunters & flower lovers.This is the first hidden gem of Hanoi that you should not miss in your journey to Hanoi.You can this special experience in good morning Hanoi tour with us !

Fruit market Long Bien

Fruit market under Long Bien bridge

2. Come to Hanoi, you must try Pho ( rice noudle ) & drink Egg Coffee.

After some fun of heathy exercises & nice walk to local markets, it’s time for a local breakfast & a cup of coffee !In the morning, Vietnamese have a light breakfast of bread, porridge or Pho ( rice noudle with chicken or beef).Come to Hanoi, you should try Pho  (a famous dish in Hanoi) in a reputed local restaurant.Pho Gia Truyen in 49 Bat Dan street is a good address to taste a bowl of Pho with beef, where you surely experience a long line of clients waiting to be served a delicious bowl of rice noudle.Be patient and line up as well for this special taste of Hanoi food recipe.

Continue with the taste of unique local coffee in Hanoi : “Egg Coffee in Giang café’”- that you may have never  heard elsewhere before butin Hanoi. It’s made of drip coffee, condensed milk and a whipped raw egg yolk that gives it a thick and creamy texture. The egg dominates this drink and gives it a crème brûlée flavour.To try that original egg- coffee, you just come to Giang cafe’of cosy interior with family photos on the wall – hidden in the alley of 39 Nguyen Huu Huan street in Hanoi old quarter.

Hanoi egg coffee

Original Egg Coffee in Giang cafe

3. Stroll around the hidden corners of Hanoi Old Quarter.

The journey of Hanoi is continued with an interesting walk to explore 36 ancient streets of Hanoi old quarter which has been set up as the business hup since Hanoi was chosen as the capital of the country in 11th century.Although the products on sale have changed from silk, cotton and herbs to present-day goods and services, the Old Quarter’s charm has remained with its distinctive colonial architecture and well-preserved shop houses

Most of streets were named by the machandise they sell, such as Hang Duong meaning sugar trading items or Hang Ma selling votive papers for worshing,Hang Bac selling silver and jewellery, and many more.

The walk is in this busy business hub packed with motorbikes on roads & pavement, you sometimes have to stroll along or cross the streets,so be careful with busy traffic here!Learn with experiences of crossing Hanoi streets, it will be fine for you as a local.The walk is also to narrow empty streets, hidden backyards, sidewalk dining scenes and insights into the life of Vietnamese families as their living room normally leads out to the street and often stands open.While in Hanoi Old Quarter, you can explore Dong Xuan Market as well, which is the oldest and largest marketplace in Vietnam

Hanoi old streets

Hang Dao street in Hanoi old quarter

4.Get to know Vietnam’s former leader & Vietnam’s modern history by visiting Ho Chi Minh complex.

Trip to Hanoi, it is a must to visit Ho Chi Minh complex including Ba Dinh square, Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Presdential Palace, Ho Chi Minh house and One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh museum. It is a big complex dedicated to great leader of Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh who led Vietnamese struggling against French & American for his people’s freedom & independences. On weekends, it may take you the whole morning lining up to visit this site but great understanding of Ho Chi Minh’s revolution cause & modern Vietnam history.Please, take a note that Mausolem is only open in the morning and closed on Monday & Friday; and completely closed for maintainance in September & October so you can flexibly arrange the trip to this site on the right time.

Presidential palaces

Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh complex

5.Taste authentic local street foods in most famous local food stalls in Hanoi city.

Indulge yourselves in the paradise of delicious street foods in Hanoi, where most locals gather for their meals .With a good taste of Pho in breakfast, the lunch you can try other famous dishes to be named as Cha Ca La Vong ( Grilled Fish Restaurant in 14 Cha Ca street),  Bun Cha Ha Noi ( Grilled Pork in sweet & tangy broth with fresh herbs & rice noodles, in a famous restaurant called Huong Lien in 24 Le Van Huu Street, which is so popular that even former US President Obama ever tried his dinner here) or Banh Cuon Gia Truyen Thanh Van ( Thanh Van Rolled cake in 14 Hang Ga street)….and drink some glass of Bia Hoi ( Hanoi draught beer)

Bun Cha Huong Lien

Huong Lien Grilled Pork

6.Attend a special show of water puppet in Thang Long Theatre.

Dated back to 11th century, Water Puppetry is an unique art form created by Vietnamese farmers in the Red River Delta.Watching the puppet shows offer you a great insight of the peasants’daily life, the country’s legend of Hoan Kiem lake as well as people’s belief in four holy animals ( dragon, unicorn, turtle, phoenix..).There are some theatres offering water puppet shows in Hanoi, but the best with more shows in a day is Thang Long Water Puppet in 57b Dinh Tien Hoang street, right on the bank of Hoan Kiem lake, next to the red bridge to Ngoc Son temple.Just buy the ticket in advance to make sure the availability & enjoy the show – another hidden treasure of Hanoi city.

Water Puppet Thang Long

Water Puppet Show at Thang Long theatre

7. Take part in interesting dances or traditional games in Hoan Kiem lake area.

Hoan Kiem lake is located in the heart of Hanoi, the place you must check-in when travelling to Hanoi. The lake gets a big draw to locals as well as foreign tourists expecially on weekends because streets around the lake are shut to traffic for pedestrians so it is so relaxed & interesting to walk around and take part in local games ( tug of wars, chess playing…), music performances & dances.

If you are with the habit of doing your afternoon or even morning exercise, you definitely can join the numerous joggers here. Some are already starting to get active around 5am!

There are also a lot of people doing yoga, tai-chi, and aerobics as it’s a great place for exercise or for simply observing the Vietnamese way of life if you don’t feel like sweating.

Also,the lake is the place where many students come to practise their English with foreigners.It is a good chance getting to know more Vietnameses student’s life & their dreams if you love to help them better their English.It is indeed a great fun to join in the fun in the lake of Hoan Kiem

Activities in Hoan iem lake

Hoan Kiem lake's streets with funs on weekends

8. Get to know about Vietnamese culture in a visit to the Temple of Literature.

Temple of Literature is a famous highlight well-rated by Tripadvisor that you must pay a visit to.Known as the first university of the country, built up in 11th century ,the visit  to this site surely gives you a great insight of Vietnam’s education in the fewdal time – basing on Confucian Philosophies, therefore enriching your knowledge about the strong influence of Confucianism to our culture.Moreover, you can admire Vietnamese old architecture reflected in this literature temple & stone stelas on the back of turtles to honor excellent PHDs of contemporary society.

This temple is not the center for training anymore but lures a big number of students coming in colorful traditional dresses for graduation pictures.A common practice among students who are going to take important exams is to visit the Temple of Literature to pray and rub the tortoise heads for guidance and luck.What a great sense of Hanoi culture you may exclaim !

Temple of Literature

Graduation photos in the Temple of Literature

9.Healthy activities of biking along the quiet path of West Lake & viewing the sunset in Hanoi.

If you are keen on biking and viewing the sunset in Hanoi,one of the best routes to take is cycling around West Lake, Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake.You can join in a guided biking tour or rent a bike on a local bike rental shop for a great adventure around the lake. The bike route is on quiet & scenic roads past little parks, old villas, sparkling temples, lotus ponds & restaurants.You can leisurely cylcle with stops to visit local temples, drink coffees or have beautiful photos of sunset or beautiful lotus ponds… - the hidden gem of Hanoi to stay away from the bustle and hustle on bike

Cycling on the path of west lake

Relaxed biking on the West Lake Hanoi

10. Shop in open-air Hanoi night market of big discounts.

In your trip to Hanoi,if you love shopping, arrange you time on weekends’s nights to attend Hanoi night market where you can perfectly browse for souvenirs and buy yourself some inexpensive clothes.

The market starts around 7pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday and stretches 3km along Hang Dao from the lake all the way to Dong Xuan Market.The streets is blocked from traffic,and erected with lighted stalls of many discounted local & Chinese goods.It is awesome to walk along the length of the market and buy yourselves the items of your interest.Howerver,take a notice that this market attracts a huge numbers of people - the good environment for pick-pocket evils, so when you come here, be alert with your belongings.

Night Market in Hanoi

Night Market in Hanoi old quarter

Golden Holiday Travel - a local licensed tour operator in Hanoi

We hope that this article of “top 10 things to do when you visit Hanoi” is helpful for you to plan your coming trip to Hanoi, Vietnam. As a local travel company, we are happy to welcome you to our beautiful Vietnam and try our best to assist you as travellers’s friend with useful consultancy & support.In need of travel services : Hanoi tour packages to explore its surrounding attractions such as Sapa, Halong bay, Ninh Binh, Mai Chau, Ha Giang….; tourguide service or private car rental with driver for exploring the north of Vietnam, feel free to drop us an email to contact us +84.988451530 ( SMS, viber, whatsapp) with your information or travel request, our travel experts will response you back and support your travel needs.

We wish you a Hanoi Journey of great memory !

See you in Hanoi, Vietnam !

Ban Vu Dinh - Sales executive

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