Ultimate Hanoi travel guide for the first time visitors in Hanoi

Ultimate Hanoi travel guide for the first time visitors in Hanoi

You are planning a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam? As the first timers to Hanoi, you do not know much about Hanoi and would love to get some basic information about it in advance, then plan well for your coming trip to Hanoi? We deeply understand this and would like to share you in this Ultimate Hanoi travel guide for the first time travellers doing trips to Hanoi, Vietnam.Let's review it for the details and confidently plan your amazing journey ahead to Hanoi.

Hanoi, the more than one-thousand-year-old capital of Vietnam, is the biggest political-cultural center of the country experiencing a lot of ups and downs in history. This place is a perfect combination of the ancient and poetic beauty of an old city with almost intact historical remains and the vibrant beauty of a developing city. Yearly, millions of tourists go sightseeing and discover Hanoi, where they can find both the vibrant relaxing places and peaceful feeling in the soul.

Hanoi is not only famous for plenty of worth-visiting destinations but it is also renowned for the hospitality of local people. Therefore, it will be by far more exciting when you schedule by yourself to discover the beauty of this place, immerse yourself in the lifestyle of people here to understand them and find the true beauty of this land.

Hanoi travel guide - Ceramic mosac

Checklists to know before travelling to Hanoi.

First time travelling to a new country, you need to check & prepare in advance with those essential things to do : good & convenient flights from your place to Hanoi city, whether you need to apply for a visa to enter Vietnam, travel insurance……What a good new is that you can do all of these things online from your working table.

Flights to Hanoi, Vietnam

To get into Vietnam from your country, you can easily find direct cheap flights or transit flights from the online website of the airport companies. The reliable and reputable Vietnam National Airlines and its international partners offer both of direct and transit flights with good schedule (overnight flights, early morning arrival in Hanoi and Saigon).

Flight to Hanoi

Other airlines such as Tiger Airway, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Thai International, Singapore Airlines (non-exhaustive list) also offer flights with good services. The price of these airlines may be more economical at certain time, but it is necessary to check well the duration of stopover and total flight time.

If these flights land in Ho Chi Minh city, Cambodia (often in Siem Riep), Laos (often in Vientian / Luang Prabang), Thailand (often in Bangkok), Korea (often in Seoul), Singapore, or Malaysia (Kula Lumper) … they are entirely possible to integrate with Vietnam Airlines for your connected flights to Hanoi capital city.

Whether I need a Visa to Vietnam & how to obtain it?

Before traveling to Hanoi,Vietnam, you’ll have to check if you need to apply for a visa.Citizens who are not on the visa exemption list can apply for an E-visa, VOA (Visa on Arrival) or a regular visa at a Vietnamese embassy.Each way has its own requirements and procedures.

Vietnam visa


Eligible for citizens of 80 countries in the list (Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Chile, China (including Hong Kong and Macau passports), Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Salomon Islands, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Western Samoa)

  • Available for Air/Land/Water entry
  • Validity: 1-month single entry
  • Cost: US$25, non-refundable in case your visa application is refused
  • Travellers can apply directly for e-Visas here: Vietnam e-Visa Official Website.
  • Processing: 3 business days
  • Entry gate: 28 (8 international airports, 13 international border gates, and 7 seaports across Vietnam)

VOA (Visa on Arrival):

  • Eligible for air travelers
  • Validity: 1-month single/multiple entry; 3-month single/multiple entry; 6-month multiple entry; 1-year multiple entry
  • You’ll have to apply for an invitation letter before you can get the real visa stamp on your passport when landed in a Vietnam airport
  • Processing: 2 business days or less (urgent service is available)
  • You can mostly get a refund if your application is turned down

Visa on arrival

Visa at Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.

If you are near a Vietnamese embassy or consulate, you can submit your photo, application form, passport, and visa fee in person.After 3 working days, you will recieved application result.This website will guide you through the process.

Buy Travel Insurance.

Vietnam is a very safe country for travelers and people are friendly and welcoming. Nevertheless it is appropriate to pay attention to following points:

  • The traffic is very dense (most are two wheels, but there are also cars and trucks). So, it is necessary to be careful when walking in town or moving by scooter on the roads.
  • To pay attention to your belongings, especially in such a major city as Hanoi, where pickpockets are sometimes reported.

Regarding the need to be covered by travel insurance for any on-site care, a repatriation health if necessary, lost lugguages, it should be known that this type of coverage is provided by most reputed insurers. It is advisable for the traveler to check beforehand his level of insurance cover before contracting a specific insurance to travel to Vietnam. Note that local agencies do not offer their tour package with travel insuarance. 

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Check the insurance qoute with this insurer

When is the ideal time to visit Hanoi?

Although Vietnam is a country in the tropical area, there are still four seasons in the Northern Vietnam in general & Hanoi in particular : Spring (January to March), Summer( April to June), Autunm ( July to September) & Winter (October to December)

Each season in Hanoi has a unique beauty with characteristics, many specialties, and traditional festivals, so you can explore Hanoi any time of the year possible.However, the best time to visit Hanoi is said to be in the autumn (from July to September) when the weather is the most pleasant with temperature ranging from 25-28 degrees, cool climate & rarely raining during this time.

Hoan Kiem lake - Hanoi

So beautiful the fall in Hanoi is that it often described in poems and songs.On the streets, there are rows of milk flowers praised as one of the symbols of Hanoi’s autumn with a passionate aroma. There is a Mid-Autumn festival, a big festival of Vietnamese people, in which people decorate streets with colorful lanterns and many activities for children happen.

Also, there are many Hanoi specialties in the autumn such as Com, a Vietnamese traditional dish made of sticky rice; moon cake, a traditional cake in the Mid-Autumn festival; guava, delicious tropical fruit and so on. 

Arrive at Hanoi Airport - checklists to know for the first timers.

After a long flight, you arrive at Hanoi airport and may feel confused at first but do not worry as we will provide you with useful information upon your first time in Hanoi : where to exchange the money,where to get yourself some mobile data to use during your stay or where are the most friendly hotels in the city…..?

Read the airport pick-up guidances when booking Hanoi airport transfer with us

1.Currency Exchange.

The unit of currency in Vietnam is Vietnamese Dong (VND).If you need some local money to pay for taxi fare, you can exchange some amount in Hanoi airport though the exchange rate is not very good in comparison with the ones in the city.
In the city, you can change in Vietcombank or go directly to Gold & Jewlery Shop such as Quoc Trinh, you can fast exchange USD to VND with good exchange rate.

Currency in Vietnam

Tips : Vietnamese banknotes are issued in 1,000 VND, 2,000 VND, 5,000 VND, 10,000 VND, 20,000 VND, 50,000 VND, 100,000 VND & 500,000 VND.Be careful not to mistake the banknotes : 20,000 VND & 500,000 VND because they look quite similar.

2.Mobile Data Plan in Hanoi.

Getting a local Vietnamese SIM card when you first arrive in Hanoi is of significant importance.Viettel & Vinaphone SIM cards are two reliable brands with extensive network coverage & sufficient data plan, of which you can easily find in the arrival hall of Noi Bai airport.

Travel Hanoi- mobile data

The sim card kiosk at Noi Bai airport

Since 2016, to purchase a SIM card, you have to show your ID or passport.The staff at the kiosks will assist you the registration and SIM activation process with less than 10 minutes.

3.How to travel Hanoi airport to Hanoi city center?

For the first time in Hanoi, you might meet difficulties in transportation. First of all, it is how to transfer from Noibai airport to Hanoi center. To keep your trip smoothly, read some ways below to choose the most suitable one for you

Airport Shuttle Bus

The airport shuttle bus is an accompanied service of airline companies. At present, the three biggest airline companies in Vietnam including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air all have this service. You can ask the air hostess to know where to catch the shuttle bus in the airport terminal area.

Hanoi travel guide - jetstar bus

However, you might have to wait until the bus is full before it departs and the shuttle bus will only stop at fixed bus stops. After that, you might have to book a taxi or walk on foot to your hotel if it is close. The service fee varies by airline companies and you can find this information on the airline’s website or ask the ticket selling agency directly.

Public Bus

There are some bus routes going from Noibai airport to the city center such as Bus No.7, Bus NB01, Bus NB02, Bus NB03, and Bus No.86. Honestly, it is not really suitable for tourists to go to Hanoi city center because of some disadvantages.

First, like the airport shuttle bus, the public bus will only stop at fixed bus stations and it is often crowded with people so you might have to give seats to the elderly, pregnant women and young children and stand throughout the route. Second, it often takes a lot of time to go by public bus especially in rush hour. Moreover, if you fly at night, you can’t catch the public bus because it starts at 05:00 am and ends at 09:30 pm.

Bus 86 Noi Bai - Hanoi

However, this transportation is much cheaper than the others, from 7.000 VND to 35.000 VND per route. And the public bus is considered as a specialty of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City only, so it is still worth trying once. You can find detailed information about each bus station on each bus route on the website: http://timbuyt.vn. The last note for those who choose this transportation to get around Hanoi is to pay attention to personal belongings.

Bus No.7
Price: 7.000 VND per turn

Route: From T2 international gate of Noibai airport to the bus station in Cau Giay in front of the University of Transport and Communications

Bus NB01
Price: 9.000 VND per turn

Route: from T2 international gate of Noibai airport to the bus station at Dao Tan street near Daewoo hotel

Bus NB02
Price: 9.000 VND per turn

Route: from T2 international gate of Noibai airport to Time City New urban zone

Bus Noi Bai - My Dinh

Bus NB03
Price: 9.000 VND per turn

Route: From T2 international gate of Noibai airport to Nuoc Ngam bus station

Bus No.86
Price: 30.000 VND per turn

Route: From T2 international gate of Noibai airport to Hanoi station

Taxi or private car service.

Taxi is probably the most convenient means of transportation if your hotel is not on the big main streets in Hanoi, especially in case you fly at night. On the way to get out of the exit gate of the arrival area, you will receive immediately many invitations of the drivers at different prices. To avoid paying the taxi fee for more than common, pay attention to these notes.
First, you should go by taxi of big taxi companies in Vietnam. Normally, outside of the taxi is the name and phone number to contact the company, which you can search on the Internet. It is safer and the levels of the fee are public on their website. The cost is different according to the distance and it commonly costs about 330.000 VND (15.5$) to get to the center of Hanoi.

Now, there are some online taxi booking applications such as Grab, GoViet or Bee. You only need to download this App on the smartphone and use it to book a taxi, these apps will send you the name of the driver, license plate, the cost according to the distance but it is surely cheaper than the traditional taxi.

Hanoi airport transfer

Hanoi airport pick -up to Hanoi city

Or for your great comfort, you can order a private car pick-up service with us in advance.Following your provided flight information ( flight number & its landing time), our driver will hold your signed name at the arrival terminal of your flight, he warmly pick you up and transfer you in a comfortable journey to your booked hotel in Hanoi city.

4.Best location to stay for your first time in Hanoi?

For first-time visitors, stay in Hanoi Old Quarter or Hoan Kiem district (purple map) can give you an easy access to Hanoi’s most famous attractions. However, note that this area may be a bit noisy at night and some hotels may charge higher than normal.

Hanoi location to stay

If you prefer quiter places, hotels in Hai Ba Trung district (green map) or Tay Ho district (blue map) are better options.These are also central areas but with fewer tourists.

5. How to get around Hanoi city

There are a lot of historical attractions, famous restaurants, local traditional markets for tourists to discover for the first time in Hanoi.Luckily, these attractions are quite close to each other and focus on some areas such as the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, the West Lake and so on. Therefore, tourists can choose easily some types of transportation to go sightseeing in Hanoi in a convenient way.


First, which transportation you choose depends on what the distance from your hotel to the destinations is. Walking seems suitable for visitors staying at hotels near the Old Quarter or Hoan Hoan Kiem Lake. From the hotel, tourists can walk to visit thousand-year-old streets in the Old Quarter and go around Hoan Kiem Lake because two destinations are nearby together and the feature of the street in the Old Quarter is small and quite complex to drive a motorbike. Besides, it seems more exciting to visit this area on foot than any other vehicle since each corner there contains historical value and the beauty of old Hanoi, which tourists are only able to feel when walking slowly to watch each street.

Hanoi old town

Walking to explore ancient house & local life in Hanoi old quarter


Cyclo is another worth-trying vehicle for tourists who want to visit the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and surrounding streets. Cyclo is a popular vehicle in the French colonial period in Vietnam that can carry two people. Today, it is used in tourism as a specialty of the city and visitors can easily hire a cyclo near the statue area of King Ly Thai To next to Hoan Kiem Lake to visit streets in the center of the city. The driver will drive slowly enough for you to watch the most beautiful streets in Hanoi. If you are lucky, you can meet a nice driver who will introduce the history of each street, each attraction, delicious restaurants, and fun destinations. The cost of hiring a cyclo is paid by the hour, about 100.000 VND (5$) per hour.

Hanoi old quarter cyclo

Hanoi old quarter exploration by cylco

Taxi/ private car service.

For a little farther distance, a taxi is such a safe and convenient option for tourists. There are some notes for visitors in the first time in Hanoi. First, you had better take a taxi in some reputable taxi companies instead of taking any taxi that you meet on your way. You can call the switchboard of these companies to get a taxi sent to your location, check the price level on their website and all these taxis have meters to measure price according to the distance while the route is managed by the management center in the office. Second, language is a considerable problem that you should pay attention to. There are not many drivers speaking and hearing English well so it is better to write down the address you want to go and give the driver.

Mai Linh taxi Hanoi

Green Mai Linh taxi Hanoi

Some reputable taxi companies you can contact:

Mai Linh Taxi: +84 43 861 6161
Taxi CP: +84 43 826 2626
52 Taxi: +84 43 852 5252
Hanoi Taxi: +84 43 853 5353
Normally, the taxi fee is between 40.000 VND and 60.000 VND to move from one destination to others in Hanoi. Besides the traditional taxi companies, there are two technological taxi companies in Hanoi now including Grab and Bee. You can use their applications (Grab and Bee) on your smartphone to book a taxi at a cheaper price than traditional taxi companies.

Or you can book a private car with driver for a full day service with us in Hanoi city.

Motorbike (Xe om)

Traveling by motorbike is a cheap and convenient way of getting around Hanoi. Tourists can easily catch a motorbike near hotels or bus stations and the cost is cheaper than going by taxi at the same distance. However, a note for who first goes by motorbike, you ought to ask price in advance to decide whether to go or not. Normally, it costs 10.000 VND per kilometer and cheaper in next kilometers. Another way to avoid being forced to pay high price is using an online motorbike booking app on your smartphone such as Grab, Goviet, Bee. On these apps, you can book a motorbike in some minutes, check the distance between destinations, the cost and there are usually coupon codes for the users.

Grab bike

Grab bike Hanoi

Public bus

In Hanoi, people use public buses instead of a motorbike or car to go anywhere they want in the city because of its convenience. At the moment, there is always at least a bus route passing each tourism destination so it is possible for tourists to choose this transport to move. Except from taking a lot of time, traveling by public bus has many benefits. First, it is the safest and cheapest choice to go around Hanoi only about 7.000 VND ~ 9.000 VND per time. Second, there are some bus routes that you will have chances to see many beautiful streets such as Bus no 9, 50, 14, 01, 02 and so on. To check which bus route passes your destination, you can use Google Map or a mobile App called timbuyut.vn to find the best bus route for your itinerary and how long the bus will arrive at the bus station.

Hanoi bus public

What to do in Hanoi

1. Hire a Scooter to Get around the West Lake

West Lake is the biggest lake and a super-beautiful destination in Hanoi. West Lake is not so noisy as Hoan Kiem Lake, another famous lake in Hanoi, but it makes a great impression on visitors by its peaceful and mysterious beauty. Its perimeter is 18 kilometers long and the acreage is approximately as large as Cau Giay district. Around the lake are many ancient pagodas, French-style villas, pretty coffee shops, delicious restaurants and other exciting destinations for tourists to discover. Therefore, it is wonderful for travelers to hire a scooter to get around the lake and stop anywhere you want to take a view of the city. The hiring fee is about 50.000 per day not including fuel and it is easy to find a scooter hiring store near West Lake on the Internet.

West Lake Hanoi city

West Lake, the biggest lake in Hanoi

2. Explore the Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter is among the best places to visit in Hanoi for first-timers. In the past, the Old Quarter including 36 streets located near Hoan Kiem lake was the most bustling area in the old capital where each street only sold a kind of good corresponding to its name.

Nowadays, it is the most crowded area with many foreign visitors and full of stores, restaurants, and hotels. Although people have sold many other types of goods on the same streets, tourists still find here famous stores, restaurants with traditional specialties of Hanoi. If having chances to explore in the Old Quarter, you should come by to try some specialties such as Bun Cha Hang Quat, Cha Ca La Vong, Pho Bat Dan, Xoi Xeo Hang Bai, and so on.

Hanoi old quarter

3. Visit and Shop at Hanoi Night Weekend Market

Hanoi night weekend market, stretching from Hang Dao street to Dong Xuan Market is an outdoor market appearing since Hanoi’s walking street around Hoan Kiem Lake was opened. It takes about 5 – 10 minutes to walk from Hoan Kiem Lake to the market. This market is only opened at night at about 7:00 pm till late from Friday to Sunday. This place specializes in selling souvenirs, street foods, Vietnamese traditional food, and clothes where you can find pretty souvenirs to buy as presents. As it is always crowded here, pay attention to your belongings, and try to put the price down as much as possible because sellers always talk higher price than normal.

Night market Hanoi

4. Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the famous symbols of Hanoi, where there are often big events, festivals happening, where people often choose to gather at the weekend. The perimeter of Hoan Kiem lake is only about 2,7 kilometers long so tourists can choose to walk around the lake to see the beauty of the scene here. Around the lake are plenty of old trees and flower gardens; therefore’ the atmosphere is always fresh and cool. Besides, on the lake are Thap Rua, Ngoc Son temple and The Huc bridge, three famous historical destinations in Hanoi attracting many visitors yearly. On normal days, this place is quite peaceful, suitable for relaxing since, at these streets around here are not stores, houses or apartments. Almost are government buildings, luxurious hotels, restaurants, a post office, a shopping mall, a square. At the weekend, the streets around Hoan Kiem lake also become a bustling walking street with exciting outdoor activities, featured street foods and so on.

Hoan Kiem lake

5. Eat Hanoi Street Food

Eating Hanoi street food will be a fun culinary experience for tourists in the first time in Hanoi. On mentioning Hanoi street food, we must mention colorful delicious dishes such as deep-fried cake, honey grilled quail, fresh beers, grilled pork sausage, fruit beams and so on. These dishes are not seasonal dishes, visitors can find it easily anywhere in Hanoi at the affordable price, about 10.000VND ~35.000VND per dish.

Hanoi street food tour

6. Visit the Temple of Literature

The first university in Vietnam is the Temple of Literature, which was constructed in the Ly dynasty, in about the eleventh century. This construction is an outstanding representative of the architecture style in Vietnam in the feudal period with one-floor wooden houses, large gardens, low stone walls, lotus ponds. Although this place is surrounded by noisy and crowded streets at present, the atmosphere here is quite quiet due to the fact that the campus has many old trees. After severe wars, the Temple of Literature is not intact as the beginning but still remains its ancient beauty. Nowadays, it is only opened for the purpose of tourism. The entrance fee is 30.000 VND a person to view all the Temple of Literature.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

7. Watch a Water Puppet Show

Each culture in the world all has its significant unique festivals, attractions that nowhere to be found. And for Vietnam, the water puppetry is one of the most unique traditional art forms that still exist until now. For the first time in Hanoi, watching a water puppet show is a must-do thing for every tourist because it is really exciting and I am sure that it will live up to your expectations. Like what it sounds “water puppet show”, it is a show in which the actors or actresses are puppets controlled by artists behind the stage, the stage is on the water. In each show, the Vietnamese fairy tales, folk tales, legends are performed smoothly and lively through puppets combined with the inspirational voice of the narrator. It will be an unforgettable memory for every tourist.

Puppet show

8. Enjoy Vietnamese Coffee (especially Egg Coffee in Hanoi)

Although coffee was not a drink originally coming from Vietnam, the locals have developed it in their own way to make Vietnamese coffee become special and mentioned as a unique coffee type in the world. Besides traditional coffee types, in Vietnam, people have created some strange coffees such as yogurt coffee, coffee smoothie, especially egg coffee which is really famous and popular with foreign guests. For the first time in Hanoi, tourists ought to try this special drink with delicious flavor. Its flavor is a combination of the greasy taste of whipped egg yolk, the sweet taste of condensed milk and the typical taste of the coffee to create a memorable experience. Visitors can try the tastiest cups of egg coffee at some coffee shops in Old Quarter such as Giang Cafe (39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi), Cafe Dinh (13 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi), Leu Coffee (1A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi), etc at the price from 20.000 VND to 40.000 a cup.

Egg Coffee

9. Drink Beer at Bia Hoi Corner (Ta Hien)

Bia Hoi Corner from the beginning of Ta Hien Street to the intersection of Ta Hien Street and Luong Ngoc Quyen Street is the most vibrant area in Hanoi attracting a lot of tourists with a specialty, fresh beer. Coming here, tourists can not only drink delicious glasses of fresh beer, eat yummy street food, but also immerse themselves in a relaxing atmosphere here.

Hanoi - Ta Hien street

10. Explore Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and its Surroundings

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex includes Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a stilt house, a fish pond, and the presidential palace. To commemorate the great merits of Uncle Ho, when he passed away in 1945, the Vietnamese proceeded to construct Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum near where Uncle Ho lived and worked in the last year in his life. Around Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex are the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Long Bien Bridge, and One Pillar Pagoda connecting together by super-beautiful streets with rows of old trees that are always green around the year. Nowadays, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and its surroundings become a well-known historical destination near the center of the city attracting many guests to come to give their respect to Uncle Ho.

HCM mausoleum

Recommended food & drink to taste in Hanoi

1. Pho (rice noodle soup with beef or chicken)

Pho is one of very famous dishes throughout Vietnam (a Vietnamese national dish) but Hanoi is the best place to taste this iconic cuisine.Pho is typically made with four basic ingredients – a clear stock, rice noodles, meat (beef or chicken), and herbs.It is surely an unmissable dish to any traveller who would like to discover the Hanoian eating culture. That’s why people say “your trip to Hanoi will not be complete if you do not taste a bowl of pho”.

Chicken Noodle Hanoi

Pho restaurants are located virtually in any street in Hanoi but we would like to recommend you the following restaurants for best Pho in Hanoi and have a truly taste of authentic Pho like a local.

Best restaurant for Chicken Noodle Soup in Hanoi

Pho Ga Ta Linh Phung ( Free ranged chicken rice noodle soup) 

Address : 7 Dinh Liet, Hanoi old quarter, Hanoi.

Price : 50,000 - 80,000vnd/ bowl, depending on your order

Open hours : 7 a.m to 22.00 p.m

Pho Ga Cham ( Cham chicken noolde)

Address: 63 Yen Ninh street, Hanoi city

Price: 60,000 – 100,000vnd/serving, depending on your order.

Opening hours: 7.00 a.m to 13h30 or when sold out

Pho Ga Ban 

Address: 72 Ton Duc Thang street, Dong Da street, Hanoi city

Price: 40,000 bowl, however if you order organs or immature eggs, the price will increase accordingly.

Opening hours: 7a.m to 22h00 p.m

Chicken Noodle Soup Hanoi

Best restaurants for beef noodle soup in Hanoi

Pho Thìn 

Address: 13 Lo Duc street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi city
Price: 40,000 – 60,000vnd/person. The waiter will collect your payment right after you order
Opening hours: 6h00 a.m to 8.30pm

Pho Suong

Branch 1: 24B Trung Yen Alley, Dinh Liet Street, Hoan Kiem District
Price: 40,000 – 50,000vnd/bowl. The price is average for a bowl of best pho in Hanoi
Opening hours: 5.30a.m to 11h00 a.m, 4.30 to 21.30. The restaurant opens and closes a little earlier than others.

Pho Vui

Address: 25 Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price: 60,000 – 85,000vnd/person. It’s not cheap but average for a popular authentic Hanoi pho brand.
Opening hours: 7h00a.m to 22h00 p.m everyday.

Pho Nho

Address: 27A Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da District. It should take you 30 – 40 minutes to get here from the Old Quarter.

Price: 33,000vnd/bowl of beef noodle soup and 50,000vnd/serving of stirfried noodle.

Opening hours: 7am to 10pm.

Pho Ly Quoc Su

Address : 10 Ly Quoc Su, Hanoi old quarter, Hanoi city

Price : 45,000vnd - 60,000vnd/bowl, depending on your order

Opening hours : 7h00 a.m to 22h00 p.m daily

Pho Gia Truyen Ban Dan.

Address : 49 Bat Dan, Hanoi oldquarter, Hanoi city

Price : 50,000vnd - 70,000vnd/bowl, depending on your order

Opening hours : 6h30 a.m - 10h30 p.m

Beef Noodle Hanoi

2.Bun Cha ( BBQ Pork with rice noodle) & Vietnamese spring rolls.

Like Pho, Bun Cha is another highly recommended street food dish you should try in Hanoi capital.Hanoi-style bun cha is a make-your-own dish comprising rice noodles and fresh herbs served with pork patties and barbecued pork floating in a warm sweet fish sauce-based broth. Nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) are often ordered as additional part of the spread.Bun Cha became really a famous dish in Vietnam and gained worldwide acclaim when President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate Bun Cha together in a local restaurant on his trip to Hanoi in 2016.

BBQ Pork with rice noodle Hanoi

You can taste awesome Bun Cha in following renown restaurants in Hanoi.

Bun Cha Dac Kim 

Address: 1 Hang Manh, Hanoi Old Quarter

Hours: Everyday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Prices: 80,000vnd - 120,000vnd

Bun Cha Huong Lien ( Bun Cha Obama)

Address: 24 Le Van Huu Street in Hai Ba Trung District

Hours: Everyday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Prices: About 45,000 VND to 80,000 VND

Bun Cha Tuyet 

Address: 34 Hang Than Street, Hanoi city

Hours: Everyday from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm

Prices: About 35,000 VND to 50,000 VND

3. Banh Cuon (steamed rice rolls)

“Banh Cuon” is another local specialty associated with Hanoi & Northern Vietnam.It’s a type of rice roll made from thin sheets of steamed fermented rice batter filled with seasoned ground pork and wood ear mushrooms.The rolls are topped with fried shallots and typically served with a side of fresh herbs, gio lua (Vietnamese pork sausage), sliced cucumber, bean sprouts, and nuoc cham ( flavored fish sause)

Thanh Van steamed rice rolls

Those following food stalls are best choice for Banh Cuon in Hanoi

Banh Cuon Thanh Van.

Address : 12-14 Hang Ga street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 8h00 a.m to 10h00 p.m

Price : 45,000vnd - 60,000vnd

Banh Cuon Ba Hoanh

Address : 66 To Hien Thanh street, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi

Hours :  daily 6h00 a.m to 10h00 p.m

Price : 30,000vnd - 60,000vnd

Banh Cuon Ba Xuan

Address :  16 Hoe Nhai street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi city

Hours : 6h00 a.m to 10h00 p.m

Price : 20,000vnd - 50,000vnd

4. Lau (hot pot)

Lau (hot pot), also known as steamboat in Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia, consists of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Hot pot meals are usually eaten in the winter, during supper time.In Vietnam, we have created so many kinds of hot pot using local ingredients ( chicken, seafood, beef, fish or all mixed together).Each one has its own flavour and can not be confused with the others.

lau Phung Hung

You can have good Lau at those restaurants:

Quan Lau Thang Beo

Address : 34B Pham Hong Thai street, Hanoi city

Hours : 8h00 a.m to 10h00 p.m

Price : from 100,000vnd -200,000vnd/person

Phung Hung Pho Restaurant

Address: 10 Phung Hung street, Hanoi city

Hours : 8h00 a.m to 10.00 p.m

Prices : 100,000vnd -150,000vnd/ person

Song Ha Crab Hotpot 

Address : 685 Lac Long Quan street, Tay Ho district, Hanoi city

Hours : 8h00 a.m to 10h00 p.m

Price : 150,000vnd-170,000vnd / person

5. Bun Bo Nam Bo (beef noodles in the south)

Bun Bo Nam Bo (beef noodles in the south) is also known as stirred beef vermicelli. The simplicity and elegance is what people describe about this dish. Instead of using sophisticated broth as Pho, sauce is used for Bun Bo Nam Bo. Besides, fresh raw accompanying vegetables, fried onion, roasted peanuts and bean sprouts are indispensable elements.
Beef used for the dish is well soaked in sugar, fish sauce and pepper and other seasonings. Only when customers order, beef will be stirred to keep its heat, tenderness and richness. The sauce simply consists of fish sauce, sugar, lemon, chili but how to combine these elements properly is the secret recipe of each restaurant, which makes the distinction of each Bun Bo Nam Bo restaurant.

Bun Bo Nam Bo Hanoi

Recommended resturants for this special dish

Bun Bo Nam Bo Bach Phuong.

Address : 67 Hang Dieu street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 7h30 a.m - 10h30 p.m

Price : 35,000vnd- 60,000vnd/bowl

Bun Bo Nam Bo Co Tuan

Address : 47 Tran Quoc Toan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Hours : 6h30 a.m to 21h30 p.m

Prices : 35,000vnd /bowl

Bun Bo Nam Bo - 3 Ngo Huyen street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 14h00 p.m -22h00 p.m

Prices : 40,000vnd/bowl

6.Shrimp Cake at West Lake Shrimp cake restaurant.

Banh Tom (fried shrimp cake), an authentic dish from Hanoi, has been recommended by CNN Travel as a must-try dish for foreigners visiting Hanoi city.
The best place to try banh tom is in the West Lake Shrimp Cake restaurant, which is considered the place where the dish originated. Banh tom was first made in Hanoi in the 1930s when street vendors along Thanh Nien (Youth) road introduced the simple but delicious cake made from the shrimp caught in West Lake. The dish has since grown in popularity and become a specialty in Hanoi capital.The crispy flour coating intermingled with the sweet taste of fresh shrimp creates a distinctive flavor for banh tom. The dish looks truly mouthwatering with the yellow deep-fried flour mixed with the red shrimp. Banh tom is served hot with fresh herbs, pickled carrots and green papaya, and a sweet, sour and spicy sauce

Shrimp Cake westlake

Address : 1 Thanh Nien street, Hanoi city

Hours : 8h00 a.m to 10h00 p.m

Price : 80,000vnd -120,000vnd/person

7.Cha Ca (Grilled Fish)

Cha Ca ( grilled fish) is a special dish you should taste when travelling to Hanoi as well.Cha Ca is so famous in Hanoi that everyone travelling to Hanoi will try to taste it at least one time. Cha Ca is served with Bun (vermicelli), rau hung lang (basil), roasted peeled peanut, hanh la (fresh green onion), thi la (dill) and mam tom (a meticulous mixed shrimp paste).The cook prepares mam tom by combining sugar, shrimp paste (mam tom), distilled wine, hot oil, chili and mixing them well. While constantly stirring, they will squeeze in the juice of half a lemon until it foams. Fish is the main material, often be processed from Ca Lang (Hemibagrus) and Ca Qua (Channidae fish). The talent cook will cut the fish into small fillets, dip them into secret ingredients carefully, and then fry them in a pan in advance before serving their clients.

Thang Long Grilled Fish

You can a good taste of this dish at those 3 famous restaurants in Hanoi city

Cha Ca La Vong

Address : 14 Cha Ca street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 9h00 -22h00 p.m

Price : 175,000vnd

Cha Ca Thang Long

Address : 19, 21, and 23 Duong Thanh street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 9h00 -22h00 p.m

Price : 150,000vnd

Cha Ca Anh Vu

Address : 120 Giang Vo street, Ba Dinh district

Hours : 9h00 -22h00 p.m

Price : 130,000vnd

8.Xoi Yen ( Yen Sticky Rice)

Xoi Yen is one of Hanoians’ favourite sticky rice restaurants in Hanoi. Xôi is basically a sweet or savoury glutinous rice dish that comes with various toppings of your choice ( chicken & eggs, lean pork paste or roasted cinnamon pork ham...) Xoi Yen is known for making great bowls of xoi xeo, which is sticky rice with mung beans and fried shallots.. It is eaten as a main dish and is a popular breakfast item in Hanoi.

Address : 35 Nguyen Huu Huan street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 6h00 a.m - 11h00 p.m

Price : 28,000vnd - 50,000vnd

yen sticky rice

9.Banh My (Baguette)

Banh My is arguably the most well-known Vietnamese dish outside of the country. Strictly speaking, it’s the Vietnamese word for bread but people use it to refer to the sandwich.

A small French baguette is split lengthwise and filled with a variety of  delicious ingredients like liver pate, fried eggs, bardecued pork, pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, and drizzled in a chili sauce. It’s a light sandwich that’s typically eaten as a snack and you can order Banh Mi the wat you like it.

Banh Mi Hanoi

You can taste best Banh Mi at those top- rated restaurant in Hanoi.

Banh My 25 

Address : 25 Hang Ca street, Hanoi old quarter.

Hours : 7h00 a.m - 7h00 p.m

Price: 25,000 vnd - 30,000vnd

Banh Mi Tram

Address : 252 Cua Nam street, Hanoi city

Hours : 7h00 a.m to 21h00 p.m

Price : 25,000vnd to 40,000vnd

Banh Mi Minh Nhat

Address: 3 Hang Khay street, Hanoi city
Hours : 6:30 – 22:00
Price: 20.000 VND – 40.000 VND

10. Cafe Trung ( Egg Coffee).

Egg Coffee is a special product of Hanoi capital, a must-tried drink while you do a visit to Hanoi city.When it comes to egg coffee in Hanoi, the first place we must check-in is Giang Cafe which serves arguably the best egg coffee in Hanoi. Giang Cafe was founded in 1946 by Mr Nguyen Giang, who created egg coffee when milk was scarce, replacing the milk with the egg yolk.Egg coffee brings the drinkers a soothing flavor with the combination of the strong taste of coffee, the richness of egg yolk & the sweetness of condensed milk.

Address : 39 Nguyen Huu Huan street, Hanoi old quarter

Hours : 7h00 a.m - 10h00 p.m

Price : 20,000vnd/ cup

Hanoi Egg Coffee

Suggested travel itinerary of 3 day Hanoi exploration at leisure.

For the basic exploration of Hanoi, you spend about 3 days leisurely hanging around Hanoi’s highlights and taste authentic local dishes & drinks.
  • Day 1.Hanoi visit to Hanoi Old Quarter & Hoan Kiem lake area : Ceramic Roads, Hanoi ancient house, Bach Ma temple, Long Bien Bridge.Egg Coffee, Bun Cha Obama & street food dinner
  • Day 2.Visit French Quarter : Hanoi Opera House, Trained track, Hoa Lo prison, Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Hanoi Flag tower & Museum of Vietnam Military History. Noted Coffee, Cha Ca Thang Long & Pho Bat Dan.
  • Day 3.Hanoi culture & history insight to Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature, Quan Thanh temple, Tran Quoc pagoda, West Lake & Museum of Ethnology.Hidden Gem Coffee, Banh Cuon Thanh Van & Banh Tom Ho Tay.

ba Vi mountain

Ba Vi national park - Hanoi

If more time you have for Hanoi and you would like to explore its surrounding outskirts, we recommend some more day trips to Duong Lam ancient village, Ba Vi national park, Perfume Pagoda, Thay- Tay Phuong pagoda, Chuong Conical hat village, Van Phuc Silk Village, Bat Trang Ceramic village, Co Loa citadel & An Duong Vuong temple……

You can get a good reference with 3 day leisure Hanoi trip to visit its highlighted attractions & taste authentic street foods

From Hanoi, you can extend your visit to its surrounding famous attractions such as Halong bay, Sapa, Ninh Binh, Ha Giang, Mu Cang Chai, Ban Gioc waterfall, Bac Son valley…….You can explore all of those highlights up to between 5 - 15 days in Northern Vietnam Tours……

>>>>> Highlighted trips to visit places outside Hanoi

Best of North Vietnam Tour 7 days to Halong bay, Sapa, Hanoi & Ninh Binh

Highlighted Northeast Vietnam Adventure 8 days to Bac Son valley, Ba Be lake, Ban Gioc fall & Ha Giang

Common scams to avoid when travelling to Hanoi.

Vietnam is a peaceful country with its stable politics and Vietnamese are friendly & hospitable….However, there are many terrible problems & scams happenning now all over the world, and it is also not exceptional in Hanoi, Vietnam.Below is the list of  some concerned tourist scams & cheating– things to avoid when travelling to Vietnam.It will not be a problem if you take common-sense precautions on pushy vendors, shoe shiners or taxi drivers….

1.Fake taxi with super fast running meters

In Noi Bai airport or Hanoi city, besides good & reliable taxis from branded companies, there are some fake taxis with altered meters jumping very fast with money amounts, then at the end of the trip, you have to pay the price much higher than normal.Or for a short distance, taxi drivers choose the long way or run around to charge more money.Travelling in Vietnam, in need of going around by taxi, we suggest you such Reliable Taxi Brands as Mai Linh Taxi, Taxi Group.

Scams taxi

2.Hawkers (street vendors selling fruits)

When walking along the old quarter of Hanoi capital, you sometimes see street vendors selling different fruits on “baskets at two ends of the pole” on their shoulders.If you like any product, you can bargain & buy from them for their income. However,some bad ones may approach tourists on purpose, they put “the pole with two baskets of fruits” on your shoulders for your beautiful photos.In the end, they will ask you for a few dollars or invite you buy their fruits with super expensive price.

street-vendor vns

Street vendors approaching tourists

3. Shoes shiners

In your trip to Vietnam, you may have your shoes polished, the cost is around 1 usd or 20.000 vnd for your pair of shoes. However, some of our customers told us that they had paid 200.000 vnd (10usd) to shoes-shined boy.Travelling along some streets, you may be approached by shoes shiners, they take off your shoes without your permission and ask you to polish or repair them not on a right way (they use glue 502 to fix your shoes, it looks good at that time and get broken in 3 days later).In need of fixing the shoes, you can go to Cau Go or Hang Dau streets ( near Hoan Kiem lake & Water Puppet Theatre)  where are popular with many shops selling shoes.There are some men offering the service of shoes fixing at reasonable cost of 60,000 vnd ( 3usd). They can sew and fix your shoes with special glues.

Scam shining shoes

Shoe shiners & tourists

4.Lighter & T-shirt vendors.

There are many street vendors in Hanoi selling Zippo lighter or T-shirts on tourist streets or tourist attractions. They keep following you and try to sell low- quality products at 7- 10 usd/one.When selling the products, they explain that the T-shirt made of coton & hand-made embroidery.However, it is not true, it is made of nilon and the real cost is 2-3 usd/ one.Travelling to Hanoi, you can see the vendors try to sell those T-shirts in Temple of Literature, Hanoi old quarters or Hoan Kiem lake.If you love to buy those cheap products, you can buy to use for one time.If you don’t like the products, you just say “No” firmly, the vendors will stop following you… !

Street vendor scams hanoi

5. Non- stated- price restaurants

Travelling to Vietnam, it is good to taste different local foods & drinks for your authentic travel experiences or.Overpriced cheating happens not only foreign tourists as well as to local people when the restaurants show no price on their menu.To avoid the overpriced cheat, before ordering the dishes or buying the items, you should ask the price in advance. Some locals may charge you much higher price if you don’t ask them the cost first.

6.Overpriced shopping in local markets.

You enjoy Vietnam’s landscapes and beautiful local products : embroidery or lacquer paintings, silk items…... You would like to buy some of them as good presents to bring home, that is a good idea.In Hanoi old quarter, most shops don’t label the prices on their products, so it is hard to shop if you have no ideas of product value & no good shopping skills – bargain.Some greedy shoppers say high prices ( more popularly to foreigners) so even you bargain 50% down, they still make big profits.In this way, you should shop around a few shops for the same items, then choose the one of good price or it is better to go shopping on the ones of price-labeled products- if you love their items, you just buy, no need to bargain much !

Local Markets

Whole sales market Dong Xuan in Hanoi

7.Theft & Petty Crimes

This problem happens everywhere in the world.In Vietnam,many people including tourists & local Vietnamese got pickpocked in those crowded areas such as Hanoi night market, Dong Xuan market, bus & train stations, travel attractions… Thieves on motorbike aim at the pedestrians or tourists on cyclo tour. It is quite common for a group of 2 on a motorbike to approach and quickly snatch bags, phone or any valuable things….. We strongly advise you not to show what you have (iphone, expensive cameras,jewlery, money…) on those places, keep your belongings in front and try to walk not so close to the edge of sidewalk

To prevent it from happening, you should  leave your passport & valuable things at the hotel’s safe, avoid taking your phone out on the streets and be always aware of petty crime when going out.It is better not to wear the jewlery and not to go out too late at night in unlighted areas alone.

8.Don’t take a cyclo on the streets

Cyclo is a good transport for your hanging around in Hue, Hanoi old quarter & Sai Gon. You no need to worry about the busy traffic of motorbike and just leisure and lie back on the the cyclo to see surrounding areas.You can have this fun when booking a city tour with us ( on request), we have  mutual contract with cyclo companies so the cost & service are good.However, when you take cyclo on the streets by yourselves, you have to bargain and double check the cost by showing drivers the money amount & your travelling routes.Some of our clients joined the cyclo trip with us and after that they found the same name of the cyclo to go. However, they were tripple-charged. They reported to us and asked us why. Most of the cyclo drivers work as freelance for the travel company and they can go around the city to find their own clients on the streets. However, when we call the cyclo drivers to give the job to them, none of them dares to trick to our clients.

Cyclo cheating

Cyclo in waiting for their customers

Safety travel Hanoi for the first timers

Vietnam is a safe country even for first-timers. The people here are friendly and helpful and welcoming toward foreign tourists. Vietnam also has the reputation for having zero terrorism threats which makes Vietnam much more safer tourist destination than many Western countries. Threats that tourists would most likely be exposed to are petty crimes, traffic incidents, and tropical infectious diseases. Here are some tips to reduce the risks and stay safe during your trip in Vietnam

  • Avoid travel to mountainous regions during the rainy season.
  • When crossing the roads in Hanoi, just keep going slowly and the traffic will naturally avoid you. Don’t make sudden movements.
  • Motorbiking driving can be an exciting experience but can be dangerous in mountainous areas. Tip is to drive slow and obey the traffic rules.You can read how to cross the streets in Hanoi for more information
  • Petty crimes are also a problem of Hanoi city so take good care of your belongings and put the bags in front of you when in crowded places. Check your surroundings before holding up your cameras.
  • To avoid infectious diseases like dengue fever, prepare yourself with long-sleeved shirts, pants, and protect yourself with a 10 to 30 percent concentration of DEET

Need local support, please, let us know!

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