Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and one of the oldest capitals in the world. Located on the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is historically rich with well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas and unique museums in the city centre. Travelling to Hanoi is a must for those who really want to discover Vietnam. Its population is estimated at about seven million in 2013, including 2.6 million in the city centre.
Travelling to Hanoi is quite easy: by plane from all the major cities of the world, by bus from most Vietnamese cities, or by train from Sapa.
If you want to avoid very high temperatures, we suggest you travel Hanoi in January, February, March, April, November and December; however, there are four seasons in the Vietnamese capital, and June-July-August are the warmest and rainiest months.
Trip to Hanoi – What to visit?
The advantage of Hanoi is the many monuments to visit. Here is our selection if you are traveling to Hanoi:
1. Thang Long Imperial Citadel
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a very large site, in the heart of the city, with buildings with traditional architecture in a superb state. It is a true festival of gold and colors when you travel to Hanoi. The large walled enclosure (entrance fee) houses the former imperial palace. The visit is very varied and takes time (minimum 2 hours).
Opening hours: Every day 8:00 am – 12:30 pm & 1:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Address: Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The Mausoleum is an important historical site in Hanoi, with beautiful gardens. However, if you are travelling to Hanoi and want to visit this place, be careful as there is little information in English (especially in Vietnamese). If you do not have much time during your trip to Hanoi, you can also pass by the building which, once night falls, is lit.
Opening hours: Tuesday 8:00 – 4:30, Wednesday and Thursday 8:00 – 11:30, Saturday and Sunday 8:00 – 11:30
Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
3. Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son
When traveling to Hanoi, it’s not uncommon for cars and noise to stifle you, so enjoy the peace and beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, close to the Old Town. For photo lovers, do not hesitate to go there and for temple lovers, you will find on the lake the Ngoc Son temple, which is a must. Please note that entry is subject to a fee (VND 70,000).
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter
4. Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is an amazing place. It covers many aspects of the history of Vietnam but also of Confucian philosophy and allows us to understand some aspects of Vietnamese culture and the place of totemic animals like turtles and unicornes. To be seen probably at least once when traveling to Hanoi.
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8.30am – 11.30am & 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi
Price range: VND 10,000
5. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
This museum is very rich in architecture and allows you to discover all the ethnic groups of Vietnam. Outside, you will find habitats restored with the utmost care and a building that explains the peoples and their customs. Information is available in English and Vietnamese.
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8.30am – 5.30pm
Address: Nguyen Van Huyen Street, Cau Giay, Hanoi
Trip in Hanoi – Activities
1. "Water Puppet Theatre"
Beautiful show for adults and children! The landscape in the water is sublime, the show is accompanied by light effects, and the background music and Vietnamese sound effects really bring the show to life. If you have some time during your trip to Hanoi, do not hesitate.
Opening hours: Every day 15h00, 16h10, 17h20, 18h30 & 20h00
Address: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price range: VND 100,000
2. "Train Street"
In order not to reveal the surprise during your trip to Hanoi, we suggest you to go to 224 Le Duan, Kham Thien at 15:30 and 19:30.
3. Hanoi Old Quarter
Walking in this area during your trip to Hanoi will make your stay very pleasant and quieter than if you had spent it in other areas. Enjoy the small shopping streets, each of which has its own peculiarity: shoes, clothes, souvenirs....
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter
4. Night Market in the Old Quarter
Take advantage of this exclusively lively night market on weekends to buy your last minute souvenirs during your trip to Hanoi.
Opening hours: Weekend 18:00 – 23:00
Location: Hanoi Old Quarter
5. Hanoi Opera
The Hanoi Opera, inspired by the Paris Opera Garnier, was restored in 1997. We advise you to attend, if you have time during your trip to Hanoi, one of the proposed shows. Our favorite is the show "My Village" in the style of the acrobatic circus.
Address: 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Price range: VND 100,000 - VND 2,000,000
Trip in Hanoi - Where to eat?
Mrs. Hien $$
This typical Vietnamese restaurant, a little far from the old town, will fully satisfy your taste buds during your trip to Hanoi. Our favorite: their Bun Cha!
Opening hours: Daily from 11:00 to 22:00
Address: 15 Chan Cam Street, Hoan Kiem District
Avalon BBQ Garden $$
The barbecue is of South Korean origin, but the tastes of this restaurant are purely Vietnamese! The prices are a bit high, but the service is really good and the view is worth it on your trip to Hanoi.
Opening hours: Every day 9 am – 23 pm
Address: 1, 3, 5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
La Badiane $$$
Founded by French chef Benjamin RASCALOU, La Badiane is a high-end restaurant that combines French cuisine with local spices. A restaurant where to eat if you need western food and if you are traveling to Hanoi.
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 11:30 - 14:00 & 18:00 - 22:00
Address: 10 Nam Ngu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Trip in Hanoi - Where to stay?
Hanoi Tomodachi House $
During your trip to Hanoi, if you are looking for an excellent quality/price ratio, we suggest this well located hostel, CLOSE to the old quarter. The dorms are clean and comfortable.
Address: 5A Tong Duy Tan Str, Hoan Kiem Dist, Hanoi
Hanoi La Siesta Hotel Trendy - $$$
This hotel, very well located in the heart of the old town with a very neat decoration and an excellent breakfast (very varied, good products, pleasant surroundings) will make your trip to Hanoi worthy of a honeymoon.
Address: 12 Nguyen Quang Bich Street, Hoan Kiem District Old Quarter, Hanoi
Apricot Hotel - $$$
If you are looking for a hotel ideally located facing the lake and absolutely superb, we recommend the Hotel Abricot. The decoration is very neat (with statues and paintings...) and the service is excellent.
Address: 136 Hàng Trőng, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi