Vietnam's capital is filled with markets to explore, sweeping landscapes to admire, and perfectly preserved relics to gaze upon in wonder.
Hanoi's culture today comes from the integration of Chinese, French, Southeast Asian influences. It's easy to see this in the variety of architecture seen in Hanoi's building and their cuisine which often utilizes French ingredients and techniques.
This city is packed with fun things to do around each corner and amazing nature filled sites to leave you breathless. This guide will help you discover some of the must-see attractions and things to do in Hanoi.
Today we're going over just 14 of the most fun things to do in Hanoi, but there's countless more, so it's time to get exploring.
We also have a little surprise waiting for you at the end of the article!
But let’s have a look first at our list below with 14 Fun Things You Must Do in Hanoi:
Float along the isles in Ha Long Bay
What shapes do you see?
Located 180 km from Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is worth the travel time. Emerald green waters fill the bay along with thousands of mesmerizing limestone islands. Many of the islands are named after their shape like the Stone Dog and Teapot islets and are topped with beautiful rainforests.
Gorgeous sites isn’t all Ha Long Bay has to offer. It’s also a hotspot for kayaking, exploring caves, junk boat tours, and other water sport activities. Whether you’re going to see the sites or soak up the sun, It’s a definite must-see on your trip to Hanoi!
Address: Quan Ninh Province
Gaze at the stunning Hanoi Opera House
And maybe catch a show?
Built in 1911 the Hanoi Opera is in the heart of Hanoi’s French Quarter. The building itself is beautifully designed with ivory-colored columns and ornate features from Gothic architecture.
The theater makes for some amazing photos, but, of course, it also features wonderful performances. Anything from Vietnamese dance and opera to concerts and comedy sketches are shown in the opera house.
Price: Tickets usually range from 100,000 VND to 200,000 VND.
Address: 01 Tràng Tiền, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Cook like a local with a cooking class
Bring the flavor of Hanoi back home!
Experience Hanoi hands on with a cooking class! Hanoi has a plethora of amazing dishes and what better way to learn about the culture than through food? Cookly has a variety of classes which will show you how to make pho, spring rolls, egg coffee, and more. Get ready to learn a new skill and a piece of Vietnamese cuisine home with you!
Pray for good grades at the Temple of Literature
This amazingly preserved building depicts the intricacy of traditional Vietnamese architecture. It was established in 1070 in dedication to Confucius. It’s also the location of Vietnam’s first university and a place to honor the country’s top scholars.
Today it’s common to see students praying at its altars for educational success. For tourists, it’s a picturesque site with ponds, gardens, pagodas and a chance to experience ancient Hanoi.
Price: 30,000 VND for adults Free for kids 15 and under
Operating Hours: Summer: 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM Daily Winter: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Daily
Address: Hồ Giám, Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Swim with the puppets at Thang Long Puppet Theatre
Hanoi’s most popular theater is a puppet show?
Hanoi has several wonderful theaters, but Thang Long Puppet Theatre steals the show. Here you’ll watch as masterful puppeteers glide their performers across a pool of water. The show is distinctly Vietnamese, so you’ll be getting a taste of the history and culture as well as an entertaining performance. The theatre has 5 daily showings and most act out the tale of Hoan Kiem Lake and the giant tortoise.
Children under 1.2m: 60,000VND/ticket
Address: 57b Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi – Vietnam
Shop at the Dong Xuan Market
Not even fire can stop this bustling market.
Dong Xuan is the largest covered market in Hanoi and has had its fair share of renovations. In 1994 a fire completed ravaged the building, but that didn’t stop this century old building from living on.
You’ll find just about everything in this 4-story market. The most interesting (more like smelly) floor of the market is the first. Here you’ll find a massive fish market with creatures from the local area. There’s also various meats and vegetables on this floor as well.
If the smell is too much to bear head up stairs where you’ll find the dry-storage section. You’ll find everything from tasty packaged snacks, clothes, handicrafts, souvenirs, and more. There’s also a food hall in which you’re able get an authentic Hanoi meal for meer pennies.
Tip: If you’d like a bit more variety, come back Friday-Sunday. The Hanoi Night Market begins every week right outside Dong Xuan.
Address: Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
The Imperial Citadel is a culturally and historically significant Vietnam relic. In 2010, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site. For centuries it was the political hub of Hanoi as well as the city center. Various artifacts dating back to the 6th century were found nestled below the soil of this citadel.
30,000 VND for adults
15,000 VND for Vietnamese students 15+ and seniors 60+
Free for kids under 15 and those who served during the Vietnam war
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Daily Address: Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Climbs the steps up the hills of Sapa
The perfect hiking spot!
About 300 km northwest of Hanoi you’ll find the distinctive landscape of Sapa. This area is filled with stepping stone-like hills and grass so green you won’t believe it’s real.
It’s the perfect place for trekkers to explore Vietnam’s luscious landscapes and an amazing pot for sightseers to take in the country’s beauty.
Have a picnic by Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son
Or come late and watch the sun fall.
Hoan Kiem Lake is near Old Quarter and in the center lies Ngoc Son, an island temple. These two combined provide a peaceful resting place and an escape from the bustling city. It’s a great spot to picnic during the day after purchasing several snacks from Old Quarter, but it’s especially beautiful during sunset. The waters turn to match the sky and city lights up into an array of colors. It’s the perfect end to a night in Hanoi.
Price: 20,000 VND
Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Daily
Address: Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Get the perfect 360 view of Hanoi inside the Lotte Center
Hanoi’s second-tallest building is open for business!
To travels the Lotte Center is the must-see sight for those wanting the perfect 360 city view of Hanoi. On top of this 65 story building lies the observatory which shows an astonishing view of Vietnam’s capital. If you’re feeling brave, there’s also a Skywalk where you’ll walk on a clear glass floor across Hanoi. If you’ve taken in the sights long enough and your fear of heights is kicking in, the Lotte Center is also home to a department store with shops galore. The store takes up the first 6 floors of the Lotte Center and is packed with a variety of shops, gifts, and food.
Price: 230,000 VND for adults 170,000 VND for kids 3 to 12 years old Free for kids under 3
Operating Hours: 8:30 AM - 11:00 PM
Address: 54 Liễu Giai, Cống Vị, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 117000, Vietnam
Spend a day with nature in Ba Vi National Park
Ba Vi is going to be your nature escape in Hanoi. It’s a beautiful nature reserve about 58 km from Hanoi’s downtown. It features a diverse array of plants and animals just waiting to be discovered. The peaks of the mountains and hills are often covered in a fog of clouds giving is a mystical atmosphere.
There’s also several hot springs within the park which are open to the public and an 11th century old temple at the peak of the tallest mountain.
Address: Tan Linh Commune, Ba Vi District, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
Explore Hanoi's markets through a market tour!
Hanoi is filled with markets of fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and more. They’re a great way to experience Vietnamese culture and learn a bit more about Hanoi cuisine.
Cookly has several market tours which also include a cooking course. It’s the best thing to do in Hanoi if you’re interested in learning about Vietnamese food. Check on out today!
Relax and let the waves take you on a Red River Cruise
The Red River has been the soul of Hanoi’s trading industry for centuries. Today tourists are able to take cruises along its surface and watch the city scape go by.
There’s multitude of cruises available ranging from short to long excursions. The shorter ones will take you through Hanoi’s city views while longer ones will go further into the farmlands and smaller villages.
It’s a great way to experience Hanoi from different viewpoints and relaxing to say the least.
Time travel in Hanoi Old Quarter
This town is vibrant as the day it was built!
The Old Quarter has been the soul of Hanoi for over 1,000 years and continues to be a popping hub today. The streets are lined with vendors selling everything from textiles to fresh fruits. It’s the perfect spot for chowing down on some Vietnamese street food and for finding the best souvenirs to bring home.
That’s it! Plus we've got a little bonus for you...
We hope that our list of “14 Fun Things to do in Hanoi" will help you discover what to eat on your journey to Taipei.
We also have a little something for you! If you're interested in a cooking class, use the promo code HANOIBEST10 and get a 10% discount on www.cookly.me
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