The most epic things to see and do in Hanoi, Vietnam

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Proudly holding a title of one of the oldest capitals in the world, Hanoi is the city that has plenty to offer to every type of traveller. From ancient sites to lively neighbourhoods and night markets- you will have plenty to discover upon your arrival. Being famous for its delicious street food, Hanoi is also home to numerous restaurants and cafes that will guarantee some of the best culinary experiences.

Let’s dive in and explore the most epic locations you can visit in and around Hanoi!

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Ha Long Bay- Day Trip from HanoiTaylor Simpson/Unsplash

WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN HANOI

1. TAKE A WALK AROUND HOAN KIEM LAKE

Hoan Kiem Lake is located right next to the most popular area of Hanoi- the Old Quarter. If you’re staying in the area, grab your takeaway coffee and have a stroll around the lake!

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Hoan Kiem LakeDavid Emrich/Unsplash

2. EXPLORE THE NIGHT MARKET

The famous Hanoi night market takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting at 6pm. Visit the market for the best street food experience and great shopping deals!

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Hanoi Night MarketT-H Chia/Unsplash

3. VISIT HANOI ICONIC TRAIN STREET

One of the most unusual places in Hanoi is the train Street where the train passes twice a day and through the street nestled between houses of the locals. It is truly an incredible place to see!

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Hanoi Train StreetDara Keo/Unsplash

4. STROLL  AROUND THE OLD QUARTER

If you’re staying outside the Old quarter, you must come over to experience the very spirit of Hanoi. Old Quarter is a place full of great restaurants, street food and markets.

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Hanoi Old QuarterErik Skarstein/Unsplash

5. SEE TROMPE L’OEIL MURALS

Painted on one end of Long Bien Bridge, so far from the often-photographed main structure, a massive art project fills the sealed arch walls that run parallel to Phung Hung Street. A series of nineteen murals fill the stone archways, illuminating the street with colour and history. Definitely not to miss if you’re looking g for photo spots in Hanoi!

6. VISIT HANOI OPERA HOUSE

Set in the heart of the French Quarter, Hanoi Opera house is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Hanoi. Built in 1911 and modelled after the Paris Opera House, this historical landmark exudes Parisian charm from its ivory-toned columns, ornate balustrades and Gothic domes.

7. PAY A VISIT TO ST. JOSEPH’S CATHEDRAL

Being the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is modelled after Notre Dame in Paris.

8. TAKE A RICKSHAW TOUR TO THANG LONG WATER PUPPET THEATRE

The ancient art of water puppetry has long been associated with Hanoi. Watch as puppets dance while telling a story of the famous Legend of the Restored Sword of King Le, which is a story about Hoan Kiem Lake and a giant tortoise.

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HanoiUnsplash

DAY TRIPS FROM HANOI

Have you been envisioning Vietnam as a land of limestone cliffs majestically rising above the horizon? Luckily, Hanoi’s location makes your trip open to many day trip options.

These are the best day trips and locations to see from Hanoi.

1. HA LONG BAY

This iconic landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by millions of people each year. Of course, the top activities are boat tours of the bay, which can guide you to sites like the colorfully illuminated Dao Go Cave, the island of Tuan Chao, and the serene bays of Bai Tu Long National Park.

The 175 kilometres from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay do not go quickly, so plan for an early wake-up call and a late return! Driving, the journey takes three to four hours. Since public transport is not your best option to get to Ha-Long Bay, you should consider a private organiser.

2. NINH BINH

A day trip to Ninh Binh is perfect for those seeking the most spectacular natural wonders and a touch of a history. The area is best known for its dramatic  landscape, which can be seen in all its glory at the grottos of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trang An or cruising the river to Tam Coc. Don’t miss an opportunity to check out the many temples of the 10th and 11th century capital of Hoa Lu. Ninh Binh is often described as ‘Ha Long Bay on Land” and in fact, its beauty can be compared to one of the most famous Vietnamese sites.

3. BA VI NATIONAL PARK

Escape the civilisation and delve into the lush landscapes of Ba Vi National Park. This gorgeous  area is popular for walking and hiking, though there are several points of interest to visit. Travelers can hike up to the summit of Tan Vien peak to see the shrine of the Mountain God and the Ho Chi Minh Temple. The adventurers can also explore the ruins of the abandoned French resort that has since been reclaimed by the jungle.

4. PERFUME PAGODA

Explore one of the most famous and venerated Buddhist temples in Vietnam and glide along the waters of the Yen Stream on a rowboat to reach the Thien Tru Harbor. Perfume Pagoda is perfect for a half-day tour from Hanoi.

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