Renowned for its cultural vibrancy and long history, Hanoi is a perfect choice for travelers seeking an exceptional destination where they can discover diverse cultural and historical landmarks. If you are planning for your 2 days in Hanoi, make sure to read this article to know what to do in your Hanoi travel journey.
1. How to spend the first day if you have 2 days in Hanoi?
1.1. In the morning
- Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex
During your 2 days in Hanoi, you should not miss out on Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex. This complex is composed of multiple structures, including Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which is where tourists can show respect to the late leader of the Vietnamese revolution. In addition, the complex features Ba Dinh Square, Presidential Palace, and Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, which offer tourists an enthralling glimpse into the life of Ho Chi Minh.
- Explore One Pillar Pagoda
Built in the 11th century, One Pillar Pagoda is an exceptional example of Vietnamese architecture and is known for its unique design. The pagoda is situated atop a single pillar that rises out of a tranquil lotus pond, which is said to symbolize purity in Buddhism. Visitors can marvel at the pagoda's intricate details, including its wooden architecture and ornate decorations, and take in the serene surroundings.
- Take a sightseeing trip to the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is Vietnam's first university. Its stunning architecture and tranquil courtyards provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, while its peaceful gardens are a popular spot for taking a relaxing stroll.
1.2. In the afternoon
- Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake
Surrounded by green trees and historic landmarks, Hoan Kiem Lake is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling city. Visitors can take in the stunning views of Ngoc Son Temple, Turtle Tower, and the elegant red bridge that connects the temple to the lakeside.
- Explore famous streets in the Old Quarter
A stroll along the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter is a sensory delight, with the sights, sounds, and smells of traditional Vietnamese life filling the air. Hang Gai Street is famous for its silk products and textiles, while Hang Bac Street is known for its silver jewelry and handicrafts. Visitors can shop for souvenirs, sample local delicacies, and experience the vibrant energy of Hanoi's streets.
- Stop by Dong Xuan Market
Dong Xuan Market is a bustling hub of commerce and a vibrant showcase of Vietnamese culture. The market offers a wide variety of products, from fresh produce and seafood to textiles, souvenirs, and household items. Bargaining with the vendors is part of the fun, and visitors can pick up unique gifts at affordable prices.
1.3. At night
- Watch a water puppet show
Water puppetry is a folk art that dates back to the 11th century, and Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is one of the best places to see it in action. A Hanoi water puppet show takes place on a small stage set in a pool of water, with puppets controlled by puppeteers standing behind a screen. The show is accompanied by live music, and the performance is a colorful, lively spectacle that is both entertaining and educational.
- Enjoy street food and have a cold beer
For foodies and travelers alike, Ta Hien Street is a must-visit destination in Hanoi. Known as the "Beer Street", Ta Hien is famous for its lively atmosphere, cheap beer, and mouth-watering Hanoi street food. Visitors can sample a range of local delicacies here, from pho to grilled meat, spring rolls, and more. Wash it down with a cold glass of fresh beer that is brewed daily and served on tap.
2. What to do on the second day of the 2-day Hanoi itinerary?
2.1. In the morning
- Pay a visit to Hoa Lo Prison
Continue your 2 days in Hanoi by paying a visit to Hoa Lo Prison, constructed by the French in the late 19th century. This prison-turn-museum was used to incarcerate political prisoners during the colonial period. Here, visitors can explore the prison's grim cells, see the guillotine used for executions, and learn about the brutal treatment of prisoners through the exhibits and displays.
- Admire the architecture of Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House is an elegant blend of neoclassical and Gothic styles, with its grand facade and ornate details. Visitors can admire the stunning exterior of the building and take in its opulent interior, with a grand staircase, chandeliers, and plush red velvet seats. The Opera House has played host to numerous cultural and artistic events over the years, from classical music concerts to ballet performances and theater productions.
- Explore St. Joseph's Cathedral
St. Joseph's Cathedral is a beautiful example of neo-Gothic architecture, with its towering spires, intricate stained-glass windows, and impressive nave. Visitors can attend masses or simply admire the cathedral's stunning exterior and serene interior. The cathedral is surrounded by charming cafes and boutiques, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists to relax and people-watch.
2.2. In the afternoon
- Learn about Vietnamese history at the Vietnam National Museum of History
This museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits from Vietnam's prehistoric times to the modern era. The museum is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a specific period of Vietnamese history. Here, visitors can see ancient artifacts, historical documents, and traditional crafts. Visiting the Vietnam National Museum of History, you can gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam's rich and diverse history.
- Explore West Lake
West Lake is surrounded by lush greenery, temples, and pagodas, creating a peaceful and scenic atmosphere. Visitors can take a leisurely walk or a bike ride around the lake, stop at one of the cafes or restaurants for a refreshing drink, or enjoy a swan boat ride on the calm waters. It is a great spot to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Hanoi.
- Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda
Tran Quoc Pagoda is a famous Buddhist temple located on a small islet in Hanoi's West Lake. It is considered one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam, dating back to the 6th century. Tran Quoc Pagoda features unique architecture, with an impressive tower that stands 15 meters tall. Visitors can explore the beautiful grounds of the pagoda, admire the intricate statues and decorations, and learn about the rich history and spiritual significance of this important cultural site.
2.3. At night
- Take a night stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake
You can explore Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square, a lively area surrounding the lake, and Hoan Kiem Lake Walking Street, a pedestrian street where vendors and performers line the way. The area is lit up with colorful lights, creating a magical atmosphere for an evening walk.
- Enjoy the nightlife in Quang Ba Flower Market
As one of the largest flower markets in Hanoi, Quang Ba Flower Market is a fascinating place to explore the city's culture and traditions. The market, constantly filled with sellers and buyers, is open from midnight until the break of dawn. The flowers available for purchase at the market originate from neighboring areas. Visiting Quang Ba Flower Market, tourists can purchase stunning flowers at affordable prices and take numerous breathtaking photos with them, concluding their 2 days in Hanoi.
Once you have explored Hanoi, you should consider visiting other renowned destinations in Vietnam like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ha Long. These cities all offer a plethora of accommodations, and it is highly recommended to stay at Vinpearl hotels and resorts, which provide top-notch facilities and amenities such as outdoor swimming pools, children's playgrounds, babysitting services, restaurants, bars, gyms, and more.
Spending 2 days in Hanoi can be an unforgettable experience for tourists who are looking for an immersive cultural and historical journey. From visiting iconic landmarks and historical sites, exploring the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, tasting delicious street food to watching water puppet shows, Hanoi has a plethora of activities to offer. Hopefully, this article will help you figure out what to do in Hanoi for 2 days.
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