Planning a comprehensive Hanoi itinerary can be overwhelming, as there are a wide range of activities and attractions to do and visit. With its rich history, diverse culture, and delectable cuisine, Hanoi is a captivating destination that appeals to both first-time visitors and seasoned travelers. To make the most of your time, this article provides everything you need to know to plan an ultimate itinerary for Hanoi.
1. What to include in Hanoi itinerary? – Historical and cultural experiences
As the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is steeped in history, with over a thousand years of culture to explore. If you are wondering what to see in Hanoi in one day, do not forget to add some of the must-see historical and cultural sites to your Hanoi itinerary:
- Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: If you are a history enthusiast, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a highly recommended place to add to your Hanoi itinerary. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a grand building where visitors can pay their respects to the father of the nation, Ho Chi Minh. Coming here, visitors can view his embalmed body, learn about his life and legacy, and explore the nearby Presidential Palace and Ba Dinh Square.
- Explore Hoa Lo Prison: Hoa Lo Prison, which is also known as the Hanoi Hilton, was used by the French colonizers to hold political prisoners and later by the North Vietnamese to hold American prisoners of war. A visit to the prison provides a sobering look into Vietnam's tumultuous past.
- Stop in Temple of Literature: Temple of Literature is one of the oldest and most significant landmarks in Hanoi that you should definitely add to your Hanoi itinerary. This beautiful complex of buildings was once Vietnam's first university and is a symbol of Vietnam's long-standing reverence for education.
- Tour the Hanoi Old Quarter: Take a walk around the charming narrow streets of Hanoi Old Quarter during your Hanoi itinerary, where you will find a blend of French colonial architecture and traditional Vietnamese houses that have stood the test of time. The area is known for its bustling street markets and unique shops, selling everything from silk scarves to traditional crafts.
- Go sightseeing at well-known pagodas: No Hanoi itinerary is complete without some of its pagodas, such as One Pillar Pagoda, Tran Quoc Pagoda, or But Thap Pagoda. These pagodas are renowned for their unique architecture and are considered some of the most beautiful and iconic landmarks in Hanoi.
2. Culinary adventures: Things to do to add to Hanoi travel itinerary
Hanoi offers a unique culinary adventure that is worth experiencing. If you are wondering what to do in Hanoi for 3 days, 4 days, or even a week, here are some culinary experiences that you should include in your Hanoi itinerary:
- Taste traditional Hanoi Pho: Start your day with a bowl of Pho, a rice noodle soup that is considered one of Vietnamese national dishes. You can find Pho at street food stalls, markets, and restaurants throughout the city.
- Sample egg coffee: When planning your Hanoi Old Quarter itinerary, make sure to add egg coffee. It is an iconic drink in Hanoi that is made with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk, and Vietnamese coffee. It is recommended to visit Cafe Giang, which is one of the most famous Hanoi coffee shops and has been serving this drink for over 70 years.
- Try La Vong turmeric fish: Turmeric fish is one of the most popular dishes in Hanoi that any seafood lover should try at least once during your Hanoi city tour itinerary. The fish is served in a sizzling pan with a crispy exterior and a tender, juicy interior.
- Drop by street food markets: Markets such as Dong Xuan Market and Hom Market are some of the best places to try various mouth-watering Hanoi street foods. One day in Hanoi may not be enough to indulge in the diverse selection of street foods here.
3. Nature exploration and outdoor experiences for Hanoi itinerary
Hanoi is not just a bustling city with rich history and culture; it is also a destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are looking for an Hanoi itinerary that includes nature exploration and outdoor experiences, here are some activities you can add to your Hanoi itinerary:
- Enjoy the beauty of lakes in Hanoi: One of the most famous lakes in Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of the city. This scenic lake is a popular spot for locals and tourists to relax and take a break from the chaos of the city. Another lake that is worth visiting in your Vietnam Hanoi itinerary is West Lake, an ideal place to cycle and admire its peaceful surroundings. The nearby Truc Bach Lake is also a great place to try some local snacks and watch the sunset.
- Explore Ba Vi National Park: If you have extra time in your Hanoi itinerary and want to venture further away from the city, a trip to Ba Vi National Park is highly recommended. This national park is about 50 kilometers away from Hanoi and boasts stunning landscapes, including forests, mountains, and waterfalls. You can hike to the summit of Ba Vi Mountain to enjoy breathtaking views of the surroundings.
- Take day trips to craft villages: For a unique addition to your Hanoi itinerary, consider visiting Bat Trang Pottery Village or Van Phuc Silk Village. Bat Trang Pottery Village is known for its high-quality ceramics and pottery-making traditions, while Van Phuc Silk Village produces some of the finest silk products in Vietnam. Both villages are located just outside of Hanoi and offer an opportunity to witness the craftsmanship and skills of local artisans.
4. Other highly recommended activities for your Hanoi itinerary
Many travelers may wonder what to do in Hanoi for 2 days and what to do in Hanoi for 4 days, but Hanoi is the perfect destination for an extended stay. Here are some of the exciting things to do in Hanoi for a week to truly appreciate all that the city offers:
- Chill out with a cold beer on Ta Hien Street: If you want to explore the city’s nightlife during your Hanoi itinerary, Ta Hien Street, also known as Beer Street, is one of the liveliest places in Hanoi. The street is lined with bars and pubs, making it a great place to unwind with a cold beer or socialize with the locals after a day of sightseeing.
- Admire the beauty of French-style buildings: Hanoi is known for its mix of French and Vietnamese architecture, and the Presidential Palace and Hanoi Opera House are two prime examples of this beautiful fusion. These beautiful sites are located in the heart of the city, making them easily accessible after visiting other destinations on your Hanoi itinerary.
- Enjoy the vibrant nightlife of the city: Hanoi’s nightlife is just as vibrant as its daytime activities. If you are planning a Hanoi itinerary with a fun night out, there are plenty of places to go. It is suggested to visit Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square or Hoan Kiem Lake Walking Street to enjoy street performances and people-watching.
- Unwind at VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City: If you are traveling with your children, VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City should definitely be included in your Hanoi itinerary. Vinpearl Aquarium Times City stands as one of the biggest aquariums in Hanoi, with a stunning underwater world featuring over 30,000 marine creatures. Meanwhile, VinKE is an interactive edutainment complex where children can indulge in numerous simulated job games that help them discover their interests and potential future professions.
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When planning your Hanoi itinerary, do not forget to explore some of the incredible destinations beyond the city limits. Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country famous for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. So there are some destinations that should not be missed, including Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, Ha Long, etc.
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Hanoi is a city that offers a blend of rich history, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and natural beauty. Whether you have just a few days or a week to spend in Hanoi, there is no shortage of exciting activities and must-see destinations to include in your Hanoi itinerary. With a little planning and an open mind, you can discover the beauty and charm of this unique city and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable adventure!
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