Transforming a Journey into a Memorable Experience: Exploring 10 Must-Do Activities in Hanoi

by operator

Hanoi – the capital city of Vietnam in Southeast Asia is a diverse amalgamation of art, culture, and food with a touch of Asian, Chinese and French influence. It is rapidly growing and the second-largest city of Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh. The opulent cruise tours and Vietnamese dishes with recipes from renowned cuisines passed down through generations enhance the city’s reputation. The train that passes through small houses is an uncommon but distinct sight.

Hanoi is renowned for its ancient architecture, museums, food, cooking, and culinary classes. Stunning yet uncomplicated streets, delightful nightlife combined with entertaining street performances heighten one’s enthusiasm while exploring numerous activities in Hanoi.

10 Amazing Things To Do In Hanoi

If you are planning a trip to Hanoi, you must know that there are a wide variety of activities to engage in here. You will never run out of options and it has something for everyone! Let’s take a sneak peek at the activities you must not miss while on a trip to Hanoi.

1. Sightseeing At Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO Heritage site – renowned for scuba diving, hiking, and sightseeing which are a few crucial activities to do in Hanoi while visiting Vietnam. It is also known as King Kong Island as it is surrounded by awe-inspiring views of mountains and forests. One can explore the scenic and picturesque features of different isles and caves while on a cruise or a boat. The boat/cruise tour during glittering nights is primarily favored by the visitors.

Fees: INR 933 /- for day cruise per person, INR 1,795 for an overnight cruise. Best Time to Visit: October – December

2. A Visit To The Temple of Literature

The architectural Temple of Literature is the first University in Vietnam. It provides an intriguing insight into Vietnamese history and architecture. It is a must-see attraction, away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. A visit to the Temple of Literature is one of the primary activities to do in Hanoi city. Opting for an audio guide or tour guide is recommended for a better understanding of the history and culture of Vietnam.

Fees: INR 92 /- entrance fee per person. Timings: Summer Timings (April to October): 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM (Closed on Saturdays) Winter Timings (October to March): 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Closed on Saturdays)

3. A Single Hour Of Entertainment At Puppet Theatre

A single hour at Puppet Theatre is one of the top activities to engage in while in Hanoi. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is a world-renowned theatre with highly skilled traditional live performances in a pool that reaches the waist. Witness the puppets in motion beneath the water, performances by talented musicians, traditional songs, and a delightful atmosphere that make Puppet Theatre a place worth visiting. Seeing a show at this theatre is one of the finest experiences to have in Hanoi during a trip to Vietnam.

Price: INR 651 /- per person.

Hours: 8.00 AM – 6.00 PM.

4. Shop At Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market, which is at the heart of street shopping, was constructed during the French administration and remains the largest market in Hanoi. Countless wholesale traders offer a wide variety of accessories including clothing, footwear, household items, and foodstuff, among others. It is the perfect place for avid shoppers – a lively and fascinating destination to find anything and everything you may need.

Market Front

Hours: 6 AM – 6 PM.

5. A Stroll Around Imperial Citadel

The Imperial Citadel, situated at the heart of the city, spans an area of 45 acres. It is a complex filled with ancient imperial structures, historic sculptures, military bunkers, and a stone dragon. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it offers a serene setting to spend some quality time. It is undeniably one of the essential landmarks to visit in Hanoi.

The Imperial Citadel In Hanoi

Price: INR 92 /- per ticket.

Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (closed on Mondays).

6. Hike Through The Landscape of Sapa

Located at an astonishing height, Sapa is a place of immense beauty. In the embrace of breathtaking surroundings, with brown forests and rugged mountains, Sapa is a heavenly destination in Vietnam that should not be missed. Exploring the landscape of Sapa through hiking is one of the top activities to experience in Hanoi.

Sapa In Hanoi

How to Reach: A journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai by train, followed by a bus from Lao Cai to Sapa, is a convenient option.

Recommended Duration: 3 days 2 nights.

7. Enjoy a Picnic at Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as the lake of the returned sword or “Luv Thuy Lake” in the past, is a serene and incredibly beautiful spot in Hanoi. Surrounding the Ngoc Son Temple and the captivating turtle tower that glistens at night, the lake offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. With towering trees and lush greenery, a delightful picnic at Kiem Lake is a memorable experience and one of the many enjoyable things to do in Hanoi.


Entrance Fee: INR 92 /- for temple entry.

Operating Hours: 8.00 AM – 5.00 PM.

8. Connect with Nature at Ba Vi National Park

Covering an expansive area of approximately 10,000 hectares, Ba Vi National Park is a peaceful, relaxing, and stunning destination near Hanoi. Surrounded by majestic mountains, tranquil forests, and historic temples, this park offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The mesmerizing waterfall and lush lake create a serene atmosphere for relaxation and rejuvenation. Visiting Ba Vi National Park is undoubtedly one of the best and most enjoyable things to do in Hanoi!

Forests over Mountains

Fees: INR 46 /- ticket per person. Additional charges may apply for vehicles.

Timings: 6.00 AM – 7.00 PM.

9. Discover Hai Lo Prison Memorial

Hai Lo Prison is a renowned and historic museum in Hanoi. It was previously known as the Maison Central by the French. The museum focuses on the prison’s role during the period of French colonization – an insight into the hardships endured by Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. Hai Lo Prison Memorial is a fascinating place to explore the epic history and catch a glimpse of the Guillotine and Death row cells. A visit here is one of the significant things to do in Hanoi city.


Fees: INR 93 /- per person.

Timings: 8.00 AM – 5.00 PM.

10. Explore The Old Quarter

A visit to Hanoi is incomplete without exploring the Old Quarter as a stroll around here is one of the top activities to do in Hanoi at night. Hanoi city is essentially divided into three parts – French Quarter, Ba Dinh, and the Old Quarter. The Old Quarter comprises approximately 40 streets and is crowded with locals. The famous Train Street is situated in the West of the Old Quarter. It offers a wide range of cafes, restaurants, street food, and narrow alleyways that are visible everywhere.

An old style street

The Old Quarter is one of the most bustling areas in Hanoi. People don’t really relax here after a busy day; their fun actually begins at night. The vibrant nightlife of the Old Quarter brings in a lot of excitement with street performances/dance acts, food, and cafes. Therefore, taking a walk around the Old Quarter is one of the top activities to do in Hanoi at night.

Timings: Open 24 hours

With such a plethora of activities to engage in while in Hanoi, one must not overlook a visit to this marvelous location. An energetic city with a fantastic atmosphere, an abundance of tourist attractions, and an array of breathtaking natural wonders are guaranteed to captivate your heart. If you are considering planning a journey to a Southeast Asian country, Vietnam should definitely be one of your top three destinations!

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Commonly Asked Questions About Activities In Hanoi

Is it safe to travel to Hanoi?

Yes, Hanoi is a very safe destination for travelers, but it is important to be cautious when walking through dark and desolate streets at night for one’s own safety.

How many days should I allocate for a trip to Hanoi?

A brief excursion of 4 to 5 days is sufficient to thoroughly explore Hanoi, or if visitors seek a more extensive stay, a 2-week tour is highly recommended.

Where can Hanoi be found?

Hanoi is situated in the northern region of Vietnam, located in the Red River delta, approximately 90 kilometers away from any coastal areas.

What is the heart of Hanoi?

The Hoan Kiem District serves as the lively center of Hanoi, featuring the beloved Hoan Kiem Lake.

Is Uber available in Hanoi?

Indeed, Uber is operational in Hanoi. You can conveniently book rides and obtain further information through the Uber app.

How can one travel from Hanoi Airport to the Old Quarter?

To reach the Old Quarter from Hanoi Airport, you can board a bus that will directly transport you there. The journey is estimated to take around 1 hour.

How does one journey from Hanoi to Sapa?

Traveling from Hanoi to Sapa can be accomplished by taking the night train, which typically takes around 8 hours to arrive in Lao Cai. Lao Cai is a city located just 30 kilometers away from Sapa. From Lao Cai, you can opt to take either a local or private bus directly to Sapa.

What is the duration of the shows at the Water Puppet Theatre?

The Water Puppet Theatre is renowned worldwide, and each of its performances lasts approximately 50 minutes.

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