2 day itinerary in Hanoi

2 days in Hanoi – What to do in Hanoi for 2 days (Detailed Itinerary)

Posted By : Tran Ha Phuong/ 183 0

You may be planning your 2 days in Hanoi in confusion because of the limited understanding about the city.

In this article, I would love to suggest a detailed 2-day Hanoi itinerary (including what to do in Hanoi for 2 days, budget, food vendors, transportation guide and accommodation recommendation).

As a tour guide with several years of experience at AZ Local Trip, I believe that this article will help.

I. Budget for 2 days in Hanoi

I have already published a suggested 1-day itinerary in Hanoi. Please read Best One Day in Hanoi for further details.

You may approximately spend $40 on your first day. Expected expenditure on the second day is listed below:

Sightseeing entrance fee Hoa Lo Prison $1.3
National Museum of Vietnamese History $1.75
Water Puppet Theatre $4.4
Meals Bun Bo Nam Bo $2-3
Cha Ca La Vong $2-3
Evening lemon tea $1
Accommodation Estimated 1-night stay $35

In total, it may cost you $90 for 2 days in Hanoi.

II. Detailed 2 days in hanoi Itinerary

II.1. Day 1 – Hanoi of historic and cultural values


You had better stay in Hanoi Old Quarter. Most tourist attractions are near this area, so it will be very convenient, and you can save an amount from transportation.

There are various options from comfortable homestay and cozy yet affordable hostels to grand hotels. AZ Local Trip can offer advice subject to your budget.

To sum up Day One in Hanoi:

  • Morning: Ho Chi Minh Complex – Temple of Literature
  • Afternoon: Hoan Kiem Lake – Hanoi Old Quarter
  • Evening: Local beer Hanoi

II.2. Day 2 – Hanoi of architectural and traditional values

II.2.1. Morning: Hanoi French Quarter – A little Paris in Hanoi

Vietnam wars against French colonists are known in the world. The French colonial rule no doubt expanded effects on several aspects such as architecture.

There are reasons for the French Quarter to be called A Little Paris in Hanoi.

I am pretty sure that a wander to explore the aesthetic beauty of colonial relics mixing with Eastern features will not disappoint you.

II.2.1.1. Hanoi Opera House

Location: No.1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

You can take a 20-minute walk from Hanoi Old Quarter. Map

The exterior of Hanoi Opera House follows many different architectural styles: Roman, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau and French neoclassical.

Hanoi Opera House - Two days in Hanoi
The impressive architecture of Hanoi Opera House

This theatre in central Hanoi was modeled after Opéra Garnier (Opéra de Paris). Yet there is an argument that it has even more aesthetic merits than the original.

I haven’t been to Opéra Garnier before, but Hanoi Opera House did wow me at my first visit here.

II.2.1.2. Hoa Lo Prison

Location: 1 Hoa Lo Street, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Another 15-minute walk will take you to this. Map

Hoa Lo Prison (also known as Maison Centrale) was built by French colonists. As a representative of the period of Vietnamese resistance war, the prison still maintained a lot of torture tools.

It demonstrates part of the severe battle at the time. Thinking about some artifacts at Hoa Lo Prison somehow gives me goosebumps.

Hoa Lo Prison – Two days in Hanoi
Hoa Lo Prison – historical landmark in Hanoi

As a representative of the period of Vietnamese resistance war, the prison still maintained a lot of torturing tools.

II.2.2. Afternoon: National Museum of Vietnamese History – Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Lunch with Bun bo Nam Bo
Bun bo Nam bo for dinner - Two days in Hanoi
A delicious bowl of bun bo Nam Bo

Bun Bo Nam Bo (southern beef noodles) is among must-try authentic dishes of Vietnam.

Tender beef slices are served with vegetables, fried onion, roasted peanuts in a savoury-chilli fish sauce.

AZ Local Trip recommends my favourite restaurant at 67 Hang Dieu Street for this dish. After visiting Hoa Lo Prison, you can take a short walk to the location for an unforgettable lunch

II.2.2.1. National Museum of Vietnamese History

Location: 214 Tran Quang Khai Street, Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Ha Noi 110000

Going by bus is not so convenient, so I suggest taking a taxi from the restaurant.

The exterior completely follows Indochinese architectural style as National Museum of Vietnamese History was also built under French colonial rule.

Its special feature is that Vietnamese people created changes for climate adaptation. The museum, therefore, becomes more native to Vietnamese traditional culture.

National Museum of Vietnamese History - Two days in Hanoi
Unique Architecture of National Museum of Vietnamese History

This elegant combination along with unique artifacts just makes National Museum of Vietnamese History stand out for every museum enthusiast like me.

II.2.2.2. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Location: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

It takes you 15 minutes to reach Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre on foot. Map

Enjoying this unique form of traditional culture art which is native to Northern Vietnam in the original location is always a great idea. Vietnamese folk tales and legends are recounted with authentic Vietnamese operatic songs and traditional musical instruments.

Water puppet show - 2 days in Hanoi
Water Puppet Show -Vietnamese unique traditional art form

Nobody will ever have enough of this fun and exciting traditional art form. I manage to watch at least one show a month on the weekend with family members or friends.

II.2.2. Evening: St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Dinner with Cha Ca La Vong

Location: Cha Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

After an amazing water puppet show, have a 10-minute walk to Cha Ca Street. Map

Cha ca La Vong (grilled fish) is a local specialty of Hanoi. This dish was listed in the travel book 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

Well, Vietnam is known for the superb cuisine, and cha ca La Vong is something you can’t miss.

Cha ca La Vong for dinner - Two days in Hanoi
Cha ca La Vong for dinner
Lemon tea around St. Joseph’s Cathedral with local people

Location: 40 Nha Chung Street, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 100000

A 15-minute walk will take you to St. Joseph’s Cathedral

This Gothic-styled cathedral has been a top favourite gathering location for young people in the evening for years. After a busy day, they grab this golden chance to sit down, feel the cool breeze and get rid of stressful events.

Lemon Tea around St. Joseph's Cathedral - Two days in Hanoi
Lemon Tea around St. Joseph’s Cathedral

It is also your last night in Hanoi, so I guess you do not want to overwhelm yourself with activities. Have a fresh cup of green lemon iced tea, find yourself English speaking local buddies, have some chit-chat and just enjoy!

III. Local tips for 2 days in Hanoi

Spending 2 days in Hanoi, we think you need to know these tips:

  • You had better wear trainers because you will mainly walk especially on the second day.
  • You are charged up to $2 to take pictures or videotape at National Museum of Vietnamese History.
  • Tickets for water puppet shows are sold out well in advance, so you had better book yours right after arrival.

I hope that my suggestion will work well, and you will have an unforgettable time in Hanoi. Feel free to contact AZ Local Trip if you need further advice. 

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