2 day itinerary in Hanoi



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

Posted By : Tran Ha Phuong/ 540 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.

2 options:

  • 1 day, 1 night in Hanoi
  • 1 day trip to Halong Bay or Ninh Binh (Ninh Binh is recommended)

2 days only in Hanoi is our recommendation because it must be quite rush after a long hour of flying or on the bus from another destination to Hanoi, then getting into another bus to other destinations like Halong Bay or Ninh Binh even these are amazing.

in Hanoi 2 days you can discover the Old Quarter (Half day) French Quarter (Half day), Around the City (Ho Chi Minh Complex and Temple of literature)

other destination recommended (Museum of ethonology or Bat Trang Village – A traditionall potery village in Hanoi_

Detailed 2 days in hanoi Itinerary

Day 1 – in the morning, Hanoi of historic and cultural values

 Visit Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Hoan Kiem lake

Hoan Kiem Lake (Hoan Kiem Lake) is not only a symbol of culture, history of the capital but also a favorite destination of domestic and foreign tourists while traveling in Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake

Ngoc Son Temple

As a sanctuary should visit the Ngoc Son temple visitors remember to dress politely, discreetly. Guests should speak gentle, polite, queue to visit the temple in case of crowded guests. Visitors restrict the touch on objects not allowed by the management

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

  • Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Hours: 8am-6pm
  • Priceadult/student 30,000/15,000 D

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.

Hanoi Church

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

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!

Day 1: Afternoon : 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.

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

Hanoi Opera HouseThis 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.

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

Day 1-  Evening – Hanoi Nightlife 

Dinner with Cha Ca La Vong

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

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

Day 2: Around the city

in the morning: 

The UNESCO Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long in Hanoi

Long time ago, when Vietnam still used Chinese characters for their language, we had a citadel to protect the city,  while most of the walls have been torn down, fragments of it can still be seen throughout the Old Town. Most of the pieces are just walls, but there was a piece from the Central Sector that I went through. I stopped to take pictures, but there were no other people there. Everyone around me was just taking care of their own affairs on their way to another place. I would not make a special trip to this Central Sector, since you can see parts of the citadel around the Casco Viejo, but it’s a good part of the story if you go by. You can not climb or anything, unfortunately.

Imperial Citadel


Ho Chi Minh Museum

Ho Chi Minh Complex is a must! (you must do)

Temple of literature

Temple of literature
Confucius Says ‘Worth a visit”
StiffleEverywhere – Sydney, Australia
The Temple of Literature holds a wealth of history and numerous stories within the grounds
Learn about why the Stork stands on the tortoise, what the tortoise statues / headstones depict, Why Confucius? If you are lucky enough to go during graduation times youll see the lovely uniforms and dresses worn by the students.
Historical University
OliverD87 – Paris, France
The Temple of Literature is a quiet place where one can learn about Vietnam’s first university. We visited around 11am and the place was not too busy which made it ideal for taking our time and learning as much as possible about this historical place.

in the afternoon:

Bat Trang Village or Museum of ethonology

 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.

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.

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.


III. Local tips for 2 days in Hanoi

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.

We also have many other Hanoi Itineraries, please check out for more details:


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.

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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