2 Days in Hanoi – What locals recommend for Hanoi 2 days itinerary?

Quản trị hệ thống - Updated July 10, 2019

We understand that you may be planning your 2 days in Hanoi in confusion because of the limited understanding about the city. This is what you need ✔ A detailed 2-day Hanoi itinerary to make the most of Hanoi!

So our sample Hanoi Itinerary 2 days will be separated into 2 options:

Option 1: 2 days 1 night in Hanoi to experience some of the best Things to do in Hanoi

Option 2: 1 day in Hanoi and 1 Hanoi day trip to Halong Bay or Ninh Binh (Ninh Binh is highly recommended)

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

And if you're finding an itinerary to suit your plans and requests, we can help you out with FREE ITINERARY PLANNING. AZ Local Trip will support you 24/7, just click the button below!

Detailed plans for two days in Hanoi - What to do in Hanoi for 2 days

What to do in Hanoi for 2 days

You can see street vendors in every road of Hanoi selling a wide range of goods

1. Option 1: 2 days in Hanoi - Overnight in Hanoi 

Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter - Hanoi French Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter and Hanoi French Quarter are 2 centers and also the busiest hubs of the city, especially the Hanoi Old Quarter. 

Hanoi Old Quarter has established hundreds of years ago on the east side of the ancient Thang Long citadel.

In the old days, the Old Quarter, a warren of narrow streets, alleys and houses, was home to several guilds such as bronze casting, forging, jewelry making, wood carving, silk, and clothes trading.

There're some old attractions remaining until today and has become tourist attractions.

To gain the best understanding of the 2 places and to see them through the eyes of locals, don't miss out a chance to join Hanoi FREE Walking Tour when you are here!

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hanoi Old Quarter

Ta Hien street located right in the heart of Hanoi Old Quater. It may look peaceful daytime but trust me, you will be surprised visiting here when the sundown!

In The Morning 

  • Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is near Hanoi Old Quarter and only takes a few minutes walking.

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.

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hoan Kiem Lake

When thinking about Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake will be the first thing comes to mind! 

  • Ngoc Son Temple

Since you're around Hoan Kiem Lake, visit Ngoc Son Temple located on the surface of Hoan Kiem Lake. You have to cross The Huc Bridge (a bright red bridge) to reach this place. 

 As Ngoc Son temple is a sanctuary, remember to dress politely and discreetly. Also, you should speak gentle, be polite and queue to visit the temple in case of crowded visitors. And one thing to keep in mind, do not touch objects if not allowed by the management.

Opening hours: 8:00 - 18:00

Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND/person

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The Huc bridge will lead you to the ancient Ngoc Son Temple 

  • St. Joseph's Cathedral

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

St.Joseph Cathedral is truly the must-see spot!

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_St. Joseph's Cathedral

Witness the beautiful gothic architecture right in the heart of Hanoi!

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

Opening hoursFor Outside visit: all the time. For Inside visit: visitors can only enter the Cathedral in Hanoi in the opening time of ceremonial practice as the following schedule:

  • Weekday: 5:30 and 18:15
  • Saturday: 18:00
  • Sunday: 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, 11:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00
  • A special ceremony is on 19th March every year.

Entrance Fee: Free

>>> Get your FREE ITINERARY PLANNING form by AZ Local Trip experts! <<<

In The 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 HanoiI am pretty sure that a wonder to explore the aesthetic beauty of colonial relics mixing with Eastern features will not disappoint you. And so do a FREE French Quarter Walking Tour!

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The gorgeous Trang Tien plaza when all the light are on

  • Hanoi Opera House

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.

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.

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

Opening Hours: 10:30 in the morning every Monday and Friday.

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"I haven't been to Opéra Garnier before, but Hanoi Opera House did wow me on my first visit here" said by our previous customer

  • Hoa Lo Prison

Another 15-minute walk will take you to this. Hoa Lo Prison (also known as Maison Centrale) was built by French colonists. 

It demonstrates part of the severe battle at the time. Thinking about some artifacts at Hoa Lo Prison somehow gives us goosebumps. As a representative of the period of the Vietnamese resistance war, the prison still maintained a lot of torture tools.

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

Opening hours: Everyday from 8:00 -17:00

Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND/person

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hoa Lo Prison

Come to Hoa Lo prison to gain knowledge of Vietnam history

  • Water Puppet Show or Cyclo Ride 

Every culture has its own unique festival or attraction that signifies something integral to what makes that culture special. In Vietnam, it's the traditional performance water puppet show. A Water Puppet Show is really just what it sounds like: a puppet show but on water. However, the performance is far more interesting and complicated. You should attend the show and figure it out by yourself. 

Location: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Opening hours: Everyday at 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30, 20:00

Ticket: 100.000 VND, 150.000 VND, 200.000 VND

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_ Water Puppet Show

A unique performance of art you haven't ever seen

If you don't want to see the Water Puppet Show, there's another option for you: Take a cyclo ride through Hanoi Old Quarter. Cyclo is also one of the unique transportations in Vietnam. A cyclo looks like a bicycle but with 3 wheels and a big seat in the front. 

Some will say walking is better, but I think the perspective you get from a cyclo ride is worth seeing - plus it’s far easier to look around and take photos.

It's easy to catch a cyclo also, you can see it everywhere around Hanoi Old Quarter. And remember to bargain before going. 

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A specialty of Hanoi that you have to try out

In The Evening

  • Hanoi Street Food Tour 

In the evening, it's the perfect time to do a Hanoi Street Food Tour. You should go with a local guide so he/she will take you to the best places to enjoy the food.

As a local, he or she will also introduce you to the culture and show you how to eat each dish as some Vietnamese dishes has their own way of eating to taste the best out. 

I recommend you do a Hanoi Street Food Tour with FREE tour guide as many agencies in Hanoi provide. Check out for more information!

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hanoi Street Food Tour

Best way to experience Vietnamese cuisine!

Day 2: Explore Around The City

In The Morning

  • Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Citadel

A 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. 

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artifacts, and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Citadel

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history

Location: 18 Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

Opening hours: All the week, except Monday, from 8:00 to 17:00

Entrance Fee: 

  • Adult: 30.000 VND (~ 1.3 US$) for Vietnamese and foreigners
  • Students: 15.000 VND (~ 0.7 US$) (Vietnamese ID, students card required)
  • Children under 15: Free

>>> Get your Customized Itinerary Planning to explore Hanoi to the fullest <<<

 

  • Ho Chi Minh Complex

Ho Chi Minh Complex is a complex of many architectures such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Stilt House...

Come here and you will gain an understanding of our Great Father life and his contribution to our country's independence.

>>> Join Hanoi FREE Tours run by AZ Local Trip (University Student guides) to have the best experience!

Location: Hung Vuong Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Opening hours: 

  • Monday: 8:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Tuesday to Sunday: 08:00 am - 17:00 pm
  • No open on other time

Entrance Fee: FREE for Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda; 40.000 VND/person for Ho Chi Minh Museum and Ho Chi Minh Stilt House

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Ho Chi Minh Complex

Visit this destination to gain an understanding of our Great Father life

  • Temple of literature

The Temple of Literature holds a wealth of history and numerous stories within the grounds as it was the first university in Vietnam. 

Learn about why the Stork stands on the tortoise, what the tortoise statues/headstones depict. If you are lucky enough to go during graduation times you'll see the lovely uniforms and dresses worn by the students.

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The Temple of Literature is a quiet place where one can learn about Vietnam's culture.

In The Afternoon

  • Museum of Ethnology

As Vietnam is a multi-ethnic nation composed of 54 ethnic groups, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology plays an important role in preserving and presenting the cultural heritage of various ethnic groups.

This place is a must-see for people who want to have more knowledge about Vietnamese histories and culture. There're many displays and activities here so that you can spend a whole afternoon here. 

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If you want to have some knowledge about Vietnamese histories and culture, the museum of ethnology is a good choice

That is the end of our option 1 for Hanoi Itinerary 2 days. Now let's move on to option 2.

2. Option 2: Hanoi 1 day, Ninh Binh 1 day 

Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter - Hanoi French Quarter

Just like option 1, you can take the itinerary I've written on the first day in Hanoi above.

Day 2: Ninh Binh (Hoa Lu - Tam Coc)

For a day trip outside Hanoi, Ninh Binh would be a perfect destination. Ninh Binh is 2 hours away from Hanoi and you have to go from 8:00 in the morning. 

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Tam Coc is worth a trip outside of Hanoi

In The Morning

  • Visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, King Dinh, and King Le's Temples.
  • Have lunch at a local restaurant and try local cuisine.

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Com Chay Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh specialty - bring this scorched rice home for gifts is a great choice

In The Afternoon

  • Get on a boat ride in Tam Coc, ride through Ngo Dong River for 1.5 hours
  • Get back to Hanoi 

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Tam Coc

The magnificent scenery only saw on movies

Above the 2 options, what is your choice? I hope that my suggestion will work well, and you will have an unforgettable time in Hanoi.

Or else, feel free to contact AZ Local Trip for a FREE itinerary planning, customized just for you!

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Based on choices of travellers earlier this year