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

Quản trị hệ thống - October 22, 2018

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

For anyone who is looking for what to do for 2 days in Hanoi, In this article, I would love to suggest a detailed 2-day Hanoi itinerary. 

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

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

Option 1: 2 days 1 night in Hanoi

Option 2: 1 day in Hanoi, 1 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:

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. 

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hanoi Old Quarter

Ta Hien street located right in the heart of Hanoi. 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 (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

Hanoi post office lies on the Hoan Kiem lakeside

  • Ngoc Son Temple

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

Opening hours: 8:00 - 18:00

Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND/person

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Ngoc Son Temple

The 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 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.

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

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

Opening hours: For 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.

>>> 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.

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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.

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

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

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

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hanoi Opera House

You may mistake that you are standing in Paris instead of Hanoi

  • 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. As a representative of the period of the 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 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 the 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 if you’re not watching where you’re walking the whole time. 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\she will also introduce you to the culture and teach you how to eat each dish as some Vietnamese dishes has their own way of eating to taste the best out of them. 

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

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hanoi Street Food Tour

Best way to experience the 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

  • 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.

Location: Hung Vuong Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

>>> Join Hanoi Free Tours run by AZ Local Trip (University Student guides)

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. This was the first university in Vietnam. 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 you'll see the lovely uniforms and dresses worn by the students.

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Temple of Literature

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. 

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Museum of Ethnology

If you want to have some knowledge about Vietnamese histories and culture, 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. You will reach Hoa Lu Ancient Capital first.

Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu 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 maleficent scenery only saw on movies

(Photo source: TheWanderBlogger)

Some of our recommendation:

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.