Are you looking for a suitable Hanoi Itinerary 5 days that satisfy your wanderlust? Then you're on the right page!
First off, if you are planning a short trip to Hanoi then 5 days is a reasonable time, not too long, not too short to explore this city to the fullest.
So what do you do for 5 days in this chaotic, colorful and scooter-infested 1.000-year-old city? As a local, born and raised in Hanoi, I have some recommendations for your best experience in those 5 days, including all the where to go and what to do that you need to know!
Now, let's check out some of the samples Hanoi 5 days 4 nights itinerary to see “What to do in Hanoi for 5 days” and let the journey feed your soul.
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Table of Contents
This option covers 3 days in Hanoi and 2 days in Halong Bay.
3 days in Hanoi is plenty of time and there is a variety of interesting things that you could do here such as explore Hanoi culture and history through Hanoi City Tour, try tasty street food in Hanoi street food tour, enjoy Hanoi nightlife and so on.
Save time for 2 days spent in Halong Bay and this will be the highlight of your trip. Overnight on cruise in Halong Bay might be a one-of-a-kind experience.
This 5 days 4 nights itinerary is the most popular among customers since it's a good compromise between relaxation and activity.
Moreover, this itinerary is easy and suitable for everyone, from groups of friends, families with elders or kids to solo travelers.
In this option, the itinerary is the same as the one above but day 3 and day 4 will be spent in Sapa as the alternative to Halong Bay.
Sapa is a small town in Northern Vietnam with beautiful sceneries. However, you will have to do some of the walking and trekking down to the villages and valleys so it might be a little bit tiring for elders or kids.
So that this itinerary is more suitable for young and middle-aged people. Anyways, the itinerary is relaxing and not a too rush one.
Free Walking Tours in Hanoi with local university students on CNN
If you want to get local experiences like CNN journalist, hesitate no more and contact with Hanoi Free Local Tours - AZ Local NPO!
By choosing this itinerary, you will have a chance to stay in the bustling capital, see and enjoy beach activities and also admire the spectacular limestone karst landscapes.
This 5 days itinerary is suitable for everyone, including groups, families and solo travelers.
Even though the itinerary looks rush but it doesn't at all since Halong Bay and Ninh Binh are both very relaxing.
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Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter Free Walking Tour with local guides
Hanoi is the perfect place for traveling with friends, family or even solo
Old Quarter Hanoi is known as the place to save the ancient culture, the memory of times and this has become the reason why many visitors visit here once in their life.
Located in the prime destination – the center of Hanoi, Old Quarter Hanoi has preserved the characteristics of this lands, memories of history, people and country. Through the ups and downs, the streets are still alive to this day.
There are some recommends for you, especially you are a newcomer, to know more about Hanoi and this may help you to arrange the most suitable tour route
Notes: You should do a FREE Walking Tour in Hanoi, with AZ Local NPO - a non-profit organization including local university students will be volunteer guides, student guides have a chance to do free tours as the way to improve their English skills and you have a chance to discover Hanoi in the eyes of locals!
Wandering the Old Quarter, don't miss the amazing street foods here!
In The Evening
Hanoi at night offers a multitude of interesting things to see and places to go well after the sun sets.
After a long and tiring day of touring around this exquisite and beautiful city, tourists can now have some free time for themselves and enjoy the fun yet relaxed nightlife in Hanoi. So what to do in Hanoi at night?
Night in Hanoi is the only time when you can have a great time without getting burned by the heating sun or getting worn out by tours after tours.
The streets are bustling and packed with local and expats which you can make friends with along the way and get the know Hanoi from the view of true Hanoians.
See and do what locals do is the best way to experience Hanoi!
Notes: Depending on your arrival, you can choose whether to start exploring Hanoi immediately or simply take a Pho or Bun Cha as a warm-up for the city tour tomorrow.
Day 2: Hanoi free city tours: Ho Chi Minh Complex – Hoa Lo Prison – Temple of Literature – Water Puppet Show
For the second day in Hanoi, this is the perfect time to do a Hanoi City Tour and again think about AZ Local NPO that provides FREE City Tours in Hanoi, and remember to take the water puppet show in advance to skip the waiting line.
Water puppet performance is more than art. It can bring you a deep understanding of Vietnamese wet rice cultivation
Visit inside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (a must-go attraction). If you have time, watch the “guard changing” at Ba Dinh Square which happens at 6 a.m every morning.
Ba Dinh Square – one of the attractions in Ho Chi Minh Complex: it is the name of a square in Hanoi where president Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945. It is named after the Ba Đình Uprising, an anti-French rebellion that occurred in Vietnam in 1886–1887 as part of the Cần Vương movement
Visit Ho Chi Minh House’s on Stilts: This humble, traditional stilt house where Ho lived intermittently from 1958 to 1969 is set in a well-tended garden adjacent to a carp-filled pond and has been preserved just as he left it. The clear views through the open doorways and windows give an insight more fascinating than most museum mementos.
It’s now used for official receptions and isn’t open to the public, but visitors may wander the grounds if sticking to the paths.
Have you ever heard of Uncle Ho – the most beloved Vietnamese president of all time? Or you know about him but there are a lot of mysterious things making you curious? Ho Chi Minh museum – one of the places in Ho Chi Minh Complex – has all the answers to your curiousness. So what about visiting the museum and gaining knowledge of the greatest man in Vietnamese history.
This thought-provoking site is all that remains of the former Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US prisoners of war (POWs) during the American War.
Most exhibits relate to the prison’s use up to the mid-1950s, focusing on the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France. A gruesome relic is the ominous French guillotine, used to behead Vietnamese revolutionaries.
There are also displays focusing on the American pilots who were incarcerated at Hoa Lo during the American War. These pilots include Pete Peterson (the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995) and Senator John McCain (the Republican nominee for the US presidency in 2008).
McCain’s flight suit is displayed, along with a photograph of Hanoi locals rescuing him from Truc Bach Lake after being shot down in 1967.
Hanoi Hilton - a Hell on earth or a 5-star hotel?
The vast prison complex was built by the French in 1896. Originally intended to house around 450 inmates, records indicate that by the 1930s there were close to 2000 prisoners.
Hoa Lo was never a very successful prison, and hundreds escaped its walls over the years – many squeezing out through sewer grates.
Address: 1 Hoa Lo Street, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
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In The Evening
Vietnamese food has been gaining some popularity in recent years. It'd be such a waste if you don't taste these local foods while you're staying in Vietnam.
Luckily, Hanoi as the capital of Vietnam is where all the best dishes are gathered. Just wander around Hanoi Old Quarter and you'll find many street food vendors.
Bun rieu cua - famous dish for any visitor
Bun Cha (Rice Noodle with Grilled Pork)
Wanna try the food that the Former President of US – Barack Obama tasted during his visit in Hanoi? Bun Cha is what I’m talking about!
Bún chả is a Vietnamese dish of grilled pork and noodle, which is thought to have originated from Hanoi, Vietnam. Bún chả is served with grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodle and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce
Coffee made from Egg? No way! This seems the most curious drink that makes tourists, as well as locals, want to try.
The beverage is made from egg yolk, Vietnamese coffee powder, condensed milk and cheese. These ingredients may sound weird for a coffee-related beverage but don’t worry, it doesn’t taste sickly or eggy but brings the taste of surprisingly light and sweet vanilla.
Day 3 (Halong Bay day 1): Hanoi – Halong Bay – Sung Sot Cave – Titov Island
It's time to go far from Hanoi to explore more of this beautiful country. We suggest you go to Halong Bay - the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site. It'll take about 2 to 3.5 (Depending on types of cruise and day trip that you are planning to do) hours from Hanoi to Halong Bay if you go by car.
And according to our experience, you should spend 2 days in Halong Bay to enjoy the most out of this beautiful landscape instead of a day tour to there. of you can not afford to visit Halong bay for 2 days, choose the cruise with 6 or 7 hours in the bay.
Halong Bay Itinerary 2 days by AZlocaltrip
Your itinerary will be as below
Have lunch on a cruise while passing many beautiful islands of Halong
Visit Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave):
Situated in the center of the UNESCO-declared World Heritage area, the Sung Sot or Surprise Grotto is on Bo Hon Island and is one of the finest and widest grottoes of Ha Long Bay.
Ascending to the grotto, the way is covered by trees and foliage and consists of great paved stone blocks.
The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. Among the 2 chambers, the outer chamber is square and is often referred to as the waiting room.
The cave’s ceiling is approximately 30 meters high. The walls are almost perfectly smooth as if it was built by man and generate a variety of colors that blend with the setting of the area.
Amazing view in Sung Sot cave Halong Bay
Titop Island sits at the heart of Halong Bay, just 8 kilometers to the southeast of Bai Chay Harbour.
Although it is relatively small, it’s regarded as one of the most picturesque islands in the bay and is a crowd favorite among Halong tourists.
Titop Island offers breathtaking landscapes, which can be viewed from a vantage point high up in the center of the island.
As Stephen, one of our previous tourist said "This is the perfect position for who want to take a high angle panoramic view of Halong Bay. I spend about 15-20 min to get to the top, not hard for me, but some elder people maybe get hard to do it. After that, you’ll see the amazing scene so you should do that."
Because of its close location to Bai Chay, Titop Island is included as a stop off in many cruise itineraries.
Also, tourists can find accommodation in any one of the numerous high-end resorts, hotels, restaurants and bars that have been constructed here.
Day 4 (Halong Bay day 2): Halong Bay – Luon (Hallow) Cave – Hanoi
The fourth day will be spent in Halong Bay. It depends on the itinerary of your cruise, but normally, the brief itinerary will be:
Luon Cave is located in the south of Halong Bay, about 14 kilometers to the south-east of Tuan Chau Island.
Situated on Bo Hon Island and only 1 kilometer away from Surprise Cave, this grotto is an open-air cave, exposed to the elements, and which can only be accessed by boat.
The cave is essentially a group of islands that have joined to form a brackish lake approximately 1 kilometer in circumference.
Day 5: Back to Hanoi and
For the last day of 5 days itinerary in Hanoi, we suggest you have a free and easy day as you'll have time to pack your bags, be ready for the departure flight.
But if you still have much time due to your departure time and want to explore more, you can visit these places:
Bat Trang Ceramics Village is an old, well-established village in the Gia Lâm district of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.
It is about 13 kilometers from central Hanoi. It is famous throughout Vietnam for its beautiful ceramics and the unique style of ceramics called Bát Tràng Porcelain.
The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a museum in Hanoi, Vietnam, which focuses on the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam.
It is located on a 43,799-square-metre property in the Cầu Giấy District, about 8 kilometers from the city center.
Don't skip Sapa if you stay in Hanoi for a long time
This itinerary skips Halong Bay and you'll go to Sapa instead. Sapa is a valley town in the north of Vietnam where there's a diversity in ethnic minorities culture. The place is known for its beautiful landscapes with rice terraces and mountainous area.
However, in Sapa, you'll have to do a lot of trekking and this is more suitable for young people and adventurous souls. If you just want to admire the beautiful scenery and relax, just stick with Halong Bay.
Day 1: Explore Hanoi Old Quarter and Hanoi Nightlife
Day 2: Hanoi Tours and Night Train to Sapa
Day 3: Sapa Trekking
Day 4: Visit Villages in Sapa and Back to Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi Departure (5 days finish)
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Or else, spend time in Ninh Binh and surround yourself with the magnificent scenery
Let's see what to do for these 5 days?
Day 1: Arrival – Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology – The Old Quarter – Water Puppet Show – Cyclo ride
Day 2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh Tours – Sapa
Take a boat ride into the hidden world with Ninh Binh trip!
Day 3: Lao Cai – Mong Sen – Ta Phin
>>> Or more exploration in Things to do in Sapa
Day 4: Cat Cat Village – Heaven gate – Back to Hanoi
Day 5: Shopping in Hanoi - Hanoi Departure
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival - Hanoi Old Quarter - Nightlife
Day 2: Hanoi – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu – Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay (Hon Gai Harbor – Bai Tu Long Bay – Cong Do – Cap La Island – Tra San)
Day 4: Dong Co Island – Hon Gai Harbor – Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi Departure
Above are all the recommendations for Hanoi 5 days itinerary. Follow your preferred one or GET YOUR OWN ITINERARY to explore Hanoi to the fullest!