Are you looking for a suitable Hanoi Itinerary 5 days that satisfies your wanderlust?
First off, if you are planning a short trip to Hanoi then 5 days is a reasonable time, not to long, not too short to explore this city to the fullest.
So what do you do for 5 days in this chaotic, colorful, scooter-infested, 1,000-year-old city? As a local person, born and raised in Hanoi, I have some recommendations for the best experience during your 5 days in this capital, including where to go and what to do.
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Now, let's check out some of the sample 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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This option covers 3 days in Hanoi and 2 days in Halong Bay. 3 days in Hanoi is a 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,... Save time for 2 days spent in Halong Bay and this will be highlight of your trip. An overnight on cruise in Halong Bay might be 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 with 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.
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Option 2 covers 3 destinations including Hanoi, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh (Hoa Lu Tam Coc). You will have 2 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay (overnight on cruise) and 1 day in Ninh Binh. 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
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 preserves 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 newcomers, to know more about Hanoi and this may help you to arrange the most suitable tour route
Notes: You should do a free walking tours in Hanoi, with AZ Local NPO an non-profit orginazation including local university students will be volunteer guides, student guides doing free tours as the way to improve their English skills, you have chance to discover Hanoi.
In The Evening
Hanoi’s nightlife scene offers a multitude of interesting things to see and places to go well after the sun sets.
After a long and tired 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.
Fot the second day in Hanoi, this is the perfect time to do a Hanoi City Tour. There are many agencies that provide Free City Tours in Hanoi, you can check out here
>>> Discover Hanoi With Hanoi Free Tours.
Below are the map of some important destinations you must see.
Ho Chi Minh Complex:
Hoa Lo Prison:
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.
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.
Notes for your Hanoi City Tours:
Take on a Foodie Adventure
Vietnamese food has been gaining some popularity in recent years. It'd be such a waste if you don't taste these local food 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.
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.
For all the tours to Hanoi, check out Hanoi package deals.
It's time to go far from Hanoi to explore more of this beautiful country. We suggest you go to Halong Bay - the UNNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site. It'll take 3.5 hours from Hanoi to Halong Bay if you go by car. And according to our experience, you must dpend 2 days in Halong Bay to enjoy the most out of this beautiful landscape. Your itinerary will be as below:
Depart from Hanoi to Halong Bay in the early morning and arrive around lunch time, get on a cruise.
Have lunch on a cruise while passing many beautiful islands of Halong
Visit Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave: Situated in the centre 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.sung Sot Cave is on the same island with Trinh Nu cave. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. The cave has 2 chambers. The outer chamber is square and is often referred to as the waiting room. The cave’s ceiling is approximately 30 m high. The walls are almost perfectly smooth as if it was built by man. The walls generate a variety of colors that blend with the setting of the area.
Amazing view from the peak of Titov Island in Halong Bay
As one of the tourist name Stephen says: "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."
Notes for Halong Bay:
The fourth day will be spent in Halong Bay. It depends on the itinerary of your cruise, but normally, the brief itinerary will be:
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 wat to explore more, you can visit these places:
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 diveristy in ethnic minorities culture. Sapa 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 City 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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let's see what to do for these 5 days?
2.1. Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Sapa – Hanoi
Day 1: Arrival – Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology – The Old Quarter – Water Puppet Show – Cyclo ride
Day 2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Sapa
Day 3: Lao Cai – Mong Sen – Ta Phin
Day 4: Cat Cat Village – Heaven gate – Back to Hanoi
Day 5: Shopping in Hanoi - Hanoi Departure
2.2. Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Halong – Hanoi
Day 1: Hanoi Arival - 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
For a tourist, spending 1-2 days should be enough to reach all main sites. Therefore, the other days are for other places out of Hanoi. Take a look at our Hanoi Itinerary for 6 days and Hanoi Itinerary for 7 days.