#3 DAY Hanoi Itinerary - Best Itinerary 3 full days in Hanoi trip

Lê Ngọc Minh Châu - November 02, 2018

Having a good Hanoi Itinerary is one of the most important and difficult to-be-done tasks when it comes to planning a trip to Hanoi. The research from Expedia shows that 86% of travelers see planning an itinerary boring and tired.

  • Where?
  • What?
  • When?
  • How?
  • and How Much?

are the questions need to be looking for!

Now, let with us find out what you can do for your Hanoi Itinerary especially for 3 full days in Hanoi

>>> See more: Vietnam itinerary & Things to do in Hanoi

1. Practical Information - Hanoi for 3 days itinerary

A fact that not many people know about is that this city – Hanoi is considered one of the oldest capitals in the world with a history of more than 1000 years. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that you can find ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas, colonial buildings and architectures, war museums within the center of Hanoi.

Meanwhile, Hanoi is still a growing city, trying to catch up with the fast and constant development of the world. That’s why Hanoi has this rushing and bustling side – a typical trait of a developing country’s capital.

  • Perfect Combination Of Tradition And Modernity

hanoi cathiral inside

Inside the St. Joseph's Cathedral - little Paris right in Hanoi's heart

What’s interesting about Hanoi is the perfect combination of tradition and modernity.

Visiting ancient temples or pagodas, you can get this peaceful and calm feeling with the influences of Buddhism. At war sites or museums, you get to learn much about the long yet tragic history of the war in Vietnam. Driving on the streets filled with motorbikes and constantly blaring horns, enjoying the vibrant nightlife with some fresh beer at Old Quarter Hanoi, you feel the hustle and bustle, the openness of this city.

Those are everything that makes Hanoi different from any other cities in Asia. And of course, worth to pay a visit!

  • Eat Your Heart Out

Vietnam is famously known for its authentic and mouth-watering cuisine. Some of them are selected as best street food in the world by popular and prestigious chefs and magazines such as CNN Travel. Lucky enough, Hanoi has all these food.

This is why nobody comes to Hanoi and leaves without trying this kind of dishes. Even President Barack Obama can’t hesitate giving praises to Bun Cha – a famous dish while visiting Hanoi.

Bun Cha Hanoi

"Cha ca La Vong" - the taste of paradise

  • Best Time To Visit Hanoi

Hanoi is located in the North of Vietnam and has 4 seasons in a year: Spring (February to April), Summer (May to August), Autumn (September to October) and Winter (November to January).

Each season has its unique traits and holidays. Spring is fun and many festivals are held, especially the traditional TET Holiday. Summer is time for school-break and traveling, all destinations are highly active during this period. Autumn is a perfect time to travel since the weather is good and the scenery here in Hanoi is truly beautiful. Winter is cold in Hanoi. The weather could be dark and foggy so that it might not be the ideal time to visit Hanoi.

A girl in Hanoi train street

Do you want to take risk visiting this Hanoi Train Street?

>>> For details and considerations, please read more in Best time to visit Hanoi.

  • Language in Hanoi:

Of course Vietnamese is the main language. However, staff work in hotels, tour guide, and drivers can speak English so you don’t have to worry about it. Many local agencies in Hanoi provide English-speaking tour guides also. Still, it’s fun and better to learn some basic Vietnamese words in case you need it.

The only currency used in Vietnam is called Vietnamese Dong (VND). The Vietnamese dong (VND) come in polymerized and normal paper notes with multiple zeroes. Check the internet for the latest exchange rate because it changes over time.

Vietnam Currency

Exchange rate in Hanoi

In Hanoi, you can exchange money in banks or in gold and jewelry shops. Visa, Mastercard and JCB are now widely accepted in Vietnam. ATMs will only dispense VND, even when your account is originally in other currencies. The amount of money you want to withdraw will be automatically changed from your home currency to VND based on the bank quoted rate at that time.

  • Hanoi Electricity: Hanoi uses type A, C and D power sockets like the rest of Vietnam. The standard voltage is 110 V/220 V. Make sure you have a power plug adapter when traveling to Vietnam.
  • Wifi/Internet: Wifi can be found everywhere in Hanoi, from restaurants, hotels to shopping malls. In case you can’t find any Wifi, you need to use 3G data. You have to buy a Vietnamese Sim card and install 3G data.

2. Where To Stay in Hanoi 

There are 5 areas tourists normally stay in Hanoi which are: Hoan Kiem District, Tay Ho District (West Lake), Ba Dinh District, Hai Ba Trung District, Dong Da District. 

Hoan Kiem District is definitely the most popular and crowded area. You can easily find many hotels from luxury to budget ones in Hoan Kiem District. Hanoi French Quarter is home to more luxury and high-class hotels than the Hanoi Old Quarter. However, Hanoi Old Quarter is the center of the city. Just come down the street, you will find everything you need and it’s easy for you to go around.

Tay Ho District and Ba Dinh District are for the peace-seekers. If Hoan Kiem District is too noisy for you, then stay in these 2 areas. Tay Ho District is known for its romantic atmosphere with the best sunset view in Hanoi.

Hai Ba Trung District and Dong Da District are 2 other options. The advantage is that hotels in these areas are cheaper than those in the 3 areas mentioned above. Hai Ba Trung and Dong Da District are near the center of the city which is Hoan Kiem District so it’s not hard to discover around the city.

>>> Check out our hand-picked Hanoi Package Tours <<<

 

3. Getting Around Hanoi - Tips for your Hanoi trip

From Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi

Bus from Noi Bai airport

Bus from Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi

There are 4 main ways to get from Noi Bai Airport - A Complete Guide In Hanoi Airport to Hanoi

  • Book a Grab car: use wifi at Noi Bai Airport to book a Grab car. Remember to install the app if you don’t have it on your phone

  • Traditional Taxi: Call a reputable taxi brand to avoid scams. The taxis that wait outside the airport and call for your attention might be scammed. Be careful with that.

  • Private Car: Contact a tourist agency to book a private car. 

  • Bus: look for the 86 Bus Line at Terminal 2, the price is VND 30.000/ticket

  • Taxi: Again, look for the reputable brands in Hanoi or you will get scammed. It’s better to ask for the hotel receptionist to help you with this before going anywhere.

  • Cyclo: Cyclo is a unique mean of transportation in Hanoi. If you have time, try to go on a cyclo tour around Hanoi Old Quarter.  

  • GrabCar/GrabBike: You need Wifi or 3G to book a Grab. However, most Grab drivers don’t speak English.

  • Bus: If you want to go somewhere, check carefully the bus routes or you will get lost. The price per ticket is VND 7.000

  • Other: Biking and walking can be done if the destination is near.

>>> See more information for Noi Bai airport here

4. Cost and Budget in Hanoi

Vietnam Expenses

How much is enough for a day in Hanoi?

Cost of Accommodation in Hanoi

The value of money for accommodation was astounding, The quality of the rooms are different from different hotels, depending on how careful you will be while choosing the hotel

  • Dorm beds: 100.000 – 150.000 VND (5 - 7 US$) whilst

  • Private rooms and hotels: 350.000 - 800.000VND (15 - 40 US$) with breakfast included.

 

 

Cost of Food & Drink in Hanoi

  • A bowl of Pho (beef noodle soup, Vietnam’s #1 dish): 30.000 VND (1.30 US$). However, sit down restaurants are slightly more expensive with an average dish ranging from 100.000 - 200.000 VND (4 - 8 US$).
  • 1 liter of water at the convenience store: 15.000 VND (0.60 US$) whilst

  • A beer or soft drink at restaurants: about 25.000 – 35.000 VND (1 - 2 US$).

Obviously, meals in touristic parts of the country are noticeably higher upwards of 250.000 VND (10 US$) but to be honest, they aren’t as good as the street food! Vietnam was very hygienic so don’t be scared of the street food. 

Hanoi street food

Street foods are eye-catching and taste beyond amazing

 

 

Cost of Transport in Hanoi

  • Bus: A ticket is 7.000 VND and you can only pay in cash

  • Taxi: Fitted with reliable meters, the starting price for taxi costs between 10.000 VND and 15.000 VND per kilometer

  • Train (For Hanoi to Sapa or go to the south) Buses are the cheapest way to get around Vietnam and run continuously from North to South and vise versa. Long distance (15 hours) was no more than 20 US$.

>>> Everything is included in How Much Will I Spend In Hanoi? make sure you check this out. And the list of Hanoi travel agents for the best travel planning!

5. Itinerary for 3 days in Hanoi 

Ok, hesitate no more, plan your own 3 Days in Hanoi by getting a glimpse of these selected options:

OPTION 1:

  • Day 1: Arrival – explore the nostalgic beauty of the Old Quarter

  • Day 2: Around the city with Free Local Guides (AZ Local NPO) offering Hanoi Free Walking Tours

Hanoi free tour

2 journalists from Singapore visiting Temple of literature with local guides from AZlocal NPO

  • Day 3: Bat Trang Village ( 13 kilometers from the center of Hanoi)

OPTION 2:

  • Day 1: Arrival – wander around the Old Quarter and French Quarter

  • Day 2: Day trip to Ninh Binh (80 kilometers from Hanoi – 2.5 hours on Bus ) or Halong Bay (120 kilometers from Hanoi 4 hours on a bus)

  • Day 3: Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature

Tam Coc Boat Ride

The enchanted landscape of Ninh Binh

Note:

  • With a 3 Days 2 Nights travel duration, it is recommendable to say that staying in the city for deeply discover the daily local life, as well as its culture, would be the best decision.

  • However, the Day trip to other destinations out of Hanoi for 1 day would be in the best condition. Consider Day Tours recommended by AZ local trip

NOW GO INTO THE DETAILS!

Option 1: 3 Days in Hanoi

  • Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter

As people said, The Old Quarter is the soul of Hanoi that rhythm of modern life can hardly affect this area. Much of Hanoi charm lies in the Old Quarter, but sometimes you need a little local knowledge to locate them. Following the map below, you won’t be lost in this “maze”.

Daily time (The Old Quarter)

  • Destinations: Visiting Bach Ma Temple, Ancient House, Dong Xuan Market, Long Bien Bridge, Hoan Kiem Lake. For more things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter, click here for more information.
  • Budget: From 5 US$/pax

You can choose whether to visit all of the destinations listed on the map or just follow the route for a concise overview of the area. However, make sure you don’t miss the top attractions as mentioned above.

Old Quarter Map

Top attractions in Hanoi

At night (Ta Hien Street)

  • Exploring the Hanoi nightlife  like a local

  • Beering, chilling and chatting with friends or locals. The Ta Hien Beer Street comes to live at about 18:00. You can grab some beer or join the nightclubs.

  • Budget: Form 5 US$/pax

Ta Hien At night

Ta Hien beer street

Going to the main sites for 3 days Hanoi itinerary and getting to know more about the city through the now – and- then stories related to each site.

In The Morning:

  • Visiting inside the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

  • Visiting Ho Chi Minh’s House on Stilts

  • Enjoy the unique structure of One Pillar Pagoda

  • Budget: From 4 US$/pax for visiting. From 4 US$ for a taxi ride

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh complex - almost the Hanoi destinations just in one place

Note:

  • You should not bring too many belongings since the security here is quite tight.

  • Be ready to be queuing since this is one of the most attractive places

In The Afternoon: Museum of Ethnology - West Lake - Tran Quoc Pagoda

Museum of ethonology

"Rong" house, a highlight of Museum of Ethnology

  • Museum of Ethnology: exploring the daily activities of each ethnic group and joining Vietnamese Traditional Games outside. (Entrance fee: 2 US$/pax). The museum is really large and has a lot of things to see. It’s closing time is 17:30 and the museum doesn’t close for lunchtime so you can consider spending 2 hours or less to explore all the customs of each ethnic minority of Vietnam.

  • West lake – Tran Quoc Pagoda: visiting the oldest Pagoda of Hanoi with Beautiful buddhas and Boddhisatvas statues inside the main temple.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Romantic view at the noon of Tran Quoc Pagoda

In The Evening

  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: attend a water puppet show - a traditional performance of Vietnamese people. (Ticket: 100.000 - 200.000 VND). Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre opens daily at 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00.

  • Hanoi Street Food Tour: go on a Hanoi foodie adventure and taste some of the best local cuisines. Some agencies are providing Free Street Food Tour, you can check out

Day 3: Bat Trang Ceramics Village

As it is the last day, you should consider visiting Bat Trang pottery village which takes you morning and a haft of an afternoon, based on your departure time.

Bat Trang Village is quite far from the center of Hanoi. You should get up early and know exactly how to get there. If you prefer public transportation, catch Bus No.47 from Long Bien bus station. Here, you can make pottery on a hand-powered wheel.

Bat Trang

Hand painting a ceramic vase

  • Budget: from 25 US$/pax/each choice

2 US$ for a bus but it would be more complicated for first-time visitors

2 US$ for making one pottery item

5 US$ for souvenirs

2 - 3 US$ for each food or drinks

That's all for our 3 days in Hanoi for Option 1. 

>>> Or do you want to get your own FREE ITINERARY PLANNING? <<<

Option 2: 3 days in Hanoi (2 days in Hanoi, 1 day trip to Ninh Binh or Halong Bay)

Day 1: Explore Hanoi French Quarter

French Quarter Hanoi map for tourists

Daytime:

As the first out of 3 days in Hanoi, visit Hanoi French Quarter. Located in the South of the famous Hoan Kiem Lake, French Quarter is not as its neighbor – The Old Quarter, but it represents for the charming and elegant Hanoi.

The area houses most of the city’s luxury restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and foreign embassies. Moreover, the area itself consists of lively history pieces of evidence from the French colonial period. Make sure you don't miss these destinations: St.Joseph's Cathedral, Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi Opera House.

 

After exploring Hanoi French Quarter, take a one-hour Cyclo ride around the Old Quarter after that is also a good idea for both chilling and feeling the sense of the local life here. Spending one hour on a Cyclo Ride is never a bad decision for both further discovering Hanoi and feeling the local life.

At night:

Explore Hanoi Nightlife. You can go to Ta Hien Beer Street, stroll around Hanoi Old Quarter or have fun in nightclubs.

Day 2: Out of Hanoi (Halong Bay or Ninh Binh)

As option 2 is made for ones who want to discover further Hanoi, you should take a full day trip to Ninh Binh province or Ha Long Bay on the second day.

Ninh Binh

If you choose, here are some routes for you:

In the morning, you will visit Bai Dinh Pagoda which is the biggest pagoda in Vietnam and holds many records. In the afternoon, you take a boat ride in Trang An - UNESCO World Heritage Site, enjoy the beautiful scenery and serene atmosphere. Remember to bring your camera since this is the perfect trip to take gorgeous photos.

Bai Dinh Tower

500 "La Han Buddha" statues along the hall of Bai Dinh Pagoda

In the morning, you will visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and King Dinh and King Le Temples. In the afternoon, you take a boat ride in Tam Coc through Ngo Dong River. Slowly riding through the caves and majestic landscapes.

Trang An Tam Coc

You can also try boating at Trang An and Tam Coc

Budget:

  • Group tour: from 50 US$/pax

  • Private tour: from 60 US$/pax

Halong Bay

If you prefer Halong Bay, these are some must-go and must-do:

  • Board on a cruise: Explore majestic caves, such as Sung Sot (Surprise) Cave, Dau Go Cave, Trinh Nu (Virgin) Cave, Thien Cung Cave,…

  • Visiting fishing villages: Cong Dam Village, Cua Van Village, Vung Vieng Village, Ba Hang Village

Halong Bay Kayaking

Kayaking in Halong Bay

 

Budget:

  • Group tour: from 55 US$/pax

  • Private tour: from 70 US$/pax

  • As the Halong 1 day tour included cruising so that the price depends on the criteria of your selected cruise and the number of your travel group.

Note: The limited duration could be a disadvantage if you don’t know how to arrange the time carefully, especially for day trips mentioned. 

>>> You can see: the Tips for Halong bay cruise

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature

Even though it is your last day in Hanoi, make it become meaningful by visiting the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh – the Great Father of Vietnamese people. Here, you will get to know more about the history of Vietnam through the stories of Ho Chi Minh’s life.

Ho Chi Minh statue

Statue of President Ho Chi Minh in Ho Chi Minh Museum

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (for visiting inside): ~ 2 US$/pax

  • Ho Chi Minh Museum: ~ 2 US$/pax

  • House on stilts: ~ 2 US$/pax

  • One Pillar Pagoda: free

  • Taxi ride (between destinations): ~ 2 US$

  • Temple of Literature: ~ 1.5 US$/pax

6. What to eat and drink in Hanoi - Hanoi Blog

Authentic must-try dishes of Hanoi

  • Pho: Everyone knows Pho and Pho in Hanoi the best. This noodle soup mainly consists of beef, rice noodle, cilantro and onions, broth. Several places for the best Pho you can ever find in Hanoi are: Pho Bat Dan (49 Bat Dan Street), Pho Ly Quoc Su (10 Ly Quoc Su Street), Pho Thin (13 Lo Duc Street)
  • Bun Cha: Bun Cha is another cannot-be-missed dish in Hanoi. Come to Bun Cha Huong Lien or Bun Cha Obama (24 Le Van Huu Street) to enjoy the best Bun Cha.
  • Banh Mi: Banh Mi is just amazing. The origin of Banh Mi is from France, but the Vietnamese people modify and make their own Banh Mi. Bami Bread in 98 Hang Bac Street is one of the delicious and popular Banh Mi brand in Hanoi.

Best Pho Hanoi

The signature dish of Hanoi -"Pho Bo"

 

 

Street Food Tour

For the drinks

  • Egg Coffee: You won’t want to miss this drink for sure even if you’re not a coffee fan. This amazing drink is unique and no one has ever shown any disappointment for this drink. You will find the best egg coffee at Giang Coffee, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street - the birthplace of egg coffee.
  • Ta Hien Beer: Ta Hien Street is the heaven for beer lovers. If you want water yourself in a world of cool beer don’t forget to take a stroll along the street.

>>> Read more: Where to eat in Hanoi?

Hanoi egg coffee

The famous egg coffee

7. Hanoi Tourist Scams

While Hanoi is a pretty tourist-friendly destination, there are still chances of scams for tourists. These are some infamous Hanoi scams you need to be careful of:

When exchanging money, be careful of exchange rates scams. If you exchange at banks, it’s not a worry. But if you exchange your money at jewelry shops, you should check the exact current exchange rates first.

Also, be aware that you may encounter a fake tour agency. These fake Vietnam Travel agencies (You can see the list of good travel agency here)  intend to have similar names to the real ones so that tourists may go to them. To avoid this scam, make sure you check with Google Map to go to the exact address of the agency.

Hanoi food cake

"Donuts" - one of the most scams in Hanoi

Taxi scams are also common. This scam happens when the driver asks you for a much higher price than the fixed rates after the drive. Ensure you get in a taxi that will agree to go by the meter. Or look for reputable companies such as Mai Linh Taxi (the remarkably green cab with its name “Mai Linh” on both sides, Taxi Van Xuan (the grey cab with a blue and a red line along both sides).

Last, be careful of bag snatching. Keep your valuables in hotels and if you have to bring it with you, pay attention to it especially when going into crowded places such as markets,...

Hope that this guide is detailed enough for you to preparing tour trip in the beautiful Hanoi. If you need any helps, please feel free to contact AZ Local Trip!

  • adam Jan 20, 2019

    my hubby and me are interested in a 5D4N Hanoi trip from 11-15 Jul 2019. I am interested in the itinerary you posted here. can you contact me on the price and what is included and excluded in the price?

  • elen Jan 20, 2019

    Hi, will you recommend Sapa in December? I have a week to spare, but Sapa seems abit unfriendly in the winter. I have been to Halong bay too. Excluding Sapa and Halong bay, is there anything to do for 6-7 days in / near Hanoi? Thanks!