One day in Hanoi – What to do in Hanoi for a day

Lê Ngọc Minh Châu - October 26, 2018

Having been a tour guide for international tourists for a few years, I have gained precious experience in organizing day trips.

Though one day is quite a limited amount of time, you can still manage to see the realist of Hanoi with well-selected destinations.

Hope that AZ Local Trip's suggestion for your 1-day itinerary (including budget, what to see in Hanoi in one day, transportation guide) will help.

See Also:    

II. Detailed What to do in Hanoi for a day

II.1. Morning in Hanoi (out of the old quarter)

Ho Chi Minh Complex – Temple of Literature

normally, travelers stay in the old quarter of Hanoi, and start their day by going around the Old Quarter, but if you want to explore and go inside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, there is only choice which is visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in the morning (It is only open in the morning as the information below

Opening hours

  • Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Closing days: Monday, Friday
  • Hot season (from 1st April to 31st October): from 7:30 AM to 10:30 A(Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Cold season (from November 1 to March 31 of the following year): from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Entrance fee: Free (Address: 25 Hung Vuong street)

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Entrance fee: 40.000VND(Address: 25 Hung Vuong street)

This attraction requires dress code, see more Ho Chi Minh Museum


Let's start a day in Hanoi by having

Breakfast with banh mi (Near your hotel) - the world's best sandwich? - BBC

“The most important thing about banh mi is the bread. It has to be fresh -- crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.”

Huynh Huu Phuoc, Eat Hoi An

Banh Mi is The king of sandwiches, which brings together several cultural traditions all in one crispy bun, namely a golden French baguette (introduced to Vietnam by French colonists in the late 19th century), pork pâté, Chinese char siu (barbecued pork), American hamburger meat, mayonnaise and a mix of Vietnamese herbs and chili sauces.

You can not miss this when visiting Hanoi

Banh Mi for breakfast

Banh mi Hanoi for breakfast

After breakfast, the next destination as I mentioned above is Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the attraction there)

Destination 1: Ho Chi Minh Complex

It is hard to say that you have come to Hanoi without paying a visit to this top national historic site. Just grab your chance to gain an understanding of the Vietnamese leading figure as well as part of Vietnamese history.

  • 1. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum is the place where remains the body of Ho Chi Minh ( the first president of Vietnam)

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was officially started on September 2, 1973, at the site of the old stand between Ba Dinh Square. The mausoleum was inaugurated on August 29, 1975. The mausoleum consists of three layers with the height of 21.6 meters, the lower layer forms the three steps, the middle layer is the central structure of the mausoleum consisting of corpses and corridors , stairs up and down.

Now Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the top must-see in Hanoi.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The architectural combination of both Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow and distinctive Vietnamese features has always made a deep impression on me.

  • 2. Ho Chi Minh Stilt House

The complex is built to remind people of Ho Chi Minh, so there is not only the Mausoleum, there is aslo "Stillt house", The modest stilt house demonstrates a frugal life of President Ho Chi Minh. Through that, you can understand why he has won the heart and respect of all Vietnamese generations. The cozy atmosphere prevailing in this lovely house makes this my favorite destination in the complex.  

Only 5-minute walk from the mausoleum will take you to the second attraction within Ho Chi Minh Complex. 

  • Location: No.1 Bach Thao Street, Ngoc Ha Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi 100000
  • 3. One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda is one of the two most iconic Buddhist temples in Vietnam. You will be surprised by the unique architectural feature which gave the pagoda the name One Pillar.

According to the ancient, the temple was built by King Ly Thai Tong in the winter of 1049. The ancient story also saved the story of Ly Thai Tong king who dreamed of sitting meditating Buddha sitting on the lotus blaze, go to radio.

Dreaming the king built the One Pillar Pagoda with the same architecture as in the dream. From there one can see a pagoda with a unique column structure, the lotus head rising up in the middle of Lake Linh Chieu in Thang Long.

After setting up the temple, King Ly Anh Tong often went to prayer. Soon after, the Queen gave birth to a handsome prince. Given that the Buddha's blessing, King Ly to repair the temple and set up a temple next to One Pillar Pagoda to give thanks.

Destination 2: Temple of Literature

You can take a 20-minute walk to the first official educational institution of Vietnam.

Today, Quoc Tu Giam is a place to attract a lot of tourists to Hanoi. Not only is the witness of the thousand years of Hanoi capital, Quoc Tu Giam is also the school "born" many talented talent for the country. Follow the tourists to visit Hanoi, AZ Local Trip would like to introduce the Quoc Tu Giam Temple - the first university in Vietnam to you.


A lot of students particularly flock here before examinations to pray for luck. Temple of Literature is also a common spot for students to shoot photos for their yearbook.

Noticeably, Ong Do (Vietnamese calligraphers) sit patiently inside or around the Literature Temple to produce great meaningful handwritings on red paper.

Before the entrance exam to university, I came here for a calligraphy of the word "Đỗ" (pass) and it really did bring me good fortune.

See the Hanoi City Tours

II.2. Afternoon - Hanoi Old Quarter

A bowl of Pho Hanoi

A Steaming bowl of pho for lunch

AZ Local Trip suggests having a steaming bowl of pho to recharge yourself before resuming your adventure.

  • Pho 24 at 61 Van Mieu Street is a good choice and it is only 500 meters from Temple of Literature.

Hoan Kiem Lake

It is okay to either catch bus route 23 (or 18, 34) or take a taxi to Hoan Kiem Lake – the heart of Hanoi.

Enjoying a leisurely stroll around the lake is always the best way to indulge yourself in the everyday active life of Hanoian. Local people often do exercises here. 

Hoan Kiem Lake

Everyday activities around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

Dong Xuan Market

a local market for both locals and tourists to buy what you need during your stay in Hanoi! With its combination of charming French colonial architecture and Buddhist temples and pagodas, the Old Quarter of thirty-six streets is a unique commercial district.

Hanoi Ancient House

The 87 Ma May Old House is one of the few houses preserved and preserved by the Hanoi Government as a tourist attraction, exhibiting and providing information on the history of Hanoi. This is one of the cultural addresses that travelers should not miss  when travel to Hanoi.

Hanoi Ancient House was a typical house of Hanoi in the past. It was built in 1010 in Ly dynasty and still maintained as a symbol of Vietnam architecture!, you will have chance of knowing more about daily life of Vietnamese people.

II.3. Evening in Hanoi

Lang Toi (My Village)

see an reviews on Tripadvisor for my Village Show

  • Like Cirque de Soleil of Vietnam


I went to this show without any expectations and came away amazed at how the performers were able to weave incredible feats of strength and acrobatics with Vietnamese music and Vietnamese cultural stories. Wonderful show that I'm happy to recommend to anyone visiting Hanoi. It would be great to see more Vietnamese themselves attending the show. The theater was filled mostly with foreigners.


If you get to only see one show in Hanoi then this is the one! The stunning old Hanoi Opera House looks like an opera house in Paris or Rome. The show is a Northern Vietnamese cultural show performed with acrobatics using Bamboo poles etc and beautiful traditional musical instruments. It goes for one hour and refreshments are served beforehand. I also suggest buying on their own website as it seems tickets are cheaper then on other websites. Really beautiful show. Very talented performers.

The show is super!

Lang Toi Performance in Hanoi

Price: From  630,000 VND  to 2,000,000 VND

Hanoi Night market (Friday to Sunday)

Going to night market in Hanoi is one of the worthwhile things to do in Hanoi not only for the food but also for the atmosphere. This seems to become more of habit and hobby of the Hanoians although their purpose for going there is not always for shopping. They sometimes visit the night market just to immerse in the lively and bustling atmosphere of Hanoi, and to gather with their friends to talk, chat, and enjoy their favorite snacks.

Dinner with bun cha (Obama) 

Former US President Barack Obama had a meal at a local bun cha restaurant during his visit to Vietnam in 2016. This unique and delicious yet affordable dish has certainly left a favorable impression on many international tourists to Hanoi. then, Have a Hanoi Beer, It is interesting for foreign visitors to find out that drinking beer is a huge part of Hanoi street culture, especially among the youth.

Some streets in Hanoi Old Quarter such as Ta Hien or Luong Ngoc Quyen are packed with people coming for beer from 7 pm to midnight.

A savory Bun Cha Hanoi

The savory Bun cha with the tasty Golden color of fried Nem

  • Bun Cha Obama
  • 24 Le Van Huu, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam
  • +84 96 696 26 83

III. Local tips for 1 day in Hanoi

Budget for one day in Hanoi

Sightseeing entrance fee Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House $1.75
Temple of Literature $1.32
Meals Breakfast $1.5
Lunch $2-4
Dinner $3-6
Local beer $2-5
Transportation Taxi ≈$8
Bus $0.3/ride
Cyclo $4-8

You may approximately spend $40 in total for one day in Hanoi.

  • Dressing properly (no shorts, mini skirt or tank-top) is a must when visiting Ho Chi Minh Complex. You had better wear trainers because of a long walk.
  • You cannot smoke, drink and eat inside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Stilt House, One Pillar Pagoda and Temple of Literature.
  • You can only take pictures or videotape under allowance at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Temple of Literature.
  • You are advised to make a deal in advance with the taxi drivers.
  • Hanoi Nightlife