BEST Things to do in Hanoi - Local Views

Nguyen Mai Huong - November 02, 2018

Many foreign tourists are in search of Top Things to do in Hanoi Vietnam. As a busy capital city of a developing country, Hanoi is placing increasing emphasis on promoting tourism.

There are now more and more interesting things to do offered to travellers.


I have been a tour guide for several years, so I have talked to many international friends about their experiences in Hanoi. This list of Top 10 Things to do in Hanoi Vietnam is compiled based on their most favourite tourist attractions and activities.

Whether you have got a romantic soul or an adventurous spirit or a lifelong passion for food, my blog will have something for your wish.

I will mention the main feature of each thing so that you can make your own decision.

Things To Do in Hanoi (Attractions, Foods and Activities)

I. Top Tourist Attractions in Hanoi

1. Main Places to Visit in Hanoi

Visiting major tourist attractions cannot be excluded from any lists of top things to do in Hanoi for sure.

Old Quarter Hanoi – A Journey To The Past Of Hanoi City

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, […]

Hanoi French Quarter – French Architecture In The Heart of Vietnam’s Capital

I. Overview of Hanoi French Quarter Is there Hanoi French Quarter in the heart of Hanoi? Why do we call French Quarter but not Vietnamese Quarter? Perhaps you heard about Hanoi French Quarter before, but you don’t have much information about it, right? If you are unsure where it is, let me introduce some interesting […]

St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi – The Notre Dame de Paris of Hanoi

St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi I. Overview of St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi You want to see a destination in Hanoi with different architecture rather than Asian architecture? You are a Christian and want to find a cathedral to both pray and explore the Catholicism in an Asian country? Saint Joseph’s Cathedral would be the perfect place 

  • Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, One Pillar Pagoda

Hanoi Temple of Literature – Vietnam’s First National University (1000 Year-Old)

Temple of Literature in Hanoi Overview Temple of Literature Hanoi is especially noted for one of the must-see tourist destinations in Hanoi since it is one of the iconic symbols of Hanoi. Not only does it host the first university of Vietnam but it also boasts a temple of Confucius in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Temple of literature 2 - Things to do in Hanoi_20181107114132.jpg

Hoa Lo Prison – A Horrible Prison or A 5-Star Hilton Hotel?

If you want to take a really deep down into Vietnamese history, Hoa Lo prison is a must-visit destination during your Hanoi trip. Why? Because there are facts you will never know unless you pay a visit to there. Hoa Lo prison (also known as Maison Centrale or Hanoi Hilton) would help you to have […]

One Pillar Pagoda – 1000 Year-Old Buddhist Temple in Hanoi

  I. Overview of One Pillar Pagoda What makes One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi to be recognized as Asia’s most unique piece of architecture by the Asia Book of Records? What speciality about this historical monument to be one of Vietnam’s two most iconic pagodas? One Pillar Pagoda (chua Mot Cot) is the truly futuristic architecture, […]

AZ Local Trip offers walking tours to major tourist attractions. You may want to take those into consideration to make the best of top ten things to do in Hanoi.

  • Old Quarter Tour: Hoan Kiem Lake – Ma May Ancient House – Hanoi Old Quarter – Dong Xuan Market
  • City Tour: Hoan Kiem Lake – Hoa Lo Prison – Temple of Literature – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – Tran Quoc Pagoda
  • French Quarter Tour: St. Joseph’s Cathedral – Hoa Lo Prison – Hanoi Opera House

Hoan Kiem Lake – The Major Scenic Spot Of Vietnam’s Capital

Hoan Kiem Lake is the first thing come to people’ mind when mention Hanoi. Hoan Kiem Lake is regarded as the heart of Hanoi, and this lake has been through the long history with people here. Although Hanoi is a bustling, noisy city, Hoan Kiem lake is still a place people go to in order […]

Long Bien Bridge – A Symbol of Courageousness of Hanoian During War Time

You want to visit a historic attraction with the whole view of Hanoi from the top? You want to see another aspects of the world of Hanoi? Pick a trip reaching to Long Bien bridge and all your demands will be satisfied.

Long Bien Bridge - Top Things to do in hanoi_20181107113642.jpg


You also can see: Things To Do In Hanoi Old Quarter – For your best travel experience

II. Foods – Top Foods of “Things to do” Pocket

1. Having local food

You cannot say that you have been to Hanoi without taking a street food tour. There are wide range of delicious local specialties here.

Give yourself the chance to taste local food

A steaming bowl of beef pho is my preference for breakfast. Banh mi to recharge yourself is a great idea, too. You can find the yummiest dishes ever in all street food vendors!

And don’t forget to give egg coffee a try. You will not be able to find it anywhere in the world.


Egg coffee – Vietnamese unique beverage

For the best food stall recommendation, you may need a local expert. It can be a good idea to go on a Street food tour with a student guide. You will have nice talks while enjoying Vietnamese cuisine. Feel free to contact us for further details.

III. Activities that all almost Travelers do in Hanoi

4. Enjoying Hanoi nightlife

The next in the list of top things to do in Hanoi is enjoying an amazing nightlife.

The local nightlife in this busy capital city is just fun!


Hanoi nightlife at Ta Hien Street

After dark, you may simply take a heritage walk and wander along the street.

Otherwise, just tap into local beer. It is like the one of a kind activity of Hanoians. I am pretty sure you will find yourself some nice local buddies at beer corner in Hanoi Old Quarter.

5. Shopping like a local

10 best things to do in Hanoi must include shopping.

Where to shop like a local

Please look at my recommendation and find something for yourself!

Shopping like a local in Hanoi Old Quarter

  • Hanoi Old Quarter: Hanoi Old Quarter of 36 commercial streets have different main featured products. You can purchase quality craftsmen at Hang Gai Street, paper products at Hang Ma Street or silver jewelry and antiques at Hang Bac Street, etc.

Dong Xuan Market – Hanoi’s Largest Indoor Market 

Located in the heart of the Old Quarter, Dong Xuan market is the busiest and most popular traditional market of Hanoi that missing it would be a pity. Let’s go and explore this bustling market with AZ Local Trip. I. Dong Xuan Market

Hanoi Night Market 

What is the most intriguing activity when traveling in the S-shaped country? It’s not a easy question for many locals and tourists to answer, right? Lots of locals recommend wandering along Hanoi night market is one of great activities in Hanoi with one thousand year old of culture and civilization. Don’t miss it if you visit Hanoi on the weekend!

How to shop like a local

  • Not many stores accept card. Especially in the market, you can only pay in cash.
  • It is okay to browse around a little at first. You can find your most favourite items and purchase after that.
  • You can negotiate the price off 10-40% from the quoted price. The “fixed price” claimed at tourist shops is not really fixed.

6. Visiting unusual sites

Alternative things to do in Hanoi will help you discover a different aspect of this capital city.

Museums: Vietnam Women’s Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Vietnam Museum of Revolution

Bat Trang Village – Hanoi Traditional Ceramic Village

Bat Trang Village is an old village famous for the tradition of making porcelain and pottery items which are still favored by many local and international markets in the modern times. This is a promising place for the amazing journey in Hanoi, Vietnam as visiting the village can give visitors a unique experience on ceramics! […]

Hanoi Railway Street

Hanoi Train Street, are you finding a hidden place called: Hanoi Train Street? It is one of the most interesting places to see the local daily life of Hanoians. Let AZ Local Trip share with you all about Hanoi Train Street including address, map, time and location.


The vintage beauty of Hanoi Railway Street

7. Experiencing Vietnamese iconic vehicles

Hanoi is said to be a city of crazy traffic, and it really is. In case you are seeking adventure, why not give motorbike a thought?

If you do not have a driving license, it is still okay to find a local buddy to give you a ride after all!

Motorbike tour is available for adventurers like you. Local experts always have great tips and instructions!

Experience motorbike in Hanoi

Cyclo tour is also very popular among tourists in central Hanoi. Getting on a cyclo to observe everyday life of the people here is in my must-do list whenever I visit Hanoi Old Quarter or Hoan Kiem Lake.

8. Watching traditional shows

It will be amazing to take your time and enjoy certain traditional shows.

  • Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: traditional art form – water puppetry
  • Hanoi Opera House: Vietnamese plays
  • iONAH: unique Hanoian modernism


Water puppet about Au Co – Lac Long Quan Legend

9. Enjoying festival time in Hanoi

There are particularly more Vietnamese traditional activities during festivals in Hanoi. You can have even more fun when visiting Hanoi at such time.

Hanoi during Mid-Autumn Festival

  • Tet Holiday: New Year Holiday of Vietnam based on the lunar calendar
  • Co Loa Festival: January 6-16th for commemorating King An Duong Vuong
  • Tay Ho Temple Festival: March 3-7th (lunar calendar)
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: August 15th (lunar calendar)

10. Taking day/overnight trips

Once you have more time in Hanoi (Northern Vietnam), taking day trips or overnight trips is considered a must in top things to do in Hanoi.

Some of the destinations are:

  • Ninh Binh Province – a hidden gem
  • Halong Bay – a natural wonder of the world
  • Sa Pa – amazing mountainous area

There are a bunch of great things to do in Hanoi Vietnam, so you may need more time to consider. I hope that my blog does good and somehow assists you in planning your journey