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, What to do in Hanoi for a day, transportation guide) will help.
See more: Fun things to do in Hanoi
I. Budget for one day in Hanoi
|Sightseeing entrance fee||Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House||$1.75|
|Temple of Literature||$1.32|
You may approximately spend $40 in total for one day in Hanoi.
II. Detailed What to do in Hanoi for a day
II.1. Morning in Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Complex – Temple of Literature
Breakfast with banh mi
You can find savory banh mi in many food stalls at Hanoi Old Quarter. This delicious dish is sure to give you enough energy to start exploring Hanoi.
Destination 1: Ho Chi Minh Complex
Ho Chi Minh Complex is included in most tours to Hanoi even for Vietnamese people.
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
Location: No. 2 Hung Vuong Street, Dien Ban Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi 100000
You can take a taxi to the location.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum only opens from 07:30 to 10:30 am (summertime) or 08:00 to 11:00 am (wintertime). Even if you want to rearrange the schedule, please take your time to visit the mausoleum in the morning.
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
Location: No.1 Bach Thao Street, Ngoc Ha Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi 100000
Only 5-minute walk from the mausoleum will take you to the second attraction within Ho Chi Minh Complex. Map
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.
3. One Pillar Pagoda
Another 5-minute walk will take you to One Pillar Pagoda. Map
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.
Destination 2: Temple of Literature
Location: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da District, Hanoi
You can take a 20-minute walk to the first official educational institution of Vietnam.
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.
II.2. Afternoon in Hanoi: Hoan Kiem Lake – Hanoi Old Quarter
Lunch with pho
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.
Destination 3: 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.
Destination 4: Hanoi Old Quarter
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.
You can choose to observe the vibrancy of the local lifestyle here by getting on a “xich lo” (cyclo).
II.3. Evening in Hanoi: Hanoi Old Quarter
Dinner with bun cha
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.
Local beer at Hanoi Old Quarter
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.
III. Local tips for 1 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.
I hope that my suggestion will work well, and you will have an unforgettable one day in Hanoi. Feel free to contact AZ Local Trip if you need further advice.