Hanoi is a place filled with beautiful historical exhibits including buildings of colonial time and antique pagodas mainly in Old Quarter. Old Quarter is also known for its Hoan Kiem Lake, present in the heart of Quarter, this place is surrounded by shopping streets and local food streets. The famous Hanoi Opera House and Hoa Lo Prison are present in the French Quarter. Near to which are exclusive hotels and restaurants. There is a variety of things to do and places to be but for your ease, we have narrowed down choices to guide you about how to plan your Hanoi trip.
Why Visit Hanoi?
Hanoi is well known for holding remnants of French rule including gothic churches, French colonial opera houses, and buildings. But apart from old French tradition, you can also see a large portion of Vietnam tradition. This mixture of Asian and European tradition makes this place an interesting tourist point. Hanoi is the largest city in Vietnam. It is also the capital of Vietnam and therefore, comprises many airports. Hanoi has always been the first preference for people when vesting Vietnam – being the Vietnam capital is one thing. This place is also used as a jumping point to other destinations of Vietnam especially in North namely: Sapa, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh.
Good choice of Vietnamese food - Hanoi is filled with a variety of food item at the food street. It is said that you can spend an entire two weeks without eating the same meal twice. The place has a great atmosphere.
Fascinating historical buildings
The city is home to some of the greatest historic influences especially form Chinese and French. This includes ancient pagodas in the Old quarter and French colonial buildings and opera houses.
Very fresh beer
Bia Hoi is an unpasteurized but freshly made beer that is made in Hanoi's. It is also called “morning brew,". It is famous for its taste and refreshing experience.
The memory of war
The Vietnam War known as one of the most iconic wars in the history is remembered for its awful consequences however, it is also remembered for the anti-war policies made by veterans. A trip to Hanoi gives a reflection to that catharsis made to stop the war and is great for anyone who loves history.
With its Chinese tradition, the country has not forsaken its French traditional influences. French colonial buildings are still an aesthetic part of Vietnam which blends well with Chinese tradition.
Is Hanoi safe?
Hanoi and other parts of Vietnam are safe but like any other city in any other part of the world, you still must take care of your belongings. Watch out for pickpockets and unwanted baggage helper especially in crowded places and at night times. The place also has some traffic issues due to overcrowding. However, any life-threatening crimes are hardly recorded.
The best time to visit Hanoi is in Autumn and Spring which lasts from Sept to November and March to April respectively. The weather is really skin friendly and the temperature is not harsh.
Summer and winter are a bit harsh where the temperature can reach up to 28-35ºC (82º-95ºF) in summer or fall to 10ºC (50ºF) in winters
In winter, the temperature of the Hanoi can fall to 10 Degrees and again gets hotter in the summer with about 28-35 Degrees.
May to September is rainy season Sometimes rains are recorded in Summers, but there is hardly heavy rain and it very unlikely to spoil your trip.
Things to do in Hanoi
Hanoi is home to historical sites including citadels, theatres, ancient temples and the surroundings of the city. Try to visit as many places as you can. Here is the list of things you can do while in Hanoi
Top 3 Activities:
Wander Around Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is an elegant place with colonial architecture along narrow streets. Visitors can enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the buildings along with some shopping of souvenirs or fruits or delicious and cheap food. The area is packed with scooters, cars, and a bicycle. The Old Quarter gives a lively experience of how beautiful Hanoi could have been and it's great to experience all this while roaming around the city.
Bike or Walk Around Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake) and Ngoc Son
Hoan Kiem Lake also called Turtle Lake is a great place which is almost busied with locals and tourist that hang out here to spend their day. Similarly, in the center of this lake is Ngoc Son Temple linked by a bridge. This place gives a beautiful background for pictures. Around sunset and sunrise, this place gets busy with joggers, couples who enjoy sightseeing and elderly who come here for practicing line dancing and Tai Chai
Watch a Live Water Puppet Performance in Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Hanoi is also famous from their shows that reflect the immense talent and a great deal of Vietnam culture. Performance played on water and Thang Long Puppet Theatre, where puppets dance and perform on liquid stage. The puppets are controlled back stage by a group of masters that are hidden. Mostly the shows portrays the story of the giant tortoise and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Trasportation in Hanoi
Get to Hanoi
Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport is located 45 kilometers from central Hanoi. If you're on a handsome budget, Hanoi airport is the best way to get around.
Hanoi's main train station is very close to the centre of Hoan Kiem which is situated on the border of Ba Dinh district right next to the famous Le Duan Street. The most feasible way to get here is by heading west on Ly Thuong Kiet, from where you can end up right at the station.
Hanoi's extensive transport system makes it easier was a tourist to travel around. There are three train stations and 4 bus stations that can be used by visitors.
Getting around Hanoi
For short trips within Hanoi, you can opt for a motorcycle taxi called xe om who's fair is around 10,000 VND at a minimum. You can also get a metered taxi, they can be cheaper than xe om, but they are slower and hardly dodge traffic. However, if there are two to four people it is always better to get taxis than getting multiple xe om.
Where to stay in Hanoi
The old quarter is certainly the most recommended place to stay. Not only is this a good place but you can also start visiting places like buildings, restaurants, and shops as soon as you leave your hotel.
Many of other cheap Hanoi hotels are also present in Old City whereas the more exclusive hotels are present in suburbs of west and south. They have a high standard and offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby or in all rooms
Hanoi street food
Hanoi street food is so extensive, you will find hundreds of food stalls there. The food items are so much that it is said that you can go two weeks without eating the same food.
What to wear
The temperature is usually hot here, so it recommended to pack light and loose-fitting clothes like linen, silk, and cotton. However, if you don't like carrying huge luggage filled with many clothes you can always come here and shop. Clothes are very cheap here.
Shopping in Hanoi
Shopping in Hanoi is mostly known for its local traditional markets and shop houses although new boutiques with international branded clothes are slowly launching in the city plus many new restaurants and entertainment options are opening too.
Some places are still famous for their old trading items like Silk Street and Silver Street. This place is known for selling the same stuff for 100 years. If you want some great souvenirs like farming hats and hand-made silk gown, you can always go here.
Cost and price in Hanoi
You can enjoy your trip to Hanoi with as low as $40 per day. If you wish to have a more comfortable trip you can bring up to$60 to $100 per day. The five-star hotels cost about $200 which is almost the same as the other nearby countries like Thailand.
Sightseeing costs very low plus the food here is cheap with roughly costing between US$2 and 3, an additional costing between $1 for beer.
Nightlife in Hanoi
Hanoi's nightlife scene is not boring or dull at all. In fact, you can enjoy many interesting places and do amazing fun things, one of which is to enjoy beautiful sunsets. The city's nightclubs and lively bars are found all over around Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter where you can enjoy booze and rocking music and get a chance to interact with locals or other tourists like you!