First Time travel to Hanoi – Things you need to know
The travel guide for first-time visitors to Hanoi provides comprehensive information about the city’s historical sites, cultural landmarks, and must-visit attractions. It offers helpful tips on navigating the city, including transportation options and recommended accommodations. The guide also includes suggestions for trying local cuisines and experiencing authentic Vietnamese culture through traditional activities and markets.
Checklists to know before travelling to Hanoi
Flights to Hanoi, Vietnam
If you want to travel to Vietnam from your country, you can easily locate economical direct or connecting flights on airport companies’ online websites. The trustworthy Vietnam National Airlines and its global associates provide both direct and connecting flights with convenient schedules, including overnight flights and early morning arrivals in Hanoi and Saigon.
There are several other airlines, including Tiger Airway, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Thai International, and Singapore Airlines (this is not an exhaustive list), that provide excellent flight services. Their prices may be more affordable during certain times, but it is important to carefully check the length of layovers and total travel time.
It is possible to connect your flights to Hanoi city with Vietnam Airlines if they arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Cambodia (usually Siem Reap), Laos (usually Vientiane/Luang Prabang), Thailand (usually Bangkok), Korea (usually Seoul), Singapore, or Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).
To find flights to Hanoi, Vietnam, you can use various online travel agencies or airline websites. Here are a few popular options:
- Expedia (www.expedia.com)
- Skyscanner (www.skyscanner.com)
- AirAsia (www.airasia.com)
- Vietnam Airlines (www.vietnamairlines.com)
Simply enter your departure city and dates, along with Hanoi as your destination, and these websites will provide you with a list of available flights, along with prices and other details.
Do I need a Visa to enter Vietnam and how do I get it?
Before to your trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, it is essential to verify whether you require a visa. For individuals who are not included in the visa exemption list, there are three options to obtain a visa: E-visa, VOA (Visa on Arrival), or a standard visa at a Vietnamese embassy. Each of these methods has its specific regulations and steps to follow.
Apply Vietnam e-Visa:
The Vietnam Immigration Department launched the Vietnam electronic visa or Vietnam e-visa, represented as EV, on February 2, 2017. This type of visa for Vietnam can be applied for and obtained through online means. The eVisa Vietnam is currently open to all nationalities and regions who intend to visit Vietnam for a period of up to 90 days.
- Available for Air/Land/Water entry
- Validity: 1-month single entry
- Cost: US$25 for single entry and US$50 for multiple entry, non-refundable in case your visa application is refused
- Travellers can apply directly for e-Visas here: Vietnam e-Visa Official Website.
- Processing: 3 business days
- Entry gate: 42
Apply Vietnam VOA (Visa on Arrival):
Vietnam visa on arrival is an option for travelers who wish to enter Vietnam but do not have a visa issued by an embassy or consulate before arrival. It is a convenient and time-saving way to obtain a visa.
It is important to note that the visa on arrival option is only applicable to air travelers. Those entering Vietnam by land or sea must obtain a visa in advance.
Apply Visa at Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.
If you are in close proximity to a Vietnamese embassy or consulate, you have the option to personally submit your application materials which include a photo, completed application form, passport and visa fee. The processing time for your application is typically 3-7 working days.
The best time to Visit Hanoi
The best time to visit Hanoi weather-wise is during the months of October and November or March and April. During these months, the weather is generally mild and pleasant with temperatures ranging from 20-25 degrees Celsius (68-77 degrees Fahrenheit). Additionally, there is less rainfall and humidity compared to other months.
Checklists to know for the Arrive at Hanoi Airport
Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam. There are multiple money exchange services available at Hanoi Airport, also known as Noi Bai International Airport. The most prominent options include:
1. Banks: Major Vietnamese banks like Vietcombank, BIDV, and Techcombank have branches at Noi Bai Airport where you can exchange currency.
2. Money exchange counters: There are several money exchange counters throughout the airport, located in both domestic and international terminals. These counters typically provide competitive rates and are open for most flights.
3. ATMs: Noi Bai Airport has ATMs that accept international bank cards, allowing you to withdraw Vietnamese Dong. However, it’s essential to check with your bank for the associated fees and currency conversion rates.
It’s recommended to compare rates and fees offered by different currency exchange options before making a transaction. Additionally, it might be helpful to have some Vietnamese Dong on hand before arriving at the airport to cover immediate expenses like transportation or small purchases.
In the city, you can change in banks, authorized exchange offices, and some hotels. It is recommended to exchange currency at authorized exchange offices or banks for the best rates and to avoid scams.
Mobile Data Plan in Hanoi
There are several mobile data plan providers in Hanoi, Vietnam. Some popular options include Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone, and Vietnamobile. Each provider offers various packages and prices for mobile data plans. It is recommended to compare the different plans and choose the one that best suits your needs and budget. Additionally, you can visit the respective provider’s website or contact their customer service for more specific information about their data plans in Hanoi.
How to move from Hanoi airport to Hanoi city center?
If you are visiting Hanoi for the first time, you may face transportation challenges, particularly with regards to getting from Noibai airport to the city center. In order to ensure a hassle-free trip, it is recommended that you read through the following options and select the most appropriate one for your needs.
Airport Shuttle Bus
The airport shuttle bus is a service provided by airline companies and currently, the three largest airline companies in Vietnam – Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air – offer this service. To find out where to catch the shuttle bus in the airport terminal area, you can ask the air hostess for assistance.
It is possible that you will need to wait for the bus to fill up before it leaves and the shuttle bus will only make stops at predetermined bus stops. If your hotel is nearby, you may need to walk or take a taxi after that. The cost of the service depends on the airline and can be found on their website or by asking the ticket seller directly.
There are several bus options available to travel from Noibai airport to the city center, including Bus No.7, Bus NB01, Bus NB02, Bus NB03 and Bus No.86. However, these may not be the most convenient or ideal choices for tourists to reach the Hanoi city center due to certain drawbacks.
Initially, similar to the airport shuttle bus, the public bus has predetermined stops and is typically packed with passengers, requiring you to give up seats for those in need and possibly standing for the entire journey. Additionally, traveling by public bus can take considerably longer, particularly during peak hours. Furthermore, if your flight departs at night, you won’t be able to utilize the public bus as it only operates from 5:00 am to 9:30 pm.
Nevertheless, the cost of this mode of transportation is significantly lower than other options, ranging from 7,000 VND to 35,000 VND per trip. The use of public buses is a unique characteristic of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, therefore it is recommended to try it at least once. Detailed information about each bus stop can be found on http//timbuyt.vn. However, individuals who opt for this method of transportation in Hanoi should be cautious with their personal belongings.
Taxi or private car service.
If your hotel is not located on the main streets of Hanoi, especially if you arrive at night, taking a taxi is likely the most practical mode of transportation. As soon as you exit the arrival area, you will be approached by numerous drivers offering their services at varying prices. To prevent overpaying for your taxi fare, it is important to take note of these guidelines.
Initially, it is recommended to take a taxi from prominent taxi firms in Vietnam. Typically, the outside of the taxi displays the name and telephone number of the company, which you can search on the internet. This method is more secure, and the charges are published on their website. The price varies based on the distance, and it usually amounts to approximately 330,000 VND (equivalent to $15.5) to reach the central area of Hanoi.
Currently, there are several online taxi reservation apps available such as Grab, GoViet, and Bee. To utilize these apps, all you have to do is download them onto your smartphone and use them to reserve a taxi. The applications will provide you with the driver’s name, license plate number, and the fare based on the distance traveled. It is undoubtedly less expensive than traditional taxi services.
Best place to stay for the first time in Hanoi?
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is widely considered the best place to stay for first-time visitors. It is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood filled with narrow streets, atmospheric cafes, street food stalls, and traditional markets. The Old Quarter offers a great introduction to the city’s culture and history, with many popular attractions like Hoan Kiem Lake, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and the Temple of Literature located within walking distance. There are also plenty of accommodation options available in the area, ranging from budget hostels to boutique hotels, making it suitable for all types of travelers.
If you like peaceful locations, it’s better to choose hotels in either the Hai Ba Trung or Tay Ho districts. Despite being central areas, they have lower numbers of tourists.
Getting Around in Hanoi
Hanoi offers a plethora of historical landmarks, renowned dining establishments and authentic local markets for first-time tourists to explore. These noteworthy attractions are conveniently located within close proximity to each other, specifically in areas including the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, the West Lake and others. As a result, visitors can easily select from a variety of transportation options to comfortably tour Hanoi. Getting around in Hanoi can be done using various modes of transportation. Here are some options:
1. Walk: Hanoi’s Old Quarter and many tourist areas are best explored on foot. Walking allows you to experience the city’s narrow streets, local markets, and vibrant atmosphere.
2. Cyclo: Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycle taxis that are commonly found in Hanoi. They are a great way to navigate through narrow streets and explore the city at a slower pace. Be sure to negotiate the price before starting your journey.
3. Motorbike Taxi (Xe Om): Motorbike taxis are a quick and convenient way to get around Hanoi, especially during peak traffic hours. Make sure to agree on the fare beforehand and wear a helmet for safety.
4. Grab/GoViet: Grab and GoViet are popular ride-sharing apps in Hanoi. You can book a car or motorbike taxi through these apps, ensuring a convenient and reliable mode of transport. Payment can be made via cash or credit card.
5. Public Buses: Hanoi has an extensive network of public buses that can take you to various parts of the city. Bus routes and timetables can be found at bus stops or online. Be prepared for crowded buses during peak hours.
6. Taxi: Taxis are widely available in Hanoi. Opt for reputable companies like Mai Linh or Vinasun to ensure metered fares and reliable service. Always check the meter is running or agree on a fixed fare before starting your ride.
7. Electric Bikes: Electric bikes, known as “xe dap dien,” are becoming increasingly popular in Hanoi. They are eco-friendly and efficient for short-distance travel. Many rental shops offer electric bikes for hourly or daily use.
It’s important to note that traffic in Hanoi can be chaotic, with a large number of motorbikes and limited adherence to traffic rules. Stay alert, cross roads carefully, and consider using pedestrian bridges when available.
What to do in Hanoi?
There are plenty of things to do in Hanoi. Here are some suggestions:
Explore the Old Quarter
Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a highly recommended destination for those visiting the city for the first time. Historically, this area, which consists of 36 streets situated around Hoan Kiem Lake, was the liveliest part of the former capital. Each street was known for selling a specific type of product that directly corresponded with its name.
Currently, the Old Quarter is highly populated by numerous foreign tourists and is abundant with various shops, eateries, and accommodations. Despite the fact that the street vendors sell different merchandise, visitors still prefer to frequent the well-known stores and restaurants that offer authentic Hanoi specialties. Those who get the opportunity to explore the Old Quarter should make it a point to try out some of the local delicacies such as Bun Cha Hang Quat, Cha Ca La Vong, Pho Bat Dan, Xoi Xeo Hang Bai, and many more.
Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake
Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular activity in Hanoi, Vietnam. Here’s what you can expect and some tips for your walk:
- Location: Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It is easily accessible and a central landmark in the city.
- Scenic Beauty: The lake is known for its serene and picturesque surroundings. You can enjoy the beautiful views of the lake, the iconic red Huc Bridge, and the Ngoc Son Temple located on an islet in the lake.
- Exercise and Relaxation: Walking around Hoan Kiem Lake is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh air. The path around the lake is about 1.5 kilometers long, making it a pleasant and leisurely stroll.
- Cultural Significance: Hoan Kiem Lake holds cultural and historical significance for the Vietnamese people. Legend has it that an emperor was given a magical sword by a turtle in the lake, which he used to drive out foreign invaders. The lake’s name, Hoan Kiem, even means “Lake of the Returned Sword.”
- Local Activities: During your walk, you’ll encounter locals engaging in various activities. You might see people practicing Tai Chi, jogging, or playing traditional Vietnamese games. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and observe daily life in Hanoi.
- Street Food and Cafes: After your walk, you can find numerous street food stalls and cafes surrounding the lake. Treat yourself to some local snacks or relax with a cup of Vietnamese coffee while enjoying the view.
- Nighttime Atmosphere: Hoan Kiem Lake takes on a different ambiance at night when the streets around it are closed off to traffic. The area becomes pedestrian-friendly, and you can enjoy the lively atmosphere, street performances, and colorful lighting.
Remember to bring comfortable walking shoes, stay hydrated, and be mindful of your belongings while enjoying your walk around Hoan Kiem Lake.
Visit and Shop at Hanoi Night Weekend Market
The Hanoi Night Weekend Market is a popular shopping destination in Hanoi, Vietnam. It takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, starting from around 6 PM until late at night. The market is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, specifically in the Hang Dao and Hang Ngang streets.
At the Hanoi Night Weekend Market, you can find a wide variety of goods and products, including clothing, accessories, handicrafts, souvenirs, and street food. It’s a bustling and vibrant atmosphere, with numerous stalls and vendors offering their wares.
If you plan to visit the market, it’s advisable to bring cash as some vendors may not accept credit cards. Bargaining is also common in Vietnamese markets, so feel free to negotiate the prices with the vendors.
Please note that it’s always a good idea to be cautious of your belongings and be aware of your surroundings, as crowded markets can attract pickpockets. Additionally, it’s recommended to check the current operating hours and any specific guidelines or restrictions that may be in place due to local regulations or events.
Enjoy your visit to the Hanoi Night Weekend Market!
Eat Hanoi Street Food
Hanoi is renowned for its vibrant street food scene, offering a wide array of delicious and authentic Vietnamese dishes.
Some popular street food dishes in Hanoi include pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), and cha ca (grilled fish with turmeric and dill). These are just a few examples, as there are countless other options to explore.
Exploring the Old Quarter of Hanoi is a great way to experience the city’s street food culture. The streets of Hang Buom, Ta Hien, and Ly Quoc Su are particularly known for their street food stalls and small eateries.
Remember to try different dishes and flavors, and don’t hesitate to ask locals for recommendations. They can provide valuable insights into the best street food spots in Hanoi.
Visit the Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is a popular tourist attraction in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a Confucian temple and Vietnam’s first national university, founded in 1070. The architecture of the temple is breathtaking, with beautiful gardens, courtyards, and traditional Vietnamese structures. It is dedicated to the worship of Confucius and honors Vietnamese scholars and literary figures. Visitors can explore the well-preserved historical buildings, learn about Vietnamese education and culture, and even attend traditional ceremonies or events held at the temple. It is a must-visit destination for history and culture enthusiasts in Hanoi.
Watch a Hanoi Water Puppet Show
The water puppet show is a traditional Vietnamese art form that originated in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. It is a unique form of puppetry performed on water, where the puppets appear to be moving on the water surface. The show combines storytelling, music, and intricate puppet movements to depict traditional Vietnamese tales and folklore. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in Hanoi is one of the most famous venues to watch this enchanting cultural performance. The show is highly recommended for tourists visiting Hanoi as it offers a captivating glimpse into Vietnamese culture and tradition.
Enjoy Vietnamese Coffee in Hanoi
To enjoy Vietnamese coffee in Hanoi, you have several options. One popular choice is to visit a local café or coffee shop that specializes in serving traditional Vietnamese coffee. These establishments usually offer a variety of options, such as iced coffee with condensed milk (cà phê sữa đá) or hot black coffee (cà phê đen).
When ordering, you can specify your preferred level of sweetness and strength by adjusting the amount of condensed milk or sugar added. Vietnamese coffee is often brewed using a phin filter, which produces a strong and concentrated brew.
Additionally, you might want to try the unique egg coffee (cà phê trứng) that originated in Hanoi. It’s a rich and creamy concoction made with egg yolks, sugar, and condensed milk. Many cafés in Hanoi offer this specialty, and it’s definitely worth trying.
Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the café culture in Hanoi. People-watching and enjoying a cup of coffee at a street-side café in the Old Quarter or by the Hoan Kiem Lake can be a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and savor the taste of Vietnamese coffee.
Drink Beer at Bia Hoi Corner (Ta Hien)
Bia Hoi Corner, also known as Ta Hien, is a popular spot in Hanoi, Vietnam for enjoying fresh beer in a vibrant atmosphere. Here are a few things you should know before heading there:
- Location: Ta Hien Street is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, near the Hoan Kiem Lake. Bia Hoi Corner is at the intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets.
- Bia Hoi: Bia Hoi is a type of light, draft beer that is brewed daily and consumed quickly. It is known for its low alcohol content and affordable price. Bia Hoi Corner offers a variety of bia hoi options from different breweries.
- Atmosphere: Bia Hoi Corner is a lively and bustling area. The street is lined with small plastic stools and tables where locals and tourists gather to enjoy their drinks. It’s a great place to soak in the local culture and meet new people.
- Nightlife: Bia Hoi Corner comes alive in the evening when locals and tourists gather to enjoy drinks and socialize. The area can get quite crowded, so be prepared for a lively and energetic atmosphere.
- Local Etiquette: When drinking at Bia Hoi Corner, it’s common to clink glasses and say “Mot, hai, ba, yo!” which means “One, two, three, cheers!” in Vietnamese. Feel free to join in the fun and interact with the locals.
Remember to drink responsibly and be aware of your surroundings. Enjoy your experience at Bia Hoi Corner!
Explore Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex and its Surroundings
Sure! The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex is a popular tourist attraction located in Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi, Vietnam. It is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary leader and former President of Vietnam.
When exploring the complex, you’ll first see the exterior of the Mausoleum, which is an impressive Soviet-style structure made of gray granite. It’s important to note that the Mausoleum is closed periodically for maintenance and preservation purposes, so it’s advisable to check the opening hours before visiting.
Nearby, you’ll find the Ho Chi Minh Museum, which showcases exhibits about Ho Chi Minh’s life and the Vietnamese revolution. The museum offers great insight into the history, politics, and culture of Vietnam.
The One Pillar Pagoda is also located in the vicinity of the Mausoleum complex. This Buddhist temple is known for its unique architecture, as it sits atop a single stone pillar, resembling a lotus blossom. It’s a peaceful and spiritual place to visit.
Another notable site in the surroundings is the Presidential Palace, also called the Vietnam Government Guesthouse. This well-preserved French colonial style building was once the home of the French Governor-General of Indochina and later became the residence of Ho Chi Minh. It’s now used for official government functions and is only accessible from the outside.
Aside from these attractions, Ba Dinh Square itself holds historical significance as it was where Ho Chi Minh declared independence for Vietnam in 1945. The square is spacious and often hosts military parades and other national events.
In conclusion, exploring the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex and its surroundings offers a unique insight into Vietnam’s history and culture. Visitors can appreciate the architectural beauty of the Mausoleum, learn about Ho Chi Minh’s life at the museum, and visit nearby landmarks like the One Pillar Pagoda and Presidential Palace.
Recommended food & drink to taste in Hanoi
Pho (rice noodle soup with beef or chicken)
Pho is a well-known dish all over Vietnam, which is considered to be the country’s national food. However, Hanoi is said to be the ideal place to try this legendary cuisine. The four fundamental components used in preparing pho are a transparent broth, rice noodles, meat (beef or chicken), and herbs. It’s an absolute must-try for any visitor who wants to experience Hanoi’s food culture. This is why it’s often said that your visit to Hanoi won’t be comprehensive without having a bowl of pho.
Bun Cha ( BBQ Pork with rice noodle) & Vietnamese spring rolls.
Bun Cha, similar to Pho, is a popular street food dish that you must try in the capital city of Hanoi. This type of bun cha served in Hanoi requires you to create your own meal by combining rice noodles and fresh herbs with pork patties and grilled pork in a sweet broth based on fish sauce. To add more variety, Nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) can also be ordered. Bun Cha has gained fame in Vietnam and around the world after President Obama and Anthony Bourdain dined together at a local restaurant in Hanoi and enjoyed this delicious dish in 2016.
Banh Cuon (steamed rice rolls)
Banh Cuon, also known as steamed rice rolls, is a traditional Vietnamese dish. It consists of a thin and delicate sheet of steamed rice batter that is filled with a savory mixture, usually made of seasoned ground pork, mushrooms, and shallots. The rolls are then rolled up and served with a side of dipping sauce, typically made from fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic.
Banh Cuon is typically eaten for breakfast or as a light meal and is popular across Vietnam. It is known for its soft and silky texture and a combination of flavors from the filling and dipping sauce. Sometimes, additional toppings like crispy fried shallots, Vietnamese sausage (cha lua), or fresh herbs are added to enhance the taste.
Banh Cuon is a versatile dish that can be customized with different fillings and variations depending on regional preferences. It is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine and is loved for its delicate texture and delicious flavors.
Cha Ca (Grilled Fish)
If you’re visiting Hanoi, you must try Cha Ca, a special dish consisting of grilled fish served with vermicelli, basil, roasted peanuts, fresh green onions, dill, and a carefully prepared shrimp paste called mam tom. Cha Ca is so popular in Hanoi that everyone who visits will make it a point to try it at least once. The shrimp paste is made by combining sugar, shrimp paste, distilled wine, hot oil, chili, and lemon juice until it foams. The main ingredient is fish, usually Hemibagrus or Channidae fish, which is cut into small fillets, dipped in secret ingredients, and fried before serving. It’s a delicacy that should not be missed when traveling to Hanoi.
Banh Mi (Baguette)
It can be argued that Banh My is the most famous Vietnamese cuisine outside of Vietnam. Technically, Banh My means bread in Vietnamese, but individuals commonly use it to describe the sandwich.
A Banh Mi is a light sandwich made from a small French baguette that has been sliced along its length and stuffed with a combination of tasty ingredients such as liver pate, fried eggs, barbecued pork, pickled vegetables, and cucumber slices. The sandwich is topped off with a chili sauce to add some heat. It is commonly enjoyed as a snack and can be customized according to your preferences when ordering.
Cafe Trung (Egg Coffee)
Egg Coffee is a unique beverage that can be found in Hanoi, and it is highly recommended for anyone visiting the city to give it a try. Giang Cafe is the top destination for egg coffee enthusiasts in Hanoi, having established itself as one of the best places to get this drink. The cafe was opened by Mr Nguyen Giang in 1946 who invented the recipe when milk was hard to come by, using egg yolk instead. This delightful drink provides a comforting blend of coffee and egg yolk, resulting in a rich and tasty flavor that people enjoy.
Best Day Trips from Hanoi
There are several fantastic day trip options from Hanoi. Here are some of the best ones:
1. Halong Bay: Known for its stunning limestone islands and emerald waters, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular day trip destinations from Hanoi. You can take a cruise boat to explore the bay, visit floating fishing villages, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
2. Ninh Binh: Often referred to as the “Halong Bay on land,” Ninh Binh is just a few hours’ drive from Hanoi. It is famous for its picturesque landscapes, with limestone karsts, caves, and lush green rice fields. Don’t miss visiting Trang An, Tam Coc, or Bai Dinh Pagoda.
3. Perfume Pagoda: Located approximately 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi, Perfume Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist temples nestled into the Huong Tich Mountains. This religious site is considered sacred and attracts many pilgrims during the spring festival season.
4. Mai Chau: If you’re looking for a cultural experience and a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Mai Chau is a great choice. It’s a peaceful valley surrounded by mountains, with ethnic minority villages that offer homestay accommodation and opportunities for trekking and biking.
5. Hoa Lu and Tam Coc: Hoa Lu is an ancient capital of Vietnam, and nearby Tam Coc is known for its beautiful river landscapes. You can explore the historic temples and pagodas in Hoa Lu and take a boat ride along the Ngo Dong River, passing through caves and enjoying the stunning countryside.
These are just a few options, but there are many more day trip destinations near Hanoi depending on your interests and preferences.
Suggested 3-day travel itinerary to explore Hanoi
– Start your day by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can pay respects to Vietnam’s legendary leader.
– Afterward, explore the nearby Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House.
– Head to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university, and admire its beautiful architecture and serene atmosphere.
– In the afternoon, visit the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” to learn about Vietnam’s history.
– Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese dinner at one of the local restaurants in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and soak up the bustling atmosphere.
– Take a day trip to Halong Bay, a breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its emerald waters and towering limestone karsts. Enjoy a cruise and indulge in the stunning landscapes and seafood lunch on board.
– Optional activities include kayaking, swimming, or exploring the beautiful caves that dot the bay.
– Return to Hanoi in the evening and relax.
– Begin your day by exploring Hoan Kiem Lake, a scenic spot in the heart of Hanoi. Visit Ngoc Son Temple located on a small island in the lake.
– Discover the fascinating Vietnamese culture at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, where you can learn about the country’s diverse ethnic groups.
– Visit the beautiful and historic French Quarter of Hanoi and admire its colonial architecture, such as the Hanoi Opera House and the iconic Long Bien Bridge.
– Wrap up your trip with a relaxing cyclo ride around the Old Quarter, and shop for traditional crafts and souvenirs.
– End your visit with a delicious Vietnamese meal and bid farewell to Hanoi.
Please note that this is just a suggested itinerary, and you might need to adjust it according to your preferences and the time you have available.
Common scams to avoid when travelling to Hanoi
When traveling to Hanoi, it’s important to be aware of common scams to avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities. Here are some scams that tourists should watch out for:
1. Fake taxis: Be cautious when taking taxis, especially those without a clearly visible company logo. Some drivers may manipulate taxi meters or take longer routes to overcharge tourists. It’s advisable to use reputable taxi companies like Mai Linh or Vinasun, or consider using ride-hailing services like Grab.
2. Hotel scams: Avoid touts or individuals who approach you at the airport or train station, claiming to offer cheap accommodations. They may take you to substandard or overpriced hotels, often receiving a commission for each tourist they bring.
3. Street vendors overcharging: Bargaining is common practice in Hanoi’s markets and street stalls. Always negotiate the price and be aware of the approximate value of the item you wish to purchase. Some vendors may attempt to overcharge tourists, so it’s essential to stay vigilant.
4. Motorbike rental scams: If renting a motorbike, ensure you have a clear understanding of the rental terms, including insurance coverage and any additional fees. Some rental agencies may charge unsuspecting tourists exorbitant amounts for alleged damages or steal the motorbike when it’s returned.
5. Counterfeit goods: Hanoi has various markets selling counterfeit products, including clothing, electronics, and accessories. It’s advisable to be cautious when purchasing such items, as the quality may be poor, and you could end up paying more than the actual value.
6. Distraction techniques: Be wary of strangers who try to distract you, such as a person splashing a liquid on you or a group creating chaos. While you are distracted, an accomplice might pickpocket or steal your belongings.
It’s always a good idea to research common scams before traveling to any destination. Staying informed and using common sense will help protect you from falling victim to scams while enjoying your time in Hanoi.
Safety travel Hanoi for the first timers
Hanoi is generally a safe city for first-time travelers. However, like any other destination, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure a safe trip. Here are some tips for a safe travel experience in Hanoi:
1. Be cautious of your belongings: Keep a close eye on your personal belongings, especially in crowded areas like markets, train stations, and tourist attractions. Pickpocketing can happen, so consider using a money belt or keeping important items in a secure bag.
2. Use reputable transportation: Stick to licensed taxis or ride-hailing services like Grab to avoid scams. Avoid unmarked and unofficial taxis, as they may overcharge you. Always confirm the price with the driver before starting the journey.
3. Cross the road carefully: Hanoi traffic can be chaotic, with a high number of motorbikes. When crossing the road, look for pedestrian crossings or traffic lights, and walk confidently and steadily. If you’re unsure, follow a local or group of people crossing the street.
4. Be cautious with street food: Hanoi is famous for its delicious street food, but be cautious about where you eat. Choose clean, busy stalls with a high turnover of customers to ensure food is fresh and properly cooked. Also, avoid tap water and consume bottled water to stay hydrated.
5. Stay aware of your surroundings: Be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded places. Stay alert for any suspicious activities and trust your instincts. If something feels off or uncomfortable, it is better to move to a safer area.
6. Respect local customs and culture: Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions to avoid inadvertently offending the locals. Modest clothing is appreciated when visiting religious sites, and it’s respectful to ask permission before taking photos of people, especially in rural areas.
7. Stay connected: Keep important contact numbers handy, including your embassy or consulate’s phone number, your hotel’s contact details, and emergency services. It is also a good idea to have a map or guidebook with you for reference.
By following these safety tips and exercising common sense, your trip to Hanoi should be enjoyable and trouble-free.