Updated: 16 Sep 2020

Top 11 Things to Do In Hanoi (Vietnam)

Hanoi is the historical capital of Vietnam and it is also one of the spotted lights of cities in Asia.

Vietnam, like many Asian cities, is developing rapidly, but if you are looking for its long history then you will certainly find it in Hanoi.  Besides the gorgeous architecture, you will also find an engaging clutch of museums that will fill you in on all the history of this part of the country.

You can also visit traditional Vietnamese monuments such as temples and pagodas, and if you like photography then you will be amazed by its beauty. Hanoi is also known for its delicious food scene and you can linger over a bowl of traditional noodles, or chew on a tasty sandwich like Vietnamese Banh Mi.

In addition to the food, Hanoi still reserve lovely traditional parts of the city like the Old Quarter, or you can stroll around pretty lakes and walking streets at weekend.

Here are Top 11 things to do in Hanoi when you plan your trips.

All things to eat in Hanoi

Hanoi Traditional Food, Hanoi Street Food: A must- do thing.

1. Hanoi Pho or Hanoi Noodle Soup.

Pho Hanoi is the most famous Vietnamese dishes, and it is also served international around the world. This is a dish that is traditional of Hanoi special food. Pho is made from rice noodles, which is thicker than rice vermicelli. You can eat with beef or chicken ( Pho bo = beef noodles, Pho ga = Chicken noodles). The special thing is the large bunch of crunchy spring onions and freshly chopped cilantro on top. As Vietnamese Locals, Spring onions are good for our immune system.

Pho Hanoi has a special taste of the soup stewed with marrow bones, we boiled for long time. It should be clear, pure. The rice noodle must be thin and soft.

If you want to a Vietnamese cook, you can join the famous cooking class in Hanoi and learn about Hanoi Pho ( Hanoi Noodle Soup), we will provide you more detailed information. Especially our master chef will show you step by step.

If you want to enjoy the best Vietnamese Noodle Soup, you can try our following suggestions. The price for a bowl is cheap from 2-5 usd ( depending on your choice)

  • Bat Dan Noodle Soup: It is the oldest restaurant, you will need to queue and take the bowl, there are no servants or staff. It is a great experience. But if you want don’t have the time, try the second one below, very well too.

Address: 79 Bat Dan Street, Hoan Kiem.

Opening time: From 06.00-10.00 and 18.00-20.30

  •  10 Ly Quoc Su Noodle Soup: It is famous and good too. The location is very convenient. It is right in Old Quarter. Professional Restaurant with many choices, English and Vietnamese Menu.

Address: 10 Ly Quoc Su Street, Hoan Kiem

Opening time: From 06.00-20.30

  •  Thin Noodle Soup: Good and famous but I have not tried yet.

Address: 13 Lo Duc Street, Hai Ba Trung

Opening time: From 06.00-20.30

2. Banh Mi Hanoi

Banh Mi is a traditional Vietnamese food that you can find on just about every corner of Vietnam. Banh mi is a foot-long baguette stuffed with delicious ingredients. This popular lunch dish is a remnant of the influences of Vietnam's colonial period, when the country was a constituent of French Indochina in the 19th and 20th centuries. Here in Vietnam, you'll never go hungry, especially when there is a banh mi shop just around the corner!

Banh mi are usually stuffed full of all sorts of delicious ingredients - often pate, fried egg, barbecued pork, and lots and lots of fresh herbs and veggies, and drizzled in a chili sauce. You can always order a banh mi just the way you like it.

Pate Banh My at Pho Co – 11 Hang Ga Street.

Banh Mi 25 – 25 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem

3. Hanoi Egg Coffee

An egg coffee (Vietnamese: Cà phê trứng) is a Vietnamese drink traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and Robusta coffee. The drink is made by beating egg yolks with sugar and coffee, then extracting the coffee into the half of the cup, followed by a similar amount of "egg cream"⁠ ⁠— egg yolks which are heated and beaten, or whisked.

The legend goes that fresh milk was in short supply during the war so whisked egg yolk was used as a replacement.

The drink is served in cafes throughout Vietnam, though it originates in Hanoi. The Giang Café (Vietnamese: Cà Phê Giảng) in Hanoi is known for serving the drink, which it makes with chicken egg yolk, coffee powder, condensed milk, and, optionally, cheese. The cup is sometimes served inside a bowl of hot water or set upon a small candle to retain its temperature. The son of the café's founder Nguyen Giang claims that his father developed the recipe for the drink when milk was scarce in Vietnam in the late 1940s, replacing the dairy product with egg yolk.

Café Giang – 39 Nguyen Huu Huan is the original one to try. But you can try many other good places in Old Quarter.

4. Hanoi Beer Street.

Ta Hien is a small street lying in famous Old Quarter of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem Lake. The street just stretch 200 meters, but it is one of the most crowded streets in Old Quarter particularly and in Hanoi generally. Ta Hien has the most specific features of both old Hanoi and modern Hanoi. It is named “international crossroad”, drawing many foreign visitors and also Hanoi people.

This street is full of bars and restaurants and hundreds of people sit outside on the street in tiny plastic stools sipping beer. The bars compete with one another in terms of offers to attract customers. It is said that the beer here is fresh and they seldom store it for more than a day. This is a cool place to hang out and socialise with the locals.

5. Top Restaurants in Hanoi:

Much of what you know as Vietnamese cuisine came from Hanoi. This city has a long history of making the most of fine ingredients, packing as much flavor as possible into their simple dishes. Add some amazing international cuisines into the mix and you have a recipe for some excellent dining experiences.

Here is our some suggestions if you want to get a deluxe meals prepared by our professional chef.

  • Cha Ca Thang Long

The menu at Chả Cá Thăng Long might not include many options, but that’s because you don’t need too many when you eat here. They’ve mastered their few dishes, and have become famous for them. Tourists have been making pilgrimages to this restaurant for years to try their chả cá, which speaks volumes about their reputation. People from Hanoi have a long history of excellent cuisine, so come try a place that has stood the test of time.

Address: 31 Duong Thanh, Hanoi.

  • Duong’s Restaurant & Cooking Class

For top of the line Vietnamese cuisine, give Duong’s Restaurant a visit and let them pamper you with world-class service as you enjoy fantastic local dishes. This restaurant makes some of the best local food that you’ll ever taste. And if you want to take some of their skills home with you, be sure to sign up for one of their acclaimed cooking classes.

Address: 27 Ngo Huyen, Hanoi.

  • Madame Hiên Hanoi – Vietnamese Cuisine

 Madame Hien's French colonial villa is definitely one of Hanoi's most visually impressive restaurant settings. And the food's good too.

Address: 15 Chân Cầm street, Hoan Kiem distric, Hanoi

All things to visit in Hanoi:

6. Hoan Kiem Lake – Walking Streets: Hoan Kiem lake represented the spiritual heart of the city, reminds Vietnamese people of a legendary story about the name Hoan Kiem, and reminds the traditional education and the dedication of General Tran Hung Dao.

 Located in the middle of one of the busiest streets of Vietnam capital, Hoan Kiem Lake offers plenty of trees and shaded spots in which to escape the busy life. Legend tells that the Heaven King sent Emperor Ly Thai To a magical sword, which he used to fight against Chinese colonization and got his distinguished victory. After the war, Ly Thai To returned the magical sword to a giant turtle, which grabbed the sword and disappeared into the depths of this lake to restore the sword to its original owners. Being faithful and inspired, the locals name the lake after the highlighted milestone of Vietnam history - “Ho Hoan Kiem”, which means “Lake of the Restored Sword”.

Recommended visiting hours: Fridays to Sundays

Thanks to the fact traffic is banned from the area from 7PM to midnight, public fun fair vibe takes over the place. If you are looking for a good morning walk or peaceful coffee enjoyment during your stay in Ha Noi, Hoan Kiem Lake would be a good spot for you to blend in with the locals.

Distance from the hotel: 750 m - 9 min walk

7. Hanoi Old Quarter: Packed with charming colonial architecture, Buddhist temples and pagodas, the Old Quarter, located near Hoan Kiem Lake in Hoan Kiem District, is Hanoi’s major commercial district. Its heart and soul is exposed in the ancient commercial streets which are named after their original businesses dating back about 1,000 years. Though most of the specialties (cotton, jewellery, herbs, and silk) have changed over time and have been replaced with a variety of modern-day commodities and services, visitors can still appreciate some of the original goods as well as get a feel of rich old Vietnamese customs.Expect to find plenty of hip cafés, bars, a variety of restaurants, bakeries, boutique shops and art galleries in this historical area.

 Location: Hang Be Street, Cau Go Street, Hang Dao Street, Ma May Street, Ta Hien Street, Hang Bac Street, Dong Xuan Street

 8. Hanoi Night Market: Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Hanoi Weekend Night Market is a busy, bustling gathering of roadside stalls and local food vendors that brings huge crowds of locals and tourists. It runs through the Old Quarter district from 19:00 onwards, starting from Hang Dao Street and running north to the edge of Dong Xuan Market.

9. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi offers an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam in an effort to preserve cultural heritage and promote socio-cultural diversity within the country.

Visitors are welcome to browse some of the vast research on offer at this public museum which is also a centre for ethnographic research.

The museum is packed full of information detailing traditional Vietnamese ways of life, from religious events to the symbolic rituals of all the Vietnamese ethnic groups, providing a rich tapestry of the culture melting pot existing in Vietnam. The exhibition hall features everyday objects representing each group, a research centre, library and auditorium.  

10. Temple of Literature: One Of all amazing attractions in Vietnam, Temple of Literature Hanoi is always a must-visit. Tucked behind a walled compound with five separate courtyards, the Temple of Literature was built under Ly Thanh Tong’s dynasty in 1070 to honour Confucius. It became Vietnam’s Imperial Academy shortly after, a prestigious school for top academics. Today, the temple honours Vietnam’s finest scholars and signifies the beginning of a uniform educational system in Vietnam.

11. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is an important place of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese. A traffic-free area of botanical gardens, monuments, memorials and pagodas, it’s usually crowded with groups of Vietnamese who come from far and wide to pay their respects to 'Uncle Ho'. Within the complex are Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is located along Dinh Tien Hoang Street, comprises 17 short sketches using traditional puppets within a one-hour performance. A Vietnamese orchestra accompanies each story, with musicians playing traditional operatic songs using drums, wooden bells, horns, bamboo flutes and cymbals. Aside from the general admission fee of VND 100,000, there's an additional camera or video fee if you wish to photograph or film the show. Tickets sell out well in advance so it’s worth booking yours as soon as you arrive in town.

Opening Hours: Daily 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30 & 20:00

Location: 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Price Range: VND 100,000

Distance from the hotel: 160 m - 2 min walk

We have the authentic tours to visit around Hanoi, you can take a look as below

Hanoi Street Food Tour or Hanoi City Tour