Category Archives: Things to do in Hanoi


Things to do in Hanoi by Krisette Capati

Hanoi[media-credit name=”Deposit Photos” align=”aligncenter” width=”431″]

Have you seen your friends post the status “I’m travelling to…”? My social media feed is full of travel updates that show where they’ve travelled. Maybe you see the same set of updates, too (or maybe not).

Anyway, I can suggest just the perfect place to visit this April and May (weather-wise, these are the best months to visit). Before I forget, you’ll also have to update your wall to say: I’m travelling to Hanoi, Vietnam.

If you’re coming this March, you’re lucky to see the scented grapefruit flower baskets along the streets.

Here’s an itinerary for a day at the Vietnamese capital.


Café 129

French legacy still penetrates the scenery and architecture of Hanoi, from buildings, art and to food. If you’re in the city, you can’t miss what Café 129 at Hai Ba Trung offers.

Whilst the cafe may not have the fastest service, the extensive breakfast menu and servings are worth the wait. From sumptuous omelettes and English breakfasts to succulent strips of bacons and burritos to Canadian breakfasts, the meals prepare you for the upcoming hours of adventure and outdoor activities.

Wait, savor, and delight each serving. Promise! It’s worth the wait.

129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung,

Morning Activity

Hoan Kiem Lake

I recommend outdoor activities in the morning (early morning would be great, and as early as five a.m.) at the parks or the lakeside to enjoy the breeze and freshness of morning dew.

Wake up early for walkathons and a few miles of running along Hoan Kiem Lake, which is located in the heart of the city. Sightseeing is the best during this time because locals practice Tai Chi at the park, and you can experience the oriental landscape and culture along the streets. Rent a bike to explore the streets of the Old Quarter until you reach the Dong Xuan market.


Don Xuan Market

Eat like the locals at the Dong Xuan market, where you’ll find food stalls selling Vietnamese cuisine to noodles and famous ban mhi sandwiches and rice noodles. You’ll see how they prepare the food.

Afternoon Activity

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and local museums

Siesta time is after lunch. Whilst you can rest for a while at the hotel or stay at the Dong Xuan market to see other items, I recommend the shopping activity later tonight. For the afternoon, it’s time to learn more of the culture and history through museum hopping and sightseeing, from Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to the Temple of Literature.


Quan Oc Vi Sai Gon

You’ll find local cuisine specialties as well at the food stalls, bars and restaurants along the streets of the Old Quarter. Try Quan Oc Vi Sai Gon seafood restaurant for a change before you go to the night market. From an adventurous street food and wet market experience at lunch to Oc Vi Sai Gon’s place of comfort, spacious seating and ambience—tasty snail dishes await you.

19 Gia Ngu, Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem


Night Market Near Xuan Market

Shop ‘til you drop at the night market near Xuan market. Stalls are set up during Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, I suggest you visit the place for cheap prices offered from merchants of jewelry, silk, dry goods and a variety of clothing. You can still explore the places and items from Hang Dao Street to Hang Giay Street.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Things to do in Hanoi by Katherine W. Wong

Hanoi, Vietnam[media-credit name=”flickr, David Conger” align=”aligncenter” width=”634″]

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is one of the most vibrant, yet culturally well-preserved cities I have ever been to in Asia. Like any other city, it has its famous touristy areas that satisfy a tourists’ thirst for getting a taste of the “local” Vietnamese culture. Other parts of Hanoi have a lot more interesting places, food, culture and nature to offer if you are curious enough to dig them out!

Here comes some ideas.


When asked to name some Vietnamese food, the first thing and often the only thing that comes to mind for most people would be Phở (Rice Noodles). But Vietnamese people do not just eat Phở every day, they eat a variety of foods, too. This dish with Pork in soup with Tofu called “Bún Chả” is something perfect for breakfast. You can find this dish in a lot of local street restaurants in and right outside the Old Quarter — the historical part of Hanoi.

Morning Activity

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hanoi is often called the “city of lakes”. Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most well-known lakes and is located at the city center, where the Old Quarter is. After breakfast, walking along the Hoan Kiem Lake shore would make a perfect, chill morning activity. You will be able to see different architectures in a mixture of Western, Chinese and Vietnamese styles that are built around the city, including the infamous Tháp Rùa (Turtle Tower) that is located in the middle of the lake, as well as the bits and pieces of the Old Quarter. Most interestingly, you will be able to see what local people do in the morning!


Another recommendation of food other than Phở would be Bún thịt nướng (rice noodles with grilled pork). Again, this can be found in most street restaurants.

If you are tired, get a cup of Vietnamese Coffee! You can find in basically any cafes around — either Western or Vietnamese style ones.

Afternoon Activity

The Museum of Ethnology

The Museum of Ethnology is unique to Vietnam. It shows the scientific research of the cultures, conservation and history of different ethnic groups in Vietnam. Even though the museum is smaller than most museums in Hanoi, it is worth-visiting due to its rich information being offered pertaining to the subcultures of Vietnam as well as the setup and design of the museum- both indoor and outdoor exhibitions; both Vietnamese (exterior) and French (interior) architectural designs.

West Lake is another major lake of Hanoi that is located at the North-west side of Hanoi. The lake itself is not entirely the point- the area around the lake gives you a different vibe of the city. While you can still see people on motorbikes flooding on the streets, there are less tall building around and more local stores and people running around the streets. It is more peaceful in this area.


Street food is always recommended! Yet, I guess a bowl of Phở (finally) or rice with pork/chicken in an air-conditioned restaurant is totally justified at this time of the day. Go back to the Old Quarter for these restaurants.

Evening Activity

Dong Xuan Market

Wrap up the day with some shopping at the Dong Xuan Market, the largest night market in Hanoi. While it is mainly for tourists, there are definitely things that are original to Vietnam including fashion and food. Don’t expect to buy things with reasonable prices! Also, it is always eye-opening to see how busy and vibrant the city can get.

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