Book a tour: Things To See In Hanoi – A Whole Day Wandering In The Capital

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Hanoi is a vibrant blend of the old and the new and, as a result, has something to offer almost everyone. There are lots of things to do and see in a single day.
However, if you are pressed for time, these are the must-visit highlights and things to do in Hanoi. Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, life on the street will hold a small surprise just for you.

Things To See In Hanoi - Sleepless Capital Of Vietnam

Things To See In Hanoi

Morning In Hanoi: Quiet And Peaceful

Vietnamese start their day quite early. Thus, wake up at 6 or 6:30 and head to Hoan Kiem, West Lake, or Truc Bach Lake, depending on which one is the closest to your accommodation.

Have a bowl of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup with chicken or beef) for breakfast; plenty of vendors offer it at the lakeside. You can also try some sticky rice or Xoi in Vietnamese (pronounced like “soy”). It comes in many different types for you to explore, such as peanut, coconut, green bean, etc.

" Pho Bo" Hanoi, a famous breakfast food in Vietnam

While enjoying breakfast, you can see locals doing morning exercise, cycling, or even doing Tai Chi. After your meal, go to a café and treat yourself to an excellent cup of coffee while enjoying the scenery and refreshing air.

This is the proper way to get your morning started in Hanoi. Now you have gained the energy you need for today’s schedule. Here are the things to see in Hanoi in the morning, and we suggest you hire a motorbike for free discovery!

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is undoubtedly a must-see attraction in Hanoi. If you want to dodge the crowds (we’re talking queues around the block), go early in the morning since it closes in the afternoon.

The dress code in this place is the same as in temples because of the respect and regard shown to “Uncle Ho.” No sleeveless tops or shorts are allowed, no pictures, and must always maintain a respectful tone.

The building resembles the tomb of Lenin in Red Square, Moscow, and Ho Chi Minh is positioned beneath a glass viewing shield.

You shouldn’t skip the Mausoleum’s gardens while you’re there. Enjoy strolling along the verdant paths or escape the heat by sitting on shady seats tucked away beneath low-lying trees.

One Pillar Pagoda

The next stop in your Hanoi motorbike tour is One Pillar Pagoda, which was constructed in 1049. According to legend, the goddess of mercy, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, gave the monarch Ly Thai Tong a lotus flower in a dream, which inspired him to order the building of the temple.

The current version of this structure is an exact duplicate of the original, which was created to mimic a lotus flower emerging from the lake. This is where the locals come to pray for fertility and good health. In line with general pagoda protocol, both men and women must cover their arms, shoulders, and legs.

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Temple Of Literature

The last place to go on this morning motorcycle trip is the Temple of Literature, which is a potent representation of Vietnam’s past.

The two components of this complex are Quoc Tu Giam, a prestigious institution established in 1076 to impart Confucius’ philosophy, and Van Mieu, a temple constructed in 1070 to venerate Confucius.

Outstanding Food

Vietnamese food Cha Ca Hanoi Vietnam restaurant

After the wonderful morning adventure, head to the Old Quarters and have a feast. Since this is one of the most famous tourist attractions, hundreds of eateries and restaurants offer food from different countries and cultures.

Still, why not try famous Hanoi cuisine? We recommend Cha Ca La Vong (fish grilled with dill and turmeric, served with noodles and peanuts) and Bun Bo Nam Bo (rice noodles with beef stir-fried).

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Afternoon In Hanoi: Local Life

After lunch, you can go to another coffee shop to take some rest, then continue your Hanoi motorbike tours. Our next stop is the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi, one of the best museums featuring artifacts from all of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minorities.

The exhibit includes everything from apparel to farming equipment, cooking utensils, and even a few full-size original stilt houses with thorough descriptions, commentary, and video footage. It will show you how amazing and diverse Vietnam is.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake
Sun rising behind the Turtle Tower in the center of Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword). The lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life.

It’s probably time to return to the Old Quarter at this point so that you have a place to go for supper and evening entertainment. This lake is a much-liked tourist destination year-round, as well as for locals on weekends when all vehicular traffic is prohibited, and it is transformed into a pedestrian-only street.

On weekends, crowds of families, youngsters, and tourists congregate here to stroll the lakefront street, play games, and consume refreshments from the street vendors. You can try exploring Old Street on a cyclo to have the full Vietnamese experience.

Drivers are more than willing to give you a brief tour of the French Quarter in Hanoi and can also recommend some fantastic restaurants for you to stop at for supper.

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Old Quarter

You can go to the Thang Long water puppet theater adjacent to Ngoc Son Temple if you’d prefer not to roam the streets and find the traffic too chaotic.

Everyone can enjoy this show. You can lose yourself in the stories for an hour and forget about the outside world. It is rowdy, noisy, and unlike anything you have ever witnessed.

HANOI, VIETNAM - AUGUST 2, 2016: Car and people traffic in the city center in Hanoi, Vietnam. Typical cafes and restaurants. Sunset bright sky


Now is time for dinner. Hanoi specialties are waiting for you. We highly recommend Bun Rieu Cua (noodles with freshwater crab), grilled chicken feet and wings, and Bun Cha (noodles with grilled pork).

Or, you can just go for whatever catches your eye on the street. Keep in mind to ask about the price first.

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Evening In Hanoi: End Of The Day

They call Hanoi the sleepless city for a reason. Take a motorbike trip down Ta Hien or Ma May street, and you’ll see throngs of partygoers going from club to club in search of the finest drink specials or the right music. Join them, and you will have the time of your life.

HANOI, VIETNAM - AUG 10, 2019: Tourists relax in the old town of Hanoi. This is a tourist nightlife center. An important part of Vietnam's economy

One Time Is Not Enough

Unfortunately, a day would not be sufficient to see everything in Hanoi. Explore more in our blog for a thorough overview of Hanoi things to do. Each post is packed with hands-on experience that can help you schedule your time in Vietnam.

Avoid repeating the mistake as other visitors and return at least once more to truly understand this magnificent city. Now, it’s time to gear up and get to know beautiful city.

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