Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a bustling city with a rich history and culture. This 5-day travel itinerary for Hanoi takes you on a journey through city’s famous landmarks, delicious cuisine, and traditional arts. From exploring the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long to taking a street food tour, this itinerary will help you experience the best of Hanoi.
Day 1, History and culture
Spend the day learning about Vietnam’s history and culture at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, the One Pillar Pagoda, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum are all part of the complex. The Mausoleum is only open in the morning, so get there early. Although admission is free, visitors must adhere to strict rules and dress codes.
The Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, is the next stop. The temple, which was built in 1070, is devoted to Confucius and honours Vietnam’s greatest intellectuals and literary figures. It’s a tranquil and lovely setting, and the grounds are a terrific place to unwind.
In the evening, visit the Old Quarter for a typical Vietnamese meal. There are numerous options available, including pho, bun cha, and banh mi. You can also sample some of the local beer or rice wine.
Price range: USD 30-50
Day 2, Walk around
Begin your day with a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake. The lake sits in the centre of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and is popular with both locals and tourists. Ngoc Son Temple, located on an island in the middle of the lake, is also worth a visit.
Then, proceed to the Hanoi Opera House, a stunning French colonial structure that houses the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet. If you’re interested, you can take a guided tour of the facility or see a play.
Take a street food tour in the evening and sample some of city’s most famous dishes, such as banh mi, bun cha, and egg coffee. A street food tour is an excellent way to sample a variety of meals while also learning about the city’s culinary traditions.
Price range: USD 20-40
Day 3, Halong Bay
Visit Halong Bay, one of the world’s natural wonders, for the day. The bay is around 170 km from Hanoi and is recognised for its breathtaking limestone cliffs and emerald waters. A picturesque boat ride, a visit to limestone caves, and a seafood meal on board are all options.
There are numerous tour operators that provide day trips to Halong Bay, but do your research and select a reliable company. The journey can be lengthy and exhausting, so carry plenty of water and snacks.
Price range: USD 80-120
Day 4, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Begin your day by seeing Thang Long’s Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century, the citadel functioned as Vietnam’s political centre for nearly 1,000 years. It’s a fascinating site to learn about the history and architecture of Vietnam.
After that, visit the Vietnamese Women’s Museum, which highlights the significance of women in Vietnamese culture and history. Exhibits in the museum focus on women’s apparel, traditional crafts, and the role of women in the country’s wars.
Watch a traditional water puppet show in the evening, a unique art form that originated in the Red River Delta. The wooden puppets are operated by puppeteers who stand waist-deep in water.
Price range: USD 25-40
Day 5, Experience
Begin your day by visiting the Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple. The pagoda is recognised for its stunning architecture and tranquil environment and is located on a small island in West Lake.
Then, enrol in a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes. You’ll shop for supplies at a local market before heading to the cooking class to learn how to make delicacies like pho, spring rolls, and bun cha.
Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in the afternoon to learn about the various ethnic groups that make up Vietnam. The museum houses an extensive collection of artefacts, pictures, and traditional dress from several ethnic groups.
For dinner, in the last day of 5-day travel itinerary for Hanoi, go to Quan An Ngon, a popular restaurant in a gorgeous courtyard setting that serves a variety of Vietnamese dishes.
Price range: USD 40-70
Also try, Hanoi Train Street
Visit Hanoi Train Street is a one-of-a-kind attraction in Vietnam, including a narrow residential street that runs beside an operational railway line. Tourists from all over the world visit the railway street, also known as “Railroad Street,” to see the spectacle of a train moving through a street filled with houses, businesses and cafes. It’s thrilling to see the train pass by just a few feet away while sitting in one of the cafes or businesses that line the street. It is crucial to note, however, that the train street is a residential area, and visitors must respect the residents’ privacy and safety.
Things to remember
To explore the city, always bring a map or a guidebook with you. Because you’ll be walking around the city a lot, it’s best to wear comfortable shoes. Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen in Hanoi because it can get quite hot and humid. Crossing the street should be done with caution because traffic can be rather chaotic.
When shopping in markets, try to bargain to get a good deal. When visiting temples or religious sites, be mindful of local customs and traditions. To avoid becoming sick, try the local street cuisine from a trusted vendor. Finally, have an open mind and respect the natives and their culture.
For your transactions, it’s crucial that you have the right currency (Vietnamese Dong) on hand. To prevent theft or pickpocketing occurrences, remain alert of your surroundings and keep a watch on your possessions. If you’re thinking about taking a taxi, pick a trusted business or a ride-hailing app like Grab to prevent fraud.
Put on modest clothing and take off your shoes before entering temples or other holy buildings. Since few locals in Hanoi speak English, it’s beneficial to learn some fundamental Vietnamese phrases. Make sure to reserve your lodging and activities in advance if you intend to travel during the busiest months (December to February) to avoid disappointment.
Furthermore, Hanoi is a city that really embodies Vietnam’s past and present. City is a must-see destination for any traveller, with its active street life, breathtaking sites, and wonderful food. This 5-day travel itinerary for Hanoi has included some of Hanoi’s most prominent sights, but there is so much more to see and do in the city. We hope that this itinerary has given you a taste of all Hanoi has to offer, and we invite you to explore the city on your own.