Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, is known to be one of the most ancient capitals in the world, it is high on many backpackers lists and for good reason. Beautiful colonial buildings, tasty local cuisine, the vibrant Ols Quarter and a buzzing nightlife, Hanoi won’t disappoint. Below you’ll ﬁnd a list of things to do in Hanoi, including things to eat and drink as well as the best places to stay during your visit. Enjoy!
Things To Do in Hanoi
1. Explore the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is constantly buzzing with energy from the streets lined with shops, scooters and tourists navigating around the city. During the day you will ﬁnd yourself accidentally shopping at the plethora of stalls, as their goods overﬂow into the pavements. At night the city comes alive with lanterns lighting up the sky above the now pedestrian only roads, the crowds gathering on the streets to enjoy a cold drink and freshly made meal. The aroma of coriander, basil and chilli waft through the city along with the sound of laughter echoing down the side streets. Live music performed at each intersection makes one feel that each and every person is there for a good time.
2. Vietnamese Women’s Museum
There are a multitude of museums in Hanoi, but the Women’s Museum is unique. The museum is well organised, informative and of world class standard and is run by the Women’s Union of Vietnam, one of Vietnams’ most powerful social, political and cultural institutions. The museum explores the history of Vietnam from ancient until modern times through the eyes of a woman. It showcases the contributions and the culture of Vietnamese women through the years. This is deﬁnitely worth the visit.
Address: 36 Lý Thường Kiệt
Admission: 30,000 VND (€1)!
Open Daily 8 am – 5 pm
3. Hoan Kiem Lake
The lake seems to be the hub of the Old Quarter and the preferred gathering spot for locals and tourists a like. The lake during the day is a tranquil place providing a break from the chaotic streets in the heart of the Old Quarter. At night the path surrounding the lake lights up creating a romantic setting for those wandering the city. From Friday at 7pm until midnight on Sunday, the once chaotic roads become vacated of scooters, cars or buses, and the people ﬂood the streets with games, performances, live music and an overall festival atmosphere takes over.
4. Train Street
If you want the perfect photograph capturing local life in Hanoi, you can’t miss visiting the famous Train Street. Twice a day a high-speed train whistles past homes whose doors are just a few feet away from the rushing locomotive. This proximity to danger doesn’t deter the residents from carrying on with their daily life. You will see women tending to their rail side garden, children playing on the tracks and men using it as a place to sit and relax. Of course when the train is arriving people scatter quickly to their doorways, wait for the train to pass and carry on with their daily activities once again.
Address: ’Ngo 224 Le Duan’
5. Try Phở
Phở is the most famous dish in Vietnam and for good reason. The ‘noodle soup’ dish will cure you of hunger, warm you up on a chilly Hanoi night and tingle your taste buds with the combination of fresh garnish (Thai basil, cilantro, spring onions) spicy Sriracha, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, crunchy bean sprouts and the meaty broth.
On average you should expect to pay between: 20,000 and 50,000 VND (€0.70-€1.80) for a fresh bowl of Phở.
6. Eat Bún Chả
Bún Chả is dish of grilled pork and noodle and is a Hanoi speciality as it is thought to have originated in the city. It is made of grilled fatty pork, with rice noodles and herbs, served with dipping sauces on the side. This is a very popular dish in Hanoi in comparison to other parts of the country so you should make use of the opportunity to try it here before leave.
On average you should expect to pay between: 25,000 – 50,000 VND (€0.80-€1.80)
7. Bánh mì
Bánh mì is basically, a Vietnamese sandwich. The dish was inspired by The French, who brought the baguette with them to Vietnam. But Vietnamese people completely made this meal their own. The sandwich consists of a fusion of Vietnamese meats such as pork belly, sausages, liver, chicken or sardines and vegetables such as cilantro, cucumber, white radishes and pickled carrots. It is then combined with French inﬂuenced condiments such as pâté, jalapeño and mayonnaise.
On average you should expect to pay between: 25,000 – 30,000 VND (+- €1) for Bánh mì.
8. Drink Beer (Bia)
In Vietnam beer is made locally around the country and sold for extremely cheap prices, each region having their own speciality. In Hanoi Bia Hoi Corner (at the junction of Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dinh Liet) is the place to try the local speciality; bia hơi (fresh beer), a low-alcohol draft beer.
Cost: 2000-5000 VND (under €0.20)
9. Have Freshly Made Juice
On every street, restaurant and cafe you will ﬁnd fresh juices being sold. Some popular choices are Sinh Tố (Fruit Smoothie), made with a range of blended fresh fruits, or Nước Mía (Sugar Cane Juice) which is sweet and refreshing on a hot Hanoi day.
On average you should expect to pay 25,000 – 80,000 VND (€0.80-€3)
10. Try Rice Wine
Rượu Nếp Cẩm (Sticky Rice Wine) is about 29.5% alcohol and is traditionally seen as a man’s drink. Enjoying this beverage is a social activity and you will see groups of men on the streets in town taking shots of rice wine together using a shared shot glass.
11. Drink Egg Coffee (Cà phê trứng)
Coffee is another popular drink in Vietnam as they are the worlds second largest producer and exporter of coffee. Due to its abundance, locals have come up with copious ways to enjoy coffee, one of them being ‘Egg Coffee.’ This unusual drink is prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee.
This coffee variation is a speciality in Hanoi and the cost can be between 25,000 – 80,000 VND (€1-€3)
Where To Stay in Hanoi
Republik Backpackers Hostel
We know you shouldn’t have a favourite child, but this stylish design led hostel is maybe our favourite base for exploring Hanoi… just don’t tell the others! Each bed comes with a privacy curtain, reading light, personal locker and mini fan for keeping you cool AF. There’s also a cinema room, chill out area and bar with free beer every single day… admit it, Republik Backpackers Hostel is your favourite now too!
Central Backpacker’s – Old Quarter
Central Backpacker’s is the place to go if you’re looking for a party. It is located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter and are known for their legendary bar and nightly parties. There are regular events and themed parties within walking distance to tasty street food and lively bars. They offer dorms and private rooms, including breakfast and are popular with European tourists. ! ! €5 for a bed in mixed dorms.
The Signature Inn
The Signature Inn is the largest and newest Hostel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Equipped with video game set up and movie rooms, it has the most modern facilities and entertainment options for those travellers needing a break from sightseeing. ! The hostel has both private rooms, ladies dorms and mixed dorms available.! ! €4-8 for a bed in mixed dorms. Doubles start at €21 per night.