Top 10 Exciting Activities To Do In Hanoi

With a history of thousands of years, Hanoi is a destination imbued with the rich culture of Vietnam.

Vietnamdrive tells you 10 activities and experiences that are very exciting to spend your time here.

what to do in hanoi

1. Give you hanging out at Hoan Kiem Lake

hoan kiem lake
Hoan Kiem Lake | ©khoinguyenfoto/pixabay

Famous for its vibrant life, but Hanoi still keeps peaceful beauty. Hanoians see Hoan Kiem Lake as a small escape from the hustle and bustle.

Coming here in the morning, you can easily see groups of old men and women practicing Tai Chi, or young people jog around the lake.

When night comes, Hoan Kiem Lake is more lively under the bright street lights. That is also the time when many families, couples, groups of friends gather there to enjoy the breeze and confiding.

You can take a stroll around the tranquil lakeside and cross The Huc Bridge to reach Ngoc Son Temple.

Don’t forget to treat yourself to a cup of sweet egg coffee at one of the egg coffee shops located near the lake. Egg coffee is a unique drink in Hanoi, popular with domestic and international tourists.

2. Take pictures of beautiful moments in the Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter – Photo: @_haidinh_

Referring to Hanoi, it is impossible to ignore 36 ancient streets, also known as the Hanoi Old Quarter, which contains precious memories of the capital.

In this Old Quarter, the life pace is both fast and slow. Many people are busy doing business, and the others are leisurely watching the streets from the corner cafes.

This place gathers all kinds of fun and entertainment activities, from visiting the Friench-colonial-period architecture to walking around, shopping, and eating.

It is not surprising that the old town has a lot of street eateries and restaurants serving both international dishes and traditional Vietnamese cuisine.

3. Enjoy typical street food at Hang Be Market

street food hanoi
Eating street food in Hanoi. ©Tho-Ge/pixabay

Hang Be Market is along the main streets Phu Doan and Bat Dan of the Old Quarter. You will smell a very typical mixed scent from restaurants, fast food shops, or street stalls.

There are many unique street foods for you to choose from, from banh mi, grilled chicken feet, Banh Cuon (spring rolls), Cam sticky rice yogurt, and Khuc Bach sweet soup.

Also, coming to Hanoi, it is absolutely impossible to miss a cup of chilled Hanoi beer, fragrant aroma, bitter and cool taste.

4. Learn how to cook the traditional food of northern style

bun thit nuong hanoi
Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork Vermicelli) is one of traditional dishes in Hanoi.

Each region has a different style of cuisine. You can find many local dishes in Hanoi, which come from the various northern areas of Vietnam. Of course, cooking those dishes in their original flavor is a good way to learn more about the culture.

Join a cooking class with shopping for ingredients, and your instructor will show you how to choose the freshest food. After that, you will enjoy the finished product made by yourself.

Plenty of cooking classes that you can join. You can choose to learn how to cook some famous local dishes, such as bun cha, fried spring rolls, and egg coffee.

>> Check more: The tasty local foods in Hanoi.

5. Watch the city view from over 270 meters high

sky walk in Lotte hanoi
Sky Walk in Lotte Hanoi. @kin_930227

Do you want to see the lovely Hanoi from a bird’s eye view? Take the elevator to the observation area on the 65th floor of Lotte Center Hanoi, which is one of the commercial complexes with the most beautiful scenery in Hanoi.

This building is also a favorite destination for photography enthusiasts. And, dating couples can capture the moment of love at the heart symbol at Sky Walk, or experience the extremely interesting Love Test Machine.

A professional tip is to come there in the afternoon to witness the unique charming transition between day and night.

6. Relax in the traditional house space

relax at spa in hanoi
Relax at spa in hanoi @nhabagian

After days of discovering Hanoi, it’s time to slow down and let your body relax. You may take a rest in a traditional wooden house space, with a pleasant herbal aroma.

You can choose from a variety of treatments from essential oil massage to hair care. Relax, you will be able to drink a warm cup of tea with delicious snacks.

What are you waiting for? Let’s choose one of the massage services in the traditional house to enjoy it.

7. Visit Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. @_hitouyneijk

Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum has become the resting place of President Ho Chi Minh, the nation’s old father.

Uncle Ho’s mausoleum is 21.6 meters high and 41.2 meters wide, highlighted by many majestic gray granite columns.

Surrounding the mausoleum is a lush garden all year round, a place for more than 250 species of plants from all over the country.

Most of the Vietnamese want to come there at least once to better understand the greatest leader in history, who devoted his life to the independence and peace of the land.

You can join a Hanoi city tour to visit Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum or take a trip by yourself to walk around this area. Total time to visit the mausoleum and the garden can take you around 2 hours, so notice this duration to range your period for visiting.

8. Explore Hanoi by motorbike

motorbike in Hanoi

With a dense traffic density, riding a motorbike in Hanoi is the fastest way to experience the daily life of local people.

Although the streets of Hanoi are complicated, they have classic colors with plenty of check-in points.

When participating in a motorbike tour, you can be easy to set foot in famous places in the city; for example, Hanoi Opera House imbued with French architecture, built in the early 20th century, Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum , and One Pillar Pagoda.

Along the journey, you can stop by a few famous snack streets in the capital to fill your hungry stomach or taste a cup of Vietnamese coffee.

9. Pray for love at Perfume Pagoda

perfume pagoda

Perfume Pagoda is essentially a cluster of cultural and religious relics including many Buddhist temples and agricultural beliefs.

Perfume Pagoda (or Huong Son) is located on the banks of the Day River, in Huong Son Commune, My Duc, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Many daily tours from Hanoi to visit Perfume Pagoda offers a great experience for you. Starting from Hanoi, you will be taken to Huong Son district to take a boat ride along with Suoi Yen to Phuong Tru wharf.

The landscape along the banks of Suoi Yen is very charming, so you should remember to bring a camera to get beautiful photos.

When you reach Phuong Tru wharf, the walking tour to visit the Perfume Pagoda begins. Don’t forget to choose active and discreet clothes to visit the temple.

Many people say that Perfume Pagoda is one of the sacred temples to pray for love. So, a person, who wants to escape from single life, need to plan a trip there to get good luck. 

10. Discover the incredible beauty of Ha Long Bay

halong bay quang ninh
Halong Bay in Quang Ninh | © falco/pixabay

Many people mention Halong Bay when answering the question of what to do in Hanoi. It is because this UNESCO World Natural Heritage site is famous for its incredible limestone formations, scattered across clear and emerald-green seawaters.

Ha Long Bay converges 1,500 limestone mountains and plenty of large and small islands. Of course, it would be a big mistake to ignore the beautiful beaches in Halong Bay.

You can travel from Hanoi to Halong Bay by car, and choose to visit the bay by luxury cruises, or by airplane that is a new experience to enrich your journeys in Vietnam. Don’t miss this unique experience.

These are poplular things to do in Hanoi that you can put in your itinerary during your time here.

If you need more answers about Hanoi or Vietnam, please do not hesitate to contact Vietnamdrive staff to give you advices!

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.