top of page

Hanoi Travel Guide - Things To Do in Hanoi, Vietnam

The streets of Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Welcome to Hanoi, the vibrant heart of Vietnam! When talking about exploring the northern parts of Vietnam, you can't skip mentioning the charms of Hanoi. Being the capital city, Hanoi is bursting with exciting places to visit and sights to see. It's a treasure trove of history, culture, and the beautiful stories of the Vietnamese people. From fascinating attractions to lively entertainment spots, Hanoi invites visitors to delve deep into the rich tapestry of Vietnamese heritage.

Brief History and Facts

Hanoi (pop. 2 300 000) is located in northern Vietnam on the western bank of the Red River. In colonial times, under French rule Hanoi became an important administrative centre, and in 1902 it was made the capital of French Indochina. It became the capital of North Vietnam after the French defeat in 1954. During the Vietnam War many of its monuments and palaces were destroyed by U.S. bombing. As the capital of a united Vietnam since 1976, it has steadily been rebuilt and its industrial base has grown.

Hanoi means City within the river

Many houses in Hanoi are narrow, because in the old days property tax was calculated by how wide the buildings are. As narrower they get as lower the tax is.

Longest ceramic mural in the world is in Hanoi along the walls of the Red River dike and it is 3,850 meters long.

The Modern and The Old, on the streets of the Old Quarter, Hanoi

Weather in Hanoi

Hanoi has a hot summer with a lot of rain along with the dry cold winter. Weather-wise, the best times to visit Hanoi are February to April and October to November. In Spring and Autumn, the average daily high temperatures oscillate between 20°C - 28°C (68–82°F).

With regards to weather, the worst time to visit Hanoi and Halong Bay is during the summer months from May to September as the weather is usually hot and humid, with daily high temperatures averaging around 35–38°C (95–100°F) and high levels of rainfall.

The longest mural in the world in Hanoi, Vietnam

What to do in Hanoi

The most popular tourist sight in Hanoi is the Old Quarter, the oldest part of the city with a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and French architecture. Another unmissable location for western travelers is the train street, but the Vietnamese visitors would prefer to see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We also enjoy strolling around the West Lake.

Other worht mentioning attractions are: One Pillar Pagoda, The Water Puppet Theatre, Saint Joseph's Cathedral.

Where to stay in Hanoi

The best area for a short stay in Hanoi is definitely the old quarter, where you’ll feel the vibe and energy from streets of Hanoi from the first row seats. For a longer stay, you might prefer to base in a less touristy area, like the the West Lake. A home away from home for many expats in Vietnam with lots of foreign restaurants and shops.

Worker putting out the incense sticks to dry at Quang Phu Cau Incense Village

Hanoi Craft Villages

Traditional craft villages have been part of a larger Hanoi lifestyle, each representing their own unique community, yet still weaved together as a whole in the greater brocade of Vietnamese culture.

With thousands of units still standing, craft villages have been imprinted in the history of Vietnamese culture, employing millions of people with creative handicraft items that are valuable for export, and above all, a unique selling point to international and domestic travelers alike. The most often visited craft village in the Hanoi area is Quang Phu Cau Incense Village.

The century-old incense-making village, An indispensable religious-spiritual object of the Vietnamese worshipping culture, burning incense is believed to be the channel of communication to their ancestors in the spiritual realm, and thus has become a deeply-rooted Vietnamese custom.

Read our other articles about Vietnam

In the beginning of 2024, we spent over 4 months traveling around Vietnam. By staying longer in Vietnam, we were able to visit places off the beaten path, where regular tourists don't usually go, and create comprehensive guides for you to plan your travels.



Hello there!
We only recommend services that we genuinely use. We have partnered with some of our favorite service providers to share their offerings with you through affiliate links. Booking these services through our links doesn't cost you anything extra, but it provides us with a small commission that helps us keep running this blog at no cost to you!

bottom of page