Spend 1 day in Hanoi, Vietnam, and immerse yourself in a unique blend of rich history and vibrant street life. This 1 day Hanoi itinerary will have you seeing handcrafted gifts sold by local vendors and the scrumptious flavors that define the city’s culinary scene, Hanoi offers an unparalleled one-day adventure that’s waiting to be explored
Where to begin your one-day journey in Hanoi? How can you maximize your time to experience all the city has to offer? Today, we’ll guide you through crafting the perfect itinerary for a fun-filled day in Hanoi. Read on and plan your adventure the right way
Early Morning in Hanoi
8:00 am: Start Your Day With A Traditional Vietnamese Breakfast
Pho is a popular dish and a must-try when you’re in Hanoi. You can find it everywhere in the city, but we recommend trying it at Pho Thin or Pho Bat Dan. Both places are famous for their delicious pho and have been serving it for generations.
Also, treat yourself to a cup of Hanoi’s famous egg coffee. This unique drink is made with hot black coffee, a dollop of whipped egg yolk, and sugar.
It might seem like an odd combination, but once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Cafe Giang is the original maker of egg coffee in Hanoi, and it’s still serving up the best cup in the city. Don’t miss out on this local delicacy.
9:00 am: Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex
Named after the father of modern Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is a must-visit attraction in Hanoi.
The sprawling complex houses the mausoleum, the stilt house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.
You can learn about the life and legacy of the iconic leader who fought for Vietnam’s independence and see some of Vietnam’s most impressive cultural and architectural landmarks.
The complex includes Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his stilt house, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum. If you’re fond of historical events, you’ll appreciate this place the most.
Address: 8 Hùng Vương, Điện Biên, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
10:00 am: Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Next on your early morning itinerary should be a visit to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology just outside the city center. This museum has over 50,000 artifacts, including textiles, tools, jewelry, musical instruments, and much more.
In addition, there are exhibits and recreations of the traditional houses and customs of some of Vietnam’s ethnic groups. The outdoor exhibition of traditional houses from different ethnic groups is an excellent way for visitors to learn about village life and housing styles all over Vietnam.
If you’re up for retail therapy or souvenir shopping, visiting Dong Xuan Market should be on your must-do list. Located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, this market is a hanok-style building that sells traditional Vietnamese clothing, souvenirs, and knick-knacks.
Address: Đ. Nguyễn Văn Huyên, Quan Hoa, Cầu Giấy, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
Late Morning in the Capital
11:00 am: Take A Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake
A trip to Hanoi can only be completed by visiting this picturesque lake in the heart of the city. Walking around the lake is the perfect way to soak in the city’s culture.
You can witness locals practicing Tai Chi, joggers enjoying their morning exercise routine, and couples taking a romantic stroll around the lake.
Once you have completed your walk, head to Ngoc Son Temple. Located on an island in the middle of the lake, this temple is a must-visit for anyone wanting to understand the cultural significance of Hanoi.
You’ll need to cross the vibrant red Huc Bridge to reach the temple, which adds to the overall charm of the experience.
Head to the Old Quarter of Hanoi, where you can find plenty of street food and local restaurants. This place is a paradise for indulging in some lip-smacking Vietnamese cuisine.
If you want something quick and delicious, try Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich filled with meat, vegetables, and herbs. The combination of flavors inside a crusty baguette is simply unbeatable.
If you’re craving something more satisfying, try Bun Cha, a dish of grilled pork and noodles.
The succulent pork is served with a secret dipping sauce and a plate of fresh greens, creating a sumptuous and light flavor that will satisfy your hunger while giving you the energy to explore more of the city.
A Bustling Afternoon in Hanoi
1:00 pm: Visit the Temple of Literature
When the sun is up in full glory, march towards some centuries-old tourist attractions in Hanoi. The Temple of Literature, founded in 1070 and served as the first national university of Vietnam, is one of the most significant treasures in Hanoi.
This temple is dedicated to Confucius, and you will find several statues and artifacts related to Confucianism here. The complex is adorned with beautiful gardens and courtyards, making it a perfect spot for a stroll.
You should also look out for the stelae of doctors, inscribed with the names of scholars who passed the royal exams. It’s fascinating to learn about the education system and how it has evolved over the centuries.
Address: 58 P. Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
2:00 Pm: Take A Cyclo Tour Around The Old Quarter
After an hour at the Temple of Literature, it’s time to explore the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The best way to see the narrow streets and French colonial architecture is by taking a cyclo tour – the traditional three-wheeled vehicles widely used in Vietnam.
A driver will operate your cyclo from behind, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the ride. As you embark on your cyclo tour, you will be transported to a different world.
The Old Quarter is a maze of streets and alleys lined with vendors selling everything from souvenirs to street food.
You will pass by traditional houses so narrow that you can almost touch both sides with your arms outstretched.
One of the tour highlights is visiting the Dong Xuan Market, one of the biggest markets in Hanoi. The market is housed in a three-story building and offers a vast selection of goods, including clothing, electronics, and fresh produce.
It’s an excellent spot to buy souvenirs and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Late Afternoon Fun
4:00 pm: Visit the Hoa Lo Prison Museum
Later during the day, go to the Hoa Lo Prison Museum, located in the heart of Hanoi. The French built the prison in the late 19th century to house Vietnamese political prisoners during the colonial period.
Later, during the American War, it was used to detain American prisoners of war, earning it the nickname “Hanoi Hilton.” The museum’s exhibits provide a glimpse into the daily lives of the prisoners and the conditions they endured.
You will see the cramped cells where they were held, the shackles used to restrain them, and the torture devices used to extract information. The museum’s displays include photographs, documents, and artifacts that tell the story of the prison’s history, making it a fascinating place to learn about Vietnam’s past.
As you explore the museum, you will notice that it has been designed to provoke contemplation and reflection. There are haunting images of the prisoners lining the walls, and the overall atmosphere is solemn and quiet. It is a sobering experience but an essential one for those interested in learning about Vietnam’s history.
Address: 1 P. Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
5:00 pm: Visit the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
After leaving the prison, our next stop is the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as the political center of Vietnam for over a thousand years. The citadel was built in the 11th century by the Ly Dynasty and has been expanded and renovated over the centuries.
The Thang Long Imperial Citadel’s walls stretch out for miles, enclosing an enormous space that includes palaces, temples, and administrative buildings. It’s a testament to Vietnam’s rich history and the power of its emperors.
Walking through the citadel, you will see a mix of architectural styles, ranging from the traditional Vietnamese to the Chinese and French. This place’s grounds are beautifully landscaped, with manicured gardens and tranquil lakes that provide a peaceful respite from the busy city streets.
Address: 19C Hoàng Diệu, Điện Biên, Ba Đình, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam
A Soothing Evening in Hanoi
6:00 pm: Head To The Bustling Night Market In The Old Quarter
When the air gets colder, stroll to the Old Quarter’s night market, just a few minutes walk from Ta Hien Street. The market is open every night and is a bustling hub of activity, with vendors selling everything from handmade souvenirs and clothing to street food and local products.
The market is great for souvenirs and gifts for loved ones back home. Here, you will find Vietnamese hats, lacquerware, silk scarves, and artwork. Be sure to haggle with the vendors for the best price, but remember to be respectful.
As you wander through the market, take in the sights and sounds of Hanoi at night. The narrow streets are lit up with neon lights, and the sounds of locals and tourists haggling and chatting fill the air.
7:00 pm – Dinner time!
What better way to kick off your evening in Hanoi than with delicious street food and beer? Ta Hien Street, located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, is a bustling street with bars, restaurants, and street food stalls.
The street is particularly famous for its cheap beer, served in large glasses for as little as 5,000 VND (around 20 US cents)!
Here you will find Vietnamese dishes like Bun Cha, Pho Cuon, and Banh Mi. However, the must-try dish here is grilled meat and seafood.
The grill smoke fills the air with a mouth-watering aroma, drawing in locals and tourists alike. The food is cooked fresh on the spot and served on a small plastic stool.
Pair your meal with a cold beer and soak in the lively atmosphere of the street. Strike up a conversation with the locals; they are friendly and welcoming, and you might learn something new about Hanoi.
Conclude the Day on a Good Note
8:00 pm: Watch a Water Puppet Show
The water puppet show is a unique art form that originated in the Red River Delta in the 11th century and has been preserved and developed ever since.
The show features wooden puppets controlled by puppeteers standing in waist-deep water. The puppets are accompanied by live traditional Vietnamese music, singing, and storytelling.
This exciting show is held at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The theater has been operating since 1969 and is the most famous venue for this art form.
A puppet show lasts for about 50 minutes and includes multiple short acts, each showcasing different aspects of Vietnamese culture and daily life. You will see puppets performing traditional dances, farming, fishing, and even fighting against evil spirits.
It’s an enchanting experience, but you must arrive early to get a good seat, as the theater can get crowded. Also, note that the show is entirely in Vietnamese, but it’s easy to follow the storyline through the puppets’ movements.
10:30 pm – End Your Night By Heading To A Rooftop Bar
After a mesmerizing water puppet show, head to one of Hanoi’s rooftop bars for a drink and glimmering views of the city.
The Twilight Sky Bar offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city, including Hoan Kiem Lake and the bustling streets of the Old Quarter.
If you prefer a more laid-back vibe, head to the Top of Hanoi on the 65th floor of the Lotte Center Hanoi. This bar offers a panoramic view of the city, including the iconic Long Bien Bridge and the Red River.
Live A Little – Have Fun in Hanoi
After experiencing the best of what Hanoi city offers, it is time to rest. Snuggling up with a steaming cup of coffee in an atmospheric cafe provides an ideal opportunity for recounting all the joys and wonders you have encountered in your journey.
The locals will wish you farewell as they bid you luck and a safe journey back home while you prepare to embark on your path.
Whether that be further adventures around Vietnam or hopping on a train bound for the next destination, one thing is certain: Hanoi gives off unforgettable memories that remain long after your journey.
So live a little, and explore Hanoi!