Antique and energetic are just some of the words used to describe the over 1000-year old city where travelers flock here to catch the best street food and ancient beauty. Below are the best things to do and where to go in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hanoi cycling tour
Early morning is believed to be the best time to travel Hanoi and around by bike because there is almost no car or crowd on the streets, just you and the peaceful atmosphere in Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake. You can observe the local life under the bridge and experience the swing of the bridge like there is an earthquake of 4 on the Richter scale when a train is coming through as you’re riding along Long Bien Bridge. End up your long journey at West Lake to enjoy not only the calm and tranquil lake water surface like a vast mirror, but also engage in cycling around the lake with local people, or just listen to the sound of the bell from Quan Thanh Temple.
Happy tourists on the Long Bien Bridge (Source: Internet)
Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake or Lake of Restored Sword or Sword Lake in English is commonly considered as the heart of Hanoi Capital. Before setting off your Hanoi day tour, you should prepare a little bit of knowledge of the background of Hoan Kiem Lake to understand the reason why there is a Turtle Tower in the middle of the lake or how the red of The Huc Bridge bears the meaning of sunrise as it is a symbolic color of the sun.
Ngoc Son Temple is a sacred place to worship national heroes and commemorate their contributions to the protection of the country in the past. Right in front of the entrance leading to The Huc Bridge is Thap But, which literally means Pen Tower. It is the Vietnamese people’s desire for knowledge.
You don’t need to worry if you don’t have enough knowledge about Hoan Kiem Lake because you can easily be supported by free tour guides around the lake, who are looking for foreign visitors to practice English. The combination of Turtle Tower, The Huc Bridge, Ngoc Son Temple, and Thap But creates a harmonious historical complex.
Hoan Kiem Lake in the winter (Source: Internet)
Old Quarter has the highest concentration of reasonable hotels and hostels; therefore, looking for an accommodation with a view of French architecture and the hustle and bustle on the 36 old streets is a piece of cake. The international reputation of Old Quarter is built on its impressive scene of street food. Street food connoisseurs wouldn’t be able to take their eyes off Pho served with fresh Vietnamese herbs and greens or Bun Cha with the smoke of sizzling grilled pork filling your nose or just grab a quick breakfast with Banh Mi after waking up in the morning.
Or, you can challenge yourself to taste some exotic dishes such as fertilized duck eggs or Vietnamese duck blood soup. Western food runs a wide rage just in case you can’t adapt to Vietnamese indigenous gastronomy. You can enjoy meals at some luxury restaurant with Italian pizza, Japanese sushi, Korean Kim, etc.O Quarter is a perfect blend of ancient and modern beauty.
Old Quarter in the early morning (Source: Internet)
Temple of Literature & National University
For those who are looking for peaceful atmosphere and to satisfy their cultural needs, this temple is a great site to relax and dig into the history of Vietnam. You will have plenty of images of various pavilions, halls, and stelae of doctors to post on Facebook or Instagram. In October and September, you would see many students wearing graduation caps and gowns and taking photos to memorize their time at college and university because Temple of Literature & National University is the first university and also a symbol of wisdom in Vietnam.
Students are taking photos at Temple of Literature & National University (Source: Internet)
Best late night spots in Hanoi
Ta Hien Street, a popular street amongst foreign visitors, must be the first stop. Everyone sits together and talks and enjoys beer, which is one of the trademark drinks here. The night party begins with beer and music, under thousands of multicolored electric lights and lanterns.
The next one will be King Pirate Pub at 24B Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem. Located in the back street of the Old Quarter, the huge collection of drums, delighted and reasonable prices are guaranteed to give you an absolute enjoyment.
The charming and cozy Nola Cafe at Ma May Street can easily be missed because of its surreptitious location. Characterized by the decoration of many pictures about ancient Hanoi and an interesting décor idea with umbrellas, this cafe is suitable for working, relaxing, and escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. One of the things that capture its patrons’ hearts is the diverse menu with so many things to eat and drink such as spring rolls, coffee or shakes.
Indulging the moments of Hanoi nightlife is a perfect way to wrap up your Hanoi day tour.
Nola Cafe (Source: Internet)
When following these useful tips, you no longer have to worry about where to go, where to eat, or what you should avoid in Hanoi. So pack up and head for a Hanoi exploration full of joy.