Best Things To Do in Hanoi: Fun Exploring the City By Foot

If there is one country that completely exceeded my expectations, that would be Vietnam. Hanoi surprised me by its vibrant culture and by its streets full of charisma. It is undoubtedly, one hundred percent, a must-visit destination in South East Asia.

As a Filipino, I knew Vietnam as a country very similar to the Philippines. Both Filipinos and Vietnamese eat rice. Our nations lie at the same latitudes on a map. Actually, we are neighbors in South East Asia! Houses from our countries look the same. There are just so many similarities we share. Sometimes, I could not even distinguish who is Filipino or Vietnamese when compared side by side.

Hanoi, Vietnam

But, the day I went to Hanoi changed everything. I realized that we differ so much in culture. Yes, it is the culture that makes you a foreigner to a place where people look exactly like you.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Obviously, culture is what makes a city appealing. The city full of office buildings but has no culture or tradition in it is dead. Without culture, it is just a place where people live to make money.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Culture makes people humans, and it instills value in the lives of everyone that has it. It is why millions of tourists flock to Hanoi; to adore the culture and heritage that lives in the Vietnamese people. It is the treasure that vibrantly stays in the streets of their city!

Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnamese culture enticed me so much during my stay in Hanoi. As a traveler, a part of my calling is to share the exhilaration I felt during my travels. Therefore, I will guide you on how you can enjoy your stay in Vietnam too.

Get ready to explore this ancient city overflowing with life and fun!

I’ve also been to Ninh Binh and Sapa. They’re really worth visiting too!

Why discover Hanoi by Foot?

Streets of Hanoi, Vietnam

Attractions are close to one another.

The first reason is, there are tons of attractions in Hanoi, and they are relatively close to each other. Walking from one destination to another would not tire you much.

Fine weather

Believe it or not, Hanoi experiences four seasons. If you visit at the right season, Hanoi will be entirely a walkable city. During late autumn, winter, and early spring, the temperature in Hanoi stays in between 25°C (77°F) and 15°C (59°F) (Source: NOAA). That mild temperature makes strolling around the city a pleasant activity to do.

Trees along the pathways

Trees fill the streets of Hanoi, especially in Old Quarters. You shall enjoy the lush view of the city walkways as you go from one attraction to another. You shall not worry about sweating too much or getting sunburns in Hanoi. Besides, the streets are surrounded by two to three-level houses and stores. They, too, give shade to the streets of Hanoi.

Culture engraved on its streets

People eating in tiny chairs, conic hats, thousands of motorcycles, and bikes loaded with huge packages are just some of the fascinating parts of Hanoi’s identity. There are just tons of details about Vietnamese culture that you’ll see on the streets. You can only discover most of them if you will walk and immerse yourself in them.

15 Best Things to do in Hanoi

Hanoi is jampacked with activities and attractions to visit. The 15 places I listed below are just a few of the many places where you can learn more about Vietnamese culture, have fun and spend time in leisure.

The list I created focuses on the places near Hoan Kiem Lake and Old Quarters. Those are the places which you can visit on foot in a day in Hanoi. I did not include the ones which are off the path.

I arranged the list efficiently to help you maximize your one-day walking tour in Hanoi. The places on the list are in morning to evening destination flow without back and forth routes to save you time and energy. Here is the map for your reference:

I categorized the places on the map according to the part of the day you must visit them:

  • Morning Destinations
  • Afternoon Destinations
  • Evening Destinations

I also put a route to follow to guide you on which of those destinations you must check first, second, third, and so forth. There are two tracks on the map:

  •  Morning Route – includes your destination from morning until mid-afternoon
  • Late Afternoon Route – comes with the places you must go from late afternoon until evening

Feel free to tick and untick the categories and routes on the map in the menu. The menu is activated when you click the upper-left icon of the map widget. Click here to view the map on the app or another browser tab. Have fun navigating!

MUST SEE: 7 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam with Extraordinary Landscapes

Dong Xuan Market

First thing to do in Hanoi: Kick off your day in Hanoi by going to Dong Xuan Market to buy your supplies for the whole day. Buy water, on the road snacks, sunglasses, and Vietnamese conical hats for a very affordable price!

Dong Xuan Market​

Here you can experience the life of a true local. Watch them buy and sell wet goods, vegetables, flowers, bags, and many more in a four-story soviet-style market building. Fact, Dong Xuan Market is Hanoi’s largest indoor market situated in the northern part of Hanoi Old Quarter.

Dong Xuan Market is also a great place to get a taste of local dishes. It has a massive dining area where you can select a wide range of food to satisfy your morning tummy.

Dong Xuan Market​

Actually, you can find even those Vietnamese exotic food here. Give your taste buds a brand new sensation from fried frogs or duck blood soup (Tiet Canh)! I can’t recommend these foods because I did not have any plan of eating them. I sometimes get sick from eating exotic food, even if they are edible. But for the sake of experience, you must try.

If you’re looking for unexotic food, you must not skip Banh Coun (Steamed Rice Rolls), Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodle), and their all-time-famous egg coffee!

Dong Xuan Market is open from 6 in the morning until 7 in the evening.

Quan Chuong City Gate (Old City Gate)

Quan Choung City Gate will be a sensational place for every history enthusiast tourist. It is the only surviving gate that remains from the Thang Long Citadel. This gate brings back the beauty of ancient Hanoi architecture and history. This is a thing to do in Hanoi to have a glimpse of the past.

Quan Chuong City Gate

Hanoi is famed as a place where the old meets new, and Quan Chuong City Gate is a spot in Hanoi where you can get a perspective of the old and early story of the city. This gate gives you the visuals that will help you imagine the magnificent ancient Hanoi that you will explore for the day.

However, you must be careful when you visit this spot. Motorcycles pass the gates, and you must keep your distance from the road if you want to take photos.

Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square

Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square is on the northern tip of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is a hub full of shops, restaurants, and bars with a view of Hanoi’s fascinating streets. Visiting Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square is a thing to do in Hanoi to see the city skyline while drinking the best Vietnamese coffees.

There are establishments on the 3rd and 4th floors of the buildings around Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square, where you can eat with a view of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square​

Watch in amusement how the motorcycles, cars, carts, and people shuffle at the intersection in Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square without colliding with each other. It is the spot in Hanoi that made me believe that traffic lights are unnecessary!

The square may not look very busy during mornings and afternoons. Come back here at night (weekend), and you shall see a beautiful Hanoi lit with fun and festive activities. At night, art and music fill the street, giving awe and enjoyment to the locals and visitors hanging around the square. It is the time when you meet the new from the ancient city of Hanoi.

You can skip lunch in the square and have it on the Hanoi Train Street. There are good restaurants in Train Street too.

Hanoi Train Street

Hanoi Train Street is going to be an experience that you will never forget in Hanoi. It is one of the most famous things to do in Hanoi.

There, you will literally stand and sit beside the train as it passes by you. The train that you’ll encounter is the train that connects the two major cities in Vietnam, Hanoi from the north and Ho Chi Minh City on the south.

Hanoi Street Train

What’s cool about Hanoi Train Street? Informal settlers are not the only ones that live beside the tracks. Instead, it is a tourist attraction, and there are restaurants along the railway. What’s better? The store owners are super friendly, and the food they serve is super delicious! All the reviews that I’ve read said the same.

During weekdays, the train comes at times:

  • 6:00 in the morning 
  • 7:10 in the evening

During weekends, catch the train passing at times:

  • 9:15 in the morning
  • 11:30 in the morning
  • 3:20 in the afternoon
  • 5:45 in the afternoon
  • 6:40 in the evening
  • 7:00 in the evening

I suggest that you come 10 to 20 minutes earlier to find a good spot to watch the train.

Hoa Lo Prison Relic

One revelatory historical site that you must visit in Hanoi is Hoa Lo Prison Relic. It is a thing to do in Hanoi where you will learn so much about the unescapable prison that shaped a part of Vietnamese history. No prisoners escaped from this site for 36 years before 1932.

Hoa Lo Prison Relic​

Hoa Lo Prison Relic is also known as Hanoi Hilton. Exploring the site would let you discover how brutal life in the prison was. It is an eye-opening experience that will make you realize how lucky we are now to live in complete freedom today.

This historical site exhibits many artifacts. You can find even the guillotine used for sentencing. If you want to learn more about them, you can buy a fact booklet for 15.000 VND. Don’t worry about getting a guide! The site has directions written in English, French and Vietnamese. You will not lose yourself inside the place.

Hoa Lo Prison Relic is open from 8 in the morning until 5 in the evening. The tickets cost 30.000 VND. If you are a student, you get a 50% discount. Kids below 15 years old get discounted tickets too. Take note, visiting Hoa Lo Prison Relic requires you to wear elegant clothes before entering.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Saint Joseph’s Cathedral is the seat of Catholicism in Hanoi. French colonists built this church during their expansion in Indochina in the year 1800s. It is intriguing how it survived few wars across Vietnamese history. Even now, Saint Joseph Cathedral stands still and intact.

Visiting Saint Joseph Cathedral is a thing to do in Hanoi if you love architecture, catholic, or history enthusiast.

St. Joseph's Cathedral​

Locals call this church “The Big Church.” Incorporated to its might is the beautiful Gothic architecture prominent to Europeans during the construction of this church.

Like the churches in France, Saint Joseph Cathedral has high domes and tall and vibrant glass windows. The mosaic embedded in the church’s glasses brighten the interiors of the church. They show the Virgin Mary, saints, and a piece of history about the Roman Catholic Church.

St. Joseph's Cathedral​

You are free to visit Saint Joseph’s Cathedral all day. But you can only go inside whenever there is an ongoing Eucharistic celebration. To enter, you must have decent clothes.

Here is the schedule for the Holy Masses in Saint Joseph’s Cathedral:

  • Weekdays: 5:30 in the morning and 6:15 in the evening
  • Saturdays: 6 in the evening
  • Weekends: 5, 7, 9, 11 in the morning, and 4, 6, 8 in the evening

There are two special days which the parishioners of Saint Joseph Cathedral celebrate. First is during the 19th of March, the feast day of Saint Joseph. The second is, of course, during Christmas. It is the time when the church’s compound comes with string lights and decorations.
Those are the days you might want to catch a time around the Cathedral.

Ba Da Pagoda

Ba Da Pagoda, also called Stone Lady Pagoda, is a religious and historic site in Hanoi. Visiting Ba Da Pagoda is a thing to do in Hanoi if you want to see how Vietnamese people pray and connect with their inner selves.

It is the center of Buddhism in the Old Quarter, located in the middle of Nha Tho Street, approximately 100 meters away from Saint Joseph’s Cathedral.

Ba Da Pagoda​

Believe it or not, this temple is almost a millennium in age! The small entrance to the site is like a time tunnel going to the founding years of Hanoi. Now, Ba Da Pagoda serves as the sanctuary for Hanoi’s residents seeking some quiet and balance from their busy life from work.

Ba Da Pagoda - entrance​

Grant yourself a bit of tranquility in your walking tour in Hanoi by hearing the chimes in Ba Da Pagoda and smelling the incense in it. Ba Da Pagoda is open to everyone, starting from 7 in the morning until 9 in the evening.

King Le Thai To’s Temple

Another thing to do in Hanoi is to visit King Le Thai To’s Temple. It is a monumental place for a national hero in Vietnam, Le Loi, who later became King Le Thai To. He is the leader of the resistance who fought against the invaders in the year 1500s. You can find King Le Thai To’s Temple in the west of Hoan Kiem Lake.

King Le Thai To's Temple​

Your visit to King Le Thai To’s temple would not take long as you could explore the whole site in less than 10 minutes. But, it could be an excellent place to sit, relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the surroundings. The monument exhibits good architectural design for great for photo opportunities.

There is no fee to enter the monument. Feel free to sit around with the garden and observe the place in silence. There is a musical performance that you can watch for free in front of the temple during weekend nights.

Hanoi Opera House

Hanoi Opera House is one of the most beautiful structures that you will see in Hanoi. Visiting Hanoi Opera is a thing to do in Hanoi if you want to get a different taste of the city.

It was constructed in 1911 by France, which colonized Vietnam for six decades. The design of the Hanoi Opera House is a marvel of neo-classical French architecture. You will find this spectacular structure in August Revolution Square in Hanoi.

Hanoi Opera House

Many say that the exterior of Hanoi Opera House gives just the tip of the iceberg fascination. Its interiors are more appealing, visitors who have been inside the opera house said. Actually, they mentioned that it is more captivating than the interiors of Paris Opera House.

Sadly, the Hanoi Opera House is not open to the public. Visitors could only enter the structure when there are events and shows in the opera house. You can check the events on the website of Hanoi Opera House. You can also book a seat there if you want. 

I was not able to enter the opera house, though. But for me, it was alright. Hanoi Opera House meant a good discovery already, and I was deeply fascinated by its exteriors.

National Museum of History

Few steps from Hanoi Opera House, you will reach the Vietnamese National Museum of History. Going to National Museum of History is a thing to do in Hanoi see preserved artifacts from Vietnam.

Like the opera house, the National Museum of History has an impressive architectural design on its exterior. The inside is not that spectacular, however. But it is worth visiting if you want to learn the general history of Vietnam.

Hanoi National Museum of History

You’ll see artifacts like the Three-Faced Buddha here and other items that are already more than 1000 years old. There are more than 200,000 objects in the museum. They will tell you the history of Vietnam from prehistoric times to the present.

Vietnamese National Museum of History is open every day from 8 am until 12 pm and 1:30 in the afternoon until 5. The entrance to the museum costs 40,000 VND.

Ngoc Son Temple

Located in the northern portion of Hoan Kiem Lake, you will find Ngoc Son Temple standing on the island in the middle of the lake. It is connected to the lakeshore by a beautiful scarlet Vietnamese bridge named Cau The Huc.Checking out Ngoc Son Temple is a thing to do in Hanoi to relax by the lake and see some historical figures.

Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple is called the Temple of Jade Mountains in English. Vietnamese built this temple in dedication to their war hero, named Tran Hung Dao, who defeated the Mongolian army in an invasion dated back to the 13th-century.

There is a beautiful view of the lake from the islet. The Fresh flowers and Bonsai trees fill Ngoc Son Temple’s surroundings, making it an excellent place to hang out and relax for a bit. The most impressive thing that I found from the temple is the preserved giant tortoise. Funny how it scared me when I had my first glimpse of it.

Ngoc Son Temple

The temple is open from 8 am until 6 in the evening. The tickets to enter cost 30,000 VND, and they are available from the ticket booths near the temple’s gate before you pass the bridge.

By the way, I learned that Vietnam has wonderful temples. They inspire me to return to Vietnam to visit them. Check them out here in my list of inspiring photos of Vietnam

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Water Puppets is a tradition unique to Northern Vietnam, which originated in the Red River Delta back in the 11th century. It is a thing to do in Hanoi to experience the cultural highlights of northern Vietnam.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

The puppet shows retell the Vietnamese folklore, legends, and rice harvest celebrations. Charming music by a Vietnamese orchestra playing wooden bells, horns, cymbals, bamboo flutes, and drums accompany the whole storytelling. The puppets are supported by large rods and controlled by few puppeteers behind the bamboo screen.

Other visitors agree that it is a spectacle and photos don’t give justice. They say that the puppetry manifested during the show is just impressive, and the stories they narrate are lovely and humorous-definitely a must-watch piece of art.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre​

The theater is available from 3 in the afternoon until 8 in the evening. Each show is a 50-minute amusement that you will never regret. You can reserve your seats from this link. If you take the 6:30 show on a weekend, you’ll come out from the theater and see the streets filled with crowd dancing, listening to live bands, and having fun.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is the spot in Vietnam that would make me love Hanoi more and more. It is the ultimate life center of Hanoi, I think. Enjoyable and exhilarating activities occupy the lakeshore day and night. Vietnamese people living in Hanoi are so lucky to have a lake in the middle of their city.

Check out the “What day of the week should I visit Hanoi?” section to further know why.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is a place to discover, hang out, relax, exercise, eat, and bond together. Locals and visitors enjoy the serene view of the lake while they do their activities. One famous attraction in Hoan Kiem Lake is Ngoc Son Temple. You shall find it on an island in the northern part of the lake.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Dao Rua is another islet in Hoan Kiem Lake that draws tourists’ attention aside from the islet where Ngoc Son temple stands. It is called Turtle Island, and it is where the visitors can find the Thap Rua or Turtle Tower. The three-tiered tower is one of the most photographed attractions in Hanoi.

Hanoi Weekend Night Market

Every weekend night, Hanoi closes most of its streets to vehicles allowing citizens and tourists to walk freely in the city center and roam around. It is during this time when vendors take the streets to sell different goods. You can buy handcrafted souvenirs, T-shirts, and many kinds of accessories for a very affordable price!

Hanoi Weekend Night Market

These are the few things that you might want to buy in the night market: wooden or bamboo figurines like dragonflies, 3D Pop-up cards that show Vietnam’s famous attractions, and ivory combs. You will also find fantastic phone cases here! Look at what I’ve found:

Hanoi Weekend Night Market

The night market starts from 7 in the evening. It stretches along Hang Dao Street from Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square to Dong Xuan Market.

Dine in Old Quarter

Your Hanoi walking tour will not be complete if you do not eat Vietnamese cuisine. After your tiring city exploration on foot, you deserve mouth-watering dishes served in Old Quarter street restaurants. Experience dining the Vietnamese way too by eating on small chairs and tables on the walkways.

If you’re a food lover, you will surely love checking out the food in Old Quarter. It will be your perfect thing to do in Hanoi.

Hanoi Weekend Night Market

According to vietnam-guide.com, here are the top 10 dishes that you must try in Old Quarter:

  1. Cha Ca (Turmeric Fish with Dill)
  2. Mien Xao Luon (Glass Noodles with Deep-Fried Eel)
  3. Bun Thang (Rice Vermicelli with Chicken, Egg, Pork)
  4. Banh Cuon (Rolled Cake)
  5. Banh Goi (Fried Dumplings)
  6. Xoi Xeo (Sweet Sticky Rice)
  7. Pho Xao (Stir-Fried Pho)
  8. Nem Chua Be (Crab Rolls)
  9. Chim Quay (BBQ Pigeon)
  10. Bun Rieu (Rice Noodles in Tomato Broth)
Hanoi Weekend Night Market

Going to Hanoi From the Airport

Taxi

There are tens of taxis await you at the airport. It is the most convenient way you can reach Old Quarter. However, don’t get scammed by “friendly locals.” Most of the drivers/locals offer you deals but don’t fall for it!

For me, a taxi must be your last resort if you are coming from the airport going to Old Quarter. You should only pay more approximately 350,000 VND (15 USD) to 500,000 VND (20 USD) per ride. The fare should almost be the same if you are going to the airport from Old Quarter.

Grab

It is a car booking app that you can use alternative to taxis. They are Uber’s counterpart in South East Asia. The price or one grab ride from Airport to Old Quarter (either direction) will be as much as a taxi ride. One advantage of grab over taxis? Credibility.

Grab in Vietnam offers motorbike rides too. It is much cheaper than getting a car ride, though. It has greater use in Vietnam, especially if you do not have much stuff on hand.

Download the app from AppStore or Play Store

Hotel Car

Most of the hotels have shuttles. Book accommodation with a shuttle service. Then, arrange to be picked up from the airport. It may cost you a little, but they are commonly less expensive than a taxi or grab.

Bus 86

If you want to save money on your travels, then take public transportation. Take the buses that are following route 86. They service passengers going to the city center originating from the airport, and vice versa. These buses are air-conditioned, have a free Wi-Fi connection, and have comfortable seats beside big glass windows perfect for sightseeing.

Bus 86 Route and stops (From Hanoi Center to Noi Bai Airport)

  1. Noi Bai Terminal 1 
  2. Noi Bai Terminal 2 
  3. VAECO Company
  4. Au Co – Lac Long Quan (523 Au Co str)
  5. Au Co – Xuan Dieu stop
  6. Bus stop at intersection Yen Phu – Cua Bac
  7. Long Bien Transpoint station
  8. 142 Tran Quang Khai
  9. Hanoi Opera House
  10. Hanoi Melia Hotel
  11. Hanoi Train Station

Bus 86 Route and stops (From Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi Center)

  1. Hanoi Train Station
  2. Bus stop opposite the Melia Hotel
  3. Hanoi Post Office (Buu Dien Hoan Kiem Lake)
  4. 23 Hang Tre St
  5. Long Bien Transpoint station (E11)
  6. Bus stop at intersection Yen Phu – Cua Bac
  7. Bus stop at intersection Au Co – Xuan Dieu
  8. Au Co – Lac Long Quan (468 Au Co St)
  9. VAECO Company
  10. Noi Bai Terminal 1
  11. Noi Bai Terminal 2

Bus Schedule and Price Ticket

Buses depart every 25 to 30 minutes. You buy your tickets as you ride the bus. The bus fare from the airport to the Old Quarter is 35,000 VND.

Hanoi Train Station
first trip: 5:05 in the morning
last trip: 09:40 in the evening

Noi Bai Airport
first trip: 6:25 in the morning
last trip: 11:05 in the evening

Where in the airports can I find bus 86?

From Terminal 1 (the domestic airport): Go outside of the airport, and you’ll find the oranges buses, or look for buses with #86 on their signboard.

From Terminal 2 (international airport): Go outside and proceed to Bay #2. Find large signage with “BUS STOP” and “86” and “To Hanoi City Center” printed on it. There you shall see the buses going to Old Quarter.

Airport to Old Quarters (2)

I am going to Old Quarter. Where is my drop-off?

Take note. If you are coming from the airport, the Old Quarter is not the final stop of these buses. The closest bus stop to Old Quarter is 142 Tran Quang Khai.

How long is the travel time from Noi Bai international airport to Old Quarter?

Usually, when there is no traffic congestion, you can reach Old Quarter from the airport in 1 hour and 10 minutes.

My experience with Noi Bai International Airport Terminal 1 and Bus 86

Airport to Old Quarters

In my case, I arrived in Vietnam at midnight. I was surprised because most of the stores were closed. Thinking of Hanoi as the Capital of Vietnam, I was expecting a busier airport. Either way, some shops are still open like the tour companies and telecommunication booths.

Since I cannot go to the city center yet because there was no bus schedule after midnight, I stayed in the airport and slept on the benches. Before I fell asleep, few taxi drivers tried to make a deal with me.

I was a little bit scared because of the stories I read from other blogs, and it was my first time to experience that kind of negotiation. They say I should be careful with the “friendly locals” in the airport.

Actually, I did not understand half of what the driver said. I just kept on telling him that I am not interested. Thank goodness he left me after few minutes without doing something shady. I was still nervous after that incident.

I felt a little paranoia after that as well, though. So, before I took my nap, I put all my essentials in my messenger bag. Then, I used it as my pillow to ensure the safety of my belongings. Amazingly, I was able to sleep for four hours on a bench, and my stuff seemed untouched.

I thought the bus is coming by 7 in the morning, so I woke up at 6, to buy a local sim card, have breakfast, and prepare. However, the bus came late. It arrived almost 8 am! I’m sure I did not miss any buses as I waited in loading bay #2 since 7 o’clock.

I guess it’s another thing that Vietnam and the Philippines have in common. Filipino time. LOL, I’m just kidding!

The bus came, and the conductor amazed me with super friendly welcome greetings to Vietnam. On our bus, he became our tour quick tour guide, and he answered all our questions. It was a great experience riding the bus with him.

Reminders when riding the bus:

  1. During peak hours, the bus might get crowded. Pay attention to your belongings and protect yourself from pickpockets.
  2. There are no luggage allowance restrictions on the bus.
  3. Connect to the Wi-Fi on the bus and track your location in Google maps. It should help you know if you are already near your destination.
  4. If the bus has two doors, you enter at the front and exit in the middle. 
  5. The bus conductor will ask for payment when you’re already on your way to your destination. Prepare exact cash for a faster transaction.

RELATED: Protect yourself from digital pickpocketing

When should I go to Vietnam?

Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Hanoi or North Vietnam. It is the time of the year when the days have a pleasant temperature. Also, it is during that time of the year you get the highest probability for a sunny day.

What day of the week should I visit Hanoi?

It is much better to experience Hanoi on weekends. Because during weekend nights, an incredible cultural event happens in Hanoi.

People reclaim the streets of the Old Quarter, as well as the streets around Hoan Kiem Lake. It is when both the locals and the tourists celebrate the old and new culture of Hanoi. It is an absolutely fascinating moment that you should not miss!

Weekends, Hanoi

You know, I am very thankful that I spent a weekend in Hanoi. More because it was unintentional. I had no clue that there is such a joyous celebration in Hanoi every weekend. So when I discovered it, I was in total bliss. REALLY! I could not explain how happy I was during that time.

Weekends, Hanoi

At that time around Hoan Kiem Lake, traditional music was playing out loud everywhere in the street. Adults were dancing on the streets. Teens were making exceptional performances, and kids were starting to learn to drive on a mini-car.

Weekends, Hanoi

Also, bands were playing Vietnamese musical instruments in the tune of modern songs. The whole lakeshore jives in the beat of the melody they create. There were exhibitions around Hoan Kiem Lake too. It was thrilling to watch the guys create a balanced tower made from blocks of wood.

Weekends, Hanoi

Artists also occupy the lakeshore. They get claps and commissions by showcasing their talent live! They paint or sketch the faces of the tourists and locals walking around the lake. If you ask an artist to draw you, you have a beautiful lake to watch so you won’t get tired of staying frozen during the drawing process.

Weekends, Hanoi

Indeed, Hanoi has revealed itself to me as a magnificent basin of cultural treasure. Even though time has transformed the world, and people have made advancements in technology that induced globalization to every corner of Earth, Hanoi has kept its identity intact in life in the city.

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Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam

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