Best things to do in Hanoi: 3D2N itinerary

Planning a trip to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam with more than 1000 years of history? This 3-day itinerary will provide the top things to do in Hanoi, from the must-visit attractions, best hotels in Hanoi and more.

With more than 1000 years of history, Hanoi is the political, cultural, and economic center of Vietnam. Behind every corner of the city is a story about Hanoi - the heart of the country, a part of the glorious history of the Vietnamese nation. Visitors can feel a unique spirit and quaint town atmosphere that cannot be found anywhere else.
 

ITINERARY - WHAT TO DO IN HANOI

DAY 1: Sightseeing in Hanoi

Morning:

Begin your trip to Hanoi by wandering around Hanoi Old Quarter, the historic heart of the capital city. The Old Quarter covers many antique houses, typical shops, and narrow alleys, reflecting what is left of ancient Hanoi.

Ma May Ancient House

Visit the Ma May Ancient House which reflects the traditional "tube house" structure of Hanoi - narrow but deep. 

Explore St. Joseph Cathedral, the oldest church in Hanoi. The church was constructed and completed in 1886 after the French conquered Hanoi. The appearance resembles Notre Dame in Paris, yet, the interior is decorated in a Vietnamese style.

St. Joseph Cathedral

Hanoi Opera House is also a must-visit attraction in Hanoi. It is one of three opera houses that the French built during their time in Indochina, along with the Haiphong Opera House and Municipal Theatre in Ho Chi Minh city. Construction started in 1901, completed after 10 years, this was imbued with classical European architecture, perfect in every detail, bringing the most luxurious and academic art space in Indochina. 

Hanoi Opera House

Afternoon:

No trip to Hanoi could be completed without visiting the Hoan Kiem Lake, one of the symbols of Hanoi. 

Turtle Tower
The Huc Bridge leads to Ngoc Son Temple

Start sightseeing the area by visiting Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, and Hoan Kiem Lake, with Turtle Tower quietly reflecting on the lake's surface from hundreds of years ago. Visitors can choose to take a cyclo to explore the landmarks right in this area.

Temple of Literature

And also do not forget to visit the Temple of Literature - Quoc Tu Giam, which is considered the first university of Vietnam with 82 steles of the doctor still preserved in good condition.

 

Evening:

Take a walk in Hanoi Walking Street, explore Hoan Kiem Lake after dark, grab a quick bite and shop at the busy Old Quarter Night Market

 

DAY 2: Hanoi - Bai Dinh - Trang An Tour

Morning:

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and get on the bus to depart for Ninh Binh.

Coming to Ninh Binh, visitors will be surprised by the magnificence of the architectural complex at Bai Dinh Pagoda, which is undoubtedly one of the largest temples in the world with 500 Arhat statues, the largest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam (10m tall and 100 tons weight). Bai Dinh Pagoda is not only known as a place of spiritual worship with hundreds of elaborately carved medium and small statues but also chosen by many visitors for the majestic nature view, embracing both splendid mountains and vast forests of Ninh Binh, especially when standing on the top floor of the tower.

 

Afternoon:

Visit Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural and natural heritage. Take a boat down the Sao Khe River winding between the rice fields, and take a boat to the Aboriginal village that appeared in the movie "Kong: Skull Island". Then, get on the bus to return to Hanoi.

Evening:

Free and easy dinner. Spend time exploring the famous street food of Hanoi or strolling on the vibrant Ta Hien Beer Street.

 

DAY 3: A glimpse into Hanoi

After having breakfast at the hotel, spend the last half day visiting Ba Dinh Square, West Lake - the largest lake in Hanoi and the famous Tran Quoc Pagoda - the oldest Tran Bac temple in Vietnam located on a small island to the east of West Lake, which stores historical and cultural values that have existed since the 6th century. Visitors can choose to explore diverse cuisine in West Lake with dishes such as West Lake shrimp cakes, vermicelli noodles with fish, and ice cream.

Visitors spend the last half of the day shopping for souvenirs. There are many options for tourists to buy as gifts for relatives and friends such as sweet and savory dry fruits, rice nuggets, sweet meat pie in lumps, and West Lake lotus tea... those are the typical gifts for tourists.

Here's the recap of the mentioned attractions in Hanoi, its address, opening hours & ticket price: 

Tourist sites

Address

Opening hours

Ticket price 

(if any)

Ma May Ancient House 87 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 8AM – noon
1PM – 8PM
VND 10,000/ person
St. Joseph's Cathedral 40 Nha Chung, Hang Trong District, Hanoi

Mon - Sat:
8AM – 11AM, 2PM – 8PM
Sun:
7AM – 11.30AM, 3PM – 9PM 

Free
Hanoi Opera House 1 Trang Tien,  Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 10AM - noon Adults: VND 400,000/ ticket
Students: VND 200,000/ ticket (with student card)
Temple of Literature 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da District, Hanoi 8AM – 5PM Adults: VND 30,000/ ticket
Students, disabled people, Vietnamese older citizens (above 60 years old): VND 15,000/ ticket
Children under 15 years old: Free

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Thanh Nien Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi

8AM – 4PM 

Free of charge

Ngoc Son Temple

Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

7AM – 6PM 

Adult: VND 30,000/person

Kids under 15: Free 

Hanoi pedestrian zone

Hoan Kiem Lake pedestrian zone including 16 routes: Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Khay, Le Thai To (1/2 Le Thai To street on the Hoan Kiem Lake side, section from Hang Trong to Hang Khay), Le Lai (section from Dinh Tien Hoang to Ly Thai To), Le Thach, Tran Nguyen Han (section from Dinh Tien Hoang to Ly Thai To), Dinh Le, Nguyen Xi, Trang Tien (section from Ngo Quyen to Hang Bai), Lo Su (from Dinh Tien Hoang to Nguyen Huu Huan) , Hang Dau (Dinh Tien Hoang to Cau Go), Hoan Kiem Lake, Luong Van Can (section from Hang Hanh to Le Thai To), Hang Bai (section from Hai Ba Trung to Hang Khay), Bao Khanh (section from Bao Khanh Alley to Le Thai To).

Friday 7PM – Sunday 12AM 

Free

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Mountain in Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province

6AM – 10PM

Free

 

WHERE TO STAY - BEST HOTELS IN HANOI

Premium Executive room at Silk Path Hotel Hanoi

Silk Path Hotel Hanoi - 4-star hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter

Centrally located in Hanoi, with distinctly eclectic décor, modern facilities and bespoke services, Silk Path Hotel Hanoi affords discerning travellers an unrivalled value to explore all the attractions and culture that the city has to offer.

Silk Path Boutique Hanoi - Boutique hotel opposite Hoan Kiem Lake

Perfectly located by Hoan Kiem lake, the hotel offers an authentic French feel and contemporary facilities with bespoke services. A great place to experience Hanoi atmosphere, immerse in its rich culture and sense it at every moment of your stay.

Grand Executive room with view of Hoan Kiem Lake, Silk Path Boutique Hanoi

 

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