Things to do in
Hanoi

In Vietnam’s cultural capital you'll try shrimp pancakes, see the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, and cruise Ha Long Bay.

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Our most recommended things to do in Hanoi

Ha Long Bay: 2-Day, 1-Night Cruise

1. Ha Long Bay: 2-Day, 1-Night Cruise

Discover, Ha Long Bay, known as the “Bay of Descending Dragons” an enchanting bay in the heart of Vietnam. Relax, soak in the scenery, and embrace the culture on this 2-day cruise. This cruise includes a visit to the Sung Sot Cave, the Biggest Cave in Halong Bay, learn about the UNESCO declared World Heritage area, and enjoy the stunning picturesque landscape. Day 1: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay Begin with a pickup from your hotel in the Hanoi Old Quarter between 8:00-8:30 AM. Set off towards Halong Bay on a 2.5-hour ride. Arrive at the Tuan Chau Harbor by noon, before checking in. Next, your captain will welcome you aboard the cruise with a complimentary drink. Meet the crew for a brief introduction and go through safety guidelines. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch, cruise along the Emerald Sea, and admire the fascinating rock formations. Later in the afternoon, you will visit the Sung Sot Cave, swim on Titop Island and embrace the views from the mountain peak. Soak in the sun on a deck chair, sip a cocktail or read a book as you enjoy relaxation. In the evening, gaze at the night sky, as you join the ship’s sunset party. Take a cooking class and master making fresh noodle rolls. Enjoy a delicious set dinner packed full of vibrant flavors. Join in karaoke, play games, or go fishing for squid, before you enjoy a well-deserved night of rest. Day 2: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi Wake up, enjoy the beautiful sunrise on the sundeck, have breakfast, and admire the stunning views. Help yourself to a cup of tea or coffee if you like to kick start your day. Set sail past the magnificent landscapes, visit the Halong Bay Pearl Farm, and learn the history of pearls. Next, you will return to the ship, enjoy an afternoon dip or explore the bay yourself by kayak, the choice is yours. In the afternoon, enjoy a spot of lunch, and relax as you cruise back to Tuan Chau Harbor. You will then head back to Hanoi or your hotel, arriving back by 3:30 PM.

From Hanoi: Tam Coc, Hoa Lu & Mua Caves Full-Day Trip

2. From Hanoi: Tam Coc, Hoa Lu & Mua Caves Full-Day Trip

Start your tour early with pick-up at your hotel in Ha Noi Old Quarter at around 7:30 AM, and depart for Tam Coc. At around 9:30 AM, arrive at Tam Coc and take the sampan go along the Ngo Dong river to visit Tam Coc's three caves. Head back to Tam Coc wharf, take your bicycle and cycle around traditional villages and Tam Coc town. At midday, sit down for lunch with Vietnamese cuisine at a local restaurant. After lunch, hop back into the luxury van to visit Hoa Lu, an ancient capital of Vietnam. Visit Dinh king Temple and Le king Temple from the 10th century, and head about the heroic histories of the two Kings during the Chinese Wars. Visit Mua cave, which attracts visitors with its many interesting stories. Climb 500 stone steps to see all the way to Tam Coc, enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the countryside and Ngo Dong river. At around 4:00 PM, return Ha Noi, arriving between 6:30 PM and 7:00 PM. Tour itinerary 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM: Your tour bus will pick you up at your hotel for departure to Hoa Lu. 10:30 AM - 10:40 AM: Arrive at Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam. Visit Dinh King temple and Le King temple from the 10th century, finding out the heroic histories of these two king in Chinese wars. 11:50 AM - 12:00 PM: Have lunch. 1:00 PM - 1:05 PM: Get on the tour bus, continue to visit Tam Coc wharf and take the sampan along the Ngo Dong river to visit Tam Coc (three different caves). 3:00 PM - 3:05 PM: Biking to visit traditional villages around the Tam Coc area. 3:30 PM - 3:35 PM: Keep going to visit Mua cave. The place attracts visitors with its many interesting stories. Climb 500 stone steps, here you can see all the way to Tam Coc, enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the countryside and the Ngo Dong river. 4:45 PM - 5:00 PM: Get on the tour bus to return Ha Noi. 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Arrive at Ha Noi, drop off at your hotel in Ha Noi Old Quarter. End of tour!

Halong Bay: Islands, Caves, and Kayaking Full-Day Tour

3. Halong Bay: Islands, Caves, and Kayaking Full-Day Tour

After you’re picked up at hotels located in Old Quarter of Hanoi from 7:45 AM - 8:15 AM, head out on the drive to Halong Bay, making a short stop half way to visit crafts workshops, where you’ll see marble stone sculptures, plaque paintings, and hand-embroidered items. On your full-day excursion continue on the scenic drive to Halong, reaching Tuan Chau Island pier from 12:00 PM to 12:15 PM, and board the traditional cruise. You’ll be greeted on board and then enjoy a fresh seafood lunch. Have a chance to take in the tranquil beauty and breathtaking scenery from the deck of the boat. During the cruise you’ll enjoy views of tiny islands with their rock arches, sheer cliffs, innumerable white sand beaches, and peaceful coves. Like sculpted cartoon characters, these limestone islands have fanciful names, such as Incense Burner, Stone Dog, and Fighting Cock (which is the symbol of Halong Bay). You will then head on to Thien Cung (Heavenly Palace Grotto). Explore its huge chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. Finally, enjoy 45-minutes of kayaking or paddling a bamboo boat around the islands and water tunnels at the World Natural Area recognized by UNESCO. Return to the Tuan Chau pier from 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM and board the bus that will take you back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi from 8:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Menu for lunch: 1: Tomato/ cucumber salad 2: Fried potato 3: Steam shrimp 4: Fried eggs roll 5: Fried squid  6: Deep fried seafood spring rolls 7: Fried chicken with mushroom 8: Steamed fish with tomato sauce 9: Fried vegetable (available upon season) 10: Steamed rice 11: Fresh fruit 12: Afternoon fresh fruit and tea

From Hanoi: Halong Bay Deluxe Full-Day Trip by Boat

4. From Hanoi: Halong Bay Deluxe Full-Day Trip by Boat

Enjoy a full-day cruise on board a classic junk boat and get a unique Vietnamese experience among the stunning limestone karst mountains of legendary Halong Bay. 8:45 AM-9:15 AM: Pick-up from hotel/accommodation in Hanoi Old Quarter Area - Hoan Kiem District and depart for Halong Bay or at the tour provider's office, if your accommodation is outside Hanoi. 12:15 PM: Arrive Tuan Chau Harbor, welcome aboard, and safety briefing – you'll set out on a 5 hour journey via 2 day-sleeper boat cruise route which is renowned for its striking passages. 1:45 PM: Arrive at Bo Hon archipelago, where you will visit Surprising Cave to see a many stalagmites and stalactites in different shapes. Enjoy kayaking or a bamboo boat ride in Luon Cave. Then visit Titov Island with its sandy beaches adjacent to a towering limestone mountain and the excellent backdrop of the bay. Climb up to Titov Peak for a panoramic view of the bay. 4:30 PM: Return to your cruise boat for a traditional cup of tea and then cruise back toward Tuan Chau harbor. Enjoy free time for sunbathing on the upper deck with music or just enjoy the picturesque views.  5:45 PM: Disembark and return to Hanoi via the new highway. 8:30 PM: Arrive at your hotel, other accommodations or meeting point in Hanoi.

From Hanoi: Ha Long Bay and Ti Top Island Cruise with Stops

5. From Hanoi: Ha Long Bay and Ti Top Island Cruise with Stops

Experience the scenic beauty of Ha Long Bay on a 1-day cruise departing from Hanoi's Old Quarter. Head for the island of Tuan Chau and Ha Long city, where you will board a cruise boat at 12:30. Get a safety briefing at the start of your cruise. Then, set off to explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site of astonishing beauty. Marvel at the limestone karst rock formations as you travel through uninhabited islets, and see outcrops that have been given imaginative names by the locals, such as "Cock Fighting," "Incense Burner" and "Thumb" (to name a few). Enjoy a mouth-watering Vietnamese lunch on board the boat, and then journey to the Bo Hon archipelago (14:00), where you can choose to kayak around the area or relax on the boat. Then, go to the island of Titov to discover a sandy beach adjacent to a towering limestone mountain, where you can climb to the summit for panoramic views. Return to the boat and set sail for Tuan Chau Harbor at 16:00. Enjoy some free time to sunbathe on the upper deck of the boat with music and meet fellow travelers from around the world. Later, board the bus for the journey back to Hanoi.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket

6. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket

Book tickets in advance for the best seats for the show at your preferred timing. Skip the lines to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and experience one of Vietnam's most distinctive art forms live on stage.  See a unique art form that originates over 1,000 years ago in the Red River Delta. In the past, water puppetry showed the daily life of villagers such as farming, fishing and romance. Now, watch plays about ancient Vietnamese legends, myths and history. The world-famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi has its roots in an art form that dates back to the 11th century. The tradition of water puppet theater stems from a time when rice paddy fields were flooded and villagers would create entertainment by standing in the waist-deep water with the puppets performing over the water. Using large rods to support the puppets it appeared as if they were moving across the water with the puppeteers hidden behind a screen.

Hanoi: All-Inclusive Overnight Halong Bay Tour with Cruise

7. Hanoi: All-Inclusive Overnight Halong Bay Tour with Cruise

Treat yourself to a night on an Aspira cruise boat in Halong Bay, where you can enjoy Vietnam’s pristine waters in comfort. Enjoy the experience at your own pace, with the option to kayak, enjoy a boat ride, go swimming, or even enjoy a Tai Chi class. DAY 1: Ha Noi – Halong - Lan Ha Bay (L/D) With the option for hotel pickup in Hanoi, begin your adventure at Tuan Chau Marina. Check in for your cruise, and receive a welcome drink and a cold towel. Get the safety briefing, place your belongings in your cabin, and head to a luxurious lunch in the ship's restaurant. Along the way, admire the beautiful canals of Halong Bay. Then, arrive at the Dark and Lights Cave, where you can kayak or board a bamboo boat, rowed by the local people. Return back to the boat, and enjoy swimming nearby the ship. As night falls, take in the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin, and relax in the seasonal Jacuzzi. Dance the night away during the sunset part, and enjoy happy our deals in all the bars onbaord. Take the option to join a traditional cooking class or enjoy deep relaxation with a massage. Workout in one of the onboard fitness centers, looking out over the top deck, with panoramic views of the ocean. Before dinner, the experienced captain will choose the most tranquil area to anchor for overnight. Afterward, take in the landscape of the bay at night or try your luck at squid fishing. DAY 2: Lan ha Bay -Ha Long Bay – Ha Noi (B/L) Wake up early to start your perfect day with a Tai Chi class or watch the sunrise on the top deck. Explore Lan ha Bay, the most beautiful natural bay in Vietnam. Feel free to try kayaking during your free time and see the sea-level view of Ha Noi Bay. Return the boat and check out the cabin. Then, have brunch in a restaurant while the boat sails back to the pier. Settle the bill at the end of the trip and head back to port.

Hanoi: Halong Bay 2-Day Tour with Boat Cruise

8. Hanoi: Halong Bay 2-Day Tour with Boat Cruise

Experience Ha Long Bay on a 2-day cruise, with a sea view or balcony room, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of entertainment onboard. Swim and kayak in the bay's emerald waters and explore its limestone islands and quaint villages. Day 1: Hanoi Pickup and Ha Long Bay The first day of your cruise begins with a hotel pickup from the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Meet with fellow cruise guests and get to know travelers from all around the world. On your way to Ha Long Bay stop at a humanity center to check out local specialties and products. Arrive at your cruise boat and receive a warm welcome from your captain. Afterward, sit for lunch and savor a delicious meal as the cruise passes through thousands of islands and islets of different shapes. Stop near the floating villages and have the opportunity to kayak in the middle of the bay to admire its fascinating rock formations a bit closer. If possible that day, visit Titop Island. Return to the boat for the evening and watch a cooking demonstration of Vietnamese spring rolls. Then delight in an idyllic dinner on board. Spend the rest of the night with free time to participate in activities such as squid fishing, karaoke, or star-gazing on the deck. Day 2: Ha Long Bay and Hanoi Drop-off Have an early start to your day with morning exercises and photos. Sip your coffee or tea as you have breakfast. Relax and take in the breathtaking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear water of the bay. Check out of your cabin and then spend the rest of the morning exploring Ha Long Ba's Surprise Cave. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to impressive rock formations, incredibly tall ceilings, and an interesting legend. From Surprise Cave, head back to the cruise boat's restaurant and eat lunch. Disembark for your transfer back to Hanoi.

Hanoi: Round-Trip Halong Bay with Transfers

9. Hanoi: Round-Trip Halong Bay with Transfers

Head off on an exciting day trip to Vietnam's stunning Halong Bay for a boat cruise. Head out of Hanoi by bus, enjoying the landscape along your route, before embarking on your boat. Explore the bay's calm waters by kayak or on a traditional bamboo boat, and walk among its striking caves. Your experience begins as your driver and guide pick you up from your hotel in Hanoi. Departing for Halong Bay in the Quang Ninh Province, you will pass by the Red River Delta throughout a 2.5-hour tour during which you can relax on the bus. You will later reach the Tuan Chau port at noon, checking in upon arrival. Once departing the dock, you can enjoy a set-menu seafood lunch while day cruising around Halong Bay. You'll pass by Dog Rock, the Incense Burner, and Fighting Chicken Rock, before having the opportunity to go kayaking or joining a bamboo boat for 45-60 minutes. Following this, head to Dau Go Island where you will have chance to visit Thien Cung and Heavenly Cave, the latter of which is one of the top 2 most beautiful caves in Halong Bay. After an hour visiting Thien Cung Cave, you will return to the boat before traveling back to the pier and disembarking at the Tuan Chau Port at around 5:00PM. From there, your driver will return you back to Hanoi, where your trip will finish at around 7:30PM.

Full-Day Trang An, Hoa Lu & Mua Cave Tour with Lunch

10. Full-Day Trang An, Hoa Lu & Mua Cave Tour with Lunch

Start your tour with hotel pick-up at around 7:30 AM, and depart for Hoa Lu. At around 10:30 AM, arrive in this ancient capital of Vietnam. Visit the Dinh King Temple and Le King Temple from the 10th century, and hear about the heroic histories of these two Kings during the Chinese Wars. At around midday, sit down for a buffet lunch at a local restaurant, before you head to Trang An Wharf to take boat trip along Trang An Stream. Visit Trang An cave complex, including Sang Cave, Toi Cave, Ba Giot Cave, Nau Ruou, and marvel at the scenery of mountains and rivers.  At 3:00 PM, head back to Trang An wharf to board the luxury limousine, and visit Mua Cave. Climb 500 stone steps to see all the way to Tam Coc, and enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the countryside and Ngo Dong river. Finally, hop back onto the bus at 4:30 PM and return to Hanoi, arriving at around 7:00 PM. Tour itinerary 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM: Tour bus will pick you up at your hotel lobby in Ha Noi Old Quarter for departure to Ninh Binh. 10:30 AM - 10:40 AM: Arrive at Hoa Lu the ancient capital of Vietnam. Visit Dinh King's temple and Le King's temple from the 10th century, finding out the heroic histories of these two king's in the Chinese wars. 11:50 AM - 12:00 PM: Have a buffet lunch with Vietnamese cuisine. 1:00 PM - 1:05 PM: Get on the bus to go to Trang An wharf to enjoy a unique sampan journey to visit Trang An cave complex and the scene of the King Kong film. 3:00 PM - 3:05 PM: Bike around Trang An area and enjoy a Vietnamese tea break. 3:40 PM - 3:45 PM: Keep going to visit Mua cave. The place attracts visitors with its many interesting stories. Climb 500 stone steps, here you can see all the way to Tam Coc, enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the countryside and Ngo Dong river. 4:55 PM - 5:00 PM: Get on the tour bus and return to Ha Noi. 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM: Arrive at Ha Noi, drop off at your hotel in Ha Noi Old Quarter. End of tour!

Frequently asked questions about Hanoi

What top attractions are a must-see in Hanoi?

Planning Your Visit

  • How many days to spend in Hanoi?

    Three to five days is a perfect length of time to visit the city and see all the main attractions and sights, while still having time to relax and soak up some of the local culture and cuisine!

  • Where to stay?

    The Old Quarter and and Cathedral District are two of the most interesting parts of the city to stay during your visit. They also allow you easy access to tourist sites and good local bars and restaurants.

Good to know

  • Language
    Vietnamese
  • Currency
    Vietnamese Dong (VND)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+07:00)
  • Country Code
    +84
  • Best time to visit
    To avoid the colder winter, hot summer, and rainy season, Hanoi is best experienced in April and May, but be prepared for occasional drizzle!

Other Sightseeing Options in Hanoi

Want to discover all there is to do in Hanoi? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Hanoi

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 5,906 reviews

Really great course. The market tour was very interesting, we were given options of what we wanted to cook and decided on Bùn Chá, spring rolls, banana salad, egg coffee. We prepared the ingredients and assembled each dish together and chef was very helpful and informative. We were offered beers or soft drinks throughout. The food was really delicious, the nicest I’ve had in Hanoi. A full recipe book with all the recipes for what we cooked and more was sent to us aster. Would highly recommend!

Doing Halong in a day is a long day, but so worth it. Absolutely gorgeous. The guide was well prepared and took care of us along the way, going above and beyond many times. The boat was fine, could have used a few more stairs on the upper deck. The time at each location was limited, but I didn’t mind, as we were able to make multiple stops and see many different places along the way.

"Tom" picked us up at the hotel and was a very kind and genuine tour guide throughout the day, very informative and personal. He was from the Nimh Bin area and was very knowledgeable about the location. When rain meant we couldn't complete the full day activities he suggested alternatives. Very enjoyable day, attention to detail and personal service.

Amazing experience. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and made sure we had a great day. Private car to and from Hanoi was very comfortable, we didn’t queue for anything all day as our tickets were already paid for. Lunch was huge with lots of variety. Highlight was Trang An, a must see when you visit Hanoi!

I highly recommend this trip. Pickup was on time, Hahn, ourntour guide was well prepared with many interesting stories and large knowledge if the visites places. He even made a couple if great photos of us. Food was great as well as the boat trip. The view from the hills is amazing!