Visit Hanoi in 1, 2 or 3 days - what to see and do?
- on Sep 7, 2020       By: BN
A must-see on your trip to Vietnam, the Vietnamese capital is one of the country's most captivating destinations. As a thousand-year-old capital, Hanoi has a remarkable historical, cultural, architectural and gastronomic heritage. Exuberant, modern and at the same time traditional and conservative, the capital of Vietnam is a fascinating city full of contrasts that we all take pleasure in discovering. So how many days do you need to spend exploring Hanoi?
What to see in Hanoi in a day?
A single day to visit Hanoi is very unfortunate because there is so much to see in this attractive city, but some travellers have tight travel timing. There is no doubt that a single day of sightseeing will whet your appetite and that you will want to come back to discover the Vietnamese capital in much more depth. In just one day of sightseeing, it is best to focus on the sights of Hanoi’s Old Quarter where the heart of the city beats. From the freshness of the morning, immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the old quarter of the 36 corporations of Hanoi where the merchant activity is absolutely stunning. Then you go and discover Hoan Kiem Lake, the soul of Hanoi and a true oasis of tranquillity in which legend has it that a giant golden turtle in the 15th century gave a peasant a magical sword with which to fight the Chinese people.
You can then admire the colonial architectural heritage like the Opera House, Saint Joseph's Cathedral and all the old colonial buildings that line the famous Ba Dinh Square. It is in this same place that Ho Chi Minh made the declaration of independence on September 2, 1945, and that quite naturally also where the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is located. Visit it, the One Pillar Pagoda and the dazzling Presidential Palace.
You can have lunch with some local specialities such as bun cha or pho soup, and then in the afternoon, discover the Temple of Literature. Founded in 1073 to celebrate the education and teachings of Confucius, the Temple of Literature was the first university in Vietnam that trained scholars and high officials from 1076 to 1915. Even today the Temple of Literature is still the Graduation celebration place for Hanoi students. An exceptional place to understand Vietnam's cultural complexity and the history of its mandarins. In the late afternoon, you will attend the water puppet show, the ancient traditional art of the Red River Delta. After the show, have a nice dinner in one of Hanoi's many restaurants or enjoy a typical experience tasting the street food of the old quarter for which the Vietnamese capital is famous.
Visit Hanoi in 2 days
On the second day of your stay in Hanoi, you can explore the fascinating old quarter in more depth by discovering one of its quaint neighbourhood markets with an inimitable atmosphere. Then go to the Hanoi Museum of Ethnography which showcases Vietnam's incredible ethnic diversity. It’s a very interesting activity to discover at the beginning of your trip because it will allow you to understand the life of the ethnic groups in the remote corners of the Vietnamese provinces, in particular those of the North which are home to the greatest number of ethnic minorities. Lunch will once again be an opportunity to appreciate the extent of the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine.
The afternoon can be devoted as you wish to visit one or two museums such as the excellent museum dedicated to Vietnamese women or the one very close to the old Hoa Lo prison, built under the French colonial regime, unless you prefer to explore the Hanoi Museum of Fine Arts or the Vietnam History Museum. Otherwise, if you prefer to stay outdoors, you can discover the two other beautiful lakes of Hanoi next to each other: Truc Bach lake and West lake. There are some beautiful pagodas and temples to see and for the West Lake, the largest in the capital, this is the opportunity to tour it on a pleasant bike ride.
>> Don't delay with some ideas on the PRICE of Hanoi visit
Hanoi tour in 3 days
For the third day of your trip to Hanoi, we invite you to get out of the capital to discover some of the many craft villages that lie on its outskirts. Of all these craft villages around Hanoi, Bat Trang is the most famous and also the easiest to reach. Bat Trang Village has been known for centuries for its ceramics: bowls, plates, tiles and pottery in all shapes and sizes. According to your desires, you can also ask to go to Van Phuc Village, known for its silk production, or that of Chuong specialising in the making of traditional conical hats. Additionally, you can go to the village of Ha Thai known for its skilful, talented and creative artisans, specialised in lacquer or even the village of Chuyen My famous for its objects inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
For your last evening in Hanoi, you can afford a seat at the Opera House at a lower cost to attend a show or a concert, just to end your stay in style in the Vietnamese capital and to appreciate the elegance of this century-old building, a true icon of Hanoi.
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