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At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.

Visit hanoi

Settled since prehistoric times, Hanoi has been an important city throughout Vietnamese history, serving as the capital of a number of Vietnamese dynasties. Following the end of the Vietnam War, Hanoi became the capital of the country.

Today, Hanoi is the high-octane, buzzing capital and cultural heart of the country with a rich blend of new and old Vietnam. It's a place of delightful contrast with the frenetic chaos of the streets juxtaposed against the style and grace of its lemon-hued colonial architecture. The city offers a number of attractions though much of its idyllic charm is in simply wandering around the historic quarters. Enjoy Hanoi's tranquil parks and lakes, peruse galleries filled with emerging Vietnamese artists and fashion designers, and sample the city's amazing cuisine and bustling street life.
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Hanoi is a vibrant, busy city but I always manage to find a pocket of peace and quiet, enjoying a coffee — a drink the locals are obsessed with — in a Parisian-influenced cafe.
Dzung Nguyen
Vietnam Travel Specialist

Things to See and Do in Hanoi


Visit Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature is a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture founded in the 11th-century by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong to honor Confucius, academics and finest scholars. The temple grounds also housed Vietnam’s first university, in operation there until the 19th century, and include Hanoi’s best-preserved buildings and immaculate gardens. The altars are popular with students praying for good grades; while the pagodas, ponds and gardens of the five courtyards make picturesque backdrops for student graduation photos.

Enjoy a beer in Hanoi Old Quarter

Across Hanoi you’ll see signs for ‘fresh beer’, or ‘bia hoi’. A foamy, low alcohol draft beer, it’s freshly brewed and delivered to each bar, restaurant and doorstep-stall daily. Visitors and locals converge at Bia Hoi corner in the Old Quarter throughout the day to settle into low-slung plastic chairs at the open-walled bars. The beer tends to be poured into plastic glasses straight from the barrel, served with an accompaniment of sticky barbecued chicken and fried rice. It’s worth trying the following day’s beer too, as each new brew is distinct.

Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi offers a comprehensive insight into the country’s 54 ethnic minorities through its colorful, interactive displays. This fabulous collection relating to Vietnam's ethnic minorities features well-presented tribal art, artifacts and everyday objects gathered from across the nation, and examples of traditional village houses. Displays are well labelled in Vietnamese, French and English.

If you’re planning on going trekking to the north and northwest of Hanoi, this museum should really be considered essential, but it goes well beyond covering the groups who live there.

Hanoi Street Food Tour

Starting at Thanh Ha Market, you’re introduced to ingredients that have been transported from across the Mekong Delta. Try the delicate stamens of the banana flower, often used in salads or sweet custard apple, which looks like a small artichoke. Dong Xuan Market in the Old Quarter is crammed with stalls serving bun dau - hunks of tofu served in a hot noodle soup. Banh xeo - crispy fried shrimp pancakes - make a moreish accompaniment. Your tour will finish in the Cafe Giang, a coffee house that has been running since 1946. Its signature creation is egg coffee, which was conceived during the war when eggs replaced heavily rationed milk.

Water Puppet Show

Visit a Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi, which, if you can forgive the canned music, is a good opportunity to see this traditional Vietnamese art form. The puppetry in Hanoi has its roots in an art form that dates back to the 11th century. The tradition of water puppet theatre stems from a time when rice paddy fields were flooded and villagers would make 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. Various puppets, be they dragons, dogs, or people, are brought to life with grace and precision on the surface of the water in this 20-minute show.

Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale)

One of the most notorious sites from the Vietnam War is the Maison Centrale in Hanoi or the Hoa Lo Prison (in Vietnamese), better known by its ironic nickname of "Hanoi Hilton." Originally sprawling over 13 hectares and built by the French in the late 19th century, the prison housed Vietnamese revolutionaries and American POWs during the Vietnam War. Its Vietnamese name is derived from the street it is located on, and is far less sarcastic; it literally means stove but can be translated as “fiery furnace”. The prison is still a popular tourist attraction for those on the war history trail.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda, perhaps the oldest pagoda in Hanoi and Vietnam, offers beautiful architecture, historic artifacts and a peaceful and serene environment. Purportedly founded 1,400 years ago by King Ly Nam De, the building was originally named “Khai Quoc,” which translates to "Establishing the Nation." A stela here, dating from 1639, tells the history of this site. The Buddhist shrine has undergone several changes throughout the years, particularly its renaming from An Quoc to Tran Quoc (protecting the country) by Emperor Le Huy Tong in the 17th century. Surrounded by lush greenery, the pagoda was a favourite amongst the kings and royal families for festivals, full moons, and Tet Festival.

Best Time to Visit Hanoi

November to April will be the best time to visit Hanoi as it tends to be Hanoi’s dry season, with clear skies, comfortable temperatures and minimal humidity. May through to October is classified as the wet season, although, being inland, Hanoi doesn’t normally get hit by the heavy monsoon showers that can affect the coast.
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Festivals, Events and Seasonal Reasons to Visit

  • 01

    The Mid-Autumn Festival occurs in late August or September each year. A time to celebrate the harvest and worship the earth gods, it has evolved into a festival focused on children, who enjoy lion-dance parades and carry lanterns through the streets.
  • 02

    On 2nd September, Vietnam commemorates two key anniversaries: the Declaration of Independence from France in 1945 and the death of president Ho Chi Minh. Hanoi’s residents head to Ba Dinh Square to celebrate with a fireworks display and parade, and music in the streets.
  • 03

    Vietnamese New Year, known as Tet, usually falls towards the end of January or the beginning of February. In the lead up, people spend a few days cleaning their homes and decorating them with foliage. Hanoi’s buildings will be decked in banners of red and yellow, considered to bring good fortune.

Suggested Itineraries

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Hanoi, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Hanoi on a bespoke touring itinerary to Vietnam, do not hesitate to contact us.
Vietnam Adventure Tour: Kayaking, Hiking & Cycling

Hanoi - Halong Bay - Sapa - Mu Cang Chai - Phong Nha National Park - Hue - Da Lat - Nha Trang - Cai Be - Ho Chi Minh City
Highlights of Vietnam: Amazing Ha Long Bay to Labyrinth Cu Chi Tunnels

Hanoi - Mai Chau - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Hue - Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be
Vietnam Luxury Tour: Luxury Honeymoon in Vietnam

Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hue - Hoi An - Da Lat - Ho Chi Minh City
Essential Vietnam Tour: Family Fun Filled Vacation in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be - Hoi An - Hue - Halong Bay - Hanoi
Vietnam Family Holiday

Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be - Nha Trang - Hoi An - Halong Bay - Hanoi
Best of Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be - Hoi An - Halong Bay - Hanoi
Classic Vietnam Tour

Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be - Hoi An - Hue - Halong Bay - Hanoi

Ideas for Experiencing Hanoi

Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Hanoi, and which use the best local guides.
Vietnamese Women's Museum
The Vietnamese Women’s Museum is definitely worth a few hour visit, especially for those keen on learning about culture and gender. Explore Viet Nam’s cultural diversity and women’s significant contributions to the nation’s development, culture and society.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Located about 7km from the city centre, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is worth a thorough visit, for those who are keen to learn about the multiculturality of Vietnam and for those who would appreciate some green space.
Temple of Literature
Originally built under Ly Thanh Tong’s dynasty in 1070 to dedicate to Confucius, Temple of Literature became Vietnam’s Imperial Academy shortly after (1076), a prestigious school for top academics. It existed for more than 700 years as a center for Confucian learning in Vietnam.
Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple
Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake to feel the life of Hanoi. Watching and photographing the Turtle Tower & The Huc Bridge. Visiting Ngoc Son Temple & learn about Tran Hung Dao General
Visit Bat Trang Ceramic Village
Explore the seven-century old pottery village of Bat Trang, an interesting attraction in Hanoi that tourists should not ignore. During the visit, you are not only have chance to see potteries made right before your eyes, you can also try your hand at making your very own pottery masterpiece.
Vietnamese Water Puppetry
Vietnamese water puppetry is originated at least 1,000 years ago in the rice fields of Northern Vietnam. It is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition.
Hanoi One Day Cycling Tour
In this cycling trip, you will ride around Hanoi to see another side of this charming city. Enjoy the peaceful West Lake and visit typical sites of Hanoi.
Hanoi Old Quarter Cyclo Tour
Joining with us in this interesting cyclo tour to discover the maze of bustling streets that make up Hanoi’s Old Quarter like Hang Bac, Ma May, Hang Ma... Admire the products made and sold in every street, such as sugar, bamboo, leather or silver...
Hanoi Cooking Class & Market Tour
Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Vietnamese food with expert guidance and advice from professional cook. Learn how to make some of Hanoi delicacies so you can experience the flavours and tastes of Vietnamese cuisine.
Hanoi Street Food Tour
Discover culinary treats and exotic delicacies alongside a local foodie. Stroll the maze-like streets of the old town, stopping to sample fresh-from-the-grill snacks and slurp noodles alongside resident Hanoians. Learn about Vietnam’s varied cuisine as you watch the street chefs at work and your guide points out regional delicacies and sweet treats to try. It’s a great way to explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter and all you need to bring is an empty stomach and an open mind!