Hanoi offers a diverse mix of new and old, with ancient temples, tree-fringed lakes, French colonial architecture, and sweeping boulevards that co-exist amicably with elegant restaurants, expansive shopping malls, boutique outlets and lively nightclubs. It is an amazing city to experience that oozes charm and has a more urbane, intimate appeal compared to Ho Chi Minh City.
Learn more about this wonderful city by reading out Hanoi travel guide.
Hanoi is a perfect destination for year-round travel and has a climate that varies throughout the year. In the summer - June to August - there is the intolerable mix of high humidity and heat with the temperature reaching up to 40° C, for spring – March to May – the weather is more pleasant with showers, by autumn – September to November – the days are great for sightseeing, and in winter – December to February – the weather is quite cold, yet still humid. The heaviest rainfall takes place from June to August, so making sure to travel with the appropriate waterproof gear.
A great way to experience the blur and rush of daily life on the Hanoi tours is to take a ride on the scooter taxis – but make sure you are given a helmet. With no meter on the scooter it is best to negotiate the price before starting the journey. But, expect to pay about $0.50-0.75 for a 10 minute ride.
Public transport is widely available in the capital but is quite confusing for the first time traveller. A more convenient way to get around is the taxi which are easily hailed on the street or summoned by a local hotel, restaurant or bar.
Bicycle hire is a practical choice for the short trips around town or those wanting to explore the area on a private tour. There are plenty of places to hire a good-quality bicycle, including in the Old Quarter on Hang Bac Street.
Where to stay
Hanoi tour packages can include an extraordinary range of accommodation that is practical for travellers of varying budget levels and preferences, which can range from buzzing hostels to international-style palaces and colonial villas.
A stay at the Hoa Binh Hotel makes it possible to experience a 3-star hotel with 100+ spacious and comfortable rooms with the most practical facilities. This hotel is based in a 1920’s colonial building that has seen a major renovation in the past. It is pleasantly located a short distance of Hoan Kiem Lake. The on-site restaurants serve local Vietnamese and French dishes.
The La Dolce Vita is conveniently located in the Old Quarter, which makes a perfect base for exploring the local area. The well proportioned rooms are comfortable and bright and styled with a traditional Vietnamese look. The attached restaurant/bar has a varied menu with a choice of western and Vietnamese cuisine.
A visit to the Essence d’Orient Hotel & Spa gives a very comfortable and stylish place to stay and well located in the Old Quarter – but still quiet in the spacious rooms. This is a further hotel with an exceptional restaurant, while also having the friendly and professional staff.
Eat and drink
The cuisine on the Hanoi tour packages is quite diverse with a pleasant mixture of French, Chinese and Vietnamese traditions that include plenty of regional variations. The majority of the dishes rely on noodles or rice for the base, while fruits, vegetables, and fish are plentiful and served seasonal and fresh.
The most authentic restaurants in the Hanoi are the low-cost places located in the Old Quarter where diners simply sit on the low tables and stools outside. These roadside eateries are great for the authentic dishes like spring rolls, banh mi, bun thang and xoi yen. The local dining scene includes the hipster cafes to fine-dining eateries that are seen all over Hanoi.
A visit to Xoi Yen in the Old Quarter is well appreciated for its delicious serving of xoi xeo (savoury or sweet sticky rice with shaved bean curd, shallots and different meats). Guests sit on the low stools and tables for the more authentic experience. This eatery gets quite busy in the evenings and costs are reasonable with a bowl of xoi xeo costing in the region of $0.65-$1.35 (the more expensive dish includes extra ingredients).
The Bun Thang Ba Duc roadside eatery may look quite dilapidated but it is one of the most regarded places with the locals, and found in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district. The prices are great with a bowl of bun thang (noodles, pork slices, eggs, chicken, and shrimp paste) costing about $1.50.
A great place to shop on the Hanoi tours is the Old Quarter with its maze of narrow streets that are filled with the trinket sellers, food stores, souvenir stalls, and fashion stores. The traditional markets are great to get an authentic feel and these are located throughout the city with traders selling household supplies, street food and coffee beans at great prices. A trip to Hang Da Street is perfect for those in search of tailor-made clothes created from quality textiles. To get a respite from the heat outside, a trip to one of the shopping malls is certain to appeal and includes VinCom City Towers, the Parkson and Trang Tien Plaza. You can read more about shopping in Hanoi here https://www.vivutravel.com/vietnam-travel-guide/shopping-in-vietnam/shopping-in-hanoi
Things to see and do in Hanoi
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and has significant cultural and historical importance to the country. This intriguing relic stands at a height of 40 m and is centrally located in Hanoi close to several other local attractions.
A visit to the Water Puppet Theatre makes it possible to watch a unique form of water puppetry, which is well-established in Hanoi. The preferred theatre to visit is the Thang Long Puppet Theatre, which puts on the best show of puppet masters controlling the dancing puppets that appear on the liquid stage.
The Perfume Pagoda is a quite stunning Buddhist temple complex that dates to the 15th century. It is located in the Son Mountains, which is approx 60 km from Hanoi and easily reach by bus or car with a very scenic route. The actual temples are found carved into the side of a mountain range and surrounded by flowing streams and rich forests.
Ba Vi National Park
A tour of the Ba Vi National Park is perfect for the nature lovers and located approx 2 hours (48 km) from the centre of Hanoi. The park is rich in animal and plant species to create a truly unique scene and is also well-known for its three-peaked mountain.
Hanoi is the heart of Vietnam and this is a must-see city in any holiday to Vietnam. To enter Hanoi, tourists can easily book the flights to Noi Bai airport where Vietnam visa on arrival is supported by Vivutravel. From Hanoi. it is convenient to combine your Vietnam holiday to other beautiful travel destinations such as Halong bay, Sapa, Ninh Binh or go southward to Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh city.
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