Hanoi is a city with fascinating history, culture, excellent food, and alive with the distinctive and pulsating Vietnamese energy. A visit to the streets of Hanoi on the Vietnam holiday is certain to reveal one of the favourite capital cities in SE Asia.
A two day stay in the gorgeous cultural hub of Hanoi is enough time to not only see several of the local attractions, but also appreciate the delicious street food scene and high-class restaurants.
Let's take a look at what the itinerary can look like for a two day getaway in Hanoi:
One of the best ways to get familiar with Hanoi on the family tours in Vietnam is to take a stroll in the Old Quarter. This part of the capital is the commercial and historical centre which is made up of 16 main streets that divide into a maze of alleyways, so it don't bother to plan a specific route, simply go in the direction that looks interesting. Any early morning visit will mean less foot traffic, while there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy a ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) or banh mi (baguette sandwich) while taking in the local scenes.
Dong Xuan Market
If you plan to stay in Hanoi for a few days, this is certain to give enough time for a little shopping. A visit to the Dong Xuan Market is certain to appeal to everyone interested in fresh produce, souvenirs, clothes, pieces of art, colourful trinkets, and so much more. It is Hanoi's largest indoor market and located on the northern edge of the Old Quarter. Also, there are plenty of places to stop and have a bite to eat from a delicious bowl of pho to a filling banh mi.
Visit a few tourist spots
It benefits to limit the number of tourist spots visited on a short stay in Hanoi to keep your days light and relaxed. A place of cultural-historical significance is Hoa Lo Prison, which is well worth checking out. This prison was originally built at the time of the French colonial-era and used to detain Vietnamese revolutionaries, and later used to hold American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. A visit opens up a great cultural walk that makes it possible to see plenty of information related to the French colonisation and the Vietnam War.
Stop to Eat
While travelling around the city, there are plenty of places to stop to get a bite to eat at lunch time or other times. There many cafes and restaurants serving a varied menu, as well as the street food scene to fully appreciate the wide ranging Vietnamese dishes. A great light meal is banh cuon which is streamed rich rolls which is very flavourful with its vegetables, fried onions and sauce.
Thang Long Water Puppet Show
A visit to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre later in the evening is a wonderful way to appreciate a unique Vietnamese traditional art. The puppeteers put on a show that aims to depict a story related to the country's mythology and history. The puppet show is great for adults and children alike, but it is important to book tickets early because this theatre is popular with domestic and foreign guests so will sell out fast.
Evening dining venues
There are plenty of places to visit in the evening for a fine meal. A great upscale place is Ho Tay, which has the largest freshwater lake in the city. After a long day of sightseeing and walking around, this can make a great way to get spoiled.
Early morning pho and coffee
A great way to get ready for the second full day in Hanoi is to enjoy a delicious bowl of pho much-like the locals do. There are plenty of great cafes and street vendors selling this traditional dish. Also, it is worth tasting one of the unique coffee choices on the Vietnam tours, such as egg coffee
Visit more tourist spots
Hanoi has plenty of fascinating tourist spots that can easily be packed into a short stay in the city. A few more of the worthwhile places to visit include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, which are located close together, and dedicated to the late Vietnamese leader.
Elsewhere is one of the country's iconic temples, the One Pillar Pagoda which is elegantly located at the centre of a lotus pond. It is entirely surrounded by a very peaceful and tranquil garden that is perfect for a little time of relaxation or to take some very photographic memories.
Finally, a visit to the Temple of Literature is certain to appeal to many tourists on the Vietnam luxury tours. It is the country's first university and rich in fine examples of local Vietnamese architecture.
Hoan Kiem Lake
A visit to Hoan Kiem Lake is great in the evening to appreciate the sunset. It is located in the Hoan Kiem District of the Old Quarter and a perfect place to relax at the end of the day with a nice stroll. At the centre of the lake is the Ngoc Son Pagoda which is easily reached via a striking red bridge. Also, this is a further great place for taking the beautiful photographs.
Return to the Old Quarter
A great way to finish the stay in Hanoi is to return to the Old Quarter, which has endless things to see with plenty of small shops to pick up the most unique gifts and souvenirs. Also, there are plenty of places to eat and drink. Beer is very cheap and costs as little as $0.50.