Vietnam is a spectacular country with many places to see and a rich culture to learn about. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is one of the most visited cities in the country. With so many things to do and see it can be quite difficult to put together the perfect Hanoi itinerary. Here is a 7-day travel itinerary that you can use to plan a 3, 5 or 7-day trip to Hanoi.
- How To Spend 7 Fantastic Days in Hanoi.
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How To Spend 7 Fantastic Days in Hanoi.
This Hanoi itinerary is perfect for a 7-day trip. It’s put together so that the attractions in the same area can be visited on the same day. You can mix and match or leave out the things you don’t want to experience. This itinerary can also be shortened to 3 or 5 days if you don’t have 7 days in Hanoi.
You can explore the city by taking a taxi, a motorbike taxi or by walking. All of the attractions for each day are close enough to walk from one to the other however you can take a taxi if you prefer.
Day 1: Relaxing and Exploring the Old Quarter.
This is perfect if you arrive in Hanoi early morning or midday. If you arrive in Hanoi at night you can skip to Day 2.
Arrive at Hanoi
The best place to stay in Hanoi is the Old Quarter. There are many attractions in this area and it has a very vibrant nightlife. During this time, check into your hotel and explore the surrounding area.
Explore the Old Quarter and Ho Hoan Kiem Lake
Walking around the Old Quarter and enjoying the small shops, restaurants and bars around. Take a relaxing stroll around Ho Hoan Kiem Lake. In the lake is a small island with a temple on it. The entrance fee is only 15,000 Dong ($0.70). You can also see the iconic Turtle Tower from land.
You can also visit the Memorial House and Bach Ma Temple while in the area. It’s a great way to experience the old town and learn some of its history. Another must-try is the famous Hanoi egg coffee.
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Day 2: Prisons and Murals – Hanoi Itinerary
Street Murals of Hanoi
Along Phung Hung street there are many murals on the wall showing old memories of Hanoi. It shows you a glimpse into the past and how things used to work in Hanoi. For many locals, these murals bring back so many memories. They are beautiful.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
Opened in 1886, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is the oldest church in Hanoi and the most beautiful. The design was inspired by the world-famous Notre Dame de Paris because of its impressive architecture. This Cathedral is a beautiful old building that is a must-see when in the area.
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Try a Banh Minh Sandwich – The Ultimate Lunchtime favourite
A Banh Minh is a baguette that is cut down the middle and filled with savoury ingredients almost like a submarine sandwich. It’s traditionally filled with pate, mayo, Asian ham, pickled vegetables, green onion, coriander and sauce.
However, the recipe will vary from shop to shop and some places will give you a choice of what you want on your Banh Minh Sandwich almost like at Subway. This is a favourite, all over Vietnam and an affordable lunch option.
Hoa Lo Prison Memorial
Constructed over 100 years ago, the French held prisoners from around 1901. The prison has been well maintained through the years. You can see first-hand the living conditions, prisoner cells, relics and the terrible things they had to endure.
It costs 30 000 VND per person to enter. You can rent an audio guide for 50 000 VND each. We highly recommend that you get the audio guide. It gives a lot of information about things around the museum as well as some prisoners’ testimonials. Allow for around 2 hours here.
Water puppet show
Water puppetry dates back to the 11th century and originated in Northern Vietnam. In Hanoi, you can watch a water puppet show and we recommend the Thang Long Water Puppet show.
This show has been performed around the world. The theatre is located in the Old Quarter, across the road from Ho Hoan Kiem Lake. Buy tickets beforehand if you can to get the best seats.
Ticket prices range from 100 000 VND to 200 000 VND depending on where you want to sit. If you buy a ticket for 150 000 Dong or more, you will receive a small souvenir with your ticket.
Disclaimer: The water puppet show is performed in the Vietnamese language. It could be hard to follow the story but it’s still an interesting experience even if you cannot understand it.
Day 3: The Unique Ha Long Bay
1 day trip to Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Vietnam. The bay consists of 1969 islands and islets which will take your breath away. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ha Long Bay is around a 4-hour drive from Hanoi. You have the choice between a 1-day, 2-day or 3-day tour to Ha Long Bay. The tour you pick will depend on your budget and desire.
For this itinerary, we will focus on a 1-day tour. This will be a whole day tour. Leaving Hanoi early in the morning and arriving back late. During the cruise, you will visit iconic attractions. Lunch is included. If you are vegan or vegetarian or have any other food restrictions make sure you inform the tour agency beforehand.
Day 4: a Day of Museums- Hanoi Itinerary
On day 4 spend time in the French Quarter. This part of town is right by the Old Quarter and you can easily walk here if you prefer. The French played a huge part in the history of Vietnam and Hanoi has a big French influence.
Ceramic Mosaic Mural Street
This is the first stop of the day. This mosaic mural is 6.5KM long and is the largest mosaic mural in the world. It was done to celebrate the city’s 1000th birthday and the murals are based on different periods of time in Vietnam’s history.
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Hanoi Opera House
Hanoi Opera House, also known as the Grand Opera house, was built between 1901 and 1911 and modelled after the Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris. It was a major landmark in Hanoi over the years with many historical events held here.
There are still shows performed here. Have a look if there are any shows on whilst you are in Hanoi if this is something you want to see.
Opening hours for the Hanoi Opera house are from 08:00 to 23:00.
National Museum of Vietnamese History
Originally built in 1925 as a school, this building is a mixture of Chinese and French design. It’s a 2-story building that houses a large number of artefacts, statues, art and war relics.
It’s a fascinating place to walk around and learn some of the rich history of Vietnam. The most well-known exhibits here are the bronze status from the Dong Son culture, Hindu statuary from the Champa and Khmer kingdoms, jewellery from imperial Vietnam and displays that are related to the French occupation.
The entrance fee is 20,000 VND. They have a free audio guide at the museum as well. Opening hours are from 08:00 to 12:30 and 13:30 to 17:00.
Vietnamese Women’s Museum
This hidden gem is often overlooked and not many tourists come here which is a shame. This museum highlights the roles of women in Vietnams society. It shows you the importance, culture, roles and history of women during wartime in Vietnam. The information is provided in the Vietnamese, French and English languages.
Vietnamese Women’s Museum entrance fee is 40,000 VND for adults and 10,000 VND for children aged 6-16 years old. Opening hours are from 08:00 to 17:00
Day 5: The Breathtaking Ninh Binh
Day Tour to Trang An, Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh isn’t as well known as Ha Long Bay, however, a must-do when in Vietnam. Ninh Binh is around 100km from Hanoi. Tours leave early in the morning and arrive back late afternoon or evening.
There are different tours available that visit different attractions. We recommend tours that include Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Mua cave and Trang An.
Ninh Binh is known for its goat meat if you are interested in trying it, this is the perfect place.
Day 6: A Day of Sight Seeing – Hanoi Itinerary
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
This is the final resting place for President Ho Chi Minh. He was a revolutionary leader and president who lead his country to independence and unification. This historical building was built for the people of Vietnam to pay their respect to and honour their national hero.
To build the mausoleum, materials from all around the country were used. Even the gardens have plant species from all over the country. This is a symbol of unity and to keep their hero company.
President Ho Cho Minh didn’t want this mausoleum to be built. He wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered around the country so that the land could be used for agriculture. This is a significant place for the Vietnamese.
The entrance is free. Opening hours for the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum are Monday and Friday Closed, Tuesday to Thursday: 07:30 to 10:30 am, Saturday and Sunday: 07:30 to 11:00 am.
Don’t wear short skirts or tank tops. Also, taking photos, talking or finger-pointing are strictly prohibited inside the mausoleum.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
This UNESCO world heritage site is a must-visit when in the area. This ancient ruin dates back to the 7th century as it was built on the remains of a Chinese fortress.
The first construction was during the Lý dynasty in 1011. It was expanded during the Tran, Le and Nguyen Dynasties. It played an essential role in society and remained the seat of the Vietnamese court until 1810 when the Nguyen Dynasty chose to move the capital to Hue.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is the centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption which is an incredible feat. Unfortunately, the building was damaged by the war, and in 1945, the Japanese held 4,000 French prisoners.
In 1954, the Vietnamese Army reclaimed Hanoi and the Citadel became the headquarter of the Ministry of Defense. Since then, excavation of the site started and many ancient artefacts were found.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long entrance fee is 30,000 VND, Children under 15 years old can enter for free. Opening hours are from 08:00 to 17:00
Fine Arts Museum of Vietnam
Calling all art lovers!! This Fine Arts Museum is an art lovers’ paradise. It showcases many pieces from ancient times to modern times.
This is Vietnam’s main Fine Arts museum. This museum opened in 1966 it’s a three-floor building with the art displayed in chronological order. Most of the art is themed around martyrdom, patriotism, military strategy and defeating enemies.
Fine Arts Museums’ entrance fee is 40,000 VND for Adults, 10,000 VND for children aged 6-16, and 6 years or younger is free. Opening hours are from 08:30 to 17:00, closed on Mondays.
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Vietnam Military History Museum
The last attraction in this area is the Military History Museum. It opened in 1956, just 2 years after defeating the French.
This museum celebrates victories against the French and later on, the Americans. The museum isn’t well maintained but it gives you a glimpse into the wars that have dominated Vietnam’s history for the last century.
It’s a very interesting place, especially if you are a historian.
Military History Museums’ entrance fee is 20,000 VND and the opening hours are from 08:00 to 16:30.
Day 7: Last day of experiencing Hanoi
Lunch at the Railway tracks
Since this will be your last couple of hours in Vietnam we recommend having lunch at the railway tracks. Getting here is easy, simply put “Hanoi street train” into Google Maps. It’s located in the Old Quarter.
Once there, you can sit and relax at the cafes on the train tracks. When the train comes, everyone quickly moves out of the way so the train can move by. It’s a fun thing to see and experience.
It’s a beautiful part of the city that many people don’t know about.
Wander around the Old Quarter. There is so much to see and do here. This is the perfect place to walk around and buy some souvenirs from the markets.
This is a 7-day travel itinerary for Hanoi Vietnam, however, you can mix and match to create your perfect travel itinerary. If you are in Hanoi for only 3 or 5 days, pick the things that look the most interesting to you and create your own 3-day or 5-day itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam.
Wondering how long you should stay in Hanoi? We will recommend no less than 3 full days in Hanoi. You can see a lot of the town and do some day trips during this time. However, if you have more time consider spending it here, you won’t be disappointed.
If you found this itinerary helpful, please buy us one of those famous Hanoi egg coffees.