Often the stopover city for those wanting to see Halong Bay, Hanoi can easily get overlooked as a place of interest in itself. We share our top things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Halong Bay 

Take a day or overnight trip to Halong Bay, a natural wonder of the world with some fascinating caves and cliffs. Cruises offer various activities and itineraries – we loved our trip on Marguerite Junk. Various trips our available from one day trips to 1, 2 or even 3 night cruises to explore the Bay. The cruise we booked is available from Agoda.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum 

Found in Ba Dinh Square, the Mausoleum is a popular attraction in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh was an iconic and loved leader of Vietnam, making his resting place popular for both tourists and Vietnamese residents. Entrance is free for the Mausoleum but is only open from 8am to 11am.

A strict dress code is in place at the Mausoleum with no short skirts or tank tops allowed and bags are required to be put in a safe deposit before entering. Photos, talking and finger-pointing is also strictly prohibited whilst you are inside the Mausoleum.

The #sunset over #HalongBay is just stunning and such a romantic place to visit whilst in Vietnam

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Hoan Kiem Lake

Take a break from the city and head to Hoan Kiem Lake for some lovely views and some giant turtles. In the centre of the lake you will find Ngoc Son Temple, built in the 18th century whilst ‘Turtle Tower’ stands on the edge of the lake in memory of the legend surrounding the lake. The temple is open from 8am to 5pm and the lake can be found in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

An impressive Roman Catholic Church found on Nha Chung Street is definitely worth a visit for those interesting in Neo-gothic architecture. Entrance is free and the church is open from 8am to 5pm.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Found on Thanh Nien Road, next to West Lake, the Tran Quoc Pagoda is a tower of beauty standing alongside a tranquil backdrop of greenery. There is no entrance fee but visitors must dress appropriately and men must wear long trousers.

Short on time? Book yourself a private tour around the city with Viator.

What is your favourite thing to do in Hanoi?! Share your opinion in the comments below!

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Things to do in Hanoi
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Showing 5 comments
  • Nicky

    Thank you; definitely somewhere I’d like to visit, and your suggestions sound great! (happy travelling! :))

  • Lisa

    I loved visiting Ha long Bay when I was there, so I’ll go with this. I didn’t get to see Hoan Kiem Lake, so I’ll remember this for next time. Pinned this so I’ll remember!

  • Rachelle

    Katie! I’m so glad that you wrote this, because I’m planning on going to SEA for my birthday this next year and need all of the recommendations that I can get! I already pinned this so I can reference back when it comes time to actually nail out my itinerary. I’ll definitely need to check out that cruise in Ha Long Bay!

  • Aditi

    Out of all these, Hoan Kiem Lake was the most vibrant one. We went there over the weekend and saw it transform into a walking zone full of activities and fun things to do. We loved Vietnam. Cheers!!

  • Yukti

    Great list of top things to do in Hanoi. Sunset along Halong Bay is stunning and this would be my first choice. Watching giant turtles at Hoan Kiem lake must be a beautiful experience and also visiting the temple besides it.

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