Hanoi, located on the banks of the Red River, is one of the most ancient capitals in the world, where travellers can find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums within the city centre. A great place to explore on foot, this French-colonial city is also known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, silks and handicrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences.Meanwhile, its tranquil countryside is a short drive away, featuring lush parks, verdant mountains, and traditional villages, and not forgetting, the iconic Ha Long Bay. If you’re a first-time visitor to the Vietnamese capital, our Hanoi travel guide has everything you need to know for a fulfilling holiday, including the best accommodation, restaurants, attractions, shopping, and detailed information on the local culture, currency, climate, and  transport options.

Hanoi at a Glance

Hanoi is packed with fascinating historical attractions, including beautiful colonial buildings and ancient pagodas, especially in Old Quarter. The iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, in the heart of the Old Quarter, is surrounded by shopping streets and great local eateries. Landmarks like Hanoi Opera House and Hoa Lo Prison are found in French Quarter, along with high-end hotels and restaurants. You can walk between the Old Quarter and French Quarter within 15 minutes, though do take care when crossing roads as traffic in Hanoi can be chaotic throughout the day.
  • Plenty of cheap shopping options
  • Local beers and street food are very cheap, especially in Old Quarter
  • Good choice of restaurants
  • Lively atmosphere
  • Traffic is intense
  • Pickpockets are common in touristy areas
  • It can get really noisy and crowded at night

Things You Can Do in Hanoi

Hanoi may be known for its close proximity to Halong Bay, but the city itself has plenty of sightseeing spots. One of the most popular landmarks in Old Quarter is Hoan Kiem Lake, a peaceful public park where you can see locals jogging, enjoying a coffee, practising Tai Chi and line dancing. There are also several Buddhist temples dating back to the 11th century. In French Quarter, you can find luxury shopping malls, colonial buildings and a war museum. However, if you see nothing else during your first time in Hanoi, we recommend visiting just these three places.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake  Ngoc Son Temple

    Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son

    Hanoi tourists and locals alike head to Hoan Kiem Lake when seeking a place to get away from the noise of the city.Read More»