5 Day Itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam

5 Day Itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam by Rosie André

If you have been looking for a 5 day itinerary for Hanoi in Vietnam, you have come to the right place!

I recommend spending 5 days in Hanoi as this will give you enough time to visit all the "must see" things, without running around like a headless chicken!

Our first experience arriving into Hanoi was one of culture shock, language barriers, busyness, motorbikes, smells, sights and sounds. It's a lot to take in when you haven't been to places like this before.

So, I'm going to break down what we did for 5 days in Hanoi and hope this will help you navigate this beautiful city!

DAY ONE

  • The first thing that I recommend you do is to get some money out of VP Bank (which doesn't charge for withdrawals)
  • The next thing to do in any city when you arrive is to explore your local neighbourhood. We stayed at Rising Dragon Estate Hotel so we walked around the local streets and ended up at Lenin Garden (Vườn hoa Lênin).
  • The train tracks are famous in Hanoi so make sure you tick this bucket list item off on day one. If you look on Pinterest at Hanoi, everyone gets photos taken here. I took some photos of the locals but didn't bother with an Instagram snap here, but it is a good place if you want to get that famous photo.
  • Then walk around the streets near to Puku Cafe & Bar and along P. Hàng Bông which has some beautiful hotels and lovely buildings. A great area to explore and see the locals living their life.
  • Aha Cafe is a great place to get a drink, sit down and do some people watching. I got a tea with orange juice & lemongrass and it was delicious! Another one I enjoyed was Jasmin tea with pink guava syrup and lemon.
  • The Hanoi historic district is super safe to walk around and explore, even at night time. Obviously you do have to be careful, like any major city, but I felt so safe walking around Hanoi even on the first day. We enjoyed exploring around the streets of Hàng Điếu.
  • Then for dinner, there are restaurants around P. Tống Duy Tân, where we saw some live frogs/toads outside a restaurant that you could order & eat. We ended up getting some bao buns which weren't our fave but because we were so jet lagged, we really didn't care and ate them anyway! But you'll be able to find lots of options in this area.

Top tip for day 1: try to get confident crossing the roads. They are busy. There are millions of motorbikes. But you just need to walk confidently and people will avoid you. It seems crazy, but once you master crossing the road in Vietnam, you can cross the road anywhere.

DAY TWO

  • If you happen to go to Hanoi around Christmas time, you have to visit the Christmas Streets which are around Phố Hàng Mã & Phố Hàng Rươi. It was so busy, so much to see and a really good place to pick up a Christmas decoration as a souvenir.
  • Go to Banh Mi 25 for a famous Vietnamese sandwich for lunch.
  • Head towards Chợ Đồng Xuân and look inside this huge market. They sell everything from shoes, to dresses, to hats, to coats. Literally everything. It was such a big market full of people dealing with wholesale sales, big bags of fabrics, huge orders being shipped off. It was an experience.
  • There was also sections selling souvenirs, hair supplies, bags etc.
  • And there was a food market next door selling fish, meat, turtles, veggies, sweets and so much more!
  • Old East Gate (Ô Quan Chưởng) was built in the reign of King Le Hien Tong (1749). The gate was located in the east of Thang Long Citadel, only 80 meters from the wharf of the old Red River, which was quite convenient for traveling and trading between Thang Long Citadel and other regions.
  • Get lunch from one of the restaurants in the area of the Old East Gate.
  • Hoàn Kiếm Lake meaning "Lake of the Returned Sword" is a fresh water lake, measuring some 12 ha in the historical center of Hanoi. It's a lovely walk to go all the way around, to enjoy the atmosphere and see the locals going about their daily activities.
  • Ngọc Sơn Temple is a famous attraction in Hanoi, which features traditional architecture and the spiritual life of Vietnamese people. It is a sacred site where people come to pray for good fortune and peace of mind. It's situated in the middle of Hoàn Kiếm Lake so it's good to do both at the same time.

Top tip for day 2: although this is a well planned 5 day itinerary for Hanoi in Vietnam, keep some time in your schedule for sitting on a bench either by the lake or in a park. Watch the locals playing sports, spending time with family & friends or cooking local dishes. There is so much happening in the streets of Hanoi, so make sure you have time to just sit and soak it all up!

DAY THREE

Top Tip for day 3: I recommend getting spring rolls, pho bo (beef noodle soup), com ga (chicken and rice) and anything else you see being sold on the street. The street food scene in Hanoi is one of the best in the world. You will not be disappointed. You don't have to go to nice restaurants, spend your money with the small family run businesses.

DAY FOUR

  • Get up early and head to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh). There are long queues so make sure you get there with enough time to wait around. It took us around 40 mins from paying for the tickets to leaving the Mausoleum. It's very strict, you have to stay in your line, you can't stand still whilst inside and it feels a tiny bit scary. But it's 100% something worth doing whilst in Hanoi. (Top tip: get in the left queue so you are closer to President Ho Chi Minh's body)
  • Then quickly head up to Tran Quoc Pagoda (Chùa Trấn Quốc & Tây Hồ) as it's open 7.30am - 11.30am and then 1.30pm - 5.30pm. So make sure you get there before it closes for lunch. It's a beautiful temple on a lake.
  • You can stop in Quan Thanh Temple (Đền Quán Thánh) afterwards which is another temple, this time on the edge of the lake.
  • Have a look at the bright yellow church called Cua Bac Parish Church (Nhà Thờ Cửa Bắc).
  • Lastly go to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Hoàng Thành Thăng Long) which is a complex of historic buildings associated with the history of Vietnam. This took us several hours to look around the whole thing so make sure you're not already too tired, and you have time to see it all.

Top Tip for day 4: take a pair of shoes that you can easily take off and on. When visiting Asia, you will go in lots of temples, and every time have to take your shoes off and on again. People wear crocs, sliders, loafers. But anything with laces can get annoying if you go to 5 temples per day.

DAY FIVE

  • Explore a different part of town, firstly popping into a Ceramics Shop called Cerender. A great place to pick up some unique items for your home.
  • Get an ice cream from Kem Tràng Tiền. We happened to walk past this place and it was super busy and now we know why - it was delicious! I got mochi balls and Jeremie got an ice cream!
  • Do some designer shopping along Trang Tien in shops such as Louis Vuitton.
  • Walk towards Hanoi Opera House (Nhà hát Lớn Hà Nội) and enjoy the architecture. It was modeled on the Palais Garnier, the older of Paris's two opera houses, and is considered to be one of the architectural landmarks of Hanoi.
  • Walk along side Hoan Kiem Lake.
  • Then visit the tourist street called Phố Tạ Hiện. You can stop here for a beer, some western food or just to soak up the atmosphere.

Top Tip for day 5: keep your camera or phone out and ready to take photos when walking around. Sometimes you'll see something that will last 5 seconds so you have to be quick. Hanoi is a great place for street photography but always be polite and ask permission before photographing portraits of strangers.

I really hope you found lots of value in this blog post. This is a really complete but not too busy 5 day itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam. This was such a fun place to visit and I can't wait to go back someday and visit some of the other parts of the city.

If you have some advice or hidden gems for other travel lovers, leave them in the comments section!

Ps. here is a list of my favourite travel items!

Pss. feel free to share the images below to your Pinterest!

5 Day Itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam by Rosie André
5 Day Itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam by Rosie André
5 Day Itinerary for Hanoi, Vietnam by Rosie André

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