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Hanoi Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Best Time: October to April Read More

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Also Refered As:

Ha Noi

"Paris of the East"

Hanoi Tourism

Perched on the banks of the Red River in Northern Vietnam, Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and one of the world's most ancient cities. Boasting well-preserved colonial buildings, golden pagodas, unique museums, mouthwatering cuisine, entertainment destinations, and traditional bazaars, Hanoi is a melting pot of French, Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures.

Hanoi has an impactful history. The most incredible places of historical and cultural interest in Hanoi are the UNESCO-listed Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Vietnam's administrative center for 800 years, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where his body is preserved, Perfume Pagoda, and Hoa Lo Prison Relic. Packed with courtyards and Parisian-style buildings, the Old Quarter and French Quarter are affluent, enigmatic areas. Bach Ma Temple, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake's softshell turtle safaris, and Lake of Restored Sword offer a reprieve from the urban humdrum.

The tourist attractions in Hanoi are divided into two main areas - The Old Quarter and the French Quarter. The Old Quarter is north of Hoan Kiem Lake, while the French Quarter is to the south. The Old Quarter, a treasure trove of narrow alleys and centuries-old structures, buzzes with life, showcasing the soul of Hanoi through its vibrant markets, traditional shops, and vibrant street food scene.

Modernity intertwines seamlessly with tradition in Hanoi, evident in its burgeoning art scene, trendy cafes, and dynamic nightlife. It is a misconception that Hanoi is conservative. From Dong Xuan Market housing Louis Vuitton and irresistible street food to the 65 glam floors of Lotte Tower Observation Deck, Hanoi flaunts glitzy nightlife and shopping districts. With its balustrades and Gothic domes, monks practicing Tai Chi, cobbled riverside streets, tube houses, farmers' markets, rich culture, and much more, Hanoi defines the war-stricken past and the resilient awakening of Vietnam.

Must Know Before You Travel to Hanoi

  • Where to Stay: Old Quarter is the best place to stay for first-timers with many shops, restaurants and hotels. Many attractions here can be explored on foot.
    Airport Shuttle: 
    Jetstar, Vietnam Airlines, and VietJet run private minibuses from the airport to designated stops in Hanoi.
  • Scams: Beware of taxi scammers at Noi Bai Airport who try to overcharge you or take you to the wrong hotel in hopes of getting a commission. You can instead arrange for a private transfer with your hotel or use the Grab app.

Top Hotels In Hanoi

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Transacting Currency in Hanoi

Almost all the major cards are accepted in Hanoi including American Express, Maestro, Cirrus, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. There is often an additional surcharge for credit card transactions of about 3%. Carry US dollars as they are widely accepted and exchange rates are quite good. Always carry plenty of change while shopping pr going out in the city, especially for VND 500,000 note (a common denomination issued at ATMs).

Exchanging Money in Hanoi

In Hanoi, one can get the currency exchanged at almost all the major banks and at the official bureau de change counters that are dotted all across the city. One can also get it done at certain hotels, but rates can be extremely high. Make sure to avoid any local providing with the same service on the street, as their exchange rates are not quite favourable.
U.S. Dollar is preferred over other currencies but other major currencies are easy to exchange as well. ATMs are easy to find in Hanoi, especially at all major tourist areas like around Hoan Kiem Lake and in the Old Quarter.

Daily Budget for Hanoi

The per-day budget in the country's local currency for each type of traveller excluding the accommodation cost (include food, water, local transport, entertainment, communication, tips, souvenirs and alcohol) is as follows:
  • Budget travel: VND 1,68,500 approximately
  • Comfortable travel: VND 4,47,600 approximately
  • Luxury travel: VND 12,55,000 approximately

Nightlife in Hanoi

Hanoi boasts of a vibrant nightlife. A number glittering nightclubs and buzzing bars are packed in the Old Quarter of the city, which comes alive as the suns sets. The place gets a different feel to it especially around Hoan Kiem Lake where one can shake leg to pulsating music or enjoy all kind of drinks. Try out the popular Beer Corner located in the heart of the city. 
However owing to the strict rules of the city, most of the places are closed by midnight except few. Finnegan's Irish Pub, Le Pub, Cama Atk, Dragonfly, Funky Buddha Binh Minh's Jazz Club, Cava Lounge are some of the main places to visit. Do not forget to sample the locally brewed draught beer, known as Bia Hoa at one of the clubs.

Shopping in Hanoi

Shopping in Hanoi is an amazing experience especially when you can buy products from the streets named after them. One will find Clothes Street, a Shoe Street and even a street named after its Noodle Shops. Markets in the city are a fusion of modern and traditional, usually spilling with products on pavement and bustling with both locals and tourists.
The best place to enjoy the authentic Vietnamese shopping experience is at the 15th century Old Quarter offering famous Vietnamese handicrafts such as hand-embroidered tablecloth, silver carving, lacquerware and bronze mouldings exclusive to the city.
Colourful woven bags and clothing are also sold by the hill tribes there. Dong Xuan Market in the Hoan Kiem District, Trang Tien Plaza (Hain Ba Trung) and VinCom City Towers (Ba Trien) are some of the major shopping places in the Hanoi. If you are looking for souvenirs, then go for ceramics from Bat Trang village, silk paintings and hand-painted greetings cards.

Cultural Tips for Hanoi

  • There are no handshakes or any physical contact between opposite genders in the city while greeting each other, only a slight bow indicates the greeting.
  • Pointing towards anyone with a foot is considered disrespectful, as foot is believed to be lowly and dirty. 
  • Also, do not leave your chopsticks upright in the bowl when you are done with your meal, it considered inauspicious.
  • Make sure to dress conservatively while visiting a temple. Cover your arms, legs and shoulders and remove footwear before entering a temple and any house.
  • Head is considered spiritually significant and thus it is considered inappropriate to touch that part of the body.
  • Tipping is usually a norm at big restaurants and hotels but is not mandatory.

History of Hanoi

Founded in the year 1010 AD, the city of Hanoi served as an erstwhile capital of King Ly Cong Uan. The city went through few name changes from Thang Long and Dong Do to Hanoi, which finally remains till date. Later for several years, Vietnam was a part of the French colony of Indochina, Cambodia and Laos combined. During the WWII when Japanese took over Vietnam in 1941, the communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh created the Viet Minh to gain freedom from France. It was in 1954 after fighting continuously that French surrendered at Dien Bien Phu to Viet Minh and Hanoi was declared the capital of North Vietnam. However, the dream of Ho Chi Minh was to reunite the whole country, which was fulfilled in 1975 when Saigon was defeated by the North Vietnamese troops. Finally, Hanoi was once again the part of Vietnam and was from thereon ruled by the communist party.

Best Time to Visit Hanoi

Hanoi Photos

Hanoi, Vietnam
West Hanoi

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FAQs on Hanoi

What is the best time to visit Hanoi?

Spring from February to April and autumn from October-November is the best time to visit the city. Hanoi has a humid subtropical climate with lots of precipitation that is common in northern Vietnam. It means that the summers are scorching, coupled with rainfall and high humidity.
Hanoi’s summer months are also its monsoon months. Winters, on the other hand, are cold and dry. Try to plan your trip around Dong Nhan Temple Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival and Liberation day when things are bright and festive all around the city. However, one can experience the true cultural fiesta during the Tet festival and Co Loa festival in the month of February to get a taste of authentic Hanoi style.
However, a word of caution! Hanoi’s weather can get unpredictable, especially with the growing influence of Global warming. The weather can change anytime, yet there is an overall generalised understanding of its climatic conditions that can be kept in mind while travelling.
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What is the local food in Hanoi?

One of the best ways to truly taste the essence of Northern Vietnam and Hanoi is through its street food. While the Chicken Noodle Soup, i.e. Pho Ga remains the most popular meal, Pho Bo or Beef Noodle Soup is also just as fulfilling and hearty. You can sample the best of Hanoi Street Food on stalls that line the streets, with small chairs and tables lining the pavements. Munch on some cooked meat skewered on a stick, shrimp pancakes, fruit bowls or even doughnuts - which are fried fresh and are somewhat of a delicacy in Hanoi.
A few tips before you set out on the culinary journey, though:
  • Make sure you have enough change to carry and ask for the balance back.
  • Do not litter the streets and drop food waste on the road.
  • There have been some instances of overcharging tourists. Be mindful of the quoted price.
  • Steer clear of the street food if you have a sensitive stomach as hygiene, most often, is quite basic.

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How much does a package cost for Hanoi?

The packages for Hanoi start at INR 6748 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What are the top hotels in Hanoi?

There are 2600 in Hanoi which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Hanoi are Cong Doan Viet Nam Hotel, Grand Spring Suites - PHT, To's Apartment, Oriana Hotel, Wind Chimes Hideaway, Rosavila. You can see all the hotels in Hanoi here

What are the things to do in Hanoi?

The top things to do in Hanoi are Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison Museum. You can see all the places to visit in Hanoi here

What are the places near Hanoi?

The top places near to Hanoi are Halong bay which is 140 km from Hanoi, Sapa which is located 252 km from Hanoi, Hai van pass which is located 88 km from Hanoi, Ninh binh which is located 91 km from Hanoi, Haiphong which is located 91 km from Hanoi

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