• 9 November 2020

The capital of Vietnam is an ancient city with a modern heartbeat. Situated along the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is a cultural melting pot and is home to everything from age-old pagodas (tiered towers that serve as Hindu or Buddhist temples) to glittering skyscrapers and beautifully preserved colonial structures. Explore Hanoi on foot or by bicycle to discover all of the delights; epic cuisine, lively markets and plenty to see and do!

Here are a few attractions in and around Hanoi that deserve a spot on any tour through Vietnam:

1. Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature boasts the beauty of traditional architecture.

The Temple of Literature was founded in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong to honour one of the country’s finest scholars, Confucius (Khong Tu). The attractive complex was once the site of the country’s first formal university and represents one of the best-preserved examples of ancient Vietnamese architecture. It’s also a lovely place to enjoy some calm and serenity after you’ve braved Hanoi’s busy streets all day. It is a place of prayer and contemplation for many, including the locals.

2. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
One of the iconic accessories of Vietnam is the Nón lá (Asian conical hat).

If you are interested in the historical and cultural aspects of the countries you visit, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a must. There is so much to see and explore that you could well end up spending an entire day here.

There are 54 official ethnic groups in Vietnam. This museum has been dedicated to exhibitions that depict the lifestyle and culture of each of these groups. This includes everything from informative exhibits on the manufacture of cultural objects such as the Nón lá (Asian conical hat), to a sprawling outdoor section that features full-size homes and structures that showcase the unique dwellings of the various groups.

A little girl from the H’Mong tribe in Sapa.
3. Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. This is a great spot to do some people-watching since the locals tend to congregate here to eat their lunch, have a walk or relax with their families. Aside from the tranquillity and beauty of the lake itself, you can also explore Ngoc Son Temple. Located on an island in the lake and accessed by a beautifully built bridge, the temple is worth a visit to see the classic Vietnamese architecture.

The red bridge connecting the Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake.
4. Ho Chi Minh Complex
Entrance to the Ho Chi-Minh Complex.

Ho Chi Minh Complex is an important pilgrimage site for many Vietnamese. They come here to pay their respects to Ho Chi-Minh, who presided as president of the country between 1954 and 1969. The large complex includes beautifully kept gardens, as well as the erstwhile president’s expertly preserved Presidential Palace, living quarters and ‘House on Stilts’, where he often relaxed.

Visitors can also view his rather impressive collection of cars, many of which were gifts. However, the main attraction is definitely the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can see the president’s actual restored body. The Mausoleum is heavily guarded and visitors can only spend five minutes inside. The Mausoleum is only open until 10:30 each day, so go early if you want to catch it! Please note that photographs are prohibited.

Change of the guards in front of the Ho Chi Minh Complex.
5. The Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is where to go to soak up the city’s spirit, find great food and shop for keepsakes to take home. Those ‘I travelled to Asia’ pants you were looking for? This is where you’ll find them! Ideally, you want to do this part of your exploration on foot. Be ready for a multi-sensory onslaught, but also know that it will be worth your while. It’s chaotic and bustling, but this is also Hanoi at its most authentic.

The street food in Hanoi is fresh and delicious.

Want to save some money while you’re exploring Hanoi? Here are a few top tips:

  • Embrace the street food phenomenon!
    Vietnam is renowned for its excellent street food! You’ll discover why on a visit to Hanoi. If you’re visiting over the weekend, see if you can fit in a visit to the night market. It’s much the same as the daytime equivalent, but it’s quieter and the crowds are smaller, so you’ll be able to sample your way through the market without getting jostled.
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle a little. 
    Vietnamese shopkeepers and vendors tend to hike their prices for tourists. As such, you can feel free to negotiate on the prices of everything from the market finds taxi fares. Not sure how much is fair? Ask your tour leader or the concierge at your hotel about estimated prices for certain items before you head out to explore. This will give you bargaining guidelines to work with.
  • Explore on foot or by bicycle.
    You can take to the streets on foot or rent a bike if you’re feeling brave (it’s busy!) for an authentic and exciting experience of the city. There are rideshares like Uber on offer as well.
  • Take your pick of free local tours in Hanoi.
    Get to know more about the city from a local point of view. There are also free walking tours if that is your cup of tea.

These are just five of the many amazing attractions within the city limits of Hanoi in Vietnam. Expat Explore tours visit a number of amazing spots in Vietnam and neighbouring Cambodia – check them out here!

Questions & Comments

  1. RONNIE QUAH says:


    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Ronnie,
      Thank you for having a look at our tours.
      One of our agents will contact you with more information about our new tours.
      I hope to see you on one of our Expat tours soon!

  2. I would like a tour for Cambodia Nd vietnam

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Zarin,

      Great choice!

      Vietnam and Cambodia are our new tours and we would love to have you traveling with us.

      Please follow the link here in order to view our amazing Vietnam and Cambodia tours.

      One of our Sales agents would be happy to contact you should you require further information.

      We hope to see you aboard one of these tours soon!

  3. Noemi Lapuz Andres says:

    Interested to go to Hanoi on January 2020 but if you have this 2019 may I know please. Thank you

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Noemi,

      Thank you for having a look at our tours.

      One of our agents will contact you with more information.

      Feel free to contact them should you require assistance with your travel arrangements. Hope to see you on one of our Expat tours soon!

  4. Ronnie Perez says:

    Do you have a budget tours for this; we’re planning to explore Indo China for 6 Pax. Do you have a good rate for this. Thanks

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Ronnie,

      How exciting that you’re interested in our amazing new tours!

      You are able to view our prices and departures for Vietnam and Cambodia here.

      Someone from our Sales Department will be happy to contact you with regards to this tour.

      Hope to see you travelling with us soon!

  5. Cindy Stanley says:

    Hi my husband and I are thinking of holidaying in Vietnam this year, we would like to have our accommodation in the central city areas, either I Hanoi or Ho chi min city, looking for recommendations. We like to explore cultural things, experience the foods especially street foods, we also like exploring the nightlife.

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Cindy,

      How exciting that you’re interested in our Vietnam tours.

      You are able to view these amazing tours here with departures,prices and the itineraries listed.

      We hope to see you aboard one of our Vietnam tours soon!

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