Top 10 attractions in Hanoi

June 28, 2019
Top 10 attractions in Hanoi

Here is my list of the top tourist attractions in Hanoi that I have done many times and recommend doing whilst visiting Hanoi!

1. Egg Coffee

Two things you would never imagine tasting good together but surprisingly do. A coffee shot and then whipped egg yolks on top make for a creamy, marshmallow coffee that tastes really good. Almost all the cafes in Hanoi sell egg coffee but there was one man that created it and that shop is found in the middle of the old quarter. Find out more here. The reason behind this was that milk was scarce in the days of the cafe owners fathers life and he used egg yolk instead. With other ingredients like sugar or condensed milk, it has now become one of Hanoi’s most popular attractions to try.

2. Water Puppet Theatre

This is one of the coolest cultural experiences! Tickets only cost 100k-200k ($6-$12 aus) and the performance goes for about an hour. Sitting with the rest of the audience you watch many different traditional stories through the use of music and water puppets. On either side of the stage are a group of traditionally dressed Vietnamese and in the middle is a pool of water with a backdrop. Behind the backdrop, standing in the water are performers that use long poles under the water to animate stories using puppets. They have 4 performances on every afternoon/ night and you can just go to the ticket stand a few hors earlier and pay to choose your seats.

3. Free Walking Tours

Who doesn’t love something free? Well for you, you’re getting a free guide with information. For your guide, they are most likely a Vietnamese student wanting to practice their English. So its a win-win situation!

There are plenty of free walking tours all over the Old Quarter in Hanoi. If you’re staying at a hostel, the hostel will usually operate one in the morning daily or suggest one for you to go to. If you’re not staying at a hostel then just look online, on Facebook, or even just by walking around the streets and you will most likely find one that suits you. From my experience, the tours go for either 1-2 hours and it will be based on walking past main tourist attractions and talking about local history. This really is the best experience though to learn quickly about the culture and to have someone to ask any questions too.

4. Old Quarter

This is probably the most famous and well-known part of Hanoi for travellers. The Old Quarter is where travellers stay, eat and explore. Most tourist attractions are in the Old Quarter and the main night markets are on during the weekends in some of the busier streets. Hanoi has great nightlife as Vietnamese shops tend to stay open late. This section of the city also has some amazing cafes and restaurants with not only Vietnamese cusines but food from all over the world, with prices a fraction of the price with what they would be in any Western Country. The Old Quarters olds anything to do from cheap massages to going to the cinemas and watching an English speaking movie.

There are many well-known streets that sell specific items such as ‘Shoe Street’ or ”Silverware Street’. This is the weirdest experience, walking down a long street and having every single shop owner sell basically the exact same items. The Old Quarter is also the place to buy any locally made souvenirs to take back home.

5. Food

I have eaten some of the best vegetarian/ vegan meals in Hanoi, both Vietnamese and international. Vietnamese food is different from the South to the North. If you want some more info on this I have written another blog post here. The cafe scene here is massive and it is common for people to just eat out every day because it’s so cheap to buy local food out. The two most common Vietnamese dishes everyone should try would be Pho (hot rice noodle soup) and Banh Mi (French Roll with either meats, egg or salads inside). When you start trying places you will probably find somewhere you absolutely love and continue to go back there many times.

Out of all of Vietnam, I believe Hanoi has the best and biggest range of vegetarian/ vegan foods. Whereever you choose to eat will have a veggie option even in the local shops if you say your vegetarian they will just make something up for you. Due to there being many Buddhists, a lot of the Vietnamese understand being veggo and will cater for you. I have also been amazed by the higher end of Vegan Restaurants here. There are many and the quality of food is unbelievable. I have never been to anywhere in the world where the vegan dishes are so creative.

My food price range:

Local Vietnamese Street Food- $1-$2 per dish

Vietnamese Food but in a café/restaurant- $4-$6 per dish

Western Food in a café/restaurant- $6-$12 per dish

Higher End International café/restaurant- $10-$20 per dish

6. St Joseph’s Cathedral

Right in the centre of the old quarter is a magnificent, old 19th centaury gothic styled cathedral. Daily, hundreds of tourists visit this beautiful piece of history which looks so out of place in the streets of Hanoi. It is recommended to cover your shoulders when observing inside and whilst you are inside you can see the beautiful architecture and history displayed for tourists.

7. Train Street

Located: Alley 224 Le Duan, Kham Thien, Hanoi

This is a must see whilst staying in Hanoi. It’s unlike most other train lines as the locals have their cafes and homes literally right on the tracks. There are two times the train passes through, once at 3.30pm and then at 7.30pm, I would suggest the 3.30pm train so you can see where you are going. Certainly, get there earlier to find a good spot to watch the train go past, do this either by standing next to the wall at any point down the rack or by sitting at one of the cafes.

This is also the ultimate spot to get an Instagram photo so even if you don’t see the train get a few photos standing on the rail track.

When the train does whizz past make sure you are recording and enjoy this awesome and unique experience!

8. Museums

There are some great, historical museums all around Hanoi to check out! The most popular one and well worth the visit is the Museum of Ethnology. This museum showcases collections from many different ethnic groups from Vietnam and have a large display of textiles and traditional materials.

There are also many other museums that specialise in the Vietnam War, Vietnamese History, Vietnamese Culture, Art and Military. All of these museums are very affordable to visit costing 30,000 dong ($1.80 aus) to 50,000 dong ($3 aus).

9. Cooking Class

I haven’t actually done this yet but I am planning to! I see so many advertisments to do a cooking class and they look so good. Hanoi is also a great place to do this if you want to do a vegetarian or vegan cooking class.

The class usually costs around $30-$60 (aus) and lasts 3-4 hours. They take you into the markets to pick out fresh ingredients and then you learn how to prepare and cook multiple dishes and then eat them as you go. You learn about Vietnamese traditional dishes, cook and eat- what more could you want!

10. Local Markets

Hanoi Weekend Night Market is located right in the Old Quarter and are open till very late at night. The stands are spread down the one street and then on either side of the road are shops and small refreshment/ food carts which makes for a great night out!

Dong Xuan Market is in a massive building and known to be Hanoi’s biggest indoor market. It is located in the Old Quarter and opens daily from 6am-7pm. This market is very diverse with what they sell, you can find both food and material items under the one roof. It is also a great place to find cheap souvenirs or to buy a lot of things at wholesale price in bulk.

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