Home Vietnam Travel Tips 2-day Plan for First-time Visitor in Hanoi

2-day Plan for First-time Visitor in Hanoi

03 March 2016
Hanoi is infatuated by many for its shady streets, hundreds of small alleys nestling next to each other, quaint temples and many French-influenced streets that have witnessed the changing and turbulent history of Hanoi. The modern lifestyle intergrating with ancient attributes has created a peculiar charm so mysterious and subtle for this millenium-old city.

DAY 01:

09 a.m: Set foot on Noi Bai International Airport, tourists will have to use a bit of their patience to finish all of the procedure at the airport and wait for another hour on the taxi to get to the CBD. Fortunately, freeway connecting the airport to the CBD is now completed which will shorten the transportation.


11 a.m: If it's possible, it is recommended that you stay at Sofitel Legend Metropole, the most glamorous hotel in Hanoi. You then can experience the charm and hospitality of the servicesin a hotel that is high-profile for its luxury grace of an European heritage.

Noon: Leave the hotel to pay Trang Tien street a visit. This is the aorta of the French streets in Hanoi. Located on the East side of the Opera House and on the West side of the Tay Ho Hoan Kiem,  Trang Tien is the home to Paris-influenced buildings underneath which lies fashionable cafeterias, exhibitions and bookstores. In addition, Trang Tien is also famous for its Trang Tien Ice-cream.

Ngoc Son Temple, built on a hilllock in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, is the most visited and photographed site. The Huc Bridge, mesmerising for its  red-painted color connecting the shore to the temple, makes itself a brilliant highlight of the city.

02 p.m: The second most adored historic site by photographers is the St. Joseph's Cathedral, nestled at 40 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem.

In front the Cathedral, coffee shops and lemon tea shops are always bustling while there is an abundance of bars and restaurants. Take a stroll around the Cathedral until you see a Pho eatery that fits your eyes and your noise.

It is said that you don't really understand Hanoi's beauty until you give Pho a try. What makes Hanoi Pho distinctive from other places is its clear broth, just enough noodles, a few slices of fresh lemon and some green onions which altogher will make your Pho experience memorable.

03 p.m: Hoa Lo prison - one of the 5 most scary destinations in South East Asia is not to be missed when travelling in Hanoi.

Built in 1886 by the French, this prison was used by the French colonial empireat the time to put the Vietnamese political prisoners and patriots behind the bars. After being shot down and captured in the historic "Dien Bien Phu on air" battle in 1972, the American Senator John McCain was imprisioned in Hoa Lo Prison like many other American soldiers.

04 p.m: Find your way to the heart of the city, to the UNESCO-regconized Old Quarter, an acient "maze" dated back to the 13th century which used to be the hive of trading activities from medicinal herbs, flowers, jewellry, cotton, silk to bamboo, hats, leather, bronze tools and so on.

In modern time, the Old Quarter is a city jungle jumbling with a diversity of services and goods from barbershop, massage, exhibitions to cheap hotels, tour agents to currency exchange and roaming street vendors.

07 p.m: The Old Quarter starts to lighten and become bustling when it gets dark, chairs and plastic tables from night eateries strew the pavements. You can go to City View Cafe on 1 Dinh Tien Hoang to have a panorama view of the glittering Old Quarter, or wander around to grab a beer and something to eat from the wide display of selections on the street.

DAY 02:

08 a.m: You can skip the select breakfast in the hotel and instead, go out, find a Banh Mi, for which Hanoi is reowned, and drop by at a coffee shop to calmly enjoy your glass of filter coffee with added sugar and nonchalantly watch the happenings on the streets.

09 a.m: Coming from the West side from Trang Tien to Vietnam Fine Arts Museum at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc - which stores a number of folk works exploring the theme of communism, patriotism and the Vietnamese revolution.

Noon: Pay a visit to the Vietnam Military History Museum at 28A Dien Bien Phu after passing Lenin Park. On the outside lies tanks that took part in Vietnamese vital battles, B-52 bomb, Russian jets and so on. On the inside, there are 3 venues that reconstructed vividly the Vietnamese resistance against invaders namely China, France and America and  for the past 1000 years.

02 p.m: Walk East for about 10 minutes and the Ba Dinh Square, one of the largest green space in Hanoi, will be right in front of you. In 1945, in this historic Square, President Ho Chi Minh announced the Declaration of Independence declaring the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

In 1969, after passing away, President Ho Chi Minh was commemorated by the Vietnamese with a masoleum to preserve the body of the deceased. Visiting the masoleum, the preserved body of Uncle Ho will bring you to tears.

Next, touring the Ho Chi Minh Museum, you can see in the flesh the old red bike which Uncle Ho used to pedal his way 1.782 kilometers from Hanoi to Sai Gon at the age of 60.

05 p.m: It takes you 20 minutes by foot to reach West Lake from Ba Dinh Square. This largest lake in Hanoi is surrounded on either side with garderns, restaurants, entertainment center from the Russian time as well as the million-dollar mansion on West Lake peninsula.

Tran Quoc Temple, the oldest temple in Vietnam built in the 6th century nestles on the East side of West Lake. And on the South side situates the 800-year-oldQuan Thanh where preserves a four-ton Buddha temple, one of the most brilliant work of the Vietnamese bronze casting.

07 p.m: There's only one item on the menu but the famous Hanoi fried fish dish will blow you away when it is savoured in accompany with herbs, tangled noodles and shrimp sauce.


Before the end of your 2-day Hanoi touring, make sure to buy a Hanoi specialty such as the mouth-watering 'o mai' on Hang Duong, fragnant West Lake-made lotus tea,  or a pack of green rice wrapped in lotus leaves if you're lucky to be in Hanoi in autumn.