As the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi has so many things to offer. Find out about these 9 exciting things you can do while staying at Hanoi hotels.
Some people might think Hanoi is just your average Asian big city with chaos, traffic, noise, and air pollution. While it’s not entirely false, it doesn’t mean this capital city of Vietnam doesn’t have its charms. If anything, Vietnam is one of the rarest and sought-after cities with a rich cultural heritage and tourists all over the place. To accommodate to the tourist demands, there's a large variety of Hanoi hotels to choose from.
But what makes Hanoi so popular among tourists?
The rich cultural heritage in Hanoi is preserved very well by the locals. You can find ancient landmarks in every part of the capital city, ranging from pagodas, temples, churches, to opera theatres. There are so many places to visit and even more things to do in Hanoi. Therefore, staying at Hanoi hotel for three days may not be enough for you to explore all of its landmarks. You’ll have to enjoy all the places, services, and facilities that Hanoi has to offer.
Among all the landmarks, these 9 places are an absolute must-visit for you. Here’s the highlight of the most unique and exciting places:
1. Explore the ancient Old Quarter area
The rule of thumb when visiting Vietnam for the first time is that you have to visit the Old Quarter first. Dubbed as the heart of the country, Hanoi Old Quarter is the birthplace of Vietnam that was founded over 1,000 years ago. The ancient buildings around it, including local houses and large buildings, have been preserved for many generations even during the war. Some of those buildings are St. Joseph Cathedral and Hoa Lo Prison.
There are still many other exciting places to explore in the Old Quarter. You might even have to chope a room at the Hanoi hotel around the area to enjoy the whole area.
2. Enjoy Hanoi’s Opera House performance
Hanoi Opera House was built in 1911 when the French colonised Vietnam. Now called French Quarter by the locals, the Opera House was abandoned after the French have left Vietnam for years. It continued that way until 1997 when the government decided to renovate the building and restore its former functions. As a result, concerts, ballet, and opera performances begin to return to the stage of the French Quarter.
To this day, Hanoi Opera House remains intact and attracts a lot of tourists with its mesmerising art performances. The price for witnessing the events inside starts from S$5, which is super cheap!
3. Have a taste of the street foods around the city
Sure, many Hanoi hotels offer great dishes for breakfast or dinner, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring the food options around your hotelttr. If anything, Vietnamese street foods are among the most delicious street foods in Southeast Asia, if not the world. Phở bo and Bánh mi are among the most recommended local foods to try around the city of Hanoi. As for the drinks, you can enjoy Vietnamese egg coffee in the morning and Bia Ha Noi beer during the night.
And while you’re strolling around, you can also take part in the cooking class. Here, you can take a peek at how the famed phở bo is made and learn how to make one. Because the course is included in the market tour, you’ll also be able to explore the domestic life of local folks. Plus, the cooking class and tour are available around Hanoi hotels in the city, so check them out!
4. Go shopping at Dong Xuan Market
One of the most sought-after activities in Hanoi is shopping, and the city has a place for it. Merchandise shops are everywhere, and the night market opens along the streets of Hanoi before midnight. However, none of them can match the charm of Dong Xuan Market, a beautiful Soviet architecture preserved to this day. The market is split into several parts, however the wet market on the ground level might put you off.
But if you can walk past the wet market section, you’ll be greeted with a lot of merchants and items. All the prices in Dong Xuan Market are wholesale and cheap. Just be careful though, once you’re in, it might be hard to go back to your Hanoi hotel with all your bags being full.
5. Witness the exciting water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is one of the Old Quarter’s most preserved facilities. Here, you’ll witness the unique water puppet theatre that’s accompanied by the Vietnamese orchestra. The story of the opera itself will take about an hour, so sit back and enjoy the tale of old Vietnamese folklores. Overall, the water puppet performance is very entertaining; at S$5 for a ticket, it becomes so cheap for what you get.
But mind you, no taking pictures or recording videos during the show unless you’re paying an additional fee to gain permission to do them all. Plus, you’ll have to chope the ticket first because it sells out very quickly.
6. Pay respect at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Around Hanoi hotel in the city lies Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the great altar of Ho Chi Minh. Make sure to visit the mausoleum and pay respect to the renowned political leader of Vietnam. Once you do, explore the area where you can find the One Pillar Pagoda and Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House. Also, enjoy the peaceful ambience of the surroundings too, which is an exact opposite of the environment outside of the mausoleum.
7. Take a stroll at Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is a beautiful place to visit in the morning while taking a sip of Vietnamese coffee. Here, you can take a stroll and see the locals doing Tai Chi, jogging, exercise, and line dancing. Around the lake lies an 18th-century pagoda, known as Ngoc Son Temple. For the price of VND 20,000 or S$1.20, you’ll gain access to the altars of Tran Hung Dao, the Vietnamese’s military leader. Other ancient artefacts are also there, such as a large bronze bust and ceramics.
But at night, an amazing thing will happen there. Walk outside of the Hanoi hotel to the lake and witness the illuminated pathway to Ngoc Son Temple. The sight is just so ethereal, you’ll be frozen in awe.
8. Visit Perfume Pagoda
Several landmarks outside of Hanoi city are also worth to visit, including the Perfume Pagoda. Yes, the location might be very far from most Hanoi hotels, but the trip will surely be worth it. Perfume Pagoda consists of several Buddhist temples that are situated on the Huong Tich Mountains. The scenery is so majestic, it offers a genuine local experience that no other places can provide.
To reach the Perfume Pagoda’s ground level, you have to ride a rowing boat for about an hour. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be greeted with shops and street food stalls that are crowded with locals and almost no foreign tourists. From there, follow the stairs or take a cable car to reach the top.
9. Go wild during the nightlife on the streets
Nightlife in Vietnam is only available for a limited time because clubs and bars need to close before midnight. However, that still won’t stop you from having an exciting nightlife around your Hanoi hotel. On the streets, shops and food stalls begin to open, including small bars. The best way to enjoy the nightlife is to grab a cold beer and take a stroll around the streets. Along the way, make sure to feast on more delicious Vietnamese street foods, too.
And here’s where to book hotels in Hanoi Vietnam
There are many things to do and visit in Hanoi, and it means your trip has to take longer, too. Therefore, it’s recommended that you stay at the best Hanoi hotels with the best value-for-money to further enhance the experience. Luckily, there are several amazing hotels in Hanoi Vietnam with sensible prices and amazing quality that you can book your stay. Here are 3 of them:
1. Hanoi Focus Hotel
Hanoi Focus Hotel is located right in the Old Quarter with direct access to Hoan Kiem Lake. For the price of S$36, you’ll get a comfortable room with additional hairdryer and minibar, plus free Italian dishes. Without a doubt, this is one of the best Hanoi hotels you can find.
Source: Hanoi Focus Hotel
Source: Hanoi Focus Hotel
Address: 4 Tố Tịch, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: about 33km or 52 minute drive
2. OYO 133 Westlake Tay Ho Hotel
Westlake Tay Ho Hotel is situated on the northern side of Hanoi. Despite the longer distance to many landmarks, the hotel offers amazing service and facilities and is closer to Noi Bai Airport. A regular room with a rate of S$32 is fitted with a full-sized bed, microwave, and a toaster. The hotel also serves free buffet breakfast, which is wonderful according to many reviewers.
Address: 696 Lạc Long Quân, Nhật Tân, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội 100000
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: about 25km or 40 minute drive
3. My Moon Hotel Hanoi
My Moon Hotel Hanoi is the last of the best hotels in Hanoi Vietnam but certainly isn’t the least. The hotel is close to Hanoi Citadel, Old City Gate, and St. Joseph Cathedral. Guests will be greeted with a comfortable room, fitted with a queen-sized bed, a coffee maker, minibar, and a bathtub. The rate is S$38, including breakfast, for your convenience and comfort.
Address: 59 Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 111000
Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: about 33km or 1 hour drive
Hanoi is exciting, educational, and mind-blowing. Traditional and modern cultures blend with society very well, as the ancient landmarks are still preserved with finesse to this day. Plus, there are many different and exciting Hanoi hotels to accommodate travellers and enhance their overall experience in Hanoi. You’d have to visit Hanoi and experience the beauty of the city at least once in a lifetime!