OT Travel Itinerary: Your Perfect 3-Days In Hanoi

From the best food to the most historical landmarks and much more, explore Hanoi thoroughly with our perfect 3-day itinerary
One Pillar pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
One Pillar pagoda in Hanoi, VietnamShutterstock

Hanoi, the captivating capital of Vietnam, stands alongside the Red River. Its rich history, culture, and fascinating attractions make it a must-visit destination. You can stroll through the ancient streets of the Old Quarter, where the air is filled with the scent of incense from temples and the sound of blacksmiths' hammers. Don't miss the chance to try the delicious street food such as Phở and bún chả, explore the art scene, and mingle with locals at Hoan Kiem Lake. Hanoi's unhurried coffee culture and peaceful lakeside ambience offer a unique mix of old-world charm and contemporary energy. We have curated a thorough 3-day itinerary to best experience most of what Hanoi has to offer. Take a look at the agenda as you plan the perfect escapade into this rich city.

Day 1: Exploring the Heart of Hanoi

Morning: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Presidential Palace

A view of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
A view of the Ho Chi Minh MausoleumShutterstock

Start your day by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to pay respects to Vietnam's iconic leader. This place is a significant part of Vietnam's history and geography. After that, you can explore the Presidential Palace, its beautiful gardens, and the stilt house where Ho Chi Minh lived. These tall stilt houses can be found in the villages of Vietnam's Central Highlands among the ethnic minorities. Traditionally made from wood and bamboo, the communal buildings, known as Rong, are an important part of the local culture.

Afternoon: Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda

Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Temple of Literature, HanoiShutterstock

After lunch, head to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, which showcases traditional Vietnamese architecture. At one point, hundreds of renowned scholars used to study and practice at this temple. Later, visit the nearby One Pillar Pagoda, a unique Buddhist temple symbolising purity and enlightenment.

Evening: Old Quarter and Street Food Tour

Turtle tower in Old Quarter, Hanoi
Turtle tower in Old Quarter, HanoiShutterstock

Wander through Hanoi's bustling Old Quarter, renowned for its narrow streets and traditional shops. Take part in a street food tour to sample local delicacies like pho, banh mi, and egg coffee while immersing yourself in the lively street culture.

Day 2: Cultural Immersion and Natural Beauty

Morning: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Make sure to visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to learn about the diverse cultures and ethnic groups of Vietnam. The museum's extensive exhibits and outdoor displays offer a comprehensive overview of the country's rich heritage. It is recommended that you spend at least two hours at the museum exploring all the exhibits and displays fully.

Afternoon: West Lake and Tran Quoc Pagoda

A view of Tran Quoc Pagoda
A view of Tran Quoc PagodaShutterstock

Spend your afternoon at West Lake, the largest lake in Hanoi. Explore Tran Quoc Pagoda, the city's oldest Buddhist temple, and bask in the tranquil atmosphere. Unwind at one of the lakeside cafes with a cup of Vietnamese coffee.

Evening: Water Puppet Show and Night Market

In the evening, watch a traditional water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, a unique art form originating in Northern Vietnam. After the show, visit the vibrant Dong Xuan Night Market to shop and sample street food.

Day 3: History and Local Flavours

Morning: Hoa Lo Prison and St. Joseph's Cathedral

The front facade of St. Joseph's Cathedral
The front facade of St. Joseph's CathedralShutterstock

Begin the day at Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the "Hanoi Hilton," which provides a sobering insight into Vietnam's turbulent history. Next, visit St. Joseph's Cathedral, a beautiful neo-Gothic church reminiscent of Notre Dame in Paris.

Afternoon: Hanoi Opera House and French Quarter

The grand Hanoi Opera House
The grand Hanoi Opera House Shutterstock

Visit the Hanoi Opera House, an architectural gem from the French colonial period. Then, take a stroll through the French Quarter, admiring its tree-lined boulevards and colonial buildings. Lastly, enjoy a delightful lunch at a charming bistro.

Evening: Long Bien Bridge and Local Cuisine

A view of the Long Bien Bridge
A view of the Long Bien BridgeShutterstock

End your trip by visiting the iconic Long Bien Bridge, designed by Gustave Eiffel. Then, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant where you can savour traditional dishes like bun cha and cha ca, and reflect on your memorable journey through Hanoi.

Getting There

To travel from India to Hanoi, book your flights from an international airport in India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, or Kolkata, to Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport. Don't forget to check visa requirements and vaccinations, and pack accordingly.

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