If you only have 24 hours in Hanoi, I will take you to explore this capital so that you can live with the local life, feel with all your senses of a city with thousand years old.
What to do in 24 hours in Hanoi?
6 am – have breakfast with Pho
Breakfast is at Pho Gia Truyen at 49 Bat Dan Street, Hanoi. The famous noodle shop that many people like the morning is crowded with the guests in the morning. Hurry and find a seat and wait for the companion in line to buy Pho.
The food for breakfast in Hanoi is plentiful with more than 20 kinds of dishes, different types of sticky rice, various kinds of vermicelli, spring rolls, bread. But, Pho still the priority choice, and there are also many Pho restaurants in Hanoi.
The bowl of Pho comes with hot and sweet simmering broth, white noodles, pink-red beef, a little green spring onion. Everyone likes it, and it becomes a famous brand all over the world.
7:00 am – taste a cup of coffee
After finishing the bowl of Pho, do not rush. Please visit a café to taste a cup of brown coffee. Café on 2 Hang Ca Street is hard to find a place for parking because of many people. Café Nang, Giang coffee, Thai coffee overlook the streets with simple wooden tables and chairs.
Iced black coffee and iced brown coffee are the two most popular drinks in the early morning. A cup of coffee, a book, or a friend sit by before work in the morning. That is a Hanoi style.
Plenty of Hanoians do not like to sit in luxury restaurants with elaborate tables and chairs to drink coffee. Those places are only for juices or fruit smoothies. If you want to enjoy a rich flavour coffee, visit a shop with the classic tables and chairs, and find a delicious cup of coffee.
8:00 am – Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Van Mieu Temple
Now is the time for a tour around Hanoi. We make a journey around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the cool and pleasant air of autumn weather. We are lucky with the autumn weather of October. The sky is blue, and the sun is light.
There are some couples coming here to take wedding photos. The corner of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hang Bai Street, Dinh Le Street, around the head of the Opera House, Hilton Hotel, General School, Metropole Hotel have become beautiful photo spots for the wedding photoshoot.
Please visit the Trang Tien ice cream shop, taste the delicious ice cream cone. Otherwise, take some time to visit The Huc Bridge and Ngoc Son Temple. Then, travel to the famous place: the Temple of Literature.
To visit the two sites, it can take you about more than two hours. On the way through here, you can explore the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long located on Hoang Dieu Street. This road also has a famous address, the house of General Vo Nguyen Giap.
12:00 pm (Noon) – Have lunch with Hanoi local food
Which food will I have lunch that is a problem for me? Everything is very attractive, and I want to eat most of them. Bun Dau Mam Tom (Tofu vermicelli with shrimp sauce) at the alley Phat Loc, Bun Cha at Hang Manh Street, La Vong fried fish (Cha Ca La Vong), tongue vermicelli at Ngo Si Lien market, or Hanoi bread. I want to eat all.
After struggling for a while with different options, we decide to taste La Vong Fried Fish that is famous for the capital. We come to a restaurant: Chả Cá Lăng – Address: Floor 1, 18 Lo Su Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
1:00 pm – Explore the Old Quarter
Now is the time to take the time to explore the 36 streets of Hanoi Old Quarter, and the best way is to walk.
If you are not careful walking in these chessboard streets, you will easily get lost. The long street connects the street, the alley connects to the alley, the house next to each other. Walking in the old streets will see all the life of Hanoians.
Each street sells its product and many tiny shops. Here, still find old jobs such as sidewalk barbering, buying long hair, making ao dai, making seals, repairing clock, etc. Many of these works are about to disappear following the time. Walking on the streets, you can stop at Luong Van Can to make a cup of black bean sweet soup to drink or make an iced tea in a small alley.
We stop at Bach Ma Temple, one of the four well-known temples in Hanoi at the beginning of Hang Buom Street. Then, wander on foot to the O Quan Chuong gate for taking pictures. After that, get lost in the alley of the busy Dong Xuan market, then look through Hang Duong street to buy some O Mai (sweet-sour plum) as a gift.
5:00 pm – Enjoy a water puppet show
The water puppet shows of the Thang Long puppet theatre are about to begin. Each show takes about an hour, but it is very interesting. Most of the visitors who come to see it are the touring tourists, the rest are children. The legendaries or traditional activities of the people in North Vietnam are performed in a puppet show on the water. It does not take long, but it is fun.
6:00 pm – Chill out for a beer
Now is the time for a beer on the corner of Ta Hien Street, where it is crowded with young guests coming here to drink beer and chat after working time.
Cool beer mugs, a few spring rolls, french fries, or grilled pork rolls come as a party. The street is fun with joy. Now is also the time for the night market to open to welcome guests. The market is open (on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights) around Hoan Kiem Lake and some old streets, and at the Dong Xuan market.
9:00 pm – See lowering-flag ceremony
Around the streets with the scent of milk flowers, we stop at Ba Dinh Square, right in front of the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. There are a lot of people in Hanoi who choose this place as an evening walking spot with their whole family. There is an exciting activity, which is the lowering of the flag ceremony at 9:00 pm every evening. Most people walking and crossing the street at this time stand still solemnly during the nightly lowering-flag ceremony at this place.
10:00 pm – Chat with friends with ice tea
Iced tea and supper for simple nightlife. Find a teahouse with a beautiful view of Hoan Kiem Lake, enjoy a cup of fragrant tea with sunflower seeds or a plate of fruit.
A lot of young people gather with friends over teacups. Late-night food is enough, from papaya salad to rib porridge bowl, from pate sticky rice dish to bamboo-shoot vermicelli bowl.
12:00 am (Midnight) – Find the tranquillity of Hanoi
The night streets in Hanoi have typical beauty: deep and peaceful. Not noisy during 24 hours like Saigon, Hanoi day and night with two different appearances.
After the day’s hustle of the day, since 11:00 pm, the streets have begun to be empty. The Autumn season has been cold enough for passersby to put on a thin sweater and a light scarf. Night mist is hanging on the streets, under the golden light of the street lamps.
The nightlife in Hanoi is quiet, fragrant with the scent of milk flowers and magnolia blossoms. Sometimes, you can hear soft lyrical music from the windows.
At night, walk in the heart of Hanoi to see all the beauty and excitement of this city. The photo artists have come to shoot for night pictures. 36 streets with a simple atmosphere. Hoang Dieu, Phan Dinh Phung, and Tran Phu streets look more lovely under beautiful night lights.
2:00 am – Visit the flower market
Now is the time for a unique trip to a fragrant place – the Quang Ba night flower market. Two o’clock in the morning, motorcycles with flowers from the flower villages of Tay Tuu, Me Linh, Nghi Tam flock to this market located along the dyke.
Although the world of flowers opens all day, there are two busiest periods: at 2:00 am when farmers bring flowers to sell and from 4:00 am to 5:00 am when buyers come to pick flowers and bring them to sell all over the streets in Hanoi.
Under the glimmer of flashlights, the flower market is a bustle with buyers and sellers. Each season has a different type of flowers. Now is autumn, the market is full of yellow chrysanthemum petals. Flowers are sold hundreds of flowers per bunch, surprisingly with a low price. Along with chrysanthemums are roses, lilies, and many other flowers.
Going to the flower market at night, you will not want to go back. Amidst the fragrant scent is the busy daily life of florists. From 2:00 am to 5:00 am, flowers are on cars, transported to flower shops on the street or to other markets the next morning.
If you feel hungry, you can eat a bowl of hot pho or crackers, thick cakes, and sip hot green tea. Leaving the flower market, our group buy some roses to give a Hanoi friend when tomorrow is also his birthday.
5:00 am – Catch the sunrise at Long Bien Bridge
The 24-hour journey of the day is coming to an end. It is time to welcome the dawn light glimmering on the horizon at the ancient Long Bien Bridge of this land.
Dawn on the Red River comes with mysterious feelings. And, at the foot of the bridge, the Long Bien vegetable market is in the busiest hour. But on the bridge at this time, the workers are hurry to carry with heavy fruit baskets.
The Long Bien Bridge has seen the change of this land for more than a century and will continue to be a bridge connecting the two river banks in the future.
A 24-hour journey in Hanoi has full of emotions and the most special things.
Do you want to join with us to explore Hanoi for a full day of 24 hours?