10 best activities to do in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam with a thousand years of culture, which is a cultural, political, and economic centre. Hanoi has an international airport, so this place is the first gate for you to travel to explore Vietnam. While staying in Hanoi, what will we do?

Please check the 10 best activities in Hanoi that Exotic Travel Vietnam introduce them to you.

1. Walking Hoan Kiem Lake in the early morning

Hoan Kiem Lake
A morning in Hoan Kiem Lake | @04.gtlm_

Hoan Kiem Lake (Sword Lake) is definitely a must-visit place when visiting Hanoi, but the best time to fully feel the beauty of the lake is in the early morning. When the streets are not bustling with smog and car horns, the Sword Lake looks very peaceful beside the rows of green trees with mist and calm water surface. The local people go to do morning exercise. You will see the tranquil life of Hanoi.

If you visit Sword Lake on an autumn or winter day, the scene will also bring you a little nostalgia by the mist, the yellow leaves, the deciduous branches, and the cold radiating from the lake.

Although from the scene of the lake in the early morning, you cannot see the sunrise from dawn, you will have a very different experience when enjoying a new day by the Hoan Kiem Lake.

2. Go to the market in the early morning

Try to wake up in the early morning to visit two famous markets in Hanoi: Quang Ba flower market and Long Bien wholesale market.

Quang Ba flower market is the most famous flower market in the North, located on De Nghi Tam Street (Tay Ho District). The market opens from midnight, including colourful flowers from all over the country. Contrary to the quiet night of the city falling asleep, the Quang Ba flower market has been crowded with buyers and sellers from 1:00 am.

The guests to the flower market can go from 4:00 am – 5:00 am when shopping is less crowded, mainly by retail buyers or visiting. Here you can freely watch flowers from the common types to splendid ones. And if you like, you can reward yourself with a flower hug at an affordable price.

Long Bien Market is active almost overnight and near clear morning when activities are less bustling.

Long Bien wholesale market is more bustling and noisy than the flower market, covering more buyers, sellers, porters, and vehicles. You can see plenty of workers who do not sleep to keep their families sleep better.

Not only exploring the flowers, but you can also have the opportunity to understand the hardworking corner of the people in Hanoi. If you can stay up late or get up early, you can give yourself a sleepless night to roam these two famous markets. This activity is also an unaffordable experience when coming to Hanoi.

3. Watching the sunset on West Lake

West Lake Hanoi
An afternoon in the West Lake | @duongbi

West Lake Hanoi is also famous as Hoan Kiem Lake. In the past, West Lake was famous for its lotus villages to marinate lotus tea; nowadays, this lake is influenced by the urbanized development of the city, so the lotus flowers reduce a lot, but still some left in the summer.

The West Lake does not have rows of trees to hold the steps of tourists, but the vastness of the lake is impressive enough to make the visitors stop enjoying the sunset. The sunset on West Lake is a romantic afternoon reflection on the glittering and immense water surface.

The colour of the sun gradually disappears behind high-rise buildings, creating a very magnificent scene when nature blends with man-made works. A bit of a contradiction between the two aspects of development and conservation, creating an experience hard to find elsewhere.

4. Attend the flag-lowering ceremony at 9:00 pm at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Most of the Vietnamese people wish to visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum at least once in life to show respect for the famous president in Vietnam. Visiting this place is not only to come to a well-know destination but also to meet a beloved person in the heart of the Vietnamese people.

Besides visiting the mausoleum of Uncle Ho, you can join the flag-lowering ceremony at 9:00 pm every day in front of the mausoleum, which can help people love more the country and awaken the national pride feelings in the inmost heart of each person.

This experience can make the guests remember when visiting Hanoi, Vietnam.

5. Enjoying Hanoi street food

Hanoi Street Food
Dry beef salad is one of top street food in Hanoi. © ExoticTravelVietnam

Hanoi has many different tasty local dishes. These are bun cha, bun thang, sping rolls, Vong village nuggets, pickled Sau fruits, and sweet-sour apricot. You will find a variety of attractive foods of the locals of Hanoi and the Northern people living here.

Each season has typical street-food dishes that are right the sidewalk shops in Hanoi Old Quarter, which can take you many days to taste all the food of this area.

Street food is a unique style of cuisine in Vietnam. But, each region also has a unique feature so that when tasting, diners feel not only the local taste but also feel the atmosphere of the city.

Although street food is tasty, you have to be careful to choose places to try the local food to protect your health. You need to check the services and cleanness of the restaurants if they are famous for the people and have good reviews. If yes, let’s come to taste!

Tasting the Hanoi local food in the Old Quarter is an experience that many guests like when visiting this city.

6. Walking around Dinh Le Book Street

Dinh Le Book Street locates right next to Hoan Kiem Lake, so visitors can easily stop by. Although the era of technology develops with digital entertainment equipment, Dinh Le Book Street still is crowded with people visiting and buying books.

You can see some children and teenagers finding their books to read. And, you can choose a favourite book here to read while sitting at the Hanoi coffee shops. If luckily, you will find an old book that you cannot buy elsewhere, but right on Dinh Le Street. The book street also shows the culture of the studious culture of Hanoi people and the Vietnamese in general.

7. Getting lost in Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter | @nguyentruc88

Hanoi has a typical ancient quarter, including 36 old streets with narrow alleys and timeless architecture. The classic style is still visible in a modern city with high-rise buildings and amenities. Spending at least half a day is great to wander around the old quarter to discover many old shops mixed with modern tourist services.

Each street will feature a specific product, but most of the roads are narrow, bustling, crowded with the voices of sellers and vehicles. Both the mixture and harmony, also the opposition of a developing city are evident in every step you walk through the streets in Hanoi Old Quarter.

8. Drinking Ta Hien beer

Ta Hien Street is famous for its beer and active lifestyle at night. However, the beer must not be drunk, but this is a culture of Hanoi’s youth and young visitors coming here.

Ta Hien Beer Street is bustling, especially from evening until late at night. Young people of all colours of skin and the language sit and chat happily next to the beer, making the main image of this street.

The beer here is cheap, so it is suitable for all classes from students to working people who all can taste it.

9. Tasting a cup of egg coffee

egg coffee
Egg Coffee | @hari.food

Not coffee with milk or sugar, but coffee with eggs. Did you taste it? It sounds strange when hearing the name of egg coffee. But, opposite to the think of most people, the egg coffee has a distinctive aroma and is greasy, with no fishy smell. This drink is a typical one in Hanoi.

Egg coffee is at various restaurants, but on the road facing Sword Lake is the most interesting. Sitting and sipping a unique cup of coffee, watching the busy streets, passersby are enough to be an unforgettable experience for your holidays in Hanoi.

You can check the Giang or Dinh Cafés to taste the original flavour of egg coffee.

10. Walking on Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge is an ancient symbol of Hanoi, both the work of art and a bridge that witnesses many historical periods of the capital.

The old bridge still has the railway going through it every day. When visiting the bridge in the early morning or at sunset, you can feel an old Hanoi, and you will see the Red River and a corner of the city in the distance.


These experiences can be done within a day, but we recommend you to spend more time to slow down to understand more the lifestyle and get better valuable activities.

If you have time to do all these things, you will enrich your journeys to Hanoi, Vietnam. Although you can do most of the activities by yourself, to get a better experience, you can book a private tour through a travel agency, and tell them to range these activities for your time in Hanoi.

Which activity will you like to join the best?