• What to do in hanoi for 2 days? Locals Recommend

    Le CongFebruary 15, 2023
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    Confused about what to do in Hanoi for two days? Here are two options for your two-day plan in the city:

    Option 1: Spend two days and one night in Hanoi to experience some of the best things to do.

    Option 2: Spend one day in Hanoi and take a day trip to Halong Bay or Ninh Binh (Ninh Binh is highly recommended).

    Option 1: 2 Days in Hanoi – Overnight in Hanoi

    Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter – Hanoi French Quarter

    The Hanoi Old Quarter and Hanoi French Quarter are two of the busiest centers of the city, with the Old Quarter being particularly renowned. Established for hundreds of years, it has become a symbol of the ancient Thang Long citadel.

    In the past, the Old Quarter was a patch of narrow streets, alleys, and houses, and the home of several guilds such as bronze casting, forging, jewelry making, wood carving, silk, and clothes trade. Many of these places remain interesting destinations for tourists today.

    To learn more about the history and culture of these places, you can join the Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Tour for the best understanding of both places through the eyes of locals.

    Street Ta Hien is located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. During the day, it may appear peaceful, but come nightfall, you’ll be surprised!

    In The Morning 

    Hoan Kiem Lake

    Hoan Kiem Lake, located close to Hanoi Old Quarter, is only a few minutes’ walk away. It is known as the unofficial heart of Hanoi and has become a symbol of the city’s culture and history. It is also a popular destination for thousands of tourists each year.

    When thinking about Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake will be the first thing that comes to mind! 

    Ngoc Son Temple

    Ngoc Son Temple is situated on the surface of Hoan Kiem Lake, connected to its bank by the red Huc Bridge. When visiting this sanctuary, it is important to dress politely and discreetly, speak quietly and politely, and line up if there are many guests. Additionally, do not touch any objects without permission from the management.

    • Opening hours: 8:00 – 18:00
    • Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND/person
    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Ngoc Son Temple
    The Huc Bridge will lead you to the ancient Ngoc Son Temple 

    St. Joseph’s Cathedral

    St. Joseph Cathedral is a Gothic-style cathedral in Hanoi that has been a top attraction for years. It’s the perfect place to sit down, feel the cool breeze, and escape the stress of everyday life.

    Location: 40 Nha Chung Street, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 

    Opening hours:
    For Outside visits: all the time.
    For Inside visit: visitors can only enter the Cathedral in Hanoi at the opening time of ceremonial practice as per the following schedule:

    • Weekday: 5:30 and 18:15
    • Saturday: 18:00
    • Sunday: 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, 11:00, 16:00, 18:00 and 20:00
    • A special ceremony is on 19th March every year.

    Entrance Fee: Free

    In The Afternoon:

    Hanoi French Quarter – A little Paris in Hanoi

    Vietnamese architecture was heavily influenced by French styles during the French colonial period, particularly in Hanoi. This combination of Eastern aesthetic beauty and French features has earned the city’s French Quarter the nickname A Little Paris in Hanoi. You won’t be disappointed!

    And so do a French Quarter Walking Tour!0

    >>> Check out: A Free & Self-guided Hanoi French Quarter Tour 2023

    Hanoi Opera House

    You can take a 20-minute stroll from Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The exterior of the Hanoi Opera House is designed with a mix of architectural styles: Roman, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and French Neoclassical. It is modeled after the Opera Garnier (Opera de Paris) and, according to some, is even more aesthetically pleasing than the original.

    • Location: No.1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
    • Opening Hours: 10:30 in the morning every Monday and Friday.
    “I haven’t been to Opéra Garnier before, but Hanoi Opera House did wow me on my first visit here” said by our previous customer

    Hoa Lo Prison

    The French colonists built another architecture. It takes about 15 minutes to walk there.

    Hoa Lo Prison is a reminder of a dark period in Vietnam’s history when it was under French rule. It still houses many torture tools, which can be quite unsettling.

    • Location: 1 Hoa Lo Street, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
    • Opening hours: Everyday from 8:00 -17:00
    • Entrance Fee: 30.000 VND/person
    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hoa Lo Prison
    Come to Hoa Lo prison to gain knowledge of Vietnam’s history

    Water Puppet Show or Cyclo Ride

    Each culture has its own unique festival or attraction, signifying something that is indispensable to what makes it special. In Vietnam, it is the traditional water puppet show. A water puppet show is like a puppet show, but performed on the water. It is much more interesting and complex than a regular puppet show.

    Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi is one of the most popular tourist attractions. The Vietnamese orchestra tells stories with traditional operatic songs, using drums, wooden bells, horns, bamboo flutes, and cymbals. The entrance fee is 100,000 VND. If you want to bring your phone or camera inside, you must pay an extra fee. It is recommended that you book tickets in advance, in case they sell out.

    • Location: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, 57B, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
    • Opening hours: Everyday at 15:00, 16:10, 17:20, 18:30, 20:00
    • Ticket: 100.000 VND, 150.000 VND, 200.000 VND
    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_ Water Puppet Show
    A unique performance of art you haven’t ever seen

    If you don’t want to see the Water Puppet Show, you can take a cyclo to explore the Old Quarter. A cyclo is a unique form of transportation in Vietnam; it looks like a bicycle with three wheels and a large seat in the front.

    Besides walking, taking a cyclo is a great way to take photos and admire the sights of Hanoi. It’s easy to find a cyclo in Hanoi, but remember to bargain before you go.

    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Cyclo Ride
    A specialty of Hanoi that you have to try out

    In The Evening

    Hanoi Street Food Tour

    Many people say Hanoi is most beautiful in the evening, making a street food tour with a local guide a great idea. Your guide will take you to the best places to enjoy delicious food, and also introduce you to the culture, and show you how to enjoy some special dishes in Hanoi.

    See: OneTrip Hanoi Street Food Tour

    Best way to experience Vietnamese cuisine!

    Day 2: Explore Around The City

    In The Morning

    Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Citadel

    Centuries ago, when Vietnam still used Chinese characters for their language, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was built to protect the city. Although most of the walls have been destroyed, their fragments can still be seen throughout the Old Town. In 2010, the Citadel was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

    Excavations have revealed many artifacts and items from the 6th to 20th centuries, including the foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells. The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a symbol of Hanoi’s history and culture over the millennia.

    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Imperial Citadel of Thang Long Citadel
    The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history
    • Location: 18 Hoang Dieu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
    • Opening hours: All the week, except Monday, from 8:00 to 17:00
    • Entrance Fee:
    • Adult: 30.000 VND (~ 1.3 US$) for Vietnamese and foreigners
    • Students: 15.000 VND (~ 0.7 US$) (Vietnamese ID, students card required)
    • Children under 15: Free

    Ho Chi Minh Complex

    The Ho Chi Minh Complex is a collection of various architectural structures, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, One Pillar Pagoda, and Ho Chi Minh Stilt House. Visiting this site will provide a deeper understanding of the life of our beloved Father and his immense contribution to our nation’s independence.

    Location: Hung Vuong Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

    Opening hours: 

    • Monday: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
    • Tuesday to Sunday: 08:00 am – 17:00 pm
    • No open on other time

    Entrance Fee: FREE for Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and One Pillar Pagoda; 40.000 VND/person for Ho Chi Minh Museum and Ho Chi Minh Stilt House

    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Ho Chi Minh Complex
    Visit this destination to gain an understanding of our Great Father life

    Temple of literature

    The Temple of Literature is renowned as the first university in Vietnam, a place that embodies many cultural and scholarly traditions of the Vietnamese.

    The sight of students wearing their traditional uniforms and dresses, gathering to offer prayers for their studies, is a familiar one to both locals and tourists alike when visiting here.

    The Temple of Literature is a quiet place where one can learn about Vietnam’s culture.

    In The Afternoon

    Museum of Ethnology

    Vietnam is renowned for its diverse population, with 54 ethnic groups. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is an important part of preserving and showcasing the cultural heritage of these groups.

    This is an ideal destination for those seeking to learn more about Vietnamese history and culture. There are many activities to enjoy in the afternoon, so you can easily spend an entire afternoon exploring and having fun!

    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Museum of Ethnology
    If you want to have some knowledge about Vietnamese history and culture, the Museum of ethnology is a good choice

    That is the end of our option 1 for Hanoi Itinerary 2 days. Now let’s move on to option 2.

    Option 2-1: Hanoi 1 day, Ninh Binh 1 day 

    Day 1: Hanoi Old Quarter – Hanoi French Quarter

    Just like option 1, you can take the itinerary I’ve written on the first day in Hanoi above.

    Day 2: Ninh Binh (Hoa Lu – Tam Coc)

    For a day trip from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is an ideal destination. Located just two hours away, you can leave as early as 8:00 a.m.

    If you need help at NinhBinh, please let us know.

    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
    Hoa Lu Tam Coc is worth a trip outside of Hanoi

    In The Morning

    • Visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, King Dinh, and King Le’s Temples.
    • Have lunch at a local restaurant and try local cuisine.
    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Com Chay Ninh Binh
    Ninh Binh specialty – bring this scorched rice home for gifts is a great choice

    In The Afternoon

    • Get on a boat ride in Tam Coc, ride through Ngo Dong River for 1.5 hours
    • Get back to Hanoi 
    Content_What to do in Hanoi for 2 days_Tam Coc
    The magnificent scenery only saw on movies

    Option 2-1: Hanoi 1 day, Halong Bay 1 day 

    At 170 kilometers from Hanoi, Halong Bay is a UNESCO-recognized heritage site in Vietnam. An all-day trip to Halong Bay typically includes round-trip hotel transport, lunch, a tour guide, and sailing along the bay’s stunning scenery. You can also explore some of the most popular limestone caves, floating villages, and small islands such as Cat Ba and Bon Hon.

    If you need help at Ha Long Bay, please let us know.

    So, what’s your option? I hope my recommendation can help you decide on a destination to make your time there truly unforgettable.

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