Do you only have limited time in Hanoi and want to make the best out of it? I’ve been there, done that as well. Sometimes you just don’t have enough time in a city, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the best out of it. Hanoi is a bustling city full of sights to visit, stores to spend your money at and restaurants to eat delicious (and inexpensive!) food. You will have the time of your life in Hanoi!
Here comes my advice on what to do in Hanoi if you only have 24 hours.
1. Breakfast by the Old Quarter
Start off your day right with a hearty breakfast. There are a ton of nice restaurants and cafés where you can get a delicious breakfast. If you want local Vietnamese cuisine in the morning, then head down to one of the small restaurants and eat some “bun” (noodle soup) for breakfast. But if you crave western breakfast, there is a nice café called “Hanoi Social Club” in 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. There you will find seasonal fruits, porridge, eggs and various breads with jams that will fill you up and prepare you for your day in Hanoi.
2. Go for a Free Walking Tour
Most hostels offer a so called “Free Walking Tours” which means that you go with a guide who will show you some parts of the city and give you information on where to go and what to do. It is “free” but most guides do appreciate it if you leave them a tip, since this is sometimes the only way they earn money. If you don’t have a lot of time then it’s good to do this tour since it allows you to see the highlights of Hanoi within three hours. It is also fun since you get to meet other travelers.
3. Wander around West Lake
After the tour, wander around West Lake and enjoy the vibe of Hanoi. Here you will find tons of shoe stores as well who offers fake brands, such as Nike and Adidas. Come on, we know you want it.
4. Lunch in a traditional Vietnamese restaurant
You can always find a place to eat in Vietnam, no matter what the time is. There’s so many restaurants and cafés spread over Hanoi so finding a good place to eat won’t be too difficult. Why not try some of the Vietnamese cuisine, such as the world famous noodle soup “pho” or have some spring rolls. Whatever you are in the mood for, Hanoi will have it.
5. Go to the museum “Maison Centrale Hanoi” which is also called Hoa Lo Prison.
Hoa Lo Prison is also known as “Hanoi Hilton” and housed Vietnamese revolutionaries and American POW during the Vietnam War. Go here to find out more about the history of Vietnam. It is open daily from 08:00-17:00.
6. Explore the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter itself offers many beautiful sights, such as the Saint Joseph Cathedral. It is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the city and is surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers. Go shopping in one of the many stores around the Old Quarter, paus at some cute café, try the famous “egg coffee” and get lost in one of the narrow streets. This is an area where you can wander around for hours and hours. When you’re feeling hungry, head to one of many restaurants in the area and be ready for some spectacular food. The Vietnamese kitchen is known for a reason – it is simply so delicious!
7. Enjoy the nightlife in Hanoi
The last hours of Hanoi should not be spent in your hotel/hostel room – go to “Bia Hoi” junction and try some Vietnamese draft beer, sit in a plastic stool and try some steamed peanuts, fried tofu or beef jerky in one of the stalls. When you feel like dancing, head to one of many clubs in Hoan Kiem and dance the night away. Your 24 hours in Hanoi is coming to an end so what better way than to spend it dancing.
Are you just as excited as us about Hanoi? Then what are you waiting for! Get your visa to Vietnam and head to one of the most intriguing capitals in the world. We guarantee you that you will have the time of your life!