20 Must-Visit Attractions in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam, has a vibrant nightlife scene
Hanoi, Vietnam, has a vibrant nightlife scene | © dave stamboulis / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Piumi Rajapaksha
7 August 2020

Hanoi, the beautiful cultural capital of Vietnam, is full of things to see and do. A few days in the city doesn’t do it justice, but luckily, most attractions are located within walking distance of one another. You can easily map out an itinerary for yourself and enjoy a day of wandering around, taking in the contrasting beauty of the old and new. Make sure to visit as many of these attractions as possible to fully enhance your experience in Hanoi.

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter is a lively area where travellers can enjoy many fine examples of colonial architecture packed along narrow streets. This is the city’s ultimate shopping spot, and is full of cafés and restaurants to indulge in some delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Ba Vi National Park

Forest, Park
Map View
Located around two hours from Hanoi, Ba Vi National Park is a nature reserve famous for peaks, viewpoints, waterfalls, old French colonial churches and prisons. You can even find natural hot springs on the forest floor. It’s easy to spend a whole day here exploring before enjoying a meal in the restaurant near the entrance.

One Pillar Pagoda

Buddhist Temple
Map View
This pagoda is built on a single wooden pillar that’s just 1.25 metres in diameter. The story goes that heirless emperor Ly Thai Tong dreamt that he met Quan The Am Bo Tat, the Goddess of Mercy. Soon after, he married a young peasant girl who gave him a son. The pagoda was built between 1028 and 1054 to express his gratitude to the goddess.

West Lake

Park
Map View
Hanoi, Vietnam - February 22, 2016: Bridge at West Lake and Temple in Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
© Roman Babakin / Alamy Stock Photo
This is the biggest freshwater lake in Hanoi. Located right in the centre of the city, it makes for a perfect evening walk. You can easily get to other places nearby and there are plenty of restaurants, bars and shops here to explore. Great photo opportunities await.

Ho Chi Minh Museum

Museum
Map View
This museum is dedicated to the late Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, referred to lovingly as Uncle Ho. His life is chronicled in eight different sections, running from his upbringing and youth to his travels, ideologies and ultimately what led to the founding of the Vietnamese communist party. English descriptions are available, and it’s closed on Mondays.

Hanoi Train Street

This is a narrow street in the Old Quarter, where train tracks running right down the middle allow trains to pass terrifyingly close to the houses. The daily life of the locals have to be packed up multiple times a day when a train is scheduled to pass. It’s somewhat similar to Maeklong Railway Market in Thailand.

These recommendations were updated on August 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.