There is never a dull moment in Hanoi, especially at night. This vibrant city is teeming with fun activities once the sun has set, and only a few of those involve alcohol. Here are some of the best – but don’t do them all in one go, we don’t want you to be hungover the next day.
Explore the Old Quarter
One of the best activities to do in Hanoi at night is to just stroll around the beautiful Old Quarter. Half of Hanoi seems to hang out here at night, making it a little hectic with so many motorbikes congesting the streets. Walk around the 16 streets, do some souvenir shopping, hop in and out of stores, snap some pictures and join a group of locals for a street side meal. It will be a great way to introduce yourself to the local culture, or even to end your journey in Hanoi.
6 Ngõ Phát Lộc, Hàng Đào, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Stroll Around Hoan Kiem Lake
Bridge, Buddhist Temple, Park
Hoan Kiem Lake
is just by the Old Quarter, and this is a fun place to walk around and snap some pictures at night. The lights on the buildings and houses surrounding the lake turn on after sunset and get reflected on the water surface, creating a colorful sight. In the center of the lake is an island on which Ngoc Son temple is built, connected by a scarlet bridge. Around the lake is a pedestrian path that becomes popular for health enthusiasts come sundown. You will find joggers and cyclists, and even some elderly using outdoor fitness equipment. It’s also a popular spot for a date — you will find more than a few young couples sneaking kisses on park benches when they think no one is watching.
Watch A Water Puppet Show
Water puppet shows are a favorite among tourists in Vietnam. This ancient art form features puppets being controlled by adept puppet masters, enacting sketches of the local lifestyle and stories of ancient myths and folklore. The Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
is just by Hoan Kiem Lake and has garnered a reputation for putting on some of the finest shows. Get your tickets early as they run out pretty fast!
Chug Beer at the Bia Hoi Junction
The Bia Hoi Junction is in the center of the Old Quarter and is the absolute classic night time activity in Hanoi. Over here you’ll find several shophouses that have turned their entrances into street-side bars with plastic tables and stools spilling out onto the sidewalk. They serve fresh beer for as little as VND$10,000 (less than USD$1.00). Street vendors walk around selling steamed peanuts, beef jerky and other exotic snacks.
If you’re traveling solo, this is where you will make friends. This place is almost always crowded — by tourists and locals alike!
20 Tạ Hiện, Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Dine at the West Lake
West Lake, called Ho Tay in Vietnamese, is a popular residential area for expats. This is also where you’ll find most embassy residences. Around the lake you get many high-end restaurants and bars catering to crowds looking for a nice night out. Depending where you are around the lake, you will get to see the stupa of Tran Quoc Pagoda standing tall at 50 feet (15 meters). It is the oldest temple
in Hanoi, built in 544 by Emperor Ly Nam De.
Shopping at the Hanoi Night Market
Head over here even if your purpose for going is not for shopping. You can visit the night market just to immerse yourself in the lively night-time atmosphere of Hanoi, meet people, snap some pictures, and enjoy some delicious street-side snacks. Of course, you can buy things too, and you most probably will.This market is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays after 6pm.
Visit the Quang Ba Flower Market
We understand that finding a flower market as a night-time activity may be a little weird, but hear us out. Just like produce markets that supply restaurants, the Quang Ba Flower Market
reaches its peak right after midnight, around 2am. This commercial market supplies all the floral shops and vendors of Hanoi, so to get the freshest flowers they can for the day, the owners enjoy browsing this market in the wee hours of the morning. There are so many colors and fragrances thanks to the many species of flowers sold here — it’s a little bit like walking into a giant outdoor garden, but at night.
A Mellow Evening at Minh's Jazz Club
Bar, Vietnamese, $$$
Want something a little more relaxed? Head over to Minh’s Jazz Club
where you can watch the finest musicians in the city play their instruments with love. The interior is dark, creating a mellow ambiance that couples well with the style of entertainment. Minh is regarded as the best Vietnamese jazz performer in history and you may even be able to shake his hand as he still enjoys jamming with his band on some nights. Drinks may not be cheap but if you factor in the quality of the venue and entertainment, it’s more than worth it.
Dance the Night Away at Hero Club
Nightclub, Vietnamese, $$$
After some pre-drinking, head over to a club to dance the night away. The Hero Club is an industrial-style nightlife venue and has garnered a reputation as one of the best nightclubs in the city, throwing some awesome parties and themed nights. The DJ booth is set within an old Soviet truck, and the walls are adorned with colorful murals of superheroes and propaganda posters. The dance floor gets wild, and above hangs dancers in bird cage-like structures. The music ranges from hip-hop to deep house and lounge. The cocktails aren’t even expensive — they start from as low as VND$75,000 (USD$3.50), and imported beer such as Corona are sold for around VND$120,000 (USD$6.00). Despite the low prices, the crowd this club attracts is more on the affluent end of the spectrum. Come well-dressed!
A Drink with a View at Summit Lounge
Bar, American, European, Vietnamese, $$$
Rooftop bars are aplenty in Hanoi, but the Summit Lounge at the Sofitel Hanoi
sets the bar (pun intended) for the others to reach. Enjoy a cool evening cocktail looking over not one but two lakes — Tay Ho and Truc Bach, that are cut in the middle by one of the most picturesque streets in Hanoi, Thanh Nien. Open from 4pm, this is a great place to enjoy some pre-drinks while watching the sunset, and then head over to the Old Quarter where the party continues after midnight.