If you only have two days in Hanoi, bypassing some attractions is a must to make the most out of your stay in Vietnam’s capital city. To show you the best things to see and do in Hanoi within 48-hours, here is our suggestion itinerary which is enough to cover all important part of the city.
Day 1: Spend your whole day in Hanoi
In the morning, visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple: Through Hanoi is a supper busy city with 5 millions motorbike, the city is peaceful and quite in early morning. Let start your day by walking around Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi, where you can see people jogging, enjoying a coffee and even practicing Tai Chi and line dancing. Ngoc Son Temple was built on a small island which surrounding by the lake in 19th century. To come inside the temple, you will walking through a red wooden bridge name The Huc. Tran Hung Dao, a hero military leader is worshiping here, your also can see large bronze bust, some ancient artifacts including ceramics, and a preserved specimen of a giant turtle found in the lake weighing 250 kg. Many cafe and restaurant can be found near by, in case you want to stop for breakfast or a cup of tea.
Afternoon, go further than the Old Quarter, to visit other place of Hanoi. Before leaving Old Central, you can stop over to visit Saint Joseph’s Cathedral Church, Hanoi Opera House which were built by French and And represents an important part of Vietnamese history. Outside of Old Quarter, The Temple of Literature and Ho Chi Minh Complex are popular places fr tourists. If you have time, why don’t consider to visit one of many museum in Hanoi such as Vietnam Women’s Museum, Vietnam National Museum of History or Hoa Lo Prison.
Evening, serve yourself some authentic Vietnamese food in Old Quarter. Hanoian food can be found within local restaurants, inside some deep and small alley or even on the sidewalk. In case you’re not sure which one should try, bun cha, banh cuon (stream rice pancake) or banh xeo (sizzling cake) are ideal dishes. Then a cup of egg coffee will be amazing dessert to ends your day.
If it is weekend, you shouldn’t miss to visit Old Quarter Night Market on Hang Dao street. Pedestrian streets and historical sites within the area are illuminated with decorative lights, making this a popular spot for travelling photographers. Shopping-wise, you will find inexpensive t-shirts, handicrafts, accessories, shoes, sunglasses and souvenirs.
Day 2: Halong Bay full day
The World’s Heritage Halong Bay is only 170 km away from Hanoi, so just about every tour company in the city offers excursions at varying price points. A full day tour to Halong Bay is usually inclusive of roundtrip hotel transport, lunch, tour guide, and cruise along through the incredible scenery of the bay. You also get to explore some of the most popular limestone caves, floating villages, and islets such as Cat Ba Island and Bon Hon Island.
Comeback to Hanoi around 20.00, you have enough time to enjoy the unique Water Puppet Show in Thang Long theater. The show comprising 17 short sketches using traditional puppets within a one-hour performance. A Vietnamese orchestra accompanies each story, with musicians playing traditional operatic songs using drums, wooden bells, horns, bamboo flutes and cymbals. Ticket price is 100,000 VND, you are recommend to pre-book ticket to avoid out of seats.
After a long day, nothing is better than few cup of bia hoi in beer corner which is an iconic roadside nightlife area that offers Vietnamese draft beers for only USD 0.5 and talking with some new friends while watching busty night life of Hanoi.0