Asia | Travel

Visiting Hanoi in only one day

March 9, 2018
visiting hanoi in only one day

Hello, my lovely readers! Nice to meet you here again. I am currently sitting at the airport in Hanoi waiting to be boarded after a week of adventures in Vietnam (and obviously visiting Hanoi).

Since I saw Forrest Gump and Good Morning Vietnam I wanted to visit it. I didn’t know where this fascination came from but I was always in love with the far east. So I couldn’t have been more excited to visit this country together with a new travel buddy, Corinna, a friend from my old workplace.

In this first article, I want to tell you about all the sights, experiences and food were able to have in the few hours we had in Hanoi.

We arrived early in the morning and after getting breakfast, cash and sim-cards we took an uber directly to our hotel. Regarding accommodations, I honestly recommend getting a hotel when travelling with two persons. Booked in advance via Expedia we had zero stress with this. If it is located in the old quarter will have zero costs of transportation as you can reach most of the sights by food easily (but not always safely).

Talking about getting around: it is a huge challenge to get around there safely. Not because of crime or something like this but because of the insane traffic. But if you are careful and pay attention you will survive your time there.

So let’s talk about all the wonderful things you can in Hanoi. We spend our time in the streets around the Hoan Kiem lake so this is what my tips will be about. But I am very sure Hanoi has a lot more things to offer. But here are my best of’s.

Visiting Hanoi in only one day

Hoan Kiem Lake

In the middle of the old quarter is a lake called Hoan Kiem what means lake of the returned sword. You can take a walk around it easily and it is the perfect way to get a little break from the traffic. In its centre is a small pagoda which is called the turtle tower.

When you continue your walk around the lake you will find a red bridge which will lead you a small temple. The entrance itself is more than beautiful and decorated with creatures from Vietnamese myths.

Visiting Hanoi in only one day

The temple is situated on the Jade Island and is called Temple of the Jade mountain. You have to pay to enter but it is not that much and the temple is really beautiful! It has rooms filled with art and beautiful religious artefacts. Please make sure not to disturb the locals when they are praying. As travellers, we are responsible for treat locals with nothing but respect.

visiting Hanoi in only one dayvisiting Hanoi in only one day

Water puppet theatre

The one thing you shouldn’t miss when visiting Hanoi is seeing one of the water puppet shows. It is truly amazing to see the puppets dance around and on the water so effortlessly.

It is also a form of art you can only witness in Vietnam. Once practised in the rural parts of the country, the knowledge and skills for playing a puppet was only taught by elders to their kids. This was at a time the stage wasn’t a pool but a village’s pond or lake.

A ticket costs 100.000 Dong and they play a lot of times a day. But if you can get a ticket a day ahead. We bought ours at 1 pm and only got a ticket for 21:15 pm. It was okay for us, but maybe tickets can be sold out too.

Spending hours shopping souvenirs (If you like)

We loved to look through all kind of wonderful deals. You can find the best brands (they are obviously not original but they look exactly like the original ones! Exactly!) to a good price but you have negotiate with the retailers. But not everyone likes it. For me, I don’t like to be ripped off by them so I try to get a fair price for both.

Train Street

One of Hanoi’s hidden Instagram spots. You can reach it pretty easily but it has no actual name, so you just have to google for directions. For us, it was very interesting, as the people just live their day-to-day life in the middle of a railway. It is pretty picturesque, so make sure you take the perfect Instagram pictures.

train street - visiting hanoi in only one day

My food tips for you

So we just went to one restaurant and it was so good, we had to return when we had our second day in Hanoi. It is called Fung Rong Hua and serves mostly dumplings. I got so hooked up, I could have eaten 300 pieces of their dumping filled with prawn. But also the other options were very delicious.

dim sum hanoi

Another tip is to have some drinks at the rooftop bar which is directly above the dumpling restaurant. We loved it there and you’ll get a panoramic view above the Hoan Kiem Lake and the city. It is truly a magical place, especially while the sun sets or at night.

The best place to stay at

I would recommend the Hanoi Lotus Boutique Hotel to you. With 20 bucks per night, it might be a little bit expensive for the average backpacker but we loved it. It is clean & comfortable and has a charming vintage style. Furthermore, the staff is super nice and is always keen to help you with anything. We also loved the breakfast as it was stuffed with fresh and delicious fruits.

You can find their website here.

So there are my tips for visiting Hanoi. I hope it was helpful to you. Did I miss anything, that I shouldn’t have? I am sure I have, but we just enjoyed the time we had in Hanoi, even if it was just for one-two half days.

If you want to read more about my adventures in Vietnam, check out my post about a beautiful day trip to Ninh Binh

  1. Hanoi is soooo on our list! Train street is obviously one of the places we have to visit when there! Not sure if I would be happy with just one day! I love to explore a place for days and I’m scared that if I had just one day, I’d have to rush from one place to another! I do love your nutshell guide and I guess this would be manageable in just one day 🙂

  2. I’m very happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

    1. Hey Thora!

      Thank you so much for your comment! It means a lot to me!

      I hope you had the best time in Hanoi and wish you safe travels!

      Best wishes,
      Paula from La Vie En Marine

  3. We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole group will likely be grateful to you.

    1. Thank you so much! This really means the world to me!
      I wish you all the best for your time in Hanoi and your volunteering!

  4. What part of Forrest Gump was Hanoi? Was that during the war? I don’t know how you could stand to only be there for a day though! Looks great!

    1. The film didn’t take place in Hanoi (rather in the south) but it woke up my interest in Vietnam. And yes I would have loved to stay longer but there was so much more to see!

  5. Vietnam is at the top of my list of places to get to… mostly because of the food. Those train tracks look amazing though. Would definitely check that out!

  6. I also spent only a day in Hanoi as I was passing through. The water puppet theatre was one of the coolest experiences! You brought me back to my 24hrs there last year!

  7. I can’t believe I missed out the train tracks! Hanoi brings so much memories, I was just there over the Vietnamese New Year Tet. Hope you’re having a great time in South East Asia!

  8. I love dumplings! Fung Rong Hua sounds like a place I would get hooked on too! I’ve never been to Hanoi and would love to visit someday 🙂

  9. Vietnam is very high on my travel list and this is a great summary of your trip! The lake looks beautiful and I’m sure the city is great, but I always travel for the food and these pictures have me drooling. I’m definitely bookmarking this post for my future planning.

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