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Travel Guide

5C5G Guide > Vietnam > Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital and second-largest city of Vietnam, is located in the northern region. The city has been the capital for various ancient dynasties and served as the political center during the French Indochina and North Vietnamese regimes. This rich history has left Hanoi with a wealth of cultural heritage and a vibrant street food culture.

Despite the Vietnam War, Hanoi has preserved most of its historic buildings. The Thang Long Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO heritage site, was constructed in the 11th century and served as the seat of the Vietnamese court until the early 19th century when the imperial capital was moved to Hue. Exploring the Old Quarter and the French Quarter allows you to immerse yourself in the city's historical ambiance, with impressive public buildings and well-preserved residences from the colonial era. Additionally, Hanoi serves as a fantastic hub for venturing into the breathtaking natural landscapes of nearby destinations such as Halong Bay and the picturesque city of Sapa.


Suggested Itinerary

The attractions in the city center of Hanoi are relatively concentrated, so allocating 2-3 days for sightseeing within the city is usually sufficient. However, if you plan to venture beyond the city, you will need to allow more time. The popular destinations of Halong Bay and Sapa require longer travel times of approximately 2.5 and 6 hours, respectively. It's recommended to stay overnight for 1 to 2 nights in these places for a relaxed pace and a better experience.

Airport → Old Quarter
Old Quarter/French Quarter → Train Street → Imperial Citadel of Thang Long → West Lake → Weekend Night Market
Hanoi → Halong Bay/Sapa
Halong Bay/Sapa
Halong Bay/Sapa → Hanoi → Thang Long Water Puppet Show
Lotte Observatory → Airport

For a shorter day trip, consider a visit to the Trang An area, just a 1.5-hour drive away, and explore the nearby ancient capital of Hoa Lu. While not as famous as Halong Bay, Trang An offers equally stunning natural landscapes and holds the distinction of being a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.

Top Attractions

Best Areas to Stay in Hanoi

The Old Quarter stands out as the most convenient place to stay, with an abundance of restaurants, shops, and a diverse selection of affordable accommodations. Travelers with short stays in Hanoi and plans to explore the surrounding areas by train can also find many hotel options near the train station. On the other hand, the West Lake area offers a quieter environment and a greater number of mid to high-priced large hotels.

    Old Quarter   ✓ city centre

     L'HÔTEL du LAC Hanoi

     Tirant Hotel

     Hanoi Paon Hotel & Spa

    Ga Hanoi   ✓ easy train access

     Movenpick Hotel Hanoi Centre

     SOJO Hotel Ga Hanoi

     Mercure Hanoi La Gare Hotel

    West Lake   ✓ more upscale choices

     Oakwood Residence Hanoi

     Elegant Mansion 88

     InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

河內Movenpick Hotel Hanoi Centre.jpg
河內Elegant Mansion 8 1.jpg
河內Elegant Mansion 8 2.jpg

More Vietnam Guides

Hanoi  •  Da Nang  •  Phu Quoc  •  Ho Chi Minh City

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