3 Days in Hanoi

3 Days in Hanoi: The Perfect Hanoi Itinerary + Maps and Budget!

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3 Days in Hanoi: The Perfect Hanoi Itinerary + Maps and Budget!

You are thinking of spending 3 Days in Hanoi and you have decided to ask your best buddy ‘Google’ to put together the best Hanoi itinerary for you. 

Maybe you have even googled ‘3 Days in Hanoi’.

Are you nodding?

Good! Keep reading, then.

These days, with so many resources out there, coming up with a good travel itinerary is not so hard, but it is time-consuming and it does require some digging.

You probably don’t feel like reading a bunch of blog articles, checking places on Google maps and trying to figure out on your own which Hanoi travel itinerary works best for you.

That’s exactly why our WWB writer Marco has created this guide: to give you all the information you need in one place so that you just need to follow our suggestions, gauge a couple of options and have a good time.

Marco has traveled all around Vietnam for three months and after that, he has worked as an English teacher for many schools and language centers.

Even though he will provide you with a full-fledged Hanoi trip itinerary for 3 days, he will also recommend a few places that you don’t want to miss in case you don’t have that much time.

So, whether you want to know what to do in Hanoi in 2 days, 3 days or even just 1 day we got you covered. 

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Hanoi Travel Itinerary (1Day, 2 Days & 3 Days in Hanoi)

Hanoi Itinerary 1 Day 

Day 1: Museums, Pagodas and Street food tour

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00am – Head over Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

10:00am – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

11:00 am – Temple of Literature

11:30 am– One-pillar Pagoda

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 pm – Visit Ngo Loc at the West Lake

1:00 pm – Head over to Old Quarter

01:30 pm – Train Street and St.Joseph

02:30 pm – Women’s Museum

04:30 pm – French Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

06:00 pm – Street food tour and visit the Old Quarter at night

Hanoi Itinerary 2 Days

Day 1: Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am –Visit the Old Quarter

10:45 am – St.Joseph Cathedral

11:15 am –  Train Street

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 pm – Women’s Museum

3:00 pm – Hoan Kiem Lake and French District

5:00 pm – Take a street food tour

Day 2: Museums, Pagodas and West Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am – Head over Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

10:00 am – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

11:00 am – Temple of Literature

11:30 am– One-pillar Pagoda

11:30 am – Lunch

12:30 pm – Take a stroll around West Lake

5.30 pm – Enjoy the Sunset at West Lake

07:00 pm – Dinner

Hanoi Itinerary 3 Days

Day 1: Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am –Visit the Old Quarter

10:45 am – St.Joseph Cathedral

11:15 am –  Train Street

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 pm – Women’s Museum

3:00 pm – Hoan Kiem Lake and French District

5:00 pm – Take a street food tour

Day 2: Museums, Pagodas and Cooking Class

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am – Head over Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

10:00 am – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

11:00 am – Temple of Literature

11:30 am– One-pillar Pagoda

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 am – Imperial Citadel

5.30 pm – Take a cooking class

08:00 pm – Dinner

Day 3: West Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am – Take a stroll around West Lake

5.30 pm – Enjoy coffee at the Sunset Bar-West Lake

07:00 pm – Dinner

Top Attractions to Visit in Hanoi

By the way, if you are looking for other great destinations to explore in Southeast Asia, read these articles:

Related Posts on Adventure Travel in Southeast Asia:

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks

3 Days in Hanoi Itinerary

Assuming you will be based in the Old Quarter, on day one of your 3 Days in Hanoi, you can easily walk from one attraction to another since all of them are conveniently close together (around ten minutes on foot).

On days two and three you can take a Grab ( a Uber-like company founded in Southeast Asia) to get to the main area to explore and then continue walking for the rest of the day.

3 Days in Hanoi Itinerary Day 1 – Go Local In Hanoi

3 Days in Hanoi, accommodation will be easy to find? As a traveler backpacking in Hanoi and Vietnam, it is important to consider where to stay before even starting to think about your itinerary. If you still haven’t booked your accommodation, you can find a couple of options for any budget further below.

Generally, while in Hanoi backpacking I recommend staying near the Old Quarter because it is the main hub for backpackers and it is close to lots of tourist attractions.

That being said, stuffed hostel rooms and crowded places may not be your cup of tea.

Don’t worry!

We will help you find other options in the article, so keep reading.

Great!

Grab your camera, water and daily essentials, put on your best smile (Vietnamese are keen on friendly people!) and dive straight into the bustling Old Quarter. 

One of the best things about this district is that no matter which area you decide to be based in, you are bound to find lots of good and cheap eateries.

Breakfast: 8.30 am – Start your Day Right with a Power Breakfast 

Before heading out for the day, make sure to fuel up on breakfast. This is not a suggestion, it is a prescription! 

In Vietnam, the day starts as early as 6 am, with a number of older gents working out in parks and local neighborhoods as early as 5 am. We recommend that you start your day quite early so that you will get the most out of this.

There are loads of food stalls lining the Old Quarter, but if local food does not tickle your fancy yet, you can have a Western breakfast at LiftedCoffee, an Australian-style cafè.

Opening hours: 8am-10.30pm

Estimated budget: 25K-150KVND (1-7USD)

Address: 101 Hàng Gà, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, map

Take a Stroll in the Old Quarter: 9 am 

3 Days in Hanoi

Being the historical center of the city, the Old Quarter is strategically located in the northeast of Hanoi, between the Imperial Citadel and the red river, with the aim of fostering trade.

In the past, all of the tradesmen of a single craft would set up shop in one street and, consequently, the majority of Old Quarter’s streets start with the word ‘Hang’=(Shop) and are named after a single trade.

For example, Hang Bac(=Silver), one of the oldest streets in Vietnam was home to silver casters from all over the country who moved to the capital. Nowadays, it is still packed with jewelry shops.

So, if you feel like exploring some of the most famous ancient streets in the district, here is a list of a few that you might want to check out:

  • Hang Gai: silk
  • Hang Ma: votive paper
  • Hang Bac: silverware
  • Hang Duong: sugar and sweets 
  • Ta Hien: beer, coffee and street food

If you are more of a bargaining seeker this is known as the Hanoi backpacker district for a reason. You may not be aware that many international brands like ‘North Face’ are made in Vietnam and you can snag a pretty good deal at smaller shops in town during your 3 Days in Hanoi.

Once, I got a pretty cool North Face backpack in Saigon and it was a steal!

And if you have a bent for getting your message across to people who don’t speak your language, why don’t you test your bargaining skills at Dong Xuan Market.

Tip: Do you like big crowds? If you don’t, then do yourself a favor and avoid any markets in Vietnam. They are usually full of people and (possibly) aggressive shop owners, so it can be overwhelming. 

On the other hand, if you don’t mind it, you will have a taste of authentic Vietnam and you could end up with a new backpack, a bunch of souvenirs and a local traditional hat. 

Otherwise, you could simply get there and snack on something at one of the many massive diners you will find at the market.

Now that you got your shopping fix, escape the crowds for a little and take a couple of pictures from the iconic ‘Long Bien Bridge’, the first steel bridge in Hanoi.

It was designed by Gustave Eiffel (yep! It’s the guy who designed the Eiffel Tower AND the Statue of Liberty) and it is one of the four greatest bridges in the world.

Other than being a symbol of the resilience of Vietnam (being bombarded on several occasions and quickly repaired by Vietnamese), it is also a great place to contemplate local busy daily life, without being drained by the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Opening hours: 8am – 6pm (check afternoon)

Address: Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, map

Try Vietnamese Coffee: 10.30 am

Vietnam has a grand diversity of coffee types and if you are thirsty during your 3 Days in Hanoi, you must try. If you visit Hanoi you will certainly hear about the well-advertised egg coffee.

Want to try it?

Good. Head over to The Note Coffee, ask for a ‘Ca phe trung’(=Egg coffee) and you will get one for less than 30-50k(1-2$).

Alternatively, if you want to go a bit more local and experience the ambiance of a true Hanoi local cafe you can try Cafe Giang, a small, yet popular shop hidden in the city’s old quarter, which was named after the founder.

Estimated budget: 30-50kVND(1-2USD)

Opening hours: 7am-10.30pm

St.Joseph’s Cathedral: 10.45 am

Have you ever been to Paris? Even if you haven’t, you might have heard of the well-known Notre Dame Cathedral. 

‘Nope! It does not ring any bell’. Then, click here and check it out.

Completed in 1886 by French Colonialists, the neo-Gothic style of St.Joseph’s Cathedral will somehow remind you of that with its twin bell towers and domes.

After the Viet Minh took control of North Vietnam following the Geneva Accords in 1954, the Catholic Church suffered decades of persecution and St. Joseph was closed down until Christmas Eve of 1990.

If you just want to walk past and admire the soaring facade you can get there anytime, but if you want to get in make sure to check opening hours, as they change daily. 

However, if you are the curious type and want to see how Vietnamese people say ‘No, it’s closed!’ using their hands, try and enter the church after 11 am or before 2 pm. That is definitely off the tourist map, but it is worth checking out!

Opening hours: 

Weekday: 5:30 am and 6:15 pm
Saturday: 6:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 am, 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Estimated budget: Free 

Address: 40 Nhà Chung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, map

Hanoi Train Street: 11.15 am

If you are not familiar with this popular tourist spot, Hanoi Train Street is the ‘Insta-famous’ working railway which you can walk along. Twice a day, everything gets cleared out and a large train makes its way through just inches from the home of the locals living there.

Right after that, life gets back to normal, with adults selling everything from souvenirs to fruit and kids having a good time like in any other local neighborhood.

The location had quickly become a must-visit hotspot for selfie-obsessed tourists until the local authorities decided to shut down all cafes and food stalls on safety concerns. 

That happened the day after a train had to make an emergency stop and be rerouted because the street was overrun with not so cautious tourists who seemingly valued their Instagram feed more than their own safety.

I know, you are not one of those, are you?!

You probably like to post cool Instagram pictures, though. So, that’s a shame, you might think.

Don’t fret!

Today, everything seems to be back to business, although you will find a guard to remind you why train tracks are there in the first place, rather than street vendors.

At the time of writing, cafes should be open, so if you want to take a great shot with all the right safety measures in place and share it on social media, here you have another place to tick off the list of must-see attractions.

Estimated budget: Free

Address: 5 Trần Phú, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 100000, Vietnam, map

Hoa Lo Prison: 12.00am

Ready to dive into history from a Vietnamese perspective?

Now a memorial, Hoa Lo Prison was used to hold political prisoners during French colonial rule and to keep American prisoners during the Vietnam war.

This is when it took his nickname ‘Hanoi Hilton’, despite its harsh living conditions. Not only will you have a peek into prisoners’ daily life, but you will also discover how history is presented in a different way.

So open your mind and enjoy it!

Opening hours: 8am-11.30am &1.30pm-5pm

Estimated budget: 30kVND(1USD)

Address: 1 Hoa Lo Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, map

Vietnamese Women’s Museum: 01.00 pm 

What’s next?

Well, you are probably hungry, so you could get a ‘Bahn mi’(=traditional sandwich) for less than 10-20kVND(50centsUSD) from local street vendors.

Ok, now let’s shift our attention to the critical role of women in Vietnamese society, shall we?

Take time out of your busy schedule (wait for a second, you are giving me the schedule! Oh, right..) and spend some time at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.

There is quite a lot to see with displays across five floors delivered over three sections – women in the family, women in history, and women in fashion.

From service workers to street vendors and female leaders, all social classes are fairly represented with a story-telling format that makes it easy to take in tough topics.

Permanent displays include short films telling the struggles of Vietnamese fruit sellers, who had to work in Hanoi and live far away from their kids to support them.

 On top of that, there are also special exhibitions that tackle compelling contemporary women’s issues such as human trafficking.

Opening hours: 8 am-4.30 pm (Monday Closed)

Estimated budget: 40kVND(1USD)

Address: Ly Thuong Kiet Street, map

Hiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple: 03.00 pm

Since life is about harmony, it is time to breathe some fresh air (which you will not take for granted in Hanoi, due to the air pollution) and chill out by the lake.

You can visit the Ngoc Son Temple on Jade Island, which is the most famous pagoda in Hanoi, built in commemoration of a great Vietnamese military leader. The only connection from the mainland to the small island is the iconic scarlet-painted ‘Rising Sun Bridge’, which is a Vietnamese-style wooden bridge.

This popular spot is great for finding shade under a tree from the busy city center, getting some rest and contemplating the life of locals.

Opening hours: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Estimated budget: 30kVND(1USD)

Address: Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, map

Take a Street Food Tour: 05.00 pm 

Let’s close the day with a bang and take a street food tour.

Head over to Hang Tre street and get ready to splurge on traditional Vietnamese food with the guidance of witty and knowledgeable locals.

Other than enjoying a completely different feeling of the Old Quarter at night, highlights of the tour, as mentioned on their website, include:

  • Discover a hidden cafe where the owner has been turning plastic bottles into beautiful decorations at his local coffee shop
  • Sample delicious Vietnamese cuisine just like the locals do — on the street
  • Stroll through hidden alleyways and bustling markets of Hanoi’s charming old quarter
  • Learn more about Hanoi’s unique food culture and try local specialties.
  • Take in a spectacular night view of Hoan Kiem lake from a secret cafe

Alternatively, if you travel to Hanoi on weekends, you could get to the night market and create your own food tour. It is probably less fun, but if you are on the budget go for it.

Starting time: 5.00 PM

Address: 3B Hàng Tre street, Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, map

Estimated budget: 29USD

3 Days in Hanoi Itinerary Day 2 – Learn more about the locals

Temple of Literature: 9.00 am 

If you’re more of a culture lover than a history buff you will love this part of the itinerary.

Take a grab and after you have filled your belly with some delicious Vietnamese food(check out a few options below) make your way to the Temple of Literature.

 It is about 30-40 minutes away on foot, hence you could walk there as well, as long as you can stand the heat and you don’t mind walking on not so people-friendly sidewalks.

Originally built as a university dedicated to Confucius in 1070, this tranquil site is a great example of Vietnamese-style architecture. 

Since its inception, it has seen a staggering number of graduations, from aristocrats in the past to ‘common’ people today, with the names of successful graduates engraved on a stone stele.

If you come at the right time of the year, you might even be able to photobomb current graduates’ celebrations. They would probably love that!

Opening hours: 8am-5pm

Estimated budget: 30kVND(1USD)

Address: 58 Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội, map

Vietnam Military Museum: 9.30 am 

Located in the center of Hanoi, Vietnam military museum was built around the remains of a crashed jet plane and it is the headquarter of the national army museum system.

Thousands of exhibits, photographs, maps and scale models feature a number of military vehicles, planes and other war artifacts along with personal accounts of former soldiers who shared their own story.

Some people book a tour and spend half a day in the museum, although you could just walk around to get a feeling of the strategic resilience and heroic endeavor that led such a small country to drive away mighty invaders such as the US, France and China.

Opening hours: 8am-5 pm

Estimated budget: 30kVND(1USD)

Address: No. 28A, Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, map

Thang Long Imperial Citadel: 11.00 am

Does Middle Age history fascinate you?

Then you may like the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hanoi.

The ‘Imperial Citadel of Thang long’ was the political center for 13 centuries in a row and served as the capital of Vietnam for eight centuries. 

After walking around its fortifications, you can enter and visit a museum featuring artifacts, excavated items dating back to the 6th and the 20th century and even a couple of underground bunkers.

To top it all off, you can then enjoy the scenery from the popular ‘Hanoi Flag Tower’, a renovated 40-meter-tall stone fortress overlooking Ba Dinh Square in the city center.

Opening hours: 8am-5 pm (Monday closed)

Estimated budget: 30kVND(1USD)

Address: 19C Hoang Dieu Street, map

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum: 02.00pm

3 Days in Hanoi

Put your political view aside and pay your respects to a man of huge influence.

Constructed to be the final resting peace of the most popular Vietnamese public figure, the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum houses the body of the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.

You will also find a couple of tea shops in the tranquil surroundings on the way to the museum, which features the details of the history of the Vietnam war as well as personal accounts regarding the socialist philosophy of the man of the people.

Behind the mausoleum stands a humble house, which Ho Chi Minh favored over the Presidential Palace.

Opening hours:

April 1st to October 31st: 7.30 a.m – 10.30 a.m (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 7.30 a.m – 11.00 a.m)

November 1st to March 31st of next year: 8.00 a.m – 11.00 a.m

Estimated budget: Free

Address: 25 Hung Vuong, Dien Ban, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, map

One Pillar Pagoda:03.00pm

Just around the corner, you can visit the One Pillar Pagoda, which is regarded as the ‘most unique pagoda in Asia’.

It has been called like that for a reason. It is settled on one pillar only and it was originally built in 1049 with the shape of a lotus flower blossoming.

As with all pagodas in Southeast Asia, a Vietnamese soldier will stand in front to make sure that you cover your shoulders and behave appropriately.

Here is a list of things you could do in this peaceful area:

  • Contemplate Asia’s most unique momìnument
  • Pray for a happy life (and children!)
  • Take awesome photos of a bodhi tree 

Opening hours: 8am-5 pm

Estimated budget: Free

Address: Ong Ich Khiem Street, Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, map

Take a Cooking Class (at Hanoi Cooking Centre): 05.00 pm 

What kind of backpacker are you?

Whether you are ‘gap yearer’, a partier or a digital nomad you probably enjoy picking up new skills, such as cooking. After spending the whole day learning more about the history and culture of Vietnam, you will probably enjoy getting a bit more active and doing something.

Taking a cooking class in Hanoi can be a great way to spend a nice afternoon with other people, learn how to cook a delicious Vietnamese specialty and devour it afterward.

If you are not a good cook yourself, that’s not an issue at all. A professional chef will guide you step-by-step and show you how to prepare all the delicious food that you will probably have eaten in earnest so far (Bahn mi, Ban Xuoc, Pho..).

And if you are a professional cook, you will have a blast at a local buzzing market sourcing all the fresh ingredients that you will use later in class.

If that fits you, you could start searching for a cooking class in Hanoi or book one at the Hanoi Cooking Centre, which is really close to the One Pillar Pagoda.

Starting Time: 5 pm

Estimated budget: 1.4mlnVND(60USD)

Address: Long Street Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi, map

3 Days in Hanoi

3 Days in Hanoi Itinerary Day 3 – Cycle through the West Lake and Explore the City at Night

West Lake – Take a Stroll, Hire a Bike and Explore the Area: 09.00 am

On day one and two of your 3 Days in Hanoi, you got a taste of local life in Hanoi and learned a decent amount of Vietnamese history, food and culture.

It is now time to ease up your schedule a bit and just enjoy a walk in beautiful surroundings.

West Lake is Hanoi’s largest freshwater lake and it is the perfect place in the heart of Hanoi to escape the busy local life for a day without getting bored. It takes about 3 hours to walk around its perimeter, but if you are not eager to walk you could hire a bike or take a grab.

If you are now falling for pagodas and can’t get enough of it, at some point you should come across the oldest pagoda in town, Tran Quoc Pagoda

Sitting on an island that connects the two most romantic lakes of Hanoi, the pagoda has inspired many poets, it has been favored by kings and queens and today it is regarded as a must-see attraction, especially for those who are interested in Buddhist culture.

West lake is also known as Tay Ho, which is the district where it is located. Most English teachers who settled down in Hanoi are based here, so the area is pretty westernized and you will find lots of upscale options for your lunch. 

In the age of content (and options) overload decision paralysis is a thing, so here are two picks for you:

Cugini, Italian Restaurant: if you are up for some good food, you want to be welcomed by friendly staff and you don’t mind spending quite a bit more than average for your meal(at least 400kVND-17USD). Have a treat at this Italian restaurant.

Phu Tay Ho: if Western food is not really your jam and the idea of eating cheap local food at a sustainable restaurant located in a temple sounds more like a good fit for you, then get away from the masses and enjoy a local specialty in this area.

Address: Tây Hồ, Hanoi, Vietnam, map

West lake – Enjoy the Sunset with a Vietnamese Coffee: 05.00 pm 

If you followed this itinerary, it’s been just two days and a half, yet you took in quite a bit of new knowledge and even developed a new skill.

So, help your brain to piece it all together and just relax. 

What does that mean?

Have you ever heard that your brain functions at its best when your mind and body are relaxed?

So do yourself over and grab a drink (or a smoothie if you are like me) and gaze at the sunset for a while, allowing all the nice things that you have done to sink in.

Once again, you could choose a place yourself or you could head over to the Sunset Bar, enjoy the stunning view and give your body some well-deserved rest after a day of hiking and cycling.

Not quite your league?

Alternatively, you could have a treat at  ‘Maison de Tet Decor’. This All-day cafe offers a number of mouth-watering meals and eight 100%-unique-coffee blends that you will fall in love for, as they put it.

Address: Tây Hồ, Hanoi, Vietnam, map

3 Days in Hanoi

Other Things to Do 

At this point, you are probably itchy to book your ticket and start your trip. However, in case you are wondering whether there is more, the answer is YES!

Here is a list of other great attractions that usually make the list of things people want to see while in Hanoi. Feel free to get inspired and create your own itinerary:

What is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Hanoi? 

While backpacking in Hanoi or traveling to any place, timing is critical and it definitely can make or break your day (or your entire trip!).

So better spend some time on it and ponder appropriately what you like and what you don’t.

For the most part, Southeast Asia experiences hot and tropical weather year-round, but that is not the case with Northern Vietnam and Hanoi, which has two seasons, hot and rainy summer and cool and dry winter.

Therefore, while planning your trip to the capital you must take into account 3 factors:

  • The weather
  • The price range
  • The number of tourists

Here is an easy-to-read-breakdown to help you understand what works best for you:

May to October: the hot and best season is best suited to you if you don’t mind getting unexpectedly caught in a downpour. So make sure to carry a raincoat and/or an umbrella at all times. In addition, rainfall can cause flooding and result in humid weather. 

The other side of the coin is that top attractions will be less crowded and you will enjoy all the best that Hanoi offers at a cheaper price.

January to March: although you may not expect it, it can get freaking cold in Hanoi during the winter, hence keep your shorts and sleeveless shirts in your backpack if you come during this time of the year.

Once again, deflated prices and a lower number of tourists may balance it out, if you can endure harsher temperatures.

November/December & March/April: if you want to avoid the rain and enjoy more comfortable temperatures you should definitely decide to visit Hanoi during the shoulder months between summer and winter.

The downside is that you will find a lot more tourists during the high season and, consequently, prices hike due to higher demand.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Hanoi?

If you want to get the most out of it, you SHOULD SPEND three days in Hanoi. 

Really?

To be honest, I think there is no such thing as ‘how many days you should spend anywhere. It really depends on a lot of factors, including your finances, personal inclinations, style of traveling and more.

You could really spend one day, visit a bunch of places and leave happily or cut out up to three months and get to know how the locals live for real.

As a backpacker or savvy tourist, you probably don’t want to just tick places off a list, but you are more experience-oriented.

That said, try and allocate at least three days to make sure you have enough time to enjoy a few places without rushing through.

What Should I Not Miss in Hanoi?

However, if you are on the clock, but you don’t want to miss out on the capital altogether we put together an itinerary which is suitable for 3 different types of persons.

So decide what resonates with you and just go for it:

  • I am going to spend one day in Hanoi and I want to visit as many places as I possibly can.
  • I am going to spend two days in Hanoi, visit quite a few places and get a taste of local life.
  • I am going to spend three days in Hanoi, visit quite a few places, get a taste of local life and do something fun and energizing.

Hanoi Itinerary 1 Day 

Day 1: Museums, Pagodas and Street food tour

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00am – Head over Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

10:00am – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

11:00 am – Temple of Literature

11:30 am– One-pillar Pagoda

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 pm – Visit Ngo Loc at the West Lake

1:00 pm – Head over to Old Quarter

01:30 pm – Train Street and St.Joseph

02:30 pm – Women’s Museum

04:30 pm – French Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

06:00 pm – Street food tour and visit the Old Quarter at night

Hanoi Itinerary 2 Days

Day 1: Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am –Visit the Old Quarter

10:45 am – St.Joseph Cathedral

11:15 am –  Train Street

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 pm – Women’s Museum

3:00 pm – Hoan Kiem Lake and French District

5:00 pm – Take a street food tour

Day 2: Museums, Pagodas and West Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am – Head over Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

10:00 am – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

11:00 am – Temple of Literature

11:30 am– One-pillar Pagoda

11:30 am – Lunch

12:30 pm – Take a stroll around West Lake

5.30 pm – Enjoy the Sunset at West Lake

07:00 pm – Dinner

Hanoi Itinerary 3 Days

Day 1: Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am –Visit the Old Quarter

10:45 am – St.Joseph Cathedral

11:15 am –  Train Street

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 pm – Women’s Museum

3:00 pm – Hoan Kiem Lake and French District

5:00 pm – Take a street food tour

Day 2: Museums, Pagodas and Cooking Class

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am – Head over Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

10:00 am – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

11:00 am – Temple of Literature

11:30 am– One-pillar Pagoda

11:30 am – Lunch

12:00 am – Imperial Citadel

5.30 pm – Take a cooking class

08:00 pm – Dinner

Day 3: West Lake

08:30 am – Breakfast

09:00 am – Take a stroll around West Lake

5.30 pm – Enjoy coffee at the Sunset Bar-West Lake

07:00 pm – Dinner

Where to Stay?

In Hanoi, there is no shortage of great and convenient accommodations for any budget, especially around the Old quarter. 

  • Budget Accommodations: Hanoi Ecogreen hostel is a great hostel located in the Old Quarter with a family vibe and all the basic services you want to find in a proper hostel. 

The best thing about hostels in Southeast Asia is that they are usually very clean and well-priced. You could book a bed in a dorm for 2$ per day or a private room for just over 9$ per day in high season. You can find other accommodations for budget travelers here

Alternatively, you could stay with the locals for free, using Couchsurfing.

  • Mid-range Accommodations: you probably want to have your own space and maybe even a kitchen to cook a meal or two. Well, Floral Apt ties in well with your needs. 

Located near Hoan Kiem Lake, it is a furnished flat with floral pattern decoration and a nice balcony, which will make you think ‘I could not ask for more, especially after knowing that it is priced at 11$ per day in high season. If you want to check out other mid-range options click here.

Priced at over 50$ per day and located uptown in the westernized district, Tay Ho, it comes with all the amenities you can expect from a luxury hotel, including a swimming pool and a stunning view.

You can find other luxury hotels here.

How to Get Around?

Most of Hanoi’s top attractions are quite close together, especially if you follow the itinerary above.

As long as you are based in the Old District, you can easily walk for about 10 minutes from one attraction to the other on day one.

On days two and three you can take a Grab (a Uber-like company in Southeast Asia) at the beginning of the day to reach the other areas of the city, which are fairly close anyway (less than 10-20 min by bike). After that, you can continue your day walking as all the attractions will be easy to reach on foot.

Bear in mind that to download the app ‘Grab’ you will need a Vietnamese sim card, which you can easily get at the airport or a local shop (ask the receptionist of your hotel/hostel or your host for support). 

Alternatively, you could take a taxi, hire a bike or book a city sightseeing tour.

What to Eat?

Vietnamese food is cheap and delicious and this is no secret. However, many people don’t know that some popular specialties that became popular as national specialties originated in the North of Vietnam.

Below, I recommend one traditional dish for each meal along with an alternative option for travelers who can’t do without western food.

  • Breakfast: Banh Cuon is a traditional dish originated in the North of Vietnam and you don’t really want to miss this.

Banh Cuon is made of a thin rice sheet rolled and filled with ground pork meat and minced mushrooms. It is served with fried shallots and cilantro herbs on top.

It comes with Nuoc Mam, a typical fish sauce that adds a sweet flavor to it.

You could get a Banh Cuon for less than 40k VND(1.5USD) at Bánh Cuốn Gia Truyen.

Alternatively, you could have a western breakfast, like Eggs&Bacon at Lifted Coffee for around 100K VND(3-4USD).

  • Lunch: there is nothing better for a quick and filling lunch than a good old BahnMhi – traditional Vietnamese sandwich. Although it has French origins, the Vietnamese have found a way to make it their own.

Banh mi is stuffed with pork, pâté, cured ham, a mélange of Vietnamese herbs and vegetables. It is easy to find at many food stalls, however, it is very important that it is made with fresh ingredients, so make sure to ask for proper guidance as to where to get a good one.

Alternatively, you could order a western burger at Bun Cha for under 120kVND(5USD).

  • Dinner: Pho is the most popular national dish and one that you cannot miss.  Originated in the North of Vietnam, it became popular as a hearty soup eaten by the rice field workers for breakfast.

These days, some restaurants or food stalls serve it throughout the day and you can have one at Pho Gia Truyen restaurant before 8.30 pm.

Alternatively, you could have a treat such as Wood-grilled milk lamb chops with artichoke tempura and buttered green beans at the Italian Restaurant ‘Cugini. Expect to spend at least 300-400kVND (12-18USD).

Unique Tips You Should Know When Visiting Hanoi?

Now, you have all you need to plan your best trip to Hanoi. Once you get there make sure to follow the tips below to have a great time in Hanoi, avoid any hustle and save some money:

  • Be friendly and positive: Vietnamese people are well-known to be extremely friendly and people from the North of Vietnam are considered to be even more friendly than people from the South.

However, that might not be the case in touristy areas, with locals getting tired of having so many tourists, who occasionally do not display good manners. 

Therefore, try to be genuinely positive, even when things go slightly sideways. That will help you make the most out of your trip and possibly attract more positive experiences.

  • Get a local sim card asap: to get around you need a local sim card and Internet connection during your 3 Days in Hanoi. So make sure to get one at the airport( which is usually overpriced) or at a local shop. You just need to get in a local shop and tell them via Google Translate that you need a sim card.

The most popular providers are Mobifone and Vinaphone.

  • Bring a lot of cash: digital payments are not so common, especially when it comes to essentials. So make sure to buy VND(Vietnamese Dong) before you enter Vietnam.

Alternatively, you could exchange your money at a bank or at local jewelry shops, which sometimes offer better rates, although they may look dodgy.

To avoid scams, ask your host or the receptionist of your hotel/hostel and trust your guts.

  • Avoid unofficial taxi drivers: if you have a local sim card you are all set. If you don’t and end up wandering around the city with a desperate look, some locals might approach you and ask you if you need a ride’ HEY YOU, MOTORBIKE?’. 

I would not call them scams, as you will end up paying a bit more for something that you actually need and still pay a low price. Yet, you can easily avoid that if you follow all the suggestions above.

Conclusion

Here is a breakdown of your 3 Days in Hanoi budget trip. This estimated budget is on the cheap end, but it also includes pricey activities, such as a street food tour and a cooking class. Prices are in USD.

Here you go:

DAY1DAY2DAY3
AMBreakfastTemple of LiteratureWake around West Lake
Take a stroll in the Old QuarterVietnam Military MuseumVisit Tran Quoc Pagoda
Try Vietnamese CoffeeThang Long Imperial Citadel
St Joseph’s Cathedral
Train Street
PMHoa Lo PrisonHo chi minh Mausoleum Sunset at West Lake
LunchOne Pillar Pagoda
Vietnamese Women’s MuseumCooking Class
Hiem Lake Ngoc Son Temple
Street Food Tour
ESTIMATED BUDGET(USD)366624
Total: 126

That’s it.

You just need to pack your backpack and set off.

Don’t forget to take a couple of probiotics with you, in case your stomach is at odds with some of the food you take in.

I hope you enjoyed this guide and you are now more than excited to embark on this Hanoi itinerary.

Have a great time!

3 Days in Hanoi: The Perfect Hanoi Itinerary + Maps and Budget!

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