Hanoi Travel Tips: Eat, Sleep, Shop, Do, Entertainment
ARRIVING IN HANOII arrived in Hanoi and due to my open schedule decided to take the public from Nai Ban International Airport to the center of Hanoi.
Take bus number 17 for 5000 Dong, get off after crossing a big bridge about 1 hour later at the terminal station called Long Bien. From there you are quite close to the Dong Xuan Market at the Northern side of the Old Quarter.
Everything that is “*” is my personal recommendation if you travel to Hanoi.
You might also want to check out Hanoi in a Collage of Dimensions (my photo journey).
Where to StayHanoi, and especially the Old Quarter, is loaded with places to stay. While I was there, I hopped around to a number of places.
Address: 9 Hang Thung Str., Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam, paid $15 per night
- Tien Thuy Hotel
A quiet hotel, about 5 minutes walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, When I was there it wasn’t overly busy. Run by a friendly family, the daughter can speak English and is quite happy to give you advice.
Address: 13 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hanoi, Vietnam, paid $15 per night
- Hanoi Municipal Hotel
It looks nice from the outside, but not the nicest on the inside. The hotel had a little bit of a weird creepy feeling to it.
- Royal Hotel 3 (Hanoi Silver Hotel)
Address: 88 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
www.hanoiroyalhotel.com, $18 – $23 per night
The Royal Hotel 3 also known as the Silver Hotel, was the nicest hotel of all. I would recommend it if you are not on too much of a budget. It is clean, well maintained, and the staff speak English and are helpful. It is located in a superb location in the center of everything in the Old Quarter.
Hotels will almost always ask for US dollars so try to get a good exchange if you are paying with Dong. Always try to haggle a couple bucks discount.
Where to EatIn Hanoi you can easily walk around and sample anything that looks good, but here are a few suggestions.
FOOD IN HANOI
Address: So 1 Hang Manh Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnamn
- Bun Cha Dac Kim
Eat: Bun Cha (Hanoi barbecue meat soup) and Nem Cua Be (crab spring rolls)
Be there at noon and expect to pay about 40,000 for a heaping plate of everything
- Dong Xuan Lunch Buffet
Eat: A spread of Vietnamese dishes with rice
Read about my buffet fighting experience at the Dong Xuan lunch buffet!
Address: Hang Hanh St, Old Quarter, across from Win Hotel
- Cafe 39
Eat: Xoi Ga (Hanoi style sticky rice)
Price: About 20,000 – 30,000 per person
Address: 35b Nguyen Huu Huan St, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Xoi Yen
Eat: Amazing bowls of Xoi Xeo (sticky rice and various items)
Price: About 20,000 for a bowl
Recommended by a great Hanoi food blogger, Stickyrice.
Address: 18 Phan Boi Chau, Quan Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
- Quan An Ngon
Not far from the intersection of Phan Boi Chau and Pho Hai Ba Trung streets. A short walk from the center of Old Quarter.
Eat: All Vietnamese street food set up in an upscale food court. Sample all kinds of specialities…
Price: Around 100,000 per person for a huge meal
Address: At the intersection of H. Khay Trang Tien and Ngo Quyen
- Kem Trang Tien
Hanoi’s most incredible ice cream eating experience
Eat: I think the best was the coconut ice cream cone
Price: Ice creams range from 5000-8000
Hanoi’s ice cream motorbike drive-in
Address: 52 Ly Quoc Su Street
- Quan Goc Da
Down the street from St. Josephs Cathedral
Eat: Banh Goi (deep fried dumplings)
Price: I had a few dumplings for 12,000
Right around the top of Hoan Kiem lake on some of the tiny streets amidst the sandal and shoe stores get an incredible Nom Chim Quay (pigeon papaya salad) and Nom Bo (beef papaya salad)
Expensive and not very good, beef noodles were nothing exceptional in my opinion
- Pho 24 – Vietnamese restaurant chain
Price: About 50,000 per bowl
Luna d’Autunno – Traditional Italian restaurant
Address: 78 Tho Nhuon, Hanoi, Vietnam
Amazing pizza, I had the capricciosa costing 150,000, be careful though they add a VAT to the bill.
Address: 63 Lo Su, located at the intersection of Ngugen Huu Huan and Lo Su
- My Hai Restaurant
Eat: Pho Xao Bo (stir fried beef noodles) and Mien Xao Luon (stir fried cassava noodles with eels)
Price: About 20,000 – 30,000 per dish
In the evening of night have a stroll to the corner of Hang Bac and Hang Dao for an incredible Hanoi style doner kebab in a baguette.
- Doner Kebab
Address: 172 Ton Duc Thang St. a little ways down the road from the Temple of Literature, took the advice of stickyrice and had a great bowl of Pho Ga, chicken noodle soup. Very good soup with no skin on chicken.
- Pho Ga
Eat: Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup) – 25,000
Address: 48 Le Thai To St, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Fanny Ice Cream
Price: Around 100,000 for an ice cream that I thought was mediocre.
Address: 51 Nguyen Huu Huan, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Cafe Hanh
I kept coming back to Cafe Hanh and I think it has the best Caphe Sua Da (iced coffee with sweet milk) in Hanoi.
Address: 52 Nguyen Du St. Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
- Cafe Mai
Close to the intersection of Nguyen Du and Quang Trung Streets, very walkable from central Old Quarter.
Great coffee and a nice quiet ambiance
Also known as coffee street is a street loaded with cafe’s on both sides of the road. The area is a quiet and has awesome shade trees hanging over the sidewalk and road. I’m sure all the cafe’s serve pretty similar amazing coffee.
- Trieu Viet Vuong St.
- Trung Nguyen
There is a Trung Nguyen company coffee complex located on the busy Pho Hai Ba Trung road Weird place, felt a little like a dark dungeon, I was a little spooked out, drank a coffee and left.
Located near St. Joseph’s Cathedral, extpxely good Tiramisu
- Highlands Coffee
If you are hot, tired, and annoyed by motorcycles, breath a breath of fresh air at Highlands coffee shop
Great quiet cafe, I am not sure of the name
Address: Corner of H. Giay and Gach
Go to the second floor and enjoy a cool breeze in the treetops and an ice cold passion juice
Mediocre but refreshing lemon tea at shops all around St. Josephs Cathedral
ShoppingI’m not much of a shopper, but when I realized I had exchanged too much Dong, I decided to buy some gifts for friends and family so I didn’t have to exchange any back to Thai Baht.
There are really nice, boutique, souvenir, and arty stores just North of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Have a stroll through Ly Quoc, Hang Bong, Hang Hom, and Hang Manh street, to what you can find!
I do however love coffee and I am willing to go out of my way for it.
On the business card it reads:
- Cafe Mai
“We roast and grind coffee beans by a know-how handed down through the family with French taste and technique.”
Address: 52 Nguyen Du St. Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
Close to the intersection of Nguyen Du and Quang Trung Streets, very walkable from central Old Quarter. It’s a huge coffee shop serving all the normal brews and a side store that offers bags and beans of coffee with reasonable prices.
I bought a few more bags of coffee at
Address: 15 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
- Huong Mai Coffee
They have all kinds of coffee, including weasel, highlands, traditional, arabica, robusta, moka and culi. There is a huge range of prices depending on the bean. I got a kilo of weasel coffee for 500,000, originally 600,000. Try to do a little friendly haggling.
Address: 6 Nha Chung St, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Village Silk
I bought a couple of women’s silk shirts and a women’s Vietnamese long shirt for 400,000 each. Very nice quality and hopefully will fit my relatives.
I am a big fan of food souvenirs over anything else. There are a couple of grocery stores in Old Quarter that I visited, buying baskets of products. Great things to buy that are cheap: all kinds of chocolate, coffee, tea, beef jerky, dried fish, dried fruit, and weird snacks.
There are 2 supermarket that I went to in Hanoi. The first called Fivi Supermarket is on Le Thai To road on the NW corner of Hoan Kiem Lake. The 2nd is on the opposite side of Hoan Kiem Lake close to the intersection of Pho Ly and Tran Nguyen Han.
Things To Do
There are loads of tourist attractions in Hanoi and I didn’t comprehensively cover all of them. When I travel I usual try to focus more on food, culture, and aimless wandering, with the “official” tourist activities coming in second. That being said, here are some of the things I did:
An ancient temple with very interesting artifacts.
- Temple of Literature – Entrance 10,000
Some interesting pieces but set up in a super boring environment
- Museum of Fine Art – Entrance 20,000
- Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang Str., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Price: 60,000 for the VIP seating in the front*
Well worth the money for an entertaining show, including great live traditional music.
Massive wholesale food distribution market towards the North of the Old Quarter.
- Long Bien Market
Open: 1 am to 6 am
I arrived at 4 am to a frantic display of action and movement
Located just North of the Hoan Kiem lake this market is full of cool things to see and people to observe.
- Hang Be Market
Not overly impressed
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
- Ho Chi Minh Museum
- One Pillar Pagoda
$50 each person for the Deluxe cruise (2 days, 1 night), not sure what exactly the difference is between standard and deluxe. Very nice boat with Dragonpearl Cruises which my first hotel arranged.
- Tran Quoc Pagoda (Tay Ho Lake Temple)
- Halong Bay Cruise
Budget TipsIf you are traveling with a friend, you can live very comfortably in Hanoi for 15 – 20 USD per day. You can also live cheaper ($10 per day) if you try.
To save money in Hanoi try to take the local bus (3000) instead of dealing with dishonest cabs, cheaper and less hassle.
In Hanoi you can attempt to get a little discount everywhere you go. Everyone wants to make a sale, and there is loads of competition, use this to your advantage.
Source Mark Wiens
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