Hanoi is a very vibrant city which is definitely worth to visit for a few days. It’s the second-largest city in Vietnam and that is also why the busy roads and traffic can be overwhelming for some.
However, Hanoi is still more relaxed than Ho Chi Minh. There are several museums, ancient pagodas, parks and lakes to escape from Hanoi’s busy traffic. The wide streets, the large villas and the Vietnamese baguette (Banh Mi) still reflect the influence from the France occupation from 1873 to 1940.
Most people stay in the Old Quarter of Hanoi as this location is in the middle of the center and in walking distance from many sights in Hanoi. When you stay in this area, you will experience the Vietnamese culture from the moment you walk out of your hotel.
You can spend your days visiting the Hoan Kiem Lake and the French Hoa Lo Prison or the monumental Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. At night, you can wander around the night market and try some local Vietnamese food (Bun Cha!).
Need inspiration for what to do after your visit to Hanoi? We recommend to spend a few days in the north to visit the gorgeous ricefields in Sapa. The night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai is a very convenient way to travel your way up north without wasting your valuable day time.
Looking for a room in the middle of the Old Quarter? Ancient Lane Hotel offers very clean rooms nicely decorated with ancient attributes. The hosts Thuy and Tuan will make sure you'll have a great stay!
Just landed in Hanoi? In this hotel, you will get the best night of sleep you had since ages. The friendly staff will give you a warm welcome and serve a wonderful breakfast buffet the next morning! Located in the middle of the center, but completely isolated from all the noise.
For many travellers, Halong Bay is one of the highlights of Vietnam. The stunning landscape and breathtaking views over the limestone rocks look almost unreal!
To experience Halong Bay in the best way, you can book a boat cruise departing from Hanoi. Organized tours departing from Hanoi are often cheaper than tours sold by agencies in Halong Bay and another advantage is that you don't need to organize your transport to get there.
We recommend to book your boat tour online to get the best prices and be certain that you book with a trusted company. I already spoke to many travellers who booked boat trips from a random agency on the street and were very disappointed by the service and conditions of this boat.
See here our recommendtion of well-rated boat cruises