How to spend two days in Hanoi

Only got a couple of days in Hanoi? Then you’ll want to make sure you see the best of this incredible city while sticking to a tight timeframe (and budget!).

We always get asked for our recommendations by guests who want the ultimate local experience of Hanoi. From our delicious food to the city’s incredible scenery and history, we’ve got it all. Better yet, it’s definitely possible to explore the city’s main spots in a couple of days – although we’re sure you’ll end up coming back.

Here’s our handy 48-hour itinerary to get you started…

Hanoi: Day one

Start your first day with us here at Nexy and fuel yourself for a day of adventures with our free breakfast. As you chat and mingle with other like-minded travellers, check out who is heading out on our free walking tour of the city and be sure to join.

Visiting places including Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison, the National History Museum and more. The local-guided tour is a great way of seeing and learning about Hanoi from a person that knows it best.

Plus, you’ll meet fellow travellers and even get hints and tips on the best places to explore solo if you have time, too.

Take in some cultural landmarks

After exploring on the tour, it’s now time to head out and take in a few of the city’s tourist hotspots.

First up, we definitely recommend heading to West Lake. West Lake is the biggest lake in the city and gives you an incredible view of Hanoi’s city skyline. Take stock of your surroundings here – perhaps do a little people-watching – before heading to the peninsula in the middle where you will find the Tran Quoc Pagoda temple.

TOP TIP: Nobody is allowed onto the peninsula with bare shoulders or knees. Respect local culture and remember to wear suitable clothing.

Dating back to the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De Dynasty (544 – 548), Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest Pagoda in Hanoi and has a fascinating history. Not only is it completely free to visit, it’s also the ideal spot to get that perfect shot for the photo lovers among you.

Head to happy hour

As happy hour calls, it’s now time to head back to the hostel. Relax, unwind and swap stories from your day with your fellow travellers – plus, beers are on us with our buy one get one free offer.

Enough energy for some evening entertainment?

Refreshed for the evening ahead? Okay, get ready to embrace some more of the country’s culture. Dubbed as ‘one of the most impressive attractions in Hanoi travel and traditional art’, Thang Long Water Puppet Show isn’t to be missed. Prepare to watch the history of Hanoi unfold before your eyes as ancient Vietnamese legends are brought to life on water.

TOP TIP: Book your tickets in advance as the shows are VERY popular

Hanoi: Day two

Explore the Old Quarter

Fancy brunch to start the day? Visit a nearby cafe and try the local favourite pairing of a traditional morning pho and egg coffee. Be sure to ask your server for the history behind the dish as you sip your cup of frothy goodness.

After filling yourself up for another day of discovering the city, it’s time to explore the Old Quarter. With 36 streets and a maze of well-preserved French colonial houses, it is the historical and commercial centre of the city (and has been so for over a thousand years!). All aspects of life can be found out on the streets and that’s part of the city’s charm. Take your time and go for a wander – even getting lost is no bad thing…

…it can work up an appetite though so while you’re in the Old Quarter, visit Quan Goc Da which serve up a variety of deep-fried banh including different types of meat-stuffed dumplings. Your stomach will thank us, we promise!

Explore a local market

If you just so happen to wander into Dong Xuan Market to do some shopping after lunch, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, right? Now, we can’t be responsible for how heavy your backpack is going to get after a visit here but with four floors of trinkets, art, clothes and souvenirs to take home, you better get your bartering on point.

Take a trip

After shopping til you drop, you could take a trip to Hoan Kiem lake – a peaceful and relaxing spot which is popular which both travellers and locals alike. Walk around the water’s edge with an iced coffee in hand and admire the amazing scenery before crossing the infamous red bridge to the Ngoc Son Island Pagoda.

TOP TIP: Hoan Kiem lake is also famous for turtles! It is said that it’s good luck if you spot one, so keep a lookout.

Or learn about Vietnam’s food culture 

If you want to skip Hoan Kiem lake, there’s another way to get to know Vietnam better – through one of our authentic cooking classes. Alongside your fellow travellers, you will prepare dishes with the guidance of expert chefs before kicking back and experiencing the tastes and textures of Vietnamese cuisine.

Enjoy Hanoi’s nightlife at Beer Corner 

To fully appreciate the sunset, be sure to make your way back to the hostel and up to our rooftop terrace and look out over the views of the city.

Chat with your fellow travellers, challenge them to a game of pool or three and then head out to Beer Corner for a lively final evening. Hey by now, you may have your very own hints and tips to share over a pint on how best to explore the city with those who have just arrived.

So, who’s ready for a Vietnamese adventure?

Book directly using code LUXURY19 and you will receive a 10% discount on your stay, an ice-cold beer on arrival AND late checkout. If you needed a sign to book your dream trip, consider this it…