What To Do In Hanoi For 3 Days – The Perfect Itinerary

What To Do In Hanoi For 3 Days

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, offers a unique blend of the old and the new. As you wander its streets, you’ll find centuries-old architecture standing side by side with contemporary developments. The city resonates with an energy that’s both tranquil and lively, making it a fascinating place to explore. Over the next three days, we’ll help to answer your question, “What to do in Hanoi for 3 days?”. We will guide you through a balanced mix of history, culture, and urban experiences, ensuring you make the most of your time here.

What To Do In Hanoi For 3 Days: Best Suggestions

Day 1: Historical Insights & Urban Exploration

Hoan Kiem Lake - The Heart of Hanoi
Hoan Kiem Lake – The Heart of Hanoi

Today, we gently navigate Hanoi’s corridors of history while also soaking in its vibrant urban essence.


  • Hoan Kiem Lake

Often referred to as the “Lake of the Restored Sword”, this serene lake offers more than just picturesque views. As morning light filters through ancient trees, you’ll witness locals practicing Tai Chi and aerobics, while the Ngoc Son Temple—accessible via the red-painted Huc Bridge—shares tales of a legendary turtle and a divine sword.

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Here, the preserved body of Uncle Ho, as locals fondly call him, rests in solemn majesty. The surrounding gardens showcase various plants from across Vietnam, while the museum offers insights into his life and Vietnam’s struggle for freedom.

  • One Pillar Pagoda

Reconstructed numerous times over its millennium-long history, this iconic temple stands above a lotus pond, echoing a dream of the emperor seeing the Goddess of Mercy on a lotus flower.


  • Temple of Literature

As Vietnam’s first university, founded in 1070, this peaceful complex of courtyards, gardens, and pavilions dedicated to Confucius celebrates scholars of the past. The Stelae of Doctors, stone tablets atop stone turtles, pay tribute to outstanding scholars of yesteryears.

  • Culinary Tour in Hanoi Old Quarter

Traverse labyrinthine streets, sampling dishes like Bun Thang (vermicelli soup) or Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich). Discover family-run eateries passed down through generations and learn the subtle art of seasoning that distinguishes each dish.


  • Water Puppet Show

This isn’t just any puppet show. Performed over water, it’s a Vietnamese tradition dating back centuries. Puppets, controlled by master puppeteers hidden behind screens, dance and play out historical and cultural tales, all accompanied by traditional live music.

  • Nightlife in Walking Areas

Ta Hien Street, often dubbed the ‘Beer Street’, offers an ideal setting to wind down. Mingle with locals, sip on some ‘Bia Hoi’ (fresh beer), and let the day’s adventures settle in.

>> Read More: 22 Best Things To Do In Hanoi

Day 2: Cultural Immersion & French Legacy

Bun Cha - A Hanoi Culinary Delight
Bun Cha – A Hanoi Culinary Delight

Today, we dive deeper into Hanoi’s cultural ethos while also tracing the footprints of its colonial past.


  • Dong Xuan Market

Hanoi’s largest indoor market pulses with energy. From fresh produce to souvenirs, it’s a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a local trinket or simply watch daily life unfold.

  • Breakfast with Traditional Pho

While Pho can be found worldwide, Hanoi’s variant is unique. Relish this bowl of warmth at renowned establishments, understanding the nuances of north vs. south flavors.


  • French Architecture Exploration

This area transports you to early 20th-century Paris. Tree-lined boulevards, pastel villas, and patisseries serve as reminders of French colonialism. The Hanoi Opera House, reminiscent of the Palais Garnier, stands as a testament to the city’s operatic past.

  • Tea at 87 Ma May Street

An age-old house turned into a tea haven. Here, amidst ancient architecture, the ritual of Vietnamese tea comes alive. From green to lotus, each brew has a tale.


  • More Culinary Delights

As the sun sets, Hanoi’s culinary treasures emerge. Dive into its streets to discover dishes that have stood the test of time. Try ‘Bun Cha’, a harmony of grilled pork and noodles, and don’t miss out on ‘Cha Ca La Vong’, a turmeric and dill-infused fish delight. Each bite is a tribute to Hanoi’s deep-rooted gastronomic history.

  • A Gentle Evening by Hoan Kiem

As twilight descends, the shimmering waters of Hoan Kiem Lake beckon. Wander around its perimeter, feeling the gentle evening breeze, and reflect on the memories crafted throughout the day. The serene ambiance offers the perfect backdrop for contemplation or simply enjoying the city’s tranquil side.

>> Read More: Never Miss These 5 Hanoi Foods While Being In The “Heart” Of Vietnam

Day 3: Nature’s Embrace & Contemporary Vibes

West Lake during sunset is a breathtaking picture
West Lake during sunset is a breathtaking picture

Our final day swings between Hanoi’s natural beauty and its stride into the future.


  • West Lake

This expansive water body, dwarfing Hoan Kiem Lake in size, is encircled by a medley of pagodas, upscale hotels, and local eateries. Here, you can embark on an intimate adventure with pedal-boating, allowing you to connect with the serene lake environment intimately.

  • Tran Quoc Pagoda

With its gleaming golden spire and intricate multi-tiered towers, Tran Quoc Pagoda stands as Hanoi’s oldest pagoda. For over 1,500 years, it has silently witnessed the city’s history, an enduring testament to its rich past.


  • Hanoi Opera House

Step into an era of elegance. This colonial marvel isn’t just an architectural gem but a living testament to Hanoi’s rich cultural tapestry. Its grandeur speaks of days when opera and ballet reigned supreme.

  • Art Galleries in the Trang Tien Area

As you wander this district, you’ll find pockets of modern creativity. Often set in restored colonial buildings, these galleries showcase Vietnam’s vibrant contemporary art scene. It’s a chance to engage with the country’s emerging artists and their vision.


  • Shopping at Renowned Markets

As the streets light up, markets come alive. At Dong Xuan and Hang Da, browse handicrafts, apparel, and trinkets. Quang Ba Flower Market, brimming with blooms, is a fragrant escape. Night markets, with sizzling street food stalls, offer culinary adventures—don’t miss the local favorites like Bun Cha or Nem Ran.

  • Rooftop Retreat

End your adventure on a high note, quite literally! A rooftop bar offers refreshing drinks and a sprawling view of the city, a blend of old-world charm and new-age vigor.

>> See Tour: Vietnam Insight


3 days might seem fleeting, but as you’d have discovered, it’s ample to scratch beneath Hanoi’s surface. From historic alleyways to modern avenues, from traditional tunes to contemporary beats, Hanoi is a testament to Vietnam’s journey. And as you leave, you carry with you not just memories but stories waiting to be retold.

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