HANOI TRAVEL GUIDE AND ITINERARY FOR 2 DAYS
Forty eight hours in Hanoi is enough time to spend in this city if you are visiting the country only for a week. In this article i will try to list all the things to do in Hanoi if you are in the city for only 2 days.
To describe Hanoi in one word – it’s CRAZY!!! The combination of chaos and crowds can be pretty overwhelming (not a problem for us Indians tho (!) used to our own crowds and chaos!) There are zillions of motorbikes running around without any sense of traffic. Add street vendors, cyclos and people running around, and you have the recipe for perfect disaster. Yet, somehow it all works!
Well first of all, it’s the nearest gateway to Ha long city and the bay. So it makes sense to spend a couple days exploring this crazy place before searching for inner peace in Ha long bay!
And secondly, it’s THE place to get a real dose of Vietnamese culture. I mean Ho chi minh city is there, but Hanoi has its own special charm.
THINGS TO DO IN HANOI
48 HOURS IN HANOI ITINERARY: TRAVEL GUIDE AND ITINERARY
- Chances are you are gonna land mid-morning. So, make your way to a hotel (preferably situated near Hoan Kiem lake/ Old Quarters) and check in. By the time you get refreshed and have lunch, it will be early afternoon.
- Head to “TEMPLE OF LITERATURE” – a short taxi ride from the lake and have a look at this temple dedicated to Confucius and his 4 chief scholars. Even today, students come here to pray before their exams.
Looking for a place to stay? Check out our Hanoi accomodation here→Tripadvisor Review of Hanoi Emerald Waters Trendy Hotel
- On your way back, check out the IMPERIAL CITADEL (UNESCO site) from outside.
- If you want a taste of museums, check out the HOA LO PRISON MUSEUM and get a dose of Vietnamese propaganda about the American invasion.
Make your way to Halong Bay. Get the complete guide here⤵
- By this time, it will be evening. Make your way to the FRENCH QUARTERS and check out the architecture of famous sites such as the CATHEDRAL AND OPERA HOUSE . Have a taste of the famous bakery/dessert delicacies at one of the French influenced bakeries situated here.
- Your last stop of the day is THANG LONG WATER PUPPET THEATRE situated near the lake. Catch a show of this famous cultural attraction and check out the nearby shops for puppet souvenirs. Also take a look at the brightly lit lake at night and end with dinner at any of the restaurants near the lake/old quarters.
Check out their site here→Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Visit the most cultural city of Vietnam. Read our Hoi An guide here⤵
- Wake up early and head over to HOAN KIEM LAKE , where dozens of groups start their morning with Tai chi/ Aerobics.
- Check out the little Buddhist temple, NGOC SON TEMPLE , which lies on the northern end of the lake in its own little island and is connected to the shore by a scarlet bridge, one of the symbols of Hanoi. Make sure to click a picture of yourself atop this bridge!
- From here, catch a taxi to HO CHI MINH COMPLEX (approx 50,000 VND) which houses a museum, the One pillar pagoda, the House on Stilts( where Ho chi minh once used to live) as well as the mausoleum with his preserved body up for viewing( if you are into that kinda thing and harbor neutral feelings on the whole Communist issue)
FLASHPACKER TIPS: Long queues line up for the body viewing in the first hour. You can easily finish checking out a couple other stuff within the complex before lining up. Best to line up an hour before the end time, by which the crowds have usually thinned out.
- After a dose of history, its time to get a taste of the OLD QUARTERS . Spend your afternoon walking around the different streets which are 1000 year old, each specialising in a particular item, be it silk, lacquer or shoes and do all your shopping here. Pop in at the BACH MA TEMPLE for a look.
- Check out the quirky shop which sells old PROPAGANDA POSTERS for a few dollars each. They make an excellent gifting option for family and friends!
- For Dinner, there are 2 options :
- Have dinner at the old quarters itself. Make your way to BEER STREET and one of the many barbeque places present.
- Take a taxi to TAY HO LAKE (WEST LAKE) which is the trendy upcoming district of the city, boasting a vibrant pub and restaurant scene.
We had a wonderful time in Hanoi and hope this small guide for 48 hours in Hanoi helps you in your travels.
Planning a combo Vietnam+Cambodia trip? Read our Siem Reap guide here⤵
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