Ultimate Travel Guide For Your First Time In Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and also a great attraction that excites all senses of travellers. It has great food, cheap drinks, fascinating history and unique culture, attracting all wanderlusts, from solo travellers to couples, groups of friends to families, from culture and history lovers to foodies. The number of tourists visiting this city was almost 29 million in 2019. Does it sound great? Read more if it is your first time in Hanoi.

If you know these top 5 things before visiting the city, we ensure that every one of your moments in the city is meaningful and worth your money and time.

1. Best way to get Vietnam visa for visiting Hanoi

At the moment, there are up to 3 ways to get a tourist visa for visiting Hanoi, Vietnam, consisting of:

  • Getting a visa on arrival (VOA); or
  • Getting a visa at Vietnam embassy/consulate; or
  • Getting an e-visa

Here is just a brief comparison between these 3 options:

ItemsVisa on arrivalE-visaEmbassy visa
Applicable touristsTravellers to Vietnam by airCitizens of 81 countries entering Vietnam via 33 ports of entry 

🡪 Visa Full list for Vietnam e-visa.

All travellers entering Vietnam via any of entry ports
How to get
  • Submit an online visa application form, no document required, 
  • get visa approval letter via email before departing for Vietnam, 
  • get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport 
  • Submit the online form,
  • remember the code to check the visa approval status,
  • download the visa if issued before departure for Vietnam
  • prepare the documents as required by the embassy/consulate of Vietnam
  • follow the required procedure to submit the visa application documents
  • get the visa from the embassy/consulate before departure for Vietnam
Available types of visa
  • 1 month single/multiple
  • 3 months single/multiple
1 month single entry only
  • 1 month single/multiple
  • 3 months single/multiple

What is the best way to get a visa to Vietnam for you? If the first one is selected, we recommend Vietnam-visa.com which has been operating in this aspect since 2007. They can process the Vietnam VOA letter for citizens of over 200 countries around the world, from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, India, to South Africa, Pakistan, etc. The thing you should do now is to decide your time of travel to Hanoi and book the letter with them.

2. Best time to visit Hanoi

Hanoi is located in the tropical humid monsoon climate, so there are two distinct types of weather: hot and humid, rainy in summer and dry, cold in winter. You will see Hanoi beautiful at any time travelling to the city as each season has its own characteristics.

But, according to the Hanoi travel experience shared by both locals and travellers, you will see Hanoi in the most beautiful look in autumn (from early September to the end of November). The weather these days is pretty cool with a clear sky and little sunshine – very convenient for sightseeing and joining other activities.

3. How to get around in Hanoi

We guess that no one reading this post will get in trouble for taking a means for travelling around Hanoi as there are so many options, from public bus, taxi, motorbike taxi (also known as Xe ôm in Vietnamese), grab, go viet or rented motorbike. If you have an international motorbike driving license, the last one is highly recommended to explore every corner of this city.

Especially, in case you are wishing to explore the city center, you may try the hop on hop off buses especially developed for tourists. Their tickets are sold at Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square (Bo Ho Bus-stop) at VND 300,000 for 4 hours, VND 450,000 for 24 hours and VND 650,000 for 48 hours. Its itinerary during 9:00 am to 6:10 pm everyday will drop you at:

  • Vietnam Military History Museum,
  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel,
  • Quan Thanh Temple,
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda, 
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum,
  • Temple of Literature,
  • Hoa Lo Prison,
  • Hanoi Cathedral,
  • Vietnam Women’s Museum, and
  • Hanoi Opera House.

4. Best area to stay in Hanoi

What defines the best area to stay for a tourist to Hanoi? It’s perhaps the convenience to reach the tourist attractions as well as join the activities of the city. If so, the best areas to stay in Hanoi tend to be all around the Old Quarter and the West Lake. They serve as the starting point of almost journeys around the city and also are the places where you will find the most charming streets and buildings together with the best conveniences of Hanoi.

  • Hoan Kiem Lake. This is the place where most tourists to Hanoi choose to stay as it is considered the historic soul of the city. This area offers a great base to discover the temples, old gates and traditional shops. From luxury hotels to a budget hostel, you will absolutely find something fitting your budget and your taste as well.
  • West Lake area (Tay Ho). This is the place where many families and couples that want a romantic stay choose to stay as it offers the best view in Hanoi (to the lake) besides some amazing villas. In addition, it also well accommodates modern shops and nightlife spots plus a wide range of restaurants, very convenient for a trip abroad. This is also a popular area for expats in Vietnam.
  • Ba Dinh Area. This area is a great choice for those who wish to stay at a quieter area but still close to the attractions of Hanoi. But it is not a good choice for foodies and those who wish to go out to experience the Hanoi nightlife as there are not many restaurants and nightlife spots here.

5. Best things to do in Hanoi

Over one thousand years of transformation and development, Hanoi has undergone ups and downs in its history, so its richness of history and culture is overwhelming with ancient architectural structures, temples, pagodas, etc. So, it’s great that you will be fun-filled exploring the city all day.

► Just click here to see the top 10 things you should do when visiting Hanoi.

With this guide, hope that your first time and following travels to Hanoi will be the best of your memories. Do you have any tips, share with us now!

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