How to spend 2 days in Hanoi?
What to do if you only have two days to spend in Hanoi? Although it takes more than just two short days to experience the capital of Vietnam, you can still enjoy the best of Hanoi in 48 hours.
I share below the detailed 2-day Hanoi itinerary to help you plan an awesome trip to Vietnam.
2-day Hanoi itinerary
What to do in Hanoi in 2 days? Below is a suggestion for what to see and do in Hanoi in 48 hours.
First day in Hanoi
Get from Noi Bai Airport to Hanoi: 7 am – 8:30 am
Suppose that you arrive in Hanoi in the early morning. Noi Bai Airport is the main airport serving Hanoi, and its location is outside Hanoi city center.
It’s effortless to book a private transfer from Noi Bai International Airport to Hanoi in advance. It takes approximately 1 hour to get from Hanoi to the city center.
Enjoy delicious Hanoi’s delicacy: 8:30 am – 10 am
After checking in your hotel and dropping luggage, wander around Hanoi Old Quarter to get some tasty treats and explore the area.
I suggest trying Pho Bat Dan – a famous Pho shop on Bat Dan street.
Address: 49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
If you’re a coffee-lover, why not try Hanoi Egg Coffee – a traditional drink prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk, and robusta coffee.
A great place to try Egg coffee in Hanoi is Giang Cafe.
Address: 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Wandering around Hoan Kiem Lake: 10:30 am – 12 pm.
Located in the French Quarter, it just takes about 10 to 15 minutes on foot from Hanoi Old Quarter to Hoan Kiem Lake.
Hoan Kiem Lake, often known as Ho Guom, is famous for its ancient turtle tower on a small island and exciting attractions such as Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, and But Tower.
Also, it’s chill and relaxing to walk along the lake or sit on the benches and enjoy nature.
Have lunch: 12 pm – 1:30 pm
There are many places to eat around Hoan Kiem Lake, but if you’re looking for a nice restaurant with a beautiful view, you can get to Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square.
This building is located on Dinh Tien Hoang street corner, offering a stunning view of the capital. There are different restaurants in this building, so you will have plenty of choices.
Address: 1 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Visit Long Bien Bridge: 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm.
If you’re not in a rush or tired after your flight, you should continue visiting Long Bien Bridge – a traditional symbol of Hanoi.
Take a look at the train tracks: 2:30 pm – 4 pm.
Hanoi train street is one of the unique places to visit in Hanoi, Vietnam.
You can enjoy a coffee (yes! another one) while watching the train between blocks of the cafe and residential buildings.
As the weekday schedule right now is 6 am, 7 pm, and 7:20 pm, you may want to come back to see the train running past and take excellent photos.
On the weekend, the train comes at 3:30 pm and 7 pm daily, so you can arrive a bit earlier, around 3 pm, to catch it.
Join Hanoi Cooking Class or Food tour: 4 pm – 7 pm
- 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
- 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
- 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
- 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
With Hanoi cooking class, you will learn how to make delicious Vietnamese with a tour to the local market to pick up fresh ingredients.
The sample menu is as below, with an option for a vegetarian menu.
- BBQ Pork with Noodles and Fish Sauce (Bún Chả)
- Fried Spring Rolls (Nem)
- Banana Flowers Salad with Chicken or Green Papaya Salad with Dried Beef
- Vietnamese Egg Coffee
Crave for tasty Vietnamese food? Let the locals take you to explore Hanoi Old Quarter in a yummy way!
In the Hanoi food tour, you will get a chance to try local delicacies while learning about the landmarks of the Hanoi Old Quarter.
You can choose to start your tour at any time of the day, with the earliest timeslot at 8:00 am and the latest at 6:00 pm. Hanoi food tour ends after 3 hours in the Old Quarter.
Drink beer on Ta Hien street: 8 pm – 11 pm
What to do at night in Hanoi? Head to Ta Hien street!
Ta Hien street is a favorite place to hang out and enjoy the nightlife in Hanoi.
A famous fresh beer (Beer Hoi) costs less than $1 per cup, and you can try different Vietnamese dishes while having a beer with friends.
2nd day in Hanoi – Option 1: Hanoi city tour
On your second day in Hanoi, I would suggest taking a Hanoi one-day tour.
Why should you take Hanoi day tour?
Hanoi day tour will take you to explore the most famous attractions in Hanoi without worrying about transportation to be more convenient for your trip.
Also, you will learn more about the attractions thanks to the tour guide’s explanation. Hanoi day tour is handy if you travel solo to Hanoi.
The tour includes
- Hotel pick up and drop off in Hanoi Old Quarter
- Bus during the trip
- Entrance tickets
- English Guide
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the tour will take you to
- Tran Quoc Pagoda (the ancient pagoda built in the 6th century)
- Ho Chi Minh Complex
- Temple of Literature
- Ngoc Son temple
- Bat Trang ceramic and pottery village
On Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, you will be able to visit
- Tran Quoc Pagoda
- Ho Chi Minh Complex
- Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
- Temple of Literature
- Ngoc Son temple
The bus will pick you up from 7:50 am to 8:30 am if you stay within Hanoi Old Quarter, and the Hanoi day tour ends at 4:15 pm with a drop-off at a hotel or original meeting point.
However, at the end of the Hanoi day tour, you will have two options:
- Cyclo around the Old Quarter (1 hour) after the tour at an additional 100,000 VND per person
- Water Puppet Show (5:30 pm – 6:15 pm) at an additional 100,000 VND per person. You will need to get back to your hotel on your own after the show.
2nd day in Hanoi – Option 2: DIY Hanoi Tour
Breakfast: 7 am – 8 am
Start your day with breakfast at your hotel or a local eatery nearby, then prepare to go out and explore Hanoi by yourself.
Ho Chi Minh Complex: 8 am – 12:00 pm
Ho Chi Minh Complex is a must-visit place on your trip to Hanoi.
Please note that Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum only opens five days a week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings.
As there’s usually a long line waiting to get inside Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, you should arrive there as early as possible.
Otherwise, it’s also lovely to walk around Ba Dinh Square and take a look outside of the Mausoleum.
If you’d like to know more about Ho Chi Minh and his activities, you should not miss the Ho Chi Minh Museum nearby.
While walking around Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, you should also visit One Pillar Pagoda. With the lotus-shaped architecture, this pagoda is unique in Vietnam.
Have lunch: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
After visiting Ho Chi Minh Complex and One Pillar Pagoda, it’s time for lunch.
You can find several eateries around the area, so choose your favorite Vietnamese food and head to one.
Visit the Temple of Literature: 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Opening hours: 8 am – 6 pm
Besides witnessing the thousand-year history of the Hanoi capital, the Temple of Literature is also the “birth school” of many talented people in the past.
Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: 3 pm – 5 pm
Address: Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay, Hanoi
Opening time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
The Museum of Ethnology is my favorite place to visit in Hanoi. Although this museum is located a bit far away from Hanoi Old Quarter, it’s definitely worth your trip here.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology displays several artifacts with clothing, jewelry, weapons, musical instruments, and many other spiritual activities.
Enjoy Water Puppet Show: 6:30 pm – 7:15 pm
Address: 57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Watching the water puppet show is an exciting thing to do in Hanoi.
You can skip the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre lines and enjoy one of the unique art forms live on stage when booking your Water puppet ticket in advance.
Get back to your hotel and have dinner: 7:30 – 9 pm
Well done for the day. It’s time to relax and get some yummy food!
Enjoy a drink on Ta Hien street or near Ho Tay lake: 9 pm – 11 pm
If you already drink Bia Hoi (fresh beer) on Ta Hien street the night before, why not try a new location near Ho Tay Lake?
There are several bars along the lake, and you can have a good view while enjoying the nightlife in Hanoi.
Best day trips from Hanoi
If you have more than two days in the capital, here are some ideas for fantastic day trips from Hanoi.