3 day Itinerary for Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam. The urban development of capital Hanoi, Vietnam with large beside lakes west skyscraper architecture as a luxury resort perfect for watching the sunset at West Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is filled with culture and history. The city has a lot to offer in terms of things to do, places to visit and food to eat. Hanoi is a very safe place for tourists as it is packed with locals who are always friendly and helpful. It has plenty of attractions that will keep you busy during your 3 days in Hanoi.

This 3 Day Itinerary for Hanoi is the perfect guide to help you plan your trip. It will show you the best things to do in Hanoi and what to do in Hanoi for 3 days.

The itinerary is designed for first-timers that have a short time in Vietnam. It covers all the must-see attractions in Hanoi. One of the best places to stay in the city is Hanoi Old Quarter, which is a very busy and vibrant area. You will find plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes where you can enjoy your time in between sightseeing and tours.

The city is known for its rich culture, historical sites and beautiful scenery. It has been a popular destination for many tourists around the world. The best time to go to Vietnam is in the months of March and April. This is due to the most pleasant weather in terms of lower rainfall and mild temperatures.

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Day 1 in Hanoi

The first day on your Hanoi travel itinerary should be spent exploring the streets of Hanoi itself. The Old Quarter is a great place to start off as you will get an idea of how locals live here day to day. During the day, you will also get to see many sights and sample street food.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Start off your 3 day Hanoi itinerary by visiting the Hoan Kiem Lake situated in the Old Quarter. The lake has a perimeter of 1.75 kilometres and is considered a major tourist attraction in the city. It is also home to many historical sites such as the Ngoc Son Temple.

This temple is situated in the middle of the lake and is accessible via a small bridge. It was built back in the 19th century to commemorate the national hero Tran Hung Dao.

The lake is very peaceful and is a lovely place to spend some time reflecting. You can take a walk around the lake, visit the temple and enjoy the beautiful scenery during your visit.

Hanoi Red Bridge at night. The wooden red-painted bridge over the Hoan Kiem Lake connects the shore and the Jade Island on which Ngoc Son Temple stands

Watch a Water Puppet Show

A water puppet show is a traditional form of Vietnamese entertainment. They use a large water-filled tank with puppets on sticks that are controlled by people hidden beneath the surface.

The puppets move around in time to music and tell stories about Vietnamese history or folklore.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre is one of the best places to see a water puppet show in Hanoi. The theatre is located near Hoan Kiem Lake, so it is easy to find. The theatre is open all year round and the show is 50 minutes long.

Water puppetry is a tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the villages of the Red River Delta area of northern Vietnam

Dong Xuan Market

Dong Xuan Market is a great place to visit for an authentic Vietnamese experience. The market is enormous and there are hundreds of stalls selling everything from clothes to food.

You can find anything here, even things that you would not expect, it can get a little quirky. It is also a great place to buy souvenirs or gifts to remember your trip.

Spend a few hours at the market and grab a quick bite to eat too. Hanoi street food is some of the most delicious street food around, and you will be sure to sample many delicacies at Dong Xuan Market.

HANOI/VIETNAM - Dong Xuan Market dining area local market city center sell by Local products, gift, lagniappe, Hill tribe

Vietnam Military History Museum

Spend your afternoon exploring the Vietnam Military History Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving the country’s military history, and it has a lot of interesting exhibits on display.

You will see many old weapons, uniforms, and other artifacts here. It is a great way to learn more about the country’s history and how it has shaped its culture today.

There is also a collection of old war aircraft situated outside that is very impressive to see. You can spend a few hours exploring this museum, and you will definitely find it very interesting.

Vietnam’s military history is very extensive and is very interesting to learn about. The Military History Museum is one of the best places to visit in Hanoi if you want to learn more. It is a must see for tourists visiting the country.

Next door to the Vietnam Military History Museum you will also find the Hanoi flag tower. This historical sight is a war monument and flies the Vietnamese flag. The tower is very impressive, and it is worth the climb to the top.

HANOI, VIETNAM - View of the territory of the Vietnam Army Museum Vietnam (Military History Museum)

Day 2 in Hanoi

Day 2 on your 3 day Hanoi itinerary, will consist of plenty more sightseeing and experiences. You will want to get up early and head out to Ba Dinh Square.

From here you will make your way around a collection of historical landmarks such as Chi Minh Mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda.

You will finish off your day by visiting the oldest Buddhist temple and then hitting the nightlife that Hanoi has to offer.

Hanoi Train Street

On your way over to Ba Dinh Square from the Old Quarter you will cross what is known as the Hanoi train street. This is a unique and interesting experience.

Tucked away in the back streets there is a very narrow train track that is lined with cafes and houses.

This is a very popular place for people to hang out, so you will want to grab a seat on one of the cafe’s terraces, grab your morning coffee and watch the locals go by. This is a great chance to take some cool pictures and enjoy Hanoi’s fun culture.

Hanoi, Vietnam. the tracks between the houses of the old district of the city centre

Chi Minh Mausoleum

Chi Minh Mausoleum is a very impressive monument, and it is worth the visit. Opened back in 1975 it is the resting place for President Ho Chi Minh. He was a revolutionary leader and therefore the Mausoleum is a grand building that stands 22m tall in Ba Dinh Square.

If you go inside the huge temple you will see that the body of Ho Chi Minh is on display. Entry is free of charge. However, there are strict rules to enter in order to be respectful to the great leader.

There is to be no photography and you must wear adequate clothing that covers your knees and shoulders.

This important historical site is a must see for anyone visiting Hanoi, and it is an excellent way to get a feel of Vietnamese culture.

Hanoi, Vietnam. panoramic view of the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in the city center

One Pillar Pagoda

Nearby you will find one of Hanoi’s most iconic attractions, the One Pillar Pagoda. It was created back in 1049 and now this Buddhist temple is one of the most historic sights in the whole of Hanoi. It has been designed with the inspiration of the lotus blossom and has a very distinct structure.

The pagoda is built out of wood, it then stands tall on top of one single stone pillar that symbolises purity. As this pagoda is a religious site you will have to dress accordingly and cover your legs and shoulders.

facade view of One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam

Imperial Citadel of Thang

Next up on the Hanoi itinerary is the Imperial Citadel of Thang, a UNESCO world heritage site. This huge citadel was built back in the 11th century and has been well preserved over the years.

It was originally built to celebrate independence by the Vietnamese Ly Dynasty. Today the buildings stand tall alongside many towers and a stone dragon. The architecture is beautiful and unique, and it is a great place to explore.

Doan Mon, the main gate of Thang Long Imperial Citadel. UNESCO world heritage in Hanoi, Vietnam

Tran Quoc Pagoda

In the afternoon, venture over to Tran Quoc Pagoda. It is based to the north of the city and is located on the West Lake. It has been built on a small island surrounded by several shrines that overlook the surrounding lake.

Tran Quoc Pagoda dates back to the 6th century when it was built by Emperor Ly Nam De Dynasty. Therefore this makes it the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi and therefore an extremely important monument in the capital city and the whole of Vietnam.

The architecture of the building is truly spectacular and if you look closely you will see dozens of buddha statues sitting within the structure. If you wish to enter, there is no entry fee and the pagoda is open every day. Again, the dress code is to dress adequately.

Tran Quoc pagoda in Hanoi Vietnam. Tran Quoc pagoda is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi constructed in the sixth century.

Hanoi Nightlife

Hanoi is a very lively city and there are many bars and clubs that you can visit. The Old Quarter is the best place to go for a drink. There are many bars that serve international beers and spirits as well as cocktails. Some highlights include Jigger Downtown, Northern Soul Rooftop Bar and Kumquat Tree Speakeasy Bar.

Jigger Downtown is a colourful cocktail bar that offers Asian style tapas. Northern Soul Rooftop Bar is a spectacular rooftop bar that offers great views of the city. Kumquat Tree Speakeasy Bar has a nice atmosphere and an extensive drinks list. If you wish to dance there are several nightclubs located around this area that play music all night long.

HANOI, VIETNAM - Famous Train Street at the Phung Hung Street, popular tourist destination in old town Hanoi by night

Day 3 in Hanoi

On the final day of your Hanoi 3 day itinerary. You will get to go on a day trip over to Bai Dinh Pagoda.

This is a full day trip out of the capital city and into the Vietnamese countryside. The Bai Dinh Pagoda is a beautiful place and is one of Vietnam’s most famous Buddhist temples.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

This large temple complex with a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside is a fantastic place to explore and learn about Buddhism in Vietnam. The temple itself is very large and has many different buildings to visit as well as religious artifacts on display.

There is also a towering 13 floor pagoda that you can climb to get an amazing view of the whole complex. This is a great day trip from Hanoi and well worth the effort, especially if you are a fan of Buddhist temples.

There are many day tours that will take you over to the complex, so you do not need to worry about transport. However, if you want to take an overnight stay here, then there are plenty of hotels near the temple complex too. For example, Bai Dinh Hotel and Ninh Bình Mountain View Homestay.

Mysterious temple of Trang An Unesco Landscape in Ninh Binh in Vietnam

Tour ideas

There are plenty of day trips and tours that you can do in and around Hanoi, Vietnam. There are so many beautiful places around the area that if you have time to visit, your definitely should.

One of the best ways to see some of the local scenery is by taking a boat trip down the river. There are many companies that offer this. Some great areas to take a tour to include Halong Bay and the Sapa region, or even just a day trip to Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh Full-Day Tour

This fun filled packed day tour of the Vietnamese countryside is sure to create tonnes of memories for your trip. The tour includes all transfers, transportation and an English speaking tour guide. You will get to visit multiple sites on this tour including Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam.

Lunch is included as well as refreshments and all equipment to enjoy the day such as mountain bikes. You will also get to visit Mua Cave, Tam Coc village and Halong Bay.

Aerial view of Trang An landscape at Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Hanoi street food tour

This three hour long Vietnamese street food tour is a fantastic way to experience Hanoi’s vibrant street food scene.

You will be taken around the Old Quarter where you can sample a wide range of delicious Vietnamese dishes such as sticky rice, snail, rice noodle with chicken and steamed pancakes.

Your tour guide will explain some of the history behind these dishes while you eat them which is sure to make this tour even more interesting.

HANOI, VIETNAM - Vietnamese woman selling food on a street in the old town of Hanoi, Vietnam


Hanoi is a wonderful city, with so much to see and do. It is a great place for a long weekend break, as it is easy to get around and there are plenty of activities. The food is also amazing, so do not forget to try some local specialities while you are there.

It is also a great city for shopping, with plenty of local markets and shops to explore. If you only have a day or two in Hanoi then it is best to stick with the main attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Hanoi Train Street and Tran Quoc Pagoda.

These are all popular spots that will not disappoint and provide you with the ultimate Hanoi experience.

Recommended tours in Hanoi

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3 day Itinerary for Hanoi
3 day Itinerary for Hanoi
3 day Itinerary for Hanoi


  • Angelica Peralta

    Meet Angelica, who at 22, boldly pivoted from a legal career to pursue her passions in travel and writing. With a focus on sustainable travel, she has explored Asia and Europe, emphasizing local cultural engagement along the way | Specializing in digital nomad travel, crafting comprehensive itineraries, identifying top tour guides, sharing regional insights on Asia, The Americas, and Europe, and advising on eco-friendly travel practices.

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