VietnamHanoiThings to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi

Things to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi

It’s safe to say that Hanoi is a great travel destination. You can never run out of things to do in the capital city of Vietnam. Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant streetside culture on a multi-day tour, walk the Old Quarter on the weekends, or just take a break between flights, the city always seems to know how to cater to its visitors. Read on to find out what you can do on your layover in Hanoi!

Things to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi: Visit Hanoi Landmarks

Upon arriving at Noi Bai International Airport, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed by the city of 10 million people that embraces rich culture and vibrant urban life. To learn more about that, why not tour the historical attractions that breathe Hanoi’s 1000-year-old history?

Note: Since the airport is about an hour away from the city center, a city tour is only viable if you have more than 3 hours to spare.

Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

Google Maps location

Situated about 30 kilometers from Noi Bai International Airport, Hoan Kiem Lake is the center of Hanoi’s key attractions. From here, you can effortlessly explore more of the city. Take a little walk around the lake and then step inside the sacred Ngoc Son Temple, and you’ll feel the tiredness slowly wears away.

Hoan Kiem Lake is always bustling, yet peaceful and calming at the same time

  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 30 kilometers
  • Travel time from the airport: 3 – 4 hours (both ways)
  • Recommended means of transportation: Bus (Route number 86 – VND 30,000/person); taxi (VND 350,000 – 500,000)’
  • Opening hour:
    Hoan Kiem Lake – All day
    Ngoc Son Temple: 7 AM – 6 PM (Monday – Friday); 7 AM – 9 PM (Saturday and Sunday)
    Entrance fee (Ngoc Son Temple): VND 30,000

Stroll around the Old Quarter, then Stop by the St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Address (of the church): 40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

While you’re in the Hoan Kiem District, visit the streets in the Old Quarter, grab some local snacks, and then stop by St. Joseph’s Cathedral – the oldest and most famous church in Hanoi. It features a classic French Revival architecture, representing a remnant of the colonial period.

In front of the church are some lime-iced-tea street stores, where you can sit down to enjoy a refreshing drink and observe the city life

  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 30 kilometers
  • Travel time from the airport: 3 – 3.5 hours (both ways)
  • Recommended means of transportation: Bus (Route number 86 – VND 30,000/person); taxi (VND 350,000 – 400,000); 5-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Opening hour: All day (Exterior visit only)

Read more on Hoan Kiem District Guide

Temple of Literature

Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi

Established in 1070 by order of Emperor Ly Thanh Tong, the Temple of Literature has stood the test of time and become the symbol of Vietnam’s fondness for knowledge. It also offers a rare look into the country’s classic design, which can be described as modifying China’s architectural style.

  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 28 kilometers
  • Travel time from the airport: 2 – 3 hours (both ways)
  • Recommended means of transportation: taxi (VND 300,000 – 350,000)
  • Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
  • Entrance fee: VND 30,000

Long Bien Bridge

Google Maps location

In case you have some time to spare in the evening, stop by the Long Bien Bridge to admire the sunset hues casting on the Red River. Note that since the bridge’s construction dates back to the French colonial era, it is more accessible for bikes or pedestrians to get on the bridge rather than a taxi.

Locals selling fresh produce on Long Bien Bridge

  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 28 kilometers
  • Travel time from the airport: 2 – 3 hours (both ways)
  • Recommended means of transportation: taxi (VND 300,000 – 350,000)

Things to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi: Taste Hanoi’s Famous Cuisine

For the food lovers out there, don’t miss out on Hanoi’s food. The city boasts a vibrant culinary scene characterized by sophisticated flavors made from ordinary everyday ingredients. Here are some eatery spots we highly recommend:

Egg Coffee at Cafe Giang

The famous Egg Coffee at Cafe Giang

  • Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 30 kilometers
  • Travel time: 3 – 3.5 hours (both ways)
  • Opening hours: 7 AM – 10 PM
  • Price range: from VND 40,000
  • Specialty: Egg Coffee, Egg Beer

The shop is within the Old Quarter area but in a rather small alley, so keep looking for the coffee shop. Because this is the one-stop for authentic egg coffee, many visitors visit here daily, eager to taste the drink. Try your best to catch the server’s attention in the crowd, and be prepared to wait for around 10 – 15 minutes for the drinks to come.

Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan

  • Address: 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 29 kilometers
  • Travel time: 3 – 3.5 hours (both ways)
  • Opening hours: 6 AM – 10 AM; 6 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Price range: VND 50,000 – 70,000

Pho Cuon Thanh Hang

  • Address: 29B Ngu Xa, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 26 kilometers
  • Travel time: 2 – 3 hours (both ways)
  • Opening hours: 8 AM – 10 PM
  • Price range: VND 50,000 – 100,000
  • Specialty: Pho Cuon (Pho Springrolls)

Banh Gio Co Beo

  • Address: 3 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi
  • Distance from Noi Bai International Airport: 25 kilometers
  • Travel time: 2 – 3 hours (both ways)
  • Opening hours: 6 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Price range: VND 7,000 – 30,000

Note: Since the airport is quite far from the city center, to save more time on your layover in Hanoi, we’d recommend looking for local restaurants in the Old Quarter to try Hanoi’s signature cuisine.

Things to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi: Go Shopping

Shopping is one of the best ways to spend a layover in Hanoi. Duty-free shops are located at both terminals of the airport, offering traditional Vietnamese souvenirs, snacks, and other amenities. Food courts and restaurants are also conveniently located around the shops.

Or, if you’ve already been out and about outside the airport, check our Hanoi Shopping Guide for the best places to shop!

Things to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi: Get a Massage

Feeling stiff after a long-haul flight? A good Vietnamese massage can help you relax during your layover in Hanoi. The good news is that you don’t have to travel far into the city center; incredible spas can be found near Noi Bai International Airport.

Airport Health Spa

Address: 8B Vo Nguyen Giap, Soc Son, Hanoi
Distance from Noi Bai Airport: 5 kilometers

Massage Foot & Body

Address: 19 Vo Nguyen Giap, Soc Son, Hanoi
Distance from Noi Bai Airport: 5 kilometers

Find out about Tipping Culture in Vietnam

Things to Do on Your Layover in Hanoi: Get Some Rest at the VATC Sleep Pods

The VATC sleep pod service is perfect for getting some quick rest without leaving the airport. The cabin is sound-proofed and comfortable, and it functions like a regular hostel. Plus, you get free water and snacks!

Locations:
Floor 3, Terminal 1, Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi
Floor 2, Terminal 2, Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi
Opening hours: All day
Price: VND 160,000/hour

Or look for a hotel near Noi Bai Airport:

Tips for Your Layover in Hanoi

  • Always check the time: Since the airport is not close to the city center (almost 1-hour drive away), you may want to monitor your layover trips carefully. Leave yourself plenty of time to return to the airport in case of unexpected incidents. If you just have 2 or 3 hours to spend, we suggest staying at Noi Bai.
  • Store your luggage: Noi Bai International Airport does offer luggage storage service, which can be accessed at columns 13 and 14 on the 2nd floor of Terminal 2. The price list is as follows:

Under 10h: 27,500 VND/piece/hour
From 10h – 24h: VND 275,000/package
Over 24h: 275,000 VND x number of days/packages

  • Exchange your currency: Most transactions in Vietnam are in cash, so make sure you exchange some money into Vietnam Dong. There are four money-exchanging spots in Terminal 2, in the public area on the first floor, right after passing immigration, baggage claim, and customs check. In Terminal 1, you can find the money exchange spot on level 1, on the left side of the main exit.

Read more on Money Exchange Spots in Hanoi

  • Check your Visa: Only some nationalities can enter Hanoi without a Visa. So, if you plan to leave the airport, it’s always recommended to double-check your Vietnam Visa!
  • The best way to travel from the airport is by taxi, but there are also ample bus options to the Hanoi center that are convenient and economical.
  • Find private transfer from Noi Bai Airport below:
Klook.com

Enjoy Your Layover in Hanoi

Hanoi’s a city of endless possibilities; whenever you find yourself waiting between flights, give it a chance and explore it. You can’t help but longing to revisit this enchanting city!

Need more Hanoi Travel Tips? Let us know in the comments below

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