VietnamActivities & AttractionsWhat to Do in Hanoi in 3 Days Travel Guide

What to Do in Hanoi in 3 Days Travel Guide

People love to travel but most do not know all of the best places to visit in Hanoi, the signature street food in Vietnam, the time-saving travel tips, and the precautions that need to be taken before visiting the country. We hope that this Vietnam travel guide of What to Do in Hanoi will be helpful to travelers who have 3 days in Hanoi.

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What to do in Hanoi DAY 1: Our Hanoi guide for your first day is exposure to Vietnam’s capital with a combination of history, culture, and finish the day with Vietnamese foods at a night market.

Hanoi 3-day itinerary map: Day 1


Egg Coffee
Duration: 30 minutes

Egg Coffee lemon iced milk

Beer and egg green bean egg

If you are fascinated with Vietnamese coffee then you will love egg coffee. The egg coffee brings a soothing flavor to the drinker with the combination of the strong taste of coffee, the richness of the egg yolk, and the sweetness of the condensed milk. We recommend trying an egg coffee in Hanoi. Other options include lemon iced milk, beer and egg, and green bean and egg.

Hours: 7 AM – 10 PM

Address: Ca Phe Giang, 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi

Price: VND 17,000 or 80 cents

See more Places to Drink Egg Coffee in Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake, the Red Bridge, and Ngoc Son Temple
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary hoan kiem lake

Most of the wedding photo shoots are taken at this place because of the lovely atmosphere here. The lake has its own story behind the name Hoan Kiem Lake. Legend has it that a friend of King Le Loi found a shining metal bar when he went fishing. When this was shown to the King, he transformed the metal bar into a sword to use during battle. The King noticed that the sides of the bar had two words engraved saying “Thuan Thien” meaning “Harmonious with Heaven.” The King used this sword during his battle and won the peace. One year after winning the war the King was riding on a Dragon boat at the lake, at that time, a golden tortoise surfaced and asked for the return of the sword. The King and the tortoise met at the center of the lake. The King threw the sword at the tortoise, who immediately grabbed the sword and went underwater and was never seen again. Since then the lake has become known as Hoan Kiem Lake meaning the “return of the sword” lake.

hanoi 3 day itinerary ngoc son temple 11

After visiting the lake, you should direct yourself to the east side to view the famous temple in Hanoi called “Ngoc Son Temple”. Here you will pass through the lovely gates that will lead you to the Rising Sun Bridge or Red Bridge. The bridge itself is beautifully constructed when you capture it with the water that runs around it. Walking through the bridge, you will reach the “Ngoc Son Temple.” The temple is located on Jade Island. A small fee is charged to wander around this place. It presents monuments of great heroes and legends, like Tran Hung Dao (a wartime hero), Nguyen Van Sieu, and scholar Van Xuong (Confucian Scholars).

hanoi 3 day itinerary ngoc son temple 2

These 3 attractions together make a great place for your Vietnam scenic photography.

Address: Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Hours: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM (Ngoc Son temple)

Entrance fees for Hoan Kiem and Red Bridge: Free

Entrance to Ngoc Son Temple:

– Adult: VND 30,000 (from 15 years old)

– Student: VND 15,000 (present student card)

– Children under 15: Free

Hang Dau Water Tank
Duration: 15 minutes

Hang dau water tower

In 1894, Bot Hang Dau, or Hang Dau Water Tank was built from waste materials from Hanoi Citadel’s collapse. It looks like a 3-level fortress with 25m in length. On the inner walls, there are water tanks made of corrugated iron. Each tank contains 1,250m3 of water. Water from this tank was delivered directly to the citadel where the French lived and was distributed to all the places in Hanoi. After 1954, this water tank was abandoned.

Hours: All-day

Address: Quan Thanh, Nguyen Trung Truc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

LUNCH: Tuyet – Bun Cha 34

hanoi 3 day itinerary bun cha

One of Hanoi’s specialties that visitors should not miss is Bun Cha. It is barbecued pork patties served with vermicelli, a tasty bowl of fish sauce, a basket of herbs, and fresh veggies. With Hanoians, enjoying a bowl of Bun Cha at lunchtime is such a treat. For tourists, Bun Cha is A MUST-EAT to experience one of the bests of Vietnam! In 2016, Anthony Bourdain treated President Obama to a Bun Cha treat although they didn’t go to this exact restaurant.

Hours: 7 AM – 5 PM

Address: 34 Hang Than, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Price: VND 35,000 – VND 55,000 ($1.5 – $2.5)


Hanoi Military History Museum
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

military museum 5

Onward your things to do in Hanoi is visit the Hanoi History Military Museum, which is one of the oldest museums in Hanoi. This is where the films, photos, and documentaries during all of the wars in Vietnam are displayed. Visiting this place, you will have a chance to discover the country’s history throughout the time horizons of fighting for independence. The period starts from the Hung Vuong Era to Chinese colonization, the French, and the Vietnam War.

Hours: 8 AM – 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM (closed on Monday and Friday)

Address: 28A Dien Bien Phu, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 20,000 or $1

Flag Tower of Hanoi
Duration: 15 – 30 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary hanoi flag tower 2

Completed in 1812, Hanoi Flag Tower is one of the symbols of Hanoi. During the period between 1894 and 1897, the majority of Thang Long Imperial Citadel was destroyed by the French, but the Flag Tower is one of the remaining pieces of architecture. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the Bank of Vietnam issued paper money for the image of the Flag Tower on October 10th, 1954 – the Capital Liberation Day.

There is a Highlands Vietnamese coffee chain at the front where you can grab a blended iced cappuccino or a green tea ice-blended to refresh.

Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM

Address: Le Hong Phong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi (Next to the Hanoi History Military Museum)

Entrance: VND 10,000 or $0.5

Bach Ma Temple
Duration: 30 – 45 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary bach ma temple 13

Bach Ma Temple is also known as the White Horse Temple. It was built in the middle of the 11th century and went through a restoration in the late 18th century.

Legend has it that the city walls kept falling when King Ly Thai To was trying to establish the capital in 1010. Fortunately, one day a White Horse came up to reveal where the fortification should be constructed. To show gratitude, the King ordered to building of the Bach Ma or White Horse Temple, and Bach Ma became the protecting symbol of the city.

Hours: 7 AM – 5 PM

Address: 76 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

Hanoi Ancient House
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary Ma May Ancient House

The Ma May Ancient House is one of the most attractive sites in Hanoi, built in the 20th century and restored in 1999. Although it has been renovated, visiting this place is a chance to see a historical witness of the city a hundred years ago. The house consists of a small two-block home linked together by a courtyard. Apart from the old-world style architecture, the impressive point of this building is the presentation in each room where you could see the worship culture, guest-hosting room, and the living style of the Hanoians in the past. Besides, lots of souvenirs for sale are displayed on the ground floor with a broad range of collections.

Hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Address: 87 Ma May, Hang Buong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 20,000 or $1

Evening: Old Quarter Street Food Walking Tour + Hanoi Shopping
Duration: 2 – 3 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary hn old quarter street 2

Located in the heart of Hanoi, Old Quarter is the most famous MUST-VISIT in the Capital of Vietnam. While Hanoi is becoming more developing, the Old Quarter still resists the change of time, especially emphasized by not only the old-style architecture but also the local culture.

Speaking of culture, Vietnamese street food is the first thing that you should not miss when coming to the Old Quarter. If you would like to enjoy most of the Vietnamese foods advised on the cuisine websites all over the World, a Food Walking Tour in the Old Quarter area promises to fulfill your expectations. For your checklist, some of the eateries are highly recommended as follows:

  • Banh Mi – 12 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem
  • Bun Thang – 32 Cau Go, Hoang Kiem
  • Banh Da Tron – 17 Hang Chinh, Hoan Kiem
  • Coconut Ice-cream – 29 Hang Thang, Ba Dinh

Another cultural aspect worth mentioning is Hanoi shopping. During a walking tour through the Old Quarter, you will have a chance to pick up some unique souvenirs made by locals. They would make memorable gifts for yourself after the Hanoi trip, let alone the journeys to modern shopping centers and fancy stores in Hanoi.

What to do in Hanoi DAY 2: Our Hanoi guide for your second day is a good mixture of the culture and religion in the city.

Hanoi 3-day itinerary map: Day 2


Hoa Lo Museum
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary hoa lo prison 34

Hoa Lo Prison or the Hanoi Hilton was the prison used during the French Colonization and the Vietnam War. Built by the French in 1896, it was utilized to hold political prisoners over the period of the First Indochina War. During the Vietnam War, Hoa Lo was infamous for the incarceration of downed US pilots, who ironically nick-named it the Hanoi Hilton.

hanoi 3 day itinerary hoa lo prison 14

Today, this prison is preserved and has been re-created into a museum. In this building, the terrifying displays of shackles, whips, and other instruments of torture from the French colonial are exhibited. Besides, there are some historical pieces of evidence of the Vietnamese prisons’ fighting displayed, and the guillotine is presented at the back of the museum. A visit to Hoa Lo Museum is important to understand more of what the people went through and sacrificed.

Hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM (closed on Monday)

Address: 1 Hoa Lo, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 10,000 or $0.5

Temple of Literature
Duration: 1 hour

hanoi 3 day itinerary temple of literature 67

Established in 1070, the Temple of Literature was first built to honor Confucius and celebrated the doctorates and scholars of Vietnam. In 1076, the temple was restored and used as the first university of Vietnam. In the present day, the Temple of Literature is a tourist attraction because of its typical architectural style and underlying stories. Every year, hundreds of visitors come here to see a lifelong building and discover the educational culture of Vietnam in the past.

hanoi 3 day itinerary temple of literature 57

Hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (closed on Monday and national holidays)

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

Entrance: VND 10,000 or 50 cents

Lunch: Bun Ngan Nguyen Du or Bun Chui

Listed on the top 30 dishes of Hanoi, Bun Ngan Nguyen Du is the destination that you should not miss. This site is very popular with locals due to its duck meat in a thick layer, firmly shaped, and sweet-smelling. Besides, there is a broad collection of duck cooking types such as boiling, frying, and especially grilling

hanoi 3 day itinerary bun chui

Bun Ngan Nguyen Du

Address: 39 Nguyen Du, Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Hours: 7 AM – 10 PM

Price: VND 20,000 – VND 55,000 ($1 – $2.5)

hanoi 3 day itinerary mien ngan

Bun Chui

Address: 41 Ngo Si Lien, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi

Hours: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Price: VND 35,000 – 50.000

hanoi 3 day itinerary bun doc mung


Quan Thanh Temple
Duration: 30 – 45 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary quan thanh temple 2

During the Ly Dynasty (1010 – 1225), the temple was built to honor “Tran Vo” the “God of the North”, who was beloved by all the local Taoists. The name “Quan Thanh” means “Place of the Gods”. It is said that this temple is a sacred place to protect Hanoi from the bad spirits and influences coming from the North direction.

Read more about the Story of Quan Thanh Temple

Hours: 5 AM – 7 PM

Address: Southern shore of Truc Bach Lake, Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 10,000 or $0.5

Tran Quoc Pagoda
Duration: 30 – 45 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary tran quoc pagoda 6

Built more than 1500 years ago, this is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi!

Located on a small peninsula on the banks of the Red River and the East side of West Lake, this pagoda is the home of 10 shrines, including a red Buddha statue trimmed with the gold of Sakyamuni Buddha’s Parinirvana, a masterpiece of Vietnamese sculpture. There are also historical relics dating back to the 1600s.

A garden and water surround the pagoda. Tran Quoc Pagoda is the go-to spot if you’re looking for a picturesque attraction. For a breathtaking view, visit this pagoda at sunset.

Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM

Address: beside the dazzling West Lake (Ho Tay) on Thanh Nien Road, West Lake District, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural
Duration: 30 – 60 minutes

Hanoi ceramic mosaic mural dragons

hanoi ceramic mosaic mural1 gom su 

Over the period from 2007 to 2010, the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural was completed to celebrate the millennial anniversary of Hanoi. This is Vietnam’s first public collective work of art involving 35 professional artists from Vietnam and 10 other countries including America, Britain, Italy Spain, Holland, France, Denmark, Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia. According to the Guinness World Records, this 3.85 KM long mural is the largest ceramic mosaic in the world.

Hours: All-day

Address: Hong Ha, Thanh Vinh, Phuc Xa, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

Long Bien Bridge
Duration: 30 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary long bien bridge

Built from 1989 to 1902, Long Bien Bridge is one of the historical witnesses of the French colonization of Vietnam. Formerly, it was called Paul Doumer by the French, but the Vietnamese prefer Long Bien. Long Bien becomes the most famous bridge because of its unique architecture and especially, the pride of the Vietnamese in the war. In the earlier time, this bridge played a major role in the victory of the Vietnamese against the French as the connection point to deliver the rice supplies from Northern and Northern Central areas of Vietnam to assist in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Further and more vividly, Long Bien Bridge stands still stands, although it was affected by the American bombings.

Nowadays, the bridge is an interesting sight for tourists to have a walk and enjoy the mouthwatering desserts of the vendors. Also, there is a small afternoon market held on this street.

Hours: All-day

Address: Long Bien, Phuc Tan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

Dinner: Pho Bat Dan

Pho Bat Dan

Speaking of Vietnamese food, the world-famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup called Pho is on the top list for all foodies. Hence, it is highly recommended for every traveler in Hanoi.

Pho Bat Dan has been a renowned restaurant getting along with the capital citizens for a long time. The special trait of this place is that it serves the original Hanoian Pho, which is a sweet-smelling, fatty soup, served with fresh, pink slices of beef together with a variety of herbs. There are no specific words that can describe the fantastic taste of Pho. Hence, come and enjoy the best for yourself!

Address: 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Hour: 6 AM – 10 AM, 6 PM – 10 PM

Price: VND 50.000 ($2.5)

What to do in Hanoi DAY 3: On this third day of our What to Do in Hanoi travel guide, this includes the famous places to visit in Hanoi, a museum on the different Vietnamese ethnicities, and a cultural water puppet show.

Hanoi 3-day itinerary: Day 3 


Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary hcm mausoleum 12

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum dates back to 1975, and it offers a close and personal look at the sarcophagus of Ho Chi Minh himself. Plus, you’ll also get a chance to see the Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House, and the One Pillar Pagoda all in the same complex. If you only have one day in Hanoi, check our other Vietnam travel guide and Hanoi’s transportation: Things to do in Hanoi for a Day

The appearance of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is similar to many other communist monuments. In fact, Lenin’s Mausoleum inspired the design of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Before visiting, keep in mind that you must wear formal clothes to enter. Also, note that you’re not allowed to take photos inside and must show up before 10:30 AM.


In the summer: Begin at 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 7:30 AM to 11 AM on Saturday and Sunday.

In winter: Begin at 08 AM to 11 AM on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 8 AM to 11:30 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Closed on Monday and Friday.

Every year closed from 5th September to 5th November

Address: 8 Hung Vuong, Dien Bien, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 10,000 or $0.5

See our guide for Visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

One Pillar Pagoda
Duration: 15 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary one pillar pagoda

Located in the western part of the city, near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda is also known as Dien Huu Pagoda. This pagoda stands as one of the oldest monuments in Vietnam, built under the Ly’s Dynasty in 1049!

One Pillar Pagoda is a symbol of enlightenment. It was built to resemble a lotus flower after a dream from King Ly Thai Tong. The legend said that a Holy Lady sat on a lotus and told King Ly to come up with a similar establishment. Throughout the historical horizon, although there have been several restorations to keep most of this religious construction, it has been partly modified. Today this Pagoda is newly formed and recovered in 1955 and is one of the historical symbols of Hanoi.

Hours: 9 AM – 4 PM

Address: Chua Mot Cot, Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House
Duration: 20 – 30 minutes

hanoi 3 day itinerary hcm mausoleum 3

A 5-minute walk from Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house where Uncle Ho spent the last days of his life. Ho Chi Minh gave up the Presidential Palace nearby to live in this 2-story wooden house because he could not live in a luxurious building while his people were suffering from poor situations.

hanoi 3 day itinerary hcm mausoleum 1

In this small house, there are 2 floors with a couple of rooms where Uncle Ho used to work and sleep. However, visitors are only allowed to see the grounds and rooms, without entering them. Outside are the fish pond and a humble garden where Ho Chi Minh loved to have a walk and enjoyed the natural atmosphere.

Hours: 8 AM – 4 PM

Address: Number 1 Bach Thao, Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Entrance: Free

Lunch: Banh Tom Ho Tay (West Lake Shrimp Cake)

hanoi 3 day itinerary banh tom

Banh Tom Ho Tay

Hours: 7 AM – 11 PM

Address: 1 Thanh Nien Street, Yen Phu Ward, Tay Ho District, Hanoi

Price: VND 80,000 – 132,000


Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Duration: 2 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary ethnology museum

Unlike the majority of museums indicating wartime, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a standout for any visitors looking for interesting facts about the Vietnamese. With 54 ethnic groups, Vietnamese socio-cultural diversity has caught more attention than any tourists hoping to understand the people of Vietnam. To provide all of the expected comprehension, all of the information in this museum is exhibited in a very specific way in both written and visual form. Besides, there are some interactive activities which make the visit much more enjoyable. A visit to this museum should be on your Hanoi things-to-do list. As this museum is located outside of the other suggestions of the third-day travel guide, you should take a taxi to get there.

hanoi 3 day itinerary ethnology museum 9

Hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM (except Monday)

Address: Nguyen Van Huyen, Nghia Do, Cau Giay, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 25,000 or $1.2

Link to the official website of Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam National Museum of History
Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours

hanoi 3 day itinerary vn history museum trang tien street

Vietnam National Museum of History consists of two sites on Trang Tien and Tran Quang Khai Street. The first building on Trang Tien Street is a French-designed architecture. After the war, it was used to cover the prehistory of Vietnam from 1000 years back until the Nguyen Dynasty in 1945. Meanwhile, the other building, also known as the Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution, mainly covers the stories related to the Indochina War and the Vietnam War. Overall, going through the two sites of the museum is a shortcut experience for the visitors to get a glimpse of all of the ups and downs of Vietnamese history.

Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM (closed on every first Monday of the month)

1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kien, Hanoi
216 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 40,000 or $2 per ticket (for both addresses above)

Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
Duration: 1 hour

 Water puppets Water puppets1

Water Puppet Performance is a Vietnamese traditional art date back to the 11th century in the villages of the Red River Delta area, in Northern Vietnam.

Water puppetry is performed in a pool of water with main characters made from wooden puppets. The puppeteers, who stand hidden behind the screen in the water, control the puppets through the bamboo rods. The music played during the performance is live and often depicts a historical event or theme. If you’re looking for relaxing things to do in Hanoi, go to the water puppet theater and enjoy a show.

Hours: 8:30 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 8 PM

Address: 338 Xa Dan, Dong Da, Hanoi

Entrance: VND 100,000 – $5

Hanoi’s Snake Village
Duration: 3 – 4 hours

Hanoi’s Snake Village of Le Mat is considered an off-the-beaten-path itinerary in our What to do in Hanoi guide. At 7 km northeast of central Hanoi, the village evokes every curious traveler with an exceptional experience. Coming to this village, tourists would have a chance to sightsee the snake farm where the snakes are raised and picked out to use for various purposes, especially producing snake meat. Speaking of the village’s specialties, snake meat is only for the adventurous. A visit to this village takes half a day and it is not recommended for the faint-hearted.

Where to Stay in Hanoi

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Booking link: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Quoc Hoa Premiere Hotel and Spa

Booking link: Quoc Hoa Premier Hotel and Spa

Acoustic Hotel & Spa

Booking link: Acoustic Hotel & Spa

Golden Lotus Boutique Hotel

Booking link: Golden Lotus Boutique Hotel

Bonne Nuit Hotel

Booking link: Bonne Nuit Hotel

Hanoi Legacy Hotel

Booking link: Hanoi Legacy Hotel

Splendid Star Grand Hotel

Booking link: Splendid Star Grand Hotel

Summary of our “What to do in Hanoi in 3 days” Travel Guide

Our latest Vietnam travel guide of What to do in Hanoi in 3 Days is packed with insider tips, the best routes and attraction visits to make the best out of your time, and the best Vietnamese foods you should try. With so many places to see in Vietnam, it’s no wonder why tourists keep on returning to Vietnam

Related articles:

Overview of Hanoi’s Districts

How to Get around Hanoi

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