Things to do in Hanoi

In Vietnam’s cultural capital you'll try shrimp pancakes, see the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, and cruise Ha Long Bay.

Our most recommended things to do in Hanoi

From Hanoi: Tam Coc, Hoa Lu & Mua Caves Full-Day Trip

1. From Hanoi: Tam Coc, Hoa Lu & Mua Caves Full-Day Trip

Travel by air-conditioned bus from Hanoi to Tam Coc and ride a Sampan boat to impressive caves. Experience local life as you cycle through picturesque villages, explore ancient temples, and enjoy a Vietnamese lunch. Start your tour early with pickup at your hotel in Ha Noi Old Quarter. Hop into the luxury van to visit Hoa Lu, an ancient capital of Vietnam. Visit Dinh king Temple and Le king Temple from the 10th century, and hear about the heroic histories of the two Kings during the Chinese Wars. At midday, sit down for lunch with Vietnamese cuisine at a local restaurant. Continue to Tam Coc and take the sampan go (traditional river boat) along the Ngo Dong river to visit Tam Coc's three caves. Head back to Tam Coc wharf, take your bicycle, and cycle around traditional villages and Tam Coc town. Visit Mua cave, which attracts visitors with its many interesting stories. Climb 500 stone steps to see all the way to Tam Coc, and enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the countryside and Ngo Dong river. In the evening, return Ha Noi.

Hanoi: Islands, Caves, Kayak & Halong Dragonfly Boat Cruise

2. Hanoi: Islands, Caves, Kayak & Halong Dragonfly Boat Cruise

Discover the beauty of Ha Long Bay on a cruise and a guided Kayaking tour. Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch on a cruise to the Thien Cung cave. Get closer to the islands on a leisurely kayaking tour.  After you’re picked up at hotels located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, head out on the drive to Halong Bay, making a short stop halfway to take a short break or restroom. Continue the scenic drive to Halong, reaching Tuan Chau Island pier around midday and board the traditional cruise. Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch onboard and take in the tranquil beauty and breathtaking scenery from the deck. Admire tiny limestone islands with rock arches, sheer cliffs, white sand beaches, peaceful coves, and fanciful names, such as Incense Burner and Fighting Cock (the symbol of Halong Bay). Then, head on to Thien Cung (Heavenly Palace Grotto). Explore its huge chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds. Finally, enjoy 45-minutes of kayaking or paddling a bamboo boat around the islands and water tunnels at the World Natural Area recognized by UNESCO. Return to the Tuan Chau pier and board the bus that will take you back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi in the evening. Lunch menu:• Tomato/ cucumber salad• Fried potato• Steam shrimp• Fried eggs roll• Fried squid • Deep-fried seafood spring rolls• Fried chicken with mushroom• Steamed fish with tomato sauce• Fried vegetables (when in season)• Steamed rice• Fresh fruit• Afternoon fresh fruit and tea

Hanoi: Halong Bay 2-Day Tour with Lodging and Luxury Cruise

3. Hanoi: Halong Bay 2-Day Tour with Lodging and Luxury Cruise

Experience Ha Long - Lan Ha Bay on a 2-day cruise, with a sea view or balcony room, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of entertainment onboard. Swim and kayak in the bay's emerald waters and explore its limestone islands and quaint villages. Day 1: Hanoi Pickup and Ha Long Bay The first day of your cruise begins with a hotel pickup from the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Meet with fellow cruise guests and get to know travelers from all around the world. On your way to Ha Long Bay stop at a humanity center to check out local specialties and products. Arrive at your cruise boat and receive a warm welcome from your captain. Afterward, sit for lunch and savor a delicious meal as the cruise passes through thousands of islands and islets of different shapes. Stop near the floating villages and have the opportunity to kayak in the middle of the bay to admire its fascinating rock formations a bit closer. Return to the boat for the evening and watch a cooking demonstration of Vietnamese spring rolls. Then delight in an idyllic dinner on board. Spend the rest of the night with free time to participate in activities such as squid fishing, karaoke, or star-gazing on the deck. Day 2: Ha Long Bay and Hanoi Drop-off Have an early start to your day with morning exercises and photos. Sip your coffee or tea as you have breakfast. Relax and take in the breathtaking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the crystal-clear water of the bay. Check out of your cabin and then spend the rest of the morning exploring Ha Long Cave. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to impressive rock formations, incredibly tall ceilings, and an interesting legend. From Cave, head back to the cruise boat's restaurant and eat lunch. Disembark for your transfer back to Hanoi.

From Hanoi: Ha Long Bay 2-Day 1-Night Cruise with Meals

4. From Hanoi: Ha Long Bay 2-Day 1-Night Cruise with Meals

Discover Ha Long Bay, known as the “Bay of Descending Dragons” an enchanting bay in the heart of Vietnam. Relax, soak in the scenery, and embrace the culture on this 2-day cruise. This cruise includes a visit to the Sung Sot Cave, the Biggest Cave in Halong Bay. Learn about this UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy the stunning picturesque landscape. Day 1: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay Begin with a pickup from your hotel in the Hanoi Old Quarter in the morning. Set off towards Halong Bay on a 2.5-hour ride. Arrive at the Tuan Chau Harbor by noon, before checking in. Next, your captain will welcome you aboard the cruise with a complimentary drink. Meet the crew for a brief introduction and go through the safety guidelines. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch, cruise along the Emerald Sea, and admire the fascinating rock formations. In the afternoon, visit the Sung Sot Cave before swimming at Titop Island and witnessing the views from the mountain peak. Soak in the sun on a deck chair, sip a cocktail or read a book as you enjoy relaxation. In the evening, gaze at the night sky, as you join the ship’s sunset party. Take a cooking class and master making fresh noodle rolls. Enjoy a delicious set dinner packed full of vibrant flavors. Join in karaoke, play games, or go fishing for squid, before you enjoy a well-deserved night of rest. Day 2: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi Wake up, enjoy the beautiful sunrise on the sundeck, have breakfast, and admire the stunning views. Help yourself to a cup of tea or coffee if you like to kick start your day. Set sail past the magnificent landscapes, visit the Halong Bay Pearl Farm, and learn the history of pearls. Next, you will return to the ship, enjoy an afternoon dip or explore the bay yourself by kayak, the choice is yours. In the afternoon, enjoy a spot of lunch, and relax as you cruise back to Tuan Chau Harbor. You will then head back to Hanoi or your hotel, arriving back by 3:30 PM.

From Hanoi: 2-Day Ha Long Bay Cruise with Meals

5. From Hanoi: 2-Day Ha Long Bay Cruise with Meals

See the best of Halong Bay on this two-day guided cruise. Taste the local seafood and try your hand at cooking traditional dishes. Swim, kayak, fish, sunbathe, and more on this activity-filled adventure.  Day 1: Hanoi - Halong Bay  Start the day with a short cruise briefing and enjoy a welcome drink. Check-in at your cabin. Enjoy a tasty lunch, and a sample of fresh regional seafood while cruising on the clear waters, passing Incense Burner Island, Fighting Cock islet, and Stone Dog. In the late afternoon kayak inside Luon Cave and visit Ti Top Island, or just relax on the boat’s sun deck and take in the views of the bay. Join the sunset party and a cooking class, where you can learn how to make fried spring rolls with fish sauce. In the evening, indulge in the set-menu dinner of Vietnamese and Asian foods. Afterward, join a squid fishing outing with the crew. Cook the fresh squid, play cards or sing your heart out at karaoke.  Day 2: Halong Bay  Set your alarm early and enjoy the sunrise on the sundeck. Take in the morning view of Halong Bay with a cup of tea or coffee over breakfast. Then get transferred to the smaller boat at Suprise cave to explore the most beautiful limestone cave in Halong Bay and its different points of interest and most scenic locations. Cruise to some of Halong Bay’s most untouched areas like Finger Islet and Fighting cook islets. Then, enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch while cruising back to the pier. Finally, end your two-day excursion in Halong Bay.

Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket

6. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre Skip-the-Line Entry Ticket

Book tickets in advance for the best seats for the show at your preferred timing. Skip the lines to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and experience one of Vietnam's most distinctive art forms live on stage.  See a unique art form that originates over 1,000 years ago in the Red River Delta. In the past, water puppetry showed the daily life of villagers such as farming, fishing and romance. Now, watch plays about ancient Vietnamese legends, myths and history. The world-famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi has its roots in an art form that dates back to the 11th century. The tradition of water puppet theater stems from a time when rice paddy fields were flooded and villagers would create entertainment by standing in the waist-deep water with the puppets performing over the water. Using large rods to support the puppets it appeared as if they were moving across the water with the puppeteers hidden behind a screen.

From Hanoi: 2-Day & 1 Night Halong Bay Tour

7. From Hanoi: 2-Day & 1 Night Halong Bay Tour

Experience the stunning landscapes of Ha Long Bay aboard a 4-star junk boat with an onboard cabin on a 2-day 1-night cruise from Hanoi. Learn how to make spring rolls and fish for squid at night. Visit some of the limestone karst islands and marvel at the rock formations of the caves.  Day 1: Hanoi – Halong – Overnight on-board  From 8 to 845 AM, get picked up from your hotel and depart to Ha Long Bay. The bus journey will take around 2.5 hours. Stop en route around 30 minutes at a rest stop. Embark aboard at Tuan Chau International Marina and get a refreshing welcome drink as you check into your cabin. Enjoy an onboard cabin with an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, big windows, and a sea-facing balcony so that you can view Ha Long Bay even from your bedroom. Get access to a hair dryer, wooden hanger, slippers, and complimentary water bottles. Then, cruise amongst the limestone rocks of Ha Long Bay and feast on fresh local seafood. Sail to islets such as "Dog Head" and "Swan" and pass the floating village of Ba Hang. Next, explore Luon Cave by a bamboo boat and get some time to swim at Ti Top Island. Watch the sunset from the sun deck of the boat before dropping anchor for the night. Go on a night squid fishing adventure after dinner, or just relax in the bar. Day 2: Halong - Hanoi Wake to stunning views of Ha Long Bay and take a guided tour of the stalactites and stalagmites of Surprise Cave. Pass the islands of "Fighting Cock," "Incense Burner" and "Stone Dogs" on the way back to the harbor. Watch a demonstration on how to make spring rolls and enjoy lunch before your arrival. Board the bus for the return journey to Hanoi, with an estimated hotel drop-off at around 3:30 PM.

Hanoi: 3-Day Luxury Ninh Binh & HaLong Bay 5-Star Cruise

8. Hanoi: 3-Day Luxury Ninh Binh & HaLong Bay 5-Star Cruise

On this 3-day excursion, discover the incredible landscape and sights of the Ninh Binh province and enjoy an overnight stay in an eco-lodge. Then, ride your shuttle bus to Tuan Chau Island and take a luxury boat for a tour around Ha Long bay and spend the night on board. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery on your limousine bus as you make your way to Ninh Binh. Savor the tranquility of the lodge’s amazing location - surrounded by mountains and rivers..  Visit the ancient city of Hoa Lu or climb to the Hang Mua viewpoint, for a breathtaking panorama over the limestone mountains and rice fields of Valley. Enjoy a boat ride to explore Trang An's natural heritage. Check in to the Trang An Ecolodge and head off by bike or on foot to see the local sights, or relax by the pool or in the peaceful gardens.  Rise bright and early and enjoy a delicious breakfast before leaving for Tuan Chau Island with your shuttle bus. After arriving at the dock, take a small boat to reach your luxury cruise ship, where you will be welcomed aboard with a drink and a refreshing cold towel.  After check-in, enjoy lunch in the onboard restaurant as the boat sails up the winding canals on its way to Ha Long Bay. Then, hop into a canoe or a bamboo boat to explore the dazzling white limestone karsts, emerald green waters, and dark mystery of the Dark and Light Caves. Back on deck, unwind, and admire the magnificent sunset over the Gulf of Tonkin from the pool or at the bar. Then, choose from a range of activities: join a traditional cooking class, get a massage, or work out in the high deck gym with panoramic views. After dinner, you can enjoy the landscape of the bay at night from the top deck, relax with romantic music, or sip refreshing drinks at the bar. You can also try your luck at squid fishing, watch a movie, enjoy a spa treatment, or simply relax in your room. Wake up to an early breakfast before stopping off at a charming local fishing village. After returning to the boat, finish your trip with a hearty brunch while the ship sails back to the harbor. Wave goodbye to the boat from the port and ride in back to Hanoi at the end of the afternoon.

Hanoi: Water Puppet Show Tickets

9. Hanoi: Water Puppet Show Tickets

Skip the lines at the Water Puppet Theater with this service that includes show tickets. Choose from several Water Puppet Show times. Experience one of Vietnam's most memorable and traditional art forms during a live 50-minute performance. The art of water puppetry has a distinct Vietnamese identity. It came into existence more than a thousand years ago in the Red River Delta. In its earliest days, water puppetry portrayed the daily life of villagers – in farming and fishing activities, children’s play and in romance. Today the performance also brings in ancient legends and myths.

Hanoi: 2-Day Halong-Lan Ha Bay 5-Star Cruise

10. Hanoi: 2-Day Halong-Lan Ha Bay 5-Star Cruise

Explore Lan Ha Bay on a 2-day cruise. Enjoy hotel pickup from Hanoi, relax in your luxury cabin, and kayak through the caves in Ao Ech. Day 1 Begin your adventure with a pickup from your hotel in Hanoi's old quarter. Head to Tuan Chau marina to board your cruise and enjoy a welcome drink. Meet the captain and crew and join a briefing about your upcoming cruise and hear some safety instructions. Enjoy lunch in the luxury dining room with indoor and outdoor dining areas. Cruise through Con Vit Islet, Thumb Islet, Gia Luan Harbor, and Lan Ha Bay. Drop anchor for kayaking or swimming at Ba Trai Dao Beach or visit Dark Cave and Bright Cave, depending on the weather. As the sun sinks into the horizon, gather on the sundeck to enjoy the brilliant colors in the sky and relax with tea, coffee, and a cooking demonstration. Make new friends at the sunset party or relax in the onboard swimming pool. Learn how to make the famous traditional Vietnamese spring rolls at the cooking demonstration before enjoying dinner. After dinner, reward yourself with a large selection of cocktails at the panoramic bar or play board games, watch a movie, go squid fishing, or enjoy a massage. Day 2 Start your day with a 6:30 A.M. Tai Chi session on the sundeck to help focus the mind and condition the body. Enjoy a light breakfast while taking in stunning views of the Bay and its dramatic limestone islets. Sail through the calm emerald waters to Ao Ech for a kayaking trip of the caves. After exploring the caves either on your own in a kaya, enjoy a lunch of Vietnamese cuisine. Disembark from the cruise and take a speedboat back to Tuan Chau Marina before driving back to your Hanoi hotel.

Frequently asked questions about Hanoi

What are the best day trips and excursions from Hanoi?

The best day trips and excursions from Hanoi are:

Ha Long Bay

Other Sightseeing Options in Hanoi

Want to discover all there is to do in Hanoi? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Hanoi

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 8,332 reviews

Ninh Binh is beautiful! We particularly liked the 2-hour tour with the bamboo boat and the ascent to Hang Mua. We would have gladly given the temple at the beginning of the tour as a gift and of course it takes a 20-strong tour group to move from A to B. This meant that we arrived 30 minutes late at our accommodation "Ecolodge". Being dropped off in the middle of nowhere and walking down a bumpy path alone with our suitcases made us feel unwelcome. Nevertheless, the landlady prepared an excellent dinner for us. The next day the taxi driver didn't come. Apparently they had forgotten us. However, the Vietnamese have an incredible talent for organization. A taxi came roaring and took us to a minibus. So it went over country over hill and dale to the Aspira Cruse. We probably got the honeymoon suite for that. Top! great crew food ok The big bus back with wifi was very comfortable and safe.

We did the tour on our first day in Vietnam and it was the best decision ever. The food was amazing, our guide Larissa is super nice and helpful. We went to places I wouldn’t have tried on my own. It makes you more confident and want to go past all the touristy food places. Definitely recommend it to everyone!

Very nice tour, a full day with lots to see and to do. Enjoyed it very much.

Our ship is as great , food amazing and service great.

It was a great day a few stairs to get into the cave.