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Hanoi is Asia’s most charming capital city. There’s nothing quite like this blend of colonial mansions, ornate temples, leafy streets, lakes of all shapes and sizes, and an Old Quarter that you can get lost in for days. Then there’s the food culture, unlike anywhere else in the world. Tuck into steaming bowls of noodle soup and bowls of fragrant fresh herbs before a pick-me-up rocket fuel coffee. Then finish off with a beer that will set you back less than a dollar.

Hanoi is also a strange kind of capital. Although it’s Vietnam’s cultural, political, gastronomic, educational, and diplomatic hub, it isn’t the country’s economic hub – that accolade is reserved for Ho Chi Minh City. Here you’ll find that economic progress lives alongside a rich cultural heritage, rather than just bulldozing over it.

Join us on our tailor-made packages that get straight to the heart of Hanoi, showing you what makes the city tick and why it’s so loved by travelers. Or, read on to learn more about this beloved destination and how you can work a Hanoi tour into your next adventure to Vietnam.

Cultural Center of Vietnam

If you even spent 10 years living in Hanoi, you would still be surprised at the amount of hidden gems the city houses within its narrow streets. Gilded temples, quiet lake-side pagodas, and romantic French Villas clamor for space on Hanoi’s narrow streets, while wide-tree boulevards lead to impressive historical attractions and dreamy lakes.

Here, the people are fiercely proud of their city and country’s history, and it shows when making small talk at a café or on the street as well as in Hanoi’s world-class museums, intriguing war memorials, and refined cultural exhibits and workshops.

In addition, due to Hanoi’s location centered between many of the country’s best cultural destinations (Ninh Binh, Sapa, and Lan Ha Bay), itineraries like this one here allow you to soak up the best of northern Vietnam.

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Street Food Culture in Hanoi

While street food has been tamed and prohibited in other Asian capitals, in Hanoi it runs wild and free, as it should. Forget restaurants, hawker centers, and food courts—Hanoi’s best dishes are found right on the street side and consumed while sitting on tiny plastic chairs and stools.

The national dish, pho, is something of a Hanoian institution and you’ll find it everywhere, usually for breakfast or dinner. But you’ll come to know and love many other types of Hanoi classics, from Bun Cha, a grilled pork dish with noodles and salad, to Cha Ca, a sauteed lake fish dish with noodles, fresh herbs, and an entire spice cabinet added to it.

Follow us to our favorite noodle shops and sidewalk kitchens and take your taste buds on the flavor adventure of a lifetime.

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Cafe Culture in Hanoi

Hanoi’s cafes are the answer to Europe’s pubs, just without the alcohol… and the expense. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, coffee shops are where Hanoians from all generations get together to chew the fat. From decades-old coffee houses serving up the classic Vietnamese brew to chic cafes crafting artisanal cappuccinos, Hanoi is a coffee-lovers dream.

Don’t like coffee? That doesn’t mean you miss out on the culture. Coffee shops in Hanoi offer far more than just the black stuff, including a wide range of incredible teas and freshly squeezed tropical juices. Looking for Hanoi’s best coffee? We would love to help.

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Active Urban Lifestyles

Early risers will find Hanoi a surprisingly active city, especially down by the lakes and in the parks. Just after sunrise, these outdoor playgrounds fill with Latin dance groups, teenage bodybuilders, and elderly tai chi troupes.

If you’re a runner, going for an early-morning jog is one of the best ways to experience this side of the city, which disappears with the morning rush hour. Not a morning person? Most come back again at sunset and get a second chance. Coupled with a healthy diet including lots of fresh vegetables, it should come as no surprise that Vietnam is has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world – even in the cities.

Are you an active holiday kind of person? We have some newly developed programs just for you! From jungle marathons to mountain trekking, our specially crafted sport holidays are fun for the whole family.

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Hanoi's Crazy Traffic

After the initial shock of such a chaotic transport system, you might find that getting from place to place is one of Hanoi’s highlights. The motorbike is an icon in Vietnam, and after exploring the tangled alleyways of the city’s streets, you’ll understand why it’s so practical.

Whether you’re walking, running, biking, cyclo-ing, motorbiking, or taxiing, getting around Hanoi will always be its own mini-adventure. And if it’s all too much, simply find a café or restaurant with a view and watch as the beautiful mess flows and unfolds down below.

Travel by land and sea in one of our favorite northern Vietnam adventures utilizing bicycles, motorbikes, and vintage junks.

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Spiritualism in Hanoi

Confucianism, Buddhism, or Taoism? The answer is actually all three. And a bit of Animism and Christianity thrown in for good measure. Hanoi is a hotpot of religions, belief systems, and superstitions.

You’ll find Buddhists that believe in ancestor worship and Christians that believe in reincarnation. The rules are flexible and there are no false idols. This expression of spirituality isn’t hard to encounter in Hanoi, with colonial-styled churches just a few steps away from temples hidden down alleys. See it all with us and learn about this intriguing mix with one of our expert local guides. 

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Vibrant Art Hubs

Hanoi is one of Vietnam’s key art cities, with the country’s best art museum and most prestigious art university. But the most engaging spaces aren’t the museums and galleries, but the art hubs where younger generations push the boundaries.

These hubs usually exist as art ecosystems: Interior design studios that organize avant-garde performance art nights, Old Quarter boutiques that showcase products from Vietnam’s edgiest designers, and contemporary art cafes linked to artist residency programs. This means you can soak up all this creativity while sipping on a coffee or shopping for gifts for your friends back home.

If you love art, gain a deeper perspective of Vietnam’s heart and soul on a dreamy artist escape in and around Hanoi.
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Feeling Inspired?​

Dive deep into Vietnam’s magnificent landscapes and warm culture with these destination-focused itineraries designed to take you further into the country. Or mix and match to create the adventure of a lifetime.

Tours Including Hanoi

5 days | Culture From VND

This 5-day itinerary explores the wonderful traditions and history of Vietnam’s charming capital, Hanoi, through workshops, cycling tours, and off-the-beaten path historical attractions. It also includes a day-trip to the culturally-rich Red River Delta and its many ancient villages and pagodas.

6 days | Culture From VND

Gain a deeper perspective of Vietnam in Hanoi, the traditional and cultural heart of the entire country, with this 6-day artist’s dream escape filled with private collections, hands-on workshops, and contemporary galleries. An added bonus is the overnight homestay in the countryside of the Red River Delta, surrounded by well-preserved ancient villages and sparkling rice paddies.

5 days | Relaxed From VND

​Explore the traditional and cultural heart of Vietnam with this 5-day journey through the best museums and attractions of Hanoi. An added bonus is the overnight homestay in the countryside of the Red River Delta, surrounded by well-preserved ancient villages, grand pagodas, and sparkling rice paddies.

Want to explore Vietnam from North to South? ​

Check out our multi-destination itineraries

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