When is the best time to visit Hanoi?
Hanoi has two optimal times for visiting: Autumn (around September to November) and Spring (March and April). This is the best time to visit Hanoi because of the pleasant temperatures, however Bradley and I visited Hanoi in the Autumn and it was perfect!
I don’t think we had any rain and it was the perfect time to visit Halong Bay, which Hanoi tends to be the base point for booking your tours and arranging transportation etc.
Read Also: The Best Halong Bay Cruise For Backpackers
How do I get to Hanoi?
There are a variety of ways to get to Hanoi.
Flying: You can easily fly to Hanoi from international countries, or you can opt for internal flights within the country which are actually quite reasonably priced.
Try Skyscanner for the best prices.
Buses: The bus network in Vietnam is brilliant and cheap. We used buses the whole way up the country on our route for a crazy cheap price. So regardless of where you are in Vietnam, you can find a bus to Hanoi with ease.
Train: The train network is also very well established in Vietnam and it is considered a very scenic way to travel.
I know you can purchase train tickets quite easily and there are different classes of travel available, including sleeper trains, so I am sure there is something within a backpacker budget if that’s what you’re looking for.
Car: Of course if money isn’t an issue then you could opt for private transfers from your destination in Vietnam to Hanoi.
How long should I stay in Hanoi?
I personally think a 2 or 3 night stay in Hanoi is perfect. It’s got plenty of things to do, and you could stay longer if you wish, but in order to tick everything off this list, it’s going to be around 2 or 3 days.
The Best Places To Visit in Hanoi For Couples
So, now for the good part, a list of the best places to visit in Hanoi for couples.
1. Rent a moped and visit the Ba Vi National Park
Renting a moped across all Vietnam is a good idea, and a popular travel option is actually to moped the whole country yourself. I know Bradley would like to do this one day, but we couldn’t do it because I am too afraid to drive my own moped (I don’t even drive a car back home lol).
Anyway, moped rental in each city is super cheap and the easiest way to get around as you can move in and out between standstill traffic that a city typically has.
But, the first thing you should do with your moped is get “out” of the city. There is a national park, about an hour drive away called the “Ba Vi National Park” and you can drive up and visit church ruins, hot springs (Which we could not find- lol), and there is even a temple on top of a long list of steps with great views.
We didn’t go up the step part, but we drove to the bottom of the steps and the view from up there is amazing. The drive is worth it for the view, and we got to see someone get wedding pictures done which was cool!
On entrance there is a little shop in which you can buy some snacks to take up with you and there is a tiny entrance fee, but since this was almost 2 years ago, I can’t remember it (sorry.)
BTW: here is a tip. Brad and I got a flat tyre when driving our moped, and rather than taking it back to the hire shop, we went to a local mechanic to get it fixed. He charged £2 to change the tyre, get a brand new one, and for his labour.
If we brought that moped back to the store, they would have charged us A LOT more. So basically, in a country as cheap as Vietnam, if something goes wrong with your moped, then try and get it fixed yourself. It will work out cheaper.
2. Take a cooking class
Vietnamese food is one of my favourite cuisines of all time, and you’ll want to take a cooking class trust me! I learnt how to making Vietnamese spring rolls on our Rosa Cruise trip and it was a lot of fun.
You’ll get to go to a market and pick up fresh ingredients, then learn how to cook authentic Vietnamese dishes from local people.
You can find lots of cooking classes around Hanoi. Either ask your hotel/hostel about a cooking class and I have no doubts they either host one, or can help you find one, or you can check on Airbnb Experiences or do what I do, and book on Get Your Guide. I’ve posted two I think are worth considering below.
3. Discover the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel
This is definitely one of the more historical places to visit in Hanoi.This is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its cultural and historical importance, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. It’s also known as the Hanoi Citadel and has artefacts that date as far back as the 6th century- impressive eh!
Tickets are priced at VND 30,000 and it is open from 08:00 to 17:00 every day except Monday. This is about £1 btw…
4. Watch a performance the Hanoi Opera House
If you want to create a romantic date night for two, then the Hanoi opera house is definitely one of the best places to visit in Hanoi for couples.
It’s a beautiful french building and it hosts some amazing music. Check ahead of time to see if there any tickets available for your arrival, or if you fancy just seeing it for what it is, then take a little tour in the day.
5. Hit up the markets of Hanoi
I LOVE the markets of Hanoi. Actually we met a couple on our Halong Bay cruise who we spent an evening hitting up the markets. They literally sell everything here. From quirky toys, jewelry, amazing food, and much more.
The night markets are where it’s at. Some of my favourites include:
- Old Quarter Night Market
- Linh Nam - Hoang Mai Night Market
- Long Bien Night Market
6. Drive around in toy cars
Okay, so this is a different one, but, in the night markets, in the main square of the Old Quarter with a hard rock cafe and a Mcdonalds, there is a section that’s cordoned off to allow children to rent out little mini cars, like fun cars, like little police cars, little firemen trucks etc, but not so little because adults can fit in them too.
And by adults, I mean Brad, I and our two friends we met on our cruise.
It was one of the most childish moments ever, but hell it was SO much fun! And it was like £1 for 15 minutes. So yeah, if you want to release your inner child, then search for the cars!
7. Go on a food tour
The food in Hanoi is delicious. There are so many food stalls, amazing restaurants and sweet treats. I would highly suggest you go on an organised food tour.
Not only is a great place to meet other travellers and make new friends, but it’s also fun having a local guide be able to find you the best food and explain what it is etc.
You can book food tours here.
Or, you can create your DIY food tour by researching the best food stalls and restaurants online and making a little map.
8.Watch an iconic water puppet theatre show
Before I ever even got to Hanoi, I knew about these iconic water puppet theatre shows, yet I didn’t actually go see one. Riddle me that. But this is something that’s very popular among tourists and tickets actually sell out quite quickly.
It’s a tradition known to North Vietnam, hence why it’s so popular in Hanoi. It’s roots actually date back to the 11th century.
The tradition began from a time when rice paddy fields were flooded and villagers would make fun and entertainment by standing in the water, waist deep with puppets and preformed.
They use large rods to support the puppets so it appeared as if they were moving across the water with the person controlling the puppet hidden behind a screen.
I would definitely book in advance if you know when you’re going to be in Hanoi. You can book tours via here. There is definitely a reason why this makes the list of the best places to visit in Hanoi: it’s weird and wonderful, and you won’t forget it!
General admission is around VND 100,000 plus a fee if you plan on recording or taking photos.
9. Dine at Hanoi Old Quarter
Hanoi Old Quarter is one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Hanoi. It offers French-colonial architecture, a rich food culture and a long history and it’s definitely my favourite spot in Hanoi.
The old quarter is home to lots of Hanoi's best attractions, National Museum of Vietnamese History, Ba Dinh Square, a former Governor-General of French Indochina’s mansion, the One Pillar Pagoda, Bach Ma Temple, Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Dong Xuan, Hanoi’s largest market.
Also, it’s filled with brilliant places to eat and there are cinemas showing English movies if you fancy a proper date night.
So either, check on tripadvisor for the best recommendations, or wander around and find a perfect place to eat.
10. Take a day trip to Halong Bay
Halong bay is without doubt of the best experiences of my life. It’s pure beauty is unbelievable and I knew that when we went to Halong Bay, that I wanted to do it right.
We wanted to partake in an overnight cruise, to get the full experience, and considering all the cruises include your accommodation, food and beverages, they are quite good value. Plus it’s just amazing.
Brad’s done the perfect guide to finding the best Halong Bay cruise here.
But if you don’t fancy staying overnight, you can opt for a day cruise. It will be a long day, but if you’re short on time, it still gives you a chance to experience the beauty of the bay.
Brad and I spoke to many travel agents in Hanoi and it was cheaper to book online with booking. Com, so that’s what we did.
But you cannot go to Hanoi and not make the trip to Halong bay. It would be sinful.
11. Tour the Temple of Literature
Fancy a little culture in your life? Then visit this best place to visit in Hanoi. Literature can be very romantic, which is why I think it’s good for couples travelling together.
It’s also very picturesque, so the perfect setting for a cute couples photo. It was originally established as a university in 1070, and it’s very well preserved and a beautiful example of traditional style Vietnamese architecture.
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8:30 - 11:30 & 13:30 - 16:30
Entrance Fee: VND 10,000
12. Visit the Perfume Pagoda
The perfume pagoda is technically outside Hanoi, but I am putting it on my list of best places to visit in Hanoi because it can be a day trip.
Also known as the “inner temple”, it’s at the centre of a very sacred site which features a maze of a variety of Buddhist temples which have been built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich.
The heart of the complex is the Perfume pagoda in the Huong Tich Cave, but there are plenty of other amazing sights to see as well, making this a fantastic day trip from Hanoi.
Do note that it’s an uphill walk to the Perfume Pagoda which will take around an hour, so bring walking shoes or boots to avoid slipping.
13. Get Wet & Wild at Ho Tay Water Park in Hanoi
If you want to just let loose and have fun in one of the most colorful water parks I’ve ever seen, then book your tickets to the Ha Tay Water Park! Bradley and I really do love a waterpark, they are so much fun, and you can bring your gopro on the slides to make cool footage!
If you set off in the morning you could spend a couple of hours here before doing some of the other sights listed above, or if you really want you could spend the full day in the water!
It’s a great way to cool off from the Hanoi heat.
It’s located 5 km from Hanoi Old Quarter and has 10 state of the art water features, including a traditional lazy river.
It’s also attached to an amusement park that has a rollercoaster, pirate ship, UFO, Crazy Wave and a 60 metre high Ferris wheel.
And it’s only $6! COME ON!
14. Find your own unique spots
If you literally get on a moped and drive somewhere you’ll soon find random things that have never been suggested to you, so it’s like a new discovery. We found this random “water park”.
It wasn’t a waterpark, it was more like, a water area that had a pond, a weird swimming pool, some animals, and a little cafe.
It was also empty. We were the only people there, and I don’t even remember the name of it anymore. But, that was unique and different, and to get into the water area, you went through these massive barn doors, so I literally had no idea what we were walking into!
But, it’s something I always remember now.
So get out there and try and find your own adventures. Vietnam is a very safe country, and Hanoi is a safe city, so it’s the perfect place to explore and discover something new.
15. Train Street
There is a little street in Hanoi where the train goes through twice a day. It's super narrow and barley touches the walls on the houses. It's an iconic spot and many travellers visit to get a picture in the narrow street (Ovi not when a train is coming)
Hidden in the narrow streets of the Old Quarter situated between Le Duan and Kham Tien.
Where should I go in Vietnam from Hanoi?
But, if you want to go north then I can recommend some places I haven’t been to yet, but REALLY want to go, and will go.
- Ha Long Bay (as mentioned above)
- Beautiful Sapa rice terraces
- Trang An and Ninh Binh
You can book organised tours to all these locations above, or you can make your own way there via bus/train or even moped.
The sapa rice terraces are world famous and you’ve probably seen pictures of them before. They are beautiful, but the best time to visit them is March to May or September to December.
Some people often combine a trip to sapa with a homestay or farm stay experience which I can imagine is pretty cool, but not something I have done personally.
Where is the best place to stay in Hanoi?
There are some many great places to stay in Vietnam, but I can personally recommend the Old Quarter. We stayed in this fabulous little place with amazing staff (like super friendly), great breakfast and in a really good location.
They even stored our main luggage for us when we went on our Halong bay cruise, which is really useful, because you don’t want to hog a massive backpack on a 4 star cruise :P
You can just bring what you need for a one day trip, or an overnight stay and have less weight on you!
It was called HC Old Quarter View House and you can check it out/book it here.
It’s really stylish too!
You can also check out all hotels in Hanoi here.
So there you have it, I hope you’ve enjoyed my post on the best places to visit in Hanoi for couples! If you’ve got some other suggestions you think I should add to the list, then please drop me a comment below.