Exploring Hanoi in one day

Exploring Hanoi in one day can be a bit challenging due to the city’s numerous attractions and rich history. However, with proper planning, you can cover some of the most iconic sights and get a glimpse of the city’s culture and heritage. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a one-day Hanoi city tour:

1. Morning:

Exploring Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple: Start your day at Hoan Kiem Lake, located at the heart of the city. Enjoy a peaceful walk around the lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple, situated on an island in the lake.

Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi:

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the most scenic spots in Hanoi, attracting both locals and tourists alike. The lake has a rich history and is deeply intertwined with Vietnamese legends and folklore. According to the legend, in the 15th century, Emperor Le Thai To was given a magical sword by a divine tortoise, which he used to drive out Chinese invaders. After the victory, while boating on the lake, the emperor saw a giant tortoise emerge from the water to claim back the sword. The emperor interpreted this as a sign and named the lake “Hoan Kiem,” which means “Lake of the Returned Sword.”

The lake’s picturesque beauty is enhanced by the lush greenery surrounding it, including willow trees and vibrant flowers. In the early morning and evening, you can find locals practicing tai chi or jogging around the lake. It’s a peaceful oasis in the bustling city, offering a tranquil atmosphere for relaxation and reflection.

Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi:

Ngoc Son Temple, also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain, is situated on a small island in the northern part of Hoan Kiem Lake. Connected to the shore by the iconic red-painted Huc Bridge (meaning “Morning Sunlight Bridge”), the temple is a cultural and religious symbol of Hanoi.

The temple was built in the 18th century to honor national hero General Tran Hung Dao, who played a significant role in defeating the Mongol invaders during the 13th century. Inside the temple, you’ll find altars, shrines, and historical artifacts, including a preserved giant tortoise that was found in the lake. The tortoise is considered a sacred symbol and is linked to the legend of the returned sword.

Visiting Ngoc Son Temple provides an opportunity to delve into Vietnam’s history and culture while enjoying the serene surroundings of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Both Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple are essential landmarks in Hanoi, reflecting the city’s rich history, culture, and spirituality. They are popular destinations for tourists and a beloved gathering spot for locals, making them integral parts of Hanoi’s identity.

2. Exploring Hanoi Old Quarter:

Hanoi’s Old Quarter
Hanoi’s Old Quarter

After visiting the lake, explore the bustling streets of the Old Quarter. This historic area is known for its charming architecture, narrow streets, and vibrant markets. Don’t miss out on trying some local street food as you walk around.

3. Exploring  St. Joseph’s Cathedral:


Make a quick stop at this stunning neo-gothic cathedral, located near the Old Quarter.


4. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch at a local restaurant. Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), Bun Cha (grilled pork with noodles), and Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich) are some popular dishes to try.


5. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum:

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Visit the final resting place of the revered leader Ho Chi Minh. Note that the mausoleum has specific opening days and hours, so it’s essential to check the schedule beforehand

One Pillar Pagoda: Located near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, this unique pagoda is an iconic symbol of Hanoi.

Temple of Literature: Explore Vietnam’s first national university and a Confucian temple dedicated to scholars and Confucius himself.

Hoa Lo Prison Museum: Gain insights into Vietnam’s history during the French colonial period and the Vietnam War at this former prison, sarcastically referred to as the “Hanoi Hilton” by American prisoners of war.


9.Tran Quoc PagodaTran quoc pagoda from outside

Tran Quoc Pagoda is a famous Buddhist temple located in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. It is considered one of the oldest and most important pagodas in the country. The pagoda is situated on a small island in West Lake

10. Water Puppet Show:

Tran End your day with a traditional water puppet performance, a unique art form originating from the Red River Delta.

Explore the Night Market: If it’s the weekend, head to the Old Quarter to experience the lively Hanoi Night Market, where you can shop for souvenirs, taste local treats, and enjoy the bustling atmosphere.

Remember, this itinerary provides a glimpse of Hanoi’s main attractions, but the city has much more to offer. If you have more time, consider extending your stay to fully immerse yourself in Hanoi’s charm and culture.