Hanoi, Vietnam Holidays & City Breaks

Hanoi, Vietnam Holidays & City Breaks

Hanoi, Vietnam is a vibrant metropolis that invites you to explore its rich history, diverse culture, and bustling streets. Hanoi offers an unforgettable experience filled with ancient temples, mouthwatering cuisine, and fascinating landmarks offering a holiday to Vietnam to remember. 

History & Culture

Tracing its roots back over a thousand years, Hanoi has been shaped by a series of dynasties, invasions, and revolutions. The city served as the capital of various Vietnamese kingdoms, each leaving behind architectural marvels and cultural legacies that still stand today.

In the 19th century, French colonial rule swept through Vietnam, leaving an indelible mark on Hanoi's urban landscape. Elegant boulevards, grand villas, and majestic government buildings sprang up, embodying the distinct blend of East and West that characterises the city. The 20th century brought waves of conflict and struggle, as Vietnam fought for independence from colonial powers.

Today, Hanoi pulsates with life, its streets teeming with motorbikes, street vendors, and the aroma of steaming pho. Yet amid the hustle and bustle, its storied past remains in the form of ancient pagodas and temples, French colonial villas and communist monuments.

Things To Do in Hanoi

One of the most famous roads in the Old Quarter is known as Hanoi Train Street. Here, an active rail route runs straight down a bustling city centre street. There’s only a limited number of services per day but ahead of their arrival, the road has to be cleared of al fresco tables and bikes. You might want to follow the trend of Instagrammers and Tiktokers in snapping a selfie or filming your experience, but care must be taken as train drivers have reported near misses with tourists.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, a popular day trip is to visit the complex of Buddhist temples, shrines and caves known as Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tích mountains.

Food & Drink

Hanoi is a culinary paradise, offering a tantalising array of dishes to reflect its rich cultural heritage. Dive into the bustling street food scene and try a crispy banh mi sandwich, or a fragrant bowl of bun cha (pork and noodles). Don't miss the chance to sip on freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee or indulge in refreshing glasses of bia hoi (the local draft beer), as you sit back and take in Hanoi's vibrant culture. 

Hanoi Hotels

Hotels in Hanoi range from luxurious high-rises to charming boutiques. The five star Somerset Grand Hanoi boasts elegant suites and modern amenities. While Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi - MGallery exudes luxury with its French-inspired design, and the location couldn’t be more convenient. 

Map of Hanoi

20°C - 34°C

Hanoi has a subtropical climate. Between May and September average daytime highs are in the low to mid 30s. The warmest months are also the wettest months.

12 hours (direct) - 19 hours (indirect)
Fly to: Noi Bai International, 35km north of the city centre

Hanoi is best for...

Families: There’s plenty to keep little travellers happy. Let them be mesmerised by a performance at the Water Puppet Theatre. Afterwards, head across to Thong Nhat Park. where they can jump on a swan boat to head across the lake. If the weather’s not favourable they can have hours of fun inside at Kinder Park.

Foodies: There’s a wide selection of cooking classes on offer, allowing you to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine. 

Museum lovers: If you have a thirst for knowledge there’s no shortage of places to fulfil your needs. There’s museums dedicated to Vietnamese history, ethnology, the army, the air force and fearsome female heroines.

Fast facts for Hanoi

Language: Vietnamese is the official language in Hanoi. Around half of locals understand basic English and many restaurants have English translations on the menu.

Currency: The currency used is the Dong (VND).

Local time: Hanoi is 7 hours ahead of GMT. As there’s no daylight saving time in Vietnam, in summer the time difference reduces to 6 hours.

Fly to: Hanoi Airport is known as Noi Bai International and is located 35km north of the city centre.

Flight time from the UK: Direct flights to Hanoi take around 12 hours.

Plug sockets: Vietnam doesn’t have one uniform plug type. European plug adaptors will be suitable for use in many hotels. USB charging points are not commonplace.

Roaming: Many UK operators allow you to use your phone in Vietnam but it can be very expensive. To avoid roaming charges, you can download an app that includes an offline map of Hanoi, allowing you to find your way around the city without needing to use any data.

Tourist Information: Further information for planning holidays to Hanoi can be found at the official website for tourism in Vietnam.

Visa / health: Your passport must have an expiry date more than 6 months after your date of arrival and there must be at least two blank pages. Visas are not required if you plan to stay for 45 days or less. Before you travel, please check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Getting around Hanoi

By public transport: There’s 60 bus routes in Hanoi. You don’t pay on boarding - take a seat and the conductor will be along to take your fare. There’s also a Metro system which doesn’t currently serve many places on the tourist trail, but it’s being expanded.

By taxi: Pricing for standard taxis can be inconsistent. If you want a fixed price set in advance you may opt to use the Grab app (similar to Uber). As well as cars, there’s the option of riding pillion on a motorbike or moped. As drivers generally don’t speak much English it is a good idea to have a piece of paper with your hotel’s address written in Vietnamese. 

By car/motorbike: The international driving permit is not accepted in Hanoi, so hiring a car can be challenging. If you’re comfortable riding a motorbike, it’s much easier to hire (and park) one of these.

Events in Hanoi

Co Loa Citadel Festival: Takes place in January and commemorates King An Duong Vuong, the founder of the ancient kingdom of Au Lac. Immerse yourself in the soul-stirring melodies of Quan Ho, a traditional dual folk singing art form, and marvel at the enchanting performances of water puppetry.

Perfume Pagoda Festival: Despite the name this isn’t somewhere to stock up on scented souvenirs! Perfume Pagoda is actually a Buddhist pilgrimage site. The festival lasts for around two months but if you’re keen on seeing the magnificent Dragon Dance then you’ll need to attend the sixth day.

Thay Pagoda Festival: Held in March to honour Tu Dao Hanh, a revered Vietnamese Buddhist monk. It features sacred ceremonies and mesmerising folk performances, showcasing ancient worship rituals and traditional production methods. You'll feel like you've been transported back in time.

Hanoi weather

Hanoi has a subtropical climate. Between May and September average daytime highs are in the low to mid 30s. In winter overnight temperatures drop below 20°C, so it’s advisable to take a jumper (or similar) if you’re visiting between December and February. The warmest months are also the wettest months.


Best hotels in Hanoi

Is it worth visiting Hanoi?

Absolutely, Hanoi is worth visiting! It's a captivating city offering a unique blend of history, culture, delicious food and local charm. As the gateway to Vietnam, it provides the entrance to a different world.

How many days are enough for Hanoi?

While it depends on your interests, spending at least 3-4 days in Hanoi allows you to explore its top attractions and experience the essence of the city. Although, with the long flight and time difference you may prefer to not try and do too much on your first full day in the city.

Is it safe to walk in Hanoi at night?

Hanoi is generally safe to walk around at night, especially in areas popular with tourists, like the Old Quarter. However, it's always advisable to remain cautious and aware of your surroundings, as with any big city.