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Visit Hanoi the city that never sleeps Vietnam

The city of Hanoi located on the banks of the Red River, is the Capital of Vietnam.

Your first encounter when visiting this huge city of Hanoi, is the extreme use of car-horns you will here everywhere, and it sure is something to get used to.  It is almost like a universal language being used and to me at times was quite annoying, simply because I wasn’t used to it.

It’s a busy city where cars, pedestrians and scooters compete for the right of way but somehow co-exist without any worries. 

An interesting part to explore is the “Old quarter” with its colorful streets.  This area is made up of 16 streets all named after the goods being sold in that street.  Street shops selling fruit and vegetables, flower shops and street vendors make for beautiful photo opportunities.  Here you can capture the heart of Hanoi’s people.

Best Instagram Spots in Hanoi Vietnam

Getting the best Instagram photo opportunity in Hanoi is not about the photo in front of a “seemingly dead building”, but actually capturing the culture of the city.

To get the perfect photo in Hanoi, keep the following in mind:

  • The best Instagram photos are often captured with colorful backgrounds or depicting the culture of the place.  You’ll find many opportunities in the Old Quarters.
  • Iconic photos would be with a walking or cycling traditional street vendor.  Make time to say hallo and introduce yourself mentioning from which country you came.  Importantly, then support their hard work by buying something from them:  Your way of showing appreciation and saying “thank you” for a photo opportunity.

Although the city at times felt like scooter chaos, the green trees everywhere did make it feel more “human friendly”.  And if you have the time to look up, you’ll find some very pretty architecture and balconies in some places.  (In fact all over Hanoi City you will find beautiful buildings with intriguing architecture.)


In the news

The once famous railroad track restaurant street in Hanoi Vietnam has become somewhat of an obsession with Instagram fans.  The search for the perfect photo opportunity in this street has become a dangerous activity.  Café’s with their tables and chairs literally centimeters from the train track, customers quickly moving out of the way when a train passes, people posing for photos on the tracks.  This all lead to the Hanoi municipal government and its local transit authority ordering cafes alongside the train tracks to close during October 2019. (As reported by CNN.)  However, we were informed that from early January 2023, Hanoi Train Street has been fully reopened. We haven’t been back yet, but you might want to let us know when you go.  (on Our Facebook page – post a photo of your travels)

Why should you visit Hanoi - is it worth a visit?

  • Rich Cultural Heritage: Hanoi is a city steeped in history and boasts a rich cultural heritage. As the capital of Vietnam for over a thousand years, the city showcases a blend of traditional Vietnamese, French colonial, and modern influences. You can explore the Old Quarter, known for its narrow streets, bustling markets, and ancient temples. Visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, to get a glimpse of the country’s scholarly past. Additionally, Hanoi is home to numerous museums, including the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Ho Chi Minh Museum, where you can learn about the country’s diverse ethnic groups and its revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh.

  • Vibrant Street Food Scene: Hanoi is renowned for its vibrant street food culture, offering an array of delicious and affordable culinary delights. The city’s streets are lined with food stalls and small eateries, where you can savor authentic Vietnamese dishes such as pho (noodle soup), banh mi (baguette sandwiches), bun cha (grilled pork with noodles), and egg coffee, a local specialty. Exploring the bustling streets of Hanoi and indulging in its street food is an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the local culture and taste the flavors that define Vietnamese cuisine.

These are just two highlights among many reasons to visit Hanoi.

More Instagram or Tourist Travel Stops

  • The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in Ba Dinh.
  • Visit the Temple of Literature with its ornate pavilions, shrines and beautiful gardens.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake with the Ngoc Son Temple in the middle is beautiful.
  • A perfect Instagram photo spot in Hanoi is the beautiful Trấn Quốc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi.  It is located on a small island in Hanoi’s West Lake, Vietnam. (Photo right)
hanoi lake
hanoi pagoda

International airport

The International Airport of Hanoi is Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi (HAN).

Things to do Hanoi

  • Along the way of traditional cuisine, you have to try a noodle dish.  Any noodle dish will do, but also do try their Iced Milk Coffee or Coffee made with Condensed milk.
  • Go on a Rickshaw tour – probably one of the safest and most fun ways to travel.
  • Visit the famous Hanoi night market
  • Attend a traditional Water Puppet Show and visit the Water Puppet Museum
  • Visit the nearby Incense village of Quang Phu Cau and see how they make the incense.  It is also the best place to buy an authentic souvenir.

What you should NOT do:

Showing Public Displays of Affection: Vietnamese culture tends to be more conservative when it comes to public displays of affection. It’s best to avoid excessive physical contact or intimate gestures in public, as they may be considered inappropriate or offensive. Instead, opt for more reserved behavior when in public spaces.  Remember be modest and cover up. 

Disregarding Traffic Rules:

Hanoi’s traffic can be quite chaotic, with a high number of motorbikes and vehicles. It’s crucial to exercise caution and follow traffic rules when crossing the streets. Look for pedestrian crossings, wait for a gap in traffic, and walk steadily across the road. Avoid sudden movements or running, as it can confuse drivers. Additionally, it’s not recommended to rent a motorbike unless you have prior experience and a valid license, as traffic conditions can be challenging for inexperienced riders.

In the City Centre you’ll find the more modern and upmarket part of Hanoi.  Filled with a lively night life and beautiful architectural buildings, the city center is the place where it all is happening for the young at heart.  This is also the place where you will find beautiful accommodation options.

Where to Stay in Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh City

Previously named Saigon, is a mixture of the past and the future.  Famous for its markets and French colonial buildings Ho Chi Minh City, is also an interesting city to visit.

Things to do in and around Ho Chi Minh City

  • Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon is located downtown and was constructed between 1863 and 1880.
  • Visit the War Remnants Museum.
  • Go on a boat trip along the iconic Mekong Delta in a Vietnamese boat.  The Mekong Delta is a series of canals filled with “water markets” and it is the place to find fresh fish.

The International Airport of Ho Chi Minh City is Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport (SGN).

Where to stay in Chi Minh City

Is Hanoi worth a visit

Unfortunately Hanoi is one of the world’s cities with the highest amount of air pollution, and it is sadly and undeniably evident everywhere.

With nerves of steel (for all the scooters and car horns), you might find the city interesting to explore, by just walking through the streets and experiencing the culture. There is really a lot to love about the big city.

In my opinion the natural beauty of Vietnam is the actual reason for visiting the country.  It ranges from breathtakingly beautiful to jaw-dropping stunning.

Ha Long Bay is the place you must see.  Go on a boat trip and explore this wonderful area.  Explore the exceptional countryside of Vietnam.  Venture outside of the city and breathe in the amazing beauty of Vietnam’s nature.

Ha Long Bay

Vietnam at its best. Read more about this beautiful holiday destination.