We decided to travel to Vietnam when they ease the restrictions for visitors. We did not want to travel where the destination requires us to undergo COVID-19 tests and quarantine. Even though we were already vaccinated, still we find it inconvenient to travel if there are still strict quarantine rules in a particular country. We know that this pandemic has affected our overall well-being and traveling is something that gives us hope and freedom to enjoy life.
In this blog, we will share with you the activities we did during our Hanoi travel in Vietnam for 5 days. If you want to know the summary of what we did in Vietnam, you can check it out here: —–>>> https://www.blogsnippets.com/3-weeks-itinerary-in-vietnam-on-a-budget/
Just a quick overview of our itinerary, we actually made a draft before traveling. Of course, if you are passing through the Philippine Immigration, having a planned itinerary comes in handy, in case, the officer asks for it. However, during actual travel, we made some adjustments and considerations (in time, distance, budget, and depending on our mood that day). So, as a traveler, our itinerary should always be flexible but still enjoyable and fun. Not the one that is very exhausting.
Please note that this blog will only mention the places we visited in Hanoi. If you want to know WHAT FOODS TO TRY in Hanoi, Vietnam, please check it out here: INSERT LINK
THINGS TO DO IN HANOI VIETNAM 5 DAYS ITINERARY
Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square, Hoan Kiem Lake, Silk Street, Ta Hien Street
Since we arrived at 10:00 am in the Old Quarter area, we were already hungry at the time when we arrived at Noi Bai International Airport. We decided to look for breakfast. We wanted to get hot soup after the flight. We had been at the Manila airport since 2:00 AM in the morning to line up at the Philippine Immigration. Good thing that our flight was on time at 5:30 AM. We arrived in Hanoi at around 8:00 AM, and had our money exchanged at the airport from USD to VND. We waited for the public bus to take us to Old Quarter for around 20 minutes. The travel time took 45 minutes to an hour. If you want to know about the details of the public bus, you can check out our vlog about it here —-> https://youtu.be/rWsHbZE58vs
After we had “brunch”, we headed to the location of our hotel and we were able to check-in before 2:00PM because our room became ready. We felt exhausted from the travel so we took some rest and slept in the afternoon. We went outside at 5:00 pm to visit a local Vietnamese convenience store to buy our essentials like water and snacks we could bring to the hotel. To make the most of our time, we explored the area nearby our hotel and ordered our early dinner food from outside. At night, we went around Old Quarter’s main spot which is the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square (RoundAbout) and Hoan Kiem lake. It’s very vibrant in Hanoi as we visit Silk street and Ta Hien street, popularly known as the “BEER” street where the nightlife is happening. We returned to our hotel by walking before 10:00 PM.
This is how we plot the locations in Google Maps where they can be accessed by walking. Start and End at our hotel.
DAY 1 COST = 426,500 VND (17 USD )
Bus Fare – 45,000 VND / person x 2 = 90,000 VND
Brunch “Pho Bo” – 40,000 VND / person X 2 = 80,000 VND
Smoothies Avocado 40,000 VND & Kum Quat flavor 20,000 VND = 60,000 VND
Items from the convenience store (water gallon, toothpaste, snacks) – VND 81,500
Early Dinner “Spring roll, Spinach, Sauteed Chicken, Rice, and Soup” in a bento box meal – 40,000 VND / person X 2 = 80,000 VND
Bought Yoghurt and Fruits = 35,000 VND
You must try Vietnam’s yoghurt from the grocery. It is so good and cheap.
For the cost, we did not include the expense we had in Manila airport before the flight. We actually bought some bread as our snacks during boarding time early in the morning. Exchange rate: 1 USD = 24,000 VND
Statue of Lenin, Hanoi Flag Tower, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hanoi Book Street
Rise and Shine. It’s always to start the day early. The location of our hotel is very ideal because there are plenty of food options already opened by 6:00 am in the morning in the area. We grabbed breakfast Banh Mi and had Vietnamese Egg coffee at a nearby cafe which was nice because they already accommodated us before 7:00 am.
We only used Google Maps and walked towards our first stop – the Statue of Lenin. It is an 18 feet sculptor of a Soviet dictator during the 1980s and a gift from Russia as a legacy of Communist leader influence in Vietnam. It is located in a public park so access is free. Across the Statue of Lenin is the remarkable Hanoi Flag Tower. Just a few meters walk from Hanoi Flag Tower, you will find the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a huge ancient Imperial building that was built a thousand years ago. Inside the compound, various museums and exhibitions show Vietnamese history. It’s a nice place to walk around and learn about the culture at the same time. We paid 30,000 VND per person for the Entrance fee. We spent our whole morning in these mentioned places. Then we headed back to our hotel to eat lunch and rest. We like taking a rest in between activities. And then in the late afternoon, we headed outside to visit the Hanoi Book Street. This street is full of bookstores, cafes, and souvenir shops. Definitely, worth checking out.
Please see below how we planned our itinerary on day 2.
DAY 2 COST = 410, 000 VND / USD 17
Banh Mi (Breakfast) – 30,000 VND / person X 2 = 60,000 VND
Coffee – 35,000 VND / person X 2 = 70,000 VND
Citadel Entrance Fee – 30,000 VND / person X 2 = 60,000 VND
Bun Cha & Spring Rolls (Lunch) – 120,000 VND Total
Sugar cane juice – 15,000 VND / person X 2 = 30,000 VND
Xoi Xeo and Lemon Juice (Light dinner) – 70,000 VND total
West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ta Hien Street
It was a sunny day when we came to the West Lake area. It is the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi with relaxing parks and stunning water views. You can come here by riding a public bus from Old Quarter. In this area, you will find luxury restaurants and hotels. It is a popular place for expats living in Hanoi. It is near to tourist attractions too.
Located in the South-East part of West Lake, you can find Tran Quoc Pagoda – a top sightseeing Buddhist temple and one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. Free of the entrance with appropriate dress code to be observed here. Walking 650 meters from Tran Quoc Pagoda, you will find Quan Thanh Temple. However, you’ll have to pay a minimal ticket fee for the entrance- 10,000 VND/person. Head to the Presidential Palace built in the 1900s to see French-colonial influence in architecture. But the public visitors are not allowed to enter, you can only take photos from the outside.
When you walk further you will see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. You will have to pass through the security check to come to the premises. If it’s sunny, you better bring protection for your skin, especially when taking photos outside of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum from the open ground. The structure is made of grey granite and you can witness changing of guards in the morning. By the way, it’s only open in the morning. Taking pictures inside is not allowed and backpacks or huge cameras are not allowed.
Just within the premises, you will explore the One Pillar Pagoda. It is free to see the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum facade and the One Pillar Pagoda. These attractions can be touristy in the morning. Then you can take a toilet break from walking around One Pillar Pagoda as there are cafes and souvenir shops in this peaceful well-maintained place. You can also get refreshments and snacks inside the property just like we did. We took a public bus back to our hotel. At night we went out for a stroll to upbeat Ta Hien Street to get dinner and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Hanoi.
Please see below how we planned our itinerary on day 3.
DAY 3 COST =
Breakfast (Banh Mi, Chao Ga, Coffee) – Total 145,000 VND
Bus fare – 7,000 VND / person X 2 = 14,000 VND
Quan Thanh Temple Entrance tICKET – 10,000 VND / person X 2 = 20,000 VND
Kiwi Shake refreshment in Pillar Pagoda – 50,000 VND
Lunch (Bun Bo Hue Special) – 60,000 VND / person X 2 = 120,000 VND
Sugarcane Juice = 25,000 VND, Lemon juice = 15,000 VND
Dinner Spring rolls – 50,000 VND, Ban Cuon – 25,000 VND, BBQ – 20,000 VND, Clams – 80,000 VND, Beer – 20,000 VND
Dong Xuan Market, Long Bien Market, Train Street, Watch the Lotus Puppet Show, visit other attractions around Hoan Kiem Lake
For today’s itinerary, we just wanted to discover the local market in Hanoi. We visited Dong Xuan Market and Long Bien Market for local food. In the afternoon, we decided to explore Train Street (even though it’s closed to tourists due to safety concerns) we managed to get inside this attraction. We also walk further around Hoan Kiem Lake where you can see additional attractions. To fully immerse ourselves in Vietnamese culture, we secured tickets to watch a cultural Lotus Puppet Show and bought it directly from the office in advance. The show usually consumes about an hour. But you have to come early and wait for it to start so you can get nice seating.
Around Hoan Kiem Lake, the main landmark, there are plenty of retail establishments, travel agencies, money exchange shops, cafes, restaurants, and banks whenever you need money. Aside from that there are also additional attractions around the lake that you can see such as Ngoc Son Temple, The Pen Tower, The Clock, King Le Thai To’s Temple, Ly Thai To Monument, and The Martyr’s Monument. You can actually spend two to three hours just exploring Hoan Kiem Lake. You can just sit and relax on the free available benches in the parks to enjoy nature and the scenery of the lake.
DAY 4 COST:
Breakfast Bun Reo – 20,000 VND
Sugarcane juice – 15,000 VND/person X 2 = 30,000 VND
Lunch Ban Goi – 100,000 VND
Lemon Juice – 30,000/person X 2 = 60,000 VND
Bun Dao Mam Tom – 35,000 VND
Dinner Pho = 90,000 VND
Sugarcane Juice – 30,000/person X 2 = 60,000 VND
Take-Out BBQ to eat at hotel – 80,000 VND
St. Joseph Cathedral, Cafe Giang
Before heading to our next destination, we visited St. Joseph Cathedral to appreciate the Gothic revival architecture of this Catholic church which is very close to our hotel. Lastly, one of the highlights of your trip to Hanoi must be trying out their signature egg coffee at Cafe Giang. It is the best egg coffee and the original in Vietnam since 1946.
DAY 5 COST:
Breakfast Banh Mi – 30,000 X 2 = 60,000 VND
Egg Coffee – 35,000 / person X 2
Lunch Pho – 75,000 VND
Public Bus Fare to Airport 45,000/person X 2 = 90,000 VND
Airport Banh Mi – 45,000 VND
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