Things to do on weekdays in Hanoi
While this may not be the Big Apple, Hanoi is still prominent with an attraction to suit every taste and budget. While many other global cities are renowned as club capitals, the Vietnamese capital promises an equally flamboyant setting for the early bird too. From bustling marketplaces to beautiful murals, Hanoi qualifies as both a shoppers paradise and a cultural kaleidoscope. Keep reading to find out whats in store within this intriguing city!
Good to know:
Hanoi traffic starts to become really crowded by 7 am and doesn’t die down until around 9 pm.
Tour the city
During the summer months, the combination of the heat, humidity and clutter of vehicles can create an incredibly stuffy atmosphere. The good news is that Hanoi is a city of morning people. Local companies like Footprint Travel offer a selection of truly unique tours to show you a different side of Vietnam’s marvellous capital. If you can muster the spirit to wake up at 4 am, you will be treated to the ceremonial changing of the honour guards, nocturnal animal gazing, early morning snacks at the thriving markets, and Tai Chi with locals at Hoan Kiem Lake. All this can be crammed into the hours before breakfast, giving you the rest of the day to take it easy.
If you are adamant about cramming as much into your day as possible, consider using Grab taxis as a means of commuting from one place to the next. All the main attractions open from around 8 am, but the traffic is very busy. A nice air-conditioned vehicle will alleviate most of the stress of getting around the city, and it is even possible to hire a driver for the full day.
Long Bien Market is the go-to place for wholesale fruit and vegetables, perfect for the health-conscious traveller. What’s more, if you go to the same stall every day, the vendor will eventually reduce the price to that more comparable with local rates.
If health and fitness is your thing, you will never need to stray too far from your dwelling to find a game of badminton or volleyball. Local Hanoians are very warm people, and many love the opportunity to practice their English, so chances are you will always be welcome to participate. Learn more in our article Sports activities in Hanoi.
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, Ancient House, St Joseph’s Cathedral, Hoa Lo Prison, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and Ngoc Son Pagoda offer fantastic insights into the architectural, cultural and political history of Hanoi.
If you are a fiend for adrenaline, Planet Laser in the Tay Ho district will get the blood pumping. Alternatively, many of the shopping malls here boast cinemas and the bowling facilities could be up your alley too! Nightlife is abundant in Hanoi, and Ta Hien Street is the place to drop by for some ultra cheap locally brewed beer. For just 500,000 VND (17 GBP), you can spoil your friends and yourself for the entire evening. Police do close down most of the outdoor bars here by midnight, due to respect for the nearby hotels. However, most nightclubs in the Tay Ho, Hoan Kiem and Ba Dinh districts remain open until the early hours.
Although Hanoi is a labyrinth populated with rushing, overcrowded motorbikes, a great way to explore the city is with Hanoi Free Walking Tours. Quarterbacked by local students, this is a truly unique and unforgettable way of familiarising yourself with some of the most iconic parts of the Vietnamese capital. Should you wish to do your part for the local environment, check out Keep Hanoi Clean.