Hanoi in 1 Day (Half day walking map included)

So I find myself back in Hanoi, which is a rarity. I've rarely go back to the same city twice, so far only to cities in Japan. Last I was in Hanoi, I had the joy of taking an overnight train over to Sapa valley and also visited Tam Coc, "Halong Bay on land". However I missed Halong Bay itself, which is my main reason for visiting this time. But before that, a nice stroll around town! 

Hanoi's lovely 27C was such a contrast to the 35C heat in Cambodia, and also similar to my last visit to Hanoi in June. Hanoi is just as I remembered it, it's small streets, full of life with people sitting on the pavement enjoying breakfast and selling food. The traffic seems chaotic as usual, however in all the bustle there is an effortless harmony with the pedestrians and motor vehicles.

A local once gave me a tip:

“Trust me and just walk straight, keep walking at the same speed. The drivers here are good, so they will go around you.”


After a very filling lunch, Pho of course, at the Church cafe, it's time to explore Hanoi on foot! I've drawn up the perfect morning or early afternoon walk through the city, passing by a few of the major sites. First you start up north at the Tran Quoc Pagoda, then you continue south to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, and if you wish you can continue onto the History Museum.  

Tran Quoc Pagoda near Lake Ho Tay 

HCM Mausoleum

I was really luck to catch the change of guards. If you wish to go inside the Mausoleum, visits are allowed during early morning only. 


HCM museum

The Ho Chi Minh museum is super good value for money at only 10,000 VND or 50cents US for entry. There's 3 floors with a lot of artifacts, photos, and it is very informative. I even found this old picture of Hong Kong! 


Fine Arts Museum

I don't think I've been to many Arts Museums, but this one was pretty amazing. There are art pieces from all eras, including old carvings all the way up to modern large oil painting pieces. Entrance is only 20,000 VND, $1 US. 

Last time I was in Hanoi I wasn't aware that there was a skyscraper. Lotte Tower was built back in September 2014 and is the 2nd tallest building in Hanoi. It mainly serves as a hotel, residential complex, and also has many restaurants and bars on the top floor. I paid a quick visit on the top floor at the Top of Hanoi (67/F upper deck) and went downstairs to the 63/F for Grill 63 a steak house, thought I had seared scallops. After dinner, I hopped across the hall to Pharoh's bar & upper where a live band was playing. 


Early morning tomorrow, off the Halong Bay finally. It'll be 4 hours drive there and 4 hours drive back, so it'll be a full 12 hour day starting at 8am. Fingers crossed for fantastic weather and great visibility as Halong Bay is known for being foggy.

Hanoi Fine Arts Museum

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