5 Off the Beaten Path experiences in Hanoi

Last updated on February 24th, 2019 at 09:29 am

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and it is a great city for tourists and digital nomads like us. There are a lot of places for sightseeing, and many things to do in Hanoi. You can hang out and drink beer, eat street food, drink coffee, walk around parks and lakes – there’s so much to do there!

Today we will tell you about all these hidden places in Hanoi. Here are 5 off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi.

Read here our top Instagrammable places in Vietnam!

How to get to Hanoi

Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport is 35 kilometers away from city center in Hanoi. There are a few airlines coming from different countries in Southeast Asia. There is Cebu Pacific, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Singapore Airlines

Best time to visit Hanoi

Hanoi has a tropical climate, so the city experiences hot and humid days much of the year. The best time to visit Hanoi is in autumn (mid-September to November) and spring (March and April). This is a time when the weather is cooler and pleasant enough.

Click here to know more about the weather in Hanoi!

Transportation around Hanoi

The traffic is crazy in Vietnam so we recommend you to walk around. When distances are bigger you have the choice to use a taxi, Grab or Uber. If you are patient enough you can try to ask for local buses to move around, which are so affordable. This is the best for discovering off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi. Your experience starts in the bus!

Off the Beaten Path experiences in Hanoi

1. Walking around alleys of Hanoi’s Old quarters

off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi, Walking around alleys of Hanoi's Old quarters

Apart from street food walking around the alleys, you will find the real local life in Hanoi. From street barber shops where you can have your hair cut for $1-2, to temples to visit and street food sellers who sell everything that you can imagine. There’s a lot to see!

You can relax and walk around to see all these places. And take your time, because you will find so many interesting things to do and to see that you never saw or heard before.

2. Train tracks in Hanoi

There are a few spots where you can watch the train going inside the streets in Hanoi. It’s an amazing off the beaten path experience in Hanoi. There are a lot of street markets on the side or small shops to see. And there are a few people cooking or hanging out their laundry.

You can watch it in this street:  Ngo 224 Le Duan

Please make sure that when watching the train, you are respectful of the people around and not take any pictures of when the train is moving. People have started to complain about how difficult this situation is and that there are no spaces extra. The best memories will be the ones you saw with your eyes. 

3. Literature Temple in Hanoi

Off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi, Literature temple
Image from Flickr

Temple of Literature in Hanoi is 20 minutes walking from Hoan Kiem Lake – another must to see while visiting Hanoi. The Temple of Literature has five courtyards and there are various pavilions, halls and statues around. Did you know the Literature temple appears in the 100,000 VND bills? Check it out!

The opening hours are from 7 30 to 5 30 pm from April to October and 8 am to 5 pm from October to April. There is an entrance fee of 30, 000 VND which is $1.5. Please remember to bring proper clothes when visiting. No wearing shorts, skirts and showing your shoulders to show them your respect.

More Off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi

4. Get into Food Comma in Hanoi streets

Off the Beaten Path experiences in Hanoi, egg coffee

We have to say that this is our favorite part in every city that we visit in the world. This is what we usually do in Angeles City in the Philippines, where we are based.

Off the Beaten Path experiences in Hanoi, pho

We love to try street and local food everywhere. We recommend for you to try a private food tour in Hanoi. It’s always better to discover gastronomy with a local. We were introduced to egg coffee and this became in our favorite in Hanoi. We were trying to discover new places to make sure we find our favorite and we loved all of them. Pho and Bun Cha are also very delicious street food choices. The food is so affordable in Vietnam and so delicious. We can’t stop including the food in all our memories about Hanoi.

5. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison, off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi
Image from Flickr

The prison was built from the French colonists in 1886 to 1900 and later used for US prisoners during the Vietnam War. The prison was demolished in 1990’s but its still remained as a nice museum to visit in Hanoi.

The prison is a symbol for France’s oppression of Vietnam. The most of the American prisoners were Air Force pilots.

Nowdays the prison is conserved as a museum for the Vietnamese government to show the tortures happening there.

The opening hours are from 8 am to 5 pm every day of the week and it closes from 11 30 am to 1 30 pm. The entrance fee is 30, 000 VND which is $1.5 USD. It’s located in the French Quarter and is one kilometer far from Hoan Kiem Lake. This is the address: 1 Hoả Lò, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàn Kiếm.

For more complete information about Vietnam, read our full travel guide to Vietnam.

Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. He believes in travel without money. Recently, he finished a bicycle trip, 9500 km, from Madrid to North Cape.

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