Things to do in Hanoi for 3 days – Complete & flexible itinerary

There are plenty of things to do in Hanoi; you can easily spend anything from 3 days to an entire month here. Depending on how many days you have you can explore the place at your own speed and leisure. However, for full-time working professionals like me, 3-4 days is a good time to go around the city and visit places of importance.

Day 1

Travelling from the Airport to Old Quarters.

We had left India at 11:40PM and landed in Hanoi at 11:40AM on the next day with a small layover in Singapore. First thing to do as soon as you get down is to head for the VOA line and fill up the required form. In our case we already had the eVisa, so directly went to the immigration counter and the officer quickly stamped our visa. The process took less than 5 mins, probably because ours was the only flight around that time and also, most people had not opted for eVisa.

By Cab

As soon as we came out some private shared cab drivers started asking us for anything between 5-10$/seat for a trip till the Old Quarters. The problem with these is that not only do they overcharge, but you also need to wait for the entire van/cab to fill before they start.

By Bus

There are 2 main buses, Bus 17 & Express Bus 86 to Long Bien Bus Station.

Bus No 17 costs 10,000 VND (0.5$) and 86 costs 35,000 VND(1.5$). We decided to take whichever bus came first. We got the Express Bus 86 and it was a AC bus with a very helpful conductor. He even helped put down the luggage for my friend, since she had a very heavy backpack. Another advantage of Bus no. 86 is that it accepts USD as payment. I was told by one of the locals that 17 won’t accept USD’s but this is something that you need to verify.

Unfortunately my phone battery gave up on me and no one could give us the proper directions to our hostel. On the bus stand though we found a couple of Grab motorbike riders, I showed them our hostel address and they said they would drop us there for 50,000 VND/person. I negotiated a little and got them down to 1$/person (approx. 23,000 VND). So after a quick 5 mins ride, we arrived at Buffalo Hostel.

On arriving at the hostel, I collected my SIM card from the registration desk. I had pre-booked the SIM card on Klook as I have had an excellent experience with them previously while visiting Bali & Thailand. Buy your 4G Vietnam SIM card (Klook)

Things to do in Hanoi for 3 days – Eat Pho and drink Caphe

Vietnam in general is a food lovers paradise (for non-vegetarians). I cant comment on the vegetarian part as I am hardcore non-veg eater, especially when travelling. After reaching the hostel, we decided to quickly freshen up and then head for a heavy Lunch + Snack [Any idea what do we call such a meal? Let me know in the comments section]

Pho Ga 26 was one of the recommended restaurants by the hostel folks and same was confirmed by google and trip advisor. Once at the restaurant we quickly ordered:

  1. Vietnamese Pho Ga (Pho is a soupy noodle dish and Ga means chicken).
  2. Some rice with Chicken dumplings
  3. Chicken chilly and
  4. To finish everything off the legendary Vietnamese Caphe (Iced Black Coffee served with condensed milk). I consider myself somewhat of a coffee aficionado and the Caphe was so so so good (it even beats one of the worlds most expensive coffee Kopi Luwak that I tasted in Bali).
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See how my eyes have lit up!!
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Things to do in Hanoi for 3 days – Vietnamese Pho Ga
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Things to do in Hanoi for 3 days – Vietnamese Caphe

Things to do in Hanoi, once you are well fed 😀

With our tummies filled, we quickly decided to go on an orientation walk. Orientation walk is something I do on the very first in almost every city I visit just to get a feel of the place. I had grabbed a map of the city from the hostel and asked them for things to cover. I had also loaded the offline maps of the area using hostel wifi (I also had a 4G SIM card with lots of data).

Here’s the route we followed:

Attractions Covered:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • One Pillar Pagoda
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • National Assembly Building
  • Hanoi train street (visited twice)
  • Hoan Kiem Lake in the night.
  • Ngoc Son Temple (located in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake)

After the walk, we came back to our hostel around 7:30PM. There was free unlimited beer till 8PM. We sat next to the pool and talked to a lot of interesting folks. We also had our dinner at the hostel itself (some pizza and some other dish which I don’t recollect now). The hostel had a pub-crawl in the night at 10:30PM, but since we were exhausted we decided to call it a night. Went back to the room, spent some time talk to our dorm mates a very young German couple and their friend who had just arrived from Hong Kong (This was during the recent crisis in Hong Kong). We chit-chatted and then went-off to bed. Tomorrow we had plans to visit Ninh Binh province.

Check out this video of Day 1:

Things to do in Hanoi for 3 days – Hanoi Day 1

Day 2 – Trang An, Ninh Binh

Day 3 – Hanoi to Halong

Read my full review of Buffalo Hostel, Hanoi.

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