VIETNAM: One week in Hanoi

Just some suggestions


A whole week in Hanoi? Really? What are you going to do with yourself? Ignore the doubters: a week in Hanoi will fly by if you're keen to take advantage of all that's on offer.

Treat yourself to a chauffeur.
Treat yourself to a chauffeur.

An ex-colleague of mine, now living in Singapore, visited Hanoi at Christmas with his wife and stayed for six days, declaring at the end, "You live in a great city!"What had they done? Very little. "We walked around the lake, again and again," they said after day one, and the theme continued: they walked a lot, drank a lot of coffee, ate in a variety of restaurants, watched the goings-on and fitted in a couple of museums. Hanoi may be a city, but -- as was written some years ago on Travelfish -- you can do nothing and see the best of Hanoi.

What if you want to do more? Start by following our tips on what to do in four days in Hanoi and build from there.

Our favourite Hanoi museum.
Our favourite Hanoi museum.

Feeling active? How about walking, ice skating, cycling, paint-balling or yoga? When the weather's good, check out the swimming pools available for day use around the city, or upgrade for a night or two and stay in a five-star hotel like the Intercontinental to take advantage of their gym and pool facilities.

Keen on museums? Travelfish lists eight museums in central Hanoi, all of which have their virtues, and on top of that you've got the Temple of Literature, the Mausoleum complex and enough temples and pagodas to please any fan.

Want to explore further afield? Many of the traditional craft villages are easily accessible on a day trip, either organised via an agent or accessed by bike or bus. The Perfume Pagoda is another day trip worth considering or head out towards Ba Vi National Park -- still within Hanoi -- stopping at Thay and Tay Pagodas.

Horn village.
Horn village.

So our ideal active week in Hanoi? We'd start with the four days as suggested in our previous post: day one in Old Quarter, with visits to the Women's Museum and Hoa Lu Prison; day two at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, with a walk across Duong Thanh Nien -- incorporating Quanh Thanh Temple and Tran Quoc Pagoda -- and around Truc Bach Lake; day three on a bicycle ride to the surrounding countryside; and day four on a street food or cooking tour, incorporating a market visit.

Day five, we'd recover by relaxing by a pool and indulging in a spa package; day six would be back to the action with a day trip out to the Perfume Pagoda and we'd wrap up the week with a visit to the Thang Long Citadel and some final shopping in Old Quarter.

A week in Hanoi? Easy.

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