▷ The 5 Best Hanoi City Tours [2022 Reviews]

Hanoi is one of the most magical cities in the world, melding the old with the new, a long and intricate history, beautiful architecture and nature, and of course delicious food.

While it’s definitely chaotic at times, it comes with a rich culture, friendly locals, serene landscapes dotted throughout, and many opportunities for learning. Wrought with character, there are always hidden gems lurking around every corner and that can make it difficult to see everything you want.

One of the best ways to learn the ins-and-outs of this place is to take a city tour. We’ve done the hard part for you in order to bring you the top Hanoi city tours available!

Best Hanoi City Tours

 Private Hanoi City Tour - Full DayPrivate Hanoi City TourHalf-Day Hanoi City Tour by Scooter
editors choice
Private Hanoi City Tour - Full DayPrivate Hanoi City TourHalf-Day Hanoi City Tour by Scooter
Departure:Hotel pickup and drop-off available
Hotel pickup and drop-off availableHotel pickup and drop-off available / Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
Departure Time:8:00 am8:30 amVariety available
Duration:8 hours6 to 8 hours4 hours
Includes:Private transportation, local guide, free pick up and drop off at your hotel in Hanoi, local guide, bottled water, set menu lunch, fees and taxesVehicle with A/C., lunch as Vietnamese set menu, entrance fee as mentioned in itinerary, English speaking tour guide,  bottle of waterMotorbike with helmet, professional guide, guided group tour of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, morning tea

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 5 Best Hanoi City Tours For 2022

  1. Private Hanoi City Tour – Full Day
  2. Private Hanoi City Tour
  3. Half-Day Hanoi City Tour by Scooter
  4. Half-Day Hanoi Private City Tour
  5. Hanoi City Motorbike Tour By Locals

Best Hanoi City Tour Reviews

1. Private Hanoi City Tour – Full Day

Private Hanoi City Tour - Full Day

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: 8:00 am
  • Includes: Private transportation, free pick up and drop off at your hotel in Hanoi, expert English-speaking local guide, 0.5l bottle water per person/day, set menu lunch, fees and taxes

The Private Hanoi City Tour – Full Day consistently ranks as one of the top tours in the entire country. If you’re looking to jump right into the deep end of the proverbial Hanoi pool, then you’ll love this tour. By night time, you’ll have seen and learned so much, it’ll be hard to wrap your head around!

The tour starts off with you being picked up at 8:00 am at your hotel or other accommodations. The guides are very friendly, and as they are local to the area, know all about what you’re about to see. However, should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them.

Your first stop of the day is the Temple of Literature & National University, which is the oldest university in the city. Even before going inside you’re sure to be impressed by the elaborate architecture and details built in homage to Confucius and Confucianism. Step inside and learn all about this magnificent structure’s history.

Next up is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which is a somber yet intriguing place. You’ll learn all about how Vietnam had to fight for their independence under French colonial rule.

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Ho Chi Minh passed in 1969, where his body is preserved and currently on display in a glass case inside the structure.

Located right on the side of West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda is an ancient structure dating back over 1,500 years! It’s serious yet absolutely gorgeous, with the tranquil lake offering an environment to help you clear your mind or organize your thoughts. Now, it’s time to enjoy the view, kick back, and enjoy a delicious lunch provided by the tour.

After, head to the Old Quarter where you’ll take a cyclo ride through its narrow, labyrinthine streets before seeing Ngoc Son Temple. Hanging out on a small island in the Hoan Kiem Lake, you’ll learn all about the legend of an emperor, sword, and enormous turtle. Then, watch a traditional water puppet show!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Private Hanoi City Tour

Private Hanoi City Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 6 to 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: 8:30 am
  • Includes: Vehicle with A/C., lunch as Vietnamese set menu, entrance fee as mentioned in itinerary, English speaking tour guide,  bottle of water

Perhaps you’re looking for an experience more directed towards you and your specific group of people. If you want a more customized tour, check out the Private Hanoi City Tour. Put on by an experienced, English-speaking guide, it’s one of the best ways to explore the city and learn about the history of Vietnam.

Your day starts off by being picked up in the morning by your guide. The vehicle does come with A/C so you don’t have to worry about that muggy heat getting to you. Your first stop of the day is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi at Chua Tran Quoc.

Constructed in the 6th-century by King Ly Nam De, Tran Quoc Pagoda is surrounded by lush vegetation and the lake, creating a picturesque scene.

Next, you’ll see the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, which is Ho Chi Minh’s final resting place inside the French-style palace. If you’d like, you can also see the One Pillar pagoda nearby, which was erected by King Ly Thai Tong all the way back in 1049!

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Grow that brain by visiting the Temple of Literature and National University and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Between the two, you’ll have quite the understanding of the country’s history, modern-day culture, and the ethnic people in Vietnam.

Follow all that learning up with a visit to Dong Xuan Market designed by the French colonists during the war. This is the largest indoor market in the city, offering everything from fresh produce and clothing to souvenirs and accessories between the 2,000-plus stalls!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#3 Half-Day Hanoi City Tour by Scooter

Half-Day Hanoi City Tour by Scooter

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available / Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi
  • Departure Time: Variety available
  • Includes: Motorbike with helmet, professional guide, guided group tour of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, morning tea

Perhaps you’d like to explore and learn more about Hanoi, but you have a relatively full day ahead. That’s no problem, as you can sign up for the Half-Day Hanoi City Tour by Scooter! Using this convenient mode of transportation, you’ll be able to maximize your sightseeing and gain a unique perspective on this fun city.

You’ll start off by being picked up at your hotel or other accommodations, and be given a safety briefing by your professional guide.

They’ll tell you all about what to expect, how to stay safe, what it’s like scootering around, and more. At this point, they’ll also show you how to operate the scooter and provide you with a motorbike and helmet.

Your first stop of the day is the Hanoi Opera House, which was constructed from 1901 to 1911. Yes, it took a whopping 10 years to construct! It’s actually a smaller version of the Opera House in Paris, so it’s interesting to see if you’ve already visited the French capital.

Next, see the impressive Temple of Literature & National University, which is always one of the top tourist destinations.

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Originally constructed as a university all the way back in 1070, it’s dedicated to honor Confucius and his teachings. Not to mention, it’s one of the most well-preserved temples in the country and is a wonderful example of traditional architecture from this era.

Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum next, which played a very important piece in the immigration of many Vietnamese. You’ll have plenty of time to learn about the history here, stroll around the botanical gardens, and learn from the monuments and memorials built on location.

Evidently French, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is quite the surprise if you don’t know about the Vietnamese history. Constructed in 1882 after the French conquered Hanoi, it is a beautiful yet somber reminder of the past.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#4 Half-Day Hanoi Private City Tour

Half-Day Hanoi Private City Tour

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: Variety available
  • Includes: Private tour, professional guide, transport by private vehicle, air-conditioned vehicle

Next, we bring you yet another private tour which is ideal if you really want to immerse yourself quickly in Vietnamese culture. The Half-Day Hanoi Private City Tour is fantastic for those who have a packed schedule and don’t have the entire day free to take off and explore.

Lasting just 3.5 hours, it’s easy to fit into your day and you have various start times to choose from. Not to mention, they do offer hotel pickup so you don’t have to plan ahead and plan transportation. Just meet them down in your hotel lobby, hop on and you’re ready to get started!

The guides are incredibly friendly, down-to-earth, and are happy to answer any questions you may have or provide recommendations. First stop of the day is at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you’ll learn about the immigration history of the country and even see the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh.

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The One Pillar Pagoda is nearby, and it’s not only beautiful but has a very interesting history as a Buddhist temple.

Then, head over to the Quan Thanh Temple, which is one of the four Sacred Temples of the capital. Dating back to the 11th century, it is dedicated to Tran Vu, a principal Taoist deity.

Then, get your learning cap on and arrive to the Temple of Literature & National University also constructed around this time! Made of carved blue stone turtles and intricate motifs, it honors talent and encourages study.

Then, feel the energy as you head into the Old Quarter which is great for people watching!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#5 Hanoi City Motorbike Tour By Locals

Hanoi City Motorbike Tour By Locals

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off available
  • Departure Time: Variety available
  • Includes: Lunch, 500ml bottle of water, coffee and/or tea, rain poncho, face mask, helmet, English speaking guide, private transportation

We wouldn’t be able to do a guide on the best Hanoi city tours without including this next excursion! If you’re on a tight budget or simply want to see as much of Hanoi in a short period as possible, you have to give it a go.

The Hanoi City Motorbike Tour by Locals is a pretty straightforward name for this tour as locals will be taking your around to see their magnificent home.

Lasting 4 hours long, you’re going to be traveling by motorbike in order to make the most of your time. Motorbikes are fun, fast, and move quickly in places you may otherwise get stuck in traffic. Your tour guides are locals who know how to navigate expertly while keeping you safe and having a good time.

The first stop of the day after you’re picked up from your hotel will be the St. Joseph’s Cathedral constructed by the French in the late 19th-century. The architecture is absolutely gorgeous, and is an interesting memento left behind after the war.

Next up, see the oldest and most well-known market in the city called Dong Xuan Market. This place is an absolute gold mine and you can very likely find just about anything you’re looking for here.

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All kinds of trinkets, useful tools, food, clothing, and everything in-between is sold here. See the oldest steel bridge build by the French across the Red River which was bombed and damaged many times during the Vietnam War.

Located right next to Long Bien Bridge is the serene Red River Tea Room, where many farmers call home and show you how they live their lives.

Stop at the Chua Tran Quoc, which is a Buddhist temple clocking in at almost 1.5 thousand years old! Head over and see the B52 wreckage that was shot down and landed in West Lake during the war.

Your guides won’t forget to take you to the other top tourist spots like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and will take you for a delicious lunch and coffee afterwards to fuel up.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


Hanoi Travel Guide

best hanoi city sightseeing tours

Getting There

While there are flights that head straight to Hanoi, many visitors opt for an indirect flight routed through Bankok, Singapore, or Hong Kong. This is because the flights are typically much cheaper this way. If you would like to add on a day or two at one of these locations, it’s a great way to see another city/country while saving some money.

There are many airlines that service both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and offer an open-jaw ticket, so you can fly into one and leave from the other. This is perfect if you’re going to stay in other parts of Vietnam aside from Hanoi and Halong Bay.

Prices do vary quite a bit, with July and August, Christmas, and New Year’s typically being the highest.

Getting Around

Hanoi is relatively easy to get around, but the method in which you use depends on your priorities.

Taxis – These are probably the most convenient for most travelers, however, it’s going to cost you. Not only that, but it’s not uncommon for taxi drivers to rip you off if they think you’re a tourist. Of course, Hanoi is a more affordable city but if you’re looking to save then you may want to opt for another method of transport.

Bikes – Bikes are very affordable (around a dollar per day) and easy to rent, but it’s not exactly recommended. Why? Because Hanoi’s drivers don’t exactly follow any kind of law. You’re better off using a motor vehicle yourself.

Motorcycle Taxi Cabs – These are quick and affordable, especially if you aren’t traveling very far. Unlike regular cabs, they don’t come with meters, so make sure to settle on a firm price before hopping on. Oh, and make sure to wear a helmet! If you’re unsure of how much to pay for your journey, it’s best to ask your hotel concierge their opinion and write it down or put it in your phone’s notes.

Cyclo – These fit 1-2 passengers, and are perfect for navigating through the Old Quarter’s narrow streets. It’s more about the experience rather than the transport itself, though.

Bus – Coming in red, white, and yellow, these cover all the famous attractions around the city, along with the Hanoi Train Station. The ticket prices do vary depending on where you’re going, but are more affordable than moto cabs usually.

Walking – This is probably the best way to see the city, if you don’t mind putting in some footwork. There are so many hidden gems around Hanoi – especially in the Old Quarter. This is also the area most pedestrian-friendly, fusing the old and new generations.

Where to Stay

The Old Quarter/Hoan Kiem – If this is your first time in Hanoi, this is where you’re staying. It’s located right in the heart of it all, with accommodations meant to suit any type of budget. Not only that, but some of the biggest attractions and best restaurants are found here.

For a luxury option, check out the Hanoi La Siesta Central Hotel & Spa.
For a nice mid-range option, the Hanoi Marvellous Hotel and Spa is a nice choice.

If you’re on a budget, the Hanoi Esplendor Hotel & Spa is a fantastic option.

West Lake/Tay Ho – If nightlife or top-notch gastronomy are a vital part of your travels, we recommend staying in Tay Ho. Luxe hotels, fine dining, and upscale everything is found here. However, don’t be fooled – there are plenty of affordable places to eat and lay your head, too.

We recommend the InterContinental Hanoi West Lake for beautiful views and upscale service. For the best bang for your buck, the Elegant Suites Westlake is fantastic.

Ba Dinh – Are you bringing along the whole family? If so, you’ll appreciate the laidback vibes of Ba Dinh. It’s very walkable, with beautiful botanical gardens, the Truc Bach lake, and gorgeous architecture. While there aren’t quite as many food or nightlife options, it’s easy to access from here.

Our top choice is the Le Jardin Hanoi which is dripping in luxury, has fast internet, delicious breakfasts, car hire, and much more. Located in the peaceful French Quarter, the Anise Hotel is very affordable yet still offers wonderful views and service.

Hai Ba Trung – Are you the type of person who loves an authentic experience, and throws yourself right in the middle of the action? Then check this place out! Located right next to the Old Quarter, you have everything available to you.

We like La Casa Hotel Hanoi for great views, an enclosed plunge pool on the roof, and comfortable rooms.  Save some money with the beautiful Emerald Hotel Hanoi.

Restaurants and Eating Out

  1. Bánh Mì 25 – If you look up the best banh mi in the city, this is probably going to be at the top of your results. Despite this, it’s still filled with mostly locals, due to its deliciously-authentic flavors and competitive prices.
  2. Bami Bread – These are “Hoi-An-Style” banh mi, which are thinner, crispier, and overall lighter. It’s not as heavy and are perfect for snacking on while venturing around.
  3. Pho Gia Truyen Bat Dan – This legendary pho location has been serving up this savory soup since the 60s, with tender meat, delicate flavors, and consistency that makes it a local favorite. No matter what time you go, you’re probably going to encounter a line, but it’s worth the wait.
  4. Bun Cha Dac Kim – This is one of the best restaurants for bun cha: a traditional regional dish of grilled fatty pork in a soupy bowl and pickled vegetables with rice. Their crab spring rolls are the perfect side!
  5. Bánh Cuon Bà Xuân – Located close to Truc Bach Lake, mostly locals come here and it gets packed. These rice rolls are soft and chewy, and are an excellent snack.
  6. La Terrasse Du Metropole – Located in the plush Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, expect delicacies like oysters, French cheeses and cold cuts, streak-frites, coq-au-vin, or even just a coffee. It’s fancy and delicious.
  7. Sen 60 Ly Thai – Yet another sophisticated spot, this is a buffet housed in a beautiful neocolonial building. Inside, you’ll find supreme seafood selections like sashimi, crab, escargot, and more.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Hanoi has a vibrant nightlife with varied selections sure to satisfy just about anyone. While it may be known as “conservative’, it’s absolutely not! You just have to know where to go and who to go with.

Dragonfly – This club may not look all that lively on the outside, but once you step inside you’ll realize that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover! With gorgeous lighting and a lively dancefloor, it’s a fun place to smoke shisha, sip a cocktail, or just hang out with friends!

Craft Beer Pub – The name is straightforward enough, as it’s literally a pub that offers craft beer. You’ll find a nice offering of both locally-brewed and imported beer from Europe. If you want to find a place to grab a refreshing beer and watch the big game, this is it.

1900 Le Theatre – This club is housed in a very interesting spot standing on the remains of a burnt-down theater. If you’re looking to dance the night away with mainstream music complete with a DJ, this is it. It gets pretty crowded, so we do recommend coming with at least one other person.

Hair of the Dog – Perhaps you want something less noisy and more casual. The Hair of the Dog is very relaxed and ideal for nice conversation and meeting others. The first floor is for locals while the second is for foreigners.

Standing Bar – Yet another ultra-creative name, here you’ll drink your beer while standing up. Enjoy gorgeous lake views while sipping on one of their 16 types of craft beer, or enjoy some comedy shows on Saturday nights!

88 Lounge – Are you looking for a prime location for date night? 88 Lounge is sophisticated, with garden and sofa lounge environments to sit and chat in all night long.

Savage – This is one of our favorite places, with a great sound system, underground electronic music, and friendly locals.

Weather

Oh boy, can Hanoi’s weather get intense. The wet season is muggy, hot, and overcast so air conditioning in vehicles and hotels is a must. However, the dry season is pretty comfortable and clear – albeit a bit humid. Temperatures range from around 50 to 90 degrees throughout the year. You’ll probably want to bring a jacket just in case, no matter what season you visit.

Attractions

Old Town Quarter – We’ve talked quite a bit about this area of the city, but only because it has so much to offer! A maze of alleyways located in the heart of the city, its history spans over 1,000 years. Mixed with medieval architecture and more traditional Vietnamese design, it’s a great way to get to know the local culture.

Here, you can find St. Joseph’s Cathedral constructed in 1886 and is a memento left behind from the French colonial era.

Hoan Kiem Lake – A beautiful, tranquil spot located right on the edge of the Old Town Quarter, it’s a place to stroll around and clear the mind. Head down the red bridge and you’ll see Ngoc Son Temple, which was made in honor of 3 important figures: La To, Van Xuong, and Train Hung Dao.

Temple of Literature – This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, unique places. Originally constructed as a university in the 11th-century, Confucianism and literature was taught here at one time.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – This was once a location of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese. Consisting of many museums and monuments, the mausoleum is a gorgeous marble structure where Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body sits in a glass display. Whether that’s something interesting or weird is up for debate, but it’s certainly a place where you’ll learn a lot about the country’s history and people.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology – This museum holds a fantastically large national collection dating back thousands of years in some cases. These meticulously-curated collections consist of countless artifacts and art pieces including intricate carvings, traditional clothing, and more.

Hoa Lo Prison – Yet another construction from the 19th-century French colonialists, this building was used to keep Vietnamese revolutionaries and essentially anyone else who thought to go against their ruling. Not only that, but many American POWs were kept here during the Vietnam War, including John McCain.

Imperial Citadel – Once the seat of military power in Vietnam, it currently holds the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only is the architecture impressive, but there’s a bunker dating from the Vietnam War where interesting artifacts are displayed.

Thailand – While you are over in Vietnam you should take a trip an explore Thailand as well. There are some spectacular places to visit. Be sure to take a tour of the Phi Phi Islands and the famous James Bond Island from the movie, “The Man With The Golden Gun”.

Tips

  1. Don’t show off expensive gear. This includes cameras (unless you’re taking photos), jewelry, watches, and make sure your wallet is secure and close to you.
  2. Keep on top of your visa situation. Many nationalities require a visa in advance to stay for a maximum of 30 days. You can use an online visa agent as well, which could be the easiest way.
  3. Plan for traffic. Known for its large quantity of bikers, there’s a lot of traffic and a lot of honking. When on the road, it’s complete lawlessness and chaos, so be prepared. When crossing the road you do need to be assertive but watch out for oncoming traffic.
  4. The exchange rate is confusing. Most times, when dealing with money it’s going to be in 6 figures. For example, 100 USD currently equals around 2,340,000 Vietnamese Dong. When you’re paying, it’s easy for someone to rip you off as making mistakes/purposeful errors with notes is also simple when dealing with so many.
  5. Don’t drink the tap water. Better yet, don’t drink any water at all unless it’s a sealed bottle of water.
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The Full Day Private Hanoi City Tour is our Editors Choice for the best tour of the city of Hanoi

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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