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Hanoi City Exploration: Authentic Local Tours Only

Posted By: Richard Roeffen / Vietnam Travel Guides
Tours by Locals Hanoi offers unforgettable experiences, guided by knowledgeable locals. Discover the hidden gems and iconic landmarks of Hanoi through customized tours tailored to your preferences. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, taste local cuisine, and explore the rich history of Hanoi, all with the guidance of friendly and expert locals. Don't miss out on the opportunity to truly experience Hanoi like a local.

Top 10 Must-See Attractions in Hanoi

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Temple of Literature, Hanoi - (Source: Collected)

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful sights. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, Hanoi offers a wide variety of attractions that cater to every interest. Here are the top 10 must-see attractions in Hanoi:

1. Hoan Kiem Lake

Located in the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling city. The lake is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is home to the legendary Turtle Tower. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the lake, enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the lakeside cafes, or visit the Den Ngoc Son Temple, which is located on a small island within the lake.

2. Den Ngoc Son Temple

Den Ngoc Son Temple, also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain, is a popular attraction located on Ngoc Son Island in Hoan Kiem Lake. The temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, a Vietnamese national hero, and features a beautiful pagoda, a red wooden bridge, and stunning views of the lake. Visitors can learn about the temple's history and admire the intricate architectural details.

3. The Hanoi Old Quarter

The Hanoi Old Quarter is a historic area that has preserved its charming architecture and traditional way of life. Walking through the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, visitors can explore local markets, ancient temples, and traditional Vietnamese houses. It is also a great place to sample delicious street food and shop for souvenirs.

Hanoi Old Quarter 

Hanoi Old Quarter - (Source: Collected)

4. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is a monumental edifice that houses the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of modern Vietnam. Visitors can pay their respects to Ho Chi Minh and learn about his life and his contributions to the country's independence. The mausoleum is surrounded by beautiful gardens and other important landmarks, such as the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

5. Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature, also known as Van Mieu, is a historical and cultural complex that was the first university in Vietnam. The temple is dedicated to Confucius and honors scholars and intellectuals. Visitors can explore the beautiful gardens, visit the various pavilions and altars, and learn about the history of education in Vietnam.

6. Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the "Hanoi Hilton," is a former prison that was used by the French colonists to hold Vietnamese political prisoners and later by the North Vietnamese Army to hold American prisoners of war. Visitors can tour the prison and learn about the harsh conditions that the prisoners endured. The prison now serves as a museum that sheds light on the country's turbulent past.

7. West Lake

West Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi and offers a peaceful retreat away from the city center. The lake is surrounded by beautiful gardens, pagodas, and luxury hotels. Visitors can take a leisurely bike ride or a boat trip on the lake, enjoy a picnic on the lakeside, or visit popular attractions such as Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple.

8. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology is a fascinating museum that showcases the diverse ethnic groups of Vietnam. Visitors can learn about the traditional customs, costumes, and rituals of different ethnic communities through interactive displays and exhibitions. The museum also hosts traditional performances and craft demonstrations.

9. One Pillar Pagoda

The One Pillar Pagoda is a unique Buddhist temple that was built in the 11th century. The pagoda is supported by a single stone pillar, symbolizing a lotus flower emerging from the water. Visitors can admire the pagoda's intricate architecture and explore the surrounding gardens.

10. Vietnam Women's Museum

The Vietnam Women's Museum celebrates the contributions and achievements of Vietnamese women throughout history. The museum showcases the roles of Vietnamese women in family life, the economy, and the country's struggle for independence. Visitors can learn about the traditional customs and daily life of Vietnamese women through interactive exhibits and personal stories.

Discover Hanoi Like a Local with Popular Tours

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda - (Source: Collected)

Exploring Hanoi like a local is a great way to immerse yourself in the city's vibrant culture and hidden gems. There are several popular tours available that offer unique experiences and insider knowledge. Here are some of the best tours to discover Hanoi like a local:

Hanoi Street Food Tour

A food tour in Hanoi is a must for any food lover. Hanoi is famous for its street food, and a guided tour allows you to taste a variety of local dishes and learn about their history and preparation. From the iconic pho Hanoi soup to the delicious banh mi sandwich and the mouthwatering bun cha, a Hanoi street food tour will take you on a culinary adventure through the city's hidden alleyways and bustling markets.

Hanoi City Tour by Bicycle

Exploring Hanoi by bicycle is a fun and eco-friendly way to navigate the city's narrow streets and alleys. A guided bicycle tour will take you to popular attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Old Quarter, and the West Lake, as well as lesser-known neighborhoods and hidden corners of the city. You'll have the chance to interact with locals, sample street food, and gain a deeper understanding of Hanoi's rich history and culture.

Motorbike Tour of Hanoi

A motorbike tour is a thrilling way to experience Hanoi like a local. Hop on the back of a motorbike driven by an experienced guide and explore the city's bustling streets and vibrant neighborhoods. The tour will take you to popular attractions, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature, as well as off-the-beaten-path locations that are only accessible by motorbike. You'll have the opportunity to taste local snacks, visit traditional markets, and witness the daily life of Hanoi's residents.

Hanoi Walking Tour

For those who prefer a leisurely pace, a walking tour is a great way to discover the hidden gems of Hanoi. A knowledgeable guide will lead you through the maze-like streets of the Old Quarter, pointing out historical landmarks, ancient temples, and hidden alleyways. You'll have the chance to interact with locals, sample street food, and browse through traditional crafts and souvenir shops. A walking tour allows you to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of Hanoi.

Hidden Gems and Authentic Experiences in Hanoi

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Bat Trang Ceramic Village - (Source: Collected)

Hanoi is not only home to popular tourist attractions but also hidden gems that offer authentic experiences for those who seek a deeper connection with the city. Here are some hidden gems and authentic experiences in Hanoi:

1. Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Located on the banks of the Red River, Bat Trang Ceramic Village is famous for its traditional ceramics and pottery. Visitors can explore the village's narrow streets and watch skilled artisans create beautiful pottery using traditional techniques. You can also try your hand at making pottery and purchase unique handmade souvenirs.

2. Long Bien Bridge

Long Bien Bridge is an iconic symbol of Hanoi and offers breathtaking views of the Red River. Built during the French colonial period, the bridge is a historical landmark that has withstood the test of time. Visitors can walk or cycle across the bridge, admire the river views, and learn about its fascinating history.

3. Train Street

Hidden amidst the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, Train Street is a unique and quirky attraction in Hanoi. Twice a day, a train passes through a narrow gap between houses, creating a thrilling and surreal experience. Visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the charming cafes along the railway tracks as they wait for the train to pass by.

4. Thu Le Park

Thu Le Park is a peaceful oasis in the heart of Hanoi, offering a green escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is home to a zoo, a lake with pedal boats, and beautiful gardens. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or relax by the lake while enjoying the tranquility of nature.

5. Chua Tran Quoc

Chua Tran Quoc is a historic Buddhist temple located on a small island in West Lake. The temple dates back to the 6th century and is known for its stunning architecture and serene surroundings. Visitors can take a boat ride to the island and explore the temple complex, which features ancient pagodas, beautiful statues, and a peaceful atmosphere.

With its rich history, vibrant culture, and hidden gems, Hanoi offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences for travelers. Whether you're exploring the must-see attractions, embarking on popular tours, or seeking out authentic experiences, Hanoi is sure to captivate and inspire you.


Exploring Hanoi through tours provided by locals offers a unique and immersive experience. The city is known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant street life, making it a perfect destination for tourists. By taking part in a food tour in Hanoi, visitors can savor the authentic flavors of local cuisine, such as the famous Pho Hanoi soup, which is a must-try delicacy. Additionally, the hanoi street tour allows travelers to discover hidden gems and experience the bustling atmosphere of the city's markets and lively streets. Furthermore, a visit to Den Ngoc Son Temple, situated on the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake, provides a tranquil escape from the urban bustle, offering insight into the city's spiritual heritage. With tours by locals in Hanoi, one can truly immerse themselves in the rich history, cultural traditions, and gastronomic delights of this captivating Vietnamese city.

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