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Hanoi Explorer: An 8-Day Itinerary

Posted By: Sao La Tours / Vietnam Travel Guides
"8 days in Hanoi" refers to a travel duration in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. This keyword emphasizes the itinerary planning for 8 days in Hanoi. It implies a specific time frame to explore the city's attractions, culture, food, and historical sites. Visitors can follow a suggested itinerary or customize their own to make the most of their 8-day stay in Hanoi.

Hanoi 8-Days Itinerary: Cheap Flights to Hanoi


Planning a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam? With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, Hanoi is a must-visit destination for any traveler. In this 8-day itinerary, we will guide you through the best places to visit in hanoi and provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your trip.

Cheap Flights to Hanoi

Before diving into the itinerary, it's essential to find affordable flights to Hanoi. Several airlines offer direct flights from major cities around the world to Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi's main airport. By comparing prices and being flexible with your travel dates, you can find budget-friendly options and save money for exploring Hanoi's attractions.

Vietnam Itinerary 8 Days – What to do For First-Time Visitors

The Best Hanoi Cooking Class You Need to Experience

The Best Hanoi Cooking Class You Need to Experience - (Source: Collected)

Day 1: Arrival and Exploring the Old Quarter

Upon your arrival in Hanoi, settle into your accommodation and head straight to the Old Quarter, one of the city's most vibrant and historic areas. Explore the bustling streets filled with shops, markets, and street food stalls. Don't miss Hoan Kiem Lake, a picturesque spot where locals gather for leisure activities. Visit the iconic Hoan Kiem Temple and learn about its fascinating legends.

Day 2: Discovering the Cultural Heritage

Begin your second day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Immerse yourself in Vietnamese history and learn about Ho Chi Minh's role in the country's struggle for independence. Continue your cultural journey by visiting the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university.

Day 3: Hanoi Street Tour

Embark on a hanoi street tour to experience the city's authentic local life and culinary delights. Join a guided tour with With Locals Hanoi to explore hidden alleyways, bustling markets, and taste traditional street food such as pho, banh mi, and egg coffee. Interact with friendly locals and gain insight into Hanoi's vibrant street culture.

4 Main Options for 8 Days in Vietnam

Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi - (Source: Collected)

Option 1: Exploring Halong Bay

For nature enthusiasts, spending a few days in Halong Bay is a memorable experience. Take a cruise along the emerald waters, surrounded by towering limestone karsts. Enjoy activities like kayaking, visiting floating villages, and exploring hidden caves. Indulge in fresh seafood while soaking in the breathtaking scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Option 2: Visiting Sapa

If you're seeking mountainous landscapes and unique cultural encounters, consider visiting Sapa. Take a train or bus from Hanoi to Sapa and immerse yourself in the beauty of the rice terraces and ethnic minority villages. Trek through the lush countryside, meet friendly locals, and witness their traditional way of life.

Option 3: Discovering Hue and Hoi An

For history and architecture enthusiasts, exploring the ancient cities of Hue and Hoi An is a must. Fly from Hanoi to Hue and visit the Imperial City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the ancient palaces, temples, and tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty. Then, travel to Hoi An, known for its well-preserved buildings and lantern-lit streets. Explore the ancient town, visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, and indulge in the local cuisine.

Option 4: Exploring the Mekong Delta

If you're interested in the vibrant river life and lush landscapes, consider a trip to the Mekong Delta. Fly from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and embark on a boat tour along the Mekong River. Visit bustling floating markets, explore fruit orchards, and experience the unique culture of the Delta region.

Vietnam Itinerary 8 Days in Detail from the North to the South



Days 5-6: Exploring Hoi An

Arrive in Hoi An and spend two days exploring this charming ancient town. Marvel at the well-preserved architecture, take a lantern-making class, and immerse yourself in the local culture. Visit the beautiful An Bang Beach, sample the local delicacies, and wander through the vibrant night market.

Days 7-8: Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta

Fly to Ho Chi Minh City and spend the remaining days exploring this bustling metropolis and the nearby Mekong Delta. Explore the historic landmarks such as the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. Take a boat tour to the Mekong Delta and experience the vibrant river life. Visit the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War.

Itinerary #1: Vietnam Culinary Adventure

Hanoi Street Food Tours

Hanoi Street Food Tours - (Source: Collected)

Day 4: Hanoi Street Food Tour

Embark on a mouthwatering food tour in Hanoi. Try local specialties such as bun cha, grilled pork with noodles, and nem ran, Vietnamese spring rolls. Explore different food markets and sample a variety of street foods. Don't forget to try the famous egg coffee, a unique Hanoi specialty.

Days 5-6: Hue's Royal Cuisine

Travel to Hue and indulge in the city's royal cuisine. Visit traditional restaurants and taste dishes like banh khoai, a crispy pancake with local herbs and dipping sauce. Don't miss the chance to try bun bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup famous in the region. Learn about the unique cooking techniques and flavors of Hue's imperial cuisine.

Days 7-8: Ho Chi Minh City's Gastronomic Delights

End your culinary adventure in Ho Chi Minh City, where street food stalls and local eateries abound. Try banh xeo, a savory pancake filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts. Sample southern-style dishes such as banh tam bi, a rice noodle dish with shredded pork and coconut milk. Explore the vibrant Ben Thanh Market, where you can find an array of Vietnamese delicacies.

Whether you choose to explore Hanoi's cultural heritage, venture into the stunning landscapes of Vietnam, or embark on a culinary adventure, an 8-day itinerary allows you to experience the best of this captivating country. Plan your trip, book your flights, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through Vietnam.

Itinerary #2: Highlights of Northern Vietnam: Hanoi, Ninh Binh & Ha Long Bay

In this itinerary, we will take you through the highlights of Northern Vietnam, exploring the bustling city of Hanoi, the picturesque Ninh Binh, and the world-famous Ha Long Bay. This journey will give you a taste of the vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and unique experiences that Vietnam has to offer.

Hanoi: A City of Contrasts

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a vibrant mix of ancient traditions and modern developments. The city is known for its bustling streets, rich history, and delectable cuisine. During your visit to Hanoi, make sure to explore the following:

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of Hanoi, is a serene oasis amidst the chaos of the city. Take a leisurely walk around the lake, visit the Ngoc Son Temple on the small island, and witness the iconic red bridge that connects it to the mainland.

Hanoi Old Quarter

The Hanoi Old Quarter is a maze of narrow streets filled with shops, markets, and ancient houses. Take a walking tour through the bustling streets, try local street food, and shop for traditional handicrafts. Don't forget to visit famous spots like Hang Gai Street for silks and Hang Bac Street for silverware.

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a well-preserved complex of temples and courtyards, originally built in 1070. It is dedicated to Confucius and honors Vietnam's finest scholars. Explore the beautiful gardens, traditional architecture, and historical artifacts within the temple grounds.

Ninh Binh: Nature's Paradise

Ninh Binh, often referred to as the "Ha Long Bay on land," is a region known for its stunning landscapes of limestone karsts, lush green fields, and winding rivers. During your visit to Ninh Binh, make sure to explore the following:

Trang An Landscape Complex

Trang An Landscape Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit in Ninh Binh. Embark on a boat tour through a network of caves, rivers, and rice fields, and marvel at the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding you.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest Buddhist complex in Vietnam, featuring ancient temples, stunning statues, and tranquil gardens. Take a walk around the complex, climb up the steps to the main pagoda, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Tam Coc

Tam Coc is often called "Halong Bay on land" due to its similar karst formations. Hop on a traditional sampan boat and float along the peaceful Ngo Dong River, passing through stunning caves and rice fields. Don't miss the iconic "Hang Mua" viewpoint for a panoramic view of Tam Coc.

Ha Long Bay: A Natural Wonder

Ha Long Bay, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its emerald waters, towering limestone islands, and floating fishing villages. During your visit to Ha Long Bay, make sure to explore the following:

Junk Boat Cruise

Embark on a traditional junk boat and cruise through the stunning Ha Long Bay. Marvel at the picturesque landscapes, visit floating fishing villages, and even try your hand at fishing. Enjoy delicious seafood, relax on the sundeck, and witness unforgettable sunsets over the bay.

Cat Ba Island

Take a trip to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Ha Long Bay. Explore the verdant forests, go kayaking in hidden lagoons, and hike up to stunning viewpoints overlooking the bay. Cat Ba Island is also home to diverse wildlife, including the endangered Cat Ba Langur.

Cave Exploration

Ha Long Bay is dotted with numerous caves, each unique in its formations and history. Explore popular caves like Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave), Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave), and Dau Go Cave (Wooden Stakes Cave). Admire the stalactites, stalagmites, and intricate rock formations within these natural wonders.

Itinerary #3: Explore Vietnam's Mekong Delta & Phu Quoc Island

In this itinerary, we will take you on a journey to explore the vibrant Mekong Delta and the pristine Phu Quoc Island in Southern Vietnam. This itinerary will allow you to immerse yourself in the unique culture, natural beauty, and flavors of the region.

Mekong Delta: The Rice Bowl of Vietnam

The Mekong Delta is a fertile region famous for its lush green rice paddies, labyrinthine waterways, and floating markets. During your visit to the Mekong Delta, make sure to explore the following:

Can Tho

Can Tho is the largest city in the Mekong Delta and serves as the main hub for exploring the region. Visit the bustling Cai Rang Floating Market, where boats filled with fresh produce and local goods gather to trade. Take a boat tour along the Mekong River, visit traditional villages, and taste authentic Mekong Delta cuisine.

Ben Tre

Ben Tre is a tranquil province in the Mekong Delta, known for its coconut groves and agricultural activities. Explore the narrow canals on a traditional wooden boat, visit local orchards, and try your hand at making coconut candy. Experience the rural way of life in the Mekong Delta and interact with friendly locals.

Vinh Long

Vinh Long is an idyllic province in the Mekong Delta, dotted with islands and lush fruit orchards. Take a bike ride through the countryside, visit family-run fruit gardens, and indulge in fresh tropical fruits. Don't miss the opportunity to participate in a cooking class and learn how to make traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Phu Quoc Island: A Tropical Paradise

Phu Quoc Island, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is a pristine paradise known for its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and untouched forests. During your visit to Phu Quoc Island, make sure to explore the following:

Long Beach

Long Beach is the main beach of Phu Quoc Island, stretching for over 20 kilometers along the western coast. Relax on the powdery white sand, swim in the turquoise waters, and enjoy stunning sunsets. Long Beach is also home to numerous beachfront resorts, restaurants, and bars.

Phu Quoc National Park

Phu Quoc National Park is a protected area covering more than half of the island's total land area. Embark on a trekking expedition through lush forests, discover hidden waterfalls, and spot unique wildlife species. The national park offers various hiking trails suitable for different fitness levels.

Fishing Village Experience

Visit a traditional fishing village on Phu Quoc Island and learn about the local fishing industry. Get a glimpse of the daily life of fishermen, witness the colorful fishing boats, and even try your hand at casting fishing nets. Enjoy freshly caught seafood at one of the village's local restaurants.

Itinerary #4: Trekking in Rural Vietnam

Trekking through Rice Terraces Sapa

Trekking through Rice Terraces Sapa - (Source: Collected)

In this itinerary, we will take you on an adventurous journey through the rural landscapes of Vietnam, allowing you to experience the country's natural beauty, traditional villages, and ethnic minority cultures. This trekking itinerary is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking an off the beaten path experience.

Sapa: Majestic Mountains and Ethnic Villages

Sapa, located in the mountainous region of Northern Vietnam, is renowned for its stunning terraced rice fields, towering mountains, and vibrant ethnic minority communities. During your trekking adventure in Sapa, make sure to explore the following:

Hiking to Fansipan Peak

Fansipan Peak, also known as the "Roof of Indochina," is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. Embark on a challenging hike to the summit and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. The trek can take multiple days and requires a good level of fitness, but it is an unforgettable experience for adventure seekers.

Trekking through Rice Terraces

Sapa is famous for its mesmerizing rice terraces, sculpted into the mountainside by generations of ethnic minority farmers. Hike through the lush green fields, visit traditional villages, and interact with locals from Hmong, Red Dao, and Tay ethnic groups. Learn about their traditional farming methods and cultural practices.

Cat Cat Village

Cat Cat Village is a Hmong ethnic village located near Sapa Town. Explore the traditional stilt houses, discover the rich textile traditions of the Hmong people, and purchase unique handicrafts made by local artisans. Don't miss the opportunity to witness traditional Hmong dance performances.

Ha Giang: Remote Landscapes and Colorful Cultures

Ha Giang, situated in the far north of Vietnam, is a remote and untouched region famous for its unparalleled natural beauty and diverse ethnic communities. During your trek in Ha Giang, make sure to explore the following:

Dong Van Karst Plateau

Dong Van Karst Plateau is a UNESCO Global Geopark, characterized by its dramatic limestone landscapes and unique cultural heritage. Trek through the karst formations, visit the traditional Hmong, Tay, and Dao ethnic villages, and witness their distinct lifestyles and traditions.

Ma Pi Leng Pass

Ma Pi Leng Pass is a breathtaking mountain pass known for its stunning panoramic views of the Nho Que River and surrounding mountains. Trek along the pass, marvel at the sheer cliffs and deep canyons, and capture the beauty of the landscape. Don't forget to visit Lung Cu Flag Tower, the northernmost point of Vietnam.

Homestays and Ethnic Immersion

Experience the hospitality of ethnic minority communities in Ha Giang by staying in traditional homestays. Immerse yourself in their daily routines, help with farming activities, and savor delicious home-cooked meals. Engage in cultural exchanges, learn traditional crafts, and listen to captivating stories passed down through generations.

More Great Vietnam Itineraries

Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter - (Source: Collected)

In addition to the highlighted itineraries above, there are many more captivating destinations and experiences to explore in Vietnam. Here are some more great Vietnam itineraries to consider:

Hue and Hoi An: Central Vietnam Delights

Discover the imperial city of Hue, with its ancient citadel and royal tombs, followed by the charming town of Hoi An, known for its well-preserved architecture, lantern-lit streets, and riverside cafés.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: Caves and Adventure

Explore the underground wonders of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, home to the world's largest cave, Hang Son Doong. Discover the intricate cave systems, go jungle trekking, and take a boat ride along the Son River.

Beach Escapes: Nha Trang and Mui Ne

Relax and unwind on the pristine beaches of Nha Trang and Mui Ne. Enjoy water activities like snorkeling and diving, indulge in spa treatments, and sample fresh seafood cuisine.

Cultural Immersion: Hanoi Street Tour with Locals

Experience the authentic local life of Hanoi by joining a street tour with locals. Explore hidden alleyways, taste street food delicacies, and learn about the city's fascinating history and culture from knowledgeable guides.


Hanoi Train Street

Hanoi Train Street - (Source: Collected)

Please refer to the map below for an overview of the featured destinations in Northern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, and Ha Giang. Use it as a reference to plan your travel routes and explore the diverse regions of Vietnam.

8 Days in Hanoi: A Perfect Itinerary

Day 1: Explore the Old Quarter

On your first day in Hanoi, kick off your exploration by visiting the iconic Old Quarter. This bustling area offers a glimpse into the city's rich history and vibrant culture. Take a leisurely stroll through its narrow streets and discover its charming architecture, vibrant markets, and traditional shops. Don't forget to try some mouthwatering local street food, such as banh mi or pho, as you navigate the bustling streets.

Day 2: Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

Start your second day with a visit to the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of Hanoi. Take a peaceful walk around the lake and enjoy the serene atmosphere. Don't miss the chance to visit the Ngoc Son Temple, situated on a small island in the lake. This temple is a popular cultural and historical landmark, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.

Day 3: Hanoi Street Tour

Embark on an exciting Hanoi Street Tour to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the city like a true local. Join a guided tour or explore on your own, wandering through the vibrant streets and alleyways. Discover hidden gems, interact with friendly locals, and taste authentic Vietnamese street food along the way. This tour is a fantastic opportunity to delve into the local lifestyle and gain a deeper appreciation for Hanoi's unique charm.

Day 4: Temple of Literature and Hanoi Opera House

Take a step back in time and visit the Temple of Literature, a renowned historical site that dates back to the 11th century. Explore its picturesque gardens, ancient buildings, and traditional Vietnamese architecture. You can also learn about the country's educational history at this site, as it was once Vietnam's first national university.

In the evening, enjoy a cultural performance at the Hanoi Opera House. This grand building is an architectural masterpiece and hosts a variety of shows, including ballet, opera, and traditional Vietnamese performances. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the arts and witness the rich cultural heritage of Hanoi.

Day 5: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum Complex

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum Complex to pay homage to Vietnam's beloved leader, Ho Chi Minh. Take a guided tour of the mausoleum, where his preserved body rests, and learn about his life and contribution to the country's history. Explore the museum to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam's struggle for independence.

Day 6: Thang Long Water Puppet Theater and West Lake

Experience a unique form of traditional Vietnamese entertainment at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. Enjoy a captivating water puppet show, showcasing age-old tales and traditional music. This art form originated in the rural villages of Northern Vietnam and provides a fascinating insight into the country's culture.

Afterward, head to the tranquil West Lake, one of the largest lakes in Hanoi. Take a leisurely walk along its shores and visit the Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in the city. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance and scenic views before heading back to the bustling city center.

Day 7: Day Trip to Halong Bay

Take a break from the city and embark on a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Marvel at its awe-inspiring limestone karsts rising from the emerald waters. Cruise around the bay, explore hidden caves, and enjoy various water activities such as kayaking or swimming. Delight in a delicious seafood lunch aboard the boat and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of this natural wonder.

Day 8: Hanoi Art Galleries and Shopping

Wrap up your 8-day adventure in Hanoi by exploring the city's vibrant art scene and indulging in some retail therapy. Visit renowned art galleries and admire contemporary artworks by local artists. From traditional paintings to modern sculptures, Hanoi has a thriving art scene that showcases the country's creativity and talent.

End your trip with a shopping spree at the lively markets or upscale boutiques in Hanoi. Discover unique souvenirs, traditional handicrafts, and fashionable clothing. Whether you're looking for silk products, lacquerware, or trendy street fashion, Hanoi offers a diverse range of shopping experiences to suit every taste.

With an 8-day itinerary packed with cultural landmarks, local experiences, and natural wonders, you'll leave Hanoi with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for this vibrant city. Make the most of your time by planning ahead and immersing yourself in the rich history and culture that Hanoi has to offer.


In conclusion, an 8-day itinerary in Hanoi offers a perfect balance between exploring the bustling city and immersing oneself in the rich cultural heritage of Vietnam. Visiting iconic landmarks like Hoan Kiem Temple and exploring the lively Old Quarter provides a glimpse into Hanoi's history and charm. Additionally, engaging in local experiences, such as joining a street food tour or partaking in a cooking class with locals in Hanoi, allows for a deeper understanding of the city's authentic culture and traditions. With its vibrant streets, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals, Hanoi is undoubtedly a destination that captivates visitors during their memorable 8-day stay.

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