Hanoi is a great city to make the most of being outdoors. Here are our top 10 outdoor activities in Hanoi.
1. Hoan Kiem Lake
This city centre lake, which means ‘Lake of the Restored Sword’, is a popular place to visit among visitors and locals alike. Just a short stroll away from the Old Quarter, spot the temple on an island in the lake while you do as the locals do and take an early morning power walk around the lake’s perimeter.
2. Cycling tour
There’s nothing more satisfying than exploring the city under your own steam on a bicycle. Take a guided tour or simply hire a bike and start cycling – it’s exciting to discover Hanoi without a set plan. For those who want to make a full day of it, it’s also possible to explore some of the countryside surrounding Hanoi by bicycle, including the ancient village of Duong Lam, as well as rice paddies and pagodas.
3. Cyclo adventure
If you prefer someone else to do all the hard work, hail a cyclo and embark on a Hanoi adventure with the help of a cyclo operator. You get a real sense of being part of street life from the back of the cyclo, and you can soak up a great sense of Hanoi life in general. Either get a cyclo to a spot you want to visit on the other side of the city, or simply ask your driver to take you on a tour of some of the city’s hotspots.
4. Long Bien Bridge
This steel bridge which crosses the Red River in Hoan Kiem District was built in 1898 by the French. A feat of engineering, this is a popular bridge to cross on foot and take in the amazing views along the way.
5. Motorcycle tour
To see Hanoi from a totally different perspective, embark on a guided motorcycle tour of the city. Learn about the history of the city and get off-the-beaten-track with the help of knowledgeable guides. This form of transport means you can get to the city outskirts quicker too, giving you insights into Hanoi from all angles.
6. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater
You can’t visit Vietnam without seeing a water puppet show, and the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is one of the most popular spots for this. Sit by the water with a drink and enjoy the traditional tales being depicted in this original way.
7. Walking adventure
Sometimes the best way to truly get to know a city is on your own two feet, and Hanoi is no exception. Take yourself on a self-guided tour or join a walking tour – there are plenty going on in the city. There are a number of free tours run by NGOs, which give you new insights into the city. Or join a tour that has a theme you’re interested in, such as a street food walking tour.
8. Market exploration
One of the most exciting indoor-outdoor activities to do in Hanoi is to visit some of the city’s many vibrant markets. Take yourself on your own tour or join a guided tour to learn more about the market history and some of the traders. It’s even possible to do a food market tour to pick up some produce before taking part in a Vietnamese cookery class.
9. Boating in West Lake
Visit another of Hanoi’s lakes – West Lake – to see Vietnam’s oldest pagoda, which was built in the 6th century. One of the best ways to see the surrounding area is to hire a boat and get out on the water – the views of the city are fascinating from this angle. For afters, have a meal at one of the lake’s floating restaurants.
10. Bia Hoi Junction
The perfect outdoor activity in Hanoi to finish any day is a visit to Bia Hoi Junction. This vibrant nightlife spot is full of small bars and plastic stools on the streets – and it feels like the whole city heads here as soon as the sun goes down to enjoy a beer. So why not join them?
Take advantage of these outdoor activities in Hanoi to soak up the very best the city has to offer.