With over a thousand years of history, Hanoi is a spectacular place to visit. From ancient monuments to the fantastic food, the capital has lots to offer.
We’d always recommend having a go on your own when it comes to traveling. However, sometimes it just makes more sense to get some expertise from a local on a guided tour. Keep reading to find out about some of the best tours around Hanoi tailored by locals that can take your Hanoi city experience to the next level.
Bus tours in Hanoi
If you’ve done any research though, you’ll know that Hanoi is an assault on all the senses. The congestion, racket and climate can all make Hanoi rather intimidating. That’s why this somewhat new option for tourists traveling in Hanoi, bus tours, are great if you’re not too sure about traipsing through the maddening streets. English-speaking guides and a decent route make the bus experience a great way to discover the city. If you don’t quite want the strict schedule that a regular tour would give you this is the best alternative.
Hanoi BonBon bus tours
BonBon Bus comes in a fully conditioned retro ’80s or early ’90s style, the tour stops at nine of the most famous landmarks. For the price of 350,000 VND, you will get a dedicated guide on-board who will make sure you have everything necessary to enjoy the experience. Besides, a 200,000 VND voucher for a BonBon Experience Tour + 24-hour BonBon Ticket + three exclusive attractions passes are included in the package price. At the back of your front seat, you will be able to plug in your headphones and choose between the six different audio guide languages: Vietnamese, English, Korean, French, Chinese and German.
Vietnam Sightseeing city bus tour
Vietnam Sightseeing, this hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tour, comes in three different ticketing options: 4 hours, 24 hours and 48 hours, thus prices vary from 220,000 VND to 480,000 VND. Departing from 51 Ly Thai To Street, Hoan Kiem District, the itinerary covers 11 attractions, and the tickets include traveling insurance, bottled water and headphones with multi-language commentary that also ensure you listen clearly to the live guide on board. It’s a great option as a new bus passes every 30 minutes.
Hop On-Hop Off Hanoi City Tour
The Hop On-Hop Off Hanoi City Tour stops at 14 attractions in Hanoi, on double-decker buses. This lets you decide if you want to admire the city from a higher point of view on the roof or protect yourself from the elements in an air-conditioned first level. For 470,000 VND, your ticket allows you to enjoy the bus for 24 hours. The on-board guide speaks English and Vietnamese, while the provided audio guide comes in more than 10 languages. From the meeting point of Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the bus facilitates the visit of tourist spots at distances that could become troublesome to cover by foot.
Hanoi food tours
Hanoi’s culinary scene has got to be one of the biggest attractions for anyone visiting. From favorites like pho to delicious dishes like cha ca and bun thang, Hanoian food has it all.
There are some great restaurants that offer authentic, Vietnamese cuisine. They also go out of their way to accommodate visitors. Personal favorites include New Day (72 Pho Ma May, Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem) and Chim Sao (65 Ngo Hue, Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung). However, the street food scene is a whole different kettle of fish. Being accompanied by someone with local knowledge on a street food tour of Hanoi guarantees you’ll have the best food. It also means you’ll learn about the history behind the dishes you’re eating, be treated to the best combination of foods and avoid any major tourist traps.
If you’re committed to the foodie experience, you can’t go wrong with Hanoi Street Food Tours. They will take you to the most local places, to try all kinds of delicious foods. To fully get a grip on the various influences on Vietnam’s food history, we’d also recommend a cooking tour.
Hanoi sightseeing tours
Hanoi is jam-packed with fascinating temples and historical monuments to visit. There are the ancient sites of the old Dai Viet Kingdom. There are the bunkers the Communist Party used during the war. In short, there’s a lot to choose from. One of the best options for navigating through this winding history is to get in touch with a local tour guide company such as Tour HQ, With Locals or Hanoi Ebuddies. One of the great things about free tours is that the guides don’t have any vested interest. That is, they aren’t going to try to take you to a particular shop or stall and get you to buy something that you don’t need. The guides here are simply looking for someone to practice their English with. Competition is often fierce for positions in these free tours and it’s a source of pride for students to get a place. Students guides don’t only offer an understanding of the importance of these sites. They also offer a perspective on how the younger generation views Vietnam and its history. For this double-whammy of cultural insight, there’s no better option.
One of the biggest obstacles for tourists in Hanoi is the absolute chaos of the roads. Forget about driving through it. It’s hard enough simply trying to cross the road! However, driving in Hanoi is also one of the most action-packed adventures going. We can’t recommend it enough. The problem is, how on Earth does one build up the courage to get on a motorbike or scooter?
The best way to do this is to find someone who has been doing it since they were in their teens. It’s a lot easier with a guide to help you navigate the tiny alleys and heaving thoroughfares. As above, to avoid any overly-touristy tours, go through companies like Hanoi Free Local Tours.