Hanoi 3 Days DIY Itinerary

Updated June 9, 2019
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Having been to Ho Chi Minh before, I knew what to expect in Hanoi. Party streets, crazy tourists, wild traffic. But what I enjoyed here is the beauty of Ha Long Bay that’s incomparable to any other places I’ve been to.

Where to Stay?

Box Hotel Hanoi

We went to Hanoi during the Tết holidays or Vietnam New Year so A LOT of establishments were closed. Initially, we booked from Gecko Hostel but they were closed for the holidays (without notice) when we arrived. So instead, we looked around the area at 2AM, fresh from the airport all tired and jetlagged from the 1 hour time difference.

Box Hotel was enough for a couple nights, best part of staying there is their location. Smacked right in the middle of the Old Quarters. You’ll never get bored!

Rosa Boutique Cruise

For our Ha Long Bay trip, we decided to go on an overnight cruise to make it more memorable. Rosa Boutique was the best we found that is not too cheap but still within our budget.

Check out my whole experience with the cruise here!

Sunset party at Rosa Boutique Ha Long Bay Cruise

Sunset party at Rosa Boutique Ha Long Bay Cruise

Where to Go?

Hanoi Old Quarters

This is the travellers district of Hanoi. Hostels and restaurants scatter the area so it’s very convenient to stay here. Points of interests are also within the vicinity, you can just walk to them. But what I love most about this place is its spirit that never dies down. The streets are full of life, even in the latest time of the night. You can go around at 2AM and still find something to do outside. It’s a very lively and fun neighborhood!

Me at Hanoi Old Quarters

Me at Hanoi Old Quarters

Ba Dinh Square

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • One Pillar Pagoda
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda

Hoàn Kiếm Lake

I must say, it’s best to go around the lake from sunset onwards. It has a vibrant and chill mood. You can try street food or just do nothing and sit on a bench. This was the last part of our trip and it’s a perfect place for us to look back on our trip.

Ha Long Bay

  • Pearl Farm Village
  • Sung Sot Cave
View of Ha Long Bay isles from the exit of Sung Sot Cave

View of Ha Long Bay isles from the exit of Sung Sot Cave

How to get around?

Going around Hanoi Old Quarters is easiest by walking. It’s not that big and it’s better to walk to see the streets up close and in better detail. But, if you ever get tired, then an Uber/GrabCar is just a few clicks away. We didn’t venture out of the Old Quarters, except for the cruise, so I’m not sure about buses. But I do know that there are local bus lines and a lot of them stop at Long Bien Bus Station and Hanoi Railway Station.

Cộng Cà Phê chocolate drink

Cộng Cà Phê chocolate drink


Day 0

  • Flight 5J744 Manila to Hanoi
  • Book a Grab Car to Hanoi Old Quarters
  • Check in at Box Hotel Hanoi

Day 1

  • Breakfast at Cong Cafe
  • Walk to Ba Dinh Square
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • One Pillar Pagoda
  • Walk to Tran Quoc Pagoda
  • GrabCar back to Hanoi Old Quarters
  • Dinner at
  • Explore Hanoi Old Quarters

Day 2

  • Early check out of hostel
  • Banh Mi for breakfast
  • Service pick-up from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
  • Arrive at Tuan Chau Harbor
  • Start of Rosa Boutique Cruise
  • Lunch
  • Kayaking at Pearl Farm village
  • Sunset deck party
  • Dinner
  • Squid fishing

Day 3

  • Early breakfast
  • Explore Sung Sot Cave
  • Pack up
  • Cooking demonstration
  • Lunch
  • Cruise back to the harbor
  • Service back to Hanoi Old Quarters
  • Leave bags at Box hostel
  • Dinner and snacks around Hanoi Old Quarters
  • Explore around Hoàn Kiếm Lake
  • GrabCar to the airport
  • Flight 5J745 Hanoi to Manila
Beef dish somewhere in the Old Quarters

Beef dish somewhere in the Old Quarters


Rosa Boutique CruisePHP 14,600.00
for 2
2 Days 1 Night
All in package
Box Hotel HanoiPHP 1,200.00
for 2
2 Nights
Double bed room
Cebu PacificPHP 9,977.28
for 2
Roundtrip Flights
Pocket MoneyPHP 6,000.00
for 2
TotalPHP 31,777.28
for 2
PHP 15,888.64
per person

Honestly, the only item on that table I’m very sure about is the flight cost. Every other expense got blurry after currency exchanges. We paid for the cruise in USD, and our leftover dollars were exchanged to Dongs. We also exchanged some amount of Dong at NAIA Terminal 3. Overall I estimate we brought around 3-3.5 Million Dong, and we still got 500K of leftovers after the trip. Note that if it wasn’t for the overnight cruise, the cost would have been much lower. So consider that when you’re planning your budget.

Doner Kebab at the Old Quarters

Doner Kebab at the Old Quarters

Even though this trip was very short, we still made the most out of it. Also, I enjoyed it here more than in Ho Chi Minh. The best part was definitely cruising through the stunning rocks of Ha Long Bay. If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below. You can also like my Facebook page and message me there!

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