There are so many things to do in Hanoi that even you stay there weeks, you still can find something to do! Alternatively visiting famous popular attractions, you can find other ways to FEEL Hanoi deeper inside with following top non touristy things to do in Hanoi!
1. VIsit Banana island and Admire the sunset from Long Bien bridge
Banana island is a very special natural place under Long Bien bridge which is just 2km walk from Old quarter in Hanoi. It is basically a plantation of not only banana but also other crops like: Pumkin,tomato, morning glory, cucumber, other typical tropical vegetable. You nearly don’t see other people in this”jungle”. This is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a quiet and authentic and unseen side corner. Let’s spend some time there and rest from the noise and the crowded street of Hanoi.
Don’t forget to admire Sunset from Banana island or on Long Bien bridge, you will catch some impressed photos here!
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Banana Island
General information and tips:
From the middle on the both edges of the Long Biên Bridge you will find the stairs leading to Banana island
It would be better if you bring mosquito spray!
Keep silence– you won’t disturb the farmers.
You’ll probably need about 2-3 hours for the whole trip – walking the bridge there and back and walking around the island.
2. Chaotic and bustling Long Bien market at night
This market is busiest from 22:00- 1:00AM, and then become quiet until 4AM. That’s why it also named “Sleepless Market”. Vendors and middlemen coming here to snap up the best of the day’s incoming food. If you have chance to visit this market, you can buy some fresh fruits but don’t expect to find any interesting souvenirs or fashionable clothes 🙂
It seems like no anywhere else in Hanoi has such crowded customers, transportation and delivery vehicle like this market. Undoubtedly, It is a must for you to visit!
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Long Bien market at night
Main product: Vegetable+ fruits
How to get there: At that time, you should get a Grab bike/taxi. Yes, Grap work 24/7
Open time: All day. Daily time (for retailers – citizens around area), Night time (for wholesalers)
Unique dishes near Long Bien market
Noodle soup with colocasia gigantea – 360 Ngoc Lam, Long Bien
Bun Met – 160 Ngoc Lam, Long Bien
Chago Milk Tea – Chago Tea & Café – 346, Nguyen Van Cu, Long Bien
Ice-cream with coconut & sticky rice – Thai Siam – 244 Nguyen Van Cu, Long Bien
Fermented spring rolls, fish & chips – 267 Ngoc Lam, Long Bien
Banh Mi Chao U Sinh – No. 41, Alley 42, Sai Dong, Long Bien
Bread flour cake – 243 Ngoc Lam, Long Bien
3. Quang An/Quang Ba Flower market
This is another Wholesale market- specialize in Flowers. You may go here to take photos and soak up the atmosphere especially if you’re a flower fan. And again it is a night market whose peak time is from 2:00-4:00AM. As a tourist, you can go later (until 6Am or even later but it’s not that busy)
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Quang Ba flower market
Location: It is about 7km from HAnoi Old quarter
Suggested plan to visit Quang an/Quang Ba folower market + Long Bien Market+ Banana island:
2Am: Wake up and ready to Quang Ba Flower market
3-4AM: Exploring gorgeous Quang Ba market
4:15AM: Reaching Long Bien market
4:40-5:30AM: Wandering in Long Bien Market
5:30-6AM: Sunrise from Long Bien Bridge (summer time)
6:15- 7:30Am: Discover Banana island under Long Bien bridge
7:45: Time to sit down, relax and enjoy breakfast: Phở (Noodle) and Coffee/Tea will bring you a truly Vietnamese breakfast style!
4. Visit Hoan Kiem lake in early morning
Opposite to usual day time image, Hoan Kiem lake in early morning is super fresh and non touristy. Local people from kids, youth, and elders people come here doing different types of exercise like Taichi, yoga, running,dancing, cycling, etc. It would be fun if you ask to join them, they truly happily welcome you 🙂
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Hoan Kiem lake in early morning
5. Try the real Barber shop
Below is truly a popular barber shop that you can easily find in many corners in Hanoi. The owner of the shop seem to follow minimalist! it doesn’t get more stylist than this, seriously! Come and get a hair cut here or, obviously, get your beard back in shape!
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- try real barber shop
6. Cycling/ riding motorbike around Westlake
Westlake is the largest lake of Hanoi which is located about 5-7km from Old quarter. It is bordered by serval significant pagodas as Tran Quoc, and Quan Thanh. Trying local street food or having some coffee here would be nice experience!
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Cycling around West lake
7. Experience traffic jam
To do this you can rent a motorbike or for those who don’t dare to drive, let take a Grab motorbike. Grab is an application on mobile phone which allows you to order either taxi or motorbike knowing price in advance. Do you dare to get on a motorbike in Vietnam? It seems dangerous and crazy but not that bad. I assure it is unique and memorable experience to try authentic traffic jam in Vietnam. A tip if you finally do’t dare to ride a motorbike, let choose a cafe’ with view to the road then admire the rush hour traffic in Hanoi.
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- experience traffic jam
8. Visit the Motorbike market
Motorbikes still the vehicle of choice in Vietnam. Even if you don’t intend to buy or rent a motorbike, this market is still a cool look at the rich motorbike culture of Vietnam. There are thousands of rides for sale and plenty of deals to be found.
Address: 76 Chùa Hà, Hà nội, Vietnam
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Motorbike market
9. Watch a cock fight
This is a grim way to spend an afternoon, but if you head to a park on a warm day, you’ll find cock fighting. It’s definitely weird and unique, although ethically questionable.
Some parks that often have cock fight:
+ Botanic Garden Hanoi: Address: 3 Hoang Hoa Tham
+ Lenin Park : Address 28A Điện biên phủ
+ Paster flower garden: Address: Trần Thánh Tông, Phạm Đình Hổ, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội
Non-touristy things to do in Hanoi- Watch a cock fight
10. Drink Beer Hoi at Vietnamese local beer street
Tourists often know about Ta Hien street as a international cross road- a beer corner. Therefore it is full of local and foreigner tourists . As a Hanoian, I disclose to you a totally local place for Beer that is in Hang Bun Street. But noticed that you should use Google translate with people here, they almost don’t speak English. Indeed, I believe you will enjoy fresh Beer and local food here and maybe will learn some new Vietnamese words 🙂