12 Best Free Things To Do in Hanoi Vietnam in 2023

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Vietnam is one of the most beautiful places to visit. Most tourists acknowledge that it is more affordable to tour Vietnam than most places worldwide. While visiting Vietnam, Hanoi is one of the most traveled cities. The city is bustling and always crowded due to tourists, but there are many free things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam.

It is known for its unique architecture and deep culture with little influence from Chinese, Southeast Asian, and French. There are many free things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam, so you can visit without breaking the bank.

When is the best time to visit Hanoi?

The best time to visit Vietnam is during the autumn and spring seasons. The Autumn season falls in September, October, and November, while spring falls in March and April. During this period, the weather is warmer, with no extreme temperatures of cold and hot periods. 

It is also essential to be aware that Vietnam is known to be a conservative country, so while packing for your trip, carry light clothes but make sure to dress conservatively.  The locals highly respect their religious backgrounds.

Hanoi is beautiful and has a lot of tourist attractions that one gets to experience. The good news is that there are activities in Hanoi that one can engage in without spending a single penny. These activities will give you a unique and memorable experience of Hanoi city.

These range from beautiful lake views to great performances along the streets to leisurely walks and even interacting with the locals as you enjoy their traditional foods and drinks. Hanoi will give you a fantastic experience if you are willing to explore.

Here are a few things you can do in Hanoi with absolutely nothing!

Best Free Things to do in Hanoi

A walk around Hoan Kiem Lake

Historic temple floating on an island in a lake.

Hoan Kiem lake is one of the lakes in Vietnam that holds part of the culture in Hanoi. A stroll around this lake gives one a unique experience as you experience the beautiful sunset along its shores.

People just come here to chill and appreciate nature. Around the lake, you may also catch a dazzling theatrical performance on certain days. This is a must-go for any tourist.

Get a glimpse of the night market in Hanoi

At night, the streets in Hanoi are filled with market stalls with various items on sale. The night market is usually livelier every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The markets have beautiful art, handicrafts, many counterfeit goods, drinks, and excellent cheap food. This is an incredible experience as you will get to know the nightlife in Hanoi.


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Enjoy street performances and the local parks

Zumba is popular in Hanoi, especially during the morning hours. You can enjoy such performances as the locals dance to some great music. A visit to the local parks may reward you with performances from local musicians or young dancers getting their groove.

Outdoor sports are also very common, with games such as badminton, football, skateboarding, or roller skating being played. The locals love when guests join them, so do not hesitate to take part if you wish to create lifetime memories in Hanoi streets.

Street performers are one of the most fun-free things to see in Hanoi.

Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Big square mausoleum under a blue sky.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is one of the most visited places in Hanoi. It is believed that Uncle Ho’s remains were kept here, and that is the reason for its name. It is part of the great culture in Hanoi.

Despite the fact that getting into the mausoleum might cost you money, one can enjoy the beautiful views outside.

A walk outside the mausoleum showcases well-kept and manicured gardens with over 250 species of flowers obtained from all over Vietnam. There are also smartly dressed guards who watch over the mausoleum and have a change in their routine that is absolutely impressive.

Most people come here early in the morning to do their workout routine, and you will also witness a lot of Tai Chi.

The Long Bien Bridge

This is a 100-year-old bridge that helps in crossing the Red River. It is an iconic iron bridge as it survived the Vietnam- American war several years ago.

The views here while crossing are amazing, and one can shop for fresh groceries from the sellers on the sides. You may also decide to catch the sunset from this historic bridge that has witnessed better days.

Explore the temples and pagodas

Vietnam is known for its richness of religion. It is covered with temples, and Hanoi is no exception. The city is full of beautiful temples which have been built for worship.

You will witness the locals praying or paying their respects in the temples. Hanoi has old and new temples, some tiny and others extremely massive.

Explore Old Quarter

Take the chance to walk around the Old Quarter. This place is filled with numerous things for a tourist. You may explore the excellent cafes and bars or appreciate its rich culture of artifacts.

There are numerous places to try the local food and drinks. Get away from the main areas and explore the streets inside. This will give you a wonderful experience of the nightlife in Vietnam.

Visit Don Xuan Market

food being sold at a street market

This is the largest indoor market in Hanoi. It is a 4-story building market with everything in it.  

Don Xuan Market is a wholesale market that sells items in bulk. The market is always packed with sellers. Visiting the market is one of the free things to do in Hanoi, Vietnam, though you’ll have to use money to purchase anything inside.

Check out the Quang Ba flower market

This is one of the best places in Hanoi, and it is absolutely free. It is known as the headquarters of flowers in Hanoi. Retailers buy flowers in this market before selling them in other parts of Hanoi.

The flower market is open throughout the year, and mostly the sales begin at around 2 p.m. and run the entire night.

Expect also to meet several food hawkers who sell local foods to keep the people in the market going. Quang Ba flower market is always filled with numerous colours and beautiful scents from flowers. This is one of the most fun free things to do in Hanoi Vietnam.

Stroll around West Lake

West Lake is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the northern part of Vietnam. This may be an excellent way to spend your evening as the views are beautiful.

The area around is filled with temples and some fantastic eateries with delicious meals. This is one of the best free things to do in Hanoi Vietnam if you want to witness breathtaking views.

Get an experience of Train Street

This is a street within the Old Quarter. It is situated between Le Duan and Kham Tien.  It has train tracks where numerous activities take place.

Twice every day, the activities are stopped. The tracks are cleared so that the bullet train can pass. It is a thrilling experience if you get a chance to see the train pass.

Explore the French Quarter and get a chance to view Citadel

The Thang Long Imperial Citadel is located at the center of the French Quarter. A visit to this place will have you learn more about the history of Vietnam while appreciating the marvelous architecture of the building.

The French Quarter is also filled with beautiful French buildings along Phan Dinh Phung Street, which you will absolutely love.

Final Thoughts: Free Things to do in Hanoi Vietnam

And that concludes the best free things to do in Hanoi Vietnam!

Exploring Hanoi does not have to be expensive. All these activities will give you that memorable experience you will forever treasure. Visiting these places also gives you a great chance to meet locals who will even help you discover more places to explore.

Be ready to teach the locals your language because they are curious and willing to learn something new. Getting lost in the streets of Hanoi will cause that thrill you may be looking for.

The next time you visit Vietnam and specifically Hanoi, do not relent to trying out the above things. For first-time visitors in Hanoi, I hope you have an idea of how to make the most of your trip while saving a few bucks. 

This article was contributed by Catalin, the author behind the travel blog Travel Trained. Keep up with Catalin’s adventures on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

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