Hanoi is such an amazing place. It is noisy, vibrant, bustle but also peaceful and poetic at the same time. If you ever get a chance to visit Hanoi and your time is limited, follow this following 24-hour-itinerary to discover the essence of the capital.

6:00 Take a stroll around your hotel neighbourhood, look for a vendor for breakfast. “Pho” or “bun cha” are my recommendation.  Then have a cup of “Northern tea” or coffee at a shop on the street while watching the flow of people rushing to work.

8:00 Departure from your hotel to President Mausoleum. The Mausoleum closes on Monday and Friday. If you go on these two days, you might walk around to take pictures of outside area or visit One Pillar Pagoda behind the Mausoleum. Note that you have to register at the back gate on Ngoc Ha Street. You might choose to visit pagoda before Mausoleum.

9:30 Leave One Pillar Pagoda for Temple of Literature, which is 1 km apart.

10:30 Move on to Tran Quoc Pagoda, a famous ancient pagoda in Hanoi which was built very long time ago and West Lake

12:00 After visiting the pagoda and the lake, it is time for lunch.“Fresh noodle rolls” are highly recommended. You will find this dish sold in Truc Bach Lake area which is right next to West Lake. Or enjoy an ice-cream at the store opposite Tran Quoc Pagoda.

13:30 In the afternoon, visit Vietnam Museum of Ethnicity on Nguyen Van Huyen Street (located in Cau Giay district, 8 km from city center). This is a unique museum where you can discover all 54 ethnicities of Vietnam.

15:00 Back to city center, head to Sword Lake, visit Ngoc Son Temple. Then upon your desire, stroll around Sword Lake and Old Quarter, shopping and tasting specialty of Hanoi.

17:30 Return to hotel for shower and dinner. Short relax.

20:00 You’ve got some options. Visit night market (if you stay on weekend) or cycle (maybe ride a scooter or take a taxi) to Long Bien Bridge to view city night life. Drinking lemon tea and have a chat like a local at the street vendor opposite Cathedral is also another choice.

If you stay in Hanoi more than 1 day, spend your full first day doing above itinerary. Then on the second day, you should visit places near Hanoi such as Bat Trang Ceramic Village, Duong Lam Ancient Village (the oldest village of Vietnam), Ba Vi National Forest. All are within-a-day destination.