Travel For Free: Top Free Things to Do in Hanoi

The capital city of Hanoi is a must-see destination for any trip in Vietnam for not only its stunning attractions, delightful experiences, exotic food or vibrant culture but also an ideal place for budget-conscious travelers. You are absolutely able to have a great time in Hanoi without spending a penny. Check out our handy list of FREE things to do in Hanoi and fill your holiday with fun things and authentic experiences without breaking your pocket. They’re not cheap. They’re FREE!!

free things to do in hanoi 1Vibrant Aerial view of Hanoi City at Night


1. Take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake - the heart of Hanoi

When it comes to Hanoi’s famous attractions, Hoan Kiem Lake should undoubtedly be on the top list. Surprisingly, it’s for free. Lying right at the heart of Hanoi, surrounded by green tall trees and verdant parks, Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular hangout spot for the locals and tourists alike.

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free things to do in hanoi 2Beautiful night view of the Hoan Kiem Lake

Steeped in the long-lasting history, the lake is an enticing place to immerse in the city’s culture and daily life from the crack of dawn to late evening. Wandering around the lake, you’ll catch enchanting scenes of people doing exercises, couples walking hand in hand or children playing around. They’re nice sights to behold.

Group of Vietnamese seniors practice Tai Chi early in the morning on the bank of Hoan Kiem Lake 

2. Delve into the Lively Hanoi Night Market

Markets in Hanoi are one of the gorgeous places to get a glimpse of local culture and lifestyle. Hanoi Night Market is no exception. Taking place every weekend, Hanoi Night Market attracts a huge number of locals and tourists to do some shopping and enjoy fantastic Hanoi nightlife.

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free things to do in hanoi 4Tourists walking and shopping at Hanoi Night Market

If you have no money in your pocket, fret not, just take a walk through hundreds of stalls and marvel at the vibrant atmosphere and the colorful items spread out over the stalls. Still, the souvenirs here are so tempting to resist!

free things to do in hanoi 5Mouth-watering street foods at Hanoi Night Market

3. Pay a Visit to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is an interesting site to learn more about the life of the grand leader of Vietnam- Uncle Ho. It is one of a few attractions in Hanoi doesn’t require an entrance fee. It is also a perfect place to take in the serene atmosphere, stay away from the hustle of the city. For visitors and the locals, the final resting place of Uncle Ho is more than just a normal tourist attraction, it’s a place to explore a unique history of an entire country. Make sure to dress appropriately to show your respect for Vietnam’s noble leader.

Suggested Read: Top 10 Cities in Vietnam for Indian Travelers in 2019

free things to do in hanoi 6Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - The Place you should visit at least once

4. Get Acquainted with the City with a Free Walking Tour

Hanoi tours for free? Why not? In Hanoi, there is a number of NGOs and universities organizing free walking tours that introduce you some of the most scenic spots around the city such as the Old Quarters of Hanoi, Temple of Literature, Bat Trang Village, Museum of Ethnology and many more, depending on your interest. Joining a free tour is an ideal way to discover the hidden charm of Hanoi and feel like a local.

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"Hanoi Street Train" is a place in hanoi Old Quarter where trains pass through very close to people's houses

5. Take in the Serene Ambiance of West Lake

Apart from Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake - the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi is also an interesting place to get around thanks to its immense area and historic places lined along the lakeshore. Taking a full walk around the lake is an enticing way to spend a day. Make sure to check out the historic Tran Quoc Pagoda - the oldest temple in Vietnam – the highlight of the lake and the city as well.

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Sunset over West Lake - The Biggest Lake in Hanoi

6. Check out the Gorgeous St. Josephs Cathedral

St. Josephs Cathedral, locally known as “the big Church” is an inviting place to marvel at the gorgeous French colonial architecture in Hanoi. It is not just a temple, it’s an impressive attraction, a delightful meeting point for hanging around of the locals and travelers. It is free to discover around. You can go inside and admire the magnificent Neo-Gothic design of the church, or simply stroll around and capture some captivating photos to spice up your Instagram feed.

Suggested Read: How to Get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh

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A tricycle bicycle taxi in front of St. Joseph's Cathedral Church

7. Enjoy the Breathtaking Views of the Red River from Long Bien Bridge

Spanning over the beautiful Red River, Long Bien Bridge is a place to go if you want to experience a quieter landscape and get away from the city’s crazy traffic. This pedestrian-friendly bridge is also a stunning place to enjoy sunrise or sunset over the region and a photogenic spot for some Instagram-worthy pictures. There’s nothing much to do here, but crossing the bridge is a nice experience to enjoy.

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Stunning view of Long Bien Bridge reflecting on Red River

8. Explore the Endless Charm of Hanoi’s Old Quarter through Day and Night

Hanoi’s Old Quarter- the soul of the city remains its charm whenever you visit it. If you really want to get an insight into the local life and its intriguing culture, the awe-inspiring streets of the Old Quarter are the place to go. You can even capture all the delights that the city has to offer without any penny. Explore on foot, make your way to any corner you want to explore, you’ll definitely find the things that take your fancy. Every turn and twist is filled with sounds, sights, smells, and rich culture.

free things to do in hanoi 11
Walking around Hanoi Old Quarter at night is a fantastic experience

9. Get a Feel for Buddhist Temples around Hanoi

Getting around the beautiful city of Hanoi, you can easily find a Buddhist temple or pagoda scattered throughout the city. Most of the temples open daily and don’t require entrance fees. Unique architecture and peaceful vibe, Buddhist temples in Hanoi offer a stunning escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center. If traveling during traditional festivals such as Tet holiday or Buddha’s Birthday, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of blessing ceremonies and interesting performances. Famous temples and pagodas in Hanoi include Tran Quoc Pagoda, Perfume Pagoda, and Ngoc Son Temple.

Further Read: Top 10 Famous Temples in Vietnam for Indian Travelers

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Tran Quoc Pagoda in early morning in Hanoi, Vietnam

10. Get Some Fun with Street Performances on Hanoi Walking Street

If you’re looking for a fun night out, then make your way to the bustling walking street in Hoan Kiem Lake, you’ll fill your night with fun and relaxation. During weekends, Hanoi’s Walking Street is packed with locals and tourists. It’s time for local musicians or small group of people dance and sing along while some gather together to play some traditional games, chat and laugh… Delve into this lively atmosphere and learn more about Hanoi’s nightlife. Plus, it’s free. Why not?

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Tourists playing traiditional games at Hanoi Walking Street

free things to do in hanoi 14Travelers are walking on the old streets in Hanoi, on the weekend

With a wide range of free things to do in Hanoi, you can now make up your own trip without spending much. Alternatively, travel with VNIN and add all your free and cheap things to do in Vietnam in your itinerary, we’ll make it perfect for you! Check out our website for more hot deals and travel tips:

anthony ngo

Anthony Ngo

Hi, I'm a Travel Expert of With me, traveling is an intense passion and promoting the charming beauty of Vietnam to international friends is a glory mission.

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