One thing we wanted to do in Vietnam was to eat all the food, all the time. After we returned to Hanoi from our Ha Long Bay cruise, exploring street food delicacies was high on our list. We decided to go with a local guide so we could try all the finest home-cooked and hard to find gems in the city. It was a brilliant way to get a feel of the city as we walked around tiny colorful alleys.
I can tell you finding food in Hanoi is not hard, but finding the best is much more comfortable with a local leading the way. If you're a foodie lover, just wandering around the city and trying the most delicious and diverse street food you can imagine...you'll be planning your return trip before the night is over.
Long Bien Night Market is the biggest produce market in Northern Vietnam. Trucks from as far away as southern China start pulling into the city in the wee hours, unloading fruit and fresh veggies for restaurants and market vendors to re-sell the following day. The market kicks off at around 1 am and wraps up at 5 am, making it a fun thing to do in Hanoi at night.
Get up early or stay up late, the choice is yours. Plan to arrive at the market at about 3 am when activity reaches its peak. It takes about 2 hours to explore the market thoroughly, after which you can walk along Long Bien Bridge and catch the breathtaking sunrise popping over skyscrapers.
Long Bien is a wholesale market, so everything is displayed in excess – small mountains of pineapples, crates upon crates of mangoes and smelly durian. People rush back and forth through the market’s narrow alleys on a motorbike. As you meander along, watch your toes lest a rogue trolley hits you.
It’s a good idea to pair Long Bien Night Market with Quang Ba Flower Market in Tay Ho, which is open from 2 am until 4 am daily.
p.s. if you only have a day or two in Hanoi, don't forget to read our 2 days in Hanoi itinerary and plan an awesome trip.
Special thanks to Emily from Wander-Lush for this amazing entry. Follow her astonishing journey around the world on her Facebook page.
#3- Hoan Kiem Lake
Keen to see how Hanoi winds down after a busy day at work? Head to the Hoan Kiem lake after the sun goes down. The lake, located a stone’s throw from the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter, is a vibrant place where you’ll see local Hanoians taking time out for a quick run, practicing their tai chi or even breaking out the boombox as a group of ladies tries their hand at lakeside aerobics and dance! It’s a must on any Vietnam itinerary.
If you take a stroll around the lake, you’ll encounter all of this and more: young couples on a date, avid photographers taking pictures and partygoers getting ready for a night out, since many of the city’s best bars flank the lake itself. The area is perfect if you’re a fan of bright lights too: the bridge and surrounding buildings light up with multicolored hues, making for some incredible reflections on the water’s glassy surface.
Special thanks to Lee from TravelScribes for this amazing entry. Follow her astonishing journey around the world on her Instagram.
#4- Quang Ba Flower Market
While the rest of the city is asleep, the Quang Ba flower market is bustling and crowded. Located on Nghi Tam in the Tay Ho district, this night
market is the largest, providing fresh flowers to the entire city. It opens around midnight and continues well after the sun rises with flowers that have been shipped in from all over the country, that make for some of the best Vietnam souvenirs
. Even if you don't want any flowers, there is always some good food and beers served all night
The Quang Ba Flower Market remains Hanoi’s most unusual attraction, allowing you to see the city in a new light, and one of the best things to do at night.
Special thanks to Rai from ARaiOfLight for this amazing entry. Follow his inspirational journey on his Instagram.
#5- Enjoy the Cheapest Beer in the World, Bia Hoi
Vietnam is famous for its ridiculously cheap beer called bia hoi
, known for being the cheapest beer in Southeast Asia (possibly the world), costing around 5,000 VND/glass ($0.24). And in Hanoi,
there is a famous Bia Hoi street and institute for night
time beering along Ta Hien Street, which is more or less a street lined with tiny plastic chairs, super cheap beer, and intriguing youth culture.
Spanning out are then shops and alleys selling similar cheap bia hoi beer. The beer isn’t great, to be honest, but it is also easy to upgrade to some $0.70 premium beers, and there is also cheap Vietnamese food
on the menu, to make the most of the unique nightlife and a cheap night
Special thanks to Allan from Live-Less-Ordinary for this amazing entry. Don't forget to follow their journey on Instagram.
#6- Old Quarter
Hanoi's Old Quarter is a mecca for foodies, shoppers, photographers, and culture seekers. When the sun sets the area buzzes with buskers, people taking gentle strolls, and vendors selling all kinds of interesting knick-knacks. Start your night by taking in the sights and sounds of the 36 Old Streets near the East Gate remains, then work your way back towards Hoan Kiem Lake. Along the way, you'll find many restaurants and street food vendors dishing up classics such as pho, banh mi, and other great local favorites.
However, for a truly unique experience, skip the fancy restaurants and dive right into authentic Vietnamese street food
at one of the sidewalk vendors. After you've filled your tummy, head out to one of the many bars and coffee shops where you can enjoy an ice-cold bia hoi or a smooth ca phe trung (egg coffee). Those looking to experience the craziness of the Old Quarter's nightlife shouldn't miss stopping by Bia Hoi Junction, either.
The Old Quarter is a must for anyone wanting to explore one of the best places in Vietnam.
Special thanks to Mariza from Hoponworld for this amazing story. Follow her amazing journey on her Instagram.
#7- Cafe Pho Co
The Vietnamese love a good coffee. You only have to walk through Hanoi for a few minutes to find the locals sitting around roadside tables waiting for a strong cup of Vietnamese coffee to brew. However, one of the best places isn’t quite as straightforward to find. Café Pho Co is a secret rooftop coffee shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake. The entrance to this peaceful café is located behind a silk store down a dark alley. Open until 11 pm, it is also one of the most relaxing places to take a step back from Hanoi’s street-level madness and watch the lights come on as night takes over.
Special thanks to Josh Shephard from The Lost Passport for this amazing entry. Follow his inspiring journey on Facebook.
As you can see, Hanoi is one of these amazing places that never sleeps. Prepare yourself for an amazing journey. Drink a strong cup of Vietnamese coffee, eat a bowl of Pho and you're ready for memorable (or not so!) all-nighter... And if you still remember what happened, don't forget to share your experiences below! Mot Hai Ba YOOO! :) :)