When you think of Hanoi, Vietnam, what image comes to mind? Bustling streets filled with motorbikes, street food stands tucked into narrow alleyways or ancient temples surrounded by serene lakes? It is all of this plus so much more. 

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the second-largest city in the country. It’s crowded, but that’s what makes it so interesting to explore. When you arrive in Hanoi, motorbikes will whiz past you on the streets occupied by one rider, multiple or even entire families. It’s a terrific first introduction to life in Hanoi. 

Hanoi is one of the most thrilling places to visit with kids as there are so many things to do in Hanoi with kids, places to see and cultural experiences to get involved in with the whole family, making it a very family friendly destination to visit with kids.

Photo by Jay Ee on Unsplash, Vietnam
The Hanoi Train Street Photo by Jay Ee on Unsplash

Hanoi is located in Northern Vietnam and sits along the western bank of the Red River. While the city center is bustling as an agricultural and industrial city, the outskirts of Hanoi remain quite rural. All flights will land at Noi Bai International Airport, and it’s about a 40-minute drive from the airport to the city center.

Situated in Northern Vietnam, Hanoi experiences four seasons. During the winter months, it can be rather cold but dry. During the summer months, temperatures will rise, as will the humidity. Rain is also common during the summer months. If you want to experience more mild temperatures and less rain, the best time to travel is between February-April and September-October.

For more travel inspiration in Asia check out our family friendly Thailand Itinerary

Vietnam is a destination filled with incredible cultural experiences for family travelers. It is one of the best destinations to travel with kids. We will show you how to have the best travel experience in Hanoi with kids.

Here are our Top 5 experiences you must have in Hanoi with kids

  1. Indulge in a Food Tour
  2. Adventure on a Motorbike Tour 
  3. Participate in a Local Village Activity 
  4. Experience a Water Puppet Show
  5. Explore the Old Quarter

Indulge in a Food Tour in Hanoi

A favorite pastime of kids and adults alike is eating. And what not better a way to learn more about the destination you are visiting than through a food tour. If you hire a local guide, they can take you to off the beaten track locations to experience the delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Most food tours will visit various establishments such as restaurants, food stands, or places explicitly known for their desserts.

You will get to try some amazing food in hanoi including Pho (a beef noodle soup). Bun Cha (grilled pork with noodles), Banh Khuc (sticky rice cakes), and even Ca Phe Trung (egg coffee). And if you have picky eaters, this is one of the best ways to introduce them to new foods!  The price for local food tours averages $25-$35 USD per person. 

Vietnamese market stalls Photo by Jay Ee on Unsplash

Adventure on a Motorbike Tour in Hanoi

If you are feeling adventurous and want to discover hidden neighborhoods you might not have explored otherwise, take a motorbike tour through the streets of Hanoi, it is one of the most fun experiences you will have in Hanoi with kids. Each guest will ride on the back of the motorbike by a professionally licensed driver as they weave through the busy streets. You’ll pass historic landmarks and discover more about the local life here as you cross through various neighborhoods.

There is also an option to combine this with a food tour which brings two cultural activities into one fabulous outing. The cost for the combo food/motorbike tour averages $50-70 USD per person.

Local motorbike food tour

Participate in a Local Village Activity, one of the best cultural activities in Hanoi with kids

One of the best ways to fully understand a culture is by actively participating in a local cultural activity. On the outskirts of Hanoi are a variety of agricultural villages. Yen Duc, located approximately 2.5 hours from Hanoi, is a charming village with local activities centering around rice cultivation and farming. It is also where you can find basket fishing. While you may have only experienced fishing with a fishing rod and bait, you can experience fishing in a traditional Vietnamese way in Yen Duc.

You will get dressed in waterproof pants, boots, and gloves and will start wading into the water with only a bamboo basket in your hand. You will gently push the basket into the water, hoping to catch a fish. If you are lucky, a fish will get trapped inside the basket, and all you need to do next is pull it out with your hands. It takes a lot of patience and skill but fun for the kids to learn and experience a new way of fishing. 

Basket Fishing experience in Hanoi

Experience a Water Puppet Show, a fun attraction in Hanoi

One of the most fun attarctions in Hanoi is enjoying a water puppet show will take you back to 11th-century Vietnam when it first began in local villages. Rice farmers used these puppets to entertain their families once the harvest season had ended.

Today you can find a variety of water puppet shows in Hanoi. Accompanied by music and singing, the art of water puppetry comes to life as hidden puppeteers take you through Vietnamese history and culture as the puppets dance on water. Two of the more popular theaters to see shows are Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Lotus Water Puppet Theatre. Tickets cost approximately $6 USD per person. 

Water Puppet Show in Hanoi

Explore the Old Quarter with Hanoi Free Walking Tours

A visit to Hanoi would not be complete if you didn’t wander the chaotic streets of the Old Quarter. Years ago, each street was known for its trade, yet today there is still an element of this that exists. Pop into one of the shops, or enjoy a bite to eat at a local food stand.

You could do a free walking tour in Hanoi with Hanoi Free Walking Tours. Or you could even hire a cycle to ride through the maze of streets. You’ll pass by ancient temples and traditional houses. After the hustle and bustle of the Old Quarter, end your journey at Hoan Kiem Lake; one of the must see sights in Hanoi for a peaceful ending to your day.

Explore the Old Quarter in Hanoi

Hanoi is a destination rich in cultural experiences for families with kids of all ages. Visiting Hanoi will leave your senses full and open your eyes to a beautiful culture.

Guest Contributor Laura Cox is the founder of Travel 80 by 80, a family travel blog dedicated to inspire and help families navigate international travel with confidence and purpose. She has traveled to 48 countries with her children (61 in total) and strives to immerse both culturally and within local communities through her family travel adventures.

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Best things to do in Hanoi with kids

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