Hanoi nightlife is very lively as there are many activities for everyone to enjoy after sunset, from watching authentic Vietnamese performances and tasting local food to partying at famous Hanoi’s nightclubs and bars. Let's find out what you can do and what places to visit in Hanoi at night.
1. Watching Water Puppet Show
If you want to indulge in the classic nightlife of Hanoi, it is recommended to visit Water Puppet Show. Thang Long Water Puppet Theater is the world-famous theater, located next to Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter. The water puppet originated 1,000 years ago in the rice fields of North Vietnam. At that time, the rice fields were heavily flooded. Farmers and villagers made entertainment by standing in the water which is waist-deep and used the puppets to perform over the water. There are five Water Puppet shows per day, from mid-afternoon through late evening, with an additional morning show on Sundays. The performance of water puppets is supplemented by Vietnamese orchestra and modern special effects. Water puppet shows are very popular with tourists, so booking tickets in advance is a must, particularly on weekends or holidays.
Water puppet show tickets are often sold in the combination with various Hanoi tours making the price very worthwhile. The most interesting Hanoi tours that include a visit to Water Puppet Theater are as follows:
Special Hanoi Night Out - tour that includes watching the water puppet show, eating a special authentic Hanoi dinner and ending the night with a cup of tea at some cozy street.
Hanoi City Day Tour with Water Puppet Show - tour that takes you to Hanoi’s most important landmarks in the morning and brings you to watch a traditional water puppet show in the evening.
Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour with Water Puppet Show - during this tour you will spend your time touring around the bustling Hanoi Old Quarter and trying a variety of local foods there and will end your day on a high note by watching Water Puppet Show. It is a perfect choice for food lover!
2. Drinking fresh beer at Bia Hoi Corner
For all beer lovers, we would like to introduce you to Bia Hoi Corner also known as Bia Hoi Junction that starts at the intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets in Hanoi Old Quarter and stretches to the end of Ta Hien street. The main street of Hanoi Bia Hoi Junction only stretches for about 200 m but it has plenty of food stalls and restaurants. However, some of the best spots are found a bit out of the main street. Bia Hoi Corner is considered to be the busiest nightlife venue in Hanoi. It is said that you haven’t really seen Hanoi until spending the night, enjoying the atmosphere and drinking Bia Hoi there.
Bia Hoi is actually a fresh beer or craft beer, it is Vietnamese beer that has a unique flavor. It is popular among tourists and locals. Hanoi Bia Hoi has lower alcohol concentration than most of the beers in Europe and is very cheap. You can get one glass of beer for as little as 5,000-8,000 VND!
The main area on Ta Hien Street is occupied by small pubs and restaurants that serve cold beer and delicious Vietnamese food but the prices here tend to be a bit higher. For finding the cheapest Bia Hoi in Hanoi, you need to step 50 meters aside and go to Bia Hoi Corner that is found at the intersection of Dao Duy Tu and Pho Ma May streets. At this corner people just sit on small plastic chairs along the roadside and enjoy Bia Hoi served by a couple of vendors who charge just 5,000 VND for one glass!
3. Watching Ionah Show
If you heard about Cirque Du Soleil, the world's most famous acrobatics show that combines a variety of performing arts, in Hanoi you can enjoy a similar fascinating entertainment show, called Ionah Show. The name Ionah comes from the word Hanoi, spelled reversed. This is an acrobatics and circus performance that provides a unique entertainment experience. The performances here are a combination of modern dance, theater, circus, music, 3D, lighting and stage effects.
The story of the show is about a girl named Lady Ionah, who is the main character. She is a beautiful young girl whose love for Hanoi is as pure and as strong as it is for her lover. A misunderstanding leads her to the darkest corner of the soul and makes her suffer from anger. But in the end, this pure love brought her back to live happily with her lover again. The play was inspired by Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, and many of the scenes are strongly influenced by western mythology. After the show, you can take pictures with your favorite characters. Ionah Show Hanoi is one of must-watch performances for travelers visiting Hanoi.
Showtime: 19:45 every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Duration: 90 minutes
Location: Star Galaxy Theater, No.87 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh District
Ticket price: 700,000-940,000 VND
4. Chilling out at the bar in Hanoi
Many tourists visiting the capital of Vietnam say that the darker at night, the more bustling Hanoi is. There are many bars in the city and each of them provides different environment. We would like to recommend a number of unique bars in Hanoi that are worth to pay a visit.
Binh Minh’s Jazz Club
Binh Minh's Jass Club is located behind Hanoi Opera House and is a jazz music venue for entertainment and live music. The food and beverages are good and reasonably priced.
Opening hours: 17:00 – 24:00
Price level: $$
Fat Cat Bar
Fat Cat Bar is located in the center of Hanoi. Even if the bar space is quite small Fat Cat Bar offers good music and great atmosphere for its guests. The staff is very friendly. Prices of drinks are not high.
Opening hours: 8:00 - 24:00
Price level: $$
Factory 47 is a cool bar with the western ambiance touch. In the bar you will find a comfortable sofa to sit and a long pool table. The DJ is playing chill music creating a relaxing atmosphere.
Opening hours: 10:00 – 3:00
Price level: $$
Address: 47 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Standing Bar is a perfect place for sipping beer and enjoying the view as it was opened in exclusive location, overlooking Truc Bach Lake. The highlight of this bar is the bar area which has 19 taps of the breweries from all over Vietnam. Therefore, you get a chance to try different flavors of beer from different taps.
Opening hours: 16:00 – 24:00
Price level: $$
Nê Cocktail Bar
Nê Cocktail Bar, located not far from Hanoi Train Street, is focused on cocktails with local ingredients and flavors. Here you can try an award-winning Pho Cocktail that is really delicious. Live music starts playing at around 22:00.
Opening hours: 19:30 – 2:00
Price level: $$$
5. Tasting Street Food in Hanoi
Aside from appreciating the beauty of city’s most important sights, eating street food in Hanoi is another way to get to know Vietnam’s capital city.
If you would love to experience Hanoi's best street food such as Banh Mi, Bun Cha, Banh Cuốn, Egg Coffee and learn about local culture and history of these local foods, don’t miss a chance to join Hanoi Evening Street Eats. This tour will introduce you to the traditional Hanoi food while walking through Hanoi Old Quarter. The most important thing is that you will have an opportunity to enjoy a variety of food made from fresh ingredients by the locals.
Another interesting tour, which includes not only tasting of street food in Hanoi but also a visit to the traditional Vietnamese show, is Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour with Water Puppet Show that is a so well worth the price. This tour will let you discover the culture and traditions of Vietnam during the show that will be watched with full stomach after trying lots of local delicacies.
6. Shopping at Dong Xuan Market
Dong Xuan Market or Dong Xuan Night Market, located north of Hanoi Old Quarter, is the largest wholesale market in northern Vietnam. At the back of this market you will also find Bac Qua Market but many people call these two markets as Dong Xuan Market - Bac Qua Market.
Dong Xuan Market was initially established by the administration of France in 1889 and has undergone several renovations. The last time was in 1994, as it was restored after a huge fire that almost burned the entire market.
Dong Xuan Market is not just a trading center of Hanoi, but also a must-visit destination for most of the tourists traveling to Hanoi. The market is close to the center of Hanoi so many tourists come to visit it. Many people come here not only for shopping but also just for visiting this place as here you can experience the atmosphere of the night market and the way of life of people in Hanoi.
The market has 3 floors and sells a variety of products such as clothing, jewelry, bags, T-shirts, ceramics, artworks, machinery, agricultural equipment, textile goods, dry food, and traditional Vietnamese food. If you are looking for a place to buy souvenirs in Hanoi for bringing them home or to your friends, Dong Xuan Market is a good place for shopping.
The food at the market is good and cheap. Some dishes for you to try include Phở (noodles), Bún Ốc (rice vermicelli with snails), and Bún Chả (rice vermicelli with grilled pork). Prices vary from 30,000 VND to 100,000 VND, making this market a heaven for people who love eating and socializing with friends.
Dong Xuan Market is open almost all day everyday but the best time to visit it is at night on weekend as then the stalls are placed in the middle of the street outside Dong Xuan Market building. The vendor start to set up the night market around 18:00 and it gets packed from 20:00 onwards.
Location: Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi