Where can you go in 4 days? 

Do you think you're going to spend 4 days in Hanoi only? Well, in just two hours from the capital, you can uncover other worthwhile world wonders in Halong Bay and Ninh Binh.


Hanoi often leaves first-time visitors with the impression of being "chaotic" and "crazy traffic". But what lies behind this exterior? The city is just like a harmonious mixture of modern and traditional life. Here you can witness both Vietnam's modern social activities and ancient capital heritages.

Must-try activities in Hanoi include: 

  • Explore the streets & famous destinations: city tour, jeep tour, motorbike tour, cycling tour.

  • Food tour: Street food tour, cooking class, home-hosted meals.

  • Culture show: Water puppet show and The Quintessence of Tonkin.

  • Traditional villages: Bat Trang pottery village and Quang Phu Cau incense village.

Halong Bay

4 days in Hanoi and Halong Bay

4 days in Hanoi and Halong Bay

If I don't include Halong Bay in this itinerary, it would be a significant miss in Hanoi 4 days itinerary. It stands as the most renowned UNESCO heritage site in Vietnam. What makes Halong Bay famous is its breathtaking seascape of scattered limestone islets gently rising from the tranquil emerald surface. 

As a Vietnamese, I have visited Halong Bay multiple times and will continue to do so because it's my perfect short getaway, just a 2-hour drive from Hanoi. 

Below are my favorite activities when I visit Halong Bay:

  • Cruising through the Bay: Although the bay has limited boat numbers, there are plenty of cruise options available. Having experienced various cruises (Indochine, Peony, and Ginger) I found each one to have its common thread of excellent service, well-planned itineraries, cleanliness, and dedication. This caters to both Vietnamese guests and international travelers.

  • Kayak or ride a SUP in Dark Cave Light Cave

  • Swim on Titop Beach and climb Titop Mountain for a panorama view of the surrounding bay.

  • Visit Sung Sot Cave.

  • Visit the Pearl factory and Cua Van fishing village.

  • Enjoy time on board: Morning taichi, sunset cocktail, sample seafood.

Ninh Binh

Hanoi 4 Days Itinerary

Cycling in Ninh Binh

Nestled in the lowland delta, Ninh Binh marks the final destination on this list for the Hanoi 4 days itinerary. Just a 1.5-hour drive from Hanoi, it's feasible for a day trip. The city stands as one of Vietnam's oldest citadels, exuding an air of peaceful rural life amidst its picturesque river and limestone mountain landscapes. 

Life here moves at a more serene pace compared to the hustle of Hanoi. It's the perfect spot to relax and immerse yourself in nature:

  • Boating: Two renowned boat rides await at Tam Coc and Trang An. May and June are the ideal months to visit Tam Coc when the rice paddies flourish.

  • Cycling: Surrounded by limestone valleys and sprawling fields, Ninh Binh offers delightful cycling routes. This is one of my personal favorite destinations for biking. The rental price for a bicycle here is 80,000 VND (3,3 USD) per day.

  • Mua Cave: This offers a panoramic view that has become iconic in the Vietnam travel community. Within a relatively short climb, you can have a breathtaking panorama of the enchanting Tam Coc area.

  • Pagodas: Ninh Binh boasts numerous famous temples and pagodas, blending seamlessly with the natural landscape and the historical ambiance of the ancient capital. I recommend Bich Dong Temple, Dinh-Le Kings Temple, Bai Dinh Pagodas, and the Golden and Silver Temples to visit.

Our suggested Hanoi 4 days Itineraries

There are various ways to tailor your Hanoi 4 days 3 nights itinerary to encompass the experiences I've mentioned above. Here are some more detailed programs to help you visualize. These itineraries are tailored for families, couples, or even solo travelers with many joyful leisure activities. You can consider following the schedule either through private tours or group tours.

Hanoi 4 Days Itinerary

Halong Bay's enchanting view

Option 1: Hanoi and Halong Bay Trip

This is the 4 days in Hanoi, Halong, and Ninh Binh itinerary. The tour is suitable for group tours or private travel.

  • Day 1: Hanoi Arrival - Half-day City tour or Food tours

  • Day 2: Halong Bay Day tour

  • Day 3: Ninh Binh Tour

  • Day 4: Free time - Cyclo tour - Flight home

Option 2: Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

With this 4 days in Hanoi and Halong Bay itinerary, you'll have plenty of relaxation time in Halong Bay, making it ideal for couples. A small tip from me is that couples can notify in advance if it's their honeymoon or anniversary trip. Cruise staff often pay special attention and set up for these occasions.

  • Day 1: Hanoi Arrival - Half-day City tour or Food tours

  • Day 2-3:  Halong Bay Overnight Cruise        

  • Day 4: Free time - Cyclo tour - Flight home

Option 3: Halong Bay and Hanoi City Tour

Alternatively, if you want to spend more time in Hanoi, you can consider this Hanoi 4 days itinerary. This would be a good suggestion for solo travelers who want to spend more time freely exploring.

  • Day 1: Hanoi Arrival - water puppet show

  • Day 2: Halong Bay Day tour

  • Day 3: Hanoi Full-day city tour

  • Day 4: Relax - Cyclo trip around 36 streets in the Old Quarter

Looking for more information? Our article on travel guide to Vietnam!

Travel tips for 4 days in Hanoi

4 days in Hanoi and Halong

4 days in Hanoi and Halong

  • Planning: Outline what you want to do, your budget, time constraints, and essential notes. Every traveler knows this!

  • The best time to travel to Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh is typically from September to April.

  • Accessing services in Hanoi is easier than in Ninh Binh and Halong. Shop and prepare necessary items in Hanoi. In Ninh Binh and Halong Bay, you can seek assistance from hotel and cruise staff.

  • The internet might be weak while cruising in Halong Bay.

  • If you plan to go boating and cruising in Ninh Binh and Halong, you will need to pay attention to the weather. Light rains won't be a big issue, but heavy rains could affect your experience. In Halong, during the storm season of June - July, the boat schedules can be canceled.

Do you find the above Hanoi 4 days itinerary recommendation suitable to try? Feel free to message New Asia Tours if you need special Vietnam package tour and require further assistance. Safe travels!