Perfect 5D4N Hanoi Itinerary under SGD 500 (Halong Bay Included!)

Halong Bay is GORGEOUS. You have to include it in your itinerary if you are heading to Hanoi and here’s how to do it (comfortably) without breaking the bank. 🙂

1. Return flight on Vietnam Airlines – SGD 198 per pax
2. 3-night accommodation at La Siesta Trendy – SGD 105 per pax
3. 2D1N Cruise on Rosa Cruise – SGD 145 per pax

Of course, it could have way cheaper if I didn’t mind a cheaper accommodation/overnight cruise (there’s aplenty!) but it was a treat for my parents so I really wanted it to be comfortable. Plus, I did consider going to the travel agents but it would set me back by about SGD 1000 per pax so I decided to plan it myself!

Day 1 – Arrived in Hanoi

We took VN662 and it was very delayed due to the typhoon. We arrived at Hanoi about 5pm but what we didn’t expect was that the queue at the immigration was really, really long. We spent close to an hour clearing immigration and when we finally did, it was already 6. 🙁

A taxi from airport to Old Quarters would cost you about 400,000 dong but I decided to book an airport transfer from Hanoi Transfer Service instead since it only costs 18 USD for a 7-seater and apparently the Hanoi airport is known for taxi scams.

Our hotel, Hanoi La Siesta Trendy, about SGD 70 a night

Hanoi La Siesta Trendy

If you are particular about your rooms, this hotel wouldn’t disappoint 🙂

Hanoi La Siesta Trendy Room

As you can tell, the sky was already dark because the journey to our hotel took about 45 mins (bad weather) so we had a quick dinner somewhere nearby and rested early for our cruise the next day!

Day 2 – Halong Bay Overnight Cruise

Breakfast at the hotel was lovely. Look at this view!

Hanoi La Siesta Trendy Breakfast

Rosa Cruise picked us up from our hotel and it was a 4-hour journey to the pier. Imagine if you are doing just a day tour? You would have to do 2 x 4-hr journey in the same day. That’s crazy!

I spent a long time researching for THE cruise and finally settled on Rosa Cruise because the price is right (less thanSGD 500 for 2 twin-sharing rooms!), the boat looks great and it was ranked #8 on TripAdvisor out of the 144 cruises.

Rosa Cruise

All meals are included in the cost (so worth it) and the only thing you had to pay for was drinks. With the exception of breakfast, every meal was at least 5-course with complimentary fruits at the end. 🙂

Rosa Cruise Food

In case you were thinking that the cruise is just about eating and resting on the boat, you are wrong. Activities for the day include:

– Visiting Pearl Farm Village (no hard-selling thankfully)
– Kayaking (complimentary)
– Swimming (around the junk boat)
– Squid fishing at night

And if you are really bored, just sit back and enjoy this view

Halong Bay

Day 3 – Back to Hanoi Old Quarters

I woke up really early to catch the sunrise but I still wasn’t early enough. Either that or I was on the wrong side of the bay 😡 I really don’t mind waking up to this view everyday!

You can join the taichi class if you would like to stretch a little too!

After breakfast, we were brought to the Sung Sot Cave and this is where you get the panoramic shot of Halong Bay. I’ve been quite a number of caves and always feel a little underwhelmed because they are usually just… caves. But this is special. It’s massive and the lighting really complemented every single formation

It’s beautiful right? It keeps getting better because you’ll get to this spot when you finally reach the top.

Before we disembarked from the cruise, we were taught how to make Vietnamese spring rolls and had them as part of our lunch. Going on this overnight cruise is really the best decision I made this trip!

We arrived back at our hotel around 5pm and really wanted a good Vietnamese meal. Our meal on the boat wasn’t too bad but I really wanted some bun cha. Googled and found this place in the Old Quarters. It was our best meal and on hindsight, I really should have gone back there for our meal on our last night!

New Day Restaurant
72 Ma May Hang Buom, Hanoi, Vietnam


It’s really simple home-cooked Vietnamese dishes but it was so, so satisfying. Prices are really reasonable (in fact, it’s on the lower side) and service was awesome. The waitress saw me having trouble with my bun cha and offered to teach me how to eat it 🙂

All these (missing Vietnamese spring rolls) for less than SGD 30.

 Day 4 – Hanoi City Tour

So I booked my full day city tour from Hanoi Transfer Service because it would be a waste to visit this beautiful city without understanding her history. The tour + driver costs USD 250 (about SGD 350) which I feel is a little expensive but there are some things you just can’t scrimp on. If you don’t feel like spending so much, you can always email your hotel and ask them to quote you for just a driver. It will be much cheaper! Our hotel quoted us USD 70 which is quite cheap? 🙂

We visited quite a number of places:

– Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
– One Pillar Pagoda
– Temple of Literature
– Lake of the Restored Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake)
– Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace
– Chua Tran Quoc on West Lake
– Vietnam Military History Museum

Be warned that all the above places are VERY touristy so it will be extremely crowded. For some reason, our visit coincided with the graduation season so there were endless students taking their formal/informal shoots at the Temple of Literature. Take care of your belongings!

My favorite is the Chua Tran Quoc. There’s an aura about this place 🙂

Our tour also included a 1-hour ride on the rickshaw around the Old Quarter. We didn’t have enough small change so we tipped USD 2 – USD 5 each driver but our drivers protested and said it’s too little. It soured the trip a little to be honest. Having said that, don’t take the ride (opt for the Old Quarters tour on the electric tour car) if you have a soft spot for the elderly. I felt a little bad that the people cycling us are probably my father’s or grandfather’s age!

Weekend Hanoi Night Market
Address: Hang Dao Street
Opening hours: 6pm – 11pm, Friday to Sunday

As the night market is only open from Friday – Sunday, it’s best to time your visit so you can pop by this night market! It’s one of the longest night market as it stretches 3km from Hang Dao Street all the way to the Dong Xuan market. Do note that Dong Xuan market would be closed at night though! As with all night markets, the items are quite repetitive but trust me, you’ll never be bored. The energy is quite infectious and you may end up buying soft toys you don’t really need.

 Day 5 – Back to Singapore

Our flight was really early in the morning so we only had time for breakfast. Searched for the best Banh Mi in the area and found this place with many positive reviews!

Banh Mi 25
Address: 25 Hang Ca Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Opening hours: 7am – 7pm, Daily (Closes 5pm on Sunday)

It opens really early at 7am and there wasn’t any queue (phew). There’s a nice cozy sitting area so you can enjoy your Banh Mi and the signature Vietnamese coffee while watching the world go by.

It was a very satisfying breakfast but I still preferred the Banh Mi in Ho Chi Minh 😡


With this, we ended our 5D4N trip to Hanoi and if you ask me, I think the length of the trip is just nice! It was short enough to leave me craving for more and it was long enough for us to spend sufficient time at each attraction instead of rushing through. I would love to visit Sapa the next time I visit Hanoi and I can’t wait!

My parents think I travel too much but if not now, then when? New experiences excite me the most and that's why I rarely visit the same city twice unless (a) they have awesome food and (b) they have awesome food.