Hanoi is a great cultural city that is well worth visiting on the Vietnam family holiday to appreciate its landmarks, museums, nightlife and restaurants. But, this fascinating city can also make a great base for visiting other places in the countryside on a day trip.
Here are a few of the incredible day trips that can be enjoyed from Hanoi:
Halong Bay is Vietnam's crown jewel when it comes to top tourist destinations. This mystical UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit place on the travel itinerary and is easily reached from Hanoi with a travel time of about four hours. A guided tour is the most practical option to ensure you get to see the most scenic areas. The best experience on the bay is achieved with an overnight tour on a traditional junk-style boat. Staying the night on the junk boat makes it possible to really appreciate the natural beauty of the limestone islets and watch the sun rise in the evening.
A multi-day trip gives the more relaxed trip that can free up time for deeper exploration. Daily activities can range from swimming and kayaking in the bay, exploring the caves, and even visit nearby towns such as Haiphong, Tam Coc, and rural Mai Chau.
Ba Vi National Park
The Ba Vi National Park is located about two hours west of the capital city and a superb place to get fully engrossed in nature on the Vietnam holiday. This park has several major peaks to explore with one, the Tan Vien containing the shrine of the Mountain God which dates back to the 11th century. After hiking the easy or challenging trails or going for a cooling swim, there is a nearby spa to fully relax at the end of the day.
Duong Lam Ancient Village
A visit to the peaceful Duong Lam Ancient Village gives a perfect opportunity to really appreciate what life was like before the arrival of modern electronics and conveniences. This series of villages acts much like a living museum where it is possible to still witness traditional ways of life. There are communities of people, centuries-old homes, temples to kings, and communes that show off their traditional day-to-day life. Ba Vi National Park and Duong Lam are relatively close together, so can feature on the same day trip tour itinerary.
Trang An and Tam Coc
The beautiful scenery of Trang An and Tam Coc is likely to make it the most popular day-trip destination from Hanoi. A typical tour starts with a boat trip that travels along the Sao Khe River. A local guide will row the boat and keep passengers entertained. On arrival at Trang An, you enter the cave systems and slowly drift past the limestone karsts that tower up over the water. The natural beauty of the local area is stunning and well worth a visit on the Vietnam tours package. A boat trip to Trang An typically takes about two hours to complete.
After the tour of Trang An is complete it is time to travel to the next destination of Tam Coc. Trang An and Tam Coc are only about 10 minutes apart, so very easy to explore both on the same day-trip.
Tam Coc is a further destination with superb scenery with its amazing karst formations. Travelling around Tam Coc is possible by boat or biking. However, the travel options may be influenced by the type of tour booked. Also, Tam Coc is relatively easy to reach independently, which gives greater freedom over your travel schedule.
A trip to the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is typically packaged with other trips like Trang An/Tam Coc because they are so close to each other. During the 10th and 11th centuries, Hoa Lu was a former capital of the county and is now a cultural-historical relic that attracts plenty of tourists. Even though there is little to see of the original buildings, there are several newer buildings and temples that are intended to honour the original dynastic families. Also, it is well located in a region of steel hills which helps to create the superb photographic opportunities.
One of the busiest tourist sites in northern Vietnam is the Perfume Pagoda which is well-know as a place for Buddhists to make pilgrimages. The busiest time is February to April when there are a great number of local people flocking to this pagoda. But even in times of high foot traffic, the Perfume Pagoda is still appreciated for its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, pagodas, and temples. Even the boat trip that takes tourists to this very revered and sacred site can be a wonderful experience with the natural beauty that lines the route.
Mai Chau Valley
Mai Chau Valley is a further destination that is appreciated for its all-round natural beauty with its lines of jagged mountain ridges and rice paddies. The travel time to reach this picture perfect spot is about three hours, but it is certain to be worth the effort for tourists on the Vietnam tours that wish to see first-hand the authentic lifestyle of the region's ethnic tribes. The best way to explore the Mai Chau Valley is on a trekking or biking tour that passes through several remote villages and even gives the possibility of spotting a few exotic or rare wild animals. A stay in a homestay for the night is very popular which gives a further opportunity to interact with the locals.
Bat Trang Village
Bat Trang Village is relatively close to Hanoi and easily reached within a journey time of about thirty minutes. This village is appreciated for creating fine ceramics and porcelain, which has become very popular in many parts of Asia because of its high-quality and traditional designs. Not only does visiting this village make it possible to purchase a high-quality ceramic product, but also makes it possible to watch as these pieces are handcrafted before your eyes.