Vietnam is a county of astonishing resilience and beauty with its landscape of iconic rice terraces, stunning coastlines, and lush-green mountains. Additionally, this is a country worth visiting on the escorted tours of Vietnam to appreciate its superb cuisine and incredibly friendly people.
Let's take a look at several of the best things to do in Northern Vietnam:
1) Halong Bay. Enjoy an overnight cruise on a traditional junk-style boat that cruises past the thousands of limestone islets, rocks and caves that make up this majestic sight. A 2-day, 1-night cruise will of course include tasting the delicious local cuisine, as well as to appreciate the serene sunset over the bay in the evening.
Beyond the relaxing time on board the junk-style boat, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in short excursions on a kayak or rowboat. One of the most fascinating experiences is to take a kayak trip to the remote caves to see the spectacular stalactites and stalagmites inside. Additionally, there are several secluded beaches to visit throughout the region.
2) Bai Tu Long Bay. Similar to Halong Bay, a visit to the more remote region of Bai Tu Long Bay is great to get away and enjoy the less congested waters.
A visit to Bai Tu Long Bay is the better choice if you want to experience the gorgeous seascape scenery mostly undisturbed. Many tourists will appreciate its laid-back atmosphere and a great alternative to staying in the more touristy area of Halong Bay.
Similar to other bay excursions, the boat cruise will include short trips away from the main boat, such as visiting a local fishing village to see the daily life in action, eat a feast of freshly cooked food on the beach, or kayak up close to the limestone islands.
3) Sapa. A tour of Sapa in the north of the country is certain to appeal to travellers in search of a little adventure. Additionally, this part of the countryside has a very authentic feel with plenty of local villages to pass through and ethnic hill-tribe people that live according to ancient customs and continue to wear traditional dress.
An overnight stay in a homestay with a local family is a great way to further appreciate the local life and culture. Sapa tours are easily organised by a Vietnam travel agency located in Hanoi. Any decent trekking adventure will include an itinerary that explores the remote villages and easily tailored to match the budget, touring needs and travel period.
4) Old Quarter. Any visit to the Vietnam's fascinating capital city of Hanoi should include exploring the maze of narrow streets in the ancient Old Quarter district that dates to the 13th century. Much of this part of the city has resisted the flow of time and great for travellers on the family tours in Vietnam that wish to get a better grasp of the local culture.
For those wishing to get immersed in the day-to-day life of the locals, a walk around the Dong Xuan Market is certain to appeal. This market has an endless range of goods, so there shouldn't be too much difficulty in finding souvenirs for friends and family at home.
Hanoi's Old Quarter is a must-see place in the northern Vietnam and shouldn't be missed.
5) Street food. Soak up the atmosphere on Hanoi's streets with great food that is served fresh and simple. Most of the street food stalls serve light meals that are rich in chilli, lime juice and herbs. One of the most famous dishes consists of a delicious bowl of pho (beef noodle soup).
Plus, there are plenty of other local specialities to taste that are an astonished mix of flavours and tastes. This street food is very healthy and there isn't any reason not to taste it while travelling throughout the country on the Vietnam tours package.
A great way to appreciate the local cuisine is to sign up for a street food tour with a guide that not only includes tasting a variety of delicious dishes, but also get to learn more about the traditions and intricacies of the Vietnamese food culture.
6) Ngoc Son Temple. A visit to the Ngoc Son Temple is perfect for those travellers seeking enlightenment. This intricate decorated temple is located in a peaceful and picturesque spot on an island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake. Even though the temple isn't very large and doesn't take particularly long to visit, it is still worth the time to visit it.
Additionally, for tourists interested in learning more of the imperial history and culture of the city, a half-day tour of Hanoi can be organised through one of the many local travel agents. A tour with a guide is the best option because they can give plenty of information on the attractions visited. Also, a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter is a great way to get around this ancient part of the city.
7) Ha Giang. A trip to a remote region of northern Vietnam gives access to the ethnic villages and beautiful sceneries of Ha Giang.
While the actual Ha Giang town has very little in the way of attractions, a great reason to visit this north-eastern province is a motorbike tour that travels along the mountainous roads and passes plenty of minority villages and rice fields. A typical motorbike tour from Ha Giang to Dong Van and Cao Bang via Bao Loc can take two or three days to complete the 300 km journey. There are plenty of places to stop to admire the stunning scenery, while several of the towns that are passed will have a Sunday market that is worth visiting.
Even though this town is in a remote location, there is still a decent tourist infrastructure that offers plenty of places to hire a motorbike or find accommodation (guest house, ecolodge, homestay, etc.) for the night. The cost of hiring a motorbike is relatively cheap with a 90cc motorbike costing in the region of $9 per day.
However, it is important to organise this type of adventure on the Vietnam holiday at the right time of the year. Many of the roads can become impassable throughout the wet season.