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Discover Hanoi and Its Surrounding Countryside

 
 

Discover Hanoi and Its Surrounding Countryside

Charismatic, eclectic and vibrant, Hanoi offers a feast for the senses round every corner. Serene lakes and extensive parks contrast with the buzzing streets and The Old Quarter of the city. Hanoi tours would not be complete without exploring this energetic centre with its narrow lanes, hanging lanterns and conical hats. The local craftsmen sell their wares, ladies cook up enticing street food and children with shy smiles hide behind cyclos and tuc tucs.

When embarking on one of the Hanoi tours it is important to consider what the surrounding countryside has to offer. Getting off the tourist trail is not always easy unless you know where to look.

Sapa

sapa vietnam

Sapa is in the Hoang Lien Son mountainous region north of Hanoi, close to the Chinese border. An area of cultural diversity and tribal history it is definitely worth adding to your list of Hanoi tours. The scenery combines rugged mountains and lush vegetation interspersed with rice paddies and small tribal towns.

Although marred at times by the onslaught of tourism and the impact of the money it brings in, it is still possible to avoid the main trail and embark on a trek into the wild reaches of this incredible area and make your trip a worthwhile experience.

Halong Bay

halong bay

Halong Bay lies east of Hanoi, in the Gulf of Tonkin and in total contrast is an area of serenity, and tranquility. The bay is famous for the hundreds of limestone peaks that protrude dramatically from the crystal clear waters of the sea. As well as spending the night here aboard a local 'junk' boat you can swim, kayak and explore one of the many limestone caves.

The site has gained UNESCO prestige and with 1500 square kilometres of stunning scenery and geology to explore it is clear that its status is justifiably deserved. Most of the islands are untouched by human influence, which means they have remained as natural and open to the elements as they should be. A visit to Halong Bay will be a highlight of your Hanoi tours.

The other side of the city

There is no doubt that the city is home to several historically important monuments and museums, and visits to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, The Temple of Literature and the One Pillar Pagoda should all be included in your Hanoi tours. But if it you endeavour to grasp a real local, Vietnamese experience you should head to the night flower market on the edge of the West Lake. From 2am until sunrise the place is adorned with colours and perfumes of an array of blooms. Quang Ba market is particularly vivacious during the New Year celebrations of Tet.

Ninh Binh

vietnam ninhbinh boat in tamcoc

This town is a good base for exploring the area south east of the city. The Cuc Phuong National Park is an important contributor to primate rescue and reintroduction. Tam Coc with its limestone towers can be explored by boat, and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu is home to many 17th century decorative temples. Along the way tiny villages and handicraft markets joined by paddy fields are worth taking a detour to.


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