Northern Vietnam

The World of historical Natural Wonder!
Northern Vietnam is an interesting historical site plus natural beautify of Vietnam, travelling through bustling city of Hanoi, having boat cruising in Ha Long Bay, trekking of overlooking the terraced rice filed, mountain, Valley, meeting tribal groups and having home stay at Sapa.  And more adventure activities on offer…

Northern Vietnam


Hanoi is what Saigon isn’t. Whilst HCM is all about fast paced, nonstop action, Hanoi is all about doing things at a leisurely pace. This is the capital of Vietnam, still beating to the communist tune and is the intellectual heartbeat of the country. French and Chinese Colonialism really stamped their presence here with sweeping architecture and tranquil historic lakes.

Breathe in the scent of the numerous street food merchants, as locals feast on traditional culinary delights, washed down with lashings of steaming hot green tea. Try crossing the road as motorbikes all vie for the space in-front them, oblivious to traffic laws and laden with at least 4 humans, a washing machine and chicken on it. Rest your weary head at one of the numerous luxurious hotels but with little impact to your wallet. Gander around the Old Quarter which is made up of zany small lanes where multitudes of vendors hawk anything from bamboo baskets to paper lanterns and people drink the home brew Bia Hoi on street corners. Step away from this deafening bustle and go to  relax at Hoan Kiem Lake – the mainstay  of the modern city, here locals  exercise, or play the very popular game of chess with wise old Vietnamese men.

Attraction is a plenty, from Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum to the Temple of Literature where all the scholars and mandarins’ were taught to the world heritage site of Halong Bay. There are numerous activities ranging from traditional cooking classes to watching an opera, moving on to trekking in the gorgeous Ba Vi mountain range.

Hoan Kiem Lake (Hanoi)

Hoan Kiem Lake is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as the locals’ favorite leisure spot. The lake’s name translates as “Lake of the Returned Sword.” It’s based on a legend of a turtle stealing–or, more accurately, reclaiming–a sword from Emperor Le Loi. Hoan Kiem means “returned sword”, and the name comes from a legend in which Emperor Le Loi was given a magical sword by the gods, which he used to drive out the invading Chinese. Later he returned the sword to the Golden Turtle God in the lake.

In the middle of the lake is a small island with a small stone Pagoda. You can’t get to it–there are no bridges or boats to the island. The glassy waters on the lake at night set off the city lights beautifully, enhanced by more lights around parts of the lake wall and on Jade Island.

There were once, giant turtles in Hoan Kiem Lake, they were known to be very elusive and there was only one of the revered creatures left in the lake. The last known individual was found dead on January 19, 2016.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh is one of the most recognizable names of the 20th century. A revolutionary, a poet, a writer a, journalist and a master of many languages, Uncle Ho achieved Demi-god status to the Vietnamese people.  It comes as no surprise that he was embalmed and placed in a mausoleum, a massive stone building, distantly resembling a Greek temple, but one that was built by the Soviets. This is the most important building in Hanoi for all local people. The location of the building is where President Ho declared independence for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Sept, 1945.

Uncle Ho wanted to be cremated, but the Vietnamese and Russians had a different idea. At the museum he is on display  in a glass sarcophagus for 9 months – the other 3 months of the year, his body is restored in Russia There are strict  rules when visiting the mausoleum, such as wearing long trousers and not taking your camera  into the mausoleum.

Temple Of Literature

The Temple Of Literature also know as Van Miu by the locals is the most sacred of the city’s temple structures, and considered one of the Hanoi’s best historical and cultural sites. It is Vietnam’s oldest university. But it is no longer one. Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius. It has fascinating and rich history such as that it was epicenter for education for Vietnamese mandarins, and this just a taster of what this fountain of knowledge has to offer. It sits within the old Imperial City west of the old Quarter.

Van Mieu is an oasis of tranquility in contrast to Hanoi’s never ending traffic noise. It contains numerous courtyards and pavilions. Here people come for peace, green trees and personal meditation and study, making one feel like they were lost in a land of Confucian and his wise words.

Perfume Pagoda

For an adventurous day away from the heat and the noise of the city, Perfume Pagoda is must see. Its name stems from the smell of spring blossoms in the valley where the famous Pagoda resides.  A couple of hours away by bus through green quilted rice fields and  grazing buffaloes, after which you will slide seamlessly along the river on a hand rowed boat, passing fishermen and farmers attending to their business. At your arrival you will be met by mountain ranges and limestone cliffs. Nestled between these forested hills lies the Perfume Pagoda.

There are around 30 pagodas but this is the most cherished. Once you small boat has dropped you off you then ascends by foot up a well-trodden path. This is not for the faint hearted, your trek up is steep and potentially up to an hour, but once you get to the top you will thank yourself with awesome views of the valley and of course of the mecca that is  seventeenth-century Chua Thien Chu or Perfume Pagoda .

One Pillar Pagoda

Pencil this attraction as one to see on the way to or from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It certainly has history and legend behind it, but it won’t take long to admire it.

This is not a very large pagoda and has only one pillar placed in the middle of a lotus pond. This exclusive pagoda was ordered by the emperor Ly Thai Tong in the 11 century.  Made of wood this Pagoda was built on a single stone pillar, in the image of  lotus blossom. It is also revered for its fertility and healing properties, and was demolished by the French by fire during their reign and was subsequently replaced by a concrete one.

Museum of Ethnology

If you have kids, then this something for all of you. This amazing Museum relates to Vietnam’s numerous ethnic minorities featuring  well-presented tribal art and a host of memorabilia, It’s a devotion to all the minority groups of Vietnam showcasing the 54 different ethnic tribes of Vietnam, their clothes and their tools, their homes as well. It shows you the diversity of Vietnam  in a way that will enthrall and capture your family’s curiosity.  It has an excellent outdoor and indoor exhibition Centre,

Outdoors, is by far the best. Here are houses preserved in their natural made state. All of you can walk into different homes, examples such as  the Tay stilt house, Yao House on half stilts and half earth and an abode made from beaten walls, The interiors of all these houses feature the communal areas.You can visit inside each one which are kitted out with traditional tools used for cooking and such like.

Inside, peruse photos, videos, clothing and daily implements, as you engage in the culture and history of these minorities.  Displays are labeled in Vietnamese, French and English for the many visitors.

Sapa and Tribal Groups

Sapa is really mountainous and hilly area in Lao Cai province of Vietnam lying just near the border of China. The area covered with the land size 24.02 km2 and pretty small population and among of them are minority groups of hill tribe people including Tay, Dao and Hmong which are tracing the original custom and origin of Vietnam back then.

Travelers are pretty much enjoy the greenery of nature in the region and amazingly beautiful scenery, overlooks nearby mountain Valley, the terraced rice field of Moung Hoa.

The activities here the people may not to be missed are trekking and hiking up the mountain, for overlooking terraced rice filed, homestay at any of them villages, having food in community or at village homestay and more…

Ha Long Bay

Vietnam’s biggest attractions is the gorgeous Halong Bay, It is situated in North Vietnam round a 120 kilometer long coast line and is literally translated as “Bay of Descending Dragons.” Giant limestone cliffs with dense canopies of green shoot up from the blue water as boats of all sizes drift lazily among them. Ha Long Bay features thousands of islands, each topped with heavy jungle vegetation, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone towers. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves, others islands include lakes and some support floating villages of fishermen.

The esteemed Vietnamese poet Nguyen Trai wrote this about this beauty: “a marvel of the earth erected towards the high skies”. While inspecting the bay, you will feel yourself soaked in the atmosphere, lost in an almost fantasy world of islands that seem  to change shape at the whim of environment. A vast bay, peppered with over 2,000 virtually uninhabited limestone cliffs, this breathtaking scenery is very alike to that of the Andaman coast of Thailand.

Fine Arts Museum

From two buildings designed originally for information it has since morphed int the Fine Arts Museum. As with all sculptures by the French it is magnificent in its design and aesthetics.

Within this building houses some priceless treasures harking back over 10, 000 years. Dating back to the Champa ear, some splendid carvings and effigies are found here.


Vietnamese Cooking Class

What better way to impress your friends back home than to some delicious Vietnamese food. Cooked like a local, made like a local. Start the lesson with a walk around the famous Chau Long market, with your chef for the day. He will point out an explain which herbs are best to buy, which vegetables are fresh and which cuts of meat will be best complement the dishes you will be creating. A quick whip back to the school and it’s time to listen and watch carefully as your master chops, slices and sizzles the combinations into a frenzy. Then it’s over to you. With your master watching carefully and on call to answer any questions. Lastly sit down, grab a local beer or wine and devour your own cooked Vietnamese delicacy.

Watch a Show at the Opera House

Take a rest from lounging around either in your hotel or outside. Even if you are not an aficionado of ballet, Mozart or a good farce, mark a night to see one of the above. This impressive Opera house is a small scale replica of the Palais Garnier. It is simply stunning inside and outside displaying the French at their architectural pomp with this monument. So, throw away your shorts and t-shirt and don your finest attire for the night Walk arm in arm regally as you enter this amazing building.  Shows are regular, affordable and unmissable.


For an afternoon of romance and tranquility, and West Lake has to be the location. It’s an oasis of fresh water blended in with attractive gardens. Peppered with ancient pagodas, and one of the sacred oldest four temples in the whole of country, you will be in the same company as Kings and mandarins of the past, when this scenic reservoir was reserved just for them.

Cycling around this 17km lake makes an excellent option with many architectural beauties to explore and photograph. Quench your thirst, or hunger, at one of the many cafe’s on the pedal round. Alternatively, hire a boat for one to paddle on the water, and perhaps gorge food on the floating restaurant, as a different idea. Watch the sun say goodnight over Tran Quoc Pagoda, located on an island, as heaps of local lovers enjoy the atmosphere.

Vietnam Central Circus

Something for all the family, this circus has been entertaining generation after generation. Who doesn’t enjoy watching human dramatists showcasing their honed skills, trap zing, acrobating and the list goes on. Let’s not forget the animals as well who jump through hoops, literally, and perform other amazing feats. Certainly something to do if there is a spare evening.

Cyclo Tour

It’s best not to drive a motorbike in Hanoi, simply because there’s a strong possibility to get into an accident. Cyclo drivers (a local sitting up high and peddling you, with you seated like a sofa in front) were the first form of taxi service in Asia for many natives. So why not act like a local? These cyclo – taxis are built only for two passengers, unless you been eating too much food. Be ferried around at a leisurely pace whilst watching the hurried world pass by. They will waited for you patiently as you make your way around picking out places you want to stop at and never do they take you to shops they want you to go to. It is an adventure in itself in middle of the scooter mayhem. Remember to give them a hearty tip for their hard worked thighs.

Meander around the Old Quarter

As it’s name suggests, the history seeping through these street are ancient. Back before the French thrust their decor liberally around, each of the compact lanes that makes up this quarter holds memories of how they were named. Back in yesteryear when merchants were off-loading their goods, each street was named after their specific product being purchased. Hang Ma meaning silver product, Hang Go translating to wood product and Hang Bac are just prime examples of this. Today, these merchants all just merge with each other but the names still echo the past.

As you paddle your feet on the ground, the best form of transport here. enjoy the spectacles of antique brick dwellings, in very much still bustling area. Perhaps, drop into the oldest market in the city and bargain yourself a bargain. Hungry? Sample some of the finest traditional street food at a very agreeable price, and tasty as well. Thirsty? Drink Bia Hoi with the locals.

Hanoi Countryside Bike Tour

Mountain biking is an excellent way to shrug off a hangover or just to build muscle. Dovetail that with exceptional scenery, chatting with locals, this is a an adventure not to be missed.

So jump on the Giant bike, don the sunglasses as you head out of the fog of the city and into the clarity of the countryside. You are sure to pass such delights as the Red River, Eiffel Bridge and Co Loa’s Ancient Cathedral as well as to a village where the houses are over 400 years old. Mingle with Vietnamese villagers as they happily want to  learn  or practice their English and they discuss how foreigners look. Make new traveling buddies and swap humorous escapade stories.

Trekking in Ba Vi National Park

Time to lace your boots, fill the backpack and get ready to breathe in fresh mountain air.  This triple peaked mountain range are the highest in the country, home to a few rare plants and animals such as the flying squirrel.  Its beauty surpasses one’s toils, but you will be rewarded by boundless forestry,  exotic birdlife, stunning scenery with views as far Hanoi, on clear days. Pass other trekkers or locals on their way to 11th sacred century shrine which stands in memory of the Mountain God.

Reward yourself after to a luxurious spa, hot springs or mud bath after your immense efforts. These all available at the resort built in the figure of an ancient palace at the base of the mountain.

 Sapa Trek, Home stay and Tribal Village tour 

Travelers are pretty much enjoy the greenery of nature in the region and amazingly beautiful scenery, overlooks nearby mountain Valley, the terraced rice field of Moung Hoa.

The activities here the people may not to be missed are trekking and hiking up the mountain, for overlooking terraced rice filed, home stay at any of them villages, having food in community or at village home stay and more..

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