An Adventure-Filled Stopover in Northern Vietnam

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Advisor - Katie Anderson
Curated By

Katie Anderson

  • Active Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Nature Escapes

  • Vietnam

  • Outdoors

  • Local Culture

  • Sightseeing

A countryside with a lot pf boats in the lake.
Curator’s statement

Hanoi and the surrounding sites of Northern Vietnam are truly unique and offer such an incredible cultural experience. When I first arrived at my hotel in Hanoi, I remember being somewhat awestuck watching the motorbikes zip by and wondering how in the world I was going to make it across the street in one piece. After spending several days exploring Northern Vietnam I came to love everything about this one-of-a-kind destination from the food, the culture, the beauty and the experience!

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Vietnam

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Things to do in Vietnam

A lake surrounded by green high rise mountains.

Go shopping at the night market in Hanoi Old Quarter - The markets are held from 6-11 PM rain or shine, and you can pick up gear such as NorthFace for a fraction of what you would pay in the U.S.

Take a small group street food tour with a local foodie and sample all the pho and Vietnamese sandwiches you can find!

Go on a 2-day/1-night Halong Bay guided cruise and take a short hike up to the top of Ti Top island to get those breathtaking Halong Bay pictures. You will have meals included on the cruise and have the opportunity to kayak through the bay. This was a highlight of my trip!

Take a day trip to Ninh Binh. You will enjoy the beautiful landscapes by bike and by boat through the Tam Coc caves.

Take an overnight 2-day/1-night Sapa trekking tour. I had no idea what I was getting into when I booked this tour for myself and would only recommend this if you are in good physical shape. Otherwise, you may choose to enjoy Sapa without the trekking. With the help of local guides, you will trek through some muddy terraced fields, mountains, and small villages. This was a magical place and absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.

Take a small group cooking class or engage in a culinary experience with a local in their home.

Day Trips

  • Halong Bay 2 day/1 night (overnight recommended)

  • Day trip to Ninh Binh

  • Sapa 2 day/1 night (overnight recommended due to distance)

  • Perfume Pagoda day trip

Places to eat & drink in Vietnam

An inside shot of a restaurant at night.

Enjoy the Old Quarter city views and local cuisine on the balcony at Tung's Kitchen.

Eat delicious pho at Viet Restaurant Hanoi.

Enjoy your morning coffee at Tranquil Books and Coffee.

Have dinner and delicious spring rolls at MET Vietnamese restaurant & Vegetarian Food.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out Fora Travel Advisor Anny Chen's guide, Explore Vietnam to the Brim.

Advisor - Katie Anderson

Travel Advisor

Katie Anderson

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Vietnam.