Top Ten Tours And Day Trips Around Hanoi Vietnam

Hanoi is considered the hub of Vietnam.

So it makes sense to start your visit to Vietnam in Hanoi, or alternatively end it here, using Hanoi as your base.

We started our Vietnam travels in Hanoi and then traveled by coach to Sapa. Here we spent three incredible days touring in this region.

We returned to Hanoi and traveled again on a two-day tour of Halong Bay.

Then once again Hanoi becomes our base for several ‘Day Tours’ and ‘Things To See And Do’.

So we’ve put a list together for you from just some of the activities we did on our tour that we think individuals, couples, and families will enjoy.

This top ten list is in no particular order.

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1. Row thru Trang An Caves UNESCO World Heritage Site

Trang An is an eco-tourist attraction located just under two hours drive from Hanoi, and in the East of Ninh Binh.
It is a UNESCO protected area and has much to offer visitors. It is known as the ‘Halong of the land’ with limestone mountains, valleys, underground river systems, and fascinating caves and at this time of year attracts many bridal parties for their pre-wedding photos.
We arrive and it is quiet and thousands of wooden flatboats await us.  It is busiest when ceremonies and New Year occurs, so we are told, and at those times, boats weave their way in the water, but at this time of year (September), it is not busy at all and a perfect time to visit here.
We take a gentle wooden boat ride – that is rowed by a local elderly man (who speaks no English) – to visit cave complex: Sang Cave, Toi Cave, Ba Giot Cave, Nau Ruou.  Our rowing man’s lack of English means smiles, hand gestures, and the word “hello” is used frequently to communicate quite successfully.
Many movies are made here in this area, and an oriental gateway can be seen on the mountainside that features in an upcoming film.
The air around us is filled with mystery, as we feel the tranquility and enjoy the wildness of the scenery including the mountains, waterways, and rivers.
This is an optional Legend Travel Group day tour that includes the air-conditioned van and lunch – as well as an afternoon trip to Bai Dinh Pagoda.
What happens next is a surprise!
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2. Try Ngọc dương Goats Genital Wine

Ngọc dương is rice wine made with the genitals of a male goat. I thought I was trying rice wine and was surprised when I found out the ingredients.  I felt all around my mouth ‘tingle’.

Later I am told only men drink this wine for sexual reasons and strength!  We joke that I will form muscles, and my voice will deepen 🙂

Why not come to Vietnam.  Dare you try it?  

This Ngọc dương wine is included along with the lunch (where mountain goat meat is served) in the tour above!

It is also only served in this Vietnamese region, and is a story you can tell your friends and family for years to come!

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3. Bai Dinh Pagoda & Biggest Bronze Buddha In Vietnam

With 500 La Han statues lining the entrance halls, Bai Dinh (Gia Vien, Ninh Binh) is relatively new. People rub the statues as they walk along, so polished areas on the statues are clearly seen.
Bai Dinh is considered one of the biggest Pagodas in Vietnam.  Here in this complex, the biggest bronze statue of Buddha (10 meters in height, 100 tons in weight) can be found in Vietnam.
It is a huge area with quite a few steps, so allow a good amount of time to wander through here.  An electric car takes you from the main gate and returns you after you have been in the pagoda and temple areas, so that helps tired legs.
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4. Support ‘Agent Orange’ Fine Arts

Agent Orange is a herbicide that was used in the Vietnam War by the American Army with horrendous effects to humans. Babies were then born with terrible defects. Deafness, blindness, and deformities have not held back many of these unfortunate victims, who now have been trained to earn a living in fine arts with the assistance of the Vietnamese Government.

We were fortunate to visit a center where we watched them finely stitch pictures that were so fabulous you would think they were painted. Very educational and well worth including in your ‘things to see’ around Hanoi.

Take home a memory or souvenir that also helps these folk to earn a living. They work incredibly hard and it might cost a little more, but we think this is better than supporting factories who machine make similar items!

This visit was also part of our Legend Travel Group Day Tour and, this tour company will customize tours to your individual needs.

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5. Learn the Ancient Art Of Lacquer

Ask for a Hanoi Day Tour that includes a visit to a lacquer workshop and studio.  See firsthand how the traditional lacquer artwork and furniture are painstakingly made by hand which my son found fascinating.

Much of the lacquer work on the streets is factory-made, but here each piece is made by hand, and we learn the step-by-step process.

Once again – very educational!

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6. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum & Changing Of The Guard

The ‘Changing of the Guard’ at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is very interesting, and we arrive just in time to see it happen at 9:00 a.m.

If you visit the Mausoleum ensure your shoulders and knees are covered.

An interesting fact we learn from our tour guide is that no building nearby can exceed the height of the Mausoleum out of respect for this Communist leader.

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7. Seeking A Boy Baby? Kids Wanting A Brother?

Visit One Pillar Pagoda – Chùa Một Cột

Legend Travel Group

©Exploramum and Explorason – Vietnam – around Hanoi – One Pillar Pagoda

After Emperor Lý Thái Tông had a dream that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, his life changed and here is the story of this pagoda.

In the dream, he was handed a baby boy whilst he was seated on a lotus flower. Soon after, he met a peasant girl Lý Thái Tông and she bore him a son.

The emperor constructed the Chùa Một Cột Temple as a thankful memory for this dream in 1049.  The building represents the single pillar being the stem of the lotus flower, and the temple being the flower itself.

People now come to pray here for a baby boy, as giving birth to a son that carries on the family name is very important.

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8. Visit the home of Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh led Vietnam firmly into Communism, and whilst this man never married, he also spent much of his time alone.

Here we see that even though the President’s residence built by the French was offered to him, ‘Uncle Ho’ refused to reside here.

Wanting to set an example to the locals, he dwelt in a humble cottage in the garden, and it was sad to see his table set for one as I can imagine him dining alone on many an evening.

Ho Chi Minh then lived for several years in the north of Vietnam returning to build a wooden home similar to the homes in the north. He built this right across the lake where he later lived.  Once again a simple home.  He also taught the fish to come to the surface with a clap of his hands!

Neither home lived in by ‘Uncle Ho’ had air-conditioning because he refused it. Instead, donating the funds to the hospital to assist the patients in their comfort.

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9.  Spend A Few Hours In One Of The Many Museums

We visit the Museum of Ethnology where we wander through traditional houses.  Here we see ancient artifacts of the minority tribes of Vietnam like those we visited in the SaPa region.

This museum is closed on Monday and Friday afternoons like a lot of other museums in Hanoi, so be wary.  Your Legend Travel Group tour guide will know the best museums to take you on the day.

The Women’s Museum I am told is also a ‘must see’.

We also enjoy a lovely lunch in the garden and try famous Hanoi Pho Soup for lunch which is included in the Day Tour.  This restaurant supports the underprivileged youth and it was meticulously clean, and extra food items were available at a really great price.  Top service as they are being trained in hospitality.

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10. Temple of Literature – Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám

Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám sometimes incorrectly and more popularly known as the ‘Temple of Literature’ is a ‘Temple of Confucius’ in Hanoi, and we spend a lovely time visiting here.

With the original University being destroyed in one of the wars, we still get to wander around and enjoy the pretty grounds within the center of Hanoi.

The temple is conveniently located to the south of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long.

We loved the pretty courtyards and learn from our Day Tour guide that the temple was built in 1070 when Emperor Lý Thánh Tông holds the throne.

This is one of a few temples in Vietnam which is worshipped and dedicated to Confucius, his sages, and educational scholars where stone inscriptions can be seen.

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BONUS – Take A Cyclos Xích lô Ride Around The Lake

Cycle rickshaws are known as xích lô (pronounced sick-low, from the French cyclo) in Vietnam.

With your free time (I’d suggest one in the day and one at night) from your tour schedule in Hanoi make sure you include this activity.

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If you’d love to visit Hanoi, please contact Legend Travel Group

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Note: our personal religious faith is not in alliance with some places we visit in the world, but we believe it is educational to learn about other religions and cultures and what their faith is, and why they hold to that faith.  
We do request that religious, racial, and political debates do not form part of comments on our articles.


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