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Hanoi Travel & Tour: 6-Day Culture Exploration

Explore the magic of Hanoi through its markets, colonial architecture, traditional theater and temples. Mingle with locals and learn how to produce traditional Vietnamese handicrafts. Wake up in the morning and take part in tai chi for a memorable local experience.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Exploring the secret streets of Hanoi, visiting the local family to learn about its culture.
  • Countryside tour to the ancient village of Duong Lam.
  • Vespa tour to explore the vibrant food scene of Hanoi during the evening.
  • Joining the cooking class to learn about some secret receipt of Vietnamese street foods.

Unforgettable moments

  • Wandering the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the “36 streets”. 
  • The beautiful countryside life of Duong Lam ancient village.
  • The amazing behind-the-scene experience with the expert guidance of our local guide.
  • Cruising along the small street of Hanoi with Vespa Tour
  • Enjoying your own dishes of Vietnamese street food with secret receipts.

Nature exploration

  • The countryside atmosphere of Duong Lam Village
  • Breathe-in the morning impression of Hanoi

Culture experience

  • Learn about the never-fading culture of Hanoi from its residents.
  • Visit the ancient century-old village of Duong Lam
  • Experience the food culture of Hanoi via the vibrant Vespa tour & cooking class.

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi

Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi.

Vietnam's capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Its streets surge with scooters vying for right of way amid the din of constantly blaring horns, and all-around layers of history reveal periods of French and Chinese occupation – offering a glimpse into the resilience of ambitious, proud Hanoians.

Depending on the arrival time, visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Visit the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), and visit the former president’s house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading back to the hotel.

Time permitting, or as an alternative to one of the above, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum.  The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women.  Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.

Tonight’s dinner will be held in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter in the home of a true Hanoian who learnt her culinary skills from her grandmother who used to cook for the French elite in the 1930’s.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Notes

Check out the Hanoi travel guide

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Day 2 - Explore Duong Lam Ancient Village

8.30am leave from your hotel. Drive about 50km from Hanoi to visit Duong Lam ancient village in Son Tay province. Duong Lam, a purely agricultural village of the Northern Red River Delta. 

On arrival we take a walk on the village path to visit Mong Phu temple where is dedicated to national heroes, King Ngo Quyen and King Phung Hung temples.

Enjoy special Vietnamese lunch prepared by the host. While you are in the house you can also join the local people in producing local specialties such as soft green-lentil cake and rice cake filled with brown onion and enjoy these dishes (depend on the season of the year). 

Continue to visit Mia Pagoda – built in 15th century and admire 287 statues of all sizes before transferring back to your hotel in Hanoi.

On the way, if you are interested, stop to visit Tay Phuong pagoda built in the 8th century, the best example of old typical pagodas in the North of Vietnam, being special with 18 ancient Arhan statues.  

Make the final stop at Van Phuc silk village, the cradle of best silk in Vietnam once, learn about silk making process and shopping finest silk products in Van Phuc village.

Transfer back to your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 3 - Hanoi Insider Experience

This morning, be picked up from the hotel with the local guide and be transferred by vehicle to a suburb of Hanoi for a day of immersion in Vietnamese culture, in an authentic place still undiscovered by tourists. Start with a short visit of a small typical local market. In this tiny and crowded street find all types of seafood products, fish, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as many other products for sale.

From here wander the very narrow alleyways on foot with the guide – a great way to explore and discover the real daily life of a popular area for Hanoian residents, off the beaten path. Enjoy a coffee break next to a beautiful small lake in a typical Vietnamese area. Continue wandering through these hidden laneways and pass by a beautiful pagoda, where monks still come to pray, at a historic temple well known by Vietnamese.

Arrive at a typical Hanoian home, for a nice lunch with a welcoming local family. The friendly hosts, a moto driver and his seamstress wife working at home, will be pleased to share stories of their daily life.

After lunch continue exploring on foot through narrow streets up to a beautiful lake and then discover what is perhaps Hanoi’s quirkiest local market – rarely visited and somewhat secretive but guaranteed to be interesting.

The afternoon, enjoy a special water puppet performance. Take a short drive to Mr. Liem’s house, where guests will be warmly welcomed.  Here, guests will have the chance to explore his workshop. The shelves are lined with wooden puppet parts such as angel wings, buffalo tails and puppets of all shapes and sizes. He has built a smaller scale water puppet theater where guests can watch a 30-minute performance telling both ancient and modern stories of traditions and daily life.

After the show, guests can roll up their sleeves and try to make the dragon puppet chase its tail and spit water. Finally, enjoy a 30-minute experience of puppet painting, using a range of different bright and shiny colors. This tour is a great opportunity to gain deep insight into a local craft and rural traditions while having an unforgettable unique, behind-the-scenes experience.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

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Day 4 - Morning Impression - Evening Vespa Tour

Today’s tour will begin at 05:30. It’s an early start but one that is well-worth it! Meet with the local guide at 05:30 to catch the first rays of the sun and to see Hanoi waking up. Head to Long Bien market, the biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market in North Vietnam. Nowhere else in Hanoi exemplifies Vietnamese life better than Long Bien market. Witness buyers crowding around open-back trucks, money counters holding court over their stalls, motorbikes weaving down aisles and other mind-boggling scenes of daily life. This is far-and-away one of the most impressive markets in North Vietnam.

Then take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi. Pass by groups of Hanoians partaking in daily exercise such as gymnastics, martial arts and aerobics. Take a moment to look around and see signs of the city coming to life. Enjoy this silent slower pace that occurs before the start of Hanoi’s incessant traffic and honking horns. 

Then move to peaceful garden and join in a 45-minute Tai Chi class under the guidance of a local teacher, discover the slow movements of this popular martial art.
Afterward, pass Primary School and view the interesting scene of parents carrying their kids on motorbikes to start their school day before heading to a popular local restaurant for a typical Vietnamese breakfast of Pho, a traditional noodle soup bursting with flavour.

Last stop is at a local shop to sample Vietnamese coffee like the way locals do while overlooking the lake. Try a sweet iced coffee or opt for a slow-brewed hot java while enjoying people watching in this scenic location.

Following the morning of cultural immersion, continue to the next activity or return to the hotel for a rest.

18:00, early evening you will join the Vespas tour to explore Hanoi After dark, which begins at a stylish local Café with a beer cocktail and a delicious snack from one of the nearby night time vendors, before jumping on the back of the vintage Vespas. After weaving through the magical, busy back streets of the Old Quarter, we soon arrive at a lively local restaurant serving Bun Cha. This is the quintessential must taste Hanoian dish of rice noodles, grilled pork, and meatballs, with a side of ‘nem’ spring rolls. Simple but delicious.

It’s back riding through the narrow streets again, as we head toward our next foodie stop, a fascinating local joint, where we try infused rice wine and a buffalo jerky appetizer. We then head out of the Old Quarter, taking in the sites of the Hanoi Flag Tower and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, riding towards the West Lake and Truc Bac area. There we try the local specialty of ‘pho cuon’ and learn the art of wrap ‘n’ roll, Vietnamese style, with these fresh and fragrant ingredients, and the pho noodle!

Our next short ride on the Vespas takes us to our final port of call, next to the superb Opera House. The halcyon days of the 1930’s may be over, however, this Jazz Club will wow you with a truly unique blend of styles – 30’s style Jazz & traditional Vietnamese music!

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Day 5 - Street Food Cooking Class

Vietnamese food is always the highlight of your trip to the country of hidden charms.

You had chance to taste some of the best street food dishes yesterday evening with our Vespa tour. Today, take home some of the hustle and bustle of Ha Noi’s unique street life by learning how to make some of the delicious food you have enjoyed on the streets of Vietnam.

What you will learn includes: beef noodle soup; BBQ pork two ways with rice noodles; Fried pork spring rolls; Green papaya salad; Fruit cup.

The day starts with a visit to the local market to collect the ingredients before coming back to the restaurant and cook with the guidance of our chef.

The lunch will be served with what you created before transferring back to your hotel.

Free for the rest of the day to relax.

Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 6 - Departure Day

You are free to stroll around the town for your own exploration before taking the departure flight

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Vietnam BLOG ARTICLES

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Well, Vietnam and Thailand are the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. They are similar in climate and food, though obviously different in culture, lifestyle and travel experience.

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How long to spend in Vietnam may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out.

You can find here and there that you should spend 10 days, 2 weeks, 20 days, or 1 month to best explore Vietnam. So what is the best Vietnam tour duration for you?

Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Vietnam and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Vietnam is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Vietnam with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Vietnam.

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Vietnam would scrap the Covid-19 testing requirement for all arrivals starting Sunday, May 15th 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has directed.

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The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

Current policies issued by the health ministry require entrants to have negative results from PCR tests done within the previous 72 hours, or a negative result from a rapid test done within the last 24 hours.

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Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.

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The Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, foreigners entering Vietnam only need to furnish a negative Covid-19 test certificate and are not required to quarantine.

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