Your only way to enjoy the best of Hanoi is when you visit different sides of the city, where you can enjoy the mix between the modern and traditional Vietnamese lifestyle.
As a first-time visitor, you should have it at the back of your mind that there’s more to the bustling city with colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and chaotic traffic. Hanoi has beautiful countryside that is filled with verdant rainforests, limestone islands, colourful wildlife, nature reserves, and local villages, all of which you should visit if you want to enjoy the beauty of nature and traditional Hanoi.
You can take a cruise along Halong Bay, cycle through the ancient villages, or take a Hanoi to Sapa train if you want to head for the hills at Sapa. If you have enough time, you should try out these activities; they’re well worth the time and effort.
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Join a Halong Bay Cruise
Every first-time visitor must not miss the opportunity of joining a Halong Bay cruise. The Halong Bay is a World Heritage Site and ranks among the most visited spot in the city. The bay has over 1,600 towering limestone islands and is an exciting place that will leave you excited.
Hanoi has many kinds of caves, some of its most popular caves are Trinh Nu cave (Virgin Cave), Sung Sot Cave, Luon cave, and Thien Cung Cave (Paradise). It’s a trip you can go with your baby, provided you have all travel essentials for a baby.
Go on a hike at Ba Vi National Park
If you love nature, then you’re in for a great experience if you decide to hike at Ba Vi National park. Although it’s about an hour’s drive from downtown Hanoi, it’s a trip you wouldn’t mind making if you know how amazing the national park is.
Ba Vi National Park features slopes between three mountains and numerous forest trails. The park helps you to escape from the hustling and bustling of the city into a serene environment with an array of wildlife, an atmospheric backdrop of clouds, and rainforest.
Go on a Bike Tour through Hanoi Countryside
Most tour operators in the city offer a bike tour within the city. The bike tour allows you to visit rice fields, war memorials, pagodas, and local villages. In case you plan to rent a bike, make sure that you’re equipped with the cycling accessories. They will enhance your riding experience.
One spot you mustn’t miss during your bike tour is the ancient village of Duong Lam, which has houses that have existed for over 400 years. You will also have the opportunity to visit relic sites like tombs, temples, and pagodas.
If you want to meet the locals and understand their culture, then you shouldn’t miss going on a bike tour through Hanoi countryside.
Go for a cooking class
Almost every top-notch hotel and prominent restaurant in the city of Hanoi holds a cooking class, so it’s easy to find a cooking class that fits into your budget.
Just before a cooking class begins, you’ll be given an introduction into the average Vietnamese cuisine, after which you can go to the local market and shop for the ingredients.
With so many spa centres, getting yourself hooked for one can’t be a difficult thing. You will find a spa centre in every five-star hotel, and you can also visit a standalone outlet within Hanoi. Irrespective of your budget, you can easily get a Vietnamese, Swedish, and Thai-style body massages and reflexology.
So what are you waiting for? Vietnam is one of our favourite destinations with kids – you can read all our Vietnam travel tips here.