Spend a week in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam and explore various lesser-known facets of Vietnam’s history and culture. The Experience Hanoi tour will take you to little villages where ancient traditions of craft are preserved and practised through generations. Tour the streets of Hanoi on a Vespa and taste the delightful local cuisine, and experience the old quarters on a cycle rickshaw. Observe a local household as you become their guest for an evening and enjoy dinner with them. Watch a moving musical show at the Opera House, and explore the countryside by cycling and walking through villages and paddy fields. Visit the house of a famous contemporary artist. Explore the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in NinhBinh. Cruise on the Halong Bay and discover the enchanting caves and grottoes. The week-long experience of Hanoi will provide youwith a beautiful overview of the fascinating country Vietnam.
What is included in the tour
- All local transport and boat transfers
- All meals and beverages specified in the itinerary
- All local permits and day tickets
- Guides with English speaking skills
What is NOT included in the tour
- International airfare
- Travel insurance (if any)
- Additional meals and beverages
- Additional services not mentioned in the itinerary
- Set off on a street-food trail on the back of a Vespa
- Have dinner with a local family.
- Visit several villages specialising in traditional handicrafts
- Visit the Huo La Ancient Capital in NinhBinh
- Cruise on the Halong Bay and visit the surrounding caves and grottoes
- Arrive at Hanoi airport where a pick-up vehicle will be waiting for you. Enjoy your lunch at the hotel after checking in, and relax for a while before setting out to explore the city. Travel the bustling streets of the old Hanoi on a cycle rickshaw. The 36 interconnected lanes of the city are often meandering and labyrinthine – you may feel like through a crowded maze. Observe the commuters, the food stalls and the local shops, and stop to buy a souvenir or taste a delicious looking food item if you so wish.
- Continue your exploration of the old quarters of the cit y, but this time from a different perspective. Embark on a guided Vespa tour to taste the unique Vietnamese delicacies that lie waiting in hidden eateries. Reach the old quarter to meet your guide. Explore the surrounding areas where tourists seldom visit.
- Begin your journey on a warm note by drinking a cup of coffee at a local cafe. Learn more about the history of the majestic Opera House building that stands nearby. Embark on your Vespa adventure after a safety briefing and travel along the side of the Hoan Kiem Lake as you pass by some of the historical landmarks. The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is only a short distance away. Go on to visit the Truc Bach Lake and sample a few snacks at the NguXa Village. Drive around the West Lake area, and enjoy the tranquil view of the lake.
- Enjoy your lunch at a Vietnamese Bia Hoi (draft beer) restaurant. The dishes are delicious and authentic; anyone will savor the delightful flavors of Vietnam! Choose a seat outside the café, so that all the while you can enjoy the view of the streets along with your food. Stop at a restaurant for a refreshing post-lunch drink before you head back to your hotel for a break.
- In the evening, you will gain further insights into the everyday routine of a Vietnamese household. Visit a local Hanoian family and spend an evening interacting with them. The host family will welcome you and show you around the house. Observe some of the Vietnamese customs at the ancestors’ altar and the worshipping room. Enjoy a delicious traditional Vietnamese dinner with the family while the host explains to you the makings of each dish. The menu includes mouth-watering dishes like spring rolls, stir-fries and roasted peanuts. Spend some time chatting with your host and their family over tea and sweets. Preserve the memory of this evening by taking a picture with the family.
- Set off to enjoythe simple pleasures of the Vietnamese countryside. Visit Ky Son, an authentic Northern Vietnamese village on the way. Admire a beautiful homestay called Moon Garden amidst an impeccably landscaped garden, against the background of rice fields and the gorgeous Ba Vi Mountain. Join a cooking class in the village and learn how to make a local dish. You will be rewarded with the delicious result of your hard work at lunch! Enjoy a hand spa and a herbal hand massage in the village. Interact with the farming communities in different villages; you can even choose to join some of their routine activities like ploughing, sowing, transplanting seedlings, or harvesting.
- In the evening, visit the Hanoi Opera House to view ‘The Soul of Vietnamese Village’ performance. The folk musical genres represented in the show have been recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO. Enjoy the beautiful harmony of various musical instruments with the soulful royal court music, ceremonial singing, invocation songs and folk love duet songs.
- Visit the Duong Lam Village to explore the beauties of Hanoian countryside further. Admire the village gate, the Communal House and the Mia pagoda. These ancient structures will transport you back in the times when the monarchy thrived in Vietnam. Observe the collection of exquisite sculptures of the Buddha at the Tay Phuong Pagoda. After lunch, go on to visit the home of a famous artist. The Thanh Chuong Mansion is situated at the outskirts of Hanoi and covers an astonishing 10,000 square metres. The mansion is surrounded by a picturesque garden with ponds and quaint gazeebos. It is adorned with statues of the Buddha and art installations. The house has an exclusive collection of paintings, sculptures and antiques.
- Start from your hotel early in the morning for a two-hour drive to NinhBinh. The city houses the relics of the ancient capital Hoa Lu. The beautiful surrounding landscape is comparable to that of the Halong Bay; indeed, NinhBinhis often referred to as ‘Halong Bay on Land.’ Visit the several temples from the Dinh and Le dynasties in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. Reach the Le dynasty pier and visit the Tho Ha village, where you can join a cooking class with the local chef. Enjoy the resulting dishes for your lunch, and go on to travel to the Thien Ha Cave a sampan. The fascinating space hewn out from the Tuong Mountain contains a cluster of caves and an underground river. Archaeologists have found traces of early hominins within the cave. Return to the pier for another sampan ride to the ThungChim or Bird Valley via the Buddha Cave. End your journey at the ThungNham pier and return to Hanoi. Feel free to spend the rest of the day in any way you want.
- The Hanoi experience cannot be complete without a trip to the nearby Halong Bay, celebrated for its exotic landscape of pine forests, mountains and caves, shining limestone stalactites and crystal clear waters. Embark on a cruise to the World Nature Heritage Halong Bay from the tourist pier at Hanoi. Do not miss the unusual rock formations along the way. The islets have derived their names from their supposed shapes; hence you will find the Incense Urn, the Stone Dog, and the Fighting Roosters islets as you continue your cruise to the bay. Admire the stunning beauty of the bay with its three thousand islets emerging from the crystal green waters. These islands also have fascinating caves and grottoes. Visit the ThienCung grotto on the south-west side of the bay. It is flanked by thick forest cover and has a narrow entrance that opens up into a vast chamber. Explore the gorgeous interiors of the grotto studded with limestone stalactites. On your way back to Hanoi, feast on a sumptuous lunch of seafood on board.
- Visit the handicraft villages surrounding Hanoi. The Van Phuc Village is famous for its sericulture and silk weaving. Take a look at the range of pretty silk products made in the village. Visit the PhuVinh village to learn about the craft of rattan and bamboo weaving. Explore the Chuong Village that specialises in creating the famous conical hats of Vietnam, and go on to learn about carpentry and inlay of mother-of-pearl at the Chuyen My Village. Finally, visit the Quat Dong Village to observe embroidery and the Ha Thai Village famous for its lacquerware. Return to your hotel for lunch, and spend some time reminiscing about the past few days you enjoyed at Hanoi. You are sure to return enriched and enlightened on the Vietnamese history, culture and art.