Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, a must-visted place in Northern Vietnam. Plan your trip to Hanoi, it will be great to expend your exploration to other destinations around Hanoi for your impressive landscapes in Northern Mountain Vietnam, world-famed Halong bay and so on. Let’s follow this blog to update you top 12 places to visit around Hanoi…..

Hanoi & its surrounding places worth your exploration.

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? You will land in Hanoi and do not know what to visit in Hanoi and its surrounding tourist attractions? This is also a popular question we got a lot from our clients planning the trip to Hanoi, Vietnam.In this blog, we would love to share it in details about top 12 places to visit around Hanoi capital, you can read for the details and choose the places as well as the travel experiences you would love to explore in your coming Vietnam Vacation.Happy time reading it and well-plan for your memorable trip to Hanoi – Vietnam

Hoan Kiem lake – turtle tower

Hanoi city & its attractions

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, rich in cultural & historical values.It is a gateaway to start the trip to visit Northern Vietnam.Many of our clients love Hanoi beauty with many beautiful lakes, tree-line boulevards, French – styled buildings and ancient architecture in Hanoi old quarter.As a thousand-year-old capital & a modern city, Hanoi has a lot of intersting things & beautiful attractions to delight you in your coming journey to Hanoi, Vietnam.If you love cultural & architectural aspects, you can visit Hanoi Old Quarter, French Quarter, Hanoi Opera House, Temple of Literature, Museum of Ethnology, Legendary Long Bien Bridge, Duong Lam Ancient Village, Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural.If you interested in Vietnam’s ancient & modern history, those places will surely delight you : Ho Chi Minh Complex, Thang Long Royal Citadel, Vietnam Militery History Museum, Vietnam History Museum, Hoa Lo Prison.

Presidential Palace – Ho Chi Minh ComplexVietnam is a multi- religious country and you can find in Hanoi a number of ancient & beautiful religious sites such as Tran Quoc pagoda, Perfume Pagoda, Thay Pagoda, Tay Phuong Pagoda , Hanoi Cathedral, Quan Thanh Temple.Travelling in Hanoi, you may love to buy presents or souvernirs, you can go to Dong Xuan market, Hanoi old quarter, Van Phuc Silk Village, Bat Trang Ceramic Village or shopping malls to be named as Big C, Vincom Tower, Trang Tien Plaza, AEON….You don’t like Hanoi’s hustle & bustle, there are peaceful and natural landscapes in suburban areas, you can take part in : hiking to conquer Ba Vi mountains in Ba Vi national park, rowing boat to enjoy scenic mountains & river in Perfume Pagoda, strolling around Duong Lam ancient village or Co Loa Ancient CitadelFor Hanoi city, you can get a grab taxi and visit inner Hanoi city’s attractions.Other places outside Hanoi, you can rent a car with driver or book those following tours to explore Ba Vi national park, Duong Lam Ancient Village.>>>>>> Trip Reference :

Besides Hanoi’s tourist attractions you can extend your exploration to “Top 12 places to visit around Hanoi capital“. Please, keep reading for the details.

1.Ninh Binh – Halong bay on lands.

Widely known as “Halong bay on land” because of its same topography as Halong Bay in Quang Ninh province, Ninh Binh landscapes are characterized by beautiful limestone mountains setting on land, you can take part on scenic boat rides, trekking or biking activities to enjoy those pristine sceneries to be named as Ninh Binh boat rides to Trang An, Tam Coc, Van Long nature reserve, Thung Nang,Thien Ha caves, or trekking routes to Mua cave, Cuc Phuong national park. Ninh Binh is also the land rich of cultures & religions so you can expect to pay a visit to those cultural & religious sites such as Phat Diem cathedral, Hoa Lu ancient capital, Bai Dinh pagoda.

Outstanding landscapes in Tam Coc – Ninh BinhNinh Binh is 100km far from Hanoi, you can do a day trip or 2 day trip to visit Ninh Binh’s highlights.You can get a private car rental Hanoi to Ninh Binh or booking those typical Ninh Binh day trips : hassle- free & comfortable:>>>> Trip Reference :

2.Halong bay – Bai Tu Long bay – Lan Ha bay & Cat Ba island.

Halong bay is the most highlighted attraction in Vietnam that one should pay a visit to if travelling to Vietnam.The beautiful features of Halong bay are thousand of limestone islands emerging on emerald sea water creating the picturesque landscapes. Cruise to admire those limestone outcrops & exploring hidden grottoes is a relaxed journey but we recommend doing overnight Halong cruises that you can travel deeply inside the bay and have a complete sense of Halong bay’s beauty.

Halong bay beautyNearby Halong Bay, alternatively, Bai Tu Long bay & Lan Ha bay are less touristic & more untouched with beautiful beaches & caves that you can think about while doing a trip to this bay area of Vietnam.If more time you have, we would love to recommend you to do your further exploration to Quan Lan island or Cat Ba island and spend a few days trekking in national park or just relax on white sandy beaches there.Halong bay & its nearby bays are quite easy to get access from Hanoi thanks to a new highway Hanoi- Hai Phong – Halong operation just in 2.5 hour drive.Or you can fly direcly to Van Don international airport ( Quang Ninh province) or Cat Bi international airport ( Hai Phong city), then explore those beautiful areas in Vietnam travel map.Halong bay is 160km far from Hanoi, you can book Halong bay cruisesBai Tu Long Cruises or Lan Ha bay cruises with the shuttle bus service.In need of private car hire Hanoi to Halong bay, please, drop us an email.

3.Sapa & Bac Ha regions.

Sapa was ever developed by French as the resort for their summer retreat in early 20th century.Located at the height of 1,600 metters on Hoang Lien mountain ranges, the climate of Sapa is pleasant all the year around, sometimes gets snowing or frosting on really cold days.Sapa landscapes are strikingly beautiful with geogous Hoang Lien mountain ranges and scenic valleys of rice terraces & local ethnics’ villages.

Hoang Lien mountain range – SapaTrekking is a popular activity you need to do if you love to have a great captivation of stunning rice terraces & mountainscapes, and get in touch with friendly local ethnics.Another adventure is conquering the high mountains for beautiful parnoramic views such as climbing Ham Rong mountain; hiking in Tram Ton heaven gate for beautiful captures of O Qui Ho Pass & outstanding mountain scenery there; or conquering Fansipan mount- the highest peak in Indochina at 3,143 metters.One more activity we would like to suggest you to do while visiting Sapa is taking part in weekly markets of local tribes in Bac Ha region ( Cao Son Market, Coc Ly Market, Can Cau market or Bac Ha market), you will get a great sense of local cultures experiencing people of different groups on their beautifully traditional dresses, their own languages, their exotict items to exchange in the market and their happiness attending this weekly trade fair.Sapa is 350km far from Hanoi, you can reach by overnight trains or highway car transfers Hanoi- Sapa or booking Sapa tour packages from Hanoi.

4.Bac Son valley – the green paradise of Vietnam

Bac Son is a flat valley of rice fields surrounded by geogous mountain ranges. Bac Son is a new tourist destination, still limited with the travel service except for some local families’ homestays. You can stay overnight in Tay ethnic’s homestays, dinning their home-cooked dishes.In Bac Son valley, you can do a beautiful hike to conquer Na Lay peak which offer you an awesome overview of Bac Son valley & its magnificient mountains or trek deep into the forest to admire untouched natures & cascading Dang Mo waterfall or do leisure bike on rural roads along Bac Son valley getting to know authentic life of Tay & Red Dzao ethnic groups.

Bac Son valley view from Na Lay peakYou can connect a visit to Bac Son valley with a nice boat ride in Ba Be lake or Ban Gioc waterfall in 4 day journey from Hanoi city.>>>>>> Trip Reference : Bac Son valley day trip from Hanoi

5.Ba Be lake & its national park.

Ba Be lake is a natural lake of fresh water at the height of 150 metters compared to the sea level.Ba Be means three lakes including Pe Lam, Pe Lu and Pe Leng with its spreading length of over 8 km and its widest point of 3 km. Ba Be lake is a integral part of Ba Be national park which are bestowed with outstandingly natural landscapes & diverse biodiversity becoming the top tourist attraction in Bac Kan province.

Trips to Ba Be lake & national park, you can do hike on tropical forest to explore eco-system, Hua Ma cave or waterfalls.Surely, boat ride or kayak are great activities to admire attractions in Ba Be lake such as Ba Goa islet, An Ma temple, Nang river, Dau Dang waterfall & Puong grotto.If you love getting to know local cultures of Tay ethnic group, homestaying in Pac Ngoi village – good chances to take good shots of sunrising or sunsetting down on the lake.>>>>> Trip Reference : Unveil the hidden gems of Bac Son valley & Ba Be lake 3 days

6.Ban Gioc waterfall – the most majestic waterfall in Vietnam.

Nearly 400km far from Hanoi, next to Chinese border, Ban Gioc is a less touristic & the most beautiful waterfall in Vietnam.The fall is big and in different levels creating a wonderful beauty especially when it is full of the water.In September, the ricefields nearby the fall turns its colour from the green to the golden making a really good back-ground for wonderful pictures of the waterfall (in the late afternoon or early morning when the sun is not so bright).With entrance ticket bought from the entrance, you can walk all the way down to view the fall or you can rent a boat rowing along Quay Son river to approach the lake nearer.The fall is a part belonging to China & in the bordering area between Vietnam & China, remember to bring your passport along.If you spend night in Ban Gioc waterfall area, you are requested to get a permit from the local gorvernment.

Golden Rice & Ban Gioc waterfallThere are many mini hotels, homestays & resort in Ban Gioc waterfall, you can spend nights here and do some more exploration to Ban Gioc – Truc Lam pagoda ( the hike to the pogoda offer you a really good view of Ban Gioc waterfall & surrounding mountains) or to Nguom Ngao cave ( Tiger cave in local language).

7.Dong Van Geopark – The UNESCO’s Global Geopark.

Dong Van Global Geopark is an important part of Ha Giang tourist attractions.The geopark is a big & long rocky mountain ranges formed 400 millions years ago covering Ha Giang’s northern districts such as Quan Ba, Yen Minh, Lung Cu, Dong Van & Meo Vac, and Tinh Tuc district in Cao Bang province ( we also call this Ha Giang Loop).Ha Giang Loops offers breathtaking landscapes of Dong Van Geopark with rocky mountains & deep chasms, surely that you will have a great exposure to pristine natures, beautiful photograph of your lifetime,and interesting interactions with friendly local tribes.It is the trip that you should do if you‘d love to explore less frequent tourist place & authentic local cultures when planning a trip to Vietnam.

Bac Son valley- Ba Be lake, Ban Gioc waterfall & Dong Van Geopark are on a round route to Northeast Mountain Vietnam, you can get a private car hire to those regions or get our following travel packages for references.>>>>> Trip Reference :

8.Mu Cang Chai rice terraces & its trekking routes.

Mu Cang Chai is 300km far from Hanoi city and will take you at least 7 hour drive to get Mu Cang Chai town.Mu Cang Chai is located on otherside of Hoang Lien mountain (opposite to Sapa one) at the height of 1000 metters comparing to the sea level.Mu Cang Chai is a really remote district of Yen Bai province where most of local ethnics are Black Hmong, Thai, Dzao.They mostly live on mountainsides, to do the rice farming, they slope the mountains into different steps to get the rained waters and plan the rice on it. That is rice terraces, the man-made creation that you can admire in Sapa, Mu Cang Chai & Hoang Su Phi area.

Trips to Mu Cang Chai, you can visit the best beauty of Mu Cang Chai rice terraces, doing scenic treks on buffalo trails viewing the mountain scenery & remote ethnic villages (in Cu Che Nha, La Pan Tan, Ze Xu Phinh communes). Really, it will be a trip of your wonderful adventures.You can pay a visit to Nghia Lo valley, Tu Le valley, Khau Pha Pass or connecting it with Thac Ba lake or Sapa – Bac Ha region.Mu Cang Chai is 300km away from Hanoi & could be well connected with Sapa- Bac Ha region.You can have those following packages viewed for the details:>>>> Trip Reference :

9.Thac Ba lake – another Halong bay on mountains.

Thac Ba is a man-made lake to run Thac Ba hydro-power station to supply the electricity for Hanoi capital in the 1970s.Being considered as “ Halong bay on mountain” in Vietnam’s northwestern region, Thac Ba lake is charaterized by 1331 green islands emerging on calmly blue & clear water surface of the lake, reminding us about the pristine beauty of Halong bay thanks to its similarity in scenery to some extends. Boat trip on lake to explore those islands is a must when doing a trip to Thac Ba lake, you can visit Thuy Tien cave & conquer its top for wonderful view of the lake & its amazing islands.if you love swimming or fishing, the boat driver could stop in one of those islands to play around or swimming.

The view from Thuy Tien caveYou can spend night here homestaying in local family of Dzao ethnics, enjoy the peace-of-mind rural landscapes in the region. Love biking or hiking, you can get a guide along for a challenging trek to conquer Cao Bien peak – the highest one in Thac Ba lake, surely wonderful captivation of Thac Ba lake you will have in this journey.Thac Ba lake could be well-connected with Mu Cang Chai or Hoang Su Phi, those are the trips you can get for a good reference.>>>>> Trip Reference :

10.Pu Luong nature reserve.

PuLuong nature reserve is a new tourist attraction in Ba Thuoc district, Thanh Hoa province.The reserve is situated along two parallel ranges of mountains running from the north-west to south-west, with its lush central valley scattered with many tradditional villages of Thai & Muong ethnic groups and the vast area of farming land. The landscape is truly beautiful & impressive

Trip to Pu Luong nature reserve, you can take part in soft hikes and expose yourselves to the nature of the forested hills, the immense valleys of stunning terraced rice fields & poetic villages, the intact rivers & waterfalls, the imposing mountain ranges, and more. Besides,you will have chances of meeting kind-hearted & friendly local ethnics of Thai & Muong long-time living there, getting to know their authentic life style & interesting cultures

11.Mai Chau valley.

Mai Chau is a beautiful valley surrounded by high mountains, the living place of some hilltribes such as Muong, Thai, Hmong, Viet, Tay….who have their own cultures & traditional dresses. Travelling to Mai Chau valley, you can visit rustic villages, pristine landscapes of mountains & rice fields.Hiking & biking are interesting funs you can join in to discover local villages.More interestingly, you can homestaying, dining the home-cooked meals by the host & enjoy the typical traditional dances performed by local boys & girls from the village. Or participating in a weekly Pa Co market of local ethnics living in the region.

For the short vacation to visit only Mai Chau & Pu Luong nature reserve, you can those following trips reviewed for reference:>>>> Trip Refercence :

12.Hoang Su Phi rice terraces & its trekking routes.

Hoang Su Phi is another district of Ha Giang province, famous for its breathtaking stepped rice fields & magnificient mountains.Most of people are local ethnic groups who have inhabited here for ages and kept their tradition & customs well.To live along with the nature, local tribes slopped the valleys to make stepped fields for rice cultivation, that is why you can expect to admire the most impressive rice terraces when travelling to Hoang Su Phi.You can find stunning rice terraces in Thong Nguyen, Ban Luoc, Ban Phung communes….which could be well explored by trekking along mountainsides and homestaying in local homestays – a nice way to get in touch with local cultures making your trip of unforgetable experiences.

For the single trips to explore Bac Ha region & Hoang Su Phi area, you can put those adventures into account :>>>>> Trip Reference :

Explore Hanoi & its surrounding attractions with Golden Holiday Travel.

Above are our local share about top 12 places to visit around Hanoi & some suggested travel packages for your best exploration of those places. We hope it could do some help for your overview & plan your coming trip to Hanoi confidently & enjoyably ! In need of travel support, feel free drop us an email to or chat with us by whatsapp at +84.988451530 ( whatsapp)See you in Hanoi, Vietnam !GHT Vietnam Team


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Ban Vu Dinh

Start working in travel industry in Vietnam from 2003, I had the great chance to learn and see the change as well as the development of tourism in our country. After a few years working in different positions in some well-known international travel companies, together with some co-founders, we found Golden Holiday Travel in 2012 basing on our passion and knowledge with the dream to show tourists around the globe more about Vietnam’s beautiful attractions and to be the travellers’ best local partner for their enjoyable Vietnam holidays of unforgetable memory.

Hope this personsal blog do some help for your Vietnam trip plans ! Any questions or support you need, feel free to let me know.....

See you soon in Vietnam !

Ban Vu Dinh

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