Vietnam has more than a thousand miles of coastline to the east and rugged mountains to the west, which is separated into three regions like Northern, Central and Southern. This article offers the North Vietnam travel guide to tourists who want to admire the long historical in Hanoi destinations, the beautiful beaches in Halong Bay and the cultural attractions of the diverse ranging from the chaotic highland markets to the hill-tribes in Sapa
Hanoi – North Vietnam travel guide
The first place you should visit in Hanoi, which is the political, economic and cultural heart of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh Complex
Starting the trip with Ho Chi Minh complex, you will discover the combination of many sites like his Mausoleum, former residence, the impressive house around, his garden and the One Pillar Pagoda. However, you should check the schedule because it opens only from 8.00-10.30 every day, accepting Monday and Friday so you will visit the surrounding area of this complex. One recommendation for you is to wear the formal clothes and do not make noise during the time.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
Near to the first destination is Vietnam Museum of Ethnology which is displayed many things of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam so you will know more about the culture and Vietnamese people. However, the Museum of Ethnology is closed on Monday so the alternative place to visit for you is Hoa Lo prison.
Hanoi Old Quarter
One suggestion for you is to take a cyclo to visit around Hanoi Old Quarter. Thus, you can admire the views of Hoan Kiem lake. Moreover, Hanoi Old Quarter is constructed old-styled streets full of antique brick houses so you will feel the awesome atmosphere. However, the central city is still actively trying to adapt to the dynamic atmosphere of the modern city. As you know, Vietnam is a tropical country so you should search for the weather forecast when setting up the trekking plan. Therefore, you must prepare some necessary items for trekking mountains like clothes, shoes, medicines and so on.
Sapa – North Vietnam travel guide
Cat Cat village
The old village of ethnic groups located in a beautiful valley is Cat Cat village, where is a home of Black H’mong people. Hence, you can discover many interesting facts about their daily life as well as culture and architecture. Actually, if you want to get the traditional handicrafts, this is also a good opportunity. Cat Cat village makes some handicrafts right from the craftsmen such as twisting flax and weaving fabric.
Shin Chai village
Continuously, you can view the village of Shin Chai below you getting smaller and smaller as the road climbs to the pass at 2047 meters. Therefore, you will breathe the mountain air while admiring the mountains and forests from below. The Red Dao ethnic people live in Shin Chai village. You can try once time the traditional clothes of Red Dao women, which include an enormous red turban and distinctive silver jeweler. If you want to approach the local life of ethnic minority, you should stroll around the village and interact with the local people. Especially, you can bring some candies to share with the kids will be your companions during the adventure as you will fall in love with them. Thus, you also join in the singing, dancing or anything to make you smile.
Ta Phin village
Ta Phin village is surrounded by mountain slopes with the rice terraces. Ta Phin village is home to two large ethnic groups like the Red Dao and the Black Mong. Therefore, it is a great chance for you experiencing the unmixed cultural life of two minorities. Not only that, you will find many distinctively handmade brocades made by Ta Phin people. There are a large of goods for your choice such as a bag, purse, skirt, and even backpack and coat.
Terraced rice fields in Sapa
Terraced rice fields in Sapa is one of seven most beautiful places in Asia. When you see from afar, the terraced rice fields look like golden silk scarves above green mountain slopes, especially, the view becomes more beautiful in two months as for September and October. The farmers here often grow rice. Being observed from a far distance, the terraced rice fields look like a picture with a beauty which absolutely melts your heart. The color of this picture will be changed seasonally, which displays its most attractive charm. Just enjoy the breathtaking landscapes in the magnificent Muong Hoa valley, you will also visit small and isolated hamlets and villages meet the Black H’mong, Zay, and Red Zao at home and at work.
Sapa Stone Church
The Church was constructed from the shaped stones with a mixture of sand, lime, and molasses even from the smallest details. When you visit the church, you will join in the traditional cultural activities of ethnic minorities. In the front of Sapa Stone Church is the spacious courtyard where local ethnic people gather to exchange, trade goods and attracts many visitors.
Love Market will be organized in the church where ethnic people date and express their feeling on Saturday. In Merry Christmas, most parishioners gather in the church to celebrate, pray, and sing. In the holiday, the space of the church is sparkling, fancifully, and attractively. After some renovations, now Sapa Stone Church keeps intact the charm and uniqueness, attracting the attention of a lot of visitors.
Bac Ha market
To understand deeply about the life of ethnic groups, you should visit the local markets. Being a minority ethnic people market, Bac Ha is famous for its Sunday market which is a trading center and meeting place for couples, friends, and relatives. Bac Ha market is known as the largest and most colorful market of ethnic people from the surrounding hill tribes. Many people must spend several hours here in order to trade and barter food, animals, clothes and household goods. It is not only the place for buying and selling but also a place for cultural and sentiment exchanging. People usually enjoy the soup pan. Flower H’mong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay and Nung minorities gather to exchange local products.
Halong Bay – North Vietnam Travel Guide
Bai Tu Long
You should book a cruise to move slowly toward the limestone islands of Bai Tu Long Bay which is Vung Vieng fishing village. The largest fishing villages in Halong Bay will offer the best feeling for you. One of the most experience in the trip is rowing boats or kayaks to enter Vung Vieng village. This village helps tourists approach the villager’s daily life as well as observe the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen. After that, you should join in the optional activities: Sunbathing, traditional massage, swimming and so on. Additionally, you can try to kayak by yourself at Ban Chan island. Ban Chan beach offers a unique masterpiece for tourists so you shouldn’t miss. The highlights of the landscape are the harmony between the clouds and water. Rocks and trees of green forest surround Ban Chan beach with a poetic beauty and charm to heart with the fresh air, blue water and white sand stretching for kilometers beneath blue casuarina pines. You have the great time swim and try your hand at some kayaking in the magnificent setting of Halong Bay.
You admire the sun starts to set. In addition, you can participate in the cooking class with the chef on your cruise. After a class, many tourists understand more and more about the culture of Vietnamese and can cook the foods when coming back to your country.
Some islands and caves
Spending time on discovering the beauty of the world heritage, you will have the perfect trip. For example, Trong Mai Island, the toad island, Ga Choi Island, Surprising Cave, Thien Cung Grotto,… are the most popular islands in Halong Bay. Surprising Cave is located on Bo Hon island in the central area, which is a large and most beautiful cave. This cave is famous for the unique stalagmite with various shapes. Sung Sot cave includes two main chambers. For example, a big theater immense and cave’s ceiling is covered with a layer of stalactites hanging down with various shapes, colors, and sizes and vast cave’s chamber can contain thousands of people as a theater. Then, you trek to the highest point the door of the cave, you will admire a view and take nice pictures of Halong bay from above keep the memories.
Thien Cung Grotto is one of the most attractive caves in the UNESCO World Heritage area. On the high roof, you can see many strange images in the stone: birds, fish, flowers and even scenes of human life and stalactites make a natural stone curtain. Not only that, on the wall, there are some natural pictures of a group of fairies seem to dance and sing in honor of the wedding. You also listen to the sound of wind blowing through stone. You will hear some legends of this cave from your tour guide as the story of a young lady named May and the Dragon Prince or the legend of May and her 100 children. Currently, many couples want to organize the wedding in the cave because of its meaning. Small dragons flew, elephants danced together happily, snakes twined themselves around trees and two stone lions danced with their manes flowing in the wind which make the stalactites and stalagmites.
Finishing the North Vietnam travel tour in three destinations, you will get the memorable trip. Before landing on, you should check again your luggage to avoid missing some important data.