The Northern Vietnam is practically a destination in its own right and offers wonderful opportunities to meet indigenous folk in the mountains as well as live it up in one of Asia’s most exciting cities in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. A region of contrasts – from the refined colonial architecture in Hanoi to the best mountainous views in Ha Giang and the sublime beauty of the karst islands in Halong Bay. We believe that after reading this article, you will gain more knowledge about the best places to visit in North Vietnam in the first trip during 5 days.
On the first day in Hanoi
As the nation’s capital, Hanoi is an architecture and has been the political and both of the eastern and western culture for over a thousand years, with a wealth of sights to explore.
Ho Chi Minh Complex
The first destination in this city is Ho Chi Minh complex which combines other 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. When visiting here, you must wear formal clothes and do not make noise during the time.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
You move to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. The museum is displayed the memory tools of 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. Thus, you will know more about the culture and Vietnamese people. Especially, you should note the opened-time of some destination, example, the museum of Ethnology is closed on Monday so the alternative site to visit for you is Hoa Lo prison.
Hanoi Old Quarter
You should take a cyclo tour of Hanoi Old Quarter will complete your trip to Hanoi. You can grace the views of Hoan Kiem lake when sitting on a cyclo. Hanoi Old Quarter is constructed both of the old-styled and modern-styled like full of antique brick houses and the dynamic atmosphere of the modern city. You should remember that Vietnam is a tropical country so you can follow the weather forecast before discovering on the beach.
On the next two days in Halong Bay
You will waste 3.5 hours to catch up Hon Gai Port from your hotel. Your tour guide will lead you to get on the cruise, their staff will bring for you the Welcome Cocktail.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay is one of the best places to visit in North Vietnam. This destination is famous for hundreds of stunning islands which inhabited only by monkeys and feature dozens of caves and innumerable deserted beaches.
On this time, you will enjoy the buffet lunch on the cruise during discovering hundreds of islets. They will offer a meal including many delicious Vietnamese foods and great drinks while the junk moves slowly toward Bai Tu Long Bay. One of the best limestone islands in Bai Tu Long is Vung Vieng village. This village is one of the largest fishing villages in Halong Bay. You will be departed by rowing boats or kayaks to enter Vung Vieng village. Coming here, you will be offered a great opportunity for visitors to experience the villager’s daily life as well as observe the traditional culture and customs of the fishermen. In the late afternoon, you have a short visit to Pearl Farm. Coming here, tourists can know how natural pearls are created. There are many water activities like Sunbathing, traditional massage, swimming,.. You can join to leisure. You will take 30 minutes to freshen up and finish packing then upon return to the boat. If you have energy, you can come to Ban Chan island in order to kayak by yourself. Ban Chan beach brings a unique masterpiece, bewitching any public mind had. Its landscape is the harmony between the clouds and water. Rocks and trees of green forest covering along the sea are covered around Ban Chan. You will admire the nature points not only with a poetic beauty but also the fresh air, bluewater and white sand stretching beneath blue casuarina pines. This island is very attractive as you can enjoy yourself on the beach, swim and play some volleyball or try your hand at some kayaking in the magnificent setting of Halong Bay
Tai Chi is a combination of deep breathing and relaxation with slow, deliberate movements, meditation, and breathing exercises. Tai chi is very good for your healthy and safe for all ages and fitness levels. This session is a great benefit for relaxation and wakes up your body in the morning. It is a very practical way for you to refresh from a mind.
The best places to visit in North Vietnam are Trong Mai Island, the toad island, Ga Choi Island …, which provide the beauty of the world heritage. Next, you also explore famous caves with shimmering colors as Thien Cung cave, Surprising Cave. Surprising Cave is located on Bo Hon island in the central area of Halong Bay. The cave is known as a large cave and the most beautiful of the cave in the bay. Not only that this cave is famous for the unique formation of stalagmite with special shapes. Sung Sot cave is divided into two main chambers. A big theater immense includes cave’s ceiling which is covered with a layer of stalactites hanging down with various shapes, colors, and sizes in the first chamber. To approach the second chamber, you need to pass the narrow ways to see a completely new and strange landscape, vast cave’s chamber can contain thousands of people as a theater. Finally, after approaching the highest point the door of the cave, you can admire a view of Halong Bay and take nice pictures of Halong bay from high point to keep the memories.
Secondly, Thien Cung cave is one of the most attractive caves in the UNESCO World Heritage area. There are many strange things on the stone. Thus, you can see from birds and fish to the scenes of human life. On the north, there are some beautiful fairies that are dancing and singing in honor of the wedding while in some place, the visitors can hear the sound of a drum created by the wind blowing through the stone. There are many legends of this cave that the tourists might be as the story of a young lady named May and the Dragon Prince or the legend of May and her 100 children.
After finishing the journey on the beach, you will check out your board. Your luggage can be delivered to the reception area. You should check carefully to avoid missing some important items. Then you have early lunch on board and disembark the cruise at around 12:00 a.m.
On the last two days in Ha Giang
The northernmost province of Vietnam is also one of the poorest and most secluded in Vietnam. With that being said, Ha Giang offers some of the best mountainous views in Southeast Asia, especially when you weave your way through the imposing Ma Pi Leng Pass, the King of Passes in Vietnam. It is located in the height of 1.500 meters with the Nho Que River looming far beneath, the twisty road here lies right on the steep limestone mountain.
No one knows the ethnic minorities in Hoang Su Phi takes how long to turn the mountain into the gorgeous terraced fields. Just know that the terraces were exploited from hundreds of years. Terraced fields also marked the process of sedentary, bringing more prosperous life for the household.
You will arrival at Thong Nguyen and are welcomed by an experienced local guide – a commune of Hoang Su Phi district. Before having a trekking, you should take 15 minutes for a rest. After that, you will trek to Nam Hong village within 2 hours. This is a small hamlet in the mountainside by Man Ta Pan and you will meet local people who are Red Dao ethnic minority group.
Continuously, you will cross rice terraces fields belonged to Nam Khoa village which is the place inhabited by the Man Ta Pan ethnic group. You should have a small break when hiking, not only keep healthy but also admire the stunning views of the terraces fields. Especially, you will immerse yourself with the ripe rice terraces if you have a chance to visit it in September. It is so impressive moment in your trip. On the trekking way, you will discover the daily life, daily routine of the inhabitants, and you will meet Man Ta Pan and Long Tunics Dao, they normally work in their field or garden.