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Northern Vietnam in a nut shell

23 November 2017
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Vietnam combines history, culture, stunning scenery & tasty cuisine. There are so many reasons to visit, but here are a few of our top reasons to take a trip to the North of this fascinating country.

1. Hanoi

Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi, is a buzzing blend of eastern and western culture and is well known for its centuries-old architecture and rich culture. On arrival, you can expect to be met by the bustle of busy local markets, chaotic winding streets and a flurry of motorbikes! Hanoi has some must-see highlights such as the Ho Chi Minh Complex, the Museum of Ethnology, the Presidential Place and the Temple of Literature, but if you want to get to know Hanoi up close and personal, I recommend a cyclo ride through the Old Quarter. A cyclo is a three-wheel bicycle taxi that appeared in Vietnam during the French colonial period, after a failed attempt to introduce rickshaws. There is no better way to experience the city than weaving through the busy streets on this traditional mode of transport. If you are looking for something a little more relaxing, Hoàn Kiếm Lake is located in the city centre and is a lovely spot for a sunset stroll; just don’t forget your insect repellent!

2. Tam Coc

Escape the charming chaos of the busy capital of Hanoi and head towards the calmer refuge of the countryside, which is abundant with striking scenery and lush green rice paddy fields.  A sampan ride along Tam Coc, a winding waterway dotted with impressive limestone towers, is the ideal way to get to experience the Vietnamese countryside at a leisurely pace. The locals row the oars of sampans along the river using their feet, allowing you to admire your surroundings as you float through three tunnels that run through the mountains. Afterwards, I suggest taking a bike ride towards Bich Dong Pagoda. Cycling to reach this fascinating cluster of cave temples, including three pagodas located at different levels of the mountain, is the perfect opportunity to explore and get your blood pumping at the same time!

3. Halong Bay

Halong Bay is well known for its emerald green waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Boasting secluded islands and ancient caves, it is easy to see why this is a highlight for many who visit Northern Vietnam. Exploring Sung Sot Cave and swimming off Titov Island is a must while you are there, but if you really want to uncover some of Halong’s Bay hidden gems, I suggest kayaking around Man’s Head Islet. It truly is a bucket list destination; so, many tourists are to be expected. However we provide the ideal way of experiencing all Halong Bay has to offer away from the crowds. You can spend the night on board a traditional junk boat and take in the stunning sunset from the tranquil top deck, followed by a peaceful early morning session of Thai Chi, set against the most breath-taking backdrop.

Halong Bay Northern Vietnam

4. The food

A delicious way to experience Northern Vietnam is to get to know the culture through the cuisine. Vietnamese food is a tasty blend of fragrant herbs and subtle spices. Crisp vegetables, zingy salads, sizzling meats and rice noodles are plentiful. For an authentic taste of local life, pull up a small stool at one of the many local hangouts in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and enjoy some fresh spring rolls washed down with a Hanoi beer! Not sure where the best place is to grab a bite to eat? Generally, the more locals who are tucking in for a meal, the better the food!

So whether you want to experience Hanoi’s Old Quarter by cyclo ride, cycle through the Vietnamese countryside in search of pagodas, venture through caves in Tam Coc, eat like a local or practice Thai Chi at sunrise surrounded by the emerald waters of Halong Bay, all with the help of a local expert guide, TD active Holidays has what you are looking for! Our holiday to Vietnam include all this and so much more as you embark on a cultural adventure from North to South.


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Vietnam combines history, culture, stunning scenery and tasty cuisine. There are so many reasons to visit, but here are a couple of our top reasons to take a trip to the North of this fascinating country.