Day Trips from Hanoi

Hanoi’s surrounding attractions are nearly as compelling as those within the city. The karst-studded wonderland of Halong Bay is the top draw in this part of Vietnam. It is rivaled by its mellow neighbors Bai Tu Long Bay, the beautiful valley of Mai Chau, and the hugely underrated seaport city of Haiphong.

ĐT254, Bo Lu, Nam Mau, Ba Be, Bac Kan, Nam Mẫu, Ba Bể, Bắc Kạn, Vietnam
Le lac de Ba Be, situé à 240km de Hanoi, se trouve dans le parc national de Ba Be dans la province de Bac Kan. Il est l’un des lacs d’eau douce les plus grands au monde et connu aussi comme patrimoine naturel national. Malgré sa formation naturelle sur un terrain calcaire, le lac de Ba Be n’est jamais à sec. Il est entouré de montagnes calcaires et des forêts luxuriantes qui abritent des centaines d’espèces végétales et des milliers d’animaux, d’insectes comme : signes, ours, oiseaux, papillons… On appelle le lac de Ba Be « trois baies » parce qu’il comprend trois petits lacs : Pe Lam, Pe Lu, Pe Leng. Arrivant au lac de Ba Be, les visiteurs ont le plaisir d’admirer les beaux sites environnants du lac de Ba Be, les rizières en terrasse et les maisons sur pilotis des ethnies minoritaires. De plus, le lac de Ba Be offre aux biologistes des richesses de géologie et de la biodiversité. En 1995, le lac de Ba Be a été classé parmi les 20 lacs d’eau douce à protéger dans le monde lors de la Conférence internationale des lacs d’eau douce aux États-Unis. À la fin d’année 2004, le parc national de Ba Be est reconnu parc patrimonial de l’ASEAN. Les autorités de la province de Bac Kan ont préparé un dossier de candidature de Ba Be de reconnaissance par l’UNESCO au patrimoine mondial. The B Tourist Vietnam A: 42, 1A rue Dang Thai Than, Hoan Kiem, Hanoï T: (+84)4 3 6425 420 E: S:
Đường lên động Hương Tích
Getting to Vietnam’s most famous pilgrimage site is an adventure in itself. From Hanoi, it is a 60km journey to the edge of the Red River Delta where limestone karsts start to rise from the paddies. An hour’s ride in a row-boat up a flooded valley will take you to the bottom of a steep hill. From there it is a further hour’s climb to reach Chua Huong (Perfume Pagoda) itself. The pagoda itself occupies a spectacular grotto around 50m high. It is worth the effort, but -- be warned -- this is a popular attraction.
Cổ Loa, Đông Anh, Hà Nội, Vietnam
At over 1,000 years old, Hanoi is not exactly a spring chicken. For some truly ancient Vietnamese history, however, it is worth spending time at Co Loa, the country’s first fortified citadel and a onetime capital of the nation dating back to the third century. Only three of the original earthen ramparts are extant today, but a pretty temple underneath a banyan tree provides added diversion.
Đại Đình, Tam Đảo, Vĩnh Phúc, Vietnam
Popular with the French during colonial times, Tam Dao is now a favorite with Vietnamese looking to escape the stifling heat of summer Hanoi. The French villas have all but vanished to be replaced with some pretty gruesome concrete architecture. Nevertheless, the soaring forested peaks around Tam Dao offer plentiful hiking trails while the town itself has a passable selection of hotels.
Lê Đại Hành, Minh Khai, Hồng Bàng, Hải Phòng, Vietnam
Less than four hours from Hanoi, Haiphong is very much old-school Vietnam and many view it as a reminder of how Hanoi used to be. It is certainly a very pleasant city to explore. Despite being the country’s third largest city and a major port, Haiphong has a small-town feel and its French colonial architecture is some of the best-preserved in the country. Highlights include the city’s beautiful opera house and its vibrant cafe culture.
Words can do little justice to the scenery that awaits travelers to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Hundreds of forested limestone karst formations rise from emerald-green waters, looking like slumbering creatures ready to stir. The islands have a legend behind them: The gods sent a family of dragons to assist Vietnam‘s emperors in repelling invaders, and the creatures spat out jewels and pieces of jade that turned into the islands. Many tourists come here on a day trip from Hanoi that involves an early departure, a three-hour bus ride to the ferry terminal, and a four-hour cruise along with scores of other boats before a transfer back to the capital. To truly appreciate the natural beauty with a modicum of solitude, take an overnight cruise—waking in the morning to the sight of the mist-shrouded peaks without the distraction of tons of other boats (and their gawking passengers) is unforgettable.
This former French hill station just outside Hanoi is a popular place for weekenders. Fog often obscures the view from the top of Ba Vi Mountain, but clear days offer vistas towards the city and the Red River valley. Photo by Zniper/Flickr.
Khu du lịch Đồ Sơn, Đồ Sơn, Hai Phong, Vietnam
Nobody, not even its biggest fans, would claim that Do Son was Vietnam’s most attractive stretch of coastline. Nevertheless, this rambunctious town near the city of Haiphong is probably the closest (and certainly the busiest) beach to Hanoi. There’s not much in the way of levity, but there’s plenty cheap fresh seafood and Vietnamese-style fun to be had. Photo by Dung/Flickr.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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