Northern Vietnam Culture & Adventure Tour

Northern Vietnam Culture & Adventure Tour


  • Discover the sights, sounds, and flavors of Hanoi
  • Take afternoon tea in a traditional home in Hanoi's Old Quarter
  • Enjoy a scenic boat trip along the rivers of Tràng An
  • Visit the Gulf of Tonkin and cruise around gorgeous Hạ Long Bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi, Free Afternoon Hanoi
Day 2 Morning Walk by the Hoan Kiem, Explore the City Hanoi
Day 3 Transfer to Ninh Bình, Sampan Boat Ride at Tràng An Ninh Binh
Day 4 Transfer to Hạ Long Bay, Boat Cruise Halong Bay
Day 5 Tour Hạ Long Bay, Depart from Hanoi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Free Afternoon

The streets of Hanoi

Xin chào! Welcome to Hanoi! Vietnam's capital is a mix of the old and the new—a metropolis defined by the endearing contradictions of a rapidly developing yet deeply traditional society. Here, glimmering modern buildings sit alongside the French Colonial Old Quarter in the historic heart of the city. Rarely at rest, the kinetic energy of Hanoi's motorbike-packed streets spills over into the outdoor markets, Hang Gai silk shops, curbside bún chả/bánh mì vendors, and eclectic nightlife scene.

Upon landing at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, a private driver will be ready to transfer you to your city center hotel, eliminating any worries about navigating the bustling streets. After settling in, take a leisurely stroll around Hoàn Kiếm Lake or explore the charming alleyways of the Old Quarter.

Later in the evening, your local guide will brief you on the exciting tours and activities planned for your visit. You can then opt for a delightful dinner followed by a lively bar hop/pub crawl, immersing yourself in Hanoi's vibrant nightlife scene.

Day 2: Morning Walk by the Hoan Kiem, Explore the City

Hoàn Kiếm Lake

Wake up early to experience Hanoi at its most tranquil. At this hour, with fewer honking horns and less congested streets, you'll embark on a walking tour around Hoàn Kiếm Lake. Here, you can fully immerse in the morning tranquility, witness morning Tai Chi, and join a lakeside "laughing yoga" session—a unique way to start your day with laughter and exercise.

After a invigorating yoga session, indulge in a local breakfast favorite: phở, a beloved Vietnamese noodle dish. Venture into the Old Quarter to taste authentic phở at a local restaurant before taking a leisurely stroll through Hanoi's commercial center for souvenir shopping. Conclude your morning at a hidden gem—an ancient house in the Old Quarter—for a serene lotus tea experience.

In the afternoon, explore another facet of the city. Begin at the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, built in the 11th century to honor Confucius. Witness students praying for academic success before moving to Ba Dinh Square to view the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum from outside. Complete your day with a visit to the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, a symbol of Hanoi's Buddhist heritage.

Day 3: Transfer to Ninh Bình & Sampan Ride at Tràng An

Enjoy a sampan boating adventure in Tam Cốc

Today, escape the city and explore the stunning Vietnamese countryside of Ninh Bình, nestled in the Red River Delta just 55 miles (90 km) south of Hanoi. After a two-hour drive, check into your eco-hotel and begin your adventure.

Your first stop is Hoa Lư, the ancient capital of Vietnam during the 10th and 11th centuries. Explore well-preserved palaces, pagodas, and tombs that harken back to its imperial past, offering a glimpse into history.

In the afternoon, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tràng An. Embark on a serene sampan ride along the river, surrounded by lush forests and limestone mountains, with a guide handling the oars.

After returning to your hotel for relaxation, dine in the charming patio garden of a lakeside restaurant before retiring for the evening.

Day 4: Transfer to Hạ Long Bay, Boat Cruise

Hạ Long Bay

After breakfast, embark on a 3.5-hour drive from Ninh Bình to Hạ Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning karst landscape. Over 1,000 karst islets rise from emerald waters, creating a surreal seascape.

Vietnamese mythology tells tales of dragons, and Hạ Long Bay is said to be where these legends unfold. According to folklore, dragons once descended to fight invaders, scattering jewels that formed the limestone towers over time.

Upon arrival, board a traditional junk boat and cruise through the Gulf of Tonkin, marveling at the limestone formations. Spend the day exploring the bay's islands and grottoes, enjoying onboard meals, group activities, and a mesmerizing sunset. Retire to your deluxe cabin, ready to witness another remarkable sunrise the following day.

Day 5: Tour Hạ Long Bay, Transfer to Hanoi, Depart

Take a kayak ride around the bay

Start your day with Tai Chi on the cruiser's sundeck, accompanied by complimentary tea and coffee as the sunrise illuminates the bay. After a light breakfast onboard, cruise to the floating village of Cua Van, home to around 800 residents living in floating houses, sustaining themselves mainly through fishing.

Explore Cua Van with activities like kayaking or rowboating to observe local life on the water. Return to the cruiser for brunch and relaxation before transferring to a local village on the mainland for a traditional water puppet show—a cherished art form of the Red River Delta.

Conclude your Vietnam adventure with a return to Hanoi and Noi Bai Airport for your flight home, cherishing the memories until next time!

Exploring more Great Southern Vietnam Itineraries: here

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Vietnam? Check out these other Vietnam itineraries, explore different ways to spend five days in Vietnam, or discover the best time to visit Vietnam.

It's an opportunity to discover the refined cultural beauty via these tour:

Small Group Saigon Walking Tour - Tale of Cho Lon

Saigon Walking Tour - Sai Gon Hidden Alleys

1-day Mekong tour from Can Tho | The Myst Mekong

Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Rural Life 

Mekong Delta 1 Day Tour - Ben Tre boat and bike experience

Mekong delta homestay 2 days tour with cycling trip in non touristy villages

Mekong delta tour 3 days with homestay - cycling - Cai Rang floating market 

Let's come and immerse ourselves in the captivating charm of Vietnam, where tradition and modernity merge, creating an unforgettable experience. Your journey awaits, filled with the warmth of Vietnamese hospitality and the richness of its cultural tapestry.

Your extraordinary experience begins here!

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