Halong Bay Junk Boat

Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is part of the Red River Delta region of Northern Vietnam. It generally takes around 1 hour by road to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. Ninh Binh is home to many historical and cultural relics. You may visit Hoa Lu, once the capital of Vietnam, explore Mua Cave and take in views from the mountain above, visit Tam Coc caves, and cycle through the fields to Bich Dong Pagoda cave temples. Include a restaurant lunch in your day. 

Coc is very famous among travellers. Boarding a small sampan to visit Tam Coc  (“Three caves”), the boat of 1,5 hours to enjoy limestone cliffs and caves, as well as countryside landscapes like peaceful streams, rice paddies, and deserted green fields. The boat also takes you to Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba. During harvest time, visitors will have a chance to see colourful golden rice mats. 

Now, it’s time for Trang An, a scenic landscape complex. Discovering Trang An, you will board a boat rowed by locals and visit the natural scenery with a series of caves and monuments: Trinh Temple, Tu Tru Temple, Tran Temple, Cao Son Temple, Dia Linh Cave, Giot Cave, or Wine Cooking Cave. The journey usually lasts from 1 and a half to 2 hours.

Ninh Binh
A pagoda, the beautiful Ninh Binh. Remember the movie Cong, the Skull island? It was shot extensively in this area.

Mua Cave is the next destination of the tour, the check-in point on Ngoa Long Peak. You have to climb 500 steps to get there. You need to prepare shoes, and water before starting climbing. This is a great opportunity for photography, to get an overview of the Ngo Dong river and Ninh Binh rice fields. 

Bai Dinh Pagoda complex is very large so an electric car is recommended to explore the whole area. The pagoda holds many records in Southeast Asia with Tam The Palace, the largest bronze statue, and the longest Arhat corridor in Asia. In one day, you could not explore all of Bai Dinh Pagoda. Visit some of the highlights like the national stone statues of “La Han” (Arhats), 2 huge bronze bells, one weighs 27 tons, other weighs 36 tons. Visit The Quan Yin statue with thousands of arms and eyes, and Visit the Gautama Buddha statue.

Another hidden gem is Hoa Lu, a destination of natural beauty and historical significance. It has a couple of structures and temples within its bounds. Getting to Hoa Lu, you will visit 2 sacred temples worshipping King Dinh and King Le. You can listen to stories about kings who have built and defended the country during its long history.

If you want to extend your stay, kick back at a homestay enveloped by karsts in Tam Cốc.

Mua Caves of Ninh Binh Province: most beautiful places to visit in Vietnam

Halong Bay

One of Vietnam’s most famous attractions sits right on Hanoi’s doorstep. It takes around 2.5 to 3 hours to make a trip from Hanoi to Halong Straight. Tourists can also explore other destinations such as Bai Tu Long Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Cat Ba. Besides sightseeing, visitors can also participate in outdoor activities, like hiking, rock climbing, kayaking or even yoga sessions on the beach. Must grab some great seafood lunch on the journey.  The best way of exploring the region is via a cruise or day-trip boat. On a sunny day, you can kayak near and around the limestone pillars. Kayaking is a great way to explore a few caves. Seeing Halong Bay from a seaplane is one of the best things to do in Halong Bay. This activity is ideal for those people who are seeking thrilling trips to Halong Bay.

There are four remaining fishing villages: Cua Van, Vung Vieng, Dam Cong and Ba Hang. Coming to these villages, you can learn more about the culture and typical lifestyle of Vietnamese fishermen. 

Ha Long is noted for thousands of limestone formations and green beaches. They are famous for their special shapes and colours. Ha Long is a great place for photography. Some famous photo spots such as Fishing Village on the Bay, Photographing Ha Long Bay by Seaplane, and caves in Halong Bay.

Thien Cung Cave is one of the must-visit destinations in Halong Bay. Thien Cung has stalactites and stalagmites with many strange shapes such as dragons, phoenixes and the four pillars. The Sung Sot Cave is situated on Bo Hon island, together with Trinh Nu (Virgin Cave). Visitors must ascend 50 steps from the dock to the cave’s mouth. This is the largest cave in Halong Bay. 

In Pearl farming village you can learn the whole process of harvesting and producing pearl products. Visiting the pearl craft village is a very special experience. 

The summer in Ha Long Bay will have ideal weather. The weather from April to August here is quite cool. Autumn in Ha Long Bay is also pleasant. The weather from September to November is mostly sunny and not very cold. 

Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda, is just two hours from Hanoi. It is a series of pagodas and shrines set within the mouth of a cave. A road trip to Perfume Pagoda can be full of interesting activities. The pagoda itself is situated in a huge cave built into limestone cliffs. It can only be reached by boat as there are no roads. Enjoy a scenic boat ride along Yen River on your way to the Perfume Pagoda. You may trek up or take a cable car to reach Perfume Pagoda. Then, you can visit the ancient temples here, such as Huong Tich Cave. You can also go hiking in the mountains nearby, check out the local markets, and try some of the delicious food from the area. Perfume Pagoda is also a well-known spot for photography.

The majority of visitors come between the middle of January and the middle of March. During the Huong Pagoda festival, the Perfume Pagoda is especially busy. It’s one of the longest-enduring celebrations in Vietnam. Restaurants sell rare meat from wild animals like pigs, deer, and porcupine during the festival.

What to do in Hanoi for 4 days
Entrance of Temple of Literature, the ancient university complex of Hanoi

Ba Vi National Park

Located at the focal point of three mountain summits, the Ba Vi Public Park lies around 63 km away from Hanoi. Relax by visiting the Cactus garden in the park. Up to 1,200 cactus species are planted here. Then go to Pine Forest to enjoy the fresh atmosphere. Discover the ruins of the French colonists like ancient churches, French summer camps, and French Military zones. Visit the old green cypress trees and the stunning flora and fauna surrounding them. Continue hiking trips by visiting Thuong temple. It is a hollowed site for worshipping Tan Vien Saint. Only tens of steps more to go to Tan Vien Peak. Here you feel like standing at the border between heaven and earth.

The other two peaks are the tallest, Dinh Vua, and Nguc Hoa. It is most popular for its treasure trove of medicinal plants. The Dao – An ethnic group in Vietnam particularly loves and prefers this. To reach mountaintop temples, there are two options for hiking: Den Thuong and Bac Ho. Bac Ho paves the way to a temple honouring Ho Chi Minh. Some stairs lead up, but they can be difficult over time. At the top, the view is brilliant. 

One primary attraction of Ba Vi National Park is Thien Son’s waterfall. There are two waterfalls here that tumble down into a pool of clear water. You can swim into, camp next to, or even go fishing for VND 150,000 for every person. There’s a water park in this Thien Son-Suoi Nga tourism area. These are found east of the mountain range. Instead of entering Ba Vi National Park, you will need to drive left of the entrance to get there.

Important Information for Travellers 

• Ba Vi Park opens as soon as 5 AM and closes by 9 PM. It is a great spot to get a wonderful Vietnam sunset. Visit earlier if you want to avoid crowds.

• This is a huge, wild landscape so it can be easy to get hurt or lost without someone familiar with the park.

• Don’t place your feet or hands in any still water of Thien Son waterfall! There are a lot of leeches and other water bugs there.

• There aren’t too many options for eating and drinking in Ba Vi National Park. It’s better to have a cookout with you. 

• Don’t forget to withdraw enough cash for your adventures in Ba Vi National Park—the nearest ATMs are in Son Tay, at least 10 kilometres from the mountain region.

Mai Chau Valley

Mai Chau Valley is situated in the Hoa Binh Region, Vietnam. It can be reached in about three to four hours by road from Hanoi. The valley is famous for its beautiful natural scenery. Visit rice paddies, rolling hills, and White Thai stilt houses. It is a well-known destination for climbing, hiking, and cycling.  

Mai Chau is the ideal location for exploring Vietnam’s rural areas. It is home to bamboo-built villages and endless rice fields. ride a bicycle along quiet village roads, and get a glimpse of rural life at its most picturesque. Relax and have an authentic lunch with a local family of the White Thai tribe. Afternoon, ride a bike through a narrow village path. See terraced rice paddies and small villages. Visit the Pom Coong and Na Phon villages to know the culture of the ethnic minority Thai people. Pedal past local houses, some on stilts up to 12 feet high!

Sa pa travel blog Vietnam with 3 days itinerary

Bat Trang Village

Visit the Bat Ceramic Village on a day trip from Hanoi. It is an incredible chance to find out about traditional Vietnamese pottery making. You can try your hand at making your pottery under the guidance of experienced artisans. The village offers different handicrafts and souvenirs, as well as local cuisine.

Explore its small lanes and visit little workshops, or enjoy a unique sightseeing tour on a water buffalo. There are thousands of pre-made designs for sale at the Pottery Market. The village is brimming with warm, friendly local people who love offering their art to the world.

Next, visit Le Mat Snake Village, renowned for its traditional snake-catching and breeding. Enjoy the snake-based dishes served safely. 

rice paddy fields in sa pa in March

Sa Pa

Sa Pa in North Vietnam is one of the most beautiful summer destination from Hanoi!

It snows in Sa Pa in winter, in parts. That is a unique experience in Vietnam. Locals love Sa pa for her soothing climate. Traveling to Sa Pa is a treat to international tourists to explore culture and the lush paddy fields that often dazzle the travel magazine covers.

Hanoi is 320 km away from Sapa. The town is tucked away in a valley surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. Fansipan Peak is one of the best things you may want to visit in Sapa. You may take an easy way to Fansipan by cable car. It is a great place to see traditional Vietnamese culture in action. Visit the tourist destinations nearby, including Muong Hoa Valley, Ta Phin Village, Silver Waterfall, and Heaven’s Gate. Taste authentic foods of local dishes in Red Dzao restaurant.

Visit their villages – Y Linh Ho, Ta Van, and Giang Ta Chai. Eat and drink with them inside their homes, and learn about their culture and traditions. The excursion is an adventure in itself. You’ll go up into the mountains on winding streets. Buy high-quality handmade textiles and other souvenirs in a neighbourhood market. 

If you are keen on seeing the rice paddies, the best time to go to Sa Pa is between late September and early October. The rice is reaped, and terraces are at their most beautiful at this time. If you are more interested in trekking, April to May is the best opportunity to go. The weather conditions are relaxed and less possibility of rain. 

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