Things to do in
Northern Vietnam

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Our most recommended things to do in Northern Vietnam

Hanoi: 2-Day Luxury Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay Cruise

1. Hanoi: 2-Day Luxury Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay Cruise

Day 1: Hanoi, Lan Ha Bay, Dark and Bright Caves (L/D) Your day begins as you are collected by your guide and driver in your hotel lobby. Once on the road, you will begin your transfer to Hai Phong City. You can rest at the harbor as the V’Spirit Premier Cruise completes its final preparations, before you begin boarding and enjoy a welcome drink. You will soon sit in the dining room for a delicious lunch as you enjoy scrolling views of the wonderfully unique limestone towers outside the windows. At 3:15PM you will travel by sampan boats to explore the surrounding area. Some of the residents of the bay will show you their homes by taking you to the Dark and Bright caves, two gorgeous caverns with a vast and enclosed lake on the other side. You will also be able to swim in this location. At 5:00PM you will return to your cruise to catch the daily spectacle of a gorgeous sunset, and can also enjoy happy hour at the bar. At 7:00PM will enjoy a fantastic dinner, with special performances of traditional Vietnamese music either in the dining room or on the top deck. Before you retire to your cabin, you will have the option to read in the bar, visit the spa, or join the crew for some squid fishing. Day 2: Lan Ha Bay, Tra Bau, Hanoi (B/L) You'll begin your day with a Tai Chi session on the top deck as the sunrise peaks over the mountains. You'll then enjoy breakfast in the fresh air and peaceful beauty of the Bay. At 8:15AM you'll experience some fantastic kayaking to discover the lovely Tra Bau area. You can visit a fishing farm and socialize with the resident fishermen to learn more about their life and how they work every day. You'll later return to the ship at 10:00AM to enjoy a cooking demonstration put on by a talented on-board chef, as they provide you with an insight into Vietnamese cuisine. You'll then sit down for a lovely lunch buffet on your approach to the harbor. At 11:45AM you'll disembark at the harbor, before boarding the bus to head back to Hanoi.

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From Hanoi: Bai Tu Long Bay 2-day Cruise

2. From Hanoi: Bai Tu Long Bay 2-day Cruise

Day 1: You'll be picked up from your hotel in Hanoi at 7:30 AM Drive to Ha Long City through the green fields of the Red River Delta. Stopover on the way for a refreshment break. You'll embark at Ha Long wharf and there will be some time for a break and photography. Enjoy a welcoming drink on board as well as a cruise briefing. Have some lunch while cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay, admiring the fascinating rock formations along the way. Transfer to Thien Canh Son Cave. The tour guide will take you to a huge cave with many interesting stalactite and stalagmite formations. After about half an hour visiting, you will go back to the boat by tender. Then, return to the cruise vessel for some leisure time. You'll also have half an hour for kayaking to discover the Bai Tu Long Bay landscape. After you return to the boat, join a cooking class with the onboard chef. A Vietnamese style set dinner is served on board. Take some time to enjoy chatting at the bar or enjoy some night fishing. Stay overnight on the boat. Day 2: Have some breakfast at around 7:30 AM and enjoy the sunrise on the bay. Visit the ancient Vung Vieng Floating Village. You'll not only be immersed in the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the village, but, on your way, also be surrounded by the rocky mountains in a small bamboo boat as you go to and from the village. When it's time to check out, pack your luggage and check out and enjoy a fantastic cruise on the bay. Have lunch while cruising back through Ha Long Bay to the pier. Disembark at Ha Long wharf and say goodbye to the crew. Return from Ha Long to Hanoi with a short stopover on the way for a refreshment break before you arrive.

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Lan Ha Bay: 1-Day Tour with Kayaking and Cooking Class

3. Lan Ha Bay: 1-Day Tour with Kayaking and Cooking Class

Between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM, your driver will pick you up at your accommodation in the Old Quarter. Drive for 1.5 hours to reach Got Habour. At 10:00 AM, be welcomed aboard your discovery cruise. Begin exploring Lan Ha Bay and its wonderful sceneries including Tung Lam, Mong Tay Islet, and Tra Bau Islet.  At 11:30 AM, a Vietnamese fusion cuisine lunch will be served. While you eat, enjoy the spectacular seascape view through the expanded windows. By 12:30 PM, the cruise continues and you will explore the Dark and Light Cave either by kayaking or with the island fishermen on their small boat.  After your excursion, return to the boat then head to Tra Bau Islet for a swim. This place is a gift from nature with white sand and a relaxing atmosphere created by the clean water and blue skies. At 3:30 PM, you can take part in a cooking demonstration and learn how to make Vietnamese spring rolls.  At 4:30 PM, enjoy a sunset party on the sundeck. Watch as the sun sets in the middle of the vast sea, which is a wonderful sight. By 5:30 PM, you will return to Got harbor to take your return transfer to Hanoi. Arrive at your accommodation in the Old Quarter around 7:00 PM.  

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Hanoi: 2-Day 5-Star Lan Ha Bay Cruise with Transfer

4. Hanoi: 2-Day 5-Star Lan Ha Bay Cruise with Transfer

Day 1: Your day will begin as a luxury limousine picks you up from your hotel at Hanoi Old Quarter to travel to the La Regina Private Lounge. The 2-hour journey from Hanoi to the ferry will take place via New Hanoi and the Hai Phong Highway. At 12:00PM you will receive a welcome drink and wet towel, as your cruise manager runs you through the safety briefing. From here the boat will begin to cruise to Lan Ha Bay. You can soon enjoy a delicious set-menu lunch, which will be served in the restaurant. You can later feel free to discover the Trung Trang Cave, an iconic and historic cave in Cat Ba Island. You can enjoy your time throughout the beautiful sunset over the bay, and can also join “Happy Hour”, which involves discounts on all drinks onboard. Following this, you can join a cooking class on the sundeck with a chef onboard, who will teach you how to prepare one of the most iconic dishes of Vietnamese cuisine. Dinner will then be served on the sundeck (if weather permits). Another option later on is to try your hand at squid fishing at the reception, or to watch a movie in the restaurant on the third floor. Day 2: You will begin your day early at 6:15AM with a Taichi session on the sundeck before a light breakfast is served. The boat will then anchor in the Tra Bau area, and it will then be time to discover the natural beauty of Lan Ha Bay by kayaking or swimming. You will then travel back to the main boat for some relaxation and to check out at the reception. After you put all your luggage outside of your cabin, crew member will help to bring luggage on land. Brunch will then be served in the restaurant while the boat heads back to the harbor where you will disembark.

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Hanoi: 2-Day Bai Tu Long and Vung Vieng Village Cruise

5. Hanoi: 2-Day Bai Tu Long and Vung Vieng Village Cruise

Day 1: Bai Tu Long Bay and Cave At 7:30AM, your shuttle bus will pick up from your hotel in Hanoi. From there you will drive through the green fields on the Red River Delta to Ha Long City. Once having arrived at the harbor, you will check-in for your cruise on the Ha Long, which will begin with a welcome drink and cruise briefing. You will then enjoy lunch while cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay. Once there you will transfer by tender to Thien Canh Son Cave. Your tour guide will take you to a huge cave with many interesting stalactites and stalagmites in varying amazing shapes, and after about half an hour of exploration, you will go back to your tender to return to the boat. You will then have half an hour for kayaking to discover the Bai Tu Long Bay landscape. Following a short cooking class, you will savor a Vietnamese-style set dinner which will be served on board. You can then enjoy some leisure time to enjoy chatting at the bar or engaging in some night fishing. At the conclusion of your day, you will spend the night on the boat. Day 2: Vung Vieng Fishing Village Your second day will begin at 7:30AM as you enjoy breakfast whilst viewing the sunrise over the bay. You will then visit the ancient Vung Vieng floating village, where you will not only be immersed in the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, but also be surrounded by the rocky mountains whilst floating in a small bamboo boat. You will then proceed back to your room where you will pack your luggage before checking out of your cabin. Lunch will be served while you cruise back through Ha Long Bay to the pier, where you will eventually disembark before returning to Hanoi.

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From Hanoi: Lan Ha and Ha Long Bay Day Cruise

6. From Hanoi: Lan Ha and Ha Long Bay Day Cruise

Journey to the famed Ha Long Bay and the lesser-known but equally beautiful adjoining Lan Ha Bay. Depart early from Hanoi with a convenient pickup from your hotel in Hanoi. Enjoy the scenic ride to Got Harbor in Hai Phong City through the Red River Delta, an area known for its traditional rural culture. At Got Harbor, relax in the waiting lounge and enjoy a welcome drink as the crew presents the itinerary for your 7-8 hour cruise. Once on board, dig in to a delicious multi-choice lunch in the elegant dining room as the ship sets sail. Admire some of the bay’s most famous islets as you cruise, including Da Chong and the 100-year-old French lighthouse left behind after the colonial era. Stop at the Dark and Bright Caves, two beautiful wet cave systems rich in marine life and lush vegetation. Their entry obscured by hanging orchids and fig trees, the caves are less touristy than other spots in the bay. Either kayak in on your own or have a local row you on a sampan boat through the long, silent tunnel of the Dark Cave to the light open space of the Bright Cave. Emerge at a hidden lake enclosed on all sides by streaked cliffs and tree-topped peaks. Passengers with keen eyes may be able to spot Cat Ba langurs, an endangered species of monkey that has sought sanctuary in the forested mountainsides of the Bright Cave. Back on board, relax on one of two sundecks and take in the phenomenal sights of unbounded nature on all sides, perhaps with a drink from the bar. Later in the afternoon, attend a cooking class and fruit-carving demonstration put on by several talented chefs, followed by a Western-style afternoon tea with accompanying snacks. On the way back to the harbor, go for a swim in the clean waters of Lan Ha Bay, enjoying the quiet surroundings. Arrive at Got Harbor just in time to catch a beautiful sunset over Lan Ha Bay. After a day full of exploring, get dropped off back at your accommodation in the Hanoi Old Quarter.

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Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay 2-Day Cruise

7. Halong Bay & Lan Ha Bay 2-Day Cruise

On the first morning at 9 AM, a transfer vehicle will collect you from your hotel in Hanoi to the cruise ship. After being welcomed aboard with a complimentary drink check into your cabin and freshen up. Enjoy a special lunch of fresh seafood and an assortment of appetizing delicacies as you set sail through the Cua Van area to Lan Ha Bay. Admire the stunning karst islands and limestone outcrops of Lan Ha with their pristine, snow-white beaches. Enjoy time to explore Ba Trai Dao beach via kayaks or immerse yourself in the crystal clear waters. When you return to the ship, enjoy extensive happy hour drinks and dinner. Spend the evening relaxing with an exotic cocktail as you take in the picturesque landscape. Order an indulgent spa service, watch movies, go squid fishing or simply relax on the rooftop deck under the cover of a brightly illuminated sky. On the next morning, head to the upper deck to participate in a daily Tai Chi sessions or relax with an early morning cup of tea, coffee, or juice as you watch the stunning scenery unfold before you. Enjoy a light breakfast of pastries, tea and coffee in the restaurant. The final stage of your trip is to be taken through the mysterious caves and among the remote islets via local rowing boats. Take in the breath-taking beauty of this World Heritage region. Check out of your cabin as you draw closer to the mainland. After a final early brunch and a last farewell from our crew at 11:30 AM, board a transfer boat and head back to the wharf where you will be met by your return trip vehicle to transfer you to Hanoi. The tour ends at around 3 PM.

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From Hanoi: 3-Day Sapa Trekking Tour with Fansipan Cable Car

8. From Hanoi: 3-Day Sapa Trekking Tour with Fansipan Cable Car

Day 1: Hanoi – Sapa - Cat Cat village You’ll be picked up from Hanoi early in the morning. Admire the scenery as you travel through the countryside. Stop at Lao Cai for a break. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and rice terraces along the way from Lao Cai to Sapa city. At 1:00 PM, arrive in Sapa Town, where you'll view the colorful traditional costumes of the H’mong, Dzao, and Tay local people. Enjoy a lunch of traditional local Vietnamese dishes. Then, enjoy a trek to Cat Cat village, home to the Black H’mong. In the evening, have dinner. Day 2: Sapa - Easy Trek to Lao Chai and Ta Van – Sapa  After breakfast, trek to Lao Chai village, about 8km from Sapa town. Here you will discover the daily life of the locals and how they make traditional clothes and handicrafts.  After lunch in one of the local houses, you will walk to Ta Van village, home to the Dzay people. These people have a rich culture and beautiful houses located on rice paddy fields. You will visit the home of a local family to learn about their life, and enjoy some green tea. In the evening, return to Sapa Town for dinner and free time.  Day 3: Sapa – Fanxipan Peak – Sapa – Hanoi After breakfast, check out from your room and depart for the Sapa cable car station, where you will board a cable car to Fansipan Peak. At the summit, enjoy free time to admire the panoramic views.  You’ll then head back to Sapa for lunch and to explore the town by yourself. At 3:00 PM you’ll be picked up by bus and driven back to Hanoi.

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From Cat Ba: Ha Long Bay and Monkey Island Full-Day Cruise

9. From Cat Ba: Ha Long Bay and Monkey Island Full-Day Cruise

After getting picked up from your hotel in Cat Ba, make the journey to Beo Pier, enjoying views of the mountains on the way. Upon boarding the boat, enjoy a scenic cruise around Lan Ha Bay, a quieter section of the more popular Ha Long Bay. Visit floating fishing villages where you can see the daily life of fishermen. Continue cruising and pass the border into Ha Long Bay. Get the chance to see different-shaped limestone such as Pen islet, Sailing islet, and Frog Islet. Stop for a swim in Cam Lagoon before enjoying a delicious lunch on the boat. Later, continue to Hang Ca, where you will stop to visit a fish farm. Afterward, kayak through Dark Cave, Bat Cave and Bright Cave. Visit the less-accessed areas to experience the most exotic scenery for yourself. After your kayak, head to a deserted boat for a swim, snorkel or lie down on the boat deck to drink, relax and take photographs. Before you head back to Cat Ba, pay a visit to Monkey island, hiking to the best viewpoint to admire the island.

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From Hanoi: Sapa 2-Day 1-Night Trip By Bus With Hotel Stay

10. From Hanoi: Sapa 2-Day 1-Night Trip By Bus With Hotel Stay

You will be collected by bus from your hotel in Hanoi's Old Quarter, then depart for Sapa. After a comfort break, you will arrive into Sapa Town, where you can see the colorful traditional costumes of H’mong, Dzao, and Tay ethnic people. After a welcome drink and itinerary briefing, enjoy lunch and check in to your hotel. You will then go on a short drive to the gates of Cat Cat village which is home to the Black H’mong ethnic people and is located near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak. Your local guide will show you the daily activities of the locals, before you trek down to the valley's bottom to the waterfall, where the French built a Hydraulic Power Station. Stop for a photo then come back to Sapa Town for dinner. The next day, after breakfast, you will drive to Y Linh Ho then trek through the rice terraces and along Muong Hoa stream to the Black Hmong village of Lao Chai to see the spectacular landscape of Hoang Lien Son Mountain. After that, head to Ta Van village – home to the Dzay ethnic people. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon before you return to Hanoi.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Northern Vietnam

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What people are saying about Northern Vietnam

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 168 reviews

A wonderful trip and an absolute must when visiting Vietnam. The rooms in the boat were spacious and luxurious compared to hostels! Friendly and helpful staff and plenty of food. Great activities aided in the enjoyment and appreciation of the beautiful landscapes. Highly highly recommend this trip, this is the best thing we have done in a long time!

The company was Green Trail Travel Cat Ba. Great service. Good and funny tourguide. The crew were helpfull with everything so we had a very good experience/day.

great tour guide and really nice stacked day. not too much that it's stressful, also not boring - just perfect with a reasonable pricing :)

We loved our experience! I highly recommend this cruise to anyone and everyone.

We loved it!! Our tour guide was great and we got to see loads!