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Sights and sounds of Hanoi

1 Halong Bay Tour
Halong Bay Tour

Say hello to Halong Bay fr £217pp

Beautiful Halong Bay is one of the natural wonders of Vietnam and no visit to the country is complete without experiencing a day on the water there. On this tour you are met at your Hanoi hotel by a guide and driven east for around four hours to the town of Halong City, the gateway to Halong Bay. Along the way pass fields of busy workers farming their rice fields using traditional methods.

You then have three hours aboard your boat cruising around this magnificent bay which has featured in so many films over the years. Halong Bay boasts more than 3,000 islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment lunch will be served on board after which your cruise continues around the spectacular scenery before returning to dock after which you will be driven back to your hotel in the city.

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1 Halong Bay Tour

Halong Bay Tour

2 Dinner with a Local Family
Dinner with a Local Family

A meal to remember

This evening you will have the chance to visit and eat with a local family in Hanoi in their own home.
You are picked up from your hotel by a student from the Hanoi University. It is here that the Students in Free Enterprise Organisation was founded. This was set up to show visitors the true Hanoi way of life and promote interaction with the older generations to share their life experiences and stories.

Travel by taxi with the student to the family’s house and on arrival the owners will show you around. They will explain the function of the alter or ancestor room, a common trait in nearly all Vietnamese households. Then enjoy a traditional Vietnamese dinner as the hosts introduce each famous dish. Later you have tea with the family and hear some traditional folk stories and traditional songs.

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2 Dinner with a Local Family

Dinner with a Local Family

3 Hoa Lu & Trang An Day Tour
Hoa Lu & Trang An Day Tour

Become a karst away!

This morning you are met at your hotel at around 8am and driven for two and a half hours south to Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam which dates back to the 10th century. Here you visit the famous sanctuary of Dinh Tien Hoang, a former emperor of the Dinh Dynasty, and the temple dedicated to the Le Emperor.

After lunch you continue your journey and visit Trang An Eco-site, otherwise known as Halong Bay on land. Take a small boat through the magnificent scenery of lush rice paddies and unusual limestone karsts before returning to Hanoi late in the afternoon. This memorable trip takes you to stunning landscapes and the photo opportunities are endless.

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3 Hoa Lu & Trang An Day Tour

Hoa Lu & Trang An Day Tour

4 Perfume Pagoda Tour
Perfume Pagoda Tour

On the scent of the Perfume Pagoda

This fascinating tour begins when you are picked up at 8am from your Hanoi hotel and driven for around two hours south-west to My Duc. On arrival take a boat trip along the scenic waterways then begin the picturesque walk to the Perfume Pagoda. The "pagoda" actually consists of a complex of shrines and pagodas built into the limestone cliffs of the Huong Tich Mountain.

This is a very peaceful, holy and beautiful part of Vietnam but if you are lucky enough to visit during one of the pilgrim festivals you will see it come to life with many local worshippers. After visiting the pagoda you walk back to your boat and row through magnificent scenery of lush rice paddies and unusual limestone mountains before driving back to Hanoi late in the afternoon.


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4 Perfume Pagoda Tour

Perfume Pagoda Tour

5 Private Hanoi City Tour
Private Hanoi City Tour

See Hanoi's highlights

You are met at your hotel by a guide and begin with a short walking tour through the fascinating Old Quarter - 36 ancient streets where you can see the daily bustle of life around the markets. Then visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, dedicated to the father of modern Vietnam - Uncle Ho, to see his mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, his 'house on stilts' and the One Pillar Pagoda.

After lunch visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university and the Ethnology museum. This will give you a fascinating insight into the lifestyle, culture and customs of Vietnam's various minority groups. Also visit Tran Quoc and Ngoc Son Temples and then the infamous Hanoi Hilton - the nickname given to the place where U.S pilots who were shot down were held during the Vietnam War.

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5 Private Hanoi City Tour

Private Hanoi City Tour

6 Private Hanoi Food Tour
Private Hanoi Food Tour

Eat with the locals

Take a walking tour of the Hanoi backstreets to visit some local markets and specialty food stores to try some dishes and learn more about Hanoi daily life and culinary customs and habits. Then stop at one of the city's small food markets and enjoy a "Che" a local dessert type drink made with sugar cane, green bean, black bean, glutinous rice, and lotus seed.

Then walk deep into the heart of the old quarter and see the vendors making local dishes along the street. Sample Banh Tom or shrimp cake, a Hanoi specialty, in a small food alley. Later sit at a street- side bar for some refreshing local Bia hoi beer before sampling the delicious Banh Cuon, a pancake made with chicken and pork. Finish the tour with the local way with an iced Vietnamese coffee

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6 Private Hanoi Food Tour

Private Hanoi Food Tour

7 Water Puppet Show
Water Puppet Show

Lots of strings attached!

There are so many must-do things while visiting the country, and watching a performance of Hanoi's famed Water Puppets is certainly one of them. In the evening you will be met at your hotel by a guide and driven to the Water Puppet theatre in downtown Hanoi. Over 10 centuries old, the art of water puppetry first appeared in the Ly dynasty between 1010 and 1225.

It originated in the Red River Delta area and originally depicted the daily life of villagers including farming, fishing, romance and children playing. These days the performances have evolved to also include ancient legends, myths and history. The performance runs for approximately 50 minutes, after which you will be met by your guide and taken back to your hotel.


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7 Water Puppet Show

Water Puppet Show