February 13, 2018

9 Must-visit Attractions Outside Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam’s charming capital, is one of the most frequented travel destinations in Southeast Asia. Located in Northern Vietnam, the bustling metropolis is colourful, chaotic, and fascinating. And yet, despite all the modernity, Hanoi has kept its elegant old-world charm. Traditional Vietnamese culture is alive and vibrant; its streets, architecture, and monuments speak of a long and rich history; and the local cuisine’s enticing aromas and delicate flavours have helped inspire a global appreciation for Vietnamese food.

While there’s no shortage of fun and interesting things to see and do in Hanoi, it would be a waste not to explore other places in Northern Vietnam. If you need to step away from the grind and avoid the city crowd, the region is home to many destinations and attractions where breathtaking scenery, unforgettable experiences, and a welcoming atmosphere are the norm.

Here are 9 must-visit attractions you can easily visit from Hanoi.

Halong Bay

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Halong Bay

About 170 kilometres from Hanoi, Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its large collection of forest-topped karst islands and soaring limestone pillars. Amid the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, Halong Bay’s natural treasures are too beautiful to miss.

Cat Ba Island

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi

Cat Ba Island – Halong Bay’s largest island – is a ruggedly beautiful destination offering modern conveniences in a backdrop of limestone karsts, golden beaches, and untouched jungles. It is also home to the Cat Ba National Park, a World Heritage-listed biosphere reserve. The beautiful national park occupies two-thirds of the island and is home to the golden-headed langur, the most endangered primate in the world.

Mai Chau Valley

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Mai Chau Valley

Serene and tranquil, Mai Chau Valley is a welcome break from Hanoi’s noisy and jam-packed streets. Discover a picturesque valley with soaring cliffs, rice paddies, traditional villages, and a mountain scenery that’s definitely something to write home about.

Truc Lam Zen Monastery

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Truc Lam Zen Monastery

Regain your inner balance and calmness after spending way too much time in Hanoi’s notoriously busy streets by visiting the Truc Lam Zen Monastery, just outside Da Lat. The Truc Lam Zen Monastery is one of the largest Zen monasteries in Vietnam, attracting Buddhist pilgrims from the world over. Along with Tay Thien Complex and Tam Dao town, the Truc Lam Zen Monastery make for a relaxing multi-day trip from Hanoi.

Perfume Pagoda

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Perfume Pagoda

Located in My Duc, a rural district in Hanoi, the Perfume Pagoda is a sprawling collection of Buddhist shrines and temples tucked into the cliffs of the Huong Tich mountains. The famous pilgrimage site, bordered by lush greenery and pretty streams, is an absolute must when in Northern Vietnam.

Bat Trang

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Bat Trang Ceramic Village

The Bat Trang Ceramic Village is one of the traditional handicraft villages you can visit from Hanoi. Set in a location where clay to make fine ceramics is abundant, the village has been producing high quality ceramics and porcelain since the 14th century . Head to Bat Trang for the opportunity to join a workshop where you’ll learn how to create pottery products.

Trang An Landscape Complex

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Trang An Landscape Complex

Located in Ninh Binh Province, the Trang An Landcape Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its valleys, karst cliffs, limestone caves, lakes, rivers, temples, pagodas, rice paddies, and villages. The famous Tam Coc National Park, one of the most scenic places to see in Northern Vietnam, is part of the Trang An Landcape Complex.

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Tam Coc National Park

Aside from being a natural attraction, it is also of great cultural and religious significance as it is also home to Bai Dinh, the largest temple complex in Vietnam.

Duong Lam

The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Duong Lam Ancient Village

Neatly hidden in Son Tay town is Duong Lam Ancient Village, the first village in Vietnam. The historic buildings and places of worship like the Mia Pagoda, Ngo Quten Temple, Phung Hung Temple, as well as the Mong Phu communal house are all still in place, making a visit to the village a step back in time in ancient Vietnam.


The 9 Must-see Attractions Outside Hanoi - Sapa

Located in the Hoang Lien Son mountains in Lao Cai Province, Sapa is a town that ranks high among Vietnam’s must-visit destinations. Packed with panoramic views, fascinating ethnic villages, and opportunities for memorable treks and homestays, it is the perfect place to visit if you want to get off the beaten path in Vietnam. This highland town is approximately 350 km from Hanoi and is easily accessible by train or by bus.

Explore Northern Vietnam’s breathtaking landscapes and attractions. Here are the best Hanoi tours for your itinerary.

By: Brendelyn Balaga

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