With naturally favorable conditions, Vietnam is regarded as one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. When traveling to Vietnam, tourists will have a chance to admire many different kinds of destinations from breathtaking natural landscapes, ancient villages, pristine islets to ancient citadels, colonial architectures or islands, and beaches.
It is really a great chance to ease our mind and find our soul after the bustle and hustle of modern life. And if you are concerning about what to visit for your next holiday, let me show you some interesting things to do in Northern Vietnam.
The best time to travel Northern Vietnam
Under the influence of Monsoon, months from September to April should best time to visit scenic spots in Northern Vietnam, with not much rain or cloud. It is suitable to travel to mountainous areas like Sapa, Moc Chau or Ha Giang. But if you wish to be deep into clear crystal sea water of beaches or islands, the hot summer from May to August will be better choices, but let’s pay attention to the local weather forecast to avoid storms, typhoons or floods.
What to explore in Northern Vietnam?
Not only as the center of the political, cultural, historical, and social-economic quintessence built up over a thousand years of national construction of Vietnam, Hanoi, the capital is undoubtedly a must-see spot in your journey in Vietnam. Therefore, when you travel to Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular, you will have a chance to visit some of Vietnam’s symbols.
Right on the center of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake or ‘Lake of the Returned Sword’ attracts visitors and locals looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of this modern city. Peaceful and quiet, and green water, the lake surrounded by plenty of trees and shaded spots make visitors more comfortable and relaxing. Right on the lake, after walking across the flag-lined bright red Huc Bridge across to Jade Island, we are in Ngoc Son Temple, also a great destination as its legend when it was built in commemoration of the 13th century military leader Tran Hung Dao who was renowned for his bravery in the battle against the Yuan Dynasty. Standing in the center on a small island of Hoan Kiem lake is ‘Turtle Tower’, which becomes Hanoi’s symbol as well as Vietnam’s with all Vietnamese people and tourists coming to our country.
The most noticeable evidence of 100 years of French colony’s influence is The Old Quarter where one of Hanoi’s most common sights is that of streets packed with bicycles or scooters and cars swarming around pedestrians like a school of fish. That can be a memorable experience in Vietnam. The Old Quarter with its old-style narrow streets full of antique brick houses can amazingly resist the flow of time while still actively adapting to the dynamic atmosphere of Hanoi.
Besides plentiful cultural relics, temples or pagodas, Hanoi also impresses tourists by many other scenes of fresh, green and peaceful beauty standing around all the city’s lakes and under high green trees with large shadows on sunny days such as West Lake, Truc Bach, Bay Mau Lake, etc.
Hanoi street food
What’s more, a unique cuisine that attracts both Hanoi foodie and many travelers is street food Hanoi. The variety of cuisines from the local dish, street food to the high-end restaurant made Hanoi one of the world best destination for hungry travelers. Do not miss Pho, Cha Ca, Xoi, Bun Cha, Che or Pho Cuon and many more. Also by tasting Hanoi cuisine, visitors can learn more about Vietnam culture, history as well as observing the local life in this thousand years old town. But do not worry about the prices as street food is cheap eats Hanoi.
Despite just a small town in the mountainous northwest of Vietnam, Sapa has always been listed as one of the must-see destinations in Vietnam.
Trekking in Sapa
Coming to Sapa, tourists will be amazed by the magnificent mountains looming in front of her eyes. Steep hills, the golden rice terraces, and the marvelous mountain peaks are an irresistible appeal to visitors.
Apart from the other provinces in Northern Vietnam, Sapa possesses a cool climate all year round with diversified flora and fauna, even during hot summer in Hanoi or Halong. That is the high peak of Sapa when visitors flock there to avoid the heat. However, due to the climate change, the winter gets freezing cold and the temperature drops sharply in recent years. Therefore, months from December to January are in the high peak of Sapa when people wish to enjoy the snow like in films or like in cold countries. What’s more, if you are an adventure-lover, Fansipan Peak – the summit of Indochina crowned with a headdress of ice will be an amazing experience.
Besides enjoying the stunning landscapes, Sapa is also an ideal place to get closer to Vietnamese tribal groups such as H’ Mong, Tay, and Dao. Visiting the villages like Ta Van, Ta Phin or Cat Cat, following them to the rice terraces, or going to the local market and even making local dishes will be meaningful moments.
Some must-try dishes are Sapa Cap Nach Pigs, Thang Co, Khang Gai Dried Meat in Sapa, Sapa Fructus Crataegi Wine, Sapa Chinese Black Mushroom, Sapa Pau Play Day Cake and many more.
Listed as a New World Seven Wonders, what coming to visitors’ mind when thinking about Halong Bay is spectacular scatter of islands with towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. And the best way to experience this amazing bay is on a Halong Bay cruise. What is more astonishing than sitting on the boat, chatting with friends or family, sipping a wine and enjoying fresh seafood under the romantic night in Halong Bay?
One of the most satisfying things when coming to beaches and especially a world natural wonder is sunbathing and swimming. The clear blue water, white smooth sand beaches twinkling under the golden sunshine and fresh air create a wonderful landscape for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, fishing, or kayaking.
Also, numerous exciting activities like snorkeling, diving, swimming or sunbathing will definitely satisfy all visitors from kids to adults. Those who enjoy nature will love the view and appreciate its beauty. Or renting out a junk to stay overnight to just enjoy the quietness and beauty of Ha Long Bay is not a bad idea.
Halong Bay at night
Moreover, taking a deeper discover into floating villages, visitors will find out a lot of interesting features of the daily life of Halong Bay’s locals. They live there and make ends meets from the diversified supply of the marine life.
Last but not least, there is no better way to witness Halong Bay fantastic limestone karsts and caves from the seaplane. Just imagine how amazing it is when all famous islands, almost whole famous landscapes of Halong Bay like Dau Go Cave, Tuan Chau Island and so on will be in our eyes. But it is quite expensive, so consider carefully!
These above are top three must-see destinations that you should not miss when traveling to Northern Vietnam. Let’s backpack and have a great trip in Vietnam.