About doing trips from Hanoi
Also read: Hanoi Travel Guide: Top Things To Do
You can do most of the listed trips from Hanoi by yourself, and for those that you can’t, we recommend booking it on one of the three best platforms for booking tours and activities in Vietnam.
To stay connected on your Vietnam trip, make sure to buy a local mobile package. We highly recommend an eSIM that you can buy online (no need to insert a physical SIM).
- Gigago (best plan options/variety, best connectivity)
- Holafly (great unlimited plans)
- Airalo (affordable plans)
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Best trips from Hanoi
1. Ha Long Bay Cruise
The scenery of Ha Long Bay is breathtaking, and going on a cruise in Ha Long Bay is a super fun experience and definitely a must-do thing in Vietnam and the best trip from Hanoi.
The journey to Ha Long Bay usually starts by getting picked up by your cruise operator in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. And then you drive to Ha Long Bay, where you board your cruise.
So definitely book a cruise with transport included if you don’t plan to visit Ha Long city or the area.
- Ha Long Bay Capella Cruise (5-star luxury, overnight and multi-day)
- Dragonfly Cruise (one-day, traditional cruise)
- Indochina Sails (overnight traditional cruise)
Read all about Ha Long Bay and the best tours:
We went on an overnight Ha Long Bay Cruise with Capella Cruise, which was an incredible trip. Depending on your budget, you can also join a daily one or even a multi-day one.
Read more about our experience:
📖 2-day 1-night Ha Long Bay Cruise aboard Capella
Need a reliable Vietnam mobile package to stay online?
While you can find WiFi practically everywhere, in hotels, cafes, restaurants, and even beach bars, having a reliable mobile package in Vietnam is the way to go. We recommend the affordable eSIM packages from Gigago, where you also get a local number for ride-hailing and other services.
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2. Sa Pa
Sa Pa is a place known for its high mountainous landscape, stunning terraced rice fields, waterfalls, ethnic homestays, and Fansipan, the highest mountain in Indochina.
Sa Pa is a great destination to visit on a few days trip from Hanoi, as it’s easily reachable with frequent buses, the most reliable one being the Sa Pa Express.
And if you’re interested in a more funky bus to take you to Sa Pa, you can get aboard the Sa Pa Valentine or Mickey Mouse bus by Interbus.
It also has double beds for couples (or you book a double for yourself to be extra comfy). We booked a Valentine/love-themed one for our trip to Sa Pa, and it’s quite different from standard sleeper buses.
And there are plenty of trusted tours going to Sa Pa from Hanoi for all kinds of trips, from trekking to staying in an ethnic homestay and hiking the Fansipan mountain.
3. Ninh Binh
Although no longer a hidden gem (like some people call it), Ninh Binh, also called the “Ha Long Bay on land,” is stunning and absolutely worth a visit.
It has many great spots to visit and activities to do, like climbing an awesome viewpoint, cycling around the rice fields, or going for a boat ride through fascinating landscapes and caves.
Ninh Binh is only 100km south of Hanoi, easily reachable by daily vans (called limousines), buses, trains, and private cars in about 2 hours. Ninh Binh is one of the easiest and best trips from Hanoi.
Book your transport:
Hanoi to Ninh Binh bus/train/car tickets on 12go.
Ninh Binh is a fantastic place to visit, and we highly recommend it to everyone. It’s definitely in the top spots for us in Vietnam.
Read more: 📖 Ultimate Ninh Binh Travel Guide
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No matter the general safety situation, we always advise getting travel insurance for trips outside your country. We’re happy to recommend Heymondo, offering affordable plans for your Vietnam trip. And best of all, they have great reviews from previous travelers.
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4. Ha Giang
You can start a Ha Giang tour from Hanoi or book a bus to Ha Giang City. And then rent a motorbike and make the Ha Giang loop yourself. Or you can also get an easy rider (they drive, and you enjoy the views).
5. Mai Chau
Among the less visited but equally worthwhile places in North Vietnam is Mai Chau, a valley full of rice fields.
Mai Chau offers beautiful rice fields for cycling through, a waterfall to explore, and a great local market where two ethnic minorities meet.
Mai Chau is just 4 hours away from Hanoi, and you can reach it easily with daily buses/vans.
Book your transport: Bus tickets from Hanoi to Mai Chau.
Read more: 📖 Mai Chau Travel Guide.
6. Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai is still a relatively unknown place for foreigners but very popular with Vietnamese.
If you avoid a few tourist hotspots, you’ll have an amazing time there, enjoying unreal scenery and exploring authentic local life.
It’s one of the places we love the most in North Vietnam and is an absolute masterpiece in itself.
The locals in Mu Cang Chai are masters of rice farming, and their terraced rice fields are an incredible site to observe!
Book your transport: Bus tickets from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai.
Although we explored Mu Cang Chai on our own, there are trekking tours that can take you around the indigenous villages and beautiful rice terraces.
Book your tour: Indigenous half-day trekking tour in Mu Cang Chai.
7. Ban Gioc waterfall
Ban Gioc is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the far north of Vietnam, right on the border with China.
Before coming to Vietnam for the first time, one of our biggest wishes was to see the majestic Ban Gioc waterfall. And not only is the waterfall amazing, but the whole area around it is also fascinating.
Read more: 📖 Ultimate Guide to Ban Gioc Waterfall
The easiest way to get to Ban Gioc waterfall is either on tour or by booking a bus from Hanoi to Cao Bang, the nearest city. And then, taking the local bus directly to the waterfall or renting a motorbike and driving there yourself.
Book your transport: Bus tickets from Hanoi to Cao Bang.
We highly recommend staying in the Ban Gioc area for at least a night or two if you have time. It’s so serene and beautiful and our favorite place in all of Vietnam.
Book your Ban Gioc tour from Hanoi:
8. Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong is Vietnam’s first national park, established in 1962. It has a rich ecosystem and is covered in a dense forest, forming a habitat for some of Asia’s rarest species. You can find the Clouded leopard, Delacour’s langur, Owston’s Civet, and Asian Black Bear.
Cuc Phuong National Park is part of the Ninh Binh province, but many people choose to visit it separately on a guided trip from Hanoi.
The Cuc Phuong national park is perfect for trekking enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and anyone who wants to escape the Ninh Binh and Hanoi crowds.
The park is also known for its Turtle Conservation and Endangered Primate Rescue Center. You get a guided tour and learn more about its endangered species and how they help them.
9. Bat Trang Pottery Village
Hanoi’s nearby villages, like Bat Trang, are famous for their pottery, and you can visit them on a half-day trip to learn about ancient ceramics and pottery or shop for some souvenirs.
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10. Ba Be Lake
Among the things we still haven’t visited, but we’d so love to, is the Ba Be Lake, where you can kayak, swim, explore caves, and go hiking.
You can visit on your own, but most people go there on organized trips. And it’s sometimes included as part of the tour package with the Ban Gioc Waterfall.
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