Ancient temples and glittering bays
Hanoi has an eclectic mix of Asian and European influences with tree-lined avenues, beautiful lakes and over 600 temples. Halong Bay, just a few hours from Hanoi, is home to some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. Limestone karsts rise steeply from the clear blue sea and traditional junks dot hidden bays. Combine the two on Hanoi and Halong Bay Tour and you can explore Vietnam’s ancient culture and experience its natural beauty.
In Hanoi, the country’s capital, you can visit Ho Chi Minh's imposing Mausoleum and the 11th-century Quanh Tanh Temple. The city is also a great place to sample Vietnam’s outstanding cuisine, delve into its colonial past and people watch from Hanoi’s many pavement cafes.
With its craggy limestone rock formations sprouting from the sea Halong Bay has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It means literally the bay of the descending dragons. Locals believe that god sent a family of dragons here to protect the Vietnamese from Chinese invaders. The best way to explore is to spend a few days sailing between the rock formations and swimming in the aquamarine waters.
If you have more time, we recommend exploring Vietnam's wild northern highlands, close to the Chinese border. Surrounded by hillsides of emerald green rice terraces, the small town of Sapa is a great place to relax. On market days you can meet the friendly ethnic minority groups who live nearby including Blue and Black Hmong, Red Dao and Giay people.