Explore the bustling and hectic streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, with its small shops and charming cafés. You will notice that some of the alleyways are named for the guilds that established themselves in this area during the 13th century.
An early morning bicycling or walking tour of Hoan Kiem Lake, a tranquil and scenic spot where locals come to relax and socialize. The surrounding park is a popular spot to practice the ancient, meditative art of Tai Chi.
Visit the serene Temple of Literature that grounds also housed Vietnam’s first university, in operation there until the 19th century, and include Hanoi’s best-preserved buildings and immaculate gardens.
Visit the stunning Buddhist Tran Quoc Pagoda, perhaps the oldest pagoda in the country, purportedly founded 1,400 years ago by King Ly Nam De with the name “Khai Quoc” (Establishing the Nation).
One of the most notorious sites from the Vietnam War is the Hanoi Hilton. It was built by the French in the late 19th century to house Vietnamese political prisoners; those opposed to colonization, and called Maison Centrale. Its Vietnamese name derived from the street it is on, Hoa Lo, and is far less tongue-in-cheek sounding; it literally means stove but can be translated as “fiery furnace.”
Hanoi’s Museum of Ethnology offers a comprehensive overview of the country’s 54 ethnic minorities through its colorful, interactive displays. You will be able to see the similarities and differences in tradition, clothing, language, and other markers of cultural identity among these diverse groups of people.
Hanoi is known as the cultural center of the country. Vietnamese art has a touch of freshness and mysticism about it, blending in elements of both east and west. The appointment with a local art curator will be arranged for an overview of contemporary art and its development.
Eating on the street is a very typical activity for Hanoians and makes up an important part of the city’s unique culture. Street food is for everyone – rich, poor, old, young, tourist and local alike. A gastronomy expert will help you to get an overview of local ingredients and savor some of Hanoi’s specialties.
Enjoy the home hosted meal at a small home of a family whose three generations have lived together for almost 20 years. The atmosphere is made all the more better with a traditional music performance by the son’s wife, a mono-chord musician at Thang Long water puppetry theater.
Hanoi’s surrounding countryside is filled with captivating natural beauty and images of tranquil village life. Take this chance to explore the forgotten village of Cuu, once the North’s premier tailoring village during the French colonial period and appreciate the old charm of this village.
Visit Tho Ha Village, a picturesque place that has remained unaffected by modern development. It gives you an authentic portrait of a typical Vietnamese village.
Water puppetry is a unique folk art that cannot be found anywhere in the world but Vietnam. Visit Dao Thuc village that still owns its old charm. Get to a making puppet workshop and interact with a local artisan to learn how he and his family bring this traditional art out to the world. How do those wooden guys move? Let’s enjoy a real outdoor performance show on the village pond with live traditional orchestra music background accompanied.