Living in bustling Hanoi, the team at Lily’s Travel Agency love to get out of the city and into nature when they get the chance. And with Northern Vietnam as their backyard, they are spoilt for choice.
So, if you are travelling to Hanoi you should take their advice and get off the beaten path with these beautiful locations in Northern Vietnam.
Halong Bay and Cat Ba
UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay is probably already on your to-visit list for Vietnam, and for good reason. It is truly spectacular. If you are looking to explore the area further, we recommend staying on Cat Ba Island and heading into the National Park. There is a fantastic hiking trail through the jungle and up to a panoramic viewpoint.
Learn more about Lily’s Halong Bay tours here.
Another Vietnam bucket list favourite, the mountains and terraced hills of Sapa have captured the imaginations of travellers for decades. But it is the people, the Black Hmong, the Red Dao and other hill-tribe minorities, that keep people coming back again and again. If you are looking for the full Sapa experience, put yourself in the hands of Mao whose generous spirit and infectious laugh will help you feel at home in her remote village.
Learn more about Lily’s Sapa tours here.
Ha Giang and Ban Gioc
Heading further north-east you’ll find the jagged mountains of Ha Giang and Cao Bang. Known as the foothills of the Himalayas, this region is best explored with your own set off wheels to tackle the epic winding mountain roads. A loop that includes the mighty falls of Ban Gioc, at the border with China, can take a week or two.
Ba Be National Park
Ba Be National Park is located between Cao Bang and Hanoi and can be reached in just a few hours by bus. A scattering of simple homestays surround the Southern end of a large lake dotted with picturesque little islands. We recommend hiring a kayak to enjoy the lake and taking a boat ride to explore the furthest corners where caves and hiking trails lie.
Learn more about Lily’s Ba Be tour here, which includes Ban Gioc waterfall.
If you are short on time in Vietnam but want to experience the diverse cultures that call this beautiful country home, then Mai Chau is a great choice. Just 3 hours from Hanoi and nestled in a vibrant valley, Mai Chau is home to the White and Black Thai people. Stay with them in their stilt houses, enjoy delicious home cooked meals and wander among the rice paddies on foot or by bicycle. Life is slow and quiet here, perfect for soaking in the scenery and connecting with the local people.
Learn more about Lily’s Mai Chau tour here.
Often called the Halong Bay of the land, Ninh Binh’s iconic limestone mountains have been the scene of plenty of adventure movies, including the recent rendition of Kong. If you pick a guesthouse with epic views then this is a great place to simply relax for a few days. There are also boat trips along streams edged by rice fields and mountains and some very picturesque temples hidden down dusty alleys.
Learn more about Lily’s Ninh Binh tour here.
We hope this list has given you some inspiration for getting back to nature and exploring more of this beautiful area of the country.
If you are interested in any of these places in Northern Vietnam, we can book everything from bus tickets to accommodation, to tours and activities. As always, we offer the best price and quality experiences to help you fall in love with Vietnam. Message us today or come visit us in person in Hanoi.