Top Five Destinations In Northern Vietnam

Ok, so you’ve got your Visa On Arrival for Vietnam and you’re ready to explore! But where to go? Here is a list of the MUST SEE places in the North of Vietnam.

1. Halong Bay:

The whole point of your Vietnam Visa on arrival is to see the best that Vietnam has to offer and Halong Bay is definitely one of the top on the list. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site full of beauty and wonder. High lime stone cliffs soar from the turquoise waters and there’s hundreds of caves to be explored, beaches to lay on and treks to be done- especially at the fabulous Cat Ba island. Listen to the sounds of the water as you chug through the bays with the sun on your back. Take a dip in the water and splash around amongst the soaring cliffs which give this place its beauty and charm. The further out you go, the cleaner the water, the less tourists and the more tranquil this place is. As it is one of the number one destinations in Vietnam (for a reason) it can get crowded and is very touristy. Therefore, paying extra money to go out as far as possible and staying over as many nights as you can so you can “get away” from the crowds is highly recommend. You definitely get what you pay for when booking a tour to Halong Bay. But don’t worry, no matter what your budget or how long you stay, Halong Bay is beautiful no matter what.

2. Sapa:

Of course, no trip to Vietnam is complete without a trip to Sapa. Sapa is often called the “Gateway to the North” and is surrounded by untouched scenery, rolling hills and fresh, green, lush rice paddies for miles around. The landscape stretches out endlessly before you, with soaring mountain peaks above you and rolling valleys down below you, there really is nothing else like it. To escape the crowds, book a remote trekking tour up into the mountains and book a home stay with the local minority people. For the less adventurous, there are many local walks which follow easy paths down to the waterfalls and valleys below. Sapa is a popular tourist destination so you will probably be greeted by the local people, trying to sell you trinkets, keep sakes and memories of this beautiful place.

3. Mai Chau:

Now you have your Vietnam Visa to hand, Mai Chau is definitely worth a visit. After nearly three years in Vietnam, this is definitely still my favourite place. Similar to Sapa, it has rice fields and mountains, fresh air and blue skies. But whereas Sapa is all about climbing the mountain and looking down, Mai Chau is about being right in the midst of the rice paddies. Endless green stretches out ahead of you as you awake from your pristine homestay in the middle of utter tranquillity. Mai Chau is a lot less touristy than Sapa. You are likely to be the only group staying at your home stay and the locals are extremely accommodating. Rent a bicycle and drive around the long, flat roads that wind between the rice paddies, blue skies lining the background.

4. Ninh Binh:

A real gem of the North and another must see spot, Ninh Binh is set in a valley of green wonderland. The main attraction in Ninh Binh is taking a boat along the river, between towering lime stone cliff faces, listening to the sounds of the birds and the splash of a paddle. Kayak along the river yourself or let the locals guide you, paddling you along with their feet, on this idyllic journey. Visit the caves in your kayak and witness their calm and coolness, their vast expanse and if you get time, visit one of the local pagodas. These pagodas are full or rich history and culture. 

5. Hanoi

Of course, no trip to Vietnam is complete without a trip to the cultural capital of the country- Hanoi. There’s so much to explore here from the Pagodas dotted around the city, to taking a walk around Hoan Kiem (Sword Lake) in the evening, where the locals flock for a romantic evening. Enjoy wondering the endless streets and alleyways of the old quarter, buying handmade gifts and trinkets from clothes to souvenirs. Meet students around the lake and help them practise their English as you learn about Hanoi life from a local. Drink egg coffee or Vietnamese coffee in a tiny back street café, while nibbling on sunflower seeds and watching the world go by. Visit the Ethnology museum, which explains about all of the 54 minority groups living in this beautiful country. Feeling adventurous? Try the local water park for fast flumes and slipping and sliding- local style. Or relax along the lazy river, drinking an ice cold beer or two and watch the sun set over West Lake. You can also ride a bicycle around the lake, which is about 17km, and stop by for street food at Truc Bach lake. This is a great way to try some authentic Vietnamese food and interact with the friendly local people.

If you’re ready to start your adventure in Vietnam and don’t yet have your Vietnam Visa on arrival cheap – don’t stress! We can sort it for you quickly and easily, no hassle, no fuss, just enjoy your trip!

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