A private tour of Hanoi the vibrant, quirky capital of Vietnam, which was once shut away from the outside world and lost to the tourism trade for many years slowly emerges from the ravages of war and is on catch-up.
A Private Tour Of The Vibrant Quirky Capital Of Hanoi Vietnam is the way to see this city.
These proud people welcome travellers to their vibrant capital with open arms and are proud of their French Colonial past and Chinese occupation.
A private tour around this city will peel away the layers of their once unsettled history as it emerges in all its glory. Whether flying around the town on one of the many motorbikes that team down every street or taking a leisurely stroll around Old Hanoi a private tour can offer you….
There are so many places to visit while in Vietnam, and we have chosen the best for you to see...
Nha Trang the leading party town of Vietnam! Or if you fancy taking life a bit more slowly, please visit Hoi An a beautiful ancient and historical heritage town is a definite must visit with a private tour while in Vietnam. Read More...
Sensational Private Tours of Hanoi's Amazing Architecture and History
The fascinating command centre bunker of the Imperial Citadel still in its original layout
Make a wish and ask for your blessing at the Perfume Pagoda
Return to a golden age of entertainment at the sumptuous Opera House
Take a pilgrimage to the final resting place of the last President and pay your respects
Become a kid again by going on a tour to a performance of the world-famous Water Puppet Theatre
Top 10 Things to See in Hanoi
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Apart from the Princess Pagoda and Flag Tower it was quite disappointing that most of the original historical buildings have long been destroyed however the area still has its feet firmly in its rich past and we could see excavations still ongoing. The one true treasure for me is the concrete bunker and tunnel used as the headquarters and command centre of Vietnams Peoples Army, it was just like going back in time.
The Perfume Pagoda
Immediately when entering this network of Buddhist Temples I could feel the calming and spiritual energy it holds. Built into the limestone cliffs you could hear the sound of tinkling streams and the smell of its tropical plants. Pilgrims trek to The Perfume Pagoda to get a blessing from the many stalactites and stalagmites in the cave believing each one can offer the visitor their wishes. Im still waiting for mine
Hanoi Opera House
Although we never got to see any operas or ballets shown here, it was still well worth a guided tour just to see the spectacular beauty of this neo-classical French building. Its many shuttered windows, pillars and balconies were simply stunning, but it is the inside that truly took our breath away. Built in 1911 it is still as glorious today as it was then and gives a brief nostalgic view of the opulence of that era
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
It is hard to comprehend how this cold block of marble became the final resting place of the great leader Ho Chi Minh
who actually wanted to be cremated. Now lying in state. However, we found the never ending mass pilgrimage to this sacred place quite poignant. For me, I found the spectacular yellow Presidential Palace and stilt house more fascinating in its show of memorabilia and haunting historica
Water Puppet Theatre
Not just for the children of the group we all enjoyed this unique North Vietnamese Water Puppet Show that can trace its roots back to the 11th century. It was interesting to learn of its origins in the flooded paddy fields where villagers made their own entertainment. Stories take the audience back to an ancient village life with their dances, mythical creatures and harvests accompanied by traditional musicians.
Hanoi Old Quarter
We took a private tour of Hanoi Old Quarter near to the lake and home to Hanoi’s commercial district. If you have seen on TV the bustling streets of thousands of motorbikes teaming in every direction then this is probably that area. The long narrow old fashioned shop fronts still sell cotton and herbs amongst more modern products for todays life. We enjoyed browsing the art galleries and boutique shops here too.
Temple of Literature
Originally only the elite and Royal members were accepted as students but we chanced our arm and paid a visit on this private tour. Originally a University this stunning building is an excellent example of Vietnamese traditional style architecture and has seen many graduates, especially, Doctors, pass through its halls. It has ancient areas such as the Lake of Literature as well as Well of Heavenly Clarity.
Ba Vi National Park
For a relaxing break we took a private tour to the National Park and its resort where we were able to partake of the hot springs and mud baths. In the French Colonial era it was built as a hill station offering great hiking and walking opportunities and is a continuous source of plants for medicinal purposes. We made the somewhat tiring trek to the temple at the top but it was worth it for the amazing panoramic view.
Dong Xuan Market
No break is complete without a spot of shopping so we ventured out to Hanoi’s largest indoor market to feast our eyes on the most amazing variety of seafood, fresh flowers and even pets. Interesting as it was we then headed upstairs to the packed stalls selling handbags, clothing and handicrafts. Several purchases later we stopped for some freshly cooked bun cha before moving on to smaller shops surrounding the market
Hoan Siem Lake
Our last day we decided to take a peaceful guided tour out to Hoan Siem Lake. On Jade Island sits probably the most famous place of Hanoi city the Pagoda and its enormous towers richly decorated in Chinese scripture. We took the captivating crimson painted bridge built in the classic Vietnamese style to the island pagoda where we saw many deities along with other ancient artifact and a huge 250kg preserved turtle .
Travel Tips for Hanoi
Best Time To Visit
Weather can be quite unpredictable here even in their seasons, but as a rule, Hanoi has two seasons with December being the start of the chilly winter and July and August being the humid summer. However, this is also the rainy season too. Check before you go for festivals and national holidays of which there are many and can affect opening times and service as a lot of people will leave the city for national holidays. Tour guides are great prices and fab!
Although they use their own currency the Dong, the US$ is more popular, and most places would prefer payment by dollar. The average minimum cost for hotel per night is 6 or 7 dollars rising accordingly. Depending on if you want to eat local food or western food on average a full western breakfast would be 40,000 Dong while a steaming bowl of traditional noodle soup would be 10 or 20,000 Dong so you can compare. Pre-Book tours as works out cheaper.
Know Before Visiting
When visiting some sites you must dress with respect meaning no shorts and sleeveless shirts and you may be required to leave cameras and bags at the door. Don’t be alarmed your passport will probably be kept at reception until you check out again. Although many warm against it try the street food but always make sure it is freshly prepared in front of you. Either buy some earplugs or accept the never ending honking of car horns thats normal life here.
North Vietnam and in particular Hanoi has just 2 main seasons, a summer and winter season. Winter is November to April and is mainly dry and cool averaging 20º with January to March being the coldest. From May to October it is high summer when it can be very hot and humid but also it is rainy season with the chance of heavy downpours and storms.