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Days 11-14: Explore Hanoi and Day Trip to Ha Long Bay/Mai Chau/Sa Pa

January 10, 2019

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is home to some of the best overnight trips you can take to Ha Long Bay, Mai Chau, or Sa Pa. During the day, the streets are filled with motorbikes buzzing by, with restaurants luring you in with their amazing smells. At night time, the streets come alive with market stalls lining the road ways of the Old Quarter, selling food and souvenirs to locals and tourists alike. Whether you're starting or finishing your trip in Hanoi, you will find plenty of fun and food here to remember for the rest of your trip .



If you are traveling into Hanoi from Phong Nha by an overnight bus you will get into town at around 6am. With that being said, we hope you were able to get a good night’s rest to take on your last couple days in Vietnam!



Activities in Hanoi:


Hanoi is home to some of the best overnight trips you can take in Vietnam, whether it be to Sa Pa, Ha Long Bay, or Mai Chau. Even though it is a big city, there are plenty of sites you can visit and explore if you decide to stay. Doing a food tour or seeing the night market in the Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, or touring one of the many museums is a great way to spend your time. We recommend taking at least one overnight trip to one of the places listed above as seeing the scenery (or experiencing the party) is incredible.


Explore the Old Quarter: If you ended up booking an accommodation in the Old Quarter be prepared to have a full day of exploration. Most of the popular land marks are located about a mile away from most hostels so they are easy to reach. Plenty of delicious authentic Vietnamese cuisines can be found along the street sides and you can finish off the day by visiting the popular Hanoi Weekend Night Market (Dong Xuan Market) that starts at 7pm. In any case, you can find something to see or do during your stay in the Old Quarter.


Ha Long Bay Overnight Trip



Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour



 Mai Chau Overnight Homestay Tour



Food in Hanoi


Northern Vietnam is knows for using fresh water fish in a lot of their dishes, so when visiting restaurants, we recommend trying the Cha Ca (Vietnamese fish cakes fried or grilled), Bun Cha (barbecue pork with rice), and the Nem Cua Be (crab spring rolls). You can find all of these foods either at the street side markets or almost any restaurant in the Old Quarter. If you want to find specific places, check out Authentic Food Quests page for all the best sports for traditional Vietnamese food in Hanoi.


Accommodations in Hanoi:


There are plenty of accommodations in Hanoi to choose from between all the hotels and hostels that are available, so location is the biggest factor when picking a place. If you plan on taking overnight trips to any of the locations above, we recommend staying at a lower cost accommodation which provides excursion services to these place so they will hold onto your bags while you're out. Furthermore, we recommend staying in the Old Quarter area (seen in the map below) as a majority of activities and sites are located in this vicinity.


Some hostels that we recommend that are in this location and provide these services is Vietnam Backpacker's Hostel - Downtown (a party hostel which has an onsite bar and guided pub crawls at night), Hanoi Centre Hostel (located in the city center and has amazing reviews), Little Charm Hanoi Hostel (exceptional reviews, located near city center, and has onsite restaurant), and Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel (great location and ratings, located near the Old Quarter and Dong Xuan Market). All of these hostels are priced under $10 per night so if you don't mind having a couple roommates, these are great places to check out. 


If you're interested in a homestay, Lala Homestay and Hanoi Sweet Family Homestay are two accommodations that provide all the necessities you need to have a comfortable, quieter stay. Located near the West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and Quan Su Temple, these two homestay's are worth the extra couple dollars if you're looking for that kind of experience with a great locations. Though they are a little bit farther from the Old Quarter City Center (Lala is 2km and Sweet Family is 0.7km), it is easy to walk or hop in a taxi to get to that area. For more accommodation options and booking deals, look at the map below.













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