69. If Phong Nha is for caves, Tam Coc is for boat rides. These are not your regular boat rides. It lasts between 2 to 3 hours, where on a small boat you’ll get up close to the landscape of Ninh Binh. Take either the Trang An or Tam Coc ride.
70. Climb the Hang Mua to be besotted by the gorgeous views of Tam Coc
71. Ninh Binh has some really good temples worth visiting. Head out to Bai Dinh & Bich Dong Pagoda
72. Explore the ancient citadel of Hoa Lu set amidst stunning scenic hills and green paddy fields.
73. How about some bird watching in the rugged wild? Drive to Thung Nam passing through the quiet village
74. Get off the beaten track and head out to look for the grottoes in Lon Vang reserve.
75. If you want to try hiking, plan a trip to the Cuc Phuong National Park, where you can also visit the primates rescue centre.
76. Tam Coc is also a great place for cycling. So if you missed cycling earlier in Vietnam, you should try here!
Hanoi is the resilient city that has grown quietly to become one of the coolest cities in Vietnam. I noticed how the capital city is so much different from any big cities like Ho Chi Minh or Danang. The heritage and the culture of Vietnam coexist with the skyscrapers and well-maintained parks. While the old charm of the city draws you, you can’t help admiring how progressive Hanoi looks.
Things to do in Vietnam
Here are the things to do in Hanoi
77. Visit the oldest university of Vietnam, the temple of literature, and walk through the halls where once philosopher Confucious thought the students of Vietnam
78. Pay your tribute to Uncle Ho at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where his remains are laid to rest.
79. Witness the grandeur of the public buildings depicting French architecture including the Presenditial Palace
80. The imperial dynasty was here too. Check out the Thang Long citadel
81. Explore Hanoi’s old quarters on foot. It’s the best way to capture the chaotic and bustling part of Hanoi
82. Check out Don Xuang market for good souvenirs, clothes and artworks
83. Don’t forget to check out the rustic railway track that’s flanked closely by homes. There is also a cafe, so you can have coffee on tracks!
84. Go back in time to know why wars must never be fought at the Vietnam Military Museum
85. Walk on one of the oldest railway tracks built on the Long Bien Bridge across the red river close to the old town.
86. Hanoi is a great city for evening walks around the lakes – Hoan Kiem, West Lake & Truc Bac.
87. Ever heard of a puppet show in water? Book your tickets to the Water Puppet Show & enjoy the folklores of Vietnam
88. Go on a trip to the wonderful Bai Vi National Park, home to the sacred Tan Vien peak
89. Take the day trips to Halong Bay, especially to Cat Ba for a quick island getaway.
Apart from these exhaustive things to try & explore in Vietnam, below are the ones that you should try on your trip, wherever you are!
90. Bia Hoi – Try this unique craft beer of Vietnam. You’ll get in almost all the local eateries, and is very cheap. Bia Hoi is a culture, and not just beer in Vietnam
91. Pho – Whether you’ll learn how to pronounce the name of this food or not, make sure you try it in every town. No, Pho doesn’t taste the same in Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi! If you eat meat, even better, because you should try all the types.
92. Coffee – Based on the countries where I have tasted coffee, I have categorised types of coffee into two. Coffee elsewhere and Vietnam’s coffee. Yes, that flavor which melts in your mouth must only be savoured to know what I mean. So go grab the cuppa – both, steaming hot and with ice!
93. Visit the local markets, buy the Vietnamese hat, vibrant lanterns & explore the country renting a bike/ or as a pillion rider at least in one town!
Finally, things that I didn’t do, but you can try:
94. Sapa in northern Vietnam is a great place to trek amidst the rice terrace fields, spend the night in a homestay with the locals and enjoy the rewarding views – Beware of the tour groups & also the season (Winter was severe when I visited and hence I had to skip)
95. Buses are cheaper and a great way to travel, but I have heard that traveling in trains is a great experience, one of those unique things to do in Vietnam. I couldn’t go on a train somehow. But you can have a look at the schedule to see how you can do train travel in Vietnam.