After living in Vietnam’s capital city for 3 years, I thought I’d already explored all possible day trips from Hanoi. Clearly, I was wrong.
In this blog post, I’ve gathered opinions from ten locals about 14+ unmissable day trips from Hanoi. Whether you’re interested in nature, culture or the ocean, or just getting away from the hustles and bustles of Hanoi for a day, there’s definitely something from this list for you.
Trust me, I’ve been to some lame places before, but these amazing day trips from Hanoi recommended by the locals themselves will not disappoint! I’ve also divided them into 3 categories for your ease of skimming: Nature lovers, Beach people, and Culture enthusiasts. Let’s see what they are!
Day trips from Hanoi for CULTURE ENTHUSIASTS
1. Duong Lam Ancient Village
So many people have asked me if Duong Lam Ancient Village is worth a visit? I’d say depending on your interest, but it’s definitely a nice day trip from Hanoi if you’re keen on exploring the local culture.
The village is home to many old houses with traditional north Vietnam architecture. You can also visit one of them and pay for a home-cooked lunch with home-grown vegetables. They’re some of the most welcoming hosts I’ve met in Hanoi!
The best part of the village is definitely taking a walk around. It’s so quaint and peaceful. You’ll also be able to observe how locals make soy sauce in big jars here.
2. Bat Trang Ceramic Village
If you’re looking for a day trip from Hanoi that is both fun and informative, be sure to include a visit to the Bat Trang Ceramic Village.
I’d recommend taking a biking tour from Hanoi to Bat Trang, as this village is located just 15 km from Hanoi city center. Otherwise, hiring a car or minivan for private transportation from Hanoi is also a good option.
Once you arrive, you can take a leisurely walk around the old town and enjoy the traditional architecture of a northern Vietnamese village. You can also try your hand at making ceramic products using the traditional hand-turned wheels, which is much more fun, and then bring home what you’ve made as a souvenir.
Be sure to visit the incredible Bat Trang Museum of Ceramic Art to learn more about the history of this important craft. Of course, you can also go shopping for some of the best ceramic products in Vietnam here.
Whether you’re interested in history or simply want to enjoy some beautiful ceramics, a day trip to Bat Trang Ceramic Village is sure to please.
3. Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism
Vietnam is a country with a rich and diverse culture, made up of 54 different ethnic groups. The largest of these groups is the Vietnamese (~85% of the population). However, each of the other ethnic groups has its own language, traditions, and subculture.
If you’re interested in learning more about the other ethnic minorities in Vietnam, a day trip from Hanoi to the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism is a great option for families and lone travelers alike. Here you can sample traditional dishes from various ethnic groups, learn about their customs and cultures, and watch musical performances.
You can also join in with folk games and learn how these different ethnic groups construct their homes. It’s a great way to get a taste of the richness and diversity of Vietnamese culture.
Tips for visiting the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism
- An English-speaking tour guide will be an asset to your visit. The last time we were here they did not have any English-speaking tour guide available though. Therefore, it might be worth hiring someone by yourself before visiting.
- Contact the village beforehand (024 62929777) to ask about their calendar of events. There are many more things to do if your visit falls on the same day as one of their events.
- If you’re travelling as a group from 3 people, I’d recommend booking a tour package in the village, which includes many activities and lunch, for the best experience here.
4. Perfume Pagoda
Perfume Pagoda is an impressive Buddhist complex comprising of temples and shrines built into Huong Tich mountains. A 2-hour drive from Hanoi, Perfume Pagoda is one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims in Vietnam.
The highlight of visiting Perfume Pagoda is the scenic river boat trip along Yen River with a rural landscape of paddy fields and limestone mountains on both sides. During your visit, you’ll also get to see some Buddhist shrines and explore a religious cave.
I’d recommend booking a Perfume Pagoda tour with an English-speaking tour guide as you’ll learn a lot more about the local culture and religion. A typical one-day tour will include transportation from Hanoi with hotel pickup, lunch, and all entrance tickets.
If you’re looking for a memorable day trip from Hanoi, be sure to add the Perfume Pagoda to your list!
Tips for visiting Perfume Pagoda
- If you’re visiting during the summer, be sure to bring wide brim hats and umbrellas. The boat trip can become uncomfortable when the weather is hot and humid.
- Some tours include a cable car ride and others do not. I’d recommend booking the cable car ones, especially when traveling with children or the elderly, as there is already lots of walking involved when visiting the Perfume Pagoda.
- Avoid visiting Perfume Pagoda around the Tet Holiday as there will be HUGE crowds of pilgrims here.
5. Yen Tu Mountain
Yen Tu Mountain makes a great day trip from Hanoi, as this place combines both natural beauty and cultural significance.
A center of Buddhism in Vietnam, Yen Tu is famous for being the birthplace of the Truc Lam Zen Sect founded by Emperor Tran Nhan Tong. The Emperor gave up his throne in the 13th century to pursue a secluded life here, then established a monastery to continue the teachings of the Buddha.
Visitors to Yen Tu Mountain nowadays can explore beautiful Buddhist temples and shrines with stunning mountain views. There are also many scenic trekking trails available in Yen Tu, as well as a cable car system for those who want to enjoy a more leisurely visit.
For a more extended stay, I’d suggest booking a room at the luxurious MGallery Legacy Yen Tu, which offers 5-star accommodations amidst the tranquility of this place. The hotel also provides complimentary meditation sessions and guided walks for guests to enjoy a peaceful escape from the hustles and bustles of city life.
Day trips from Hanoi for NATURE LOVERS
6. Trang An
Nicknamed the “Ha Long Bay on dry land,” the Trang An Landscape Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with towering limestone cliffs, breathtaking caves, and historic temples. Needless to say, it’s an essential item on any Southeast Asia travel itinerary
One of the best things to do in Trang An is to admire all the historic and natural wonders on a boat ride on the Sao Khe River. Costing around $10 USD, there are a few different routes you can choose from, with most of the boat rides lasting over two hours.
But how do you get to Trang An? Located around 100 km south of Hanoi, an easy way to get to Trang An is to take the train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. Tickets can cost up to $12 to $15 USD, with the train ride taking around 2.5 hours.
However, the journey doesn’t end there. As Ninh Binh is located around 7 km east of Trang An, you can either hire a taxi or rent a scooter to drive the rest of the way to Trang An. Alternatively, you can look into inclusive Trang An tours from Hanoi that will cover the transportation entirely.
Regardless, it’ll take around 3 hours total to get to Trang An from Hanoi, so make sure to leave early!
7. Mua Cave – Ninh Binh
Situated at the foot of Mua Mountain, Mua Cave Complex has become one of the most Instagramable places in Ninh Binh in recent years.
After climbing nearly 500 steps to reach the top of Mua Mountain, you will be wowed by stunning views of the surrounding rice paddy fields, valleys, and mountains. There are also an impressive dragon statue and a stone tower here for you to take dreamy photos with.
If you visit Mua Cave during the summer months (May-July), you can also take photos at the beautiful lotus pond in the complex as well.
Tips for visiting Mua Cave in Ninh Binh
- It’s best to come here in the early morning or late afternoon as the weather can be very hot during the middle of the day.
- The entrance fee is VND 100,000 per person. If you want to spend the night, book a room at Mua Caves Ecolodge right inside the complex and be entitled to free entrance.
- You can also hire some ethnic costumes here for photo shooting purposes 😉
8. Tuyet Tinh Coc aka Am Tien Cave – Ninh Binh
Located around 90 km from Hanoi, Tuyet Tinh Coc aka Am Tien Cave is truly a hidden gem in Ninh Binh. Furthermore, it is only 500 meters from Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, so a day trip from Hanoi can conveniently combine these 2 destinations.
Things to see at Tuyet Tinh Coc aka Am Tien Cave
- The beautiful central large pond surrounded by karst mountains: Its water is so clear so you can easily see all the fish swimming inside
- Am Tien Cave: You can climb 200 steps amid breathtaking scenery to reach this cave and explore the temple inside
9. Tam Coc
Tam Coc is a fantastic day trip from Hanoi, especially for those who can’t make it to Ha Long Bay. Much like Ha Long Bay, Tam Coc offers limestone karsts rising from the waters of the Ngo Dong River.
Similar to Trang An, the best thing to do in Tam Coc is a boat tour through the gorgeous scenery. From the boat, you can take in the cliffs, caves, and rice paddies from the unique vantage point of the river.
My biggest tip is to bring your sunscreen and hat for the boat tour. There won’t be any shade, and the sun can get very strong. There are also many Tam Coc tours from Hanoi which include round-trip transportation from your Hanoi hotel, lunch and entrance tickets as well.
10. Cuc Phuong National Park
This is one of my favorite day trips from Hanoi ever – I’ve been here twice and still want to come back!
Cuc Phuong National Park is located 120 km from the capital, making it a convenient day trip from Hanoi. The oldest national park in Vietnam, Cuc Phuong is also home to some of Asia’s rarest animals and plant species.
Things to do at Cuc Phuong National Park
There are many things to do in the park for everyone. A visit to Cuc Phuong National Park also offers plenty of educational activities for kids of all ages!
- Butterfly watching in April and May
- Visiting Muong minority villages near the park and learning about their culture
- Trekking through the peaceful forest. You can book a guided tour or take a map from the information center and just follow the trails
- Bird watching. There are 336 documented bird species here.
- Join a wildlife night spotting tour to see some of the park’s exclusive mammal species.
- Cycling around the park (Bike rentals are available).
- Visiting the first immersive Carnivore and Pangolin Education Centre in Vietnam
- Visiting the Endangered Primate Rescue Center and the Turtle Conservation Center – I’d highly recommend booking a tour guide because there’s a lot of interesting information about the primates and turtles here.
- Visiting the Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh nearby – Great trip for the kids!
11. Ba Vi
Ba Vi is the ideal day trip destination from Hanoi if you’re looking to escape the city heat. The weather here is always cooler, making it a popular day-out spot for Hanoi’s locals.
Ba Vi used to be a holiday destination for French colonists in Vietnam. Thus, you can still see some remnants of French buildings here nowadays, such as an abandoned church, an orphanage, a secret prison, and a French mansion.
Trekking through Ba Vi National Park, you’ll also be able to immerse yourself in nature and see some lovely streams flowing from the mountains. See options for private trekking tours from Hanoi to Ba Vi here.
If you want to spend the night here, Melia Ba Vi Mountain Retreat is the perfect place. It’s an eco-friendly resort in Ba Vi National Park and offers stunning mountain and forest views.
12. Mai Chau
A day trip from Hanoi to Mai Chau is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Just a short drive away, Mai Chau is a peaceful oasis surrounded by breathtaking mountains, lush green rice paddies, and tranquil ethnic villages.
Things to do in Mai Chau
- Rent a bicycle and explore the traditional Thai villages Ban Lac and Ban Pom Coong, where you can shop for beautiful handmade handicrafts from the local ethnic minorities.
- For a little adventure, join a scenic Mai Chau Valley trekking tour through Thai ethnic minority villages
- Enjoy the mesmerizing view of mountains and valleys at Thung Khe
- Have lunch at one of the local homestays in Mai Chau and savor the best local cuisine
Extend your stay in Mai Chau
Mai Chau makes a great day trip from Hanoi, but you can consider staying at a homestay overnight to really immerse yourself in the local culture.
For a more comfortable stay, I’d highly recommend booking a room at one of these beautiful resorts in Mai Chau, all of which come with a spectacular mountain-view swimming pool.
13. Dai Lai Lake
A day trip from Hanoi to Dai Lai Lake is more suitable for families than couples or solo travelers.
Things to do at Dai Lai Lake
- Camping by the lake
- Taking part in water activities such as kayaking, rowing, etc.
- Swimming in the lake
- Playing golf
- Visiting Wonder Park Flamingo – a children’s playground in the wood
- Visiting Art in the Forest – a museum of contemporary art situated in the wood
Things to know before going on a day trip from Hanoi to Dai Lai Lake
- The best time to visit Dai Lai Lake is from April to August as the weather here is cooler than Hanoi’s
- Most activities here are arranged by Flamingo Dai Lai Resort, so I’d recommend visiting this place first. The entrance ticket is VND 280,000 per person (free for children under 5) if you don’t want to spend the night.
Day trips from Hanoi for BEACH PEOPLE
14. Ha Long Bay
Recommended as one of the must-do activities in all Vietnam guidebooks, a trip to Vietnam is not complete without a visit to Ha Long Bay!
Although there is a three-hour bus from the city to the shore, doing a tour is the best and most popular way to visit Ha Long Bay. The most popular tours vary from 1 day to 4 days/3 nights. The longer you are out there, the longer you get to explore. However, you can get a lot done on the Ha Long Bay one-day tours!
There are plenty of day trips to choose from, depending on whether you would like to experience it as a group or privately. If you are up for a bit (okay, a LOT) of a party, check out the tours to Castaway Island. Advertised as “not for the faint-hearted”, I had the time of my life!
A typical Ha Long Bay one-day tour includes transportation to and from your accommodation in Hanoi, snorkel stops, a visit to a floating village, a traditional Vietnamese lunch, a quick swim stop at Titop beach, and the chance to kayak through Luon Cave and the stunning turquoise waters.
Tips for visiting Ha Long Bay
I would really recommend deciding what you want to do early on and booking in advance, especially if you are travelling in peak season as the tours tend to sell out fast. Also, if there’s a big group of you wanting to go, see if you can negotiate a group discount!
Summary: Top Day Trips from Hanoi as suggested by locals
What do you think of these day trips from Hanoi? Which trip would you most like to take? Don’t hesitate to let me know by leaving a comment below!
If you can please also share this article with anyone whom you think might be interested. I hope this list will inspire them to hit the road and discover all the wonderful destinations around Vietnam’s capital 🙂
Pin this for future reference:
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that will NOT incur any cost for you.