Halong Bay

Hanoi and Halong Bay

Travel to the northeast of Vietnam and experience two of Vietnam’s treasures, Hanoi the capital and Halong Bay, a sublime seascape of limestone pinnacles which protrude out of the water.

The farther north you travel, the more authentic the feel, with thousands of bicycles, women wearing the traditional ao dai and delicious street food for which the area is famous.

In Hanoi, classic colonial buildings blend with Russian and Chinese architecture, especially evident in the old quarter where French influence is prominent amid tree-lined streets and lakes. Vietnams capital city combines beautifully with the striking landscapes of Halong Bay and the rural north.

Halong Bay
Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay

Just a three-hour drive or a shorter scenic seaplane flight from Hanoi lies Halong Bay, where thousands of limestone islands rise from the water. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, it stands as one of Vietnam’s most captivating natural wonders. Given the region’s popularity, we opt to collaborate with a select group of boats that have access to other bays, presenting the same breathtaking scenery minus the crowds, allowing the true magic of this area to shine.

Known as “Halong Bay on land,” Ninh Binh is another geological beauty. Due to its popularity, careful planning is essential to navigate the crowds and fully appreciate its beauty.

Lady Florist, Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi, Vietnam

Mai Chau and The North

West of Hanoi lies the town of Mai Chau, a tranquil rural area with lush paddy fields and rolling mountains. It provides an immersive experience into authentic Vietnamese culture, offering activities such as walking, kayaking, and cycling. Trails and rivers wind through traditional villages where daily life remains simple and largely unchanged, and visitors have the option to experience a traditional homestay. Instead of heading south to the beach, this region serves well as a relaxing end to a holiday in Vietnam.


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Red Bridge, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tai Chi at Hoan Kiem Lake

Take a morning stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, while locals gather to socialise and do Tai Chi.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Fruit seller, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi by Bike

Cycle or take a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of Hanoi’s old quarter.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay Cruise

Cruise through the emerald waters and limestone karsts peaks of Halong Bay.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Halong Bay

Halong Bay by Air

Reach Halong bay by seaplane, saving hours of road travel and incorporating a scenic flight over this World Heritage Site.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Garden and Pool, Sofitel Metropole Hotel (Hanoi), Hanoi, Vietnam
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

The Sofitel Metropole, a French colonial building, has stood proudly in the heart of Hanoi since 1901.

With 364 rooms and suites spread over two wings, the hotel houses three stylish restaurants offering a French-style brasserie to Vietnamese specialities and cocktail bars with rustic food alongside huge collections of whiskies and traditional teas. Sit by the courtyard pool and enjoy a light lunch, taking a welcome rest from exploring Vietnam’s vibrant capital city.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz.

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Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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