Explore the magic of Hanoi through its markets, colonial architecture, traditional theater and temples. Mingle with locals and learn how to produce traditional Vietnamese handicrafts. Wake in the morning and take part in tai chi for a memorable local experience.

Trip Highlights

Cultural Hanoi

Explore the Temple of Literature

Tour Vietnam’s first National University, prominently displayed on the 100,000 Dong banknotes.

Discover the ancient art of water puppetry

Paint with a puppet maker at his family workshop and discover this ancient art.

Tai Chi at Hoan Kiem Lake

Join the locals to participate in this martial art and exercising regime



Hanoi Arrival

Noi Bai Airport to your chosen hotel in Hanoi (35km): 60mins

Upon arrival in Hanoi be met by the guide and be transferred via private car to the hotel for check-in.

Vietnam’s quaint capital is a city of wide tree-lined boulevards with tranquil lakes and colonial villas and a more relaxing pace than other Asian cities.

Depending on the arrival time, visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Visit the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), and visit the former president’s house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading back to the hotel.

Time permitting, or as an alternative to one of the above, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum.  The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women.  Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.

Tonight’s dinner will be held in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter in the home of a true Hanoian who learnt her culinary skills from her grandmother who used to cook for the French elite in the 1930’s.

Overnight in Hanoi.


Hanoi – Duong Lam –Hanoi

Hanoi to Duong Lam Village (60km): 1.5hrs

Today’s tour begins at 08:30. Set off from Hanoi after breakfast and travel west, passing through the scenic North Red River Delta on the 1.5-hour drive. Arrive Duong Lam ancient village - a great chance to explore the special architecture through its surviving laterite brick ancient houses built 3 or 4 centuries ago. Laterite and mud, the two materials those are abundant in the area, on house walls, gates, wells, temple walls, and so forth. Wander along Duong Lam’s narrow alleyways to explore rural life and Vietnam’s ancient architecture. Firstly, explore Mia Pagoda, built in the 15th century. Admire the 287 statues of all sizes can be seen here, among which are famous sculptures such as the statue of Buddha and the statues of the ‘Eight Vajra Deities’. Afterwards visit Mong Phu commune - the only hamlet whose original village entrance remains intact. Then continue through the narrow alleys to see the old laterite houses which make up this charming village. For lunch enjoy a local style meal in a rustic hundreds-year old house. Continue visiting the hundreds-year-old Catholic Church to learn about local’s belief and the changing of religion under different periods in the past. Before returning to Hanoi, make a stop at a local family and try hands on making rice straw puppet and ‘Che Lam’ (rice cake) – a rustic specialty of this home town. Transfer back to Hanoi.

This evening dine at a gorgeous restaurant housed in a resort villa. 

Overnight in Hanoi.



This morning, be picked up from the hotel with the local guide and be transferred by vehicle to a suburb of Hanoi for a day of immersion in Vietnamese culture, in an authentic place still undiscovered by tourists. Start with a short visit of a small typical local market. In this tiny and crowded street find all types of seafood products, fish, meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as many other products for sale. From here wander the very narrow alleyways on foot with the  guide – a great way to explore and discover the real daily life of a popular area for Hanoian local residents, off the beaten path. Enjoy a coffee break next to a beautiful small lake in a typical Vietnamese area. Continue wandering through these hidden laneways and pass by a beautiful pagoda, where monks still come to pray, at a historic temple well known by Vietnamese.

Arrive at a typical Hanoian home, for a nice lunch with a welcoming local family. The friendly hosts, a moto driver and his seamstress wife working at home, will be pleased to share stories of their daily life.

After lunch continue exploring on foot through narrow streets up to a beautiful lake and then discover what is perhaps Hanoi’s quirkiest local market – rarely visited and somewhat secretive, but guaranteed to be interesting.

The afternoon, enjoy a special water puppet performance. Take a short drive to Mr. Liem’s house, where guests will be warmly welcomed.  Here, guests will have the chance to explore his workshop. The shelves are lined with wooden puppet parts such as angel wings, buffalo tails and puppets of all shapes and sizes. He has built a smaller scale water puppet theater where guests can watch a 30-minute performance telling both ancient and modern stories of traditions and daily life. After the show, guests can roll up their sleeves and try to make the dragon puppet chase its tail and spit water. Finally, enjoy a 30-minute experience of puppet painting, using a range of different bright and shiny colors. This tour is a great opportunity to gain deep insight into a local craft and rural traditions while having an unforgettable unique, behind-the-scenes experience.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.



Today’s tour will begin at 05:30. It’s an early start but one that is well-worth it! Meet with the local guide at 05:30 to catch the first rays of the sun and to see Hanoi waking up. Head to Long Bien market, the biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale market in North Vietnam. Nowhere else in Hanoi exemplifies Vietnamese life better than Long Bien market. Witness buyers crowding around open-back trucks, money counters holding court over their stalls, motorbikes weaving down aisles and other mind-boggling scenes of daily life. This is far-and-away one of the most impressive markets in North Vietnam.

Then take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi. Pass by groups of Hanoians partaking in daily exercise such as gymnastics, martial arts and aerobics. Take a moment to look around and see signs of the city coming to life. Enjoy this silent slower pace that occurs before the start of Hanoi’s incessant traffic and honking horns. 

Then move to peaceful garden and join in a 45-minute Tai Chi class under the guidance of a local teacher, discover the slow movements of this popular martial art.

Afterward, pass Primary School and view the interesting scene of parents carrying their kids on motorbikes to start their school day before heading to a popular local restaurant for a typical Vietnamese breakfast of Pho, a traditional noodle soup bursting with flavour.

Last stop is at a local shop to sample Vietnamese coffee like the way locals do while overlooking the lake. Try a sweet iced coffee or opt for a slow-brewed hot java while enjoying peoplewatching in this scenic location.

Following the morning of cultural immersion, continue to the next activity or return to the hotel for a rest. (B)


Hanoi Departure

Your chosen hotel in Hanoi to Noi Bai Airport (35km): 60mins

Spend the day at leisure before transferring to the airport for the next destination.

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance

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