Part 1: Sightseeings in Hanoi
Q1: IF I HAVE ONLY 2 WEEKS, LANDING IN HANOI, WHAT IS A MUST DO?
A1: Visit sapa & halong from hanoi.
Take a flight to Hue and visit Hue and Hoi an. Maybe by hayvan pass.
Next flight to HCMC where you can have some Party or/ and visit cu chi tunnels + museum.
Q2: SHOULD I DO A 1 DAY TOUR FROM HANOI TO HA LONG BAY?
A2: You can buy various 1-day tour to Halong bay from Ha Noi, but in my opinion it is very limited and it does not make sense to stay there only 1 day in this large place. 3-4 days are optimal.
Q3: WHEN TO GO TO HA NOI?
A3: The best time to visit Hanoi is during spring (March and April) and autumn (October – December), when temperatures are relatively cool and ideal for exploring the city. Sightseeing can be exhausting in July and August when temperatures are above 30°C and there is often a large amount of rain.
From November until March, the city is often fairly cold and shrouded in mist..
Q4: ANY SUGGESTION ABOUT HOAN KIEM LAKE IN HA NOI?
A4: Although fairly small compared to West Lake, you can walk around it in around 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself returning to this peaceful haven over and over again. It’s easy to see why the locals love it here. They can be found exercising, relaxing and socialising here, especially at evenings or weekends. Why not join in with Tai Chi at around 6am to get your day off to a relaxing start?
Turtle Tower can be seen in the middle of the lake and is at its best when lit up at night. In the day you can wander across the striking red bridge to Den Ngoc Son temple (7am–5pm; VND15,000)..
Q5: HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM?
A5: (7am–11am Tuesday–Thursday and weekends; free)
You can learn more about Vietnamese history at the final resting place of the country’s most famous son. The approach to the mausoleum is incredibly atmospheric with its looming pillars and on-duty soldiers. Due to the limited opening hours, there can be long queues. It’s two kilometres from the Old Quarter so best to jump on a cyclo or hail a taxi, especially when the temperature rises.
After leaving the Mausoleum you’ll walk through Ho Chi Minh’s vestige where “Uncle Ho” lived for the last 15 years of his life and see his well-maintained houses and gardens..
Q6: WHAT ABOUT HO CHI MINH MUSEUM?
A6: (8am–11.30am and 2pm–4.30pm except Monday and Friday; VND10,000)
Located within the Ho Chi Minh complex, this museum chronicles the national hero’s life and includes artefacts and gifts from his travels around the world. It’s useful to combine this with a trip to the Mausoleum to get a fuller picture of his achievements..
Q7: WHAT ABOUT ETHNOGRAPHY MUSEUM?
A7: (8.30am–5.30pm except Monday; VND40,000)
This museum is home to a wide range of cultural displays including instruments, clothes and replicas of traditional houses. Less popular with tourists than some of the city’s other museums as its seven kilometres from the centre. You can catch the 14 bus from the lake to Hoang Quoc Viet for around VND4,000..
Q8: I HEARD TEMPLE OF LITERATURE IS A MUST PLACE IN HA NOI?
A8: (7.30am–5.30pm summer and 8pm5pm winter; VND30,000)
Almost 1,000 years old, this serene temple complex is a haven from the hustle and bustle of the outside city. You’ll want to return day after day to relax in the shady courtyards and gardens that make up the temple and stroll around the fish-filled pools.
The temple was Vietnam’s first university and it’s an opportunity to learn more about how religion and education are linked within the country..
Q9: WHAT ARE THE INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT OLD QUARTER IN HANOI?
A9: The main commercial center is Old Quarter with the famous Hoan KiemLake
In the Old Quarter there are plenty of shops with different goods from food to clothing. Hanoi is also a cultural center of Vietnam
Old Quarter has a wide range of accommodation for the travelers
There are a lot different categories of tourist accommodation. Most of them are very decent and a very good starting point for future visits to Hanoi, the best place for eating. Prices are low and start from 150,000 Dong. You can also book luxury and expensive hotels. Look at the following menu and book accommodation now.
A renowned place for nightlife and sitting with beer and food is Bia Hoi corner in the Old quarter. Hundreds of plastic chairs, beer for 5000 Dongs, and the local specialties in the local atmosphere are unforgettable. Hanoi is good for walking, there are no hills, but you have to watch out for motorcycles.
Q10: WHAT HISTORICAL MONUENTS AND SIGHTS IN HA NOI SHOULD YOU VISIT?
A10: In the western part of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi you will find the most interesting monuments, that you can see here. Hanoi Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, and Tran Quoc pagoda, Quan Su Pagoda (a short walk from here is the main train station), Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic rural, Lenin park… All places that are not far away from each other, it is worth a visit and you can explore them on foot..
Q11: WHAT ARE THE BEST PLACES TO SHOP IN HA NOI?
A11: Weekend night market:
Hang Dao street to Dong Xuan Market in the Old Quarter you can buy almost everything here Friday – Sunday from 19.00 pm
Vincom MegaMall Royal City:
72A Nguyen Trai street (about 7 km south-west of Hoan Kiem Lake) largest underground shopping center in Southeast Asia hundreds of shops and also modern apartments branded electronics, clothing, furniture and other goods water park, ice rink, cinema, 170 restaurants
Ba Trieu Street:
this long street is full of shops, bistros and restaurants also luxury and expensive things Vincom Center Ba Trieu – shopping center
Dong Xuan market:
the northern part of the Old Quarter, the biggest market in Hanoi buy mainly clothes, accessories, fabrics
Trang Tien Plaza:
southern part of Hoan Kiem Lake mainly focused on designer and luxury foreign goods
open from 11.00 am to 20.00 pm
Hang Da Shopping Center:
Hang Da street clothing, shoes, fashion accessories, bags … open from 10.00 am to 18.00 pm
Quang An Flower market:
one of the most visited flower markets in Hanoi focused only on the sale of various flowers the best time for a visit is in the early morning (3.00-6.00 am).
Q12: WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT BAT TRANG?
A12: Bat Trang – the well known village for the production and sale of ceramics.
Do you want to buy any of Hanoi’s famous hand-made objects or porcelain? You can try to go to the famous ancient Bat Trang village, which is very well known for the production and sale of unique porcelain and ceramics. Production has been going on for centuries and it is dated to the distant history of Hanoi. The history of this village dates back 1000 years when it was a small village with a few disciples and artisans of ceramic art. Gradually, however, it has grown to the center of production and export of ceramics in northern Vietnam.
Q13: WHAT IS THE WEATHER IN HA NOI?
A13: The weather in Hanoi can be divided into two periods. Hanoi has a hot summer with rainfall and dry winter:
• Rainy season (from January to September)
• Dry season (from October to April)
SPRING: it is humid, from February to April, the best time to visit, blooming trees and flowers, temperature 15-25 °C
SUMMER: it is hot, from May to August, a lot of precipitation, thunderstorms during the day but also in the evening, average temperature 32 °C
FALL / AUTUMN: considered the best period from September to late November, warm sun and cool breeze, the temperature 25 °C
WINTER: from December to late February, the average temperature is 17 °C, but in themountainous areas may fall below 10 °C.
Q14: WHAT ARE PLACES OF INTEREST IN HANOI?
A14: Ngoc Son Temple (on the small island of Hoan Kiem Lake, Huc bridge)
Hanoi Old Quarter
Hoan Kiem Lake and nearby places
Water Puppet Theatre at Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Returned Sword)
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Ho Chi Minh Museum
Ba Dinh Square
One Pilar Pagoda (one of the oldest pagoda in Hanoi)
Temple of literature Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Tran Quoc Pagoda + West Lake (Ho Tay)
Ly Thai To park
Long Bien Bridge Military history museum + B52 Victory Museum
Vietnamese Air Force Museum
Huu Tiep Lake and the Downed B-52
Quan Su Pagoda Vietnamese women’s museum
Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi Police Museum
Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic rural
Hoa Lo Prison
Thanh Chuong Palace
Vincom Mega Mall Royal city
Lotte Center (Sky Bar, malls, viewpoint…)
Keangnam Landmark Tower 72 (height: 336m)
Hang Dao Night Market
Quang An Flower market trip to the buddh.complex – Thien Tru (Perfume Pagoda)
Van Phuc village (silk production), Bat Trang village (unique porcelain and ceramics)
Cự Đà Ancient Village
Vietnam Central Circus.
Q15: WHAT ABOUT ONE PILLAR PAGODA
A15: (8.30am–11.30am and 1pm–4.30pm daily; VND25,000)
Originally built in honour of the goddess of mercy, this 11th century pagoda was nearly destroyed in 1954. This pagoda can get busy as its popular with tourists so to escape the crowds make sure you don’t miss the hidden entrance to the left of the stairs – this will take you to another, far more peaceful, pagoda.
Q16: ANY INFORMATION ABOUT TAY HO TEMPLE?
A16: (6am–7pm daily; free)
One of Hanoi’s most popular temples for tourists and still the most important place of worship in the city, this temple is dedicated to the Mother Goddesses. The temple can get crowded with both tourists and locals so may not be the most peaceful religious site that you visit in Hanoi..
Q17: ANY INFORMATION ABOUT TRAN QUOC PAGODA?
A17: (8am–5pm; free)
This famous 6th century pagoda is the oldest in Hanoi and has survived several name changes and even moved locations. Now it’s found a home on West Lake and its serene and tranquil atmosphere can make you forget you’re in the centre of this hectic city.
If you’re feeling unlucky you can buy a turtle from one of the women outside who claim releasing one onto the lake will bring good luck (although, not so fortunate for the turtle as it is hurled into the water from quite a height)..
Q18: ANY INFORMATION ABOUT FRENCH QUARTER?
A18: The tree-lined avenues in this area have a distinctly European feel, ignore the motorbikes and cyclos flying past and you could easily be in Paris. Many of the buildings here hint at Vietnam’s colonial past with the Opera House the most impressive.
The area is also home to several interesting museums including:
Museum of Vietnamese Revolution, which has hugely patriotic displays of the build-up to the wars with France and the US (8.30am–5.30pm; VND40,000)
Vietnamese Women’s Museum, where you can learn more about women’s role in society (8am–5pm except Monday; VND30,000)
Hoa Lo Prison, which has exhibitions detailing its history as a prison for Vietnamese political prisoners as well as US POWs (8am–11.30am and 1.30pm–5pm except Monday; VND30,000).
Q19: ANY INFORMATION ABOUT ETHNOGRAPHY MUSEUM?
A19: Ethnography Museum
(8.30am–5.30pm except Monday; VND40,000)
This museum is home to a wide range of cultural displays including instruments, clothes and replicas of traditional houses. Less popular with tourists than some of the city’s other museums as its seven kilometres from the centre. You can catch the 14 bus from the lake to Hoang Quoc Viet for around VND4,000.
Part 2: Sightseeings in Sapa
Q1: WHAT PLACES CAN YOU RECOMMEND FOR US TO VISIT AND HOW IN SAPA?
A1: Go to Ta Van village and Hau Thao village, you can see Bamboo forests and waterfall there. But I recommend you to get a local guide to go trekking. It’s better because some trekking trails there are not allow to go.
Q2: WHAT IS THE WAY TO ENJOY SAPA?
A2: Sapa has 94 villages and hamlets, of which five are extremely touristy, complete with bars, supermarkets, souvenir shops and homestays. These villages are Ta Van, Lao Chai, Cat Cat, Giang Ta Chai and Ta Van.
If you’ve travelled half way round the world to meet people from your own country and continent, drink familiar beer and eat western food then these are the villages for you. Expect many marginalised and exploited locals to try and sell you souvenirs as a means of earning money to survive.
Alternatively, get a guide. Stay in a local minority home. Learn about the culture. Immerse, experience and travel with a sense of exploration.
Almost everyone does the former and most leave Sapa unsatisfied..
Q3: SOMEBODY MENTIONED THAT END OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER WON’T BE AS NICER IN SAPA. SHALL I SKIPPED THAT?
A3: I went in December which is even colder and it was absolutely beautiful. Don’t stress, just make sure you have a couple warm clothes for the evening. Sapa is pretty stunning all year round.
Q4: HOW TO GET EASILY FROM SAPA TO FANSIPAN MOUNTAIN?
A4: – you can travel by mountain train + cable car from Sapa town to Fansipan
– train from Sapa town departs from Sunplaza to Fansipan Legend (cable car)
– it is about 2 km by mountain train to Fansipan Legend
– join ticket (train + cable car to Fansipan) costs about 600 000 viet.dongs (about 30 Usd, can change) – Sunplaza in Sapa
– a big shopping complex in the center of the town of Sapa
Q5: HI, I’M PLANNING TO VISIT HA GIANG IN APRIL. CAN I SEE BUCKWHEAT FLOWER SEASON IN THIS MONTH?
A5: Buckwheat Flower or Tam Giac Mach in Vietnamese is a special flower growing in northern mountainous provinces of Vietnam. It is noted that this flower doesn’t grow naturally, it is planted by farmers, therefore, the time of buckwheat season really depends on these farmers.
Normally, buckwheat flowers are in blossom in October & November in Ha Giang Province and in March & April in Bac Giang Province. Hence, if you want to see buckwheat flower season, you should visit Bac Giang Province in April, instead of Ha Giang as your planning. In addition to admiring the beauty of buckwheat flowers, you should try wine and cake made from them, it is very special..
Q6: SHOULD I VISIT SAPA IN LATE-JANUARY AND EARLY-FEBRUARY?
A6: It depends. You are advised to check the weather forecast before starting your trip because the weather is now unpredictable. However, normally, this is the time when Sapa is getting colder and colder. Snow often falls in Sapa in these months. So, if you can adapt to the freezing cold weather and love admiring snow in Sapa, go ahead! On the other hand, choose another time to visit the town..