HK inspirational getaways Hanoi VietnamAfter the splendours of the beautiful Hoi Han, let’s discover Hanoi in Vietnam is only a one-hour and a half flight from Hong Kong and is the perfect getaway for Vietnamese food and beautiful sceneries lovers.

Book an hotel in the old quarter to enjoy the animated street life of Hanoi. Scooters, street food, markets, ambulant sellers are all part of this beautiful and incredible mess!

Hanoi old quarter
Rice shop – Hanoi old quarter
Hanoi old quarter
Street corner – Hanoi old quarter

Here are a few landmarks of Hanoi worth discovering:

– the ethnographic museum

Learn about the 54 ethnic groups forming the Vietnamese people. The museum created in partnership with the French Musee de l’Homme is very instructive. You will learn about each group’s culture, way of life, architecture, and handicrafts. In the garden, some traditional houses have been constructed at scale.

Here is a beautiful collection of traditional weaving techniques from these ethnies (Hmong, Thai,… ).

vietnamese fabric
Vietnamese fabrics

– the Hoan Kiem lake

A romantic walk around the lake ending with a visit of the Ngoc son temple and the The huc bridge is a must in your Hanoi visit.
There is a also a small tower in the middle of the lake. The legend says that the Vietnamese king Le Thai To was given a sword by the golden turtle of the lake. He won against the Chinese invasion using this magic sword and gave it back to the golden turtle on her demand at this very spot symbolising peace.
The lake is also a very nice place for a night walk.

Hanoi lake
Hoan Kiem Lake – Hanoi

– the litterature temple Van Mieu

A beautiful temple dedicated to Confucius, and housing 3 statues in honour of 3 Vietnamese Kings: Ly Thanh Tong(11th century), Ly Nhan Thong (11th and 12th century) and Le Than Tong (15th century), fonder of the university, who wanted to promote the laureates of extraordinary competitive examinations by giving them a stele sculpted in marble stones standing on the top of a turtle, symbol of patience, humility and longevity. You can discover them while walking in the beautiful garden.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle from the city, you head for a visit of the South area of Hanoi.

– the perfume pagoda

2h to 2h30 car transfer from Hanoi
After a one-hour rowing boat ride, you will reach the starting point of the path to the perfume pagoda named as per the mountain’s name: Huong Tich mountain – “mountain of the fragrant traces”.

 ninh binh waterlily
Perfume pagoda boat ride

The downside of this place is the continuous wall of shops surrounding on both sides the 4 km path from the river to the temple. No to say that the view is completely blocked. It is better to take the cable car to the top, at least you will see the mountains from there!

Perfume pagoda cable car
Perfume pagoda cable car

An impressive cave shaped as a dragon’s mouth is leading to the main pagoda know as “the foremost cave under the Southern Heavens”.

perfume pagoda cavern
Cavern stairs at the perfume pagoda – Credit Adé & Anthony

If you walk on the way down, there are a few temples along the path from which you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the mountains.

Perfume pagoda
Mountain view at the perfume pagoda

One last advice, avoid the January to March period to visit, this is the period during which Vietnamese from the whole country come to the perfume pagoda which can then be very crowded!

-Ninh Binh: the terrestrial Halong Bay

2h30 car transfer from Hanoi
On a little rowing boat by 2 to 3 people max, explore the magnificent terrestrial Halong Bay.

ninh binh
Ninh Binh

Try eating at a lovely Vietnamese private kitchen lost between the rice fields and the mountains.

ninh binh
Ninh Binh – The terrestrial Halong Bay

You can also visit the temple in honour of the first Vietnamese King in the ancient capital Hoa Lu.

I did not mention Halong Bay as I did not go there during this particular trip (I already went there 3 years ago) and also because it is so popular you can easily find information about it. You can do it in one or two days with tours organised from Hanoi. However, I would strongly recommend private tours on small boats to discover this beautiful bay away from the touristic areas and noisy big boats. If you can stay one night on the boat, it is a great experience to fully enjoy the magic of this place at dawn but also in the morning for the sunrise. It is for sure more expensive but totally worth it.

You can discover in Hanoi many inspirational fabrics and embroideries in the shops and markets. Here is a colourful selection:

vietnamese fabric
Vietnamese fabric and embroidery

I hope you enjoyed this Hong Kong inspirational getaway. Let me know in the comments below if you know other great places to discover in Hanoi.

If you did, you may would like to have a look at my previous Hong Kong inspirational getaways:

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Happy travels!


  1. Marie Monier Reply

    Magnifiques phots, magnifiques couleurs ! merci Estelle pour ce voyage par procuration. Bonnes fêtes de fin d’année

    • Estelle Reply

      Merci Marie. Je suis heureuse d’avoir pu te faire voyager à travers ces photos. Je te souhaite de très bonnes fêtes de fin d’année également.

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