Hanoi is arguably Asia’s most charming capital city. Hanoi, meaning – ‘where the river bends’, sits on the Red River Delta, which has sustained the city’s prosperity for over a thousand years. Unlike other cities in Vietnam and the region, Hanoi has managed to modernize with some grace, retaining its old world charm. The city spells visitors with its unique attractions, which include the labyrinthine Old Quarter, sacred Hoan Kiem Lake, ancient temples and several museums that revive the country’s troubled past. While you could easily spend days just exploring Hanoi and its many landmarks, the city will also serve as a launch pad from which to explore much of Vietnam’s enchanting northern region.
Hoan Kiem Lake is an emblem of the city. The lake is an oasis of peace and tranquility in a city that never rests. In the morning, the tree-lined promenade along the lake fills up with people working out, jogging or practicing Tai Chi, while during the day it’s more frequented by tourists paying a visit to Ngoc Son Temple. It is a good place to go for a cà phê, as it is surrounded by typical Hanoian coffee shops. On weekend nights the streets around it are closed off to traffic and the area turns into a meeting point for city dwellers, travelers, musicians and artists.
The Old Quarter is the essence of Vietnam concentrated in a maze of twisted and narrow streets full of shops, hostels, hotels, restaurants, local food stalls and street vendors. Each of its streets is known by the name of the product that was sold when this was an area of merchants and artisans (that is why it begins with the word hàng which means merchandise or shop) and some of these still retain this characteristic. It is a good place to eat authentic Hanoi street food, savour an ‘egg coffee’ or shop for some souvenirs.
Hanoi Vespa tours offer an amazing experience of local life, cultures and flavours. Explore the city of Hanoi, through historic sites such as the Museum of Ethnology, the charming Old Quarter, the French Quarter, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Hoan Kiem Lake. Hop on a Vespa driven by your friendly local guide to explore the city’s landmarks and most interesting corners, normally out of reach for most conventional city tours. For those looking to experience another side of the city, there are also night time and insider outings.
This full day adventure starts with a buggy excursion around the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake and its Ngoc Son Temple. The route will continue towards the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, where you can sample some of the country’s best street food and shop for quirky art and traditional crafts. This comprehensive program also includes visits to the Temple of Literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda and the renowned Museum of Ethnology.
Explore Hanoi in a unique way hop on a vintage motorcycle to explore the beautiful Red River Delta. Zig-zag through the narrow alleyways of the old quarter and continue to the city’s outskirts. A short cruise to a tranquil banana and vegetable farming area will get you closer to the ancient ceramic village of Bat Trang. Here you will visit an artisan family to learn about the Vietnamese art of ceramics.
Drive through Hanoi and meet with Chef Ai, then follow her for a local market visit. A renowned chef in the Top 5 of Vietnam Master Chef, Ai also has over 13-years of experience as “an Oshin” (a helper) for foreign families. This gave her a great chance to understand and experience different cultures and cuisines.
Chef Ai will help you select the freshest ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine and with them, get to work in a private cooking class in her own kitchen.