top of page

Exploring the Charm of Northern Vietnam: A Comprehensive Tourist Guide

Exploring the Charm of Northern Vietnam: A Comprehensive Tourist Guide

Nov 3, 2023

By Custom Asia Travel

Northern Vietnam is a captivating and diverse region that beckons travelers with its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique experiences. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil beauty of Halong Bay and the serene mountains of Sapa, this part of the country offers a wide array of attractions and activities for tourists to enjoy. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into all the essential information you need to make the most of your visit to Northern Vietnam.

  1. When to Visit:

Northern Vietnam experiences four distinct seasons. To make the most of your trip, consider the following:

  • Spring (February to April): Spring is an ideal time to visit, with pleasant weather and blooming flowers. The Lunar New Year, or Tet, typically falls in late January or early February and is a fantastic cultural event to witness.

  • Summer (May to August): While it can be hot and humid, this is the best time to explore the northern highlands like Sapa and Ha Giang. The terraced rice fields are lush and green, creating stunning landscapes.

  • Autumn (September to November): Autumn is arguably the best time to visit. The weather is cool, and the countryside is adorned with golden rice fields. Hanoi is particularly lovely during this season.

  • Winter (December to January): Winter is colder and damper, especially in the mountains. However, it can be an excellent time to visit if you enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.

  1. Getting There:

The capital city of Hanoi is the main gateway to Northern Vietnam. You can reach Hanoi by air, train, or bus. Noi Bai International Airport is the primary airport, serving both domestic and international flights. From there, you can easily reach other destinations in the region by train or bus.

  1. Accommodation:

Northern Vietnam offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to budget hostels and charming homestays. Hanoi, Sapa, and Halong Bay are popular destinations with numerous accommodation choices.

  1. Cuisine:

Northern Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its diverse flavors. Don't miss out on these local specialties:

  • Pho: A delicious noodle soup with beef or chicken, often served for breakfast.

  • Bun Cha: Grilled pork patties and noodles, best enjoyed at local street stalls.

  • Banh Mi: A Vietnamese sandwich with various fillings, often served with fresh herbs.

  • Bun Thang: A noodle soup with chicken, pork, and egg.

  • Cha Ca: Grilled fish with herbs and rice vermicelli, a specialty in Hanoi.

  • Egg Coffee: A Hanoi specialty, this sweet and creamy coffee is a must-try.

  1. Top Destinations:

  • Hanoi: The capital city boasts a rich history, charming Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, and a vibrant street food scene.

  • Halong Bay: A UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay is famous for its emerald waters, limestone karsts, and numerous caves. You can take a cruise to explore this natural wonder.

  • Sapa: Nestled in the northern highlands, Sapa is famous for its terraced rice fields and the vibrant cultures of various ethnic minority groups.

  • Ninh Binh: Often called "Halong Bay on land," Ninh Binh features stunning karst landscapes, caves, and temples.

  • Mai Chau: A serene valley surrounded by lush rice fields, Mai Chau offers a peaceful escape from the city.

  • Ha Giang: This less-visited region is known for its jaw-dropping landscapes, including the Ma Pi Leng Pass.

  1. Cultural Etiquette:

When visiting Northern Vietnam, it's essential to respect local customs and traditions. Here are a few tips:

  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and pagodas.

  • Remove your shoes when entering someone's home or a sacred place.

  • Bargaining is common in local markets, but do it respectfully.

  1. Activities:

Northern Vietnam offers a wide range of activities for travelers:

  • Explore Hanoi's historical sites, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature.

  • Take a boat trip in Tam Coc or Trang An to admire the stunning landscapes.

  • Trek in Sapa and interact with ethnic minority communities.

  • Go on a cruise in Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay, and indulge in water activities like kayaking.

  • Drive or motorbike through Ha Giang's loop for breathtaking scenery.

  • Participate in local cooking classes to learn how to prepare Vietnamese dishes.

  1. Health and Safety:

It's advisable to have travel insurance, be cautious of street food hygiene, and stay hydrated. You may also need to take precautions against mosquito-borne diseases in some areas. Consult a travel clinic before your trip.

  1. Language:

While Vietnamese is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas, making it relatively easy to communicate.

  1. Currency:

The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Credit cards are accepted in many places, but it's a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases.

In conclusion, Northern Vietnam is a captivating region that offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. Whether you're exploring the vibrant streets of Hanoi, cruising through Halong Bay, or trekking in the mountains of Sapa, you'll be immersed in the rich culture and natural beauty of this part of the country. By planning your visit with the information provided in this guide, you're sure to have a memorable and enjoyable experience in Northern Vietnam.


Vietnam Destinations

Vietnam Travel Experiences

Vietnam Travel Tips

Top Things to do in Vietnam

Want to Travel Vietnam?

Go Tailor-made?

Plan your tailor-made trip with a local expert

Book securely with money-back guarantee

Travel stress-free with local assistance and 24/7 support

Travel Review

World heritages Ha Long Bay

Get Your Trip Customized

1:1 Support |  Within 24h Response  |  Local Specialist

Most Popular Vietnam Tours


Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Cu Chi Tunnels - Mekong Delta - Hoi An - Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay


Arrival in Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Bac Ha - Sapa - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Departure


Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - Mekong Delta - Hoi An - Hue - DMZ Zone - Vinh Moc Tunnels - Phong Nha - Hang En - Hanoi - Ha Giang - Ba Be National Park - Lan Ha Bay


Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Pu Luong - Hoa Binh - Van Ho & Moc Chau - Mu Cang Chai - Luc Yen - Ha Giang - Cao Bang - Ba Be Lake - Halong - Hue - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh - Phu Quoc


Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) - Cu Chi Tunnels - Mekong Delta - Hue - Hoi An - Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Bac Ninh - Halong Bay - Hanoi


Hanoi - Mai Chau - Pu Luong Nature Reserve - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay - Hanoi

bottom of page