Best Day Trips from Hanoi as private guided tours are the first priority of safety and affordable cost for for everyone, so you’ll travel on your own vehicles without strangers to avoid crowded and big group tour with air-conditioned transfers and an English-speaking guide. This is one of the most convenient ways to get around Hanoi. Moreover a tour is also a surefire way to gain a deeper, more complete look at Vietnam’s nature, history and culture.
Best day trips from Hanoi
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital and largest city in the North, is well-positioned for a number of full-day trips. Spectacular karsts and caves, ancient capitals and Buddhist pagodas can all be accessed in a couple of hours by road.
And of course, Hanoi is the departure point for Vietnam’s crowning glory and most popular tourist attraction: the UNESCO-Listed Halong Bay.
- Check out option UNESCO site trip: Vietnam UNESCO Road Trip: 10-Fabulous Day Hanoi to Hoi An
1. Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay
If you’re concerned about over-tourism on Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay is a nice alternative. It has the same limestone karst landscape as its more-famous cousin, but because far fewer boats are permitted to sail here, it’s a lot quieter and less polluted.
Bai Tu Long Bay is located just north of Halong Bay. Cruises depart from the same jetty, roughly a 4-hour drive from Hanoi.
Sleeping on a junk and waking up amongst the karsts is a terrific experience, which is why I usually recommend spending at least one night on the bay. However, it’s still possible to see Vietnam’s most famous UNESCO landscape in a day from Hanoi.
- Read more: Best things to do in Halong Bay
- Book Transfer Hanoi to Halong Bay with local driver
This full day trip starts with pick up at your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter at 8am. You’ll then be transferred to the port by private car. You get a full 6 hours on the water, which is pretty generous for a day trip. This includes a tour of a floating village, a cave experience (with kayak hire or row boat charter included in the tour price), a short cooking class and a traditional Vietnamese lunch on board. Reviews of Halong Bay Private Day Trip on Tripadvisor
Detailed Itinerary: 1-Day Halong Bay Trip from Hanoi
AM: Pickup by private car and transfer to Halong city (3.5 hours). En route to stop in the middle road for a break of coffee and toilet.
Noon: Get on a private boat, cruising onto Halong Bay for about 4 hours.. Lunch will be served on the boat junket.
PM: Main spots of Halong Bay touring: floating village, Cave exploring, Kayaking, Sun desk viewing.
Back to Hanoi at your hotel about 7:30 PM (3.5 hours)
- Private Tour organized by Tony Vietnam Adventures
2. Ninh Binh (Tam Coc & Trang An)
Ninh Binh Province is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. It’s often referred to as ‘Halong Bay on land’ because the landscape is decorated with the same limestone karst formations. Ninh Binh is well and truly inland, however – it’s roughly a 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Hanoi. It’s close proximity to the capital is another reason I recommend Ninh Binh as one of the best Vietnam day trips from Hanoi.
- Read more: Best things to do in Ninh Binh
- Book a private car Hanoi to Ninh Binh
A trip to Ninh Binh involves taking a sampan boat tour around the karsts and caves at either Tam Coc-Bich Dong or the UNESCO-Listed Trang An Landscape Complex.
One of Vietnam’s ancient capitals, Hoa Lu, is located close by and is home to a number of significant pagodas and edifices. The largest temple complex in Vietnam, Bai Dinh, can also be included when you visit Ninh Binh from Hanoi.
This private tour is great value for money – it includes transfers from your Hanoi hotel, a Vietnamese lunch, and tickets for all the attractions, including a 90-minute boat ride at Tam Coc. You’ll be accompanied by an English-speaking guide for the duration of the day, and because it’s a private tour, you can choose your pick up time (I suggest leaving Hanoi a tad earlier than the recommended 8am).
Option about this itinerary is the inclusion of a short bike ride to Hang Mua, where you have time to summit the Lying Dragon Mountain for Ninh Binh’s best view.
Note that this itinerary does involve a bit of physical activity including the bike ride and the climb, so it’s not suitable for anyone with mobility issues. As an alternative, this day tour combines a visit to the Bai Dinh temples with a boat ride at Trang An.
Detailed Itinerary: 1-Day Ninh Binh Day Trip from Hanoi
AM: Pick up at hotel upon your available time from 7:30 – 9:00 AM by private car ( 2.5 hours)
En route to have a break for coffee and toilet in the middle way.
Lunch will be picked up local Vietnamese restaurant with delicious dishes
PM: Taking a sampa boat trip for about 2 hour paddling. immersing nature surrounded by karst mountains and rice paddy fields.
Cycling and Mua Cave ( physical activities)
Back to Hanoi in the late afternoon at your hotel
- Private Tour organized by Tony Vietnam Adventures
3. Perfume Pagoda
The Perfume Pagoda or Huong Pagoda is a sacred pilgrimage site 60km west from Hanoi. Depending on traffic, it can take under 2 hours to get there from the capital.
This part of Northern Vietnam is very lush. A trip to the Perfume Pagoda is a nice way to get some fresh air and find some respite from Hanoi. What’s really special about this place is the way you get there.
The main pagoda is built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains and can only be accessed via a long waterway. A never-ending stream of sampan boats ferries pilgrims up the Yen stream, through blankets of lotus flowers and between misty, atmosphere karsts and mountains. At the end, a series of uphill paths connect the different shrines and grottoes.
- Book a car with English speaking driver in Hanoi
This private tour to the Perfume Pagoda from Hanoi will teach you a lot about Vietnamese culture and religion. After visiting the main cave, you have the option of trekking or taking a cable car back to the pier. Lunch is served at the foot of the mountain and included in the tour price. Transfers to and from the Old Quarter are done by air conditioned car, and you’ll be back in the city by approximately 6pm.
Top tip: Because the Perfume Pagoda is a popular pilgrimage site, it gets extremely busy around certain religious holidays. It’s recommended to avoid visiting in the lead-up to Tet – it’s simply too crowded.
- Read more: tips from Hanoi Day Trips
Detailed Itinerary: 1- Day Perfume Pagoda from Hanoi
AM: Pick up at your hotel by private car to Yen River ( Huong Tich River) (2hours)
Getting a boat ride through the endless beauty of Yen River, silent of ritual Buddhist for 1.5 hours
Hiking 30 minutes from bottom mountain up stair to get a cable car to top of Huong Tich Cave. The main spot of Perfume to visit, along the way up and down with many different temples to see.
Lunch on the site of Temple complex
PM: A visit to different giant to Pagoda in the complex, walking back to pier to row back the dock.
Back to Hanoi in the late afternoon.
- Private Tour organized by Tony Vietnam Adventures
4. Mai Chau
Northern Vietnam is known for its rural landscapes and traditional ethnic villages. While Sapa is the most popular spot for this, it’s too far to visit on a day trip. Instead, turn your attention to the region of Mai Chau, southwest of Hanoi. Home to villages of bamboo houses and endless rice fields, Mai Chau is perfect for those looking to explore rural Vietnam.
Ethnic minorities such as the Tai Dam and Tai Kao live throughout this region in stilt houses, elevated over the ground to avoid flooding. Cycling through the countryside, you’ll see these homes and also the farming communities in the fields here hard at work. Above the rice fields, visitors will find impressive mountain scenery, best viewed from the Thung Khe Pass.
- Book a road trip: Hanoi to Mai Chau Puluong transfer
5. Cuc Phuong National Park
Among Vietnam’s many national parks, Cuc Phuong holds a special spot, being the first established in the country in 1962. As Cuc Phuong National Park is also one of Vietnam’s largest parks and home to incredible biodiversity, it’s little wonder that it’s one of the best side trips from Hanoi.
While it’s a great place to experience Vietnam’s nature, don’t be surprised if the hundreds of species of wildlife often prove elusive among the forest, mountains and lakes of the national park. On the western side of the national park you’ll find people from the Muong ethnic minority living in villages there.
- Book a Road trip: Hanoi to Ninh Binh private transfer
6. Bat Trang Village
If you’re in the mood for just a very short trip from Hanoi, look no further than Bat Trang Village. Sitting by the banks of the Red River downstream from Hanoi, Bat Trang is known for its centuries-old ceramics trade. Since the 14th century, this village has been producing finely-made porcelain and pottery.
At the Bat Trang Ceramics Village you can see workshops, markets, and stores full of various ceramic items, a great option if you’re after some souvenirs. It’s also possible to craft your own ceramics in special pottery-making workshops to give that souvenir a personal touch.
- Book a Hanoi Car: Hire a car with driver in Hanoi
7. Tam Dao
When the heat in Hanoi starts getting too much for you, one place you can go to cool off is the mountain town of Tam Dao. Once a French hill resort, the town lies within the expansive Tam Dao National Park. Start a visit there with the Tam Dao Stone Church, an iconic attraction built in 1906 which is symbolic of the town’s French connection.
From the church’s courtyard you can enjoy some nice views across the rest of the town as well. Not far away you’ll come across the silver waterfalls known as Thác Bạc. Other sights found up in the mountains around the town are the Ba Chua Thuong Ngan Temple and the viewpoint at the Tam Dao TV Tower.
- Book a road trip: Hanoi to Tam Dam by private car
Check out more option Private Guided Tours from Hanoi
- Northern Vietnam Tour Package
- Hire a car with local drivers
- HALONG BAY HANOI SHORE EXCURSIONS
- Street food tour by local guide Hanoi
Questions About Day Trips from Hanoi?
Do you have any questions about traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam? Ask me anything in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to help!