Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Private

Hanoi Culture Through Local Experience (5 days)

EXO Travel - Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam To Hanoi, Vietnam

Valid for Departures Now Through: 31 Dec 2018

Hanoi Culture Through Local Experience (5 days)


Day 1
Hanoi, Vietnam
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Dinner

Upon arrival in Hanoi, be welcomed by the guide who will facilitate the transfer to the hotel via a private car. Vietnam’s quaint capital is a city of wide tree-lined boulevards, tranquil lakes and colonial villas. It has a slower-paced atmosphere compared to other major Asian cities but it has something to offer for everyone.

Depending on the arrival time, visit the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Vietnam's first university Quoc Tu Giam was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.

Visit the mausoleum and house of the historic father figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. He lived in this modest stilt house from 1958 to 1969. (Viewed from the outside; closed on Mondays and Fridays and from October to November) Then drop by the One Pillar Pagoda and take the time to appreciate this magnificent structure before heading back to the hotel.

Time permitting, or as an alternative to one of the above, visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. The displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centre around births, weddings, motherhood and spirituality. Eat dinner at the rooftop restaurant of an old building that dates back to the 80s, while enjoying romantic views of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Overnight in Hanoi

Distances and journey time:

Noi Bai Airport to the chosen hotel in Hanoi (35 km): 60 mins

In case you cannot find your guide, please call our 24 Hrs Customer Care number +84 913 801 350 OR approach an ATTA counter for help (near exit doors # 6 and # 10).

Flight info: Arrival by XX at XX.XXhrs.

Overnight in Hanoi at Metropole

Day 2
Hanoi, Vietnam
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s tour begins at 08:30. Set off from Hanoi after breakfast and travel west, passing through the scenic North Red River Delta on the 1.5-hour drive. Arrive in Duong Lam ancient village where there’s a great chance to explore the special architecture through the surviving laterite brick ancient houses built three or four centuries ago. Laterite and mud, the two materials that are abundant in this area, are used on house walls, gates, wells and temple walls. Wander along Duong Lam’s narrow alleyways to explore rural life and Vietnam’s ancient architecture. First, go to Mia Pagoda which was built in the 15th century and houses 287 statues of different sizes. Some sculptures feature figures of Buddha and the ‘Eight Vajra Deities’.

Afterwards, visit Mong Phu commune, the only hamlet whose original village entrance remains intact. Then continue through the narrow alleys to see the old laterite houses which make up this charming village. For lunch, enjoy a local style meal in a rustic hundred-year-old house. Continue visiting the century-old Catholic church to learn about the local belief and the different changes in religion the capital went through in the past. Before returning to Hanoi, make a stop at a local family to learn how to make a rice straw puppet and ‘Che Lam’ (rice cake), a rustic specialty of this home town. Transfer back to Hanoi.

Distances and journey time

Hanoi to Duong Lam Village (60 km): 1.5 hrs

Overnight in Hanoi at Metropole

Day 3
Hanoi, Vietnam
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Breakfast, Lunch

This tour begins at 08:30. Travel to chef Ai‘s house for the start of an exciting Hanoi cooking class. Meet with Ms. Ai, who is passionate about Vietnamese cuisine, with about 15 years of experience and is part of the top 5 MasterChefs in Vietnam 2014.

Together, head to the neighbourhood’s wet market which is walking distance from her house. See the variety of goods on offer, learning about its uses in traditional cuisine and purchasing items for the cooking class. Also take the time to observe the local way of life and learn how locals shop for fresh produce. Armed with the necessary ingredients, return to chef Ai‘s home. Once in the kitchen, the chef will share the secrets behind North Vietnam’s most popular foods. Using chef Ai‘s recipes, slice, dice and cook delicious dishes. Once ready, sit down and feast on the home-cooked meal bringing the culinary adventure to a close.

After lunch, enjoy a special water puppet performance. Take a short drive to Mr. Liem’s house and receive a warm welcome from him. Explore his workshop containing shelves lined with puppets of all shapes and sizes, and wooden puppet parts such as angel wings and buffalo tails. He has built a smaller scale water puppet theater here and often does a 30-minute performance telling both ancient and modern stories of daily life. After the show, prepare to make a dragon puppet that chases its own tail and spits water. Finally, enjoy a 30-minute experience of puppet painting using a range of bright and shiny colors. This tour is a great opportunity to gain deep insight into the local craft and rural traditions of Vietnam while having an unforgettable unique, behind-the-scenes experience.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi at Metropole

Day 4
Hanoi, Vietnam
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Breakfast

Today’s tour will begin at 05:30. It’s an early start but one that is well-worth it! Meet with the local guide to catch the first rays of the sun rising over Hanoi. Head to Long Bien market, the biggest and most impressive fruit and vegetable wholesale market in North Vietnam. Nowhere else in Hanoi exemplifies Vietnamese life better than Long Bien market. Witness buyers crowding around open-back trucks, money counters holding court over their stalls, motorbikes weaving down aisles and other scenes of daily life.

Then take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi. Pass by groups of Hanoians partaking in daily exercise such as gymnastics, martial arts and aerobics. Take a moment to look around and see signs of the city coming to life.

Then move to a peaceful garden and join a 45-minute tai chi class under the guidance of a local teacher. Discover the slow movements of this popular martial art. Afterward, pass by Primary School and view the interesting scene of parents carrying their kids on motorbikes to start their school day. Then head to a popular local restaurant for a Vietnamese breakfast of pho, a traditional noodle soup bursting with flavour. Last stop is at a local shop to sample Vietnamese coffee while enjoying views of the lake. Try a sweet iced coffee or opt for a slow-brewed hot java while doing some people watching in this scenic location.

Continue to the next activity or return to the hotel for a rest.

Overnight in Hanoi at Metropole

Day 5
Hanoi, Vietnam
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi None

Full day at leisure until transfer to the airport for the next destination.

Distances and journey time:

Your chosen hotel in Hanoi to Noi Bai Airport (35 km): 60 mins

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


Learn about Hanoian culture on this 5-day tour which goes through the capital’s historic spots, ancient houses and areas that provide a glimpse into the local daily life. Start the tour on a historic note by visiting the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house and the Women’s Museum. The next day is all about the old architecture of ancient village Duong Lam. Be immersed with the locals and learn how to make rice cakes. Then, witness a puppet show before finally settling down to relax and observe the daily routines of locals.

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Insider Tip

Travelling during the Tet period (Vietnamese NY, by lunar calendar) is a great way to experience local life, be mindful that sites, shops and restaurants can be closed for a portion of this holiday.

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Reviews and Recommendations for EXO Travel - Vietnam


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Shout Out to Tran Quyen in Hanoi

By: Travelme25

Reviewed on: 09 Jan 2017

Mr. Quyen was my guide in Hanoi. He was very knowledgeable and competent. He taught me how to cross the busy streets and shared a lot of historical info which was useful context for the rest of my time in Vietnam. I ran into a few challenges while visiting other cities and he was the first person I thought about contacting if I needed additional help.
Travel Advisor:  Tisha Neufville

Vietnam and Cambodia

By: Na

Reviewed on: 09 Mar 2017

Our cousin used Rachel for her tour adviser and highly recommended her. Rachel was very easy to work with. She knew the country and the tours offered. Rachel was very prompt at returning e-mails and was available for telephone conversations. She listened to us and was able to create an itinerary we really enjoyed. We will recommend her to friends who may be looking for a very positive and successful experience with a tour adviser.
Travel Advisor:  Rachel Dicker