Best Day Trips from Hanoi: Exploring the Beauty of Northern Vietnam

Are you planning to visit Hanoi, Vietnam anytime soon? Known for its bustling streets and delicious street foods, Hanoi is also a great base for exploring the scenic beauty of northern Vietnam. With numerous day trips accessible from Hanoi, your travel experience can become more diverse, adventurous, and enriching. In this article, we will share some of the best day trips from Hanoi that are worth taking during your stay in the city.

Top 10 Best Day Trips from Hanoi

Halong Bay: A Magnificent Natural Wonder

Undoubtedly one of the most famous destinations in Vietnam, Halong Bay, located just 170 km east of Hanoi, should be on top of your list for a day trip. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, clear blue waters, and spectacular limestone formations, which attract millions of tourists every year. You can take a day cruise or a private tour from Hanoi, which usually includes kayaking, swimming, and visiting the fascinating “floating villages” of the bay.

Ninh Binh: Explore the Scenic Countryside

If you are a nature lover, Ninh Binh is an excellent place for a day trip from Hanoi. Known as the “Halong Bay on land,” Ninh Binh is located about 100 km south of Hanoi and offers breathtaking views of the countryside with its lush green rice paddies, towering karst peaks, and serene rivers. Take a bike ride around the Tam Coc area or hop on a traditional boat ride through the Van Long Nature Reserve to experience the stunning natural beauty of Ninh Binh.

Hoa Lu and Tam Coc

Combine history and natural beauty with a day trip to Hoa Lu and Tam Coc. Visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu to explore the temples, and then take a boat trip along the Ngo Dong River to see the stunning limestone caves and rice fields.

Cuc Phuong National Park

For nature lovers, Cuc Phuong National Park is a must-visit destination. Take a day trip to explore the park’s diverse flora and fauna, visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, and hike to the ancient tree, “Thousand-year-old Cho Chi.”

Bat Trang Ceramic Village

Located just outside of Hanoi, Bat Trang is famous for its traditional ceramic and pottery products. Take a day trip to explore the village, watch artisans at work, and purchase unique ceramics as souvenirs.

Duong Lam Ancient Village

Step back in time with a day trip to Duong Lam Ancient Village, located about 50 kilometers west of Hanoi. Explore the well-preserved traditional houses, visit local temples, and experience the rural way of life.

Perfume Pagoda: A Spiritual Journey

Located about 60 km southwest of Hanoi, Perfume Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain. To reach the main temple, visitors have to take a scenic cable car ride across the mountains and hike up to the temple. This spiritual journey is especially popular during the annual Perfume Pagoda Festival, which attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over Vietnam.

Mai Chau: Immerse in Local Culture

If you want a day trip that offers a unique cultural experience, then Mai Chau is the place to be. Located about 140 km northwest of Hanoi, Mai Chau is a peaceful valley surrounded by lush green mountains and traditional stilt houses of the Thai ethnic minority. Here, you can witness the traditional way of life of the locals, participate in hands-on activities such as weaving, cooking, and farming, and enjoy an authentic local lunch while watching a traditional dance performance.

Ba Vi National Park: A Nature Retreat

For those who seek a natural retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, Ba Vi National Park is the perfect destination for a day trip. Located just 60 km west of Hanoi, Ba Vi National Park is a nature lover’s paradise with its lush forests, waterfalls, and hot springs. You can enjoy hiking, bird watching, or relax in one of the many mineral pools or hot springs in the park.

Biking tour in Hanoi countryside

Enjoy a biking tour through the countryside surrounding Hanoi. Explore traditional villages, meet friendly locals, and get a glimpse of rural life while cycling along peaceful trails.

How to Use Best Day Trips from Hanoi?

To make the most out of your trip to Hanoi, we recommend adding at least one or two day trips to your itinerary. Most day trips can be booked through travel agencies or tour operators located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Alternatively, you can also book online before your arrival. Depending on your preference, budget, and travel style, you can choose from various options, including private tours, group tours, or self-guided tours.

Examples of Best Day Trips from Hanoi

Here are some examples of how you can combine day trips to create your itinerary:

  • Halong Bay + Ninh Binh: Combine two of the most scenic destinations in northern Vietnam for a full-day adventure.
  • Mai Chau + Ba Vi National Park: Immerse yourself in nature and local culture by visiting these two off-the-beaten-path destinations.
  • Perfume Pagoda + Ninh Binh: Combine a spiritual journey with a scenic countryside tour for a unique cultural experience.

Comparisons of Best Day Trips from Hanoi

While all day trips offer a unique experience, here are some comparisons to help you choose the best one that suits your interests:

  • Halong Bay vs. Ninh Binh: Halong Bay offers breathtaking views of limestone formations and clear blue waters, while Ninh Binh is more about the lush green countryside and traditional way of life.
  • Mai Chau vs. Ba Vi National Park: Mai Chau offers an authentic cultural experience with the Thai ethnic minority, while Ba Vi National Park is all about nature and relaxation.
  • Perfume Pagoda vs. Tam Dao: Perfume Pagoda offers a spiritual journey through Buddhist temples built into the mountain cliffs, while Tam Dao is a mountain town with beautiful scenery and hiking trails.

Advices for Best Day Trips from Hanoi

Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your day trips from Hanoi:

  • Book in advance: To avoid any last-minute hassles, it’s always better to book your day trip in advance, either through a travel agency or online.
  • Be prepared for the weather: Northern Vietnam can be unpredictable with its weather, so make sure you check the weather forecast before you go and dress accordingly.
  • Bring cash: Most places outside of Hanoi do not accept credit cards, so make sure you bring enough cash with you for food, drinks, and souvenirs.
  • Follow the local customs: When visiting temples or local villages, it’s important to respect the local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, take off your shoes when entering temples, and ask for permission before taking photos of locals.
  • Be mindful of the environment: When visiting natural parks or scenic spots, make sure you follow the “leave no trace” principle and do not litter or damage the environment.


Can I combine multiple day trips into one?

Yes, you can combine multiple day trips into one to create a more diverse and enriching itinerary. However, keep in mind that some destinations may be far apart, and the travel time between them may be long.

How much should I budget for a day trip from Hanoi?

The cost of day trips from Hanoi varies depending on the destination, tour operator, and travel style. On average, you can expect to pay around $30-50 per person for a group tour, or $100-150 for a private tour.

Is it safe to take a day trip from Hanoi?

Yes, it is generally safe to take a day trip from Hanoi. However, it’s always important to take precautions such as booking with a reputable tour operator, following safety guidelines, and being aware of your surroundings.

Can I take a day trip to Sapa from Hanoi?

While it is possible to take a day trip to Sapa from Hanoi, we recommend spending at least one night in Sapa to fully experience its natural beauty and cultural richness.

What is the best time to take a day trip from Hanoi?

The best time to take a day trip from Hanoi is during the dry season, which falls between October and April. The weather is pleasant, and the skies are clear, making it perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing.


Hanoi is not just a city but also a gateway to some of the most beautiful destinations in northern Vietnam. With so many day trips accessible from Hanoi, you can explore the scenic countryside, immerse in local culture, or embark on a spiritual journey. Whether you’re a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or a curious traveler, there’s something for everyone in these best day trips from Hanoi.