5 activities that will make you want to add Hanoi, Vietnam to your bucket list

Aug 17 2018, 7:05 am

Let’s be real, you would need months to truly experience the beautiful country that is Vietnam. But even if you only have a few days, you can still get a taste of the local culture and beauty.

Lucky for you, Hong Kong Airlines has nonstop flights from Hong Kong to Vietnam, so if you’re planning on visiting Hong Kong (which, why wouldn’t you?) this route is custom made for you.

Even though they are only 10 years young, Hong Kong Airlines has grown rapidly to cover close to 40 major cities across the Asia Pacific region and North America, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Gold Coast, Auckland, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, Sapporo, Seoul, Bangkok, Bali, Manila and Okinawa, and the newly launched Vancouver route in 2017.

Hong Kong Airlines will take you from Hong Kong to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, in only 1.5 hours — a dream flight, no matter where you’re from. And from Vancouver to Hong Kong, you can help yourself to an inflight Skybar, a specially-designed amenities kit complete with L’Occitane skincare products for Business Class passengers, all while enjoying attentive and impeccable service from a world-class team of flight attendants. Enjoy your flight!

Once you land in Vietnam, here are the must-do activities that will guarantee you an unforgettable time in Hanoi.

Cruise around the Old Quarter

activities Hanoi

Cyclo ride through Old Quarter, Hanoi. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

Whether by foot or by cyclo (aka rickshaw), the Old Quarter is a must-see for Hanoi. There are 36 streets and each was originally named for the product it offers – paper, oil, footwear, cotton, conical hat, drums, etc.

The streets are lined with trees, vendors, and scooters, and locals are posted up on tiny little stools and tables, sipping beer or green tea or whatever tickles their fancy.

Hanoi’s traffic is next level, especially in the Old Quarter. There are scooters coming at you from all directions at all times; crossing the street is an adventure on its own. Everyone is honking and weaving in and out of the others on the road; there seems to be no rhyme or reason to their road rules, but somehow everything flows and we didn’t see or partake in any accidents. Just keep your head up. 

Culture yourself

activities Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh mausoleum at dawn. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

Vietnam has a fascinating history, and a trip to Hanoi wouldn’t be complete without immersing yourself in its rich culture.

Observe a real buddhist temple at the oldest in Hanoi, Tran Quoc Pagoda. Learn about Vietnam’s rich history at the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, where Minh’s body lays perfectly preserved – and then, stroll the grounds of his palace. Finally, head over to the head over to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university.

Pro tip: visiting the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum at dawn or dusk is an incredible cultural experience. It feels like the entire population of Hanoi is up and at’em before sunrise every day doing various forms of exercise – tai chi, laughing yoga, walking, biking, badminton, dancing, aerobics. It is a SIGHT TO SEE. While much of this exercise takes place around the lakes or in the parks, if you head over to the mausoleum grounds you will see many locals doing their exercise, and stopping to pay respects to the daily flag raising at 6 am and lowering at 9 pm. It’s an inspiring act of patriotism.

Venture over to Ha Long Bay

activities Hanoi

Ha Long Bay at sunset. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

Head approximately 4 hours west of Hanoi and you will find yourself in a jaw-dropping island paradise. The many tour companies throughout town will help organize so that you can take a day tour or an overnight cruise (we highly recommend the latter).

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature for good reason; cruising along the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and taking in the limestone cliffs topped with rainforests will make you will feel like you’re living in a dream.

Experience the street food

where to eat Hanoi Hong Kong

Thanh Ha Street market, Hanoi, Vietnam. (Kellie Paxian / Daily Hive)

Hanoi’s street food scene is truly something to experience. Head over to one of its street markets like Thanh Ha and try something that could get you out of your comfort zone, like balut (translation: fetal egg), snail soup, raw jellyfish, or even a dragon fruit or lychee.

Of course, you can’t leave the country without trying the Vietnamese staples such as pho, banh mi, and the infamous egg coffee (we recommend CafĂ© Giang). De-lish.

Explore the outskirts

activities Hanoi

Ninh Binh, Vietnam. (Shutterstock)

Stepping outside of the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, you will find a serene natural paradise that makes for a great day trip or overnighter. Many tour companies in the city will arrange transport, or you can simply hop on a train. Visit Tam Coc town in Ninh Binh, often referred to as Ha Long Bay on land. Take a rowboat along the canals, check out the rice fields, explore the caves, and interact with the locals. It’s an experience you won’t forget.

Do these activities and we promise you will leave Vietnam feeling inspired, fulfilled, and itching to come back for more!

Make sure to book your flight today from Hong Kong Airlines.

For more information on Vietnam, visit Bestway Tours & Safaris.

Or you could win the trip of a lifetime worth $13,660 CAD courtesy of Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Bestway Tours & Safaris, simply by entering the contest below!


Enter for your chance to win the following prize:

  • 2 x Economy class return tickets from Vancouver – Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh City, provided by Hong Kong Airlines
  • 3 x nights accommodation in Hong Kong for two people on a twin-sharing basis, provided by Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)
  • Airport-hotel return transfers
  • Two tours for two people in Hong Kong (choice of hotel and tours are at the discretion of HKTB)
  • A trip for 2 people to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, provided by Bestway Tours & Safaris
  • 3 x nights accommodation for two people (choice of hotel and program are at the discretion of Bestway Tours & Safaris)
  • Transfer services
  • Entrance fees and boat fees where applicable
  • Vietnam Visa on Arrival Approval letter
  • Pre-arranged meals
  • Guided by an English-speaking local guide

Blackout dates: 11 December 2018 – 5 January 2019, 29 January – 17 February 2019, 16-25 April 2019, 22 Jun – 10 Sep 2019, 11 December – 5 January 2020


To enter for your chance to win the prize listed above, courtesy of Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Bestway Tours & Safaris, fill in the Google form below:

Contest entries will be accepted from the time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm on December 10, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted directly from Hong Kong Airlines.

Please read the full contest terms and conditions by Hong Kong Airlines here. 

Contest Guidelines

Disclaimer: Travel, accommodation, and meals were provided by Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Bestway Tours & Safaris. All views and opinions are those of the author.

Kellie PaxianKellie Paxian

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