The first time I stepped foot in Vietnam, I instantly despised with the country. The never-ending hustle-bustle of the city, the chaotic traffic, the scary motorbikes that swirl around you at the last moment, and the scams. I had every reason to leave the country ASAP, but for some unknown reason, I did not. Throughout my stay, I slowly started falling in love with the country or should I say Saigon, so much that I felt an empty space in my heart when it was time to leave. I love the South of Vietnam but I prefer the climate and the beautiful nature of the North. I was so excited for my two months trip to Northern Vietnam this year but with the current global pandemic, international travel is almost impossible.
I’m a bit saddened by this but I’m also happy that I could not visit this year because I’ve recently discovered a bunch of awesome spots that I would have missed out on.I’ve scoured the internet for the most epic spots and activities to do in Nothern Vietnam and put everything in a bucket list. Here’s my 2021 Nothern Vietnam Bucket list, let’s dig into it.
Hanoi,the capital of Vietnam,Known for its lively traffic, delicious cuisine notably the egg coffee and well preserved architectural buildings. Here’s what I plan to do here;
- Spend one month to catch the vibe of the city.
- Drink Egg coffee at Cafe Giang(This cafe is the original creator of the famous coffee).
- Visit train street and watch the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh train pass.
- Chill at Hoan Kiem Lake
The best time to visit is from Fridays to Sundays as the nearby traffic is banned from 7 pm to midnight.
- Wander in the Old quarter
The main attractions are the 36 themed streets, the Ancient house, and St Joseph Cathedral.
- Watch the change of guards at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
- Explore the Ngoc Temple(Temple of the Jade Mountain).
- Watch a Show at Hanoi Opera House.
- Watch the water puppets show at Than Long Theatre.
- Visit Temple of literature.
- Visit the Vietnamese woman museum.
- Learn history at Hanoi Hilton.
This place is intense and not for the faint-hearted.
- Admire the city from the Lotte Observation Deck.
- Chill at a rooftop bar.
- Flower shopping at Quang Ba Flower market.
- Visit Hanoi’s Mosaique mural .
Ha Long City
Halong City has so much to offer other than a Halong bay cruise. It’s unfortunate that most tourists visit Ha Long just for a 2-3 days Ha Long Bay cruise. Here’s a list of what the city has to offer ;
- Spend 3 weeks here to catch the vibe.
- Cruise to Lan Ha bay (because Ha long bay is overcrowded with tourists)
- Visit the Sun world Complex.
- Ride on the largest cable car in the world.
- Chill at Bai Chay beach.
- Visit Bai Chay market.
- Hike at Cat Ba Island.
- Visit caves ; Sung sot cave and Thien Cung Cave.
- Cycle the city.
- Shopping at Vincom Halong.
Ninh Binh Province
Ninh Binh is one of the hidden gems of Vietnam. It’s similar to Halong bay but it’s on land and more gorgeous. Most Visitors miss out on this place because it is not touristy. I myself would have missed out on it if I traveled this year.
- Go on a boat tour in Tam Coc or Trang An (or both!).
The incredible thing here beside the stunning Karst Landscape is that the boat guides row with their feet.
- Climb Hang Mua Mountain.
- Trek Bich dong Pagoda.
- Explore Bai Dinh Pagoda-the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia.
- Hike Silver Cloud Peak in Cuc Phuong Jungle.
- Eat as much Com Chay as possible. 😀
Lao Cai Province
This is where I’ve been yearning to go because I love places which are cold, foggy and full of greeneries. Here’s how I plan to spend my time ;
- Ride the overnight train. (alternately there’s a bus)
- Hike Fansipan Mountain.
- Have a delicious Vietnamese coffee at Cafe in the cloud.
- Chill at Sapa Town Park.
- Catch some local vibe at the Sapa Market.
- Explore Cau May Street.
- Learn history at Sapa Museum.
- Visit Silver Waterfall.
- Admire the beauty of the Holy Rosary Church.
- Cable ride to Fansipan Mountain.
(I know I’ve said I’ll hike the mountain and now I’m saying I’ll ride on the cable car. Well,the views are different each way :D)
- Visit Y Ty.
Y Ty is known as foggy land, it’s not touristy at all and the infrastructures are bad but it’s still worth the visit as it is a heavenly location.
- Ha Giang Motorbike adventure (End the Northern Vietnam trip epically)
- Ba Be National Park.
Besides all these activities, I forgot to mention that I intend to eat as much local food I can and take a myriad of cooking classes. Use this bucket list as an inspiration for your next Vietnamese adventure.