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North Vietnam

Northern Vietnam is an area full of contrasts. From the charming capital of Hanoi, to the dramatic limestone cliffs of Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, and the French inspired colourful town of Sapa.

Hanoi is arguably Asia's most charming capital city. Hanoi, meaning ‘embraced by the river', is a city of broad, tree-lined boulevards, elegant French villas and colonial-era buildings painted in muted hues of mustard and white. It is also one of Asia's greenest cities with an abundance of parks and lakes as well as a host of cafes and art galleries and an Old Quarter steeped in history. By day the city hums with commerce and moves at motorbike speed; by night the city is an enchanting, 19th century Asian village best experienced from the seat of a silent cyclo.

Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay are perhaps the most spectacular of Vietnam's natural wonders. Located in the Gulf of Tonkin 170 kilometres from Hanoi, they are an impressive collection of nearly 3,000 islands covering an area in excess of 1,500 square kilometres forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars and cliff faces. The breathtaking scenery and unusual geology of the bay led UNESCO to designate Ha Long Bay a World Natural Heritage site in 1994. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands and islets are uninhabited and untouched by man.

Sapa is situated in the country’s northwest at an altitude of 1,600 meters. In the early 20th century the French took advantage of Sapa's cool climate, developing it into a summer retreat from the heat and humidity of Hanoi. Today, Sapa town still retains its European feel, largely due to the French architecture and gardens and today is a popular destination due to its beautiful scenery and colourful ethnic people.

Your Destination Expert:
  1. Kerry Thomas
    Kerry Thomas
  2. Janet Roberts
    Janet Roberts
  3. Mandy Jones
    Mandy Jones
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THG's Quick Guide to... Vietnam

Flight Time

12 Hours


Vietnamese dong

Time to Visit

September - April

Time Difference

+7 hours

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Ha Long Bay

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The Q Hotel Hanoi

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