Cheap Tours and Activities in Hanoi, Vietnam (Water Puppets, French Quarter, and More)
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences. Vietnam's capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Its streets surge with scooters vying for right of way amid the din of constantly blaring horns, and all around layers of history offer a glimpse into the resilience of ambitious, proud Hanoians. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade. There are many little temples, including Bach Ma, honoring a legendary horse, plus Dong Xuan Market, selling household goods and street food. Dine on the wild and wonderful at every corner, sample market wares, uncover an evolving arts scene, then sleep soundly in luxury for very little cost. Meet the people, delve into the past, and witness the charms of Hanoi. With so much to see and do, Hanoi is a great place to experience, and there are several exciting options available for activities and tours to help you make the most of your time here.
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Depart from your Hanoi hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan and venture to a local market to immerse yourself in the vibrant Vietnamese culture. Browse stalls bursting with exotic ingredients and listen as your knowledgeable guide directs your attention to objects of interest, then travel to either the Long Water Puppet Theatre or Bong Sen Theatre depending on availability. Gain fascinating insight into the origin of water puppetry from your guide then take a seat to witness a 50-minute performance that offers a unique glimpse into traditional Vietnamese culture. Be mesmerized by historical tales and folkloric legends as masterful puppeteers control wooden puppets with long bamboo rods. Understand the complex storylines with help from your guide and enjoy melodious musical accompaniments from a talented Vietnamese orchestra. After the captivating show concludes, heads to West Lake to satisfy your appetite with an exquisite array of traditional Vietnamese dishes. Absorb the elegant decoration and charming ambience as you feast on dishes such as spring rolls, tender pork belly and fresh seafood followed by a sweet treat. Sated, return to your spacious vehicle and relax during the journey back to your Hanoi hotel.
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Choose either a 9am or 2pm departure: The tour guide will welcome you at the hotel then start the walking tour from there. Be charmed by Hanoi's French Quarter on a private 3-hour walking tour of its cultural highlights. Set out on foot accompanied by a personal guide who details the architectural landmarks. Stroll to Hoan Kiem Lake and see the State Bank of Vietnam as well as prominent government buildings. Marvel at the French-colonial grandeur of the Sofitel Metropole Legend Hotel and Hanoi Opera House. View the National Museum of Vietnamese History and Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution, continuing along the shop-lined Trang Tien. Tour ends around 12pm on the morning tour or 5pm on the afternoon tour.
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Start from your hotel at about 4:45am by taxi toward historical Long Bien Bridge. In the early morning, the farmers transfer vegetables, flowers, and fruit by this bridge into numerous markets in Hanoi city. Pass by Long Bien market to meet your bicycles to begin the ride to Quang Ba flower market and Nhat Tan flowers village, the biggest local flower market open in the early morning. Relax in the colorful and charming flowers gardens. On the way back, cycle to Red River ceramic market, considered the concentration or ceramics from every ceramic village such as Phu Lang, Bat Trang, and Tho Ha pottery villages. Then cycle toward Thanh Nien Road, on the West Lake side, to see Hanoian doing morning exercises or Tai Chi, in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the symbol of Vietnamese spirit in Ba Dinh square. Enjoy a sampling of Hanoi traditional breakfast noodles with beef or chicken before it becomes bustling with morning traffic. Cycle back to return bicycles then take a taxi back to the hotel. End your tour at Long Bien market at 8:30am.
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Your tour guide will pick you up in the morning from your hotel. The first stop is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, just next door is Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts. Lying to one side of the Mausoleum is the One Pillar Pagoda; built by King Ly Thai To in 1049 the structure has become an important symbol for the people of Hanoi. Next, continue to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda the oldest pagoda in the city. Then keep walking to Quan Thanh Temple, as one of the Four Sacred Temples of the capital. Keep forward to the Temple of Literature, constructed in 1070, it is a temple of Confucius in Hanoi, Vietnam's first national university. the stop for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, proceed to visit the Ethnology Museum which focuses on the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups in Vietnam. You could choose any museum you like to visit in Hanoi. This afternoon, you'll be transferred to the old quarters to visit daily life of local people there. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you. Your guide will then take you back to your hotel, where your tour will end.
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