2. Hanoi: Full-Day City Tour with Lunch and Optional Extras
Start the day in the early morning from the convenient meeting point or with a pickup from your hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Meet your guide and driver and depart for the visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, consisting of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, and Ba Dinh Square. See the final resting place of Uncle Ho and the One Pillar Pagoda, an important symbol for the people of Hanoi.
Next up, continue on to the Buddhist Tran Quoc Pagoda at West Lake, one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam. Then, depending on the day of your tour, visit either Bat Trang village, an old village famous for its tradition of making porcelain and pottery items, or the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology for an insight into the 54 different ethnic groups of Vietnam. Afterwards, return to the Old Town and savor a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, proceed to Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam — the Temple of Literature — and Vietnam’s first university, constructed in 1070 with its gardens and well-preserved architecture offering a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past. You will also go past Hoan Kiem Lake to see the peaceful waters and the beauty of Ngoc Son Temple, the most visited temple in Hanoi, also known as the Temple of the Jade Mountain.
Continue your day of discovery with an optional visit to the world-famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi for a unique 45-minute water puppet show starting around 4:30 PM. Enjoy one of Vietnam's most memorable and traditional art forms exploring the country’s traditions, folklore, ancient legends, and myths through music and a live puppeteer performance.
If you would prefer to further explore the city, there is an optional cyclo tour taking in around 36 street during a 45-minute ride on a traditional Vietnamese rickshaw known locally as a xích lô. This was the most popular means of transportation in Vietnam during the French colonial period and was used as luxury transportation for the French and a small number of Vietnamese people at that time. Nowadays, the cyclo has become a special experience for tourists who want to learn more about the period of French occupation in Vietnam.