How to get there
Hanoi or when in written in Vietnamese is Hà Nội, is the capital of Vietnam and also its second largest city. It is a two-hour and thirty minutes flight from Manila to Nội Bài International Airport. Cebu Pacific Air flies to Hanoi 3x in a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) 10:20 PM from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminal 3) and arriving in Nội Bài International Airport the following day at 12:30 AM (Local Time). Manila is one hour ahead of Vietnam’s time zone.
Hanoi has a lot more to offer for tourists and travelers who are booked for a 3-day 2-night vacation or even for a longer stay. Our group was part of Cebu Pacific Air Hanoi Familiarization Tour composed of 9 travel bloggers (Out of Town Blog, Pinoy Adventurista, Nomadic Experiences, Just Wandering, Pinay Solo Backpacker, Ironwulf, Let’s Go Sago, When in Manila, Senyorita, and us), 2 Cebu Pacific Air representative, and 1 PR practitioner. We left Manila on November 8 and returned back on November 12.
Thanks to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Hanoi significantly ranked eight among top 10 most attractive destinations in the world as VNAT launched its 2014 tourism campaign which will extend to boost up tourism to 2020.
Aside from its rich heritage that goes beyond the food, traditions, and coffee, Hanoi charms tourists to Halong (Ha Long) Bay which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5 Places to visit in Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Complex
The first day would be a perfect time to visit Ho Chi Minh Complex. Here it houses Ho Chi Minh Museum and One Pillar Pagoda. The complex opens from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM.
Temple of Literature
Also known as Temple of Confucius is a 5 minutes away from the complex which was built in 1070. The temple is also referred to as Văn Miếu in Vietnam.
You can enjoy the busiest quarter in Hanoi by going around the cycle rickshaw. Also known as cyclo, this mode of transport usually costs 70,000VND. That’s about USD3.5 or Php 140 for a one-hour authentic fun ride around Hanoi’s Old Quarter. The places you’ll be seeing as you ride the rickshaw include Hoam Kiem Lake, Ly Thai To Statue, Ngoc Son Temple, the Opera House, and Long Bien Bridge.
Waking around the Old Quarter will also bring you to different local restaurants, coffee shops, souvenir shops, and bargain stores for tourists.
Ha Long Bay
Farther south of Hanoi is Ha Long Bay, located in the Gulf of Tonkin. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site within Quang Ninh Province presently populated with 1.2 million people.
How to get to Ha Long Bay
First stop is at Bai Chay Tourist Wharf and pay for the excursion or cruise ticket. Prepare 120,000VDN for the ticket for a 3 hour cruise at Ha Long Bay.
It’s always a perfect time to start the cruise early in the morning. Because Ha Long Bay is quite far from Hanoi, it is recommended to book an overnight stay in a hotel near the Bai Chay Tourist Wharf. We stayed in Ha Long Plaza Hotel for the night so we can leave early for the Ha Long Bay cruise.
We visited Dong Thien Cung Cave and channeled afterwards to Ba Hang riding sampan boats.
Water Puppet Show
One popular cultural show that is included in the itinerary is the Water Puppet Show which is very famous in Hanoi. Water Puppet Show shows the daily activities of traditional Vietnamese way-on the water. You can watch the Water Puppet Show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater located at the Old Quarter.
*All images appearing in this article were captured by SONY Xperia Z3 Compact.
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