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jahlie Jul 23rd, 2004 07:11 AM

What is the best place to see the countryside outside Hanoi?
After seeing the sights of Hanoi, I will have one day free in Hanoi (late Jan.). What is the best place to go outside the city to get a glimpse of what the countryside is really like? Are there villages nearby or areas that don't require a long drive, but will give me a good feel for what life is like in the countryside around Hanoi? I wanted to go to the ethnic villages, but the drive is too long. Any suggestions?

Kathie Jul 23rd, 2004 07:30 PM

We did a day trip to the Perfume Pagoda, and felt it gave us a glimpse of the countryside. We had a car and driver, not a tour, so that made a difference.

jahlie Jul 26th, 2004 08:13 AM

Kathy, Do you think the Perfume Pagoda would be better or some of the craft villages (Van Phuc silk village for example)? I will rent a car and driver, so I can be more flexible.

Kathie Jul 26th, 2004 09:26 AM

The silk village, Van Phuc, is worth a stop. I made some great buys there (long, reversible silk bathrobes, brocade on one side embriodered dragons, etc, on the other for US$10. They made great Christmas gifts). But while the village is billed as bing outside Hanoi, it is basically still inside the extended city. You will not see ANY countryside going to or from. We made the trip to the Perfume Pagoda and had the driver stop at Van Phuc on the way back. Depending on how long you spend at the Perfume Pagoda, you may be able to make more than one stop on the way back. Do read about our experiences at the perfume pagoda at While I highly recommend it, watch out for the high pressure pleas for $$ from the "guides."

jahlie Jul 27th, 2004 12:42 PM

Kathie, That sounds like a great day. I'll check out the website and thanks for the heads-up on the guides.

rhkkmk Jul 27th, 2004 07:02 PM

i think the area from hanoi towards hy phong is quite interesting

BRC Aug 18th, 2004 11:28 AM

Definitely perfume pagoda. On the way you will see the vietnam that (I think) is in the imagination of most people -- stretches of rice paddies and buffalos. And the trip up the river to the perfume pagoda is gorgeous with those huge craggy mountains (karsts).

glorialf Aug 18th, 2004 01:15 PM

You could also Tam Coc. It's a couple of hour drive and then you can take a wonderful boat ride in the Hoang Long river which takes you through three incredible caves and by gorgeous mountains. You see a lot of local life along the river. It's a bit like Guilin or Halong Bay but with a lot fewer tourists.

One the way home you can stop at Hoa Lu to see the last relics of the ancient capital.

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