Reputable tour operators based in Hanoi provide detailed itineraries (often tailor-made to individual requirements), visitor information, transportation and hotel bookings, car and bus rentals, guided tours, private tour guides, and visa extensions. These companies can organize everything from an extended itinerary in northern Vietnam to shorter excursions to nearby highlights such as Ninh Binh, Halong Bay, Mai Chau, and Sapa. Types of tours, meanwhile, range from adventure to luxury and cultural tourism. Within Hanoi itself, these companies as well as a growing number of boutique operators run by local and foreign enthusiasts, can organize specialty excursions such as detailed investigations into the city’s amazing street food culture, markets, and architectural heritage.


Buffalo Tours. Started in 1994 by Tran Trong Kien, then a medical student, Buffalo Tours is one of the pioneers of adventure travel in Vietnam. The company puts an emphasis on responsible, low-impact travel and has a reputation for creating imaginative itineraries for clients. It can tailor a trip to all tastes, whether they are luxury or something more rustic. 70–72 Ba Trieu St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 024/3828–0702;

Handspan Indochina Travel. Whether it is a cultural tour of Vietnam's stunning mountainous far north or a sumptuous couple of days cruising the karsts on a luxury junk, Handspan can arrange a trip to suit. Known for its commitment to responsible tourism, the company also employs some of the most skilled and knowledgeable guides in the country. 78 Ma May St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 024/3926–2828;

Hanoi Backstreet Tours. The newest company on the scene, Hanoi Backstreet Tours is a great morning or afternoon trip. Each guest dons a camouflage army vest and jumps on the back of a vintage motorcycle to explore Hanoi’s alleyways and neighborhoods in style. Expect a lot of street food and spontaneous stops to see small home-businesses at work. Activities may include eating warm roasted peanuts and freshly pressed green bean wedding cakes, or visiting a domesticated giant pig. 19 Gia Ngu , Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 91/186–9900;

Hanoi Street Food Tour. There are now numerous ways to experience the glories of Hanoi's rich street-food culture, but this is one of the most respected food tour companies. Stroll through hidden alleyways and sample local specialties. Tours start at 460,000d per person for a walking tour, and 1,020,000d per person for a scooter tour. Tours are held daily at 11 am, 5 pm, and 6:30 pm, but the day tours tend to be a bit cheaper. 74–76 Hang Bac St., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 096/696–0188;

Hidden Hanoi. Although Hanoi is firmly established as a destination on the Southeast Asian tourist map, there remains a wealth to discover. As the name suggests, this exemplary operator is the outfit to guide you around them. As well as cooking classes that cover some of the lesser-known dishes in the city's culinary oeuvre, the company can take guests on walking tours with an emphasis on education. Other highlights include informal Vietnamese lessons, the ideal tool for haggling at a local market or negotiating a taxi fare. 147 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 91/225–4045;

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