With a five-day public holiday fast approaching, typical heavy holiday traffic is putting many Hanoians off from traveling out of the city and instead has them looking for fun ways to spend the break without having to brave crowds of vacationers.
Specifically, the five-day break lasts from April 29 to May 3 to mark Hung Kings Commemoration Day, Reunification Day, and International Workers’ Day.
Hung Kings Commemoration Day, which takes place on the 10th day of the third lunar month, falls on April 29 this year, and is immediately followed by Reunification Day (April 30) and International Workers’ Day (May 1).
Here is a great three-day itinerary for those who choose to spend their time off in Hanoi:
Day 1: A foodie journey through the Old Quarter
Home to some of Hanoi’s best fare, the Old Quarter in Hoan Kiem District is a top choice for any foodie in the Vietnamese capital city.
A bowl of pho at Pho Ganh, a 30-year-old pho shop on Nguyen Sieu Street, would be a great way to begin the first day of the holiday.
While Pho Ganh used to be a simple stall on a sidewalk that primarily served the late-night workers from Dong Xuan Market who stopped by at three in the morning, it has since expanded its opening hours to 4:00-11:00 am.
A bowl of pho at Pho Ganh sells for VND45,000-60,000. (US$1 = VND23,495)
|Diners spend their early morning at Pho Ganh Hang Chieu in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre|
After filling up, visitors can burn some calories by wandering the Old Quarter or visiting famous destinations like Dong Xuan Market, the old city gate O Quan Chuong, or St. Joseph's Cathedral.
While strolling, make sure to grab a bite of Hanoi’s most popular street snacks, including seasonal red jellyfish, rib porridge, pho rolls, and tasty desserts ranging from VND20,000 to VND50,000.
|A serving of red jellyfish comes with shrimp paste for dipping in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre|
Lunch options in the Old Quarter are diverse, with some of the most popular choices being pho at Pho Thin Bo Ho, bun cha (rice noodles with grilled pork and meatballs), or bun rieu (crab paste soup noodles). These dishes typically cost VND40,000-85,000 each.
As evening sets in, make sure to grab a cup of coffee at Bancông Cafe, Highlands Coffee, Cộng Cà Phê, or Giảng Cafe.
After such a busy day, you will definitely have worked up the appetite for a fresh beer and a side dish of grilled squid or nem chua ran (fried fermented pork rolls) on the 'sleepless' street of Ta Hien.
Day 2: A getaway from downtown
After day one in the heart of Hanoi, treat yourself to some fresh air with a quick trip to Quoc Oai, a suburban district to the west of Hanoi.
During the upcoming national holidays, the district will host the Chua Thay (Thay Pagoda) Festival, where visitors can experience local culture and try delicacies at the ancient pagoda.
Another top destination is the Vietnam Ethnic Village of Culture and Tourism in Son Tay District, where tourists can enjoy a diverse glimpse of the cultures of Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups by trying on traditional costumes and taking photos.
The Vietnam Ethnic Village of Culture and Tourism is also known for its unique culinary offerings of delicacies from across the country.
|Tourists don a traditional Khmer costume at the Vietnam Ethnic Village Of Culture and Tourism in Son Tay District, Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre|
Day 3: Time to camp
On your final day, make sure to get out of the city and spend the day camping at the pine forest in Ba Vi National Park in Ba Vi District, the longan garden at the foot of the Vinh Tuy Bridge in Long Bien District, Yen So Park in Hoang Mai District, Dong Do Lake in Soc Son District, Dong Mo Lake in Son Tay Town, or Vinhomes Ocean Park in Gia Lam District.
|Campers enjoy the Ba Vi pine forest near Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre|
Most of these places allow visitors to rent tents and barbecues for just VND500,000 ($21.3) and above.
Campers are free to bring their own tents, food, and drinks.
They should also make sure to prepare sunscreen and bug spray.