Hanoi is an unexpected place, with a mysterious quaintness rather than a big city feeling. The perfect place to get off-the-beaten-track, Hanoi adventure tours are the only kind of tours to have in Vietnam’s northern hotspot.
This is a popular place for visitors of Hanoi to visit, but few people scratch beneath the surface of the Old Quarter. A warren of narrow backstreets and alleyways, this is a place to truly immerse yourself in the feeling of getting lost. Meander up and down the streets, peruse the wares of stallholders and artisan vendors, and soak up the atmosphere of organised chaos. All good Hanoi adventure tours should give you some time to explore the Old Quarter.
The ancient village of Le Mat (Snake Village) on Hanoi’s outskirts is full of inhabitants who have been employed as snake catchers for generations. Legend says this profession dates back to when the daughter of King Ly Thai Tong was almost killed by a sea serpent in 1010. A local man jumped in, fought the snake and saved her life. Nowadays, the village has become known for its inventive cuisines using snake meat. Recognised for the value snake breeding brings to the economy and local livelihoods, Le Mat has been named a craft village by Vietnamese authorities.
One of the best things about Hanoi is that plenty of urban adventures can be had in plain sight. One such adventure is finding the train that passes along streets so narrow, it’s a true feat of engineering and like something out of a movie. This train goes directly past the front doors of many Hanoians, who sit, rest and play on the train tracks the rest of the time. You can catch a glimpse of it as it passes through a wider section of street at Tong Duy Tan and Dien Bien Phu.
Hanoi is full of artisans and craft-makers, whose wares tell a thousand stories of their lives, inspirations and experiences. Tracking down some of the city’s craftspeople is another amazing way to find yourself off-the-beaten-track while in the heart of Hanoi. One great spot to visit is 54 Traditions
, a gallery and shop that is brim-full of all kinds of mesmerising crafts. Not only are they made by city dwellers, the crafts come from different ethnic groups from across the country, giving an insight into many different Vietnamese traditions and ideas.
See a different side to Hanoi by visiting the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural. Found on Song Hong dyke road, the 4km long ceramic mosaic is the longest in the world. It was designed in 2010 to celebrate the city’s millennium and depicts different points in Hanoi’s history. Whether you walk it, cycle it or get a cyclo, this is a great way to get lost and have an adventure on the city streets.
Mr Linh’s Adventures runs off-the-beaten-track tours in northern Vietnam – which includes plenty of time for mini Hanoi adventure tours – over 10 days and 9 nights.