When the heat, the humidity and the crowds in Hanoi city center knock you down, just get away from it and head to peaceful and ancient villages around it. Just spend 1 day, stretch out there, enjoy the countryside atmosphere, eat local food in Hanoi and explore authentic things that you may have never experienced before in touristy Hanoi. Note down the names of the following places to visit near Hanoi for your next journey:
Bat Trang – The Most Beautiful Ceramic Village
When it comes to places to visit near Hanoi, the top-of-mind is always Bat Trang. For many people, the seven-century old pottery village is too touristy, however, there are always some few places that only local people know and surprisingly, are not crowded at all.
If you plan to visit Bat Trang, make sure you arrive early in the morning to avoid flocks of tourists or choose the weekday instead of the weekend. Besides the ceramic market where you could choose from thousands of vases, decoration stuff, kitchenwares or even pieces of jewelry, come to an artisan’s house, join a pottery-making workshop and bring back home your own creation. For those who are curious about the traditional process of making pottery in Bat Trang, pay a visit to Lo Bau Co- the only factory that has 20 ancient ceramic kilns dating back in the 19th century.
Secret Tips: Walk to the end of the village, you will see the river, a hundreds-of-year-old pagoda, small lanes, and a few stunning house gardens. Absolutely no tourists there!
How to get there: Rent a motorbike or catch the bus No. 47 from Dong Xuan Market.
Duong Lam – A Thousand-Year-Old Village
As a homeland of two famous Vietnamese kings, Duong Lam is one of the oldest villages near Hanoi. Through ups and owns, this ancient village is still the home to 956 traditional houses, some of which were built in the 15th century as well as 21 cultural relic sites, consisting of temples, pagodas and more. This village is like a living museum that showcases the daily lives of Tonkin people for centuries. From the laterite wall, winding lanes, to the ancient well, community courtyards and a-thousand-year-old banyan trees, everything here makes you feel like walking in the past. Spend a day there and ask for a short visit to an old house, and try special village-made sweets in the local market.
Secret Tips: The best time to come to Duong Lam is after harvest in May or June as the roads there will be full of yellow piles of straw and you witness the traditional way of harvesting on rice fields. You can rent a bike to move around the village.
How to get there: Duong lam is 40km to the west of Hanoi, in Son Tay Town so it is much easier to get there by motorbike than a public bus. If you want to go by public bus, first, take the bus to My Dinh bus terminal, then get on the bus No. 70B to Son Tay. At Son Tay bus terminal, get a local bus No. 76 or No.92 to Son Tay Fortress and it will pass by Duong Lam so don’t forget to turn on GPS or ask the driver when you can get off. Or you can get on a taxi from Son Tay to Duong Lam (only 70,000 or 100,000 VND for one way).
Cu Da Village- A Vermicelli Village
For those who love Vietnamese food, vermicelli is a common ingredient that is used in some noodle soups and spring rolls. However, not many know that this ingredient is made in Cu Da village which is just 20 km from Hanoi Old Quarters. In fact, Cu da has just been known for vermicelli making for around 70 years and in the 19th century, it used to be a trading hub in Ha Tay province. That’s the reason why apart from 100 ancient houses that date back to the 16th, 17th century, the village owns a number of French- styled two-story houses, 300-year-old pagodas, 200-year-old shrines and an ancient well called “Water well of the King”.
It often takes one day to visit the whole Cu Da village from Hanoi. To enjoy it to the fullest, never miss the chance to visit the local house to witness the traditional way of making vermicelli and get inside an old house to admire the shoe cap-shaped tiles, carved gates, beams, and pillars.
Secret Tips: Ask for permission to get into a French-style two-storey villa and go up to the highest floor, you will have a 360-degree view of the whole village, which is more than magic at the sunset.
How to get there: It is located in Cu Khe Commune in Thanh Oai, Hanoi so it is quite complicated to get there by public bus. Rent a motorbike and follow google map or rent a minivan if you have a large group.
Ha Thai Lacquerware Village
One of the interesting places to visit near Hanoi is Ha Thai village. Do you know that nearly 90% of lacquerware products sold in the Old Quarters are made in Ha Thai village, just 30km to the south of Hanoi? The history of Ha Thai dates back in the 17th century when lacquerwares were introduced to Vietnam and a lot of artisans learned the techniques to make them from China and Japan. Though it is the 21st century, the locals still use the traditional way to make lacquerwares. Each house in the commune has its own workshop and gallery, thus, you can stop by one, participate in a class to learn to make souvenirs from small lacquer pieces or watch artisan create a lacquerware product.
Secret tips: Buy lacquerwares in the village is about 20-30% cheaper than in the Old Quarters, thus, don’t hesitate to visit a gallery there.
How to get there: It is always recommended to reach this village by motorbike but in case you don’t know how to ride one, you can take a taxi (20 bucks for 1 way) or go there by bus. From the city center, take the bus No. 03A and stop at Giap Bat bus terminal, then switch to a cab or take the bus No. 06A and stop at Thuong tin and finally got a taxi to the village.
Read this blog if you want to know how to use public transportation in Hanoi.
Besides these villages, there are many other small but beautiful places to visit near Hanoi that still hold the valuable ancient houses, cultural relics and typical scenery of Hanoi countryside in the past. They are the perfect places for your heart and soul and a getaway from the bustling Hanoi. Spare one or two days at least to discover them all!
More from Suggestions from a Local!
Although there are plenty of housing options in Hanoi that are suitable for all kinds of travel, seeing expats struggle …
Bun Dau Mam Tom (or Vietnamese Noodle with Fried Tofu and Shrimp Paste) is one of the most well-loved dishes …