Travel seems like a distant dream to so many at the moment, with plans being disrupted and holidays cut short or cancelled. If you’re stuck inside right now, there’s still a chance to plan a future trip or revisit some old haunts. So get comfy, and let Harry Menear guide you through the best virtual tours of Vietnam’s bustling, vibrant, irrepressibly noisy capital city, Hanoi.
It can be hard to get a real sense of a foreign culture or city from the confines of a computer screen, but there are a whole lot of fantastic resources out there, from virtual-reality experiences to POV walking tours. A virtual trip to Hanoi could satisfy your wanderlust and give you a taste of what to expect when you do make the trip to Vietnam’s capital.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Take a walk through the Old Quarter
If you’re staying in Hanoi, chances are you’ll be somewhere in the Old Quarter. This charmingly jumbled cat’s cradle of streets and alleyways, lined with restaurants, beer stalls and curio shops, is the heart and soul of the city. The neighbourhood is over 1,000 years old and the historical, cultural and commercial centre of Hanoi.
The Old Quarter is made up of 36 streets, joined together by a spider’s web of winding alleys and culs-de-sac. Wandering through it first thing in the morning will take you past markets, cafés and street-food stalls selling everything from bánh mìs to vermicelli noodles and grilled pork patties. It’s a sensory barrage, and it’s very, very hard not to fall hopelessly in love.
This video is the best way to get a taste of the sights and sounds of the Old Quarter without setting foot there yourself. Meander through the winding streets, dodging the ever-present traffic, and drink in the spectacle of Hanoi’s residents going about their days – all in glorious 4K HD.
Stroll along Train Street
Near the southern edge of the Old Quarter, through a narrow stone archway, you’ll find one of the most fascinating slices of life in all of Hanoi. At first glance, the narrow street, cloaked in vegetation and criss-crossed with washing lines, seems just like any other.
Look down, however, at the steel tracks running down the middle of the street, and you’ll realise what makes this stretch of the city unique. At 3.30pm and 7.30pm, without any alarm or other warning signal, a diesel locomotive chugs through the heart of the street. People, chairs, tables and other accoutrements of daily life here are unceremoniously shuffled to safety, and life goes on as usual. It’s a truly fascinating testament to community resilience.
Made by the same folks who produced the HD tour of the Old Quarter, this video takes you on a stroll along Train Street. Take in the families and vendors going about their daily business, sitting, sipping coffees and eating a late lunch. About one minute in, watch the train scrape its way along the street, shaking the houses and filling the air with its low rumble. It’s a sight to see.
Circumnavigate historical Hoàn Kiếm Lake
Known for its scenic views, water puppetry and the occasional turtle, Hoàn Kiếm Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword) is the centre point of old Hanoi. Surrounded by crowded streets and elegant French colonial architecture, the stretch of jade green water is a moment of calm at the heart of the frantic city centre.
Take a walk around the lake, past old Vietnamese men playing Chinese chess in the shade of the lush park that borders the water. The tour also explores the famous pagodas that jut out onto the water, striking a powerful contrast with the glass-and-steel high-rises that make up the skyline.
Explore ancient relics in Vietnam’s first virtual museum
If you’re a bit of a history nerd, nothing beats exploring a country’s past. From invasions to mighty empires and occupations, Vietnam’s history is as rich and diverse as anywhere. Getting a sense of the foreign cultures who have made their mark on the country over the millennia is a great way to understand why Vietnam looks, sounds and tastes the way it does today.
In a first for the country, the folks at VR3D Vietnam have comprehensively scanned and uploaded some of the country’s most treasured historical relics to a 3D museum exhibit available for free online. Explore the sculptures of past emperors, gods and (pretty demonic-looking) snakes. It’s fascinating.
Race around the Formula One Hanoi Street Circuit
The first-ever Vietnamese Grand Prix – once a pipe dream of F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone – was scheduled to take place in 2020. An exciting new street circuit was laid out, twisting and turning through the streets of Hanoi. The race itself was due to take place on 5 April but has unfortunately been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as race events around the world have been cancelled, organisers are taking things virtual.
You can still get a taste of the white-knuckle, high-speed course that winds through the streets of Hanoi with this VR 3D re-creation that puts you behind the wheel of one of the virtual race cars. The 5.5km (3.4mi) course, located in the industrial, western side of Hanoi, features blistering straits and tight turns inspired by the famous German Nürburgring and an elegant pit-stop building that echoes the architecture of traditional Vietnamese temples.
Dive into the wonderful world of Hanoi at night
When the sun goes down, Hanoi comes alive with an entirely different energy. All across the Old Quarter, restaurants and bars are thronged with hungry people in search of a good time.
Bia Hoi Junction, the famous intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets, fills up with revellers, crowding in together on plastic stools to drink ice-cold steins of beer. The atmosphere’s electric, bursting with music and the chatter of thousands of people. During festivals, this all gets amped up to 11, as the asphalt becomes invisible beneath the press of bodies. It’s hectic and wild – a fantastic celebration of life.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.