Hanoi Capital Region or Hanoi Metropolitan Area (Vietnamese: Vùng thủ đô Hà Nội) is a metropolitan area currently planned by the government of Vietnam. Hanoi is the core city of this metropolitan area. Other component parts will include provinces: Vinh Phuc Province, Hung Yen Province, Bac Ninh Province, Hai Dương Province, Ha Nam Province, Hoa Bình, Bac Giang Province, Phu Tho Province and Thai Nguyen Province.

Hanoi Metropolitan Area
Hanoi Metropolitan Area

Vinh Phuc – destination of great landscapes and traditional festivals

Vinh Phuc province is 50 km northwest of Hanoi. The province has great landscapes, including Tam Dao, Tay Thien, Dai Lai and Dam Vac. Tam Dao resort is considered one of the most scenic in Northern Vietnam. The famous Bac (Silver) Falls, Xa Huong and Ha village Lake, as well as primeval forests of Tam Dao National Park will be unforgettable by visitors.

Tam Dao National Park
Tam Dao National Park

Vinh Phuc has nearly 500 historical and cultural relics, an important human resource to attract tourists. Of the sites, 162 historical relics got State recognition with 67 of them recognised as national relics. Traditional festivals also lure visitors to Vinh Phuc. Mau Lam festival in Vinh Yen town with the Mo dance, festivals of Son Dong and Tho Tang villages, buffalo fight in Hai Luu, Ha Loi temple festival and the Tay Thien festival are held annually.

Tay Thien festival - Vinh Phuc
Tay Thien festival

Vinh Phuc is developing production of traditional handicraft items, together with recovering and promoting traditional craft villages to promote tourism. Vinh Phuc has many traditional crafts such as carpentry in Bich Chu village (Vinh Tuong district) and in Thanh Lang village (Binh Xuyen district); pottery in Huong Canh commune (Binh Xuyen district), smith in Ly Nhan (Vinh Tuong); snake feeding in Vinh Son (Vinh Tuong district); stones casting in Hai Luu (Lap Thach district; and weaving in Trieu De (Lap Thach). Those craft villages are near tourist routes and are convenient for tourists.

Pottery in Huong Canh commune
Pottery in Huong Canh commune

Vinh Phuc’s intangible culture such as folk songs, dances and games of ethnic minority groups, as well as local special foods are attracting many domestic and foreign visitors.

Bac Giang – destination for lychee lovers

Bac Giang, the northern mountainous province, located in the tourism subregion of the northern region. The province is a stopover for tourists from Hanoi to Lang Son and then China. The province does not have huge, but diversified and abundant tourism potential naturally and humanitarianly. Bac Giang has many valuable natural landscapes, such as Mo stream, Khuon Than lake, Cam Son lake, Khe Ro eco tourism site, west Yen Tu natural conservation park…

Mo Stream
Mo Stream
Cam Son lake
Cam Son lake

Together with the potential of natural tourism, humanitarian tourism is also an advantage of Bac Giang. The province’s historical and cultural richness along side with thousands of traditional festivals create its own attractiveness to tourists. Such festivals as Hoang Hoa Tham (Yen The), Mo spring (Luc Nam), Tho Ha, Bo Da pagoda (Viet Yen), Duc La pagoda (Yen Dung) … become popular.

Yen The Festival - Bac Giang
Yen The Festival

Following the provincial tourism development policy, Bac Giang has increased investment in tourism infrastructure development, and created favourable conditions via mechanisms for site clearance, implemented administrative reforms to attract and encourage investors to invest in tourism promising areas. Besides geographical advantages, these elements offer a favourable condition for investors in tourism sector who plan to invest in Bac Giang.

Luc Ngan lychees, Bac Giang
Luc Ngan lychees

Bac Ninh – the province with the most handicraft villages in Vietnam

Bac Ninh is a province in the delta and the northern midlands. According to archaeological research, the ancient Vietnamese resided in Bac Ninh thousand years ago. Vestiges of an ancient urban area of Luy Lau means Bac Ninh used to be a prosperous trade centre of the Vietnamese people from the 2nd to 10th century. Buddhism entered the land in the first centuries AD. In the Ly dynasty, Buddhism bloomed. Many temples, pagodas were built in Kinh Bac, becoming architectural and cultural relics. With many tangible and intangible relics, Bac Ninh attracts a large number of visitors.

Dinh Bang Village Temple
Dinh Bang Village Temple in Bac Ninh. Dinh Bang village is known to be the birthplace of Ly Cong Uan- the Great King who first chose Hanoi as the capital in 1010
Dau Pagoda - Bac Ninh
Dau Pagoda – Bac Ninh, one of Vietnam’s most ancient pagodas

Bac Ninh also has many cultural and religious relics and many legends relating to the Vietnamese people’s spirit. The land was the cradle of the Ly dynasty, which began the Dai Viet civilisation and flourished for over 200 years. Many talented people grew up in Bac Ninh, playing important role in the country’s history, including eight Ly kings and five prime ministers of the Le dynasty. Bac Ninh is also the original land of Quan Ho singing, a famous folk singing of the northern region, Quan Ho signing of Bac Ninh became precious cultural heritage of Vietnam and the humanity. Bac Ninh is home to many pagodas and traditional festival and culture. All the festivals show the local and national cultural beauty and quintessence. They are opportunities for people to remember and pay tributes to late national heroes.

Lim Festival, Bac Ninh
Lim Festival which takes place annually in Noi Due Commune, Lien Bao Commune and Lim Town in Tien Du District

Bac Ninh now has many popular handicrafts occupations in the country, namely Dong Ky wood, Dong Ho folk paintings, and Dai Bai cooper.

Rat's wedding - Dong Ho Painting
Rat’s wedding – Dong Ho Painting

On the land of long-year culture, Kinh Bac opens many festivals in springs for local people and pilgrimages.

Hung Yen: the cradle of Cheo singing

Hung Yen province is in the northern region’s delta, the homeland of rice field, gardens, and lotus ponds with famous specialties such as sweet orange and longan. Hung Yen is one of treasure of folklore of the Red River delta with Cheo singing (popular opera), A dao singing (geisha singing) and Trong quan singing (singing of alternate songs with drums). The province has many historical and cultural relics. The most popular ones are Hien street, and Da Hoa Da Trach relic complex, which is go along with the legend of Chu Dong Tu – Tien Dung.

Cheo singing
Cheo singing
Vietnamese Geisha singing
Vietnamese Geisha singing – A dao singing

Hung Yen has more than 900 historical and cultural relics, of which 132 were recognised as national relics.

Hai Duong – the hometown of Nguyen Trai, a UNESCO World Cultural Celebrity

Hai Duong Province is in the centre of the Red River delta. The province has a great potential for tourism as it is easy to access by land, river and rail routes. Hai Duong is a prosperous land with peaceful landscapes. Con Son resort and Kiep Bac temple are popular tourism destinations in the country. The festival of the Kiep Bac temple is held annually from the 15th to18th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, while the Con Son festival is held from the 18th to 23rd day of the first lunar month of the year.

Con Son Pagoda - Hai Duong
Con Son Pagoda – Hai Duong
Nguyen Trai Temple
Nguyen Trai Temple

Those festivals helped form “tours” to discover historical and cultural values of Con Son-Kiep Bac, An Phu-Kinh Phu, Chu Dau pottery and Chi Lang Nam crane island. They will include in a journey of Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quanh Ninh. Visitors to Hai Duong to see the “beautiful East land”, which has many architectures from the Dinh, Le, Ly and Tran dynasties to the Ho Chi Minh age to learn about the life of people in the Red river delta.

Kiep Bac Temple
Kiep Bac Temple

For a long time, Hai Duong is famous for products of ceramics and green bean cake. Those products do not bring high revenues, but they help maintain the old-age traditional culture. It is very interesting when drinking green tea and enjoying green bean cake. Beside green bean cake, Hai Duong also has other special dishes with their owned flavours: sand-worm and Ninh Giang Gai cake.

Hai Duong Green Bean Cake
Hai Duong Green Bean Cake

Hoa Binh – a mountainous province in northwestern Vietnam

Hoa Binh is a mountainous province in the northwestern gate of Hanoi capital city. It has great potential for tourism. Hoa Binh has natural landscapes and many attractive caves. The nature and unique culture of local ethnic minority groups have been attraction to both domestic and foreign visitors.

Thac Bo Cave
Thac Bo Cave

Regarding Hoa Binh, people think about the country’s largest hydro power plant. Visitors will be amazed by the giant project while seeing its big reservoir, damps and turbine groups. Visiting the plant, tourists will call at the Kim Boi mineral water spring and learn about the legend “Mr. Tung, Mrs. Tung” in conquering the fierce river of  the Da River to turn into power. Tourists will visit the Long Vuong (Dragon King) temple, Thac Bo cave and the temple of the Goddess of mountain. Tourists will also spend time to go in the Hoa Binh reservoir by boat.

Hoa Binh Hydro Power Plant
Hoa Binh Hydro Power Plant – the country’s largest hydro power plant

Hoa Binh is well-known to people not only by the power plant, songs, dances and communal activities of ethnic minority people, but also by the beauty of the Mai Chau valley, which was appeared in Quang Dung’s poem. Leaving Hoa Binh township for 60km and passing passes and slops, reaching Cun slop with a length of more than 10km, you will meet Mai Chau valley. Hamlets and villages in the valley are in green of fruit gardens, rice fields and mulberry farms. Visitors will mix with the nature. Visiting stilt houses of local people and stay a night in the hamlet, tourists will have opportunities to enjoy special dishes, drinking local wine and art performances with gongs.

Mai Chau valley
Mai Chau valley
Lac Village in Mai Chau
Lac Village in Mai Chau

In addition to the landscape, an eco-tourism area has been put into used in recent years to serve tourists. Tourists can visit the Suoi Ngoc-Vua Ba eco-tourism resort in Xuan Tien commune, Luong Son district.  They will also be deluded by Mo (dream), Tien (fairy) and Chin Tang (nine steps) waterfalls, which throw white spumes like in paintings. Visitors can have swim at pools of those waterfall.

Kim Boi Hot Springs
Kim Boi Hot Springs

Phu Tho – Hung Kings Ancestral Land

Phu Tho is in the centre of  northern Vietnam, is the gate connecting the northwestern mountainous provinces with the capital city of Hanoi and northern delta provinces. With the transition between delta, midland and mountainous topography,  Phu Tho has rugged mountains, proximity hills, fertile delta, which are potential for many types of tourism like sightseeing, entertainment, convalescence and eco-tours at tourism sites of Ao Chau lagoon (Ha Hoa), Xuan Son National Park (Thanh Son), Thanh Thuy hot mineral water mine (Thanh Thuy district), God’s pond – Fairy Stream (Ha Hoa district), Ben Got – Bach Hac (Viet Tri) …

Thanh Thuy hot spring
Thanh Thuy hot spring

Phu Tho has a long history and is considered the cradle of the nation. According to legend, Hung Kings chosen Phu Tho as the capital with a name of Van Lang (the first capital of Vietnam). The Hung Kings Temple complex is a national important historical relic. Through archaeological excavations, scientists found many stone and bronze artifacts in Phu Tho, which is considered as evidences for periods of building the country of Van Lang by the Hung Kings. These include the well-known sites such as Mun hill, Son Vi, Ca village, Phung Nguyen, which are dating back about 4 to 6 thousand years. In addition, Phu Tho has many relics, stories and legends of the cultural life and the struggle for national construction and protection of the Vietnamese people through thousands years.

Dong Son Drum
Dong Son Drum of Dong Son culture, the last great culture of Van Lang

Phu Tho also has many festivals with unique cultures of over 20 ethnic minority people. The festivals include the Hung Kings Temple Festival, the Phet-Hien Quan festival, the Bach Hac boat racing, Dao Xa elephant procession festival, Hy Cuong-God Mother procession festival and the Nem Con (ball throwing) festival of the Muong ethnic minority people.

Phu Tho also has a huge treasure of poems, songs and tunes of Xoan, Gheo, Doi and Vi singings with the unique of the midland region.

Xoan singing
Xoan singing of Phu Tho

Thai Nguyen – The cradle of Vietnamese tea

Thai Nguyen is a mountainous and midland province in the the northeastern Vietnam. Thanks to its diversified natural tourism resource, Thai Nguyen is a place where four limestone bow-shaped mountain ranges of the northeastern region gather, making Vo Nhai, Dinh Hoa like a “Ha Long region in the greenfield.” Limestone mountains are covered by forests, creating mysterious, interesting and nutural landscapes, such as Phuong Hoang cave, Nguoi xua cavern, Mo Ga stream, Mua Roi water fall (Vo Nhai) or Chua Cho Chu cave, Khuon Tat seven storey fall (Dinh Hoa).

Mua Roi Waterfall
Mua Roi Waterfall

Besides, Thai Nguyen also protected by the eastern part of the giant Tam Dao mountain range, where the large “Tam Dao national park” is located, creating potential for eco-tourism, resorts, trekking, sport tourism…Lying near the Tam Dao mountain foot is the famous beautiful view of the famous and attractive Nui Coc lake. Close to the high mountains are low hill regions, which now become fruit hills, especially the fresh green tea hills, bringing an unforgettable smell for tourists. The diversification of the polymorphic and biodiversification is an advantage of Thai Nguyen’s natural tourism resource.

Nui Coc Lake
Nui Coc Lake

Another advantage of the province is humanitarian tourism resource. The Duom temple (in Phu Luong) associated with the name of hero Duong Tu Minh under the Ly dynasty. Returning to Thai Nguyen means returning to the origin of the revolutionary history during the long lasting resistance war against the agrressors. The Party Central Committee, Uncle Ho and the Government selected Thai Nguyen to build the revolutionary safe area. The province is honoured to locate in the centre of the revolutionary capital with many places making the history, such as Khau Ty, Tin Keo, Diem Mac, Phu Dinh, Bao Dien, Dinh Bien (Dinh Hoa)…The national museum on “Vietnam ethnic group culture” which locates in the heart of Thai Nguyen city, vividly introduces tangible and intangible culture of the community of 54 brotherly ethnic minorities.

Museum of Vietnamese Ethnic Culture in Thai Nguyen
Museum of Vietnamese ethnic group’s culture in Thai Nguyen

Visiting Thai Nguyen in early spring, tourists have a chance to take part in the Long Tong festival of Tay, Nung people, Thanh Ninh (Phu Binh) wrestling festival and festivals of Duom temple, Phuong Do communal house, Hang pagoda, Gia, Xuong Rong, Mo Bach temples and Phu Lien pagoda.

Ha Nam: southern gateway of Hanoi capital

Ha Nam is 60km south of Hanoi. Ha Nam is adjacent to many popular tourism sites of nearby localities like Tam Coc-Bich Dong caves of Ninh Binh province, Huong pagoda of Hanoi; Giay palace, Bao Loc temple and Thinh Long resort of Nam Dinh province. The nature presented Ha Nam with karst caves of colorful stalactites. Visitors visit  Ngu Dong Thi Son, Luon, Doi and Vong caves and will feel to be in heaven.

Ngu Dong Thi Son
Ngu Dong Thi Son

Visiting Ha Nam, tourists can visit historical and cultural relics and traditional craft villages. Noteworthy are Tran Thuong temple, Van Xa and Tho Chuong communal houses in Ly Nhan; Long Doi Son pagoda, Lanh Giang temple and Lung Xuyen communal house in Duy Tien; Ba Danh pagoda, Truc and Ba Le Chan temple in Kim Bang; Chau and Tien pagodas, Dinh, Le dynasties’ relic complex and Lieu Doi cultural area in Thanh Liem; house worshiping Nguyen Khuyen, Co Vien and Bo De communal houses in Binh Luc. In addition, An Hoa embroidery village in Thanh Liem, Nha Xa silk weaving village in Duy Tien, Do Hai horn village in Binh Luc, Hoang Dong woven bamboo and rattan village in Duy Tien are destinations for visitors, who can directly take part in making products at the craft villages.

Ba Danh Pagoda
Ba Danh Pagoda
Nha Xa silk weaving village in Duy Tien, Ha Nam
Nha Xa silk weaving village in Duy Tien