Many South East Asia backpacking adventures begin in Hanoi, one of Vietnam’s major cities, full of Vietnamese character. Scour the city’s markets and street-side shops for an authentic bowl of pho or silk scarves; or head to one of the many must-see destinations nearby on a day trip like the Perfume Pagoda, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, or go for an overnight cruise through the stunning Ha Long Bay.
Ha Long Bay
This famous iconic Vietnamese landmark is popular with all travellers. Hundreds of limestone islands of various sizes are dotted around the bay emerging from the sea. For an unforgettable experience, take a boat ride in Halong Bay either at sunrise or sunset to witness the changing colours of the scenery.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
The large memorial dedicated to the former Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh is where his preserved body lies in a glass case, looked over by a guard at all times. Visitors can pay their respects but there are strict rules regarding behaviour and dress for visitors, including covering your legs, you must be silent and walk in two lines and photography is not allowed inside the mausoleum.
Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre
A glimpse into the cultural past of Vietnam told through the art of puppetry on water, an old tradition originating back to the villages in the red river Delta in the 11th Century. This colourful puppet display is spectacular, with many different shows a day, book your ticket a day before you plan to visit the theatre. Prices range from 20,000 to 40,000 Dong depending on which seat you book, the most expensive being in the first few rows at the front.
Temple of Literature
The 11th Century temple is a famous Vietnamese landmark and even features on the back of a 1000 dong banknote. It is thought to be one of Vietnam’s first learning centres in ancient times. You are able to wander around some of the existing stone tortoises in which graduates names were carved into. Admission to the Temple of literature costs 5000 Dong.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Located in the centre of Hanoi is Hoan Kiem Lake, considered the heart of the city. Stroll down to the southern end of the lake to marvel at Tortoise Tower which is inspired by a 15th Century myth behind Hoan Kiem Lake (meaning ‘lake of the returned sword’), when Vietnam was occupied by the Chinese Ming.
One Pillar Pagoda
The iconic One Pillar Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple which stands in the park behind the Ho Chi Minh Museum. The structure is built on one pillar rising out of a lotus pond, inside the structure is a shrine to the Buddhist goddess Quan Am. The pagoda is open daily and entrance is free.
Cheap backpacker travel insurance
So that you can really enjoy your backpacking adventure in South East Asia, don’t forget to take out your backpacker insurance as soon as you book your trip. It is important that you remember to check that your backpacking travel insurance policy offers you the level of cover that you need for your trip before you buy it.
When buying your cheap backpacker travel insurance, don’t assume that every policy is the same. Your needs may be different from others, so make sure your travel insurance for backpackers provides the cover that you require. Read the small print, check the level of cover and ensure you are covered for any activities that you want to undertake. Carry your backpacking travel insurance documentation and the 24-hour emergency assistance number on you at all times along with your policy number so you’re prepared for every eventuality!