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Offbeat experiences in Hanoi: Vietnam Diaries

Vietnam has been under the radar for so many years but is now slowly being considered tourist worthy. Among all the gems here, the capital city of Vietnam which is known to be an iconic French colonial city that is best discovered on foot.  This city not only oozes out with culture but it also is very famous for its delectable cuisine, chaotic Old Quarter, exotic temples and it's hard to miss out on the vibrant nightlife. Conveniently located on the banks of the Red River, and covered by water bodies Hanoi surprises you with every layer that folds. Sit tight and read about the unique experiences you can look out for your Vietnam vacation!

1. Hanoi Cooking Class – since entire Vietnam and Hanoi is home to wonderful food, what better way to master your cooking skills than by taking a cooking class here? Sign yourself up for the 4-hour cooking class at the famous Hanoi Cooking Centre. Head over to the local market or the wet market for all the ingredients you will ever need. Make a Vietnamese meal from scratch and unwrap the Vietnamese secrets, later enjoy your meal with unlimited drinks. As they say, good food is the way to one’s heart.

2. Water Puppet Theatre Hanoi – this puppet show is a world-famous one, and is held in the heart of the old town. No trip to Hanoi is completed without catching this authentic and ancient show. Just picture puppets in a flooded rice paddy enacting tales, with fireworks, singing and dancing plus few mythical animals to give it the exact effect of theatre. For all your theatre lovers, this will surely be off-books and unique to watch. So make sure you book your tickets for the show in advance, it’s affordable and cheap as well.  

3. Hanoi Opera House – another theoretical icon that should not be missed while your visit to Hanoi is this opera house. It is known that Hanoi’s roots are intertwined with French, and one of the moments that define history is the one where Viet Minh declared to have taken over Hanoi from this opera’s balcony. The opera nights are usually either packed with orchestras or operas and you can use the Opera House website to make your reservations if you would like to witness shows.

4. Tay Ho (West Lake) – one of the largest lakes in Hanoi, this excursion stretches as a 13-kilometre round journey. You can engage in a lot of activities here: hiking, cycling, and boating as well. If you want to do something a little cheesy then pick up the swan boats for a romantic ride. This area is the hippiest ones in the city, it is filled with a stretch of restaurants, cafes and boutiques as well. You can either make your trip to this lake the most exciting one or just a mellow one depending on your tastes. 

5. Halong Cruise From Hanoi – listed as one of the 7 wonders in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and surely qualifies as one of the exciting things to do as a part of your trip in Vietnam. Book yourself an overnight cruise, do some exciting kayaking by the cliffs, and enjoy the delicious seafood on board. You could also go on a couple of cave excursions on this bay, so be sure to book your tour after seeing all the options provided by the various tour operators. 

6. Bat Trang Pottery class in Hanoi – Bat Trang is known to be the oldest ceramics village that is located in the heart of the old town of Hanoi. You can engage in a pottery class just for 35 Dollars, just wing it and learn from scratch the basics of pottery. How many people can say that I learnt the art of pottery on my international vacation? You can bring out the artist in you, and this would be a great experience as well! 

7. Hanoi Weekend Night Market – the best way to spend your weekend here is to spend exploring the market on Hàng Đào Street. Witness the busiest weekend in this market with crazy clusters of sellers starting from Hoàn Kiếm Lake to Đồng Xuân Market. This market also gives you wonderful street food experience, you can find anything you want to buy here. Starting from clothes, ceramics, jewellery and accessories, you can also do some souvenir shopping here! This market is a wonderful way to end your trip in Hanoi.

A trip to Southeast Asia is always very exciting, add more spice to your Vietnam package by adding some unique experiences to it. These experiences will help you learn and appreciate the small things in life for sure. Go ahead and plan your Vietnam tours, make sure you explore its corners and have a wonderful time! 

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Written by Swathi

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