November 10, 2016

Trekking around Hanoi

Trekking around Hanoi is the best way to discover Vietnam’s capital. What’s the best time to go trekking in Hanoi, Vietnam? Are there any treks near Hanoi? Just follow our complete guide about trekking in Hanoi with trips, advice, and reviews from our local hiking specialists.

Hanoi is located in the northern region of Vietnam, situated in the Vietnam’s Red River delta, nearly 90 km (56 mi) away from the coastal area. Hanoi contains three basic kinds of terrain, which are the delta area, the midland area, and the mountainous zone. In general, the terrain gradually becomes lower from the north to the south and from the west to the east, with the average height ranging from 5 to 20 meters above sea level. The hills and mountainous zones are located in the northern and western parts of the city. The highest peak is at Ba Vi, with an elevation of 1281 m, located west of the city proper.

The Red River Delta is the flat, low-lying plain formed by the Red River and its distributaries merging with the Thai Binh River in northern Vietnam. The delta, measuring some 15,000 square km, is well protected by a network of dikes. It is an agriculturally rich area and densely populated. Most of the land is devoted to rice cultivation.

Hanoi and its surrounding areas offer a wide range of easy day walks, overnight mountain climbs, trekking homestays, jungle treks, and camping trekking packages. Whether you need a single-day hike from Hanoi or an overnight trek in the Red River Delta region, we have something to suit everybody. Maybe you just want to trek through the primitive forest of Cuc Phuong, or maybe you really want to get away from the crowds; we have something to suit.

Hanoi map

How to get to Hanoi?

Getting to Hanoi from airport

Most people arrive at the Noi Bai International Airport, 35km (45-60min) north of the city. For decades, the Noi Bai airport was small and heavily congested. Queues used to be long, but still shorter than Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat. With the opening of the international terminal in 2015, immigration has become a lot faster, usually taking around 10-15 minutes. The new terminal is clean and modern with lots of sunlight.

Upon your arrival at Noi Bai airport, you can either book a taxi or a bus to get to downtown Hanoi. If you book a trekking tour through Hiking Vietnam, please do not forget to ask them to include the service.

Getting to Hanoi by train

Trains to Nanning, Beijing, China depart from Gia Lam Station, which is about 5km northeast of Hanoi Station. If you are taking the evening train from Nanning, you will arrive at Gia Lam very early in the morning. Make sure to exchange some of your money at the border so that you can get a taxi to the city when you arrive at Gia Lam.

All other trains use the main Hanoi train station for daily services from cities in the south, including Hue and Nha Trang. The Reunification Express goes all the way to Ho Chi Minh City, although there is very little “express” about it. There are also train services to the northwest, including Lao Cai, from which you can reach Sapa.

Tickets for all destinations are sold at the main station, although there are two ticket counters: one for the north and one for the south, each serving their respective destinations.

Getting to Hanoi by bus

Public buses serving southern destinations depart from Giap Bat bus station. Most of the “open-tour” bus itineraries either begin or end in Hanoi, with Hue being the next (or previous) stop. From there, the buses continue to Hoi An, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh City, and other cities in Vietnam, depending on the bus company.

When to go trekking around Hanoi?

hanoi weather climate chart

Hanoi features a warm humid subtropical climate with plentiful precipitation. The city experiences the typical climate of northern Vietnam, with four distinct seasons.

Summer, from May to August, is characterized by hot and humid weather with abundant rainfall. It is not a good time to go trekking around Hanoi during this season. We recommend short walks in the park.

From September to November comprise the fall season, characterized by a decrease in temperature and precipitation. This is the ideal time for hiking near Hanoi. We recommend both day hikes and multi-day trekking tours from Hanoi.

Winter, from December to January, is dry and cool by national standards. The city is usually cloudy and foggy in winter, averaging only 1.5 hours of sunshine per day in February and March. This is also an ideal time for planning your treks near Hanoi.

Hanoi averages 1,612 millimetres (63.5 in) of rainfall per year, the majority falling from May to October. There are an average of 114 days with rain.

The average annual temperature is 23.6 °C (74 °F), with a mean relative humidity of 79%. The highest recorded temperature was 42.8 °C (109 °F) in May 1926, while the lowest recorded temperature was 2.7 °C (37 °F) in January 1955.

Best places for hiking near Hanoi

Trekking in Cat Ba national park

trekking cat ba national park vietnam

Cat Ba National Park is a World Heritage Site designated as a biosphere reserve in northern Vietnam. The park is part of Cat Ba Island in Ha Long Bay and is administered by the city of Haiphong. The park is located approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Hai Phong, covering about 263 square kilometres (102 sq mi) and comprising 173 square kilometres (67 sq mi) of land and 90 square kilometres (35 sq mi) of inshore water.

Trekking in Cuc Phuong national park

Cuc Phuong National Park is located in the foothills of the northern Annamite Range in Ninh Binh Province, in Vietnam’s Red River Delta. Cuc Phuong was Vietnam’s first national park and is the country’s largest nature reserve. The park is one of the most important sites for biodiversity in Vietnam. The park consists of verdant karst mountains and lush valleys. Elevation varies from 150 meters (500 feet) to 656 m (2,152 feet) at the summit of May Bac Mountain, or Silver Cloud Mountain. The limestone mountains house numerous caves, many of which are accessible for exploration.

Trekking in Tam Dao national park

Tam Dao National Park is a protected area zone in North Vietnam. It was established in 1996, succeeding from the Conservation Forest Tam Dao which was formed in 1977. Tam Dao National Park is based in the Tam Dao range, which is one of the terminal spurs of a larger mountainous area in the Northwest region of Vietnam. It runs 80 km from north west to south east, and has more than 20 peaks with altitudes of over 1000m. The highest summit is Tam Dao North with an altitude of 1592 m. Three other peaks in the area include Thien Thi at 1375 m, Thach Ban at 1388 m and Phu Nghia at 1300 m. Sharp peaks with sloping sides and numerous, deep partitions are characteristic of the topology.

Trekking in Mai Chau

Mai Chau is a mountainous region located in Hoa Binh Province, approximately 135 km from Hanoi and 65 km from Hoa Bình. The East of Mai Chau borders Da Bac and Tan Lac districts, the West and the South border Quan Hoa district of Thanh Hoa province, and the North borders Van Ho district of Son La province. Mai Chau terrain is quite complex, divided by slits, streams and high mountains.

Trekking in Pu Luong nature reserve

Pu Luong Nature Reserve is situated in Quan Hoa and Ba Thuoc districts of Thanh Hoa Province, North Central Coast region of Vietnam. Pu Luong Nature Reserve is bordered by Mai Chau, Tan Lac and Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh Province. The reserve is located along two parallel mountain ridges, that run from north-west to south-east, and are divided by a central valley, which contains several human settlements and a large agricultural land area, therefore, is not included within the nature reserve. Pu Luong is endowed with great biodiversity, its flora and fauna is closely associated with the Cuc Phuong National Park 25 km south-east.

Trekking in Ngoc Son Ngo Luong nature reserve

The Ngoc Son Ngo Luong Nature Reserve is located in Tan Lac & Lac Son districts of Hoa Binh province. Hoa Binh province is home to six ethnic minorities, each with their own languages, traditional literature, and festivals. Taking a trekking tour, you get chance to experience a genuine taste of Muong life by staying in a village stilt house, enjoying Muong food, and sharing close interaction with local people. This is your chance to tread lightly and explore an untouched part of Vietnam to gain insight into the lives of the Muong people living in this beautifully rural and mountainous area.

Trekking in Ba Vi national park

Ba Vi National Park is located in Ba Vi District of Hanoi and two districts of Hoa Binh Province, namely Luong Son and Ky Son. The Park is situated on a mountain range running north-east and south-west with its peak at Vua Peak of 1,296 m and Tan Vien Peak of 1,226 m and Ngoc Hoa Peak of 1,120 m. The park is 10,815 ha (26,720 acres) in area, and is located in the Ba Vì mountain range. The park has rich and diverse tropical and subtropical species of flora and fauna.

Trekking in Xuan Son national park

Xuan Son National Park is situated in Tan Son District, Phu Tho Province, Vietnam. The park lies at the extreme south-eastern extent of the Hoang Lien Mountains, 45 kilometres south-west of the confluence of the Red River and Black Rivers. It was established on August 9, 1986 as a nature reserve, and it covers an area of 150.48 square kilometres.

Hiking trails in Hanoi

Hanoi hiking trail: Soc Son loop

15km Hanoi hiking loop in Soc Son district, about half hour drive from downtown Hanoi.

Hanoi hiking trail: Soc Son loop

Hiking trail near Hanoi: Cuc Phuong national park

About 13km hiking through Cuc Phuong primitive forest. The jungle trek takes about 6 hours from the park center to a Muong village.

Hiking trail near Hanoi: Cuc Phuong national park

Trekking tours from Hanoi

Bac Ninh

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Ha Nam

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Hai Duong

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Hung Yen

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Nam Dinh

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Ninh Binh

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Thai Binh

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Vinh Phuc

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Read more: Hanoi tours

Hai Phong


What are the best trekking routes around Hanoi?

There are some fantastic trekking routes near Hanoi. Popular options include Ba Vi National Park, Mai Chau, Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Tam Dao National Park, and Cuc Phuong National Park. Each offers a unique trekking experience with beautiful landscapes.

What should I pack for a trek around Hanoi?

It’s essential to pack comfortable and breathable clothing suitable for the season. Don’t forget sturdy hiking shoes, a rain jacket, insect repellent, a reusable water bottle, and a backpack. Also, bring some snacks and a first aid kit for safety.

Is it necessary to hire a guide for trekking in Hanoi?

While some treks are self-guided, having a local guide can enhance your experience by providing insights into the culture and nature. They can also ensure your safety and help you navigate trails effectively.

What is the best time of year for trekking in Hanoi?

The best time for trekking around Hanoi is during the dry season, which typically spans from October to April. The weather is more comfortable, and the landscapes are lush and green.

Are there any cultural etiquettes I should be aware of while trekking in Hanoi?

Yes, it’s essential to respect the local culture. Dress modestly, especially when visiting villages, and ask for permission before taking photos of people. Dispose of your trash properly, and be mindful of local customs, such as removing your shoes when entering someone’s home.

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