Head west from Hanoi and whizz through farming communities to learn how the locals work the land – which will be different depending on the season – before arriving at Duong Lam, one of Southeast Asia’s best-preserved ancient villages.
Duong Lam is famous for producing tuong, a kind of fermented bean dipping sauce that you can sample during lunch with a local family. But be careful – it’s an acquired taste! The locals ferment the beans inside enormous jars that are kept in the courtyards of centuries-old homes. You’ll visit these homes – some as old as 400 years – with attractive tiled roofs and ancient wooden beams.
Just outside of Duong Lam, explore the tomb of Ngo Quyen and the temple of Phung Hung, two of Vietnam’s most important historical figures, before heading onto Thay Pagoda – one of northern Vietnam’s most important religious sites.
Thay Pagoda has existed for centuries, with the elegant structure that rests on the nearby lake a symbol of the northern countryside. Uncover the history of this storied pagoda, with atmospheric courtyards, centenarian trees, and an adjoined holy cave. Then return to Hanoi.