Hanoi,  Ninh Binh

Travel to Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh in May: Tips & Suggested Itinerary 2024

Hey there! Planning a trip to Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh in May? Fantastic choice! May is a sweet spot – the weather is comfortable, and there are fewer crowds compared to peak season. Let’s build an itinerary that packs in the must-sees and a relaxing massage in Hanoi!

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival and Relaxing Massage

  • Welcome to Hanoi! After landing at Noi Bai International Airport, head to your hotel in the Old Quarter. This vibrant area is a feast for the senses, with shops overflowing with treasures, steaming food stalls, and local cafes serving up deliciousness.
  • In the afternoon, unwind with a traditional Vietnamese massage at a spa in the Old Quarter. It’s the perfect way to de-stress after your travels and get ready for your adventures!

Day 2: Exploring Hanoi’s Gems

  • Start your morning with a scenic stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, a peaceful spot right in the heart of Hanoi. Rent a paddleboat for a unique view or simply relax by the water.
  • In the afternoon, step back in time at the Temple of Literature, one of Vietnam’s oldest universities and a beautiful example of Confucian architecture.
  • As evening approaches, treat your taste buds to Bun Cha, a classic Hanoi dish of grilled pork served with noodles and fresh herbs. Yum!

Day 3: Halong Bay Day Trip – Cruise Among Limestone Giants!

  • Get ready to be amazed by Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with towering limestone pillars jutting out of emerald waters.
  • Take a day trip on a cruise and choose your adventure! Many cruises offer stunning scenery, kayaking escapades, and visits to hidden caves. Prepare to be dazzled!

Day 4: Ninh Binh – Breathtaking Scenery Awaits!

  • Ninh Binh is calling! This province is famous for its dramatic landscapes, with towering limestone mountains, lush rice paddies, and winding rivers.
  • Explore the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hop on a boat and cruise through caves and grottoes, surrounded by this breathtaking scenery.
  • In the afternoon, rent a bike and explore the Tam Coc Caves. Cycle through peaceful rice paddies and past majestic limestone mountains – a truly unforgettable experience!

Day 5: Farewell or Explore More of Hanoi!

  • Depending on your departure flight, you can spend some extra time wandering around the captivating Old Quarter, hunting for unique souvenirs, or diving deeper into Vietnamese history at museums like the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.
  • Catch your flight home from Noi Bai International Airport, with memories that will last a lifetime!

Bonus Tip: Below are some insider tips to make your trip smooth sailing:


  • May marks the shoulder season in northern Vietnam, which means pleasant temperatures (think low 80s F or around 27°C) and fewer crowds compared to peak season.
  • Pack light, breathable clothing – cotton and linen are your friends! Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses for sunny days.
  • An umbrella or light rain jacket is a good idea as May can see occasional afternoon showers. They usually pass quickly, so they shouldn’t disrupt your sightseeing.

Travel Tips:

  • Accommodation: Book your hotels in advance, especially for Halong Bay cruises, as they tend to fill up faster.
  • Currency Exchange: The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the local currency. Exchange your money at banks, ATMs, or reputable exchange shops.
  • Bargaining: It’s part of the fun at markets and with some vendors. Be polite but firm to get a good price.
  • Transportation: Hanoi has taxis, metered motorbikes (xe om), buses, and a metro. Halong Bay is best explored by cruise. Ninh Binh offers bikes, motorbikes, and car rentals for exploring the countryside.

Extra Insider Tips:

  • Download a translation app: This can be a lifesaver for navigating menus or basic communication.
  • Learn a few basic Vietnamese phrases: “Xin chào” (Hello), “Cảm ơn” (Thank you), and “Bao nhiêu?” (How much?) will go a long way.
  • Pack comfortable shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking and exploring, so comfy shoes are key.
  • Bring eco-friendly essentials: A reusable water bottle and shopping bag are handy and good for the environment.
  • Embrace the street food scene: It’s delicious, affordable, and a great way to experience Vietnamese culture. Just choose stalls with good hygiene practices.

With this itinerary, you’ll experience the best of Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh, all while indulging in a relaxing massage – the perfect mix of adventure and pampering!

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