Interior Art - Gallery 39  ,  Hanoi, Vietnam

Gallery 39

Owned by Vietnamese artist Le Thiet Cuong, the art at Gallery 39 represents a new Vietnam and a true exploration of artistic ideas in today’s Vietnam. The galleries on Hang Gai Street are a must to wander through, but often the work is a bit sentimental and repetitive, interesting to see but not always inspiring. Le Thiet Cuong is a contemporary artist with very much his own voice.

Exterior Veiw - Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum  , Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Unless you’ve seen Lenin in his glass coffin in Moscow, visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum will undoubtedly be one of the most bizarre travel experiences of your life. The massive building, clad in gray granite, is a lesson in Communist-era architecture; at its center lies the eerie, dimly lit room that houses the glass coffin holding the former leader’s embalmed body, surrounded by four guards. Visitors are speedily shuffled through after having been repeatedly reminded not to speak and to remove their hands from their pockets before entering.

If you arrive at 8 A.M. to beat the crowds, as your guide will insist you do, the whole experience takes all of 10 minutes. A dress code is enforced (no bare shoulders or legs). Close to the Mausoleum, your guide can take you to see Ho Chi Minh’s former home overlooking a scenic lake.

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Exterior Veiw  - Hoa Lo Prison ,  Hanoi, Vietnam

Hoa Lo Prison

The infamous Hanoi Hilton is a must for history buffs. Americans know it mostly from John McCain’s biography, but the prison was, in fact, built by the French in the late 1880s and used for political prisoners; one room still holds a guillotine. The displays have an interesting bias; the rooms dedicated to the French occupation list in detail the atrocities committed by the colonists against the Vietnamese prisoners, while those dedicated to the Vietnam war do their utmost to counter the tales of McCain and other internees, portraying American soldiers as well-treated and even displaying photos of prisoners playing football in Hoa Lo’s courtyard. But the dreary halls and granite cells speak for themselves, making this a sobering sightseeing stop.

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Exterior Veiw - Indagare Tours: City Tour , Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Courtesy Diego Delso

Indagare Tours: City Tour

While Saigon does not have a large amount of historical landmarks, they are a bit spaced out. Therefore, we suggest using a driver and guide to take you to the most popular sights not only to put your touring in context but also to avoid long lines. Indagare members can contact our team to book.

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Coocking Food - indagare Tours: Cooking Classes , Hanoi, Vietnam

Indagare Tours: Cooking Classes

There are several places to take cooking classes in Hanoi ranging from upscale options to cocktail making classes to classes that help the local community by supporting programs aimed at getting kids off the street. Others focus on local seasonal cuisine and also incorporate street-food excursions with local guides. Our favorite cooking class, though, involves going out to a village outside of the city to a local family’s house where they have a cooking pavilion near their garden. They will teach you how to make fried spring rolls and rice pancakes. The visit is always a highlight of a Hanoi trip. Indagare members can contact our team to book.

Indagare Tours: Cooking School

Located just outside of the old town on a beautiful waterfront piece of property, Indagare can arrange for an afternoon at cooking school while in Hoi An. Dishes include local delicacies as well as region dishes from around Vietnam. Come hungry as the class includes many courses including dessert.

Exterior veiw  - Indagare Tours: Cruising the Mekong  , Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Indagare Tours: Cruising the Mekong

South East Asia is home to some of the most interesting markets in the world and the floating markets of the Mekong Delta are no exception. There are a few spots where travelers can visit the Mekong Delta from their base in Saigon, with the most interesting being about 2 to 3+ hours away. Stops that are a bit closer to the city are ideal for Day Trips, which give visitors an insight into life on the delta and how daily activities center around the river. However, those that are considering a visit to the famous floating markets of Can Tho, should make time for an overnight trip. The market, which is only open in the early morning, must be visited from a nearby spot.  Indagare members can contact our team to book.

Tunnel - Indagare Tours: Cu Chi Tunnels , Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Indagare Tours: Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi tunnels, in the Cu Chi region north west of Ho Chi Minh city, attract visitors for the famous network of up to 155 miles of tunnels used as the hideout, weapon storage, hospital, supply route and headquarters of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. At the height of the war, the deep, narrow tunnels scored the entire country from South Vietnam to the Cambodian border, but the concentration around Cu Chi played a crucial role due to their proximity to Ho Chi Minh city- as close as 20 miles at certain points.

Visiting them is a humbling, surreal but somewhat depressing experience that can feel more like visiting an amusement park than historical memorial. The tunnels, that were three-floors deep at certain points, have been enlarged for western tourists and part of the experience is crawling through one of the short tunnels in a procession. Be warned, this is not for anyone with even the slightest tendencies of claustrophobia. Indagare members can contact our team to book.

Women at Indagare Tours: Delving into Vietnamese Culture,Hanoi, Vietnam - Courtesy of Brian Snelson

Indagare Tours: Delving into Vietnamese Culture

For those with a serious interest in tribal cultures, we can arrange for an expert guide to introduce you to the traditions of Hmong women, see demonstrations of Taoist and Buddhist rituals with shamans from the northern mountain groups as well as participate in batik workshops to learn about the wax and indigo patterns on hand-loomed cloths.  We can also connect collectors with a specialist on ethnic arts and crafts.

Exterior Veiw - Indagare Tours: Half-Day City Tour  , Hanoi, Vietnam Courtesy of Christine Zenino

Indagare Tours: Half-Day City Tour

Similar to Saigon, Hanoi’s landmarks are not large in number but they tend to be spaced out. Therefore, we suggest using a driver and guide to take you to the most popular sights not only to put your touring in context but also to avoid long lines. Indagare members can contact our team to book.

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Exterior Veiw - Indagare Tours: Halong Bay , Hanoi, Vietnam Courtesy of Harald Hoyer

Indagare Tours: Halong Bay

At about three and a half hours each way, it’s too long and dreary a drive for a day trip from Hanoi, so either go by helicopter and rent a private junk for lunch and a cruise or spend the night. Most of the boats that service Halong Bay are required to stay on a set path, visiting government owned islands, landmarks, caves and viewing points which can make you feel like herded cattle.

However, there are a few boats that have permits to stop on private islands and take low traffic routes that really make for a unique experience. One of the highlights of Halong Bay are the incredible pictures that you can take so make sure you go at the right time of year. Spring will have the clearest skies while summer will have the warmest water (but afternoon rain showers can interfere). Indagare members can contact our team to book.

Interior View - Indagare Tours: Old City Walking Tour,Other Recommended Hotels, Vietnam- Courtesy the Nam Hai

Indagare Tours: Old City Walking Tour

No visit to Hoi An is complete without a walking tour of the Old Town. Start with a visit to the Hoi An History Museum in order to get an overview of the culture of the area. Afterwards, continue on the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall where Vietnamese come from hundreds of miles away to pray and light incense. Stops also include the food market as well as the famous Japanese Covered Bridge. End your tour at a local coffee house for a Vietnamese coffee break.

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Exterior Veiw - Indagare Tours: Reunification Palace , Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam ,Courtesy Diego Delso

Indagare Tours: Reunification Palace

Touring the former South Vietnamese presidential palace, recognizable to many from old photographs depicting the fall of Saigon in 1975, this four-floor building is best visited with a guide or historian. Don’t miss the eerie, double-story basement, whose claustrophobic rooms are stuffed with old military equipment, radios and faded maps. It may be Ho Chi Minh City’s most famous sight but there is not a ton left to see; it’s more about an emotional response to this sight in whose deserted halls the destiny of so many American and Vietnamese soldiers and civilians was decided.

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Food - Indagare Tours: Street Food Walk , Hanoi, Vietnam

Indagare Tours: Street Food Walk

Just as in any other Asian capital, the street-food vendors can be overwhelming for Western visitors, even foodies who are willing to give them a try. Indagare sets you up with a local guide who takes you to trusted stalls and gives a lot of background on the Vietnamese food culture. We can also arrange cooking classes and, for the very motivated, Vietnamese language classes. Indagare members can contact our team to book.

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Indagare Tours: Vintage Vespa Scooter Tour Saigon

Discover the best street food that Ho Chi Minh and Hoi An have to offer all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. Visitors will be met in the hotel lobby by their guide and Vespa driver for a short briefing on safety and logistics. Afterwards, you will head out to discover the cities’ best street food vendors, Vietnamese-style coffee shops and pubs. Each city has its own regional specialties, which must be tried, so make sure not to miss the Ban Xeo and snail dishes.

Exterior View - Saigon Central Post Office , Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam,Courtesy Pren N.

Saigon Central Post Office

When touring in central Ho Chi Minh, stop in the Central Post Office, a striking Gothic-style building. If the pastel-pink façade and the soaring interiors remind you of Paris, there’s a good reason for it: the designer was Gustave Eiffel. It’s a working post office, so bring your postcards and get stamps here.

Spa Treatments

Cupping massages were first introduced in China as a form of alternative medicine. It is believed that the cupping (suction created by heating the air in an overturned glass cup) promotes healing through increased blood flow. Practitioners have also claimed that they promote general psychological and physical well being. These massages, along with a long list of others are offered in the areas best spas and should not be missed. Make sure to book appointments in advance especially during popular periods like Christmas.

Exterior Veiw - Temple of Literature , Hanoi, Vietnam

Temple of Literature

Part of this large compound, with four courtyards and a magnificent ornate main hall, dates to 1070, when it was built as a Confucian temple. It was also the site for some 700 years of Hanoi’s first university, founded in 1076. Definitely come here with a guide who can explain all the architectural details and the many Confucian symbols and icons.

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Exterior Veiw - Vietnam Fine Arts Museum  , Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum

This museum is not on everyone’s must-see list, but it tells you a lot about the texture of Vietnamese life viewed from the perspective of Vietnamese art history, from early sculpture through wartime paintings and drawings to more recent painting.

Exterior View - Vietnam Museum of Ethnology,Hanoi, Vietnam - Courtesy of Nam-ho Park

Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

This museum, which focuses on the 54 different ethnic tribes in Vietnam, is both a research center and an educational and exhibition hall. In addition to the permanent collection of textiles, costumes and crafts and tools of the various tribes that are on display, there is an outdoor area with examples of architectural styles, such as an Ede long house, a Hmong wood house and a Tay stilt house.

exterior Veiw helicopter -War Remnants Museum ,Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam , Courtesy Diego Delso

War Remnants Museum

This sight is interesting for visitors who have studied the Vietnam War and are intrigued how modern-day Vietnam has coped with this chapter in its history.

Women’s Museum of Hanoi

This four-story building outside of the Old Quarter focuses on the role of women in Vietnamese culture, covering everything from their roles during periods of war to their modern status. The entry fee is a little more than $1, and some people find it fascinating, while others find it boring; it really depends upon your interest in women’s history.

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