LGBT Asian Travel, Purple DragonHanoi and Northern Vietnam

Hanoi is the gateway to Halong Bay, Sapa, Mai Chau and other fascinating and exotic places in Northern Vietnam. Vietnam's capital has become one of Southeast Asia's "must see" destinations. The city offers fascinating historical sites, fantastic restaurants, some of Asia's best shopping. There is even a bit of nightlife in gay Hanoi. The capital is also the starting point for the spectacular natural scenery of Halong Bay, Perfume Pagoda, Tam Coc, Phat Diem, Sapa and more. If these places are new to you, read on...


Hanoi is arguably the most beautiful city in Southeast Asia. Part of China for more than a thousand years, much of the city's architecture and many of her narrow, ancient lanes are distinctly Chinese. In our own era, the French constructed magnificent villas and planted thousands of trees that still shade Hanoi's boulevards today. This sophisticated city offers world class hotels and restaurants and enough history and culture to keep any visitor busy for weeks.

Hanoi is also a jumping-off place for some of the most picturesque places in Indochina. The most important of these is Halong Bay, a vast UNESCO World Heritage Area. Here you can sail leisurely through hundreds of islets, enjoy the fresh catch of the day, and anchor in a quite cove for a swim.

The gay scene in Hanoi is somewhat hidden, nevertheless there. Our guides help visitors to enjoy themselves and stay out of trouble.

Hanoi is a paradise for shoppers. Here you will find bargain silks, hand-loomed textiles from ethnic minority villages, antiques, contemporary works of art, and lacquer-ware of every description.

Convenient Modular Programs 

Purple Dragon's Hanoi packages offer great value and save you time and effort by arranging your choice of hotel, round trip airport transportation, and sightseeing with a personal English-speaking guide. You can always add extra nights and optional sightseeing if you wish.

Hanoi Highlights dot This is our two-night no-frills introduction to Hanoi. If you can not stay longer, our private English-speaking guide will pack your short stay with Hanoi's essential experiences with a little time left over for shopping.

Grand Hanoi dot Enjoy Northern Vietnam in luxury at one of the world's most splendid colonial-era hotels, plus an overnight on Halong aboard a luxury sailing boat. Includes a day of sightseeing in Hanoi, plus a performance of Vietnam's unique "water puppetry."

Hanoi & Halong Bay dot This is our most comprehensive Hanoi and Halong program. In six days you see Hanoi, take an overnight trip to Halong Bay, and choose between a day trip to the legendary Perfume Pagoda, a day visiting the rustic and crafts villages that surround Hanoi, or take a trip to Tam Coc and Phat Diem.

Sapa dot Journey to the edge of the Chinese border to visit mountain valleys dotted with the villages of colorful ethnic minority tribes.

The perfect additions to visit to Hanoi would be Hue & Hoi An in Central Vietnam, or a few days in Ho Chi Minh City, or perhaps Dalat and/or Phan Thiet (Mui Ne Beach).

Optional Side Trips 

Have extra time to spend in Hanoi? You may add one of our optional optional side trips, which include a personal English-speaking guide.

Halong Quickie bullet Not enough time for an overnight trip to Halong Bay? We can take you there in just one day, including a four hour cruise on a private boat.

Mai Chau bullet Journey from Hanoi to a secluded emerald valley populated by ethnic Thai people. Explore colorful villages and enjoy lunch (or even spend the night) in a traditional house on stilts. You can visit Mai Chau for a day, or turn it into a sleep-over.

Perfume Pagoda bullet Travel through the picture postcard countryside of Northern Vietnam, then sail up the gentle Yen River to a mountain-top grotto said to be the birthplace of a goddess

Tam Coc & Phat Diem bullet Sail through a valley that some call "Hanoi on Land" then visit "Vatican of Vietnam." This trip is best on Sundays, when Tam Coc is filled with thousands of people from the countryside attending mass.

Tam Dao Hill Station bullet The French knew how to beat the summer heat. They built mountain retreats called "hill stations" where they spent summers in comfort and luxury. The Tam Dao hill station is charming miniature town adjacent to one of Vietnam's most important nature preserves. This trip is available June through September only.

Traditional Villages & Pagodas bullet Spend a day visiting some of the rural "craft villages" that surround Hanoi. Each of these hamlets specializes in the production of a single commodity--paper, lacquer, furniture, charcoal, ceramics, silk, and even bird cages. You will see craftspeople at work and find wholesale bargains. You will also see some religious treasures. Near most of these villages is at least one ancient pagoda well worth visiting.

What We Do 

Purple Dragon is Asia's oldest, largest and most respected tour operator specializing in programs for discerning gay and lesbian travelers. All of our tours are private and include private transportation and one of our legendary private guides. We do not offer group tours.  The big advantage to a private tour is, of course, that you do not have to put up with other people or compromise your own schedule or activities to suit others in a group. You can spend a bit more time at places that really matter to you, avoid places that do not, and go at your own pace. We use gay-owned or LGBT-friendly hotels wherever possible and show our guests the local gay nightlife where it exists. You do not have to be gay to enjoy one of our all-inclusive tour packages. A growing number of mainstream guests travel with Purple dragon because they know they will get something better from a gay company.

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