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“I wish every city offered something like Hanoi Free Local Tours”

Hanoi Free Local Tours
Ranked #62 of 223 Food & Drink in Hanoi
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Hanoi Free Local Tours (HFLT), a non-profit organization, is established to bring tourists and locals together. Therefore, Tourists can truly explore our culture, custom, history and local people have the opportunity of reaching their full potential . Tourists coming to Vietnam will have the chance to talk, make friends with locals so you could have a deep understanding of our country.
Reviewed September 20, 2016

For all the insider tips, local secrets and travel hacks the internet has been able to reveal to the average internet-savvy traveler, there really is nothing quite as powerful as spending time with an actual local to get a real foothold on a new city. Hanoi Free Local Tours is a fantastic organization which provides this very opportunity with any visitor to Hanoi willing to take a chance. Of course, I understand that it's easy to jump to paranoid conclusions at the word 'free' in this context but before you make assumptions let me explain, because this is actually the real deal. I came to Hanoi travelling solo, so I was eager to plug into the local culture. When I found this organization, I was skeptical as well, but willing to take a chance. Here's how it works, as my tourguide explained it to me:
Free Local Tours is able to operate completely free as a mutually beneficial service. All of the tourguides are volunteer students and locals looking to enhance their english by engaging with foreign visitors through the tour service. The benefit for us is that we get to see a unique, LOCAL side of Hanoi with our very own guide, from city landmarks, to the hidden away street food hotspots you definitely wont find in Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor.
My guide was May, who was splendid company: knowledgeable, passionate and a genuine soul. We spent the entire day together, and as it turned out I was the only visitor on the tour, so it was just the two of us. We visited a historical site, a Buddhist temple, tried some amazing local food, all of which she was able to supplement with her insights as a Hanoi local. May and I became fast friends. We got to learn a tremendous amount about each other's cultures. And at one point she even let me do a lap around sword lake on her electric bike (don't worry I volunteered to drive, this is by no means a requirement of the tour :) ) At night, we took a taxi outside of town to her brother's restaurant where we talked, laughed, and enjoyed more great food. At the end of the night we were two good friends from different parts of the world parting ways in an amazing city. If you can be open minded to trying new things, meeting new people, and really GOING WITH THE FLOW, Hanoi Free Tours is a perfect option for acclimating to the hustle and bustle of this fantastic city.

I also want to mention that May was explicit about the tour as a 'pay what you want' type of itinerary (with nothing going to the tourguide, if you try to tip they WILL refuse the money as is the policy of the organization.) If you want to hit the museums and temples that cost money, you're welcome to. If you want to stick to a truly no-money kind of experience and just walk around the city, you can do that too. There is truly no pressure, and you only do what you're comfortable with.

4  Thank Nelson S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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in 26 reviews
"great tour"
in 38 reviews
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in 32 reviews
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in 6 reviews
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in 65 reviews
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in 30 reviews
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in 16 reviews
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in 24 reviews
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in 5 reviews
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in 11 reviews
"sword lake"
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461 - 465 of 557 reviews

Reviewed September 11, 2016

Walking through the city of Hanoi makes one appreciates the culture of Vietnamese people. The architecture, the temples, the lakes, the historical links, the aesthetic values and above all the street foods are enough to satisfy your curiosity and make you feel really welcomed in Vietnam.

2  Thank Christopher A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2016

Me and a friend took part in a tour last thursday and we had a great time and learned lots of things. First we visited a temple near our accomodation, after which we went to hoan kiem lake, saw the red bridge and some parts of the old town. And finally we visited hoa lo prison, in which political prisonders were held during french colonialism. This was really interesting! Our guide was very nice and knew lots of details. To every question we could think of, he had an answer ready! It was really nice meeting him and getting to know Hanoi this way.

3  Thank windhori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2016 via mobile

I went on this tour with Jen she is a very kind girl who took me to see some of most beautiful places in Hanoi, after that we went for some street food and local beer, it was great I cannot recommend this kind and uninterested people enough.

3  Thank Samir A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 30, 2016

I was traveling solo to Vietnam for the first time, and although I like exploring on my own, I also like to meet the locals and learn things about places that I wouldn't find out on my own. I booked a tour for Sunday afternoon, and Khai, my awesome tour guide, took me around the city and we ate some delicious bun cha and nem ran. We visited St. Joseph's Cathedral and Hoa Lo Prison. Khai was super resourceful, and because she is a college student was able to convince Hoa Loa staff to let her in for free. I had such a good time, we hung out again a few days later and she took me around on her moto. It was definitely a great decision. The tour is free, but I was happy to pay for any entrance fees or food for both of us, and it was well worth it!

1  Thank Q4676ECsusana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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