31st SEA Games - May 18, 2022 | 04:35 pm PT

A tour of 12 SEA Games locations in northern Vietnam

The 12 localities hosting SEA Games 31 in Vietnam also offer great sceneries and delightful culinary experiences that visitors can enjoy.

Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi. Photo by Nghiem Dinh Chinh

Capital Hanoi is the location that hosts the most sports in this SEA Games, including swimming, athletics, basketball and many more.

Where to go: Hoan Kiem Lake walking street, the Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line, Old Quarter, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison, Thang Long Citadel, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum...

What to eat: Pho (Bat Dan, Ly Quoc Su, Thin, Tu Lun), bun cha (Huong Lien, Hang Quat, Hang Than, Hang Manh), West Lake shrimp cake, banh cuon, bun thang, green rice flakes...

Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh. Photo by Shutterstock

Quang Ninh is the host for xiangqi, women’s football, volleyball, duathlon and triathlon.

Where to go: Ha Long Bay, beaches like Quan Lan, Van Don, Cam Pha, Yen Tu Pagoda, Cua Ong Temple, lakes for camping like Yen Trung, Ben Chau and Khe Che.

What to eat: Yolo seafood market in Tuan Chau, Hong Hanh seafood shop on Nguyen Van Cu Street, Ha Long, bun cu ky, Ha Long squid sausage, yogurt with tapioca balls.

How to get there: From Hanoi take the Hanoi – Hai Phong highway then switch to Hai Phong – Ha Long highway. It takes about two hours.

The riverside of Tam Bac, Hai Phong. Photo by Giang Chinh

Hai Phong organizes rowing, canoeing and kayaking.

Where to go: the city’s theater, Do Son Beach, Cat Ba Beach, Lan Ha Bay.

What to eat: street food tour, banh beo, spicy banh mi, sweet coconut soup, daisy tea...

How to get there: It takes 1.5 hours to reach along Hanoi to Hai Phong highway.

The center of Bac Ninh. Photo by Ba Do

Bac Ninh hosts handball, tennis, boxing and kickboxing.

Where to go: Pagodas (Phat Tich, But Thap, Dau), Ba Chua Kho Temple, Dong Ho painting village.

What to eat: rice cakes banh phu the, banh te in Cho Village, banh khuc in Diem Village, Van Village liquor, Ho chicken...

How to get there: It takes around one hour from Hanoi to Bac Ninh by highway.

Hai Ly Church in Nam Dinh. Photo by Le Bich

Nam Dinh hosts group B men’s football games and the May 10 semifinal between Indonesia and Thailand.

Where to go: Nam Dinh Old Quarter, Tran Temple, Pho Minh Tower, Phu Day relics, Hai Ly Church.

What to eat: sticky rice, Do Quan Bridge banh mi, pork rind vermicelli, noodle soup, pho.

How to get there: Take the Hanoi – Ninh Binh highway to Nam Dinh Bridge and turn right onto road 490 to reach Nam Dinh's capital.

Tam Chuc Pagoda, Ha Nam. Photo by Vietravel

Ha Nam hosts men’s and women’s futsal.

Where to go: Tam Chuc Pagoda, considered as the largest pagoda complex in the world, Ba Danh Pagoda.

What to eat: steam rice rolls, special braised fish, fish vermicelli at 157 Tran Hung Dao Street, Dai Hoang banana.

How to get there: It takes about an hour to travel from Hanoi to Phu Ly town in Ha Nam.

Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, Ninh Binh. Photo by Ngoc Thanh

Ninh Binh hosts karate events.

Where to go: Trang An, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Cuc Phuong National Park, Van Long pond.

What to eat: goat dishes, crispy rice, sticky rice with ant eggs, rice-paddy eel salad, field crab stir-fried with piper leaves.

How to get there: Take the Hanoi – Ninh Binh highway. It will take about 1.5 hours to get to Trang An and the center of Ninh Binh.

Long Coc tea hill, Phu Tho. Photo by Pham Hoang Cuong

Phu Tho hosts group A men's football matches and the May 19 semifinal between Vietnam and Malaysia.

Where to go: Hung King Temple, Xuan Son National Park, Nghia Tinh Mountain, Long Coc tea hill.

What to eat: river bagridae, Thanh Son fermented pork, braised fish with canarium.

How to get there: Take the Noi Bai – Lao Cai highway to reach Phu Tho from Hanoi, which takes about over an hour.

The center of Bac Giang. Photo by Ngoc Thanh

Bac Giang organizes badminton.

Where to go: Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Cam Son Lake, Suoi Mo eco-tourism area, Dong Cao plateau.

What to eat: Luc Ngan lychee, sticky rice with ant eggs, Yen The hill chicken, Chu noodles. Ke Village, famous for its sweet cripsy rice, is located on the national highway 1A, convenient for customers to stop by before returning to Hanoi.

How to get there: From Hanoi to Bac Giang, it takes about 1.5 hours on the Hanoi - Bac Giang highway.

The center of Tam Dao Town, Vinh Phuc. Photo by Trung Nghia

Vinh Phuc organizes golf and Muay Thai.

Where to go: Tam Dao tourism complex, Dai Lai Lake, Truc Lam Tay Thien Zen monastery, Dam Vac tourist area.

What to eat: Lung Ngoai cake, sugarcane molasses cake, Tu Yen braised sweet soup, rare beef burned by ants.

How to get there: From Hanoi go to national highway 21 then go past Luong Son and Ky Son District to reach Xuan Mai Town, Hoa Binh, which takes about 1.5 hours.

Hoa Binh hydropower plant. Photo by Trung Nghia

Hoa Binh hosts all cycling events.

Where to go: Hoa Binh hydropower plant on the Da River which is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, Thac Bo cave, Thung Nai, Mai Chau, Kim Boi mineral springs.

Eat: Sticky rice in bambo, salted and sour pork, pomelo leaf rolls, grilled river fish.

How to get there: From Hanoi take Thang Long Boulevard, turn onto Highway 21 and proceed to Xuan Mai Town, passing Luong Son and Ky Son Districts. It takes about 1.5 hours to the center of Hoa Binh.

Boat festival on Luc Dau River, Hai Duong. Photo courtesy of Hai Duong Tourism

Hai Duong is in charge of table tennis events.

Where to go: Con Son relics, Con Son Pagoda, Kiep Bac Temple, Thanh Hai water puppet village.

What to eat: Mung bean pastry, Gai cake, Manh Hoach chicken.

How to get there: Take the Hanoi – Hai Phong highway or go by train from Hanoi to stations in Hai Duong like Cam Giang and Phu Thai.

Story by Trung Nghia