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Not too long ago the must-see daytrip out of Hanoi, Perfume Pagoda (60km south of Hanoi) has fallen to a storm of hassle, with the Tam Coc trip becoming a more attractive substitute. Some agents – including Handspan – don’t even offer the daytrip, others outright recommend against it.

The pagoda, located in the lovely Red River Delta, is a cave shrine, 50km high. It’s reached by rowboat – and you’ll have vendors following you the whole way – and finishes with a rather brutal 2km high up. Great views, though the importance of the religious site is lost on some foreigners.

These agencies can help you with tours:

KANGAROO TOURS (tel 04-828-9931;; 18 Bao Khanh St) Private tours arranged: $60 per person if two go
APT (tel 04-926-2294;; 37 Dao Duy Tu St) $20 per person
SINH CAFÉ (tel 04-926-1568;; 52 Luong Ngoc Quyen St)  $15 per person