Family Activities:

Hong Ngoc Shopping Centre


On the busy road between Hanoi and Halong Bay, there are very few places that westerners will feel comfortable making a restroom break. However, in the village of Sao, look for the Hong Ngoc Humanities Center. The most important thing to know is that the restrooms are clean, western and numerous, including baby changing stations (a concept that has not taken hold in most of Vietnam).

However, this is a shopping center that deserves more of your time and attention tham just grabbing a few souvenirs. It was developed in large part to provide employment for people disabled by the war and children with birth defects as a result of Agent Orange. It’s possible to spend hours just watching the remarkable work of the embroidery artists.

Other craft items here include lacquered plates and vases, silk scarfs and more. The prices are a little higher than some you’ll find on the streets, but feel free to bargain. Also know that your purchase supports an individual damaged by the American presence in southeast Asia nearly 50 years ago.


7 a.m. to 11 p.m.


A small cafeteria style eatery is a part of the services here, but the menu is limited.


There is plenty of parking.