Vietnam Trip Itinerary 2024-2025: What to Do? How many Days?

By Ngoc Tu Dinh - July 13, 2024
Vietnam Trip Itinerary 2024-2025: What to Do? How many Days?

Vietnam, the S-shaped country, has quickly become a popular tourist destination. This Southeast Asian country captivates travelers with its serene landscapes, historic cities, and warm hospitality, promising an unforgettable adventure. But where to go? What to explore? This guide is your key to unlocking the best of Vietnam, revealing its must-see destinations, off-the-beaten-path places, and suggested durations for each location. Whether you're a culture vulture, a nature enthusiast, or a vacationer, this insider's look will help you make the most of your Vietnam trip and craft a personal itinerary that suits your pace.

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Northern Vietnam, with Hanoi as the center, offers diverse experiences for every visitor. If you love the wildness and majesty of nature or are passionate about unique culture and cuisine, then Northern Vietnam is a great destination for you.

Hanoi (2-3 days)

hanoi vietnam spot to visit

Hanoi, the capital, is a must-see destination in Vietnam. The city offers many interesting aspects to discover, including a long history, cultural diversity, and rich cuisine. Hanoi also fascinates all tourists because of its combination of fast and slow pace.

Must-see attractions in Hanoi

If you have only one day to explore the historic city, spend it on the following Hanoi’s attractions. Most of them are centrally located, except for the Museum of Ethnology. 

  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex: The home to the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh, the greatest leader and politician, as well as the founder of modern Vietnam. Visitors queue for a very long time to pay homage to him. But not only the mausoleum, you will also visit the botanical gardens, Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house, and the museum.

  • The Temple of Literature: A Confucian temple that was founded in 1070 and is considered to be one of the most important historical sites in Hanoi. Today, the temple symbolizes Vietnam education and traditional architecture, attracting students to visit and pray for their good luck in the examination.

  • Hoan Kiem Lake: A small serene lake in the center of Hanoi that is popular for the legend of a sacred turtle returning a magic sword to King Ly Thai To. It is free to the public so you can come here in the morning or on weekends to see the locals practising the daily routines in the nearby garden.

  • Vietnamese Women's Museum: A museum that tells the story of Vietnamese women throughout history, especially the important role that women have played in shaping the country. The exhibition series showcases artifacts, costumes, crafts, memoirs, and photographs from the past century. It also offers a unique opportunity to learn about the tradition of Mother Goddess worship in Vietnam.

  • Imperial Citadel: The citadel was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the center of political power for nearly 13 centuries, encompassing multiple dynasties. Visitors can explore archaeological excavations that have unearthed artifacts dating back to the 6th century.

  • The Hanoi Old Quarter and the French Quarter are two beautiful and must-visit places in Hanoi. These districts are situated right in the center of Hoan Kiem district, where you can immerse yourself in local life. Each street is rich with stories built by the locals living here for years. Wandering through the labyrinthine streets of Hanoi will make you fall in love with this city. You can go on foot or take a ride in a cyclo and tour this captivating maze.

  • Water Puppetry is a traditional Vietnamese art form that dates back to the 11th century. Puppeteers operate lacquered wooden figures on the water to tell stories about life in rural Vietnamese villages. The water puppet show is ideal for light entertainment and learning about Vietnamese folk culture. The Water Puppet Theatre's convenient location near Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter makes it easy to end your day of sightseeing.

hanoi vietnam place to see

These are the most well-known places in Hanoi that you can include in your local tours. If you have extra time, you can also explore local markets like Dong Xuan Market, Hang Be Market, and Quang Ba Market to experience local urban life. You can also visit the Museum of Ethnology, which displays the cultures of Vietnam's various ethnic groups from North to South.

If you have more time and love learning about Buddhist and ancient cultures, the ancient pagodas around Hanoi are a must-see. You can visit Thay Pagoda, Tay Phuong, and Duong Lam Ancient Village or combine Bat Trang Ceramic Village and Nom Ancient Pagoda for a full-day tour.

Some of the most popular ancient pagodas around Hanoi:

  • Tay Phuong Pagoda: This pagoda is located about 30 kilometers from Hanoi and is known for its unique architecture. The pagoda is built on a hill and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

  • Thay Pagoda: This pagoda is located about 20 kilometers from Hanoi. It is known for its especially peaceful atmosphere and unique architecture. The pagoda is set in a quiet village and is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.

  • Nom Pagoda: This pagoda, about 15 kilometers from Hanoi, is located in Nom Ancient Village. It is known for its collection of ancient Nom scripts, making it a great place to learn about the history of Vietnamese writing.

  • Perfume Pagoda: Located about 60 kilometers from Hanoi, it requires a whole-day transfer and visit. Perfume Pagoda is a popular pilgrimage site for Vietnamese people, especially during spring. The Pagoda is set in a beautiful natural setting and is home to a number of temples and shrines.

hanoi vietnam stuff to do

Life in Hanoi's suburbs is also a treasure. Around the city are countless craft villages that are imbued with the rich traditions of Vietnamese craftsmanship. Each village specializes in a particular craft, showcasing the skill and artistry passed down through generations.

  • Bat Trang Pottery Village: Renowned for its exquisite ceramics and pottery products, Bat Trang is a haven for pottery enthusiasts. Visitors can witness skilled artisans molding clay into intricate shapes, painting vibrant patterns, and firing them in traditional kilns. You can also try your hand at pottery making and bring home ceramic souvenirs.

  • Chuong Conical Hat Village: If the conical hat is the symbol of Vietnam, Chuong Village is the cradle of the conical hat. Come here to watch as artisans carefully weave palm leaves into conical shapes and decorate them with colorful patterns. Don't forget to take home a small conical hat as a souvenir.

  • Ha Thai Lacquer Village: The village is renowned for its exquisite lacquerware, showcasing intricate artistry. You can observe and chat with skilled artisans applying layers of lacquer to create stunning decorative objects, boxes, and furniture. A visit to Ha Thai reveals the history and techniques behind this revered art form.

  • Tho Ha Rice Paper Village: Tho Ha village is famous for its traditional production of rice paper. You can learn how to make this essential ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine, from soaking and grinding the rice to steaming and drying the thin sheets. It also offers a rare chance to taste the delicate flavors of freshly made rice paper.

In Hanoi, we recommend spending at least 2-3 days of your Vietnam trip itinerary. If you prefer not to move around too much and change hotels frequently, Hanoi offers many tourist activities. You can allocate one day to visit the city and its monuments, another day to explore the ancient pagodas around Hanoi, which are not only religious sites but also known for their scenic beauty, and a day to visit some craft villages.

>> See more: A Complete Guide to Hanoi International Airport

Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago (1-3 days)

halong bay vietnam site to visit

Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a breathtaking natural wonder renowned for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by lush rainforests. This mesmerizing seascape is often described as a "descending dragon." Its mystical beauty features a vast array of unique geological formations, including grottoes, caves, and arches.

Visitors to Halong Bay can embark on unforgettable cruises through the emerald waters, exploring hidden lagoons, kayaking through enchanting caves, and marveling at the diverse wildlife. Hiking and rock climbing opportunities abound in the mountainous Cat Ba National Park, providing a thrilling adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

Halong Bay cruise excursions cater to different time constraints, offering options for day trips or longer stays.

Halong Bay/Cat Ba Day Trip

Day trips, ideal for those with limited time, depart from and return to Hanoi on the same day. You'll have lunch in the bay, spend 5-6 hours on activities and sightseeing, and be back in Hanoi around 7 p.m.

Halong Bay/Cat Ba 2-Day Trip

However, a 2-day cruise is recommended to fully experience Halong Bay's beauty. With an overnight stay, you can enjoy seafood meals, sightseeing, swimming, kayaking, and more.

Halong Bay/Cat Ba 3-Day Trip

For a more immersive experience, consider the 3-day, 2-night program. This option allows for two nights on the boat, maximizing your time for enjoying all that Halong Bay has to offer.

>> See more: Best Month to Visit Halong Bay for Great Weather

Ninh Binh (1-3 days)

trang an vietnam best place to visit

Ninh Binh, just a short distance from Hanoi, was the first capital of the Monarchy of Vietnam in the 10th century. Renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance, Ninh Binh offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers.

The countryside of Ninh Binh fascinates visitors with its alternating landscapes of limestone mountains and rivers, a green color of peace and quiet life. Beyond that, Ninh Binh represents the religious cradle of Vietnam. Ninh Binh and Nam Dinh, its neighborhood, were the first regions to have contact with Catholicism in Vietnam. Ninh Binh was also the capital of the Ly Dynasty in the early 10th century. King Ly Thai To was the first king who wholeheartedly supported Buddhism, so Ninh Binh also has many ancient pagodas.

For 1-3 days, these are must-see attractions in Ninh Binh.

  • Tam Coc, Van Long Nature Reserve, Trang An: These attractions are indispensable once you arrive in Ninh Binh. Although the sights at these attractions are stunning and the tours by rowing boats give you a totally peaceful feeling, you can opt for one out of three. Trang An was recognized as a World Heritage Site for both natural and cultural value, attracting many tourists worldwide. The trip to Trang An also reminds you of Vietnam's history, with 3 stops at ancient temples and 12 caves. Tam Coc is often referred to as "Halong Bay on Land", attracting many visitors, while Van Long is more authentic and quieter.

  • Bich Dong Pagoda, Am Tien Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda: These are the most well-known ancient pagodas in Ninh Binh. If Bich Dong Pagoda and Am Tien Pagoda are small and lean on the mountainside, in perfect harmony with nature, Bai Dinh Pagoda demonstrates greatness on the mountain. The pagoda holds many records in Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and even Asia.

  • Hang Mua Viewpoint: Hang Mua Viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of Tam Coc's landscape after a rewarding climb up Hang Mua Mountain. Highlights include a stone dragon statue, the neighboring Lying Dragon Mountain, and a serene pagoda and gardens. For optimal views, you should visit during the dry season.

  • Thung Nham Garden: This is the home to thousands of rare storks. The photo of the flocks of birds at sunset fascinates all tourists, especially nature lovers.

  • Phat Diem Cathedral: Despite not being close to other attractions, Phat Diem Cathedral is a very special place in Ninh Binh. If you have extra time here, make sure to visit the cathedral and discover the unique architecture of Vietnam's Catholicism.

  • Cuc Phuong National Park: Not many provinces in Vietnam are endowed with such rich biodiversity as Ninh Binh. As the first recognized national park in Vietnam, Cuc Phuong is a fascination for nature lovers who want to have maximum contact with nature. You can take a trek through the forest to witness diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered Delacour's langur.

Beyond the tourist sites, life in the countryside in Ninh Binh is idyllic but full of activities. It is not difficult to encounter a Ninh Binh resident who talks about the land of King Dinh, King Le and shows his love for the country. The tranquillity and rural graciousness in Ninh Binh pampers all the souls. During your trip, you will have the opportunity to take a boat trip, walk, climb mountains, or cycle to explore Ninh Binh.

tam coc vietnam tourist attractions

In Ninh Binh, we recommend you spend 1-3 days.

The first day is for trips to Tam Coc - Bich Dong Pagoda - Hoa Lu. The alternative tour is Tam Coc - Thung Nham - Hang Mua Cave. If you prefer an authentic experience, spend your day in Van Long Nature Reserve - Thung La Temple.

The second day is for Thien Ha Cave - Thung Nham. The shortstops in the villages can give you real-life experiences and contact with locals.

If you have third days in Ninh Binh, make a trip to Cuc Phuong National Park - Endangered Primate Rescue Center. This will bring many exciting memories for your children.

>> See more: Lotus Season In Ninh Binh

Mai Chau - Pu Luong (2-4 days)

mai chau pu luong vietnam what to do

Mai Chau has been a well-known tourist destination in Vietnam for the past decade. In recent years, Pu Luong has emerged as a new destination that fascinates many tourists with its beautiful scenery and the ease of combining it with other attractions. Mai Chau and Pu Luong are quite close to each other (about an hour's drive), so combining them on the same itinerary is convenient.

These regions surprise travelers with breathtaking landscapes, including mountains and rice terraces, and the possibility of encountering ethnic minorities. If you want to take a short getaway to the mountains, these destinations are ideal for you.

If you don't have a lot of time but still want to encounter ethnic minorities, discover their culture, and walk around the villages, Mai Chau—Pu Luong is ideal to include in your Vietnam trip. For both destinations, you can spend about 2 - 4 days. Normally, travelers choose 2-day options; however, nature enthusiasts who also want to discover the cultural life of ethnic groups can extend more days.

Things to do in Mai Chau - Pu Luong:

  • Cycle through the valley
  • Visit the ethnic market
  • Walk in the middle of the rice fields or trek through the jungle
  • Take a bamboo boat along the stream
  • Admire the pretty waterfalls and caves
  • Overnight at White Thai people's traditional home
  • Enjoy a traditional dance performance
  • Visit an ethnic minority village, meet local people and learn about their culture

>> See more: Best Time to Visit Mai Chau, Vietnam

Sapa (2-4 days)

sapa good place to visit in vietnam

Sapa, nestled in the mountains of northwestern Vietnam, is a captivating destination renowned for its iconic terraced rice fields, diverse ethnic minority communities, and breathtaking natural landscapes.

The best time to visit is from April to early September when the weather is pleasant. However, the unique beauty of the rice terraces can be enjoyed throughout the year, particularly during the pouring water season (May-June) and the harvest season (August).

Sapa offers ideal trekking terrains through stunning landscapes. On a trekking trip, you can immerse yourselves into the culture through interactions with ethnic communities or simply the opportunity to admire the picturesque rice terraces.

The bustling town of Sapa has a variety of hotels and resorts, restaurants, and shops, while the surrounding villages provide a more authentic experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the traditional way of life of local ethnic minorities. If you have a chance, stay overnight with an ethnic family in their village.

Things to do in Sapa:

  • Visit ethnic minority villages and learn about their culture
  • Trek through valleys, hills and rice terraces
  • Visit the ethnic market of Bac Ha, Coc Ly
  • Take a scenic cable car to breathtaking Fansipan Peak
  • Admire the waterfall of Love or Silver
  • Overnight at Hmong people's traditional home
  • Explore Sapa town

>> See more: A Guide to The Best Trekking in Sapa

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #1: Essential Northern Vietnam

  • Route: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Ninh Binh
  • Suitable for: Couples, Seniors, Children, Small Group
Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi, Hanoi Old Quarter discovery - overnight in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi City Sightseeing - overnight in Hanoi
Day 3: Ninh Binh: Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Hoa Lu - overnight in Ninh Binh
Day 4: Ninh Binh - Halong Bay - overnight on the bay
Day 5: Halong Bay - Hanoi & Departure

Northern Vietnam trip itinerary 5 days

5-Day Northern Vietnam Trip

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #2: Highlight of the Northern Vietnam

  • Route: Hanoi - Mai Chau - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay
  • Suitable for: Everyone
Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi, check in hotel - overnight in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour - overnight in Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau - overnight in Mai Chau
Day 4: Mai Chau - Ninh Binh - overnight in Ninh Binh
Day 5: Ninh Binh - Hanoi - overnight in Hanoi
Day 6: Hanoi - Halong Bay - overnight in the bay
Day 7: Halong Bay - Hanoi & Departure

hightlight of northern vietnam trip 7 days

7-Day Northern Vietnam Trip

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #3: Authentic Northern Vietnam

  • Route: Hanoi - Sapa - Ninh Binh - Lan Ha Bay
  • Suitable for: Couples, Seniors, Family, Small Group
Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi - overnight in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour - overnight train to Sapa
Day 3: Sapa Sightseeing - overnight in Sapa
Day 4: Sapa - Hanoi - overnight in Hanoi
Day 5: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - overnight in Hanoi
Day 6: Hanoi - Lan Ha Bay - overnight in the bay
Day 7: Lan Ha Bay - Hanoi & Departure

sapa and northern vietnam trip 7 days
Northern Vietnam Trip in 7 Days

Northern Mountainous Vietnam Sites

The Northwest and Northeast regions of Vietnam are famous mountainous destinations, revealing the country's most beautiful terraced rice fields and offering you the opportunity to encounter the diverse Vietnamese ethnic minorities. If you are fond of an authentic Vietnam trip, northern mountainous destinations are the places to go.

Northwest Mountain (5-9 days)

northwest vietnam mountain destination

The Northwest area of Vietnam is a destination for photography enthusiasts, as well as the majestic nature and ethnic minority markets. If you have over 5 days to discover Northern Vietnam, don't miss this mountainous area. During the trip, you will be amazed by the rolling terraced rice fields and have the chance to meet the ethnic groups of North Vietnam like the Lao, Lu, Thai, Hmong, Dzao, Tay, and San Chi.

To hike in the Northwest of Vietnam, tourists normally travel by car to the foot mount and then trek in villages or fascinating trekking routes such as La Pan Tan. The most popular sites in the area are Nghia Lo - Tu Le - Mu Cang Chai - Sapa - Bac Ha - Thac Ba.

Things to do in the mountains of Northwest Vietnam:

  • Hunt stunning photos of Mu Cang Chai and Nghia Lo
  • Visit a multi-ethnic market in Bac Ha
  • Trek into the wild nature
  • Conquer the Fansipan Peak and Hoang Lien Son mountain range
  • Spend a night at home with locals in Nghia Lo, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Bac Ha
  • Take a boat ride at Thac Ba Lake
  • Taste schnapps with typical ethnic Thai straws 
  • Taste the typical cuisine of the area

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #4: Admire the Beauty of Northwest Vietnam

  • Route: Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai - Lai Chau - Sapa - Bac Ha
  • Suitable for: Couples, Seniors, Family, Small Group
Day 1: Hanoi - Nghia Lo - overnight in Nghia Lo
Day 2: Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai - overnight in Mu Cang Chai
           Optional: Another day trekking to discover La Pan Tan
Day 3: Mu Cang Chai - Lai Chau - Sapa - overnight in Sapa
           Optional: Another day trekking in Sapa
Day 4: Sapa - Bac Ha - overnight in Bac Ha
           Optional: Another day trekking in Bac Ha
Day 5: Bac Ha - Hanoi & Departure

northwest vietnam trip 5 days

5-Day Northwest Vietnam Trip

Northeast Mountain (5-9 days)

ha giang vietnam best area to visit

Northeast Vietnam, well-known for its majestic landscapes, is suitable for adventurous souls. You can visit by car, motorcycle, foot or even bicycle. The winding roads attract everyone to put their feet up in one of the toughest areas of the country.

The area is famous for both nature and the rich ethnic culture, among which you have chances to meet the H'Mong, Lolo, Tay, and Nung and witness the beautiful nature, rocky mountains, and terraced fields. Dong Van Karst Plateau is ranked as a global geopark. Cao Bang Mountain is charmed by the lush green mountains, valleys, lakes, and rivers with immense corn fields.

The most beautiful places in the area are Ha Giang, Dong Van, Bao Lac, Cao Bang, and Ba Be. A trip to the northeastern part of Vietnam takes at least 5 days. Otherwise, you can also travel to Ha Giang, Ba Be, or Cao Bang for 3 days from Hanoi.

Things to do in Northeast Vietnam:

  • Do the Ha Giang loop by motorbike
  • Take a boat trip to the Nho Que River and Tu San Canyon
  • Visit the Dong Van Karst Plateau, an enchanting Global Geopark recognized by UNESCO 
  • Meet the tribes on the ethnic market 
  • Admire the grandiose Ban Gioc Waterfall
  • Discover the enchanting caves of Hua Ma, Nguom Ngao, Puong
  • Take a boat ride to Ba Be Natural Lake and learn about its legend
  • Stay overnight at a local resident's house
  • Taste the specialties of Ha Giang and Cao Bang

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #5: Highlight of the Northeast Vietnam

  • Route: Ha Giang - Dong Van - Bao Lac - Ba Be
  • Suitable for: Couples, Seniors, Family, Small Group
Day 1: Hanoi - Ha Giang - overnight in Ha Giang
           Optional: Another day in Ha Giang to visit Ha Thanh, Lung Vai, Khuoi My villages
Day 2: Ha Giang - Dong Van - overnight in Dong Van
           Optional: Another day in Dong Van, visiting Lo Lo Chai and trekking
Day 3: Dong Van - Bao Lac - overnight in Bao Lac
Day 4: Bao Lac - Ba Be - overnight in Ba Be
           Optional: Another day relaxing and visiting in Ba Be
Day 5: Ba Be - Hanoi & Departure

northeast vietnam trip 7 days

5-Day Northeast Vietnam Trip 

Northern Vietnam has attractions suitable for many different interests: those who like culture, those who like to greet and meet local people, and those who like trekking. Whether you have time for 5 days or 1 month, there are always suitable Vietnam itineraries for you.

Unlike the North, Central Vietnam brings together the beauty of sunshine and wind, blue sea, majestic landscapes, and historical and cultural relics. These features create the unique charm of tourism in Central Vietnam that fascinates a large number of tourists.

Hue (1-2 days)

hue imperial city place to visit

For those who love culture, Hue is undoubtedly a must-see destination on your trip to Vietnam. Hue was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 (143 years). As the last capital of the feudal Monarchy of Vietnam, this city retains traces of Vietnam's feudal period: royal palaces and mausoleums,... some of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Because of the slow pace of life, you will feel as if time stands still in Hue, particularly in the historical sites. It's rare to encounter an angry local in Hue. Hue people are normally calm and smiling, especially the women.

In Hue, you cannot forget a list of historical sites:

  • Hue Imperial Citadel: Hue Imperial Citadel is a great pride of the Hue people. Although part of it was destroyed during the wars, the Citadel is restored day by day thanks to the government's efforts. This 19th-century architectural work is a masterpiece complex made by artisans from all over the country. It reveals many stories, rituals, feudal lifestyles, aesthetic views, and the rules of Feng Shui.

  • Mausoleum of the Nguyen Kings: The Nguyen Dynasty had 13 kings, but for economic and political reasons, only 7 mausoleums were built. The mausoleums in Hue were built when the king was still alive, so they are not sad burial places but rather palaces with charming scenery that are harmonious with nature. You may consider visiting these mausoleums:

    • The poetic mausoleum of Tu Duc
    • The majestic mausoleum of Minh Mang
    • The complicated mausoleum of Khai Dinh
    • The elegant mausoleum of Gia Long
    • The simple mausoleum of Duc Duc
    • The quiet mausoleum of Thieu Tri
    • The unusual mausoleum of Dong Khanh
  • Thien Mu Pagoda, Dong Ba Market, Truong Tien Bridge, and Perfume River: These sites are regarded as the soul of Hue land. Join us to explore the fascinating things in the 400-year-old sacred temple and surrounding places.

Hue is the hometown of many skilled artisans who have lived and developed their careers, especially during the construction of the city's buildings. This is why there are numerous handicraft villages and ancient villages with garden houses around the city. You can spend your second day in those peaceful Hue’s villages:

  • Thuy Bieu Ancient Village
  • Thanh Tien Paper Flower village
  • Phuoc Tich Ancient Village
  • Thuy Xuan Incense Village
  • Tien Non Traditional Lacquerware Village

Other unique attractions in Hue you can see:

  • Bach Ma National Park
  • Chuon Lagoon
  • Tam Giang Lagoon
  • An Hien Ancient House
  • Hue Abandoned Water Park
  • Bao Vinh Ancient Town
  • Thanh Toan Tile-roofed Bridge
  • Hue Royal Music (a World Intangible Heritage)

For Hue, you can consider spending 1-2 days. The first day is for the most well-known and must-see sites, and the second day is for the surrounding villages. If you enjoy cycling, a bike ride to ancient villages, for example, Phuoc Tich village, would be a wonderful idea.

Hoi An (1-3 days)

hoi an vietnam trip itinerary

Hoi An is a testament to a typical oriental town and 16th—19th-century urban port life in Vietnam. The old town, regarded as a living museum, well represents antiquity and the interaction between Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese cultures. A very long time ago, the land was a part of the Champa Kingdom, so you can also encounter the typical traits of Cham culture. With all the cultural values that it preserved, in 1999, Hoi An Ancient Town was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Hoi An's main attractions:

  • The Japanese Bridge: A symbol of Hoi An that is honored to appear on Vietnam's money of 20,000 VND. The bridge is famous for its peaceful scenery. With the age of nearly 400 years, the bridge represents a testimony and is an indispensable stop for all tourists visiting Hoi An.

  • The old houses: They are well preserved for many centuries with their original architectural beauty. During the tours, visitors will have the feeling of "going back" to the bustling trading port of Hoai Pho in the past. The most prominent old houses are Tan Ky Old House, Phung Hung Old House, Ancient Tran Family House, and Quan Thang Old House.

Besides the historic attractions, Hoi An is the shopper's paradise, particularly for those seeking custom-tailored clothing. Skilled tailors can create bespoke garments quickly and affordably. Food lovers will also delight in Hoi An's culinary scene, with its diverse range of local specialties and coffee. After a day of exploring, you will enjoy your time and a comfortable rest at your accommodation. Most hotels in Hoi An have outdoor swimming pools that offer a refreshing retreat.

Besides the old town, the countryside of Hoi An is also very beautiful. You can spend your time visiting the surrounding villages, such as Cam Thanh Coconut Forest, Thanh Ha Pottery Village, Kim Bong Wood Carving Village, or Go Noi Village near Thu Bon River. Each village has a distinct beauty; however, the locals are all humble, generous, and very friendly. These things make Hoi An most lovable in the eyes of tourists.

Beyond these things, you can consider exploring these unique Hoi An's attractions and beaches:

  • My Son Sanctuary: A typical architectural work of the Champa Kingdom in Vietnam and is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Memory of Hoi An show: This is a cultural activity that immerses you in the culture and history of the old port city through music and stories. We recommend it as a must-do evening activity.
  • Cu Lao Cham Island: This island offers an exceptional marine experience, including diving opportunities and coral viewing. The island remains pristine with clear water. It is not yet open to guests staying overnight.
  • An Bang Beach & Hoi An Beach: For those seeking a beach experience, Cua Dai Beach and An Bang Beach are a must-visit. Known for its pristine white sand, gentle waves, and stunning sunrises, Hoi An Beaches offers a tranquil escape during your Vietnam trip.

For Hoi An, you can spend at least 1 day visiting the main attractions. The second day is for trips to surrounding villages, and the other day is for trips to Cham Island and My Son Sanctuary. If you have more time, Hoi An beaches are inviting you for a long beach vacation.

Da Nang (1-2 days)

da nang vietnam travel places

Da Nang is often known as a coastal city in central Vietnam, with its beautiful beaches and modern development. It's the fourth largest city in Vietnam and a popular tourist destination. Da Nang offers a mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and modern amenities, making it a captivating destination for travelers.

Da Nang also hosts an annual International Firework Festival in May-June, attracting people from all over the world.

Like Hoi An, its culinary scene promises a delicious adventure for every taste bud, especially seafood and regional cuisine.

What to see and do in Da Nang:

  • Relax on beautiful beaches like My Khe Beach, Non Nuoc Beach, Nam O, Son Tra and Bac My An Beach. You can swim, sunbathe, or try various water sports.
  • Visit the Linh Ung Pagoda on Son Tra Peninsula. This pagoda is home to a towering Lady Buddha statue and offers charming sea views.
  • Explore the Ba Na Hills: Take a cable car ride to the Ba Na Hills, you can spend a whole day entertaining in the French village, a fun theme park.
  • Walk across the Golden Bridge - an iconic symbol of Da Nang. This pedestrian bridge is held up by two giant stone hands. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Ba Na Hills.
  • Visit the Cham Museum, which houses a collection of Cham sculptures, offering insights into the ancient Cham civilization that once flourished in the region.

>> See more: 12 Things To Do in Da Nang at Night

Phong Nha-Ke Bang(1-2 days)

phong nha vietnam things to see

If you are a nature enthusiast, Phong Nha is a place that is not to be missed. Phong Nha-Ke Bang is located in Quang Binh, a small province in central Vietnam. Nature has bestowed the people and the land a great favor: a cave system formed through many tectonic processes deep in the majestic limestone mountains and the crystal clear streams. This is a perfect place for those who love to explore caves and want to immerse themselves in wild beauty.

You can reach Phong Nha, Quang Binh, by overnight train or bus. The province also has a domestic airport, Dong Hoi Airport.

What to see and do in Phong Nha-Ke Bang:

  • Take a boat trip to tunnel caves such as Phong Nha Cave
  • Visiting caves on the mountain like Thien Duong Cave
  • Trek through the forest
  • Join in "youthful" activities such as zipline and kayaking at Nuoc Mooc Stream
  • Take the professional adventure to Hang En, Son Doong, Tu Lan Caves which combine long-distance trekking in the forest, swimming inside the caves, and camping.

>> See more: Best Time to Visit Phong Nha, Vietnam

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #6: Essential Central Vietnam Tour

  • Route: Da Nang - Hoi An - Hue - Phong Nha
  • Suitable for Couples, Seniors, Children, Small Group
Day 1: Welcome to Da Nang - Hoi An - overnight in Hoi An
Day 2: Hoi An Sightseeing - overnight in Hoi An
Day 3: Hoi An Beach Leisure - overnight in Hoi An
Day 4: Hoi An - Hue - overnight in Hue
Day 5: Hue Imperial City Sightseeing - overnight in Hue
Day 6: Hue - Quang Tri - Phong Nha - overnight in Phong Nha
Day 7: Phong Nha & Departure

central vietnam trip 7 days

7-Day Central Vietnam Trip

Central Highland Sites (3-4 days)

central highland place to go in vietnam

The Central Plateau area of Vietnam is a pristine land little touched by mass tourists. The majority of foreigners who have come here are people who want to visit their old battlefields or just Da Lat City. If your Vietnam trip crosses Central Highland, you can admire the interesting landscapes by hiking to the valleys, lakes, and waterfalls and rafting in the river, as well as visiting the villages of Gia Rai, Ede, M'nong, and Bana.

And here are what to see and do in Central Highland:

  • Da Lat City: Often referred to as the "City of Eternal Spring," Da Lat boasts a cool climate, pine forests, and charming French colonial architecture, suitable for exploring the vibrant flower gardens and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.
  • Buon Ma Thuot: This bustling city is surrounded by coffee plantations, making it known as the "cafe capital" of Vietnam. Besides, it boasts about Dray Sap Waterfall, which is a magnificent natural wonder.
  • Dak Lak: Located here is the Lak Lake, Vietnam's largest natural freshwater lake. It offers stunning scenery and opportunities for boat trips and elephant care.

Furthermore, a journey through the Central Highlands offers an unparalleled opportunity to delve into a cultural landscape that stands distinct from the rest of Vietnam, with customs, traditions, and ways of life that are truly one-of-a-kind.

Unique things to do in Central Highland:

  • See the unique traditional architectural works of local ethnic groups: the Nha Dai (long house) of the Ede people, Nha Rong (high house) of the Bana people, the cemetery of the Mnong people
  • Explore the Goong cultural space - a UNESCO World Intangible Heritage - a typical trait of ethnic groups at the central plateau of Vietnam

Southern Vietnam, with its mainly plain terrain, has many beautiful landscapes. It is an ideal tourist destination for all tourists, from children to adults, couples, and the seniors.

Ho Chi Minh City (1-2 days)

saigon vietnam best tourist place

Ho Chi Minh City has its old name, Sai Gon, which was renamed in 1975 to memorialize Vietnam's first great president. The city gives us a genuine sense of how fast the country is developing. Not being quiet like Hue or full of nostalgia like Hanoi, Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City impresses visitors with the fast pace of life. It is like a young growing up in a new modern world. As a young city in Vietnam, Sai Gon also has its own history, especially the history related to the resistance war against the US in Vietnam.

Must-see attractions in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Reunification Palace: This site witnessed many historical events, especially the ending of the resistance war against the US. If you take a tour around this attraction, you will learn about its history and importance to today's Vietnam.
  • The Central Post Office, the Saigon Opera House, Ben Thanh Market: Saigon used to be regarded as the Pearl of the Orient in the years before 1975. These historical monuments demonstrate a special era of Saigon imbued with Western style. These are a few examples of the appealing, well-preserved French colonial architecture that remain.
  • War Remnants Museum: This is a member of the International Network of Museums for Peace and the International Council of Museums. The museum's function is to research, collect, preserve and display documents and objects on the crimes and consequences of the war.

Besides the must-see sites in Ho Chi Minh City, you can also take a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels - an underground system of the Vietnamese defense during the Vietnam War. The half-day Cu Chi Tunnels trip is well combined with a half-day trip to the Cao Dai Holy See, which is also a famous cultural work, converging with unique architectural styles that attract thousands of tourists each year. The other unique attractions include the Fito Museum, Nguyen Hue Walking Street, China Town and Jade Emperor Pagoda.

Mekong Delta (1-4 days)

mekong delta vietnam what to do

The Mekong River Delta is renowned for its intense river system. The area attracts all visitors not only for the unique colors of the riverside scenery but also for the gentleness and generosity of the local people. There are two seasons in the Mekong Delta: rainy season and dry season. However, the rainy season is not a time to avoid traveling. It is the harvest time for many tropical fruits, and the rains with the rising water level show a spectacular aspect of life in the area. Therefore, you can visit the Mekong Delta all year round.

From Ho Chi Minh City, visitors can make the day trips to Ben Tre or Cai Be, then continue your journey to Long Xuyen to explore bustling floating life. In Chau Doc, learn about the Cham people's culture before leaving for Phu Quoc Island or Cambodia.

What to see and do in the Mekong Delta:

  • Explore the floating Markets
  • Cruise the Mekong River
  • Visit traditional craft villages
  • Sample tropical fruits and local delicacies
  • Cycle through the countryside

For the Mekong Delta, you can spend at least 1 day to get an overview of the region. However, if you like life on the river, you can spend more days exploring all the best that the river has to offer. Normally, tourists choose to spend 2 - 4 days.

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #7: Essential Southern Vietnam Tour

  • Route: Ho Chi Minh City- Ben Tre - Sa Dec - Long Xuyen
  • Suitable for Couples, Seniors, Children, Small Group
Day 1: Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City - overnight in HCMC
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City sightseeing - overnight in HCMC
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City - Tay Ninh- overnight in HCMC
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Tre - overnight in Ben Tre
Day 5: Ben Tre - Sa Dec - Long Xuyen - overnight in Long Xuyen
Day 6: Long Xuyen - Tra Su - Chau Doc - overnight in Chau Doc
Day 7: Chau Doc - Ho Chi Minh City or continue your trip to Phnom Penh by speed boat

southern vietnam trip 7 days

7-Day Southern Vietnam Trip 

Vietnam's 3,260km coastline offers a diverse range of beach experiences. From bustling resort towns to secluded islands, each beach destination boasts its unique charm and allure. Spending a few leisure days by the sea would be ideal for refreshing after the trip. We will provide couples and families with some great suggestions for your beach holiday in Vietnam.

4.1. Phu Quoc Island

vietnam trip itinerary phu quoc

As the largest island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc is a tropical paradise with pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and lush national parks. The tropical beaches in Phu Quoc give you a complete escape to relax. Long Beach and Bai Sao Beach are renowned for their soft sand and crystal-clear waters. Phu Quoc Island also offers a unique opportunity to dive and spot marine creatures. The best time to visit Phu Quoc is from the end of October until April.

4.2. Con Dao Island

vietnam beach holiday con dao diving

As a remote archipelago off the southern coast, the Con Dao Islands have so far offered unspoiled beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a tranquil atmosphere. This is the perfect destination for those seeking a secluded and relaxing beach getaway. It used to be named among the "World's 16 Best Island Vacations" by Condé Nast Traveler. Although there is still little choice of hotels, Con Dao offers us many interesting natural experiences. The best time to visit Con Dao is from March to September when the sea is calm and there are no strong winds.

4.3. Phan Thiet

Known for its unique red and white sand dunes, Phan Thiet is a popular destination for kiteboarding and windsurfing. The picturesque fishing village and bustling seafood markets also add to its appeal. For Mui Ne, you can easily reach from Ho Chi Minh City. The best time to travel to Mui Ne is from November to April.

4.4 Nha Trang

Nha Trang is a wonderful coastal city with a lively atmosphere. It boasts a mild climate, delicious seafood, and a fabulous long stretch of beautiful beaches. Visitors can enjoy water sports, island hopping tours, and a variety of dining and entertainment options. The nice sunny months to visit Nha Trang are from January to September.

4.5. Quy Nhon

quy nhon beach vietnam

Quy Nhon, a coastal city in Bình Định province, is a hidden gem on Vietnam's central coast. It offers a more laid-back and less touristy alternative to other beach destinations in the country. So far, the number of hotels and resorts in Quy Nhon is still limited, however, there are very luxurious options such as Amanoi, Avani, and Anantara. The best time to visit Quy Nhon is during the dry season, which runs from March to September.

To fully experience Vietnam's rich culture, you should plan to spend about 10 days. This duration allows for a thorough immersion in the country's cultural offerings. You could tour from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The reverse journey is totally possible.

Vietnam Trip Itinerary #8: Essential Itinerary for Vietnam in 10 Days

Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi - overnight in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi Sightseeing - overnight in Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay - overnight on the bay
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hoi An - overnight in Hoi An
Day 5: Hoi An - overnight in Hoi An
Day 6: Hoi An - Hue - overnight in Hue
Day 7: Hue - Ho Chi Minh City - overnight in HCMC
Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City Sightseeing - overnight in HCMC
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City - Cai Be - overnight in HCMC
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City & Departure

vietnam trip itinerary from north to south

10-Day Vietnam Trip from North to South

We recommend this essential 10-day Vietnam itinerary to provide a comprehensive overview of the country's diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and bustling cities. If your schedule allows, consider extending your Vietnam journey to indulge more of country's diverse offerings.

  • For those seeking sun and sand, a 3-5 day beach vacation at renowned coastal destinations like Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang, or Hoi An is a perfect addition.
  • Alternatively, venture into the Northeastern or Northwestern regions to discover their unique landscapes and ethnic minority cultures.
  • For history enthusiasts, a 3-5 day excursion to Cambodia's iconic Angkor Wat temple complex will be an unforgettable experience.

These optional extensions provide ample opportunities to tailor your Vietnamese adventure to 15 days, 21 days, or even 1 month.

We hope this article provides helpful insights for planning your Vietnam trip & holidays.

If you're looking for more expert guidance and personalized recommendations, IZITOUR, a local travel agency with experience serving over 3,000 travelers worldwide, can help you create a tailor-made itinerary that perfectly suits your needs and preferences.

Don't hesitate to leave a comment below for personalized advice on the best Vietnam itinerary or complete our customized Vietnam trip form. Let IZITOUR take care of the rest. Our travel consultant will contact you with the best-suited travel program and any seasonal offers.

Tailor-made Vietnam Trip

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Ngoc Tu Dinh
Travel Expert
I'm Ngoc Tu Dinh, a local travel expert from Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam. Exploring Vietnam has been my passion for years, and I've spent 10 years as a tour guide throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. I hope that my understanding of Vietnamese culture, allow me to offer a unique perspective in this blog. Currently, I am based at IZITOUR. If you're planning a trip to Vietnam, I'm here to help you make the most of it! Feel free to leave your comments at the end of the article. Your feedback is important, and I look forward to responding to you.

Write Comment


  • Giulio Tucci
  • Giulio Tucci
Salve avrei bisogno di un preventivo per un Tour per una persona (magari lingua italiana) con arrivo il 15 novembre e partenza 23 novembre da Hanoi. Vorrei visitare il più possibile,non ho particolari preferenze per gli hotel
ReplySep 6, 2023
    • Emmuccia Izi
    • Emmuccia Izi
    Buongiorno Giulio, grazie per l'interessamento. Ci puoi mandare un email all'indirizzo: ?
    Sep 6, 2023
  • Adriana Volpi
  • Adriana Volpi

Grazie mille x i vostri programmi, SONO UN GRANDE AIUTO nella programmazione del viaggio perché sono molto precisi e dettagliati! Grazie ancora

ReplyFeb 13, 2023
    • Kayla Le
    • Kayla Le

    Molto piacere Adriana, buon viaggio!

    Feb 13, 2023
  • Emma Gabriel
  • Emma Gabriel

Je trouve votre message très utile et détaillé. Je souhaite visiter votre pays bientôt avec mes familles bien-aimées.

ReplyFeb 12, 2023
    • Kayla Le
    • Kayla Le
    Bonjour Emma, ​​merci pour tes aimables paroles. Bienvenu au Vietnam.
    Feb 13, 2023
  • Charolette Sadleir
  • Charolette Sadleir
    Congo (The Democratic Republic)

Hi webmaster, Your posts are always well-referenced and credible.

ReplyFeb 10, 2023
    • Kayla Le
    • Kayla Le
    Hi Charolette, your words are a big motivation to us. Thank you very much!
    Feb 11, 2023

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