Itinerary #1: Best of Northern Vietnam
Focus on Vietnam's beautiful north on a weeklong tour that will take you from the French-colonial capital of Hanoi to the terraced rice paddies of Sapa and finally to the emerald waters of Hạ Long Bay.
|Day 1||Arrive in Hanoi||Hanoi|
|Day 2||Tour Hanoi and Take the Train to Lào Cai||Sapa|
|Day 3||Explore Sapa and Sa Seng||Sapa|
|Day 4||Hike to Country Villages||Hanoi|
|Day 5||Drive from Hanoi to Hạ Long Bay||Halong Bay|
|Day 6||Tour Hạ Long Bay||Hanoi|
|Day 7||Depart Hanoi|
You'll arrive in Hanoi and have some time to relax, adjust to the time difference, and enjoy a city tour. On the evening of day two, you'll catch an overnight train to the northwestern province of Lào Cai, followed by a transfer to Sapa. On the way to this dramatic mountain region, you'll stop at rural villages home to the Black Hmong people, an ethnic minority in Vietnam. You'll spend the next day hiking through Hmong villages around Sapa, passing green rice paddies along the way.
On day five, you'll return to Hanoi, then travel a few hours east to the Gulf of Tonkin. This is the location of Hạ Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its calm jade waters and thousands of limestone islets that rise out of the water like the spine of a dragon. On an overnight tour of Hạ Long Bay, you'll witness a gorgeous sunset and sunrise, and you'll enjoy delicious meals served right on the deck of the boat. On day seven, you'll return to Hanoi for the flight home. Learn more
Itinerary #2: North & Central Vietnam
This seven-day expanded Vietnam excursion combines highlights of the previous northern itinerary and a visit to the historic river city of Hội An in the country's center.
|Day 1||Arrive in Hanoi||Hanoi|
|Day 2||Explore Hanoi City and Take a Street Food Tour||Hanoi|
|Day 3||Discover the Scenery of Hạ Long Bay||Hạ Long Bay|
|Day 4||Breakfast on a Boat on Hạ Long Bay & Transfer to Hội An||Hoi An|
|Day 5||Ride Bicycles Along the Thu Bồn River||Hoi An|
|Day 6||Enjoy a Free Day in Hội An||Hoi An|
|Day 7||End of Trip, Depart Vietnam|
During the first couple of days in Hanoi, you'll visit the city's iconic landmarks like Hoàn Kiếm Lake, the ancient Buddhist temple of Trấn Quốc Pagoda, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. You'll also discover the tantalizing flavors of Vietnam on a street food tour of the French-colonial Old Quarter. On day three, transfer to Hạ Long Bay for an overnight cruise. Enjoy the scenery during the day, and at night, dine on fresh seafood for dinner.
After a night on the water, you'll return to Hanoi and fly south to the central coast and Da Nang. Then it's a short way south by car along the coast to Hội An. Sitting on the banks of the Thu Bồn River near the delta, this city was once a crucial port along the Asian trading routes of the 15th through 19th centuries. Hội An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prime example of this rich history. You'll see its historic buildings on a walking tour.
Leaving the city, you'll enjoy excursions down the river and take a bicycle tour of countryside villages. Stop to meet local artisans and tour organic farms, then have a traditional lunch with a local village family. After a free day to relax in Hội An, you'll travel to Da Nang, your departure point from Vietnam. Learn more
Itinerary #3: Vietnam South to North
Unlike the previous itineraries, this Vietnam adventure begins in the south, in Ho Chi Minh City, and covers diverse destinations throughout the country before ending up in Hanoi.
|Day 1||Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 2||See Củ Chi Tunnel & Go on a City Tour||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 3||Day Trip Along the Mekong Delta||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 4||Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi||Hanoi|
|Day 5||Explore the Scenery of Hạ Long Bay||Halong Bay|
|Day 6||Marvel at Sunrise Over the Bay & Travel to Hanoi||Hanoi|
|Day 7||Depart Hanoi, End of Trip|
Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, was once the capital of South Vietnam. You'll see remnants of its French-colonial heritage during the first two days of the trip, visiting landmarks like the Reunification Palace (former home of the president) and the former Viet Cong tunnel network at Củ Chi. On day three, you'll boat down the famous Mekong River, pausing along the journey to visit rural villages and take a bicycle ride around the coconut groves.
Next, you'll fly north to Hanoi and experience Vietnam's capital with a tour of its Old Quarter. Explore the area at night for the best range of dining and drinking options. The following day, you'll transfer to Hạ Long Bay and board an overnight cruise. By night, you'll sail past the area's famous floating villages, primarily home to fishermen who earn their living catching squid. On day six, return to Hanoi. You'll have a free evening before departing the next day. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Off the Beaten Path in Vietnam
This wide-ranging adventure through Vietnam allows you to see the country's famous cities and detour to more remote locales, like the massive caves of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
|Day 1||Arrive in Hanoi & Enjoy a Free Evening||Hanoi|
|Day 2||Get Oriented on a City Tour||Hanoi|
|Day 3||Take a Boat Tour Through Phong Nha Cave & Thien Duong Cave||Phong Nha|
|Day 4||Discover an Underground Village||Hue|
|Day 5||Tour the Imperial Citadel of Huế||Hue|
|Day 6||Visit Phuoc Tich and Tam Giang Lagoon||Hue|
|Day 7||Depart Hue, End of Trip|
The itinerary begins in Hanoi with visits to famous landmarks like the Temple of Literature, a site commemorating the first university of Vietnam, built in 1070. You'll also visit the Hoa Lo Prison, which housed POWs during the Vietnam War. Former captives include the late US Senator John McCain. Then it's time for an exciting food tour of Hanoi on the back of a motorcycle. Afterward, you'll head to the train station for an overnight trip south to Đồng Hới, a city on Vietnam's central coast.
Upon arrival in Đồng Hới, you'll have breakfast, then head off on a boat ride down the Son River. The countryside is spectacular: lining the riverbanks are bright green rice paddies and towering limestone mountains that date back hundreds of millions of years. Your destination today is an ancient network of caves that forms the UNESCO World Heritage Site Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Inside the park, you'll visit two caves that are some of the largest in Asia: Phong Nha and Thien Duong.
On day three, travel further south down the coast to Huế. On the way there you'll pass the DMZ (demilitarized zone) that separated North Vietnam from South Vietnam during the war. Once in Huế, you'll spend a few days touring the famous citadel, exploring the city on a food tour, and sampling local specialties like bún bò, a dish made with beef and vermicelli noodles. You'll even get to sit down with a local family for a home-cooked dinner.
The trip continues in the countryside river village of Phước Tích, whose traditions have changed little over the centuries. You'll see how the local artisans produce ceramics, which they've been doing the same way for 500 years. Then take a trip to Tam Giang Lagoon, a fishing village where locals catch fish, crabs, and shrimp with nets and cages. Finish the trip with a leisurely lunch of fresh seafood and a bicycle tour of nearby villages. The next day you'll depart Vietnam. Learn more
Itinerary #5: Southern Vietnam City and Beach Holiday
On this relaxing itinerary, you'll discover the gems of Vietnam's southern region, from Ho Chi Minh City to the beaches of Phan Thiết.
|Day 1||Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 2||Explore Củ Chi Tunnel & Take a City Tour||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 3||Go for an adventure on the Mekong Delta||Ho Chi Minh City|
|Day 4||Make the 5-Hour Drive to Paradise||Phan Thiet|
|Days 5-6||Relax on the Beach||Phan Thiet|
|Day 7||Return to Ho Chi Minh City, Depart|
On the first two days of the trip, you'll sightsee Ho Chi Minh City. Then you're off to the waterfront province of Bến Tre, where you'll board a boat for a ride down the Mekong River. During this excursion, you'll see picturesque villages, stop at a traditional brick factory, and visit a town where residents make delicious rice cakes you can sample.
Next, transfer by car from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiết. This once-laid back coastal community has become a popular holiday destination, thanks to its long white-sand beach fringed by coconut palms. You'll have the next couple of days free to relax, swim, sunbathe, and enjoy the area. Don't miss a trip to the famous White Dunes, a stunning series of sand dunes reminiscent of a desert landscape. On day seven, you'll return to Ho Chi Minh City and catch a flight home. Learn more
More Great Vietnam Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Vietnam? Check out these other Vietnam itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.