Discover Vietnam's highlights on this compact six-day tour. Start by exploring the bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City before escaping to the lush Mekong Delta to sail along peaceful waterways and visit local villages. Continue to the capital, Hanoi, where tasty street food, colonial architecture, and water puppet shows await. The adventure ends with an overnight cruise on the emerald waters of UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay.

Highlights

  • Tour Ho Chi Minh City's markets, pagodas, and museums
  • Sail through the lush Mekong Delta
  • Explore historical Hanoi and sample local street food
  • Cruise the emerald waters of UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Guided Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2 Mekong Delta Day Trip Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3 Transfer to Hanoi & City Tour Hanoi
Day 4 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Junk Boat Overnight Cruise Ha Long Bay
Day 5 Cruise Bai Tu Long Bay, Return to Hanoi Hanoi
Day 6 Depart Hanoi  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, Guided Tour

City hall
Take in Ho Chi Minh City's striking City Hall

Xin Chao! Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, the first stop on your Vietnam adventure. A private driver will take you to your hotel in the heart of the city. Settle in and then explore the city's noodle-soup-scented alleyways and grand French boulevards through the eyes of a local. You'll discover a mix of colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers, snaking markets, and sprawling megamalls.

Visit the bustling Cho Lon Market, a hidden Chinese pagoda, and striking French colonial landmarks like the Central Post Office, City Hall, and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The tour also includes a trip to the stirring War Remnants Museum, which tells the story of the American War in Vietnam. You'll be dropped back at your hotel late afternoon for a relaxed evening.

Day 2: Mekong Delta Day Trip

Mekong Delta Day Trip
See how the locals live on the Mekong

This morning you'll transfer south to the lush Mekong Delta. This region is known as Vietnam's rice bowl, full of water-logged paddies, mangroves, and sugar cane plantations. Stop at My Tho's Rach Mieu Suspension Bridge for panoramic views of the Mekong and its surrounding islands before heading to Ben Tre. You'll board a boat to cruise along the Ham Luong River, a tributary to the Mekong, watching locals pass on sampans.

Sit back and relax while you drift down the waterway into a peaceful canal. You'll stop to visit local businesses like a brick kiln and coconut husking workshop and one of the coconut candy workshops Ben Tre is famous for. The next stop is Nhon Thanh Market, where you'll take a walk through the village to a workshop where skilled craftspeople hand weave sedge and rush mats.

Take a leisurely bike ride around the island to observe daily life, or hop on a Lambretta Triporteur, a 1960s tricycle popular in southern Vietnam. You'll wind past cucumber farms and enjoy lunch at a local home before continuing to explore exotic orchards and coconut farms on foot. The tour finishes with a peaceful paddle along the water on a traditional wooden sampan. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 3: Transfer to Hanoi & City Tour

Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Visit famous landmarks like Tran Quoc Pagoda

Say goodbye to Ho Chi Minh City this morning and fly north to Vietnam's buzzing capital, Hanoi. Check into your hotel ahead of your afternoon sightseeing tour. Meeting your guide, you'll visit famous landmarks like the 11th-century Temple of Literature and Tran Quoc Pagoda, a Buddhist shrine dating to the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De in the sixth century, making it the oldest of its kind in the city. You'll also enjoy a Water Puppet Show, a Vietnamese art form that emerged in the Red River Delta region in the 11th century.

For dinner, head out for a street food tour of Hanoi's famous Old Quarter. You'll wander its 36 labyrinthine streets, visiting some of the city's most popular food stalls, shops, and restaurants. Try up to eight local dishes, which may include pho (herby noodle soup), bun cha ta (a grilled pork and noodle dish), or banh mi (a meat-filled baguette). Sit with the locals on tiny roadside stalls to enjoy your food, accompanied by bia hoi (local beer) or strong Vietnamese coffee.

Day 4: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Junk Boat Overnight Cruise

Cruise the UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay

Today starts with a four-hour drive to Ha Long Bay harbor, where you'll board a junk boat for your overnight cruise of this UNESCO-listed landmark, deemed one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Sail across the paper-flat waters, taking in views of over 2,000 limestone karsts steeped in Vietnamese legend.

A delicious seafood lunch onboard awaits, followed by plenty of time to sit on the sundeck as you sail to Bai Tu Long Bay, a lesser-visited area northeast of Ha Long. Stop at a secluded island where you can go swimming and kayaking, then explore one of the bay's eerie caves. Return to the boat in time to catch the sunset from the top deck, followed by a lavish evening meal.

Day 5: Cruise Bai Tu Long Bay, Return to Hanoi

Have breakfast on Bai Tu Long Bay

Wake early for breakfast on the ship's deck, watching the sun rise over the emerald waters of Bai Tu Long Bay. You'll cruise to Thien Canh Son Cave to tour its cathedral-like caverns filled with ancient stalactites and stalagmites, some of which resemble baby elephants and lotus flowers.

Thien Canh Son lies on Ho Co (Grass Island), which is named for its lush foliage. Take time to relax on its white-sand beaches tucked beneath soaring limestone cliffs. As you sail back to port, enjoy a final lunch and views of Ha Long Bay. You'll be transferred back to Hanoi in time for a free evening; head out for a street-food feast or a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake.

Day 6: Depart Hanoi

Search for souvenirs in Hanoi's Old Quarter before you leave
Spend your last morning in Hanoi as you please. Depending on your flight time, you may have a chance for some souvenir shopping in the Old Quarter or a final bowl of steaming pho before your driver takes you to the airport for your homebound flight. Safe travels!

More Great Vietnam Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Vietnam? Check out these other Vietnam itineraries, explore different ways to spend six days in Vietnam, and discover the best time to visit Vietnam.

 

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Map

Map of Highlights of Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi & Ha Long Bay - 6 Days
Map of Highlights of Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi & Ha Long Bay - 6 Days