Vietnam travel offers an adventure of a lifetime, and if you are planning your Vietnam tour guide, you will want to make the most of your time. That is where a well-planned Vietnam itinerary comes in. In this article, we will guide you through a carefully crafted Vietnam itinerary that will help you experience the best that this incredible country has to offer.
1. Northern Vietnam itinerary
Welcome to Northern Vietnam, a region of breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities! Our Vietnam itinerary for Northern Vietnam takes you on an unforgettable journey through this enchanting part of the country, where you will discover ancient temples, lush mountains, and traditional villages.
Start your Vietnam itinerary in the charming capital city of Hanoi!
- Where to go: Here are some must-see locations on your Hanoi Vietnam itinerary - Hanoi Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Opera House, VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City, and Dong Xuan Market.
- What to eat: When it comes to Hanoi travel, one cannot ignore the delicious cuisine that this city is known for. Ta Hien Street is a popular destination for street food lovers, with an array of local delights such as Bun Cha, Pho, and Banh Mi. For a taste of the famous turmeric fish, head to Cha Ca La Vong, a restaurant that has been serving this dish for over a century.
1.2. Ha Long Bay
For a comprehensive travel Vietnam itinerary, make sure to include a visit to the stunning Ha Long Bay, one of the country's most breathtaking natural wonders.
- Where to go: Indulge in the best of what Ha Long has to offer by checking out these incredible unmissable destinations: Bai Tu Long Bay, Ti Top Island, Tuan Chau Island, Sung Sot Cave, Thien Cung Cave, Dau Go Cave, Cua Van Floating Village, Quang Ninh Museum, Bai Tho Mountain, and Ha Long Night Market.
- What to eat: Seafood is the highlight of the local cuisine, with dishes ranging from grilled or steamed seafood to stir-fried specialties. One of the most famous dishes is the Ha Long squid sausage, made from fresh squid mixed with spices and grilled over charcoal.
1.3. Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is a hidden gem that every traveler should include on their Vietnam itinerary.
- Where to go: Some of the must-visit destinations in Ninh Binh include Trang An, Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Cuc Phuong National Park, Bich Dong Pagoda, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Tuyet Tinh Coc, Thung Nham Bird Park, Thai Vi Temple, Phat Diem Cathedral, Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve, Non Nuoc Pagoda.
- What to eat: Ninh Binh is also a foodie's paradise, where you can indulge in delicious local specialties such as goat meat, rice crust, and eel vermicelli.
Spare time to discover the breathtaking natural beauty of Sapa, Vietnam's picturesque mountain town.
- Where to go: With its idyllic natural scenery, rich cultural heritage, and warm and welcoming locals, there are countless enchanting destinations to explore and experience in Sapa, such as O Quy Ho Pass, Cat Cat Village, Fansipan Mountain, Muong Hoa Valley, Thac Bac Waterfall, Ta Phin Village, and Tram Ton Pass.
- What to eat: Some of the must-try dishes in Sapa include Thang Co, a spicy horse meat soup; Com Lam, sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes; and grilled fish from the streams and rivers.
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2. Central Vietnam itinerary
From the ancient imperial city of Hue to the charming old town of Hoi An, Central Vietnam is a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the heart of Vietnam.
Discover the imperial past of Vietnam during your trip to Hue, the former royal capital, through its historic destinations and delicious cuisine.
- Where to go: Visitors to Hue can immerse themselves in the city's regal past by exploring the many palaces, citadels, and tombs scattered throughout the city. Some of the must-see destinations in Hue include Hue Imperial City, Thien Mu Pagoda, Perfume River, Meridian Gate, Hue Historic Citadel, An Dinh Palace, Mausoleum Of Emperor Minh Mang, Hue Night Walking Street, Thuy Tien Lake, Hue Museum Of Royal Antiquities, Vong Canh Hill, Tu Hieu Pagoda, Huyen Khong Son Thuong Pagoda, Thien An Monastery, and Tomb Of King Thieu Tri.
- What to eat: There are plenty of signature dishes to try in Hue, such as Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup; Com Hen, a rice dish with small clams and vegetables; and Nem Lui, a grilled meat skewer with fresh vegetables and rice paper.
2.2. Hoi An
Your Vietnam itinerary would be incomplete without a visit to the beautiful ancient town of Hoi An, known for its lantern-lit streets, ornate temples, and rich cultural heritage.
- Where to go: Must-see attractions include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town, the iconic Japanese Bridge, and the bustling Hoi An night market. Visitors can also explore the Quan Cong Temple and Tan Ky Old House for a glimpse into the town's rich cultural heritage. Those looking for a beach getaway can head to An Bang Beach or take a day trip to Cham Islands, while history buffs can marvel at the ancient ruins of My Son Sanctuary. The Tra Que Vegetable Village and Cantonese Assembly Hall are also worth a visit, and for a family-friendly day out, VinWonders Nam Hoi An offers a range of exciting rides and attractions.
- What to eat: One of the most famous dishes is banh mi Hoi An, a Vietnamese baguette sandwich filled with savory pork, pate, vegetables, and a variety of sauces. Other must-try dishes include Cao Lau and Mi Quang.
2.3. Da Nang
For those seeking a picturesque seaside escape, a visit to the stunning Da Nang is a must-add to any Vietnam itinerary.
- Where to go: Dragon Bridge, a stunning bridge that spans the Han River and offers a spectacular fire and water show; My Khe Beach, a long stretch of white sand beach; Linh Ung Pagoda, a beautiful Buddhist temple with a stunning view of the sea; Black Rock Beach, a hidden gem with clear blue water; Ho Chi Minh Museum, a museum dedicated to the Vietnamese leader; Ban Co Peak, a popular spot to enjoy panoramic views of the city; Lap An Lagoon, a scenic spot with views of the mountains and lagoon; Non Nuoc Pagoda, a beautiful temple with intricate carvings and statues; Nam Son Pagoda, an ancient temple with stunning architecture; Tien Sa Port, a busy commercial port; Man Thai Beach, a secluded and pristine beach; Dong Dinh Art Museum, a museum showcasing the works of contemporary Vietnamese artists.
- What to eat: Da Nang is a food lover's paradise, offering a diverse range of Vietnamese cuisine. Da Nang’s local specialties include banh trang cuon thit heo (rice paper rolls with pork) and bun cha ca (fish cake noodle soup).
2.4. Nha Trang
With its stunning beaches and clear waters, Nha Trang has become a popular destination on any Vietnam itinerary.
- Where to go: In addition to Nha Trang beaches, Nha Trang is home to a number of historical and cultural landmarks. Visitors can explore Long Son Pagoda with its towering white Buddha statue, admire the ancient Po Nagar Cham Towers, or browse the bustling Dam Market for local handicrafts and souvenirs. Other attractions include Hon Chong Promontory and Tram Huong Tower, both of which offer spectacular views of the city and the ocean. For families, VinWonders Nha Trang amusement park and Diep Son Island are must-visit destinations. And for those looking for some relaxation and seclusion, Hon Mieu Island and its tranquil surroundings offer a perfect escape.
- What to eat: The city is well-known for its fresh seafood that can be found in many local restaurants and street vendors. One must-try dish is the banh xeo, also known as pancake Vietnam, a crispy and savory pancake made with rice flour, coconut milk, turmeric powder; filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts, and herbs.
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3. Southern Vietnam itinerary
Greetings to Southern Vietnam, a region that promises an exhilarating and culturally immersive South Vietnam itinerary. With an abundance of awe-inspiring experiences, South Vietnam is an unskippable destination that will make an indelible impression on your Vietnam tour map.
3.1. Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling and vibrant metropolis located in Southern Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon, this city is the economic hub of the country and offers visitors a unique blend of modernity and tradition.
- Where to go: From towering skyscrapers to ancient temples, Ho Chi Minh City has it all. Check out these must-visit destinations, including Landmark 81 Vietnam, Bui Vien Walking Street, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Tan Dinh Church, Independence Palace, Nguyen Hue Street, Xa Loi Buddhist Temple, Ben Dinh War Tunnels, Ton Duc Thang Museum, Thich Quang Duc Monument, Hoang Phap Buddhist Temple, Cu Chi Tunnels, War Remnants Museum, Saigon Central Post Office, and Ben Thanh Market.
- What to eat: One must-try local delicacy is banh mi Saigon, a Vietnamese-style baguette sandwich filled with a combination of meats, pickled vegetables, and herbs. Another signature dish of the city is com tam, also known as Vietnamese broken rice.
3.2. Mekong Delta
One of the highlights of a South Vietnam itinerary is a visit to Can Tho, where you can experience the bustling floating markets and explore the scenic Mekong Delta region.
- Where to go: Among the unmissable Can Tho Markets is Cai Rang Floating Market, where visitors can experience the bustling commerce of the Mekong Delta by boat. For those interested in history and culture, Binh Thuy Ancient House is a well-preserved example of a traditional Vietnamese home. Ninh Kieu Wharf is a popular spot to relax and enjoy the riverfront view, while the My Khanh Tourist Village offers a taste of local life with cultural activities. Other notable destinations in Can Tho include Bang Lang Stork Sanctuary, Canton Assembly Hall Of Can Tho, Luu Huu Phuoc Park, Munirensay Temple, Quang Duc Pagoda, and Song Hau Park.
- What to eat: Don't forget to try the famous Mekong Delta fruits such as pomelo, durian, and mangosteen. And of course, no Can Tho Vietnam itinerary is complete without savoring the local specialty, bun nuoc leo (vermicelli noodles with coconut).
3.3. Phu Quoc Island
The very last destination on your Vietnam itinerary is Phu Quoc, a picturesque tropical paradise with white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush green forests.
- Where to go: Some must-visit attractions on the island include Grand World Phu Quoc, Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc, and VinWonders Phu Quoc theme park, the picturesque Long Beach and Starfish Beach, the peaceful May Rut Island, and the charming Ham Ninh Fishing Village. For those who enjoy hiking and exploring the outdoors, the island's many natural attractions, such as the Tranh Stream, Phu Quoc National Park, and Ong Lang Beach, are not to be missed. And if you are interested in history and culture, Su Muon Pagoda and Phu Quoc Prison are worth a visit. Finally, be sure to check out the bustling Duong Dong Market and Phu Quoc Night Market.
- What to eat: A dish not to be missed on your Phu Quoc Vietnam itinerary is the delectable Ken noodles, which boasts a blend of rice noodles and a flavorful broth crafted from pork bone and seafood. Additionally, grilled seafood, crab dishes, and fish sauce are among the island's other must-try dishes.
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Vietnam is a country of contrasts, where the ancient and the modern blend seamlessly to create an unforgettable travel experience. Whether you are interested in exploring the local cuisine, learning about the country's history and culture, or simply soaking up the stunning scenery, this North to South Vietnam itinerary can be customized to suit your interests and needs. With friendly locals, delicious food, and an abundance of natural and cultural attractions, Vietnam is truly a gem of Southeast Asia that should not be missed.
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