In-Depth Vietnam Discovery from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City
This itinerary is designed for people who would like to experience Vietnam at their own pace. It includes all the main attractions of the country and also the less touristy areas with some local life experiences.
From the attractive capital city, Hanoi, to the picturesque Halong Bay and the classic wonders of Mai Chau, and from historic Hue and Hoi An to vibrant Ho Chi Minh City and the delightful Mekong Delta, you will have the opportunity to discover the authentic Vietnam with its beautiful landscapes, spellbinding historical treasures, and welcoming locals.
- Hop on a local cyclo and catch a glimpse of city life by passing through the famed Old Quarter in Hanoi.
- Unveil the hill tribe culture with a cycling and walking tour in the valley of Mai Chau.
- Take a relaxing boat trip in the picturesque Halong Bay and appreciate the stunning karst landscape.
- Discover the grand Citadel in the former imperial capital of Hue.
- Walk through the bustling streets and quiet alleys in Hoi An Ancient Town.
- Explore Cai Rang Floating Market in the Mekong Delta, which provides a glimpse into a unique commercial culture.
Itinerary in detail
This sample itinerary provides inspiration, yet your preferences design the real journey. Following our Tailor-made Guidelines to create a wonderful India holiday in your way.
Day 1 Hanoi Arrival, Airport Transfer
Upon arrival, your private guide and driver will greet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel.
Take the rest of the day to adjust to the jet lag or explore the city on your own
Day 2 Hanoi City Highlights with an Old Quarter Cyclo Ride
You will explore the charming city of Hanoi with its top attractions: the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the unique One Pillar Pagoda, the iconic Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House, the picturesque Temple of Literature,and the fascinating Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.
Head back to central Hanoi and hop on a local cyclo (a rickshaw) and catch a glimpse of city life by traveling around the bustling streets and quiet alleys, passing through the famed Old Quarter.
Conclude the day by watching an entertaining water puppet performance. Colorful wooden puppets depict scenes of rural life and episodes of national history set to music.
Day 3 Unveil the Hill Tribe Culture with a Cycling Tour in Mai Chau Valley
breakfast and lunch
Depart for Hanoi on a scenic 4-hour drive southwest to Mai Chau, which is in the province of Hoa Binh.
The impressive evergreen mountains and valleys surrounded by a lush landscape and stilt houses are home to the White Thai ethnic group.
Check in at Mai Chau Ecolodge upon arrival. Head to Lac Hamlet and enjoy your lunch of homemade cuisine. Take a relaxing cycling journey (7 kilometers) through beautiful valleys and seize the chance to chat with a hill tribe, unveiling their lifestyle and traditions.
Special note: a gentle walking trip is available if you don’t like cycling.
Day 4 Discover a H’mong Village with a Mountain Walk
breakfast and lunch
After a 45-minute drive, Xa Linh greets you with its cool mountain breeze.
Enjoy a 2-hour walk as you meander along scenic mountain trails and arrive at the homeland of a H’mong hill tribe. You will get an insight into their culture and traditions.
Return to Mai Chau Ecolodge for lunch before being driven back to Hanoi.
Day 5 Hanoi to Halong Bay and an Overnight Cruise in Halong Bay
breakfast, lunch, and dinner
In the morning, you will be transferred from Hanoi to Halong Bay. Board the boat from your selected cruise at noon.
The first destination is Trinh Nu Cave, one of the finest sunlight-filled caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of 2,000 square meters with a stunning assortment of stalactites and stalagmites.
Swim in the “love story” area of Halong Bay. Taste exquisite drinks from a vast selection in an open bar on board while enjoying the panoramic view of Halong Bay. Join in with interesting activities on board, such as squid fishing like a local.
Day 6 Halong Bay to Hanoi, Enjoy a Free Half-Day in Hanoi
breakfast and lunch
In the morning, visit Halong Bay's largest and most famous cave, Sung Sot Cave, which consists of two major chambers.
After brunch, your cruise will come to an end and you will be transferred to your hotel in Hanoi. Enjoy a free half-day and wander around your hotel.
Day 7 Hanoi Departure, Fly to Hue
In the morning, your private guide and driver will transfer you to the airport in Hanoi for your onward flight to Hue. Upon arrival, your private guide and driver will greet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel.
Day 8 Hue City Highlights Tour
As one of the most significant cultural and historic centers, Hue was the Vietnamese capital during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). You will discover its essence: the Imperial Citadel, the Imperial City, the royal tombs, the Perfume River, and Thien Mu Pagoda.
The Imperial Citadel was built in the 19th century and modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing, holding many palaces and temples inside its giant walls. Spend some time wandering around the Imperial Citadel then continue to the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the emperors at two of the most impressive royal tombs: the Tomb of Khai Dinh and the tomb of Tu Duc.
Take a boat trip along the romantically named Perfume River to visit the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda,which was built in 1601 and is Hue’s best-preserved religious monument.
Day 9 Hue–Da Nang– Hoi An Transfer via the Scenic Hai Van Pass
breakfast and lunch
When you visit Central Vietnam, one site you can't miss is the Hai Van Pass. It is one of the most scenic vantage points in the country. On your 3-hour drive between Hue and Da Nang, the Hai Van Pass is surrounded by rolling hills and green valleys and offers the most spectacular views. You can stop along the way to take pictures of the main attractions.
Upon arrival in Hoi An, check in to your hotel. In the afternoon, take your time and meander through Hoi An's narrow lanes to uncover its highlights: the historic Japanese Covered Bridge,the memorable Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation, and the colorful local specialties market, which has stalls brimming with goods.
Day 10 Tra Que Village and a Local Cooking Experience
Drive to the nearby Tra Que Vegetable Village to observe local farmers working in the organic fields using traditional methods that date back hundreds of years. The rich soil from this village produces some of the most flavorsome vegetables and herbs in Hoi An.
Pick fresh sawtooth coriander and Vietnamese mint for your cooking lesson later in the day. Transfer to Red Bridge Cooking School and freshen up before beginning your private class. Follow the demonstrations given by the chef who will teach you the traditional methods of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch.
Use fresh ingredients with traditional Vietnamese utensils to prepare four popular dishes, including Vietnam’s national dish of pho (noodle soup). After the class, enjoy the dishes you have prepared. Board a local boat for a short cruise along the Thu Bon River back to central Hoi An.
Day 11 Ho Chi Minh City Arrival
Your private guide and driver will transfer you from Hoi An to Da Nang for your onward flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, your private guide and driver will greet you at the airport and then transfer you to your hotel.
Day 12 Ho Chi Minh City Tour and an Exploration of the Cu Chi Tunnels
You will take in Ho Chi Minh City's highlights at a slow and easy pace.
You will discover Ho Chi Minh City's turbulent history by visiting the most historic landmarks: Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, Saigon Central Post Office, and Reunification Palace.
Continue your trip with a visit to the informative War Remnants Museum where you will learn about the American War from the perspective of the Vietnamese.
Have an insight into the Saigonese lifestyle and culture by tasting a cup of coffee at a famed street café like the locals. You will also learn some simple local language from your guide.
In the afternoon, you will head to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, which reflect the hardships and resilience of the Vietnamese in history. The complex of tunnels, which are deeply hidden underground, protected the Viet Cong guerrillas from the French air and ground sweeps.
Day 13 Discover the Mekong Delta at Vinh Long and Can Tho
breakfast and lunch
Depart in the morning on a 2-hour drive to Vinh Long, which is located in the Mekong Delta. A visit to the vibrant Vinh Long Market gives you an insight into the locals' lifestyle and the Mekong Delta's bounties: river fish, rice-field rats, fruits, and vegetables.
Board a local boat and cruise to a home restaurant for lunch on An Binh Island. Experience the local lifestyle and culture during your stay in the fertile Mekong Delta by rowing through narrow water lanes.
You will be transferred to Can Tho and stay overnight there.
Day 14 An Adventure at Cai Rang Floating Market
breakfast and lunch
Jump on a motorboat and begin your adventure to the morning market of Cai Rang where dozens of boats are laden with fruits, vegetables, and fish from all over the Mekong Delta, jostling for trade. To catch the attention of buyers, the vendors tie sample products to long poles.
Return to shore for a city tour of Can Tho and visit Can Tho Museum where numerousvaluable objects are exhibited. You will have an overview of the Mekong Delta's culture and learn about the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups in this region.
Afterward, you will be driven back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 15 Airport Transfer, Ho Chi Minh City Departure
Your guide will drive you to the airport for your onward flight.
Asia Highlights is more than happy to be part of your unforgettable Vietnam tour and we hope to help you again soon.
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.
- 4.5/5 points by over 600 travelers on TripAdvisor.
- 10 minutes to walk to the Old Quarter, great service and breakfast.
- Deluxe City View Room, 35sqm, extra bed available and city view.
- Customize the Tour According to Your Needs This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, extending or shortening it to suit your price, interests, and schedule.
For example, if you would like to relax on the beach, we can arrange a few extra days by the sea in a central coastline city or Phu Quoc Island. We can also arrange a homestay in the Mekong Delta if you would like to experience local life.