30 days in Vietnam is ample time to explore most of its fascinating highlights. The diverse landscapes, fascinating traditions, challenging history, delicious food, and friendly people make Vietnam an exciting place to explore. From the tranquil beaches, the mountainous Sapa, the rice fields, the historic sites and many more offers something for everyone. There is so much to learn, so much to discover of this developing country which is slowly intertwining the traditional with the modern. 30 days scratches the surface, but it’s enough to travel from one end of the country to the other and enjoy all its beauty. The following is an itinerary for traveling Vietnam in 30 days.
Day 1,2 and 3 Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi in the morning and after settling into your hotel, start your tour of the city. Accommodation in Hanoi is available either at the Old Quarter area. The Old Quarter is excellent for one traveling on a budget while the French Quarter is good for a little luxury.
To move around the city, look for a metered cab, hire a motorbike or walk depending on the distance you are covering.
Activities to indulge in include:
- Having breakfast at one of the street cafes. Try the Pho, a Vietnam delicacy.
- Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
- Marvel at the beauty of the One Pillar Pagoda
- Visit Hoan Kiem lake and Ngoc Son temple
- Experience Hanoi onboard a rickshaw. Explore the Old Quarter and its numerous networks of alleys.
- Enjoy a Water puppet show
- Visit the Hoa Lo prison.
- Visit the Temple of Literature
- Visit the Museum of Ethnology
- Get a beer at one of the local joints and join the bustling nightlife.
Day 4 Ninh Binh day tour
Take a 2,5 hour bus ride from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. Enjoy the picturesque scenery of limestone peaks, dramatic landscapes, and rice paddies.
Activities to indulge in:
- Visit Hoa Lu and explore the Dinh and Le temples.
- Relax in the 17th-century gardens with much-needed shades as you enjoy the limestone karsts views.
- Ride a boat through the limestone karsts fringed waterways in the Trang An Eco-Region. The boat ride allows you to explore the water caves, amazing pagodas and take some fantastic
Take a bus ride back to Hanoi in the evening and prepare for your night train or bus ride to Sapa.
Day 5, 6 and 7 Sapa
Arrive in Sapa in the morning and move your luggage to a hotel. Accommodation in Sapa depends on what kind of stay you are planning to have. You can decide to stay in the city Centre or stay in the countryside at one of the homestays or hamlets. Make sure you have booked before arriving, so you don’t waste time looking for accommodation on arrival.
Things to do while in Sapa:
- Visit the Tram Ton Pass, the highest in Vietnam.
- Visit Fansipan mountain by cable car.
- Take a walk or ride a bike through Sapa. Enjoy the mountain views or visit the Hoang Lien National Park.
- Visit the Silver/ Love waterfall and relax
- Hike to Cat Cat village and see traditional houses, a ruined French hydropower plant, and a waterfall. Tour the countryside and watch as locals’ plant and harvest.
- Visit Ham Rong mountain
- Visit the markets in Sapa. These include the Bac Ha market open on Sunday; the Cau Market open on Saturday; the Coc Ly Market open on Tuesdays; the Lung Khau Nhin market open on Thursday and the Cao Son market open on Wednesday.
After the market tour, catch a night bus to Hanoi.
Day 8, 9 and 10. Ha Long Bay
Get to Ha Long Bay from the incredible Hanoi in 3,5 hours. Accommodation in Ha Long Bay depends on the kind of experience you want. You can choose 2 options:
1/ Stay in a boat overnight and sleep to the sounds of water lapping gently, take a cruise where you get your private room with an uninterrupted view of the sea
2/ Stay in one of the luxury hotels and resorts, stay in a hostel or a homestay. Then visit Ha Long bay by day boat around 4 – 6 hours.
Things to do in Ha Long Bay
- Enjoy the pristine waters and the unique view of the limestone karsts
- Explore the caves
- Watch a cooking class
- Join a Tai Chi Class
- Visit the Sung Sot Cave
- Going to one of the floating villages
- Visiting a pearl farm
Return to Hanoi by bus and spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 11 and 12- Quang Binh
Take a flight to Quanh Binh, a naturally beautiful province with an excellent coastal strip and mountainous interior. Accommodation in Quang Binh can either be at a resort or hotel. Check out your accommodation and after some sumptuous breakfast, start your tour of the province.
Things to do in Quanh Binh
- Take a tour of the Nhat Le river
- Drive to Phong Na National Park and explore the longest limestone cave
- Explore the Paradise cave and Tam Co temple
- Drive to Quang Tri province to witness the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the Vinh Moc tunnel. Most of the fighting happened in these areas.
- Visit the Old citadel
- Walk across the Freedom bridge on Ben Hai river
Day 13, 14, 15 Hue
Arrive in Hue from Quang Tri province and check into your hotel. Accommodation here is either in a hostel or hotel.
Things to do in Hue
- Visit the Thuy Thanh village and join buyers at the market.
- Visit the Cultural Museum and the Thanh Toan Tile-roofed bridge
- Visit the forbidden purple city
- Explore the Thien Mu pagoda and the Minh Mang Royal Tomb
- Visit the Voi Re temple and Dong Ba market
Day 16, 17, 18, and 19 Hoi An and Danang
Travel to Hoi An from Hue and arrive after 3 hours in the morning. Take a detour at Danang and visit the Cham Architecture & Art Museum.
Things to do in Hoi An
- Tour the Thu Bon river and the temples, pagodas and old streets
- Hire a bike or cycle through the countryside or take a tour of Hoi An
- Relax at the Cua Dai beach and An Bang Beach
- Get a handstitched suit or dress
- Get a buffalo ride and ride a basket boat
- Go to a cooking class, swim, scuba dive or snorkel
- Explore the Japanese covered bridge
- Visit the Tra Que Vegetable Village
- Marvel at the Fujian Assembly Hall
- Visit the Museum of History and Culture
- Tour the Art Craft Manufacturing Workshop and Museum of Trade Ceramics
- Tour the My Son sanctuary
Day 20, 21, and 22 Da Lat
Take a flight to Da Lat and move into your hotel either in the city center or at the French Quarter.
Things to do in Da Lat
- Discover the many flowers at the Flower Park
- Enjoy yourself at the Datanla Waterfall and take a Slide Rail while here.
- Ride a cable car to Truc Lam Monastery. It’s a great position to get great photos of the Elephant Mountain and Tuyen Lake
- Visit the Da Lat Cathedral and the Crazy house.
- Join the skilled artisans at the embroidery XQ garden
- Find souvenirs at the Da Lat market
- Bao Dai palace of Bao Dai king – the last king of Vietnam
Drive to Mui Ne on the last afternoon with incredible stops at the Ngoan Muc Pass, the Ca Na beach and the Ca Na Po Klong Garai Tower.
Day 23 and 24 Mui Ne
Arrive in Mui Ne and check in either at your hotel, resort or hostel.
Things to do in Mui Ne
- Kite and windsurfing
- Walk on the Sand Dunes and witness as they turn from white to Gold
- Visit a fishing village
- Explore the Prince’s Castle
- Hike Ta Cu Mountain or Takou Mountain
- Explore the Po Shanu Cham Towers
- Visit the Van Thuy Tu temple
- Take photos at the Fairy Stream
- Relax at the beach
- Visit the Phan Thiet Harbor and water tower
Day 25, 26, and 27 Hoi Chi Minh City (HCMC)
Take a bus to HCMC after breakfast. Accommodation can be in a hotel or hostel either in District 1, 3 or 5 depending on budget.
Things to do in HCMC
- Explore the historic War Remnants Museum and the FITO Museum
- Visit the General Post Office
- Visit the Ben Thanh and the Notre Dame cathedral.
- Explore the city, shop and enjoy the street cuisines.
- Take a cooking class
- Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels
- Watch a dance show at the Opera House
- Enjoy Saigon’s nightlife
Day 28 and 29 Phu Quoc via Mekong Delta
Take a bus in the morning to Can Tho where you board a cruise. Get a cozy cabin and some refreshments as you cruise at sea. Enjoy the fantastic scenery as you witness the Mekong people go about their daily life. Stroll through the village and explore the rice fields and fruit orchards. Meet the friendly locals and then head back to the boat for an overnight dinner.
In the morning:
- Cruise around the sea and watch the locals build ships and dry their fruits.
- Get on a boat to the floating market and buy some handcrafted regional products, exotic fruits, and vegetables.
- Visit the candy and cake making factory
Get back to HCMC and rest for the night.
Day 30. Depart HCMC
Ride to the airport for your flight from Vietnam
During your travel, it will be easier if you get a local map of the country for easy navigation. Have the itinerary mapped out so that you can book tours, buses, and cruises well in advance. It ensures that when you arrive at a city, you go straight to your hotel instead of wasting time looking for accommodation while carrying heavy luggage. You will either end up with a raw deal or get overcharged. The buses are easy to book, and you can choose to either get an open ticket for all major stops or pay as you go. It’s a lot easier to book directly with the hotel as you go.
Booking flights beforehand is a wise decision when traveling to Vietnam. It will be at a lower price than booking as you go. Only rent bikes from renowned brands to avoid getting a faulty bike that will cost you much in repairs while wasting much of your time.