Welcome to our Ten Day North to South Vietnam Itinerary! When we spent six weeks travelling around Southeast Asia, we took about two weeks beforehand to complete a detailed itinerary. However, we understand that not everyone has the time, or patience, to spend a solid fortnight working out a good Vietnam travel route.
So, we’ve done you a solid (or so we like to think) by sharing our exact itinerary, including tried-and-tested accommodation and activities right here! This is our actual north to south ten-day Vietnam itinerary, but it would also totally work if you wanted to travel the opposite way (travelling from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi) instead.
Vietnam quickly earned a place in both our hearts, even though we had very little idea about what to expect before we arrived in Hanoi. Thankfully, getting from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City is easy and cheap to do. We’d love to help you guys make the most from your 10 days in Vietnam, so read on for the best Vietnam itinerary you could hope to find!
Given the opportunity, we’d really like to return to Vietnam and take in some of the sights we weren’t able to see on this trip. However, this Vietnam itinerary takes in some pretty major key spots to allow you to get a good feel for the country. We like to see it as a good way to get the taste for it, before going back again!
Don’t forget to pin this now so you can find it again later!
Ten Day North to South Vietnam Itinerary
Days 1 and 2: Hanoi
How to get to Hanoi
The main airport serving the capital city of Hanoi is Noi Bai International Airport. There are three further airports, but most travellers will enter into Hanoi and Vietnam through Noi Bai.
There are buses that take you from the airport to the city centre, but we opted to book a private airport transfer through Booking.com. This cost us about £14 for the 45-minute trip. Obviously a bus would have been far cheaper, but as we were on a tight schedule and travelling with large backpacks, we preferred to be able to just dump our stuff in a car and be on our way.
Vietnamese traffic can be awful, so be prepared to sit in tailbacks. Rush hour can result in completely stagnant traffic, so be sure you give yourself enough time to get from A to B whilst in Hanoi.
What to do in Hanoi
- People watch at The Note Coffee Cafe
- Wander across Long Bien Bridge
- Explore the bustling Hoan Kiem Lake
- Grab an authentic Bia Hoi
- Take in the sights at Train Street
Why not book a half-day street food tour, to really get to grips with the city sights and smells? Book through GetYourGuide here.
Where to stay in Hanoi
To search for more accommodation in Hanoi, click here.
For a more detailed 2 Day Itinerary for Hanoi, take a look at our blog post for the best ways to spend 48 hours in Hanoi here.
Days 3 and 4: Ha Long Bay
How to get to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi
If you’re booking a cruise around Ha Long Bay, many offer a minibus transfer to and from Hanoi. Many will only pick up from the Old Quarter though, so bear this in mind when booking your accommodation in Hanoi. All of the hotels we included above are located within this area though!
If you aren’t taking a cruise, there is a public bus. This takes three hours. A taxi takes about two to two and a half hours.
What to do in Ha Long Bay
- Kayak around the limestone karsts
- Squid Fishing
- Bamboo Boat around Cat Ba National Park
Where to stay in Ha Long Bay
To take a look at more accommodation in and around Ha Long Bay, click here.
To read (/steal) our 2 day 1 night Ha Long Bay Cruise Itinerary, take a look at this blog post.
Days 5 and 6: Da Nang
How to get to Da Nang from Ha Long Bay
From the cruise, we could have taken the minibus shuttle back to Hanoi with the others. However, we were flying down to Da Nang from Cat Bi Airport, which is the closest airport to Ha Long Bay. Cat Bi Airport is also confusingly sometimes called Haiphong airport, so bear this in mind to avoid having a last-minute panic like we did.
Our cruise sorted a taxi out for us, and we were picked up and dropped off in about half an hour. The airport itself, although an international one, is very small. Don’t rush through security, as delays are common and there isn’t much to do once you are through and into the gates.
There is an overnight sleeper train that runs from Hanoi to Da Nang, but as our schedule was tight we opted to take a short internal flight instead. It cost very little (see updated prices here). We hopped in a taxi when we landed and were at our accommodation in about 15 minutes.
What to do in Da Nang
- Hire a scooter and drive up the peninsula
- Visit the Insta-famous Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills
Book a fantastic GetYourGuide tour here to make sure you find all the best spots first!
- Hit the Beaches
- Visit the Marble Mountains
Where to stay in Da Nang
For more accommodation in Da Nang, click here.
Days 7 and 8: Hoi An
How to get to Hoi An from Da Nang
It is really quick and easy to travel to Hoi An from Da Nang.
We ordered a Grab car with our friends, and it took about 20 minutes to drive to our hotel.
Definitely make sure you download the Grab app if you’re going to be travelling in Southeast Asia – you can use it to call a taxi and order takeaways!
What to do in Hoi An
- Explore the Ancient Town
- Hire bikes and explore the area around Hoi An
Book yourself onto a cycle tour here – we were lucky to have friends who knew their way around but if we had been alone we would definitely have got lost!
- Take a lantern making class
This class is a great way to spend the morning in Hoi An! Plus, the lanterns are collapsible, so you can easily bring them home in your luggage.
Where to stay in Hoi An
To search for more accommodation in Hoi An, click here.
For a more detailed travel guide to Hoi An, take a look at here.
Days 9 and 10: Ho Chi Minh City
How to get to Ho Chi Minh City from Hoi An
What to do in Ho Chi Minh City
- Go sightseeing around the French Colonial buildings
The best way to see everything would be to take a small-group walking tour like this one.
- Find a bargain at Ben Thanh Market
- Learn something new in the Museums
- Go back in time at the Cu Chi Tunnels
To book your own tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels, click here.
- Head to Backpacker Street for some nightlife
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
To find other places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City, take a look at Booking.com here.
For a more in-depth itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City, click here.
10 days in Vietnam
Phew! What a long blog post that one turned out to be! It’s no surprise, as we crammed A LOT into our Vietnam travel itinerary. The cities are all so different, none more so than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City themselves, so it’s definitely worthwhile seeing as much as you can whilst you’re visiting Vietnam.
There is a lot to see in Vietnam in 10 days, and we would love to go back one day to see more and spend longer there. It has fast become one of our favourite places to travel, and we’re glad we created such a full itinerary to allow us to see and do as much as possible in the time that we had there.
We really hope this blog post helped you to plan your trip to Vietnam, and we’d love to hear how it went!
Why not check out some of our other blog posts about our six-week whistlestop tour of Southeast Asia?
For Bali, click here for our review of Munduk Moding Plantation.
Click here for Nusa Lembongan.
Click here for Siem Reap.