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Exploring North Vietnam: 7 Days of Unforgettable Adventure

Posted By: Paul O'Neill / Vietnam Travel Guides
North Vietnam Itinerary 7 Days: A detailed travel plan for spending 7 incredible days exploring the captivating wonders of North Vietnam. Delve into the rich cultural heritage, marvel at breathtaking landscapes, visit bustling cities, discover ancient temples, cruise through enchanting Halong Bay, and immerse yourself in the local way of life. Embark on a memorable adventure in the diverse and vibrant region of North Vietnam.

Option 2: Northern Vietnam 7 day itinerary to Hanoi- Halong Bay – Mai Chau – Ninh Binh

Pre-Trip Essentials for 1 Week in Vietnam

Before embarking on your 7-day North Vietnam tour, it is essential to make sure you have everything in order. Here are some pre-trip essentials for your Vietnam adventure:


Check if you need a visa to enter Vietnam. Most nationalities require a visa, which can be obtained online or at the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country.

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. Ensure that the policy includes coverage for activities such as trekking and water sports.


Consult your doctor or a travel health clinic to find out if you need any vaccinations before traveling to Vietnam. Common immunizations recommended for Vietnam include those for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and tetanus.

7-Day North Vietnam Itinerary

In this 7-day itinerary, you will explore the highlights of Northern Vietnam, including the vibrant city of Hanoi, the breathtaking Halong Bay, the tranquil Mai Chau, and the picturesque Ninh Binh.

Tam Coc in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam

Tam Coc in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to rest and freshen up before exploring the city.

Day 2: Discovering Hanoi's Top Attractions

Start your day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can pay respects to the revered leader of Vietnam. Explore the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda, and Temple of Literature. In the afternoon, take a cyclo ride through Hanoi's Old Quarter and explore its bustling streets and markets.

Day 3: Exploring Hanoi's Hidden Gems

Embark on a street food tour and sample some of Hanoi's delicious culinary delights. Visit hidden attractions such as the Long Bien Bridge and West Lake. In the evening, catch a traditional water puppet show, a unique art form that originated in Vietnam.

Day 4: Cruise through Halong Bay

Leave Hanoi early in the morning and head to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its limestone karsts and emerald waters. Board a traditional junk boat and cruise through the stunning bay, stopping at scenic spots for kayaking and swimming. Enjoy a seafood feast on board and spend the night in a comfortable cabin.

Day 5: Continuing the Halong Bay Experience

Wake up to the serene beauty of Halong Bay and participate in a sunrise Tai Chi session on the boat's sundeck. Continue exploring the bay, visiting hidden caves and floating fishing villages. After lunch, return to Hanoi and prepare for the next leg of your journey.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 6-7: Mai Chau and Ninh Binh

On day 6, depart from Hanoi to Mai Chau, a scenic valley known for its lush rice paddies and ethnic minority villages. Enjoy a bike ride through the countryside, visit local homes, and try traditional meals. Spend the night in a homestay for an authentic experience.

On the final day of your North Vietnam itinerary, head to Ninh Binh, often referred to as "Halong Bay on land." Explore the stunning landscapes of Trang An Grottoes, take a boat trip to Tam Coc, and visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. Return to Hanoi in the evening for your onward journey or extend your stay in the capital city.

With this 7-day North Vietnam itinerary, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, history, and natural beauty of this fascinating region. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the awe-inspiring landscapes of Halong Bay, Mai Chau, and Ninh Binh, each day will be filled with new experiences and unforgettable memories on your Vietnam tour package.

Whether you're planning a solo trip, a romantic getaway, or a family adventure, this itinerary offers a well-rounded exploration of the North of Vietnam. Don't miss out on the chance to discover the best of this captivating country.

Day 6-7 North Vietnam Itinerary; Ninh Binh

After exploring the beautiful city of Hanoi, a popular choice for travelers is to take a trip to Ninh Binh, a picturesque province in North Vietnam. Ninh Binh is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including limestone karsts, rice fields, and serene rivers. Here is a suggested itinerary for Day 6-7 of your Vietnam tour package:

Day 6: Hanoi - Ninh Binh

Start your day by departing from Hanoi and heading towards Ninh Binh. The journey takes approximately two hours by car. Once you arrive, check into your accommodation and get ready to explore the wonders of Ninh Binh.

Visit Tam Coc

Tam Coc, also known as the "Halong Bay on land," is a must-visit destination in Ninh Binh. Hop on a traditional rowboat and be mesmerized by the stunning scenery of limestone cliffs and rice paddies as you float along the Ngo Dong River. Don't forget to visit the three famous caves - Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba.

Explore Trang An Landscape Complex

Trang An Landscape Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and another highlight of Ninh Binh. Take a boat tour through this natural wonder, which features a network of caves, valleys, and lakes. Marvel at the pristine beauty of the landscape and learn about its rich biodiversity.

Discover Bich Dong Pagoda

Make a stop at Bich Dong Pagoda, a series of three pagodas built into the side of a mountain. Take in the peaceful atmosphere and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Don't miss the chance to climb to the top of the mountaintop pagoda for a breathtaking vista.

Day 7: Ninh Binh - Hanoi

Spend your second day in Ninh Binh exploring more of its natural wonders before returning to Hanoi.

Visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries and is home to many historical and cultural relics. Visit the temples dedicated to the kings of the Dinh and Le dynasties, and learn about Vietnam's ancient history while exploring the ancient city ruins.

Explore Cuc Phuong National Park

If you have extra time, consider visiting Cuc Phuong National Park, one of the oldest national parks in Vietnam. Take a hike through the lush rainforest, discover diverse flora and fauna, and visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center.

More Destinations That Could be Added to a North Vietnam Itinerary

In addition to Ninh Binh, there are many other destinations in North Vietnam that can be included in your itinerary to make the most of your Vietnam tour package:


Sapa is a town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains known for its breathtaking rice terraces, ethnic minority communities, and trekking opportunities. Explore the vibrant markets, hike to the peak of Fansipan, the highest mountain in Indochina, and immerse yourself in the rich culture of the local tribes.

Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam

Trekking in Sapa, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Ha Long Bay

A trip to North Vietnam wouldn't be complete without visiting Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its emerald waters and limestone islands. Take a cruise through the bay, explore hidden caves, and kayak in the serene waters while marveling at the stunning scenery.


Sapa is a town in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains known for its breathtaking rice terraces, ethnic minority communities, and trekking opportunities. Explore the vibrant markets, hike to the peak of Fansipan, the highest mountain in Indochina, and immerse yourself in the rich culture of the local tribes.

Is Vietnam Expensive?

Vietnam is known for being a budget-friendly travel destination, making it an excellent choice for travelers on a tight budget. Accommodation, transportation, food, and attractions are generally affordable, especially in comparison to neighboring countries like Thailand or Cambodia.


Accommodation in Vietnam can range from budget hostels to luxury resorts, catering to different travelers' needs. Mid-range hotels are reasonably priced, with prices varying depending on the location and facilities. Homestays and guesthouses are also popular options for those looking for a more authentic experience at a lower cost.


Transportation in Vietnam is relatively inexpensive, with options such as buses, trains, and domestic flights available. Local transportation within cities is affordable, with options like taxis, motorbike taxis, and public buses. Renting a motorbike is a common choice for exploring cities and rural areas, but it's important to note that traffic can be challenging, especially in major cities.


Vietnamese cuisine is famous worldwide for its delicious flavors and affordable prices. Street food stalls offer a wide variety of dishes at low prices, allowing travelers to taste traditional Vietnamese cuisine without breaking the bank. Restaurants and eateries also offer affordable options, with prices varying depending on the location and type of establishment.


Entrance fees for attractions in Vietnam are generally reasonable. Many cultural sites and historical landmarks have a small entrance fee, allowing visitors to explore the country's rich history and culture without spending a significant amount of money.

In Conclusion

A 15-day Vietnam itinerary offers a perfect balance between cultural exploration, natural wonders, and immersive experiences. From the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to the enchanting beauty of Hanoi and its top attractions, each destination in Vietnam offers something unique and memorable.

Ninh Binh, with its stunning landscapes and historical sites, is a must-visit destination in North Vietnam. Additionally, destinations like Sapa and Ha Long Bay can enhance your North Vietnam tour experience.

While Vietnam is an affordable destination, it's important to plan and budget accordingly. Consider your accommodation, transportation, food, and attraction costs to make the most of your trip.

Planning a Trip? Travel Resources Below

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? Here are some travel resources to help you with your journey:

Travel Agencies

Consider booking your Vietnam tour package with a reputable travel agency. They can help you with itinerary planning, transportation, accommodations, and provide local guides to ensure a smooth and memorable trip.

Guidebooks and Online Resources

Guidebooks and online travel resources can provide valuable information on destinations, attractions, and local customs. Researching beforehand can help you make informed decisions and enable you to make the most of your time in Vietnam.

Local Tips and Recommendations

Reach out to fellow travelers who have been to Vietnam or connect with locals through online forums and travel communities. They can provide valuable insights, tips on hidden gems, and recommendations for off-the-beaten-path experiences.

With proper planning and research, your Vietnam itinerary can become a truly memorable journey through a diverse and captivating country.

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1. Things to know for a North Vietnam travel itinerary


Vietnam Itinerary for 7 Days: Mekong Delta

Vietnam Itinerary for 7 Days: Mekong Delta - (Source: Collected)

Weather and Packing

When planning your North Vietnam travel itinerary, it's essential to consider the weather. The climate in this region can vary greatly throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the dry season, which typically extends from November to April. During this time, the weather is generally pleasant, with mild temperatures and minimal rainfall.

However, it's crucial to note that temperatures can drop significantly in the mountainous areas of North Vietnam, so it's important to pack warm clothing, especially if you plan to visit places like Sapa or Ha Giang.

Aside from warm clothing, other essential items to pack for your North Vietnam trip include comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Visa Requirements

Before embarking on your North Vietnam adventure, it's important to check the visa requirements for your country of residence. Most nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam, including for tourism purposes.

You have the option to apply for a visa online or at the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country. It's advisable to apply for the visa well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications.

2. Top places to add to the North Vietnam itinerary


No North Vietnam travel itinerary would be complete without a visit to Hanoi, the bustling capital city. Hanoi offers a unique blend of colonial and traditional Vietnamese architecture, and it's filled with vibrant markets, delicious street food, and historical landmarks.

Some of the top attractions in Hanoi include the Old Quarter, where you can explore narrow streets filled with shops and street vendors, Hoan Kiem Lake, with its iconic red bridge leading to the Ngoc Son Temple, and the Temple of Literature, the country's oldest university.

Ha Long Bay

Another must-visit destination in North Vietnam is Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its stunning limestone karsts and emerald green waters, Ha Long Bay is a true natural wonder.

During your visit, you can embark on a cruise and explore the bay's many caves, islands, and floating villages. Kayaking, swimming, and hiking are also popular activities in this area.


If you're longing for breathtaking mountain landscapes and lush rice terraces, Sapa should be on your North Vietnam itinerary. Located in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains, Sapa is home to various ethnic minority groups and offers fantastic trekking opportunities.

You can take guided hikes to villages such as Cat Cat and Ta Van, where you can learn about the local culture and traditions. The stunning views from Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina, are also a highlight for many visitors.

3. Suggested North Vietnam itinerary for first-timers

Hanoi Old Quarter, Vietnam

Hanoi Old Quarter, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

Your North Vietnam adventure starts in Hanoi. Take the day to explore the city's vibrant atmosphere, visit the Old Quarter, and indulge in some delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Day 2-3: Ha Long Bay

Embark on a two-day cruise in Ha Long Bay. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery, explore caves, and participate in exciting activities like kayaking. Spend the night on the boat and witness the magical sunrise over the bay.

Day 4-5: Ninh Binh

Take a day trip to Ninh Binh, known as the "Halong Bay on land." Explore Trang An Grottoes, go cycling in the countryside, and visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.

Day 6-7: Sapa

Travel to Sapa and immerse yourself in the beauty of the rice terraces and ethnic minority cultures. Take guided treks to local villages and enjoy the stunning mountain landscapes.

Day 8-10: Mai Chau

Head to Mai Chau, a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains. Experience the rural life of the Thai ethnic minority, hike through beautiful landscapes, and interact with the locals.

Day 11-13: Hanoi

Return to Hanoi and spend a few more days exploring the city. Visit the museums, sample street food, and take a cyclo ride around the historic French Quarter.

Day 14-15: Cat Ba Island

Finish your North Vietnam itinerary with a visit to Cat Ba Island. Relax on the pristine beaches, go kayaking in Lan Ha Bay, and hike in Cat Ba National Park, home to diverse flora and fauna.

Best Time to Travel

Map Of North West Region Vietnam

Map Of North West Region Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

The best time to embark on a Vietnam tours package, particularly a North Vietnam itinerary, is during the dry season from November to April. This period offers pleasant weather with mild temperatures and lower chances of rainfall.

Keep in mind that it can still get chilly, especially in the mountainous areas, so it's important to pack appropriate clothing. Avoid traveling during the rainy season from May to October, as heavy rainfall can disrupt outdoor activities and make certain areas inaccessible.


In conclusion, exploring North Vietnam within a 7-day itinerary offers a fantastic opportunity to discover the rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities of this captivating region. With a carefully planned Vietnam tours package, visitors can experience the highlights of North Vietnam, including Hanoi top attractions and the mesmerizing journey from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. Whether you're seeking historical landmarks, picturesque scenery, or immersive cultural experiences, a 7-day trip to North Vietnam has it all. However, if you have more time, extending your stay to a Vietnam itinerary of 15 days would allow for a deeper exploration of this diverse country. Regardless of the duration, North Vietnam promises an unforgettable adventure filled with authentic encounters and awe-inspiring beauty.

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