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Exploring Vietnam: 12 Days of Adventure, Culture, and Breathtaking Landscapes

Posted By: John Lewisohn / Vietnam Travel Guides
12 days in Vietnam itinerary is a comprehensive travel plan that covers the best attractions and experiences that Vietnam has to offer. This itinerary allows visitors to explore the vibrant cities, picturesque landscapes, and rich cultural heritage of Vietnam in a span of 12 days. From bustling city streets to ancient temples, lush countryside to stunning coastline, this itinerary ensures an unforgettable journey through the diverse and breathtaking beauty of Vietnam.

Welcome To Hanoi Capital

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination that attracts tourists from all around the world. Located in the northern part of the country, Hanoi offers a unique blend of history, tradition, and modernity. As you step foot in this bustling city, you'll be greeted with warm hospitality and a plethora of exciting experiences.

Immerse Yourself in Rich History and Culture

One of the highlights of visiting Hanoi is the opportunity to delve into its rich history and culture. The city is home to a number of captivating landmarks and historical sites, such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the Hanoi Opera House. These attractions offer insights into Vietnam's past and showcase its architectural beauty.

Indulge in Delicious Vietnamese Cuisine

No trip to Hanoi is complete without trying out the delectable flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. From the world-famous pho to the delightful banh mi, Hanoi is a food lover's paradise. The city is filled with an array of street food stalls and local restaurants that serve up mouthwatering dishes. Take a stroll through the bustling streets of the Old Quarter and savor the authentic flavors of Hanoi.

Have A City Tour Around Hanoi

Authentic Vietnam Itinerary: Hoan Kiem Lake

Authentic Vietnam Itinerary: Hoan Kiem Lake - (Source: Collected)

Embark on a comprehensive city tour to truly immerse yourself in the charm of Hanoi. Start your day by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can pay your respects to the founding father of modern Vietnam. Explore the nearby Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda, which hold significant historical and architectural importance.

Discover the Tranquil Beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake

Afterward, make your way to Hoan Kiem Lake, a serene oasis amidst the bustling city. Take a leisurely stroll along the lake's edge or rent a paddleboat to explore its calm waters. Don't forget to visit Ngoc Son Temple, located on a small island in the middle of the lake, to admire its exquisite architecture and learn about its fascinating legends.

Explore the Bustling Old Quarter

No visit to Hanoi is complete without a visit to the Old Quarter. Known for its narrow, winding streets and vibrant markets, this historic area offers a glimpse into Hanoi's past. Lose yourself in the maze-like alleys filled with shops selling traditional handicrafts, street food vendors, and quaint cafes. Don't miss the chance to haggle for unique souvenirs at the lively Dong Xuan Market.

Halong Bay Exploration

Set sail from Hanoi to the captivating Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its breathtaking natural beauty. Embark on a cruise through the emerald green waters and marvel at the majestic limestone karsts that rise dramatically from the sea.

Enjoy Spectacular Views and Activities

During your Halong Bay adventure, you'll have the opportunity to soak in the stunning views, visit hidden caves, and indulge in water activities such as kayaking and swimming. As you explore the bay, keep an eye out for floating fishing villages and traditional wooden boats that add to the enchanting atmosphere.

Savor Fresh Seafood on Board

One of the highlights of a Halong Bay cruise is indulging in fresh and delicious seafood. Feast on succulent prawns, crabs, and fish while enjoying the serene surroundings. Many cruises offer onboard cooking classes, allowing you to learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes using the freshest ingredients.

Say Hello To Hoi An

Authentic Vietnam Itinerary: Kayaking in halong bay

Authentic Vietnam Itinerary: Kayaking in halong bay - (Source: Collected)

Located in central Vietnam, Hoi An is a charming ancient town that transports visitors back in time with its well-preserved architecture and picturesque streets. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit for those seeking a glimpse into Vietnam's history and traditional way of life.

Admire the Architectural Marvels

As you wander through the streets of Hoi An, you'll encounter beautifully preserved buildings that showcase a blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architectural styles. Explore the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation, and the Tan Ky Old House to witness the town's architectural marvels.

Experience Hoi An's Traditional Culture

Immerse yourself in Hoi An's vibrant culture by taking part in traditional activities such as lantern-making workshops and traditional Vietnamese tea ceremonies. You can also visit the local markets and witness the art of traditional handicrafts being created, including silk weaving and woodblock printing.

Explore Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An ancient town - (Source: Collected)

Delve deeper into the wonders of Hoi An by exploring its narrow streets and vibrant markets. Discover hidden gems as you navigate through the winding alleys, with shops selling everything from tailor-made clothing to local handicrafts. Indulge in the town's renowned street food scene and taste the unique flavors of central Vietnam.

Relax on An Bang Beach

After exploring Hoi An Ancient Town, make your way to An Bang Beach, located just a short distance away. This tranquil stretch of sandy coastline offers a peaceful retreat where you can unwind and soak up the sun. Choose a beachside lounge chair and let the gentle breeze and the sound of crashing waves rejuvenate your senses.

Discover Local Traditions at Tra Que Vegetable Village

For a unique, immersive experience, visit Tra Que Vegetable Village and witness the traditional farming methods used to grow the fresh produce that is an integral part of Vietnamese cuisine. Take part in farming activities, learn about sustainable agriculture, and even try your hand at preparing traditional dishes using ingredients harvested from the village's lush gardens.

With its fascinating history, vibrant culture, and captivating scenery, Vietnam has emerged as a top destination for travelers seeking memorable experiences. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the enchanting beauty of Halong Bay and the cultural treasures of Hoi An, there is no shortage of attractions to explore. Embark on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with Trip A Deal to discover the wonders of this Southeast Asian gem.

Head to Hue City

Hue City, located in the central region of Vietnam, is a captivating destination that offers a rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its picturesque landscapes, magnificent imperial citadel, and charming pagodas, Hue City has become a popular spot for tourists visiting Vietnam.

Explore Ancient Imperial Citadel

One of the top attractions in Hue City is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ancient Imperial Citadel. This historic complex served as the capital of Vietnam's Nguyen dynasty from 1802 to 1945. Visitors can explore the grandeur of the citadel, which includes palaces, temples, and ancient walls.

Visit Hue's Royal Tombs

Another must-visit attraction in Hue City is the collection of royal tombs scattered throughout the area. These tombs were built as final resting places for the emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Each tomb boasts unique architecture and intricate design, providing a glimpse into the royal dynasties of Vietnam.

Experience Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, is an iconic landmark in Hue City. Situated on the banks of the Perfume River, this seven-story pagoda offers stunning panoramic views of Hue and its surrounding countryside. Visitors can also witness the Buddhist rituals and admire the beautiful gardens surrounding the pagoda.

Have a City Tour in Hue

Hue City Tour

Hue City Tour - (Source: Collected)

Embarking on a city tour in Hue is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the city's highlights. Whether you choose to explore on foot, by cyclo, or through a guided tour, there are plenty of options available for discovering the gems of Hue City.

Visit Dong Ba Market

A visit to Dong Ba Market is a must for any visitor to Hue City. This bustling market offers a sensory overload with its vibrant displays of fresh produce, local handicrafts, and delicious street food. Take the opportunity to interact with the friendly vendors and try some traditional Hue cuisine.

Take a Boat Ride on Perfume River

One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of Hue City is by taking a boat ride on the Perfume River. As you leisurely cruise along the river, you'll pass by lush landscapes, traditional villages, and serene pagodas. This relaxing experience allows you to soak in the tranquil atmosphere of Hue City.

Explore Hue's Street Art Scene

Hue City is known for its vibrant street art scene, with colorful murals adorning the walls of buildings throughout the city. Take a walk around the streets of Hue to discover these stunning artworks, which showcase the creativity and talent of local artists. Don't forget to capture some Instagram-worthy photos along the way!

Take A Flight To Ho Chi Minh City

From Hue City, it's time to hop on a flight and head to the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. This vibrant city in southern Vietnam is a melting pot of culture, history, and modernity. It offers a wide range of attractions and experiences for visitors to enjoy.

Explore Ben Thanh Market

One of the most famous markets in Ho Chi Minh City is Ben Thanh Market. This bustling market is a hub of activity, offering everything from local street food and handicrafts to clothing and souvenirs. Explore the narrow alleys and haggle with the friendly vendors to get the best deals.

Visit the War Remnants Museum

A visit to the War Remnants Museum is an essential part of understanding Vietnam's history. The museum showcases the effects of the Vietnam War, featuring powerful exhibits, photographs, and artifacts. It provides visitors with a thought-provoking and educational experience.

Discover the Iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Notre-Dame Cathedral, located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, is a testament to the city's French colonial past. This iconic landmark, built in the 19th century, features stunning architecture and impressive stained glass windows. Take a moment to admire the cathedral's beauty and tranquility.

Discover Cu Chi Tunnels

A trip to Vietnam would not be complete without exploring the historic Cu Chi Tunnels. Located just outside of Ho Chi Minh City, these tunnels played a significant role during the Vietnam War. Visitors can venture into the underground network, gaining insight into the guerrilla warfare tactics used by the Vietnamese soldiers.

Learn the History of Cu Chi Tunnels

Before descending into the tunnels, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history and significance of Cu Chi. Through informative displays and videos, you will gain a deeper understanding of the hardships faced by the Vietnamese during the war.

Experience the Underground Tunnels

Once inside the tunnels, you can crawl through the narrow passageways, experiencing firsthand the challenging conditions faced by the soldiers. Marvel at the intricate network of tunnels, which served as living quarters, supply routes, and communication channels for the Vietnamese forces.

Try Shooting at the Firing Range

For those seeking a bit more adventure, there is an option to try shooting various firearms at the Cu Chi Tunnels' firing range. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, visitors can try their hand at shooting the historic weapons used during the war.

Get A Glimpse of Saigon

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) city tour

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) city tour - (Source: Collected)

Aside from its historical significance, Saigon offers a plethora of attractions and experiences for visitors to enjoy. From vibrant night markets to cultural performances, there is something for everyone in this bustling city.

Visit the Bitexco Financial Tower

For panoramic views of Saigon's skyline, head to the Bitexco Financial Tower. This modern skyscraper offers an observation deck on the 49th floor, providing a bird's eye view of the city. Enjoy a drink at the rooftop bar while marveling at the breathtaking scenery.

Explore the Night Markets

Saigon is known for its lively night markets, offering a vibrant atmosphere and a wide array of products. From clothing and accessories to street food and souvenirs, these markets are a shopper's paradise. Enjoy the local street performances and savor traditional Vietnamese delicacies.

Experience Vietnamese Water Puppet Show

Immerse yourself in Vietnam's traditional art form by attending a water puppet show in Saigon. This unique performance features wooden puppets gracefully dancing on a water stage, accompanied by traditional music and storytelling. Experience the charm and beauty of this ancient art form.

Enjoy the Vibrant Saigon

Saigon's vibrant atmosphere extends into its bustling streets, lively nightlife, and mouthwatering cuisine. Discover the many facets of this dynamic city and immerse yourself in its energy.

Indulge in Street Food

One of the highlights of a visit to Saigon is indulging in its street food scene. From savory banh mi sandwiches and flavorful pho to crispy banh xeo pancakes and refreshing sugarcane juice, there is a wide variety of delicious treats to satisfy your taste buds.

Visit the Saigon Central Post Office

Step back in time and appreciate the architecture of the Saigon Central Post Office. This grand building, designed by Gustave Eiffel, features a blend of French and Gothic styles. Take a moment to send a postcard or simply admire the beautifully preserved interior.

Experience Saigon's Nightlife

Saigon comes alive at night with its buzzing nightlife scene. From rooftop bars offering panoramic views to vibrant clubs playing the latest tunes, there is no shortage of entertainment options. Dance the night away or enjoy a relaxing drink while soaking up the electric atmosphere.


When planning your 12-day itinerary in Vietnam, there are numerous incredible attractions and destinations to explore. Vietnam's tourism industry has been growing rapidly, offering an array of experiences for visitors. Whether you choose to embark on a Vietnam city tour, discover the top attractions in Hanoi, or opt for a packaged trip like Trip A Deal Vietnam and Cambodia, you are guaranteed an unforgettable adventure.

Starting with the bustling capital city of Hanoi, you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage and history of Vietnam. Visit iconic landmarks such as Hoan Kiem Lake and the Temple of Literature, and don't forget to indulge in local street food delicacies.

Proceeding south, you can journey through the stunning landscapes of Halong Bay. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers breathtaking views of limestone karsts and emerald waters. Explore the caves, go kayaking, or simply relax on a cruise ship and enjoy the serene surroundings.

Continue your Vietnam tour by heading to the charming ancient town of Hoi An. This well-preserved trading port showcases a fusion of architectural styles from different cultures. Stroll through the lantern-lit streets, visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the night markets.

Make your way to the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Here, you can delve into Vietnam's history by visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War. Explore the vibrant streets of the city, visit the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, or take a cruise along the Mekong Delta to experience the rural charm of Vietnam.

Overall, a 12-day itinerary in Vietnam offers the perfect balance of cultural immersion, natural beauty, and historical exploration. With its diverse landscapes, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality, Vietnam is truly a destination that should be on every traveler's bucket list. So start planning your trip and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this captivating country.

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