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Exploring the Northern Delights: An Unforgettable 10-Day Itinerary in North Vietnam

Posted By: Christina Lee / Vietnam Travel Guides
North Vietnam itinerary 10 days - A comprehensive travel plan for exploring the northern region of Vietnam within a span of 10 days. This itinerary offers an opportunity to discover the beauty and culture of North Vietnam, including popular destinations such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, and Ninh Binh. Immerse yourself in the rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant local traditions of this enchanting region.

This North Vietnam itinerary guide provides a plan to explore vibrant cities and tranquil villages, admire majestic landscapes, and get immersed in the diverse cultures of this enchanting region with ease.

North Vietnam is a region of extraordinary beauty and cultural richness. From bustling cities to serene countryside, this part of the country offers an array of experiences for travelers. This itinerary guide aims to help visitors make the most of their trip to North Vietnam, highlighting the top attractions in Hanoi and providing a detailed plan to explore the region's scenic wonders.


1. Explore the vibrant city of Hanoi: Discover the rich history and charm of Vietnam's capital, from its bustling Old Quarter to its tranquil lakes and beautiful temples.

2. Experience the diversity of Vietnamese culture: Immerse yourself in the traditions and lifestyles of different ethnic groups in North Vietnam, from the Hmong people in Sapa to the Tay people in Ba Be National Park.

3. Cruise through the breathtaking beauty of Halong Bay: Marvel at the limestone karsts and emerald waters of this UNESCO World Heritage Site on a scenic boat tour.

4. Trek through the terraced rice fields of Sapa: Embark on a hike through the picturesque landscapes of Sapa, encountering ethnic minority villages along the way.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi and explore the city's top attractions, such as the Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Hanoi Temple of Literature - (Source: Collected)

Day 2: Take a day trip to Ninh Binh to admire the stunning natural landscapes, including Trang An Grottoes and Tam Coc-Bich Dong.

Day 3-4: Journey to the mountainous town of Sapa and embark on a trekking adventure to experience the beauty of its terraced rice fields and encounter ethnic minority communities.

Day 5-6: Explore the majestic Halong Bay on a scenic boat tour, visiting its iconic caves and enjoying activities like kayaking and swimming.

Day 7-8: Head to Ba Be National Park, where you can immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surrounding nature and learn about the local Tay culture.

Day 9: Return to Hanoi and spend the day shopping for souvenirs at the Old Quarter or exploring the city's vibrant street food scene.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Upon arrival in Hanoi, you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to rest and freshen up before starting your exploration of the city.

Start by visiting the Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of the city. Admire the iconic red bridge leading to Ngoc Son Temple and learn about the legend of the lake. Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first national university, where you can appreciate the beautiful architecture and tranquil atmosphere.

In the afternoon, visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can pay respects to the country's beloved leader. Explore the nearby Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda before returning to your hotel for the evening.

Day 2: Day Trip to Ninh Binh

Today, embark on a day trip to Ninh Binh, also known as the "Halong Bay on land." Take a boat ride through the Trang An Grottoes, a scenic area of limestone karsts and winding rivers. Marvel at the natural beauty and tranquility of the surroundings as you navigate through the caves.

After the boat ride, visit Tam Coc-Bich Dong, another stunning natural attraction in Ninh Binh. Hop on a traditional sampan and paddle along the river, surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and lush green rice fields. Enjoy the picturesque views and learn about the local way of life.

Day 3-4: Trekking in Sapa

Embark on a scenic journey to Sapa, a mountainous town in Northwestern Vietnam known for its terraced rice fields and vibrant ethnic minority culture. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and rest before exploring the town.

Over the next two days, take part in guided treks through the stunning landscapes of Sapa. Walk through terraced rice fields, passing by remote villages and encountering ethnic minority communities such as the Hmong and Red Dao people. Learn about their traditions, lifestyles, and unique handicrafts.

Enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains, valleys, and waterfalls as you traverse the trails. Capture unforgettable moments and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and cultural diversity of this region.

Sapa Town, Vietnam

Sapa Town, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 5-6: Cruising in Halong Bay

After returning to Hanoi, embark on a scenic tour to Halong Bay, one of Vietnam's most iconic destinations. Board a traditional wooden junk boat and set sail into the emerald waters of the bay.

Admire the limestone karsts rising from the water and explore the bay's hidden caves and grottoes. Engage in activities such as kayaking, swimming, and hiking to viewpoints for panoramic views of this natural wonder.

Enjoy delicious seafood meals on board the boat and spend the night in a comfortable cabin, falling asleep to the gentle lapping of the waves.

Day 7-8: Discovering Ba Be National Park

From Halong Bay, travel to Ba Be National Park, a hidden gem in Northeast Vietnam. This tranquil park is home to Ba Be Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the country.

Spend the next two days exploring the park's lush forests, limestone mountains, and serene lakes. Take a boat trip on the lake, visiting Puong Cave and Dau Dang Waterfall. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and discover the unique flora and fauna of the park.

Learn about the local Tay culture by visiting their traditional stilt houses and participating in cultural activities. Enjoy home-cooked meals showcasing local ingredients.

Day 9: Return to Hanoi

After breakfast, depart Ba Be National Park and return to Hanoi. Spend your last day in Vietnam's capital exploring its vibrant streets. Shop for souvenirs at the Old Quarter, known for its narrow lanes filled with shops selling traditional crafts and street food.

Indulge in the delicious local cuisine, from pho to banh mi, while exploring the city's bustling markets. In the evening, savor a farewell dinner featuring Vietnamese delicacies before transferring to the airport for your departure.

More Great Vietnam Itineraries

If this North Vietnam itinerary has sparked your wanderlust, there are many other exciting tours and packages available to explore the diverse regions of Vietnam. Consider the Mekong Delta and Southern Vietnam for a journey through lush landscapes and floating markets. For a blend of urban sophistication and natural wonders, the Central Vietnam tour package provides a visit to Hue, Hoi An, and the Phong Nha National Park.

No matter which itinerary you choose, Vietnam promises a memorable journey filled with vibrant cultures, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality.


Vietnam Itinerary 10 Days: 3 Northern + Central Vietnam Routes

Vietnam Itinerary 10 Days: 3 Northern + Central Vietnam Routes - (Source: Collected)

A map of North Vietnam is essential for planning a trip to this region. It helps travelers visualize the cities and attractions they want to visit and understand the distances between them. A good map will show major cities like Hanoi, Sapa, and Halong Bay, as well as other scenic areas and popular tourist destinations. It will also include highways, major roads, and possibly even smaller roads that connect different parts of the region.

Things to know for a North Vietnam travel itinerary

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit North Vietnam is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) months. These seasons offer pleasant weather with mild temperatures, little rainfall, and beautiful landscapes. The summer months (June to August) can be hot and humid, while winter (December to February) is colder and can sometimes experience foggy conditions.

Visa Requirements

Before traveling to Vietnam, it's important to check visa requirements. Most visitors need a visa to enter the country, except for citizens of certain countries that have visa exemption agreements with Vietnam. Tourists can apply for a visa online or through the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in their home country. It's essential to have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining.

Health and Safety

Travelers should ensure they have adequate travel insurance that covers medical emergencies. It's also advisable to check if any vaccinations are required or recommended before visiting. North Vietnam is generally a safe destination for tourists, but it's always important to take common safety precautions, such as being cautious of your belongings and using reputable transportation services.

Top places to add to the North Vietnam itinerary


Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a must-visit destination in North Vietnam. It offers a unique blend of traditional and modern attractions, including the Old Quarter, the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Visitors can also enjoy authentic Vietnamese cuisine and experience the vibrant street life of this bustling city.


Sapa is a scenic town located in the mountains of North Vietnam. It's known for its stunning rice terraces and diverse ethnic minority communities. Travelers can embark on hiking trails that lead through the rice fields, visit local villages, and interact with the friendly locals. Sapa is also a great starting point for exploring Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. It's famous for its emerald waters, towering limestone karsts, and picturesque islands. Tourists can take a scenic boat cruise through the bay, kayak around the karsts, explore hidden caves, and enjoy stunning sunsets. Halong Bay is truly a natural wonder that should not be missed.

Suggested North Vietnam itinerary for first-timers

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Upon arrival in Hanoi, take some time to settle in and explore the city. Visit the famous landmarks such as the Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter. Try traditional Vietnamese street food for dinner.

Day 2: Hanoi city tour

Spend the day discovering the cultural and historical attractions of Hanoi. Visit the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. Enjoy a water puppet show in the evening.

Day 3-4: Sapa

Travel to Sapa and spend two days exploring the beautiful mountains and rice terraces. Trek through the villages, interact with the locals, and immerse yourself in the rich culture of the ethnic minority communities.

Day 5-6: Halong Bay

Embark on a scenic tour of Halong Bay. Cruise through the bay, explore caves, and indulge in fresh seafood. Enjoy activities such as kayaking and swimming in the emerald waters. Witness breathtaking sunsets from the deck of your boat.

Day 7: Return to Hanoi

Return to Hanoi and spend your final day visiting any remaining attractions or shopping for souvenirs. Take in the last views of the bustling city before departing for your next destination.

Map Of North West Region Vietnam

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

A North Vietnam travel itinerary should include top attractions such as Hanoi, Sapa, and Halong Bay. The best time to visit is during the spring and autumn months. Travelers should check visa requirements, ensure proper health precautions, and have travel insurance. Hanoi offers a mix of traditional and modern attractions, while Sapa provides scenic views and cultural immersion. Halong Bay is a must-visit UNESCO World Heritage site with its stunning karsts and emerald waters. A suggested itinerary for first-timers includes exploring Hanoi, visiting cultural sites, exploring Sapa's mountains and rice terraces, and experiencing the beauty of Halong Bay.

Discovering the Beauty of North Vietnam: A 10-Day Itinerary


North Vietnam is a region known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and fascinating history. With so much to see and do, a well-planned 10-day itinerary allows visitors to explore the top attractions while also uncovering hidden gems. This article presents an unforgettable journey through North Vietnam, showcasing the best destinations, unique experiences, and must-visit landmarks.

Day 1: Arriving in Hanoi

The journey begins in Hanoi, the vibrant capital of Vietnam. Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, visitors can easily access the city center via public transportation or pre-arranged transfers. Hanoi offers a plethora of accommodations suitable for every budget, ranging from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses.

Day 2: Exploring Hanoi's Top Attractions

Start your day with a visit to the historical Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, where you can pay respects to the Vietnamese leader. Next, explore the serene Temple of Literature and its beautiful gardens. Take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, visit Ngoc Son Temple, and marvel at the iconic red Huc Bridge. Wrap up the day with a traditional water puppet show, a unique cultural experience only found in Vietnam.

Day 3: Hanoi to Sapa

Embark on a scenic train journey from Hanoi to Sapa, a charming town known for its stunning rice terraces and vibrant hill tribe communities. Upon arrival, take a leisurely walk through the town's bustling markets, where you can shop for handicrafts and interact with locals. Enjoy a traditional homestay experience, immersing yourself in the local culture and savoring delicious regional cuisine.

Day 4: Trekking in Sapa

Wake up to the breathtaking beauty of Sapa's countryside and embark on a memorable trekking adventure. Explore the terraced fields of Cat Cat Village or embark on a longer journey to the picturesque villages of Lao Chai and Ta Van. Immerse yourself in the rural life of the hill tribes, interact with locals, and learn about their fascinating traditions and customs.

Day 5: Halong Bay Cruise

Leave Sapa and travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Board a traditional junk boat for an unforgettable cruise through the limestone karsts and emerald waters. Marvel at the breathtaking scenery, explore hidden caves, and indulge in delicious seafood. Spend a night on the boat, gazing at the stars and waking up to the serene beauty of Halong Bay.

Cruise in Halong bay, Vietnam

Cruise in Halong bay, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 6: Exploring Cat Ba Island

Arrive at Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Halong Bay, and venture into Cat Ba National Park. Hike through dense forests, spot diverse wildlife, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding islands. Relax on the stunning beaches of Cat Ba, swim in crystal-clear waters, and savor fresh local seafood delicacies.

Day 7: Returning to Hanoi

After breakfast on the boat, return to Hanoi and spend the rest of the day leisurely exploring the city. Discover the bustling Old Quarter, filled with narrow streets, vibrant markets, and centuries-old architecture. Visit the renowned Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to deepen your understanding of the country's diverse ethnic groups and their cultural heritage.

Day 8: Ninh Binh's Hidden Gems

Leave Hanoi and head to Ninh Binh province, often referred to as "Halong Bay on land." Explore the enchanting Trang An Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its limestone caves, winding rivers, and lush countryside. Climb up to the top of Hang Mua Peak for a panoramic view of Tam Coc's iconic karst formations.

Day 9: Scenic Tours Vietnam

Spend the day immersing yourself in the stunning natural scenery of northern Vietnam. Take a boat trip along the poetic Ngo Dong River, passing through caves and admiring the stunning karst landscape. Discover the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, home to ancient temples and rich history. End the day with a relaxing bike ride through the picturesque countryside.

Day 10: Farewell to North Vietnam

On the final day of this unforgettable journey, take some time to reflect on the incredible experiences and memories created during the past 10 days in North Vietnam. Enjoy a leisurely morning, exploring the city at your own pace, before departing for the airport. Bid farewell to this enchanting region, taking with you cherished memories of its natural wonders, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality.


A 10-day itinerary exploring the beauty of North Vietnam offers an unforgettable adventure. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the serene landscapes of Sapa, Halong Bay, and beyond, this journey allows travelers to delve into the rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking scenery of the region. Whether trekking through rice terraces, cruising through limestone karsts, or immersing in local traditions, North Vietnam promises a memorable experience for all.

If you have 10 days to spend in Northern Vietnam, you can create an unforgettable itinerary that showcases the best of this enchanting region. With the wide variety of Vietnam tours packages available, you can easily craft a trip that combines the must-visit attractions in Hanoi, Sapa, and Halong Bay.

Start your journey in Hanoi, where you can explore the city's top attractions such as the historic Old Quarter, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and the serene Temple of Literature. Immerse yourself in the local culture by trying the delicious street food and taking part in a traditional water puppet show.

Next, embark on a scenic tour to Sapa, a charming mountain town known for its breathtaking rice terraces and vibrant hill tribe culture. Trek through the picturesque landscapes, visit local villages, and experience the warm hospitality of the ethnic minority communities.

Finally, wrap up your 10 days in Northern Vietnam with a Halong Bay tour package, where you can cruise through the emerald waters, admire the limestone karsts, and indulge in fresh seafood. Take part in activities like kayaking, swimming, and exploring the mystical caves dotting the bay.

By combining these highlights of Northern Vietnam into a 10-day itinerary, you will be able to immerse yourself in the rich history, diverse landscapes, and vibrant culture of this captivating region. Whether you are seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, Northern Vietnam has something to offer to every traveler.

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