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Travel Guide: Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi Itinerary

Posted By: Richard Roeffen / Vietnam Travel Guides
Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi itinerary refers to a planned travel route from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi in Vietnam. It entails a detailed schedule of activities, attractions, and transportation arrangements for a journey between the two popular cities. This itinerary is commonly sought by tourists looking to explore the country's cultural and historical highlights.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is one of Vietnam's most bustling and vibrant cities. With a population of over 8 million people, it is the largest city in the country. There are plenty of exciting places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City, making it a must-see destination for any traveler.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

One of the most iconic landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City is the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. Built during the French colonial period, this stunning cathedral is a symbol of the city's rich history. The architecture is reminiscent of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and it is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.

War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum offers a sobering and educational experience for visitors. It sheds light on the Vietnam War and its legacy, showcasing photographs, artifacts, and exhibits that depict the harsh realities of the war. This museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Ben Thanh Market

If you're looking for a unique shopping experience, head to the bustling Ben Thanh Market. Here, you can find a wide array of goods, from clothing and accessories to fresh produce and local street food. This market is a great place to immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture and try some delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Hoi An

Hoi An Ancient Town, Vietnam

Hoi An Ancient Town, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Hoi An is a charming town located in central Vietnam. Known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular destination for travelers seeking to experience the country's rich cultural heritage.

Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge is one of Hoi An's most iconic landmarks. Built in the 18th century, this beautiful bridge has become a symbol of the town. It is a great spot to take memorable photos and learn about the town's history.

Traditional Craft Villages

Hoi An is famous for its traditional handicrafts. Visitors can explore the traditional craft villages where skilled artisans produce pottery, silk, and woodwork. These villages offer a glimpse into the ancient techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Hoi An Night Market

When the sun sets, the streets of Hoi An come alive with the vibrant Hoi An Night Market. Here, you can find a variety of souvenirs, clothing, and street food. It's a great place to shop for unique items and indulge in delicious local delicacies.


Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, is a city rich in history and culture. It is home to numerous historical sites, including royal tombs, pagodas, and the imposing Imperial Citadel. Hue is a popular destination for travelers who want to delve deeper into Vietnam's royal past.

Imperial Citadel

The Imperial Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit attraction in Hue. This massive complex served as the political and cultural center of the Nguyen Dynasty. Visitors can explore the various palaces, temples, and gardens within the citadel walls.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in Vietnam. This seven-story tower is an iconic symbol of Hue and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding areas. Visitors can also explore the beautifully landscaped gardens and visit the monastery.

Royal Tombs

Hue is known for its elaborate royal tombs, which are scattered throughout the city's outskirts. These tombs were built for the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty and showcase the unique architectural style of each ruler. Some of the most popular tombs to visit include the Tomb of Tu Duc and the Tomb of Khai Dinh.


Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Temple of Literature, Hanoi - (Source: Collected)

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a vibrant and enchanting destination. With its rich history, bustling streets, and delicious cuisine, there are plenty of reasons to visit Hanoi.

Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake, located in the heart of Hanoi, is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and is home to the iconic red Huc Bridge and the Ngoc Son Temple. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the lake or rent a paddleboat for a fun experience.

Hanoi Old Quarter

The Hanoi Old Quarter is a labyrinth of narrow streets and bustling markets. This historic neighborhood has preserved its traditional architecture, and many of the buildings date back to the 15th century. Visitors can explore the vibrant streets, shop for souvenirs, and sample the city's famous street food.

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a well-preserved temple complex in Hanoi that was built in 1070. This Confucian temple was Vietnam's first national university and is dedicated to the worship of Confucius. It is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city and offers a glimpse into Vietnam's literary past.

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi? The 4 Most Popular Ways

By Plane

For travelers looking to save time, flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is the fastest option. There are multiple airlines that offer daily flights between the two cities, with a flight duration of approximately 2 hours. This convenience comes at a higher cost compared to other modes of transportation.

By Train

Another popular option is to travel by train. The overnight train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi allows travelers to experience the picturesque scenery of Vietnam's countryside while saving on accommodation costs. The journey takes around 30 hours and offers different classes of cabins to suit various budgets.

By Bus

Traveling by bus is a more budget-friendly option for those willing to endure longer travel times. There are several bus companies that operate between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, offering both overnight and daytime routes. The journey typically takes around 24-30 hours and allows passengers to witness the changing landscapes of Vietnam.

By Motorbike

For adventurous travelers, embarking on a motorbike journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is an exhilarating option. This long-distance trip allows riders to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Vietnamese countryside, exploring hidden gems along the way. However, it requires careful planning, experience in riding a motorbike, and a longer travel time compared to other modes of transportation.

Whichever mode of transportation you choose, traveling from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi offers the opportunity to discover the diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Vietnam. Whether you prefer the convenience of flying or the adventure of a motorbike journey, this undertaking promises to be a memorable experience.

A highly-recommended Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi itinerary

A Seven (7) day Vietnam Itinerary

This highly-recommended itinerary takes you on a seven-day journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, allowing you to explore the best of Vietnam's cultural and natural wonders. From the bustling streets of Saigon to the peaceful landscapes of Hanoi, this itinerary offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers.

Itinerary Day 1: HANOI

On the first day of your Vietnam adventure, you will arrive in Hanoi, the capital city. Hanoi is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. After checking into your hotel, start your exploration of Hanoi by taking a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake and visiting the nearby Ngoc Son Temple. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Old Quarter, where you can find traditional markets, local food stalls, and unique Vietnamese souvenirs.


On the second day, dive deeper into the history of Hanoi by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where you can pay respects to Vietnam's iconic leader. Explore the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda, both situated within the premises of the mausoleum. Afterward, head to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's oldest university, to learn about its significance in the country's education system. End your day with a traditional water puppet show, a unique art form originated in northern Vietnam.


The third day of your itinerary is dedicated to the breathtaking Halong Bay. Embark on a cruise and sail through the emerald waters, passing by limestone karsts and islands that form this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a seafood lunch on board and take part in various activities such as kayaking, swimming, or exploring hidden caves. As the sun sets, witness the magical beauty of Halong Bay and spend a peaceful evening on the boat.


After returning from Halong Bay, proceed to the picturesque town of Sapa, located in the mountainous region of northern Vietnam. Sapa is known for its stunning terraced rice fields, ethnic minority communities, and trekking opportunities. Spend the day exploring the area, visiting local villages, and immersing yourself in the unique cultures of the ethnic groups living in the region. Enjoy a homestay experience with a local family to truly immerse yourself in the local way of life.


On the fifth day, embark on a trekking adventure in Sapa to discover the region's natural beauty. Hike through terraced fields, dense forests, and scenic valleys, accompanied by a local guide who will introduce you to the local flora, fauna, and customs. Take in breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys as you continue your trek. Interact with the friendly locals and learn about their traditional farming techniques and way of life.


Travel back to Hanoi from Sapa on the sixth day, and upon arrival, explore the city's other iconic landmarks and attractions. Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to gain a deeper understanding of the country's diverse ethnic groups. Discover the unique blend of French and Vietnamese architecture at the St. Joseph's Cathedral and the Hanoi Opera House. In the evening, indulge in the vibrant street food scene and sample local delicacies such as pho and banh mi.


On the final day of your itinerary, take a short flight from Hanoi back to Ho Chi Minh City. Use this day to explore the bustling metropolis further or revisit any of your favorite places. Discover the city's history by visiting the War Remnants Museum or the Cu Chi Tunnels, which played a significant role during the Vietnam War. Take a leisurely walk along Nguyen Hue Walking Street and explore the vibrant street markets. As the day comes to a close, reminisce about the incredible experiences you had during your journey through Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi Itinerary 1: Exploring the Cultural Marvels

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam - (Source: Collected)


Embarking on a journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi offers travelers an opportunity to explore the vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes of Vietnam. This itinerary is designed to make the most of your time in these two captivating cities, as well as provide opportunities to visit some of the surrounding locations that showcase the country's diverse beauty. From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the serene beauty of Halong Bay, this itinerary promises an unforgettable adventure.


Exploring the Vibrant City

Start your journey in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. This bustling metropolis offers a perfect blend of historic landmarks, modern skyscrapers, and lively markets. Begin by visiting the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, both remnants of French colonial architecture. Take a stroll along Dong Khoi Street, known for its high-end shopping and art galleries.

Discovering Vietnam's History

Delve into the history of Vietnam by visiting the War Remnants Museum, which showcases exhibitions on the Vietnam War and its impact on the country. Gain insights into the country's struggle for independence at the Reunification Palace, where important events took place during the war.


Awe-Inspiring Natural Wonder

Take a day trip to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its emerald waters and limestone pillars. Board a traditional junk boat and cruise through the bay, marveling at the breathtaking scenery. Explore the stunning caves and grottoes, and perhaps even try your hand at kayaking amidst the towering karsts. Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch onboard before returning to Hanoi.


Immersing in the Capital's Charm

Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city known for its rich history and traditional charm. Begin your day by visiting the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the revered leader's embalmed body is displayed. Explore the nearby Presidential Palace and One Pillar Pagoda, a unique Buddhist temple built on a single pillar.

Experiencing the Old Quarter

Stroll through the bustling streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a maze of narrow alleyways filled with shops, restaurants, and street vendors. This vibrant district offers a glimpse into traditional Vietnamese life, with its ancient temples, colorful pagodas, and lively markets. Don't forget to try some local delicacies, such as pho and banh mi, at one of the many street food stalls.


Exploring the Enchanting Island

Travel to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Halong Bay, and discover the charming town of Cat Ba. Enjoy a day of relaxation on the island's pristine beaches, or embark on a scenic hike in Cat Ba National Park, home to diverse flora and fauna. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, try rock climbing on the limestone cliffs that surround the island.


Returning to the Vibrant Metropolis

Head back to Ho Chi Minh City and spend your final day exploring any hidden gems you may have missed during your first visit. Take a tour of the city's vibrant street art scene or visit the breathtaking Jade Emperor Pagoda, known for its intricate architecture and serene atmosphere. Don't forget to indulge in some last-minute shopping at Ben Thanh Market.


Uncovering Vietnam's War History

Embark on a day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, an underground network used by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. Explore the tunnels and gain insights into the guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the Viet Cong. Learn about the resilience and determination of the Vietnamese people during this turbulent time in their history.

Discovering the Mekong Delta

Continue your journey to the Mekong Delta, often referred to as the "Rice Bowl" of Vietnam. Cruise along the intricate network of canals and witness the vibrant river life. Visit local villages and experience the agrarian way of life, from fruit orchards to rice paddies. Don't miss the chance to savor fresh tropical fruits and traditional Vietnamese cuisine.


Farewell to Vietnam

On your last day, take some time to reflect on your incredible journey through Vietnam's cultural marvels. Before departing, take a moment to relax at one of the city's charming coffee shops, enjoying a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee. Bid farewell to Vietnam with memories that will last a lifetime.

By following this itinerary, you will have explored the incredible attractions of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, as well as the surrounding areas that showcase the natural beauty and rich history of Vietnam. From the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the enchanting landscapes of Halong Bay and the cultural treasures of Hanoi, this itinerary offers a truly immersive experience in the heart of Vietnam.


Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi Old Quarter - (Source: Collected)

Planning a Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi itinerary can offer you a mesmerizing journey through the enchanting landscapes and vibrant culture of Vietnam. The route from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi is dotted with numerous captivating sights, ensuring an unforgettable travel experience.

Once you arrive in Hanoi, there are plenty of places to visit that showcase the city's rich history and charm. Exploring the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, visiting the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, and witnessing the grandeur of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long are just a few highlights of the many places to visit in Hanoi.

A hanoi street tour is a must-have experience as it allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness the vibrant street life. Sampling delicious street food, exploring local markets, and interacting with friendly locals are some of the unforgettable moments you can have during a Hanoi street tour.

For those looking to discover more of what Northern Vietnam has to offer, the Hanoi Sapa Halong Bay tour package is perfect. This comprehensive package allows you to visit the breathtaking landscapes of Sapa, with its magnificent terraced rice fields and vibrant ethnic minority villages. Additionally, you can embark on a memorable cruise through the stunning limestone islands of Halong Bay.

Whether you are starting your journey in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, carefully planning your Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh itinerary will ensure that you make the most of your trip and visit the incredible destinations along the way. From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the charming alleyways of Hanoi, Vietnam is a country that never fails to mesmerize travelers with its beauty and authenticity.

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