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Discover Vietnam: 9-Day Itinerary Exploring Hanoi and Other Hidden Gems

Posted By: Richard Roeffen / Vietnam Travel Guides
Vietnam 9 days itinerary: Explore Vietnam in 9 days with this well-organized itinerary. Discover the vibrant city of Hanoi, delve into the rich history of Hue, cruise through the stunning landscapes of Halong Bay, and soak up the charm of Hoi An. With this 9-day journey, you'll experience the best of Vietnam's culture, cuisine, and natural beauty.

Northern & Central Vietnam: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue & Hoi An

Vietnam is a vibrant and diverse country that offers a wide range of attractions for travelers. From bustling cities to serene landscapes, there are countless places to visit in Vietnam. One popular option is to explore the northern and central regions, which are home to some of the country's most iconic destinations such as Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, and Hoi An. This region offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit for any traveler to Vietnam.

Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi

Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi - (Source: Collected)

Exploring Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a bustling city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. Visitors can explore the charming Old Quarter, a maze of narrow streets filled with traditional shops, street food stalls, and historic buildings. The city is also home to several iconic landmarks, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake. A visit to Hanoi is incomplete without trying the local cuisine, which is known for its delicious flavors and unique combinations.

Discovering Ha Long Bay

Just a few hours east of Hanoi lies Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning natural beauty. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles rising from the turquoise waters, creating a breathtaking landscape. Exploring Ha Long Bay is best done on a cruise, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of the surroundings. Activities such as kayaking, swimming, and visiting floating villages are popular among tourists.

Exploring the Imperial City of Hue

Located in central Vietnam, Hue served as the imperial capital during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The city is known for its well-preserved citadel, which is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the Imperial City, home to stunning temples, palaces, and gardens. Hue is also famous for its delicious cuisine, particularly its traditional royal dishes, which are a must-try for food lovers.

Discovering the Ancient Town of Hoi An

Hoi An is a charming coastal town located in central Vietnam. Its well-preserved Ancient Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a glimpse into Vietnam's rich trading history. The town is known for its beautiful Chinese temples, Japanese-covered bridge, and traditional merchant houses. Hoi An is also famous for its tailors, who can create custom-made clothing in a matter of days. Visitors can explore the ancient streets, indulge in delicious street food, or take a boat ride along the Thu Bon River.

Explore Vietnam's History & Culture

Floating Village in Halong Bay

Floating Village in Halong Bay - (Source: Collected)

Vietnam is a country with a fascinating history and a rich cultural heritage. Whether you're interested in ancient traditions, wartime history, or contemporary arts, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Vietnam's history and culture.

Exploring Ho Chi Minh City

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant metropolis and the largest city in Vietnam. It played a significant role during the Vietnam War, and visitors can explore various historical sites such as the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels, which provide insight into the country's wartime past. Ho Chi Minh City is also famous for its impressive French colonial architecture, bustling markets, and vibrant nightlife.

Discovering Da Nang

Da Nang is a coastal city located in central Vietnam and serves as a gateway to several popular tourist destinations. The city is home to beautiful beaches, such as My Khe Beach, which was listed as one of the most attractive beaches in the world. Da Nang is also known for its unique bridges, such as the Dragon Bridge and the Golden Bridge, which have become iconic landmarks. Additionally, visitors can explore the Cham Museum, which houses a vast collection of Cham sculptures and artifacts.

Exploring the Historic City of Hue

Hue, already mentioned in the previous section, is an excellent destination for history enthusiasts. The city was once the imperial capital of Vietnam and is home to numerous historical sites, including the Imperial City and the royal tombs. Visitors can delve into the country's imperial past while exploring the elaborate palaces, temples, and gardens. Hue is also known for its traditional music and arts, such as the captivating Hue Royal Court Music, which has been recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

Explore Northern Vietnam

Northern Vietnam offers a diverse range of landscapes and cultural experiences. From the bustling urban centers to peaceful rural areas, this region has something for everyone.

Exploring Sapa and Its Surroundings

The town of Sapa, located in the mountains of Northwest Vietnam, is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Surrounded by towering mountains and lush rice terraces, Sapa offers breathtaking hiking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the region's natural beauty. The town is also home to several ethnic minority groups, such as the Hmong and Dao, who have preserved their unique traditions and way of life. Travelers can interact with the local communities through homestays and cultural activities.

Visiting Ninh Binh - the Inland Ha Long Bay

Known as the "Ha Long Bay on land," Ninh Binh is a picturesque region in northern Vietnam that features limestone karsts and emerald-green rice paddies. Visitors can take boat trips along the Ngo Dong River, passing through caves and marveling at the stunning natural landscapes. Ninh Binh is also home to several ancient temples and pagodas, allowing visitors to explore the region's spiritual side.

Arriving in Saigon

When arriving in Vietnam, many travelers will land in Ho Chi Minh City, commonly referred to as Saigon. As the country's largest city and a major transportation hub, Saigon is the perfect starting point for exploring Vietnam.

From Saigon, travelers can embark on various Vietnam tours packages that will take them to the country's most iconic destinations. Whether you choose to explore the history and culture of Hanoi, cruise through the majestic Ha Long Bay, or immerse yourself in the ancient charm of Hoi An, Vietnam has something for everyone. With its diverse landscapes, rich heritage, and warm hospitality, Vietnam promises an unforgettable travel experience.

Explore Ho Chi Minh City & Cu Chi Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh City: The Vibrant Metropolis of Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam and a bustling metropolis where modern skyscrapers stand alongside colonial-era buildings. Start your Vietnam tour package here and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this city.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

One of the must-visit attractions in Ho Chi Minh City is the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon. Built by the French during the colonial period, this iconic cathedral showcases magnificent Gothic architecture and is a symbol of the city.

Cu Chi Tunnels: A Glimpse into Vietnam's History

A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels is an essential part of any Vietnam local tour to understand the country's history. These underground tunnels served as a crucial base for Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. Explore the tunnels and learn about the guerrilla warfare tactics employed by the Viet Cong.

Day Trip to Mekong Delta and fly to Da Nang

Explore the Picturesque Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam's "rice bowl," is a vast network of rivers and canals that spans across the southwestern part of the country. Join a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to explore this picturesque region, where you can cruise along the Mekong River, visit local villages, and witness the rural way of life.

Flight to Da Nang: Gateway to Central Vietnam

From Ho Chi Minh City, take a short flight to Da Nang, a coastal city located in central Vietnam. Da Nang is the perfect starting point for your journey to explore the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hoi An and My Son Sanctuary.

Hoi An Inside Out

Discover the Timeless Beauty of Hoi An

Hoi An is a charming town renowned for its well-preserved ancient architecture and vibrant lantern-lit streets. Explore the narrow alleys, visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, and wander through the bustling local markets. Don't forget to sample the local cuisine, which blends Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences.

Experience a Traditional Lantern-Making Workshop

One of the unique experiences in Hoi An is participating in a traditional lantern-making workshop. Learn about the intricate craftsmanship behind these colorful lanterns and create your own masterpiece to take home as a memorable souvenir.

Early flight to Hanoi and explore the Old Quarter

Flight to Hanoi: Vietnam's Enchanting Capital

Catch an early flight from Da Nang to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Hanoi offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern developments. Explore the bustling Old Quarter and get lost in its labyrinthine streets filled with markets, temples, and colonial architecture.

Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

Located at the heart of Hanoi, Hoan Kiem Lake is a serene oasis in the midst of the city. Take a stroll around the lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple, situated on a small island. This temple is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, a national hero, and offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding areas.

Relax with Halong Bay Cruise

Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An ancient town - (Source: Collected)

Embark on a Cruise through the Breathtaking Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a true gem of Vietnam's natural beauty. Board a traditional junk boat and cruise through the emerald waters surrounded by limestone karsts jutting out of the sea. Enjoy activities like kayaking, swimming, and exploring hidden caves to make the most of your Halong Bay experience.

Indulge in Fresh Seafood Delicacies

During your Halong Bay cruise, be sure to savor the delicious seafood delicacies that the region is known for. Feast on succulent prawns, crabs, and other seafood delights while enjoying the stunning panoramic views of the bay.

Overall, this itinerary offers a glimpse into the diverse experiences Vietnam has to offer. From the vibrant cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to the tranquil beauty of Hoi An and Halong Bay, this Vietnam tour package allows you to immerse yourself in the rich culture, history, and natural wonders of the country.

Say goodbye to Vietnam's capital

Vietnam, a beautiful country located in Southeast Asia, has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. One of the must-visit cities in Vietnam is Hanoi, the capital. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine, Hanoi offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. However, as travelers, it is important to explore beyond the capital and discover the hidden gems that Vietnam has to offer. Here is a guide to optimize your plan and your money, ensuring you make the most of your Vietnam tours package.

Guide to optimize your plan and your money

When planning your Vietnam trip, it is essential to consider both your itinerary and your budget. To optimize your plan and your money, here are a few tips:

Research and plan in advance

Before embarking on your Vietnam adventure, take the time to research and plan your trip in advance. Look for deals and promotions on flights, accommodations, and tours. Consider traveling during off-peak seasons to take advantage of lower prices and less crowded attractions.

Choose an itinerary that suits your interests

There are various Vietnam tours packages available, catering to different interests and preferences. Decide whether you want to focus on exploring the natural wonders of Vietnam, immersing yourself in its rich history and culture, or indulging in its culinary delights. Select an itinerary that aligns with your interests to make the most of your trip.

Book through local tour operators

Booking through Vietnam local tour operators can often save you money compared to international travel agencies. Local tour operators have a better understanding of the local market and can provide more affordable options without compromising on quality. Seek recommendations from fellow travelers or online forums to find reputable local tour operators.

Consider alternative accommodations

Instead of staying in luxurious hotels, consider alternative accommodations such as guesthouses, homestays, or hostels. These options are not only budget-friendly but also provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with locals.

North to South Vietnam tour itineraries in 9 days

If you have limited time to explore Vietnam, a North to South tour itinerary in nine days can be a great option. This itinerary allows you to experience the diversity of Vietnam's landscapes, from the bustling cities to the serene countryside.

Day 1: Hanoi

Start your journey in Hanoi, where you can visit iconic landmarks such as Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the Old Quarter. Don't miss trying the local street food, which is a highlight of any visit to Hanoi.

Day 2-3: Halong Bay

From Hanoi, take a cruise to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its emerald waters and limestone karsts. Spend two days exploring the stunning formations, enjoying activities like kayaking, and savoring delicious seafood on board.

Day 4-5: Hoi An

Next, fly to Hoi An, a charming ancient town with well-preserved architecture. Explore the narrow streets, visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, and take a boat ride along the Thu Bon River. Hoi An is also known for its tailoring services, so consider getting some custom-made clothing during your visit.

Day 6-7: Ho Chi Minh City

Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, and immerse yourself in its bustling atmosphere. Visit historical sites like the Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum, stroll through the vibrant neighborhoods, and indulge in the city's delicious street food.

Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Mekong Delta, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 8-9: Mekong Delta

End your North to South Vietnam tour in the Mekong Delta, a region known for its lush green rice paddies and winding canals. Take a boat ride along the delta, visit local villages, and learn about the traditional way of life in this agricultural region.

Explore North & Central Of Vietnam Itinerary

If you prefer to explore the northern and central regions of Vietnam, here is an itinerary that covers popular destinations within these areas.

Day 1: Hanoi

Begin your journey in Hanoi, as mentioned in the previous itinerary, to explore the capital city and its cultural attractions.

Day 2-3: Sapa

From Hanoi, take a train or bus to Sapa, a mountainous town known for its breathtaking landscapes. Trek through terraced rice fields, interact with ethnic minority groups, and soak in the natural beauty of the region.

Day 4-5: Ninh Binh

Travel to Ninh Binh, often referred to as "Halong Bay on land." Take a boat ride through Trang An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore the stunning limestone caves and karst formations.

Day 6-7: Hue

Head south to Hue, the former capital of Vietnam, and immerse yourself in its imperial history. Visit the ancient citadel, tombs of the Nguyen emperors, and take a boat ride on the Perfume River to admire the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Day 8-9: Hoi An

Finish your journey by traveling to Hoi An, where you can explore the ancient town and experience its unique blend of architecture and culture, as mentioned in the previous itinerary.

South to North Vietnam tour itinerary in 9 days

For those who want to start their journey in the south and make their way to the north, here is a South to North Vietnam tour itinerary that covers key destinations.

Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam - (Source: Collected)

Day 1-2: Ho Chi Minh City

Begin your trip in Ho Chi Minh City, as mentioned in the North to South Vietnam tour itinerary, to explore the vibrant southern metropolis and its attractions.

Day 3-4: Mekong Delta

From Ho Chi Minh City, venture into the Mekong Delta, as mentioned in the previous itinerary, to discover the scenic beauty and unique lifestyle of the region.

Day 5-6: Nha Trang

Travel up the coast to Nha Trang, a popular beach destination known for its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs. Relax on the sandy shores, go snorkeling or diving, and indulge in fresh seafood.

Day 7-8: Hoi An

Make your way to Hoi An, as mentioned in the North & Central Vietnam itinerary, to explore the ancient town and its cultural highlights.

Day 9: Hanoi

End your journey in Hanoi, as mentioned earlier, where you can explore the capital city's bustling streets, sample delicious street food, and soak in the charm of this historic city.

Whether you choose a North to South or South to North Vietnam tour itinerary, or opt for an itinerary focused on a specific region, Vietnam offers a wealth of diverse experiences and breathtaking scenery. Plan your trip carefully, consider your interests and budget, and embark on a memorable adventure through the captivating land of Vietnam.


In conclusion, a 9-day itinerary in Vietnam offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the country's rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking natural landscapes. With carefully planned Vietnam tours packages, you can visit top-notch destinations and make the most of your time in the country.

During your 9 days in Vietnam, you can experience the bustling streets of Hanoi, explore historical sites such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature, and taste delicious Vietnamese cuisine in the vibrant Old Quarter. A visit to the serene Halong Bay, with its iconic limestone karsts, is also a must.

Furthermore, your 9-day itinerary could include Sapa, a picturesque mountainous region in northern Vietnam. With an organized Hanoi Sapa itinerary, you can trek through lush rice terraces, interact with local hill tribes, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views.

With the help of a Vietnam local tour, you can also experience the rich cultural heritage of the country. From the ancient town of Hoi An, with its charming streets and historic temples, to the imperial city of Hue, filled with ancient citadels and royal tombs, there are numerous places to visit in Vietnam that showcase its fascinating history.

Whether you're interested in exploring ancient landmarks, immersing in local culture, or simply basking in the natural beauty of this Southeast Asian gem, a 9-day Vietnam itinerary has something for everyone. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this captivating country!

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