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Full Impression of Vietnam

VN17: 20 Days Hanoi - Sapa - Hanoi - Halong Bay Hue - Hoi An - Nha Trang - Da Lat Ho Chi Minh City
  • Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Hanoi
Upon arrival at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport, you can take bus No. 17 at the right side of the Gate A2 to downtown area at a cost of VND 7,000. Get off at Long Bien and then walk south towards the Hoan Kiem Lake for about 5 minutes to check in the recommended 3-star Noble Boutique Hotel Hanoi and get some rest.

Tips: You'd better find a nearby bank to exchange for some Vietnamese Dongs, because most attractions, restaurants, and hotels don't accept foreign currency.

Accommodation Suggestion: Noble Boutique Hotel (3 stars)
Day 2 Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace
Today your Vietnam independent tour begins. The first destination is Ba Dinh Square. You may take bus No. 9 to Le Hong Phong at a cost of VND 5,000, and walk for a few minutes to the square.

Located in the center of Hanoi, Ba Dinh Square is the landmark of this city. It is also the holding place for most national ceremonies and rallies. You can understand the past of the chairman Ho Chi Minh by visiting Ho Chi Minh Museum, Stilt House, and his mausoleum, which are located to the west of the square. In front of the museum is One Pillar Pagoda. It's so named because the temple was built on one single stone pillar in the middle of a pond.

After that, you can walk southwards to find the Temple of Literature on Quoc Tu Giam Street. It is for people to worship Confucius, a well-known ancient Chinese educationist and ideologist. It was also the first college in Vietnam, built in 1070.

Afterwards, hail a taxi to continue your independent Hanoi tour to a French-style building, St. Joseph's Cathedral. Here exquisite decorations, stained-glass windows, and gothic towers are worth a look.

Then, head eastwards for around 200 yards to Hoan Kiem Lake. A few yards to its north is 36 Streets, which includes shoes street, hat street, leather street. Each street only sells one particular kind of products. That is an exactly distinctive spot of Vietnam and you can surely buy souvenirs there.

Today's Vietnam backpacking tour comes to an end here. We suggest you book the next day's bus to Sapa at the Sinh Tourist Office before returning to your hotel. Besides, you are recommended to have a 2-day Halong Bay cruise from the sixth day. You may also book this cruise today.

Sinh Tourist office 1:
64 Tran Nhat Duat St., Ha Noi Capital
Tel: +84.4.39290394
Open: 06:00 - Close: 20:30

Sinh Tourist office 2:
52 Luong Ngoc Quyen St., Hoan Kiem Distr, Ha Noi (Opp. A25 Hotel)
Tel: +84.4.39261568
Open: 06:30 - Close: 22:00
Day 3 Hanoi - Sapa
Arrive at the Sinh Tourist Office on time and then you will take a 6 hours' bus ride to Sapa. Upon arrival, hail a taxi to the recommended U Sapa Hotel and have a rest. You may spend the rest of the day hanging around to get your first impression of this French-style town.

Accommodation Suggestion: U Sapa Hotel (4 stars)
Day 4 Sapa
Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
From this day, you may follow popular hiking routes to visit ethnic villages around Sapa Town. Today, you are suggested to go southeast to Lao Chai and Ta Van Villages. You will have a glimpse of local Black Hmong people's life there. Along the way, you can also enjoy peaceful rural landscape with green terraced fields stretching endless before your eyes.

We suggest you book the next day's bus back to Hanoi at the Sinh Tourist Office in advance. The bus will depart from Sapa at 13:30 and 16:00.
Day 5 Sapa - Hanoi
After breakfast, you may hike southwest for 30 minutes to Cat Cat Village first. It is another settlement of Black Hmong people. Here, you can not only know more about this unique nationality, but also learn some traditional handicrafts like weaving and sewing. If you want to explore more, you may hike a little further to the Sin Chai Village to have a glimpse of local Red Dao people's life.

Make sure you get back to Sapa Town on time for your onward bus to Hanoi. Upon arrival, take a taxi to check in Noble Boutique Hotel and get ready for the coming cruise on Halong Bay.

Accommodation Suggestion: Noble Boutique Hotel (3 stars)
Day 6 Hanoi - Halong Bay
Please arrive at the Sinh Tourist Office during 7:45 - 8:15 am. Then you will be transferred to the Halong Bay Harbor by a 4 hours' bus ride to get onboard the Golden Lotus Garden Cruise Ship at 12:15. You will reach the Surprising Cave at 15:30 or so to admire colorful and bizarre stalactites. You can also go kayaking and swimming today. At night, you can enjoy Vietnamese food and attend some evening activities onboard, such as singing karaoke and squid fishing.

Accommodation Suggestion: Golden Lotus Garden Cruise or Golden Lotus Premium Cruise (3 stars)
Day 7 Halong Bay - Hanoi
Halong Bay
Today, you will cruise to the Titop Island, where you can swim, climb mountain, and enjoy the sun-bath on the beach. After that, continue your cruise to discover more in Halong Bay. You will return to Halong Bay Wharf at around 12:30 and then be transferred to Hanoi.

Upon arrival, take a taxi back to your hotel and have a rest. If you want more fun, it is recommended you watch a puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater close to the northeast corner of the Hoan Kiem Lake. Make sure you buy the tickets earlier for the tickets are usually sold out quickly.

Accommodation Suggestion: Noble Boutique Hotel (3 stars)
Day 8 Hanoi - Hue
After breakfast, take a taxi to Hanoi Airport for your onward flight to Hue. Upon landing, hail a taxi of Mai Linh Company to the recommended 3-star Orchid Hotel at a cost of VND 400,000. Have a big meal and then you may start your independent Hue tour with the Imperial City, which was built in 1802 at the center of the city. A taxi ride can take you directly there.

Accommodation Suggestion: Orchid Hotel (3 stars)
Day 9 Hue City
The first stop of today's backpacking tour is recommended to be the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady. After that, you may drop by some emperors' mausoleums during the Nguyen Dynasty (1803 - 1945), namely Tomb of Tu Duc, Tomb of Khai Dinh, and Tomb of Minh Mang. Taking a taxi to these places is convenient.

Before returning to the hotel, we suggest you to buy the next day's bus ticket to Hoi An at the Sinh Tourist Office, located in 37 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Phu Hoi Ward of Hue City.
Day 10 Hue - Hoi An
Royal Citadel in Hue
Reach the Sinh Tourist Office before 8:00 for your onward bus to Hoi An. Then hail a taxi of Mai Linh to the recommended 3-star hotel, Villa Orchid Garden Riverside. After a short break, it is suggested you arrange a half-day visit to the Hoi An Ancient Town, famous for the Japanese Covered Bridge and Chinese halls. Meanwhile, the night scenes of the town are also worth seeing, too. You should not miss it.

Accommodation Suggestion: Villa Orchid Garden Riverside (3 stars)
Day 11 Hoi An - Nha Trang
This morning you may roam the streets of Hoi An Ancient Town to spend a leisure time. You can either ask for a cup of drip coffee in a cozy café or rent a bike to cycle around the town.

At this point, your backpacking tour in Hoi An comes to an end. You may leave for Nha Trang in the afternoon by bus. After checking out the hotel, hail a taxi to the Sinh Tourist Office, at 587 Hai Ba Trung Street, before 18:15 to catch the sleeping bus.

Accommodation: Overnight Sleeping Bus
Day 12 Nha Trang
Japanese Bridge, Hoian
Upon arrival in Nha Trang City, take a taxi to the recommended Dendro Hotel and have a rest. After a meal, you may take a 2 minutes' walk to the beach. Nha Trang has the best beach in Vietnam and hundreds of unique islands, attracting more and more tourists. You can spend the rest of the day having fun along the coastline. Cruising and diving in the sea are both good choices for entertainment.

Accommodation Suggestion: Dendro Hotel (3 stars)
Day 13 Nha Trang
Today you are recommended to try various beach activities, such as beach volleyball and swimming. Taking a sunbath also sounds not bad. Besides, cycling around the beach can be another great experience. The price of seafood is very cheap in Nha Trang. You may grasp the chance to pamper your stomach with delicious seafood.

Before going back to your hotel, don't forget to book the next day's bus to Da Lat at Sinh Tourist Office, located at 130 Hung Vuong Street.
Day 14 Nha Trang - Da Lat
After breakfast, you can continue your unfinished activities around the beach, but remember the bus bound for Da Lat will leave the Sinh Tourist Office at 13:00. Make sure you get there on time. You will reach Da Lat in 4 hours. Upon arrival, walk northwards for a few yards to check in the recommended Fortune Dai Loi Hotel.

Accommodation Suggestion: Fortune Dai Loi Hotel (3 stars)
Day 15 Da Lat
A local shop selling lanterns in Hoi An
Today you are suggested to visit Bao Dai Summer Palace, Da Lat Railway Station, Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Xuan Huong Lake, and Da Lat Cathedral in succession.

After breakfast, you may hail a taxi to the Bao Dai Summer Palace, which was built in 1933 to be the resort for royal family. Then you may take a taxi to the Da Lat Railway Station. Built in 1932, the train station still remains its original look. Retro trains there can be a great background for you to take pictures. You can take a train there to Linh Phuoc Pagoda at a cost of VND 122,000. Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a Buddhist temple with carvings elaborately decorated with colored porcelain pieces.

After visiting there, still take a train back to Da Lat. Then walk westwards for a few minutes to Xuan Huong Lake and spend some leisure time there. You may conclude today's tour with the Da Lat Cathedral, which is 15 minutes' walk south of the Xuan Huong Lake. Besides taking pictures, you can also have a full view of the whole city there.

Today's independent Da Lat tour ends here, you may return to the hotel by a comfortable taxi and have a rest.
Day 16 Da Lat - Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast, hail a cab to the airport in around 50min for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon landing, take bus 49 or 109 to Pham Ngu Lao Street and then walk eastwards to the Ben Thanh Market. The recommended Avanti Hotel is near the northwest corner of the market. You can also take a direct taxi to the hotel at a cost of VND 150,000 - 170,000.

After a short rest, you may take a 15 minutes' walk northwards to the War Remnants Museum. There you can have a look of eye-opening photos, materials, and weapons during the war times.

Then you may walk for 10 minutes to the Notre Dame Cathedral on Duong Nguyen Du, District 1. It is a landmark of Ho Chi Minh City, built in late 19th century. The Central Post Office is just opposite the cathedral. It is a typical French-style building and its construction work began in 1886.

Then go to the last stop of today's independent tour, the Ben Thanh Market, the largest trading market of Ho Chi Minh City. All kinds of souvenirs are sold there, and you can bargain with those local sellers.

You are suggested to have a 2-day Mekong Delta tour to Can Tho, Cai Rang, and Vinh Long from the next day. Before going back to the hotel, remember to book the ticket at Sinh Tourist Office, located at 246 De Tham Street.

Accommodation Suggestion: Avanti Hotel (3 stars)
Day 17 Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Tre - Can Tho
A local market
Get up early this morning and reach the Sinh Tourist Office by taxi on time. You will arrive in Ben Tre at around 10:00 am. Then, board a motorboat there to cruise on the charming rivers with coconut trees lining along the way.

Then you will reach a farm to enjoy the Vietnamese traditional music and taste seasonal tropical fruit. After that, slowly proceed to a coconut candy workshop to see how the candies are made. After that, go ashore and view the beautiful rice fields, vegetables gardens in tranquil villages. Then take a hand-rowing boat and go on your cruise through a small creek. Lunch will be arranged in a restaurant by the river.

Leave Ben Tre at around 03:00 pm for Can Tho. Upon arrival, check in the hotel which is included in the tour and have dinner.

Accommodation: A hotel in Can Tho (4 stars)
Day 18 Can Tho - Cai Rang - Ho Chi Minh City
After having breakfast, you will arrive at Cai Rang in around one hour by boat. You may then stop by the Cai Rang Floating Market, which is the biggest and most prosperous floating market along Mekong River. After that, you can continue the cruise to enjoy stunning lake views and then go back to Can Tho to have lunch.

Check out the hotel at 12:00 and you will then be transferred to Ho Chi Minh City with a small stop-over at Vinh Long Market. Upon arrival, you are suggested to book a one-day tour to Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels at Sinh Tourist Office.

Accommodation Suggestion: Avanti Hotel (3 stars)
Day 19 Cao Dai Temple - Cu Chi Tunnels
Mekong River
The bus will leave the Sinh Tourist Office at 7:45 for Cao Dai Temple. Touring around this temple can help you have a better understanding of Cao Dai, a unique religion originated in Vietnam in the 20th century. Then you will be taken to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which played a vital role during the past war times. You can even experience AK47 and M16 live firing if you are interested.

The bus will take you back to Ho Chi Minh City by 18:00. Have a big meal in a good restaurant and then return to your hotel by taxi.
Day 20 Departure from Ho Chi Minh City
Your independent Vietnam tour will come to an end today. Take your entire belongings to check out the hotel, and then hail a taxi to the airport in around 20 minutes. You are suggested to reach the airport 2 hours in advance. Bon Voyage!
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 More Vietnam Itineraries:
Ethnic Charm of Vietnam: 7 Days Hanoi - Sapa - Lao Cai
Southern Vietnam Adventure: 6 Days Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam Open Bus Tour: 16 Days Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi

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