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Vietnam Open Bus Tour

VN16: 16 Days Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi
  • Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
When you arrive at Ho Chi Minh City Airport, you can take bus 49 or 109 to Pham Ngu Lao Street. Then walk northwards for about 10 minutes to the recommended 3-star Avanti Hotel right in front of Ben Thanh Market. Or you may take a taxi directly to the hotel at a cost of VND 150,000 - 170,000.

Accommodation Suggestion: Avanti Hotel (3 stars)
Day 2 Ho Chi Minh City
Post office in Ho Chi Minh City
Your independent Vietnam tour starts today. After breakfast, walk northwards for 10 minutes to reach the first destination, the Reunification Palace. This French-style building is used for holding government meetings and receiving foreign leaders.

After that, walk northwards for 300 yards to the War Remnants Museum. It is a good place for you to comprehensively know the history of the Vietnam War (1955 - 1975) by watching photo albums as well as war equipments like helicopters, artilleries, and bombs.

Then walk 15 minutes or so to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Opposite it is the Central Post Office. Both are French-style buildings built in late 19th century. After that, head northwards for a few minutes and you will see a grand palace. It is the Ho Chi Minh City Hall, the location of a government agency nowadays. It is not open for public, but you can still take great shots there.

On the way back to the hotel, we suggest you hang out in the Ben Thanh Market, the largest trading market of Ho Chi Minh City.

When you finish the whole day's backpacking tour, don't forget to make a reservation for the Mekong Delta tour to Ben Tre, Can Tho, Cai Rang, and Vinh Long. You may make it at the Sinh Tourist Office, at No. 246 - 248, De Tham Street, District 1.
Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Tre - Can Tho
This morning you will leave Ho Chi Minh City at 7:30 and be transferred to Ben Tre by a 2.5 hours' bus ride. Firstly, you may cruise the river and canals to reach a farm. Here you could hear Vietnamese traditional music and taste tropical fruits and honey tea. Then, you will visit a workshop to see how the coconut candies are made.

After that, ride a motorbike to see rice fields and vegetables gardens. Then cruise a small creek by a hand-rowing boat and the lunch is arranged at a restaurant by river. After lunch, you may set out to Can Tho to check in a 4-star hotel included in the tour.

Accommodation: a 4 stars hotel in Can Tho
Day 4 Can Tho - Cai Rang - Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnamese traditional performance
In early morning, take a motorboat to Cai Rang Floating Market in around one hour. It is a busy commercial market where locals buy and sell goods on the boats. Afterwards, continue cruising to a local orchard. Stay there for a while, then go back to the hotel and have a lunch. You will leave for Ho Chi Minh City at 12:00. En route, the bus will stop at Vinh Long Market where you can enjoy tropical fruits.

Upon arrival, remember to book the next day's tour to Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels at the Sinh Tourist Office. At the same time, we suggest you book the open bus tickets of Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi at the tourist office. The tickets are valid for one month and you just need to make a reservation at Sinh Tourist Office before heading for the next city.

Accommodation Suggestion: Avanti Hotel (3 stars)
Day 5 Ho Chi Minh City - Cu Chi Tunnels - Ho Chi Minh City
The bus tour will begin from the Sinh Tourist Office at 7:45 for Cao Dai Temple. Cao Dai is a religion that combines ideas of Confucianism, Christianity, Taoism, and Buddhism. You will admire both Gothic towering steeples and Chinese-style carvings there.

After lunch, you will reach Cu Chi Tunnels. It is like an underground base and you can have a better understanding about the past war time by watching a short video and presentation. If you are interested, you will experience real ammunitions of AK47 or MK16.

Afterwards, go back to the downtown to catch the sleeping open bus to Nha Trang at 20:00.

Accommodation: Overnight sleeping bus
Day 6 Nha Trang
Vendors on the street
You will arrive in Nha Trang early this morning. Nha Trang is a coastal city and has the best beach of Vietnam, stretching around 4 miles from north to south. Upon arrival, please take a taxi to the recommended Dendro Hotel, which is only two minutes' walk from the beach. You can spend the rest of the day enjoying sunshine on the beach, and taking activities like swimming and playing volleyball. You may treat yourself with delicious seafood.

Accommodation Suggestion: Dendro Hotel (3 stars)
Day 7 Nha Trang
Today, it is suggested you spend another leisure day along the seashore. Don't miss the chance to take the Vinpearl cable car across the sea. Besides, Nha Trang also has some must-seeing monuments such as Long Son Pagoda, Nha Tho Nui Cathedral, and Po Nagar Cham Towers. Having a distinctive mud bath at Thap Ba Hot Spring Center can also be a wonderful experience.

You are advised to leave for Hoi An next day. Don't forget to book the open bus at the Sinh Tourist Office today.
Day 8 Nha Trang - Hoi An
The bus bound for Hoi An will depart at 19:00. In the daytime you still have a chance to enjoy the sunbath on the beach or take some activities with locals. If you want more fun, you can rent a bike to Hon Chong Promontory in the north of Nha Trang. It well blends the beauty of mountains and sea. Standing on the giant granite cape to take shots is a must-do to end your Nha Trang tour.

Make sure you arrive at the Sinh Tourist Office on time for your onward sleeping bus to Hoi An.

Accommodation: Overnight sleeping bus
Day 9 Hoi An
Street scene in Hoi An
Upon arrival in Hoi An, you may hail a taxi to the recommended Villa Orchid Garden Riverside Hotel. After a short break, you can rent a bike from the hotel and set out to the Hoi An Ancient Town. There are many traditional Chinese as well as Japanese style buildings and streets, like Japanese Covered Bridge and some Chinese ancestral temples. At night, your eyes will be caught by countless lanterns lightening the river and the town.

Tips: Don't forget to make a reservation for the next day's bus tour to the Hue City at the Sinh Tourist Office, located at No. 587, Hai Ba Trung Street.

Accommodation Suggestion: Villa Orchid Garden Riverside (3 stars)
Day 10 Hoi An - Hue
There are two choices for you to spend this morning: either rent a bike to visit nearby villages or continue your Hoi An tour in the ancient town. Afterwards, you may take a 4 hours' bus ride to the Hue City at 13:45. Upon arrival, please hail a taxi to the recommended Orchid Hotel and have a rest.

Accommodation Suggestion: Orchid Hotel (3 stars)
Day 11 Hue
The remains in the Imperial City of Hue
The recommended backpacking route for today is Imperial City - the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady - Tomb of Tu Duc. It is suggested you to take a taxi to reach these scenic areas one by one.

The Imperial City is the largest and most preserved architecture complex in Vietnam. After visiting there, you may go to the 400-year-old Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, at the northern bank of Perfume River. Here, you can have a full view of the rolling river and the city. The last spot of today's independent Hue tour is the Tomb of Tu Duc. This imperial tomb was built during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 - 1945) and took 22 years to complete.
Day 12 Hue - Hanoi
Today you may leave for Hanoi by an open bus at 17:30, so remember to make a reservation at the Sinh Tourist Office in advance. If you are still interested in mausoleums of the Nguyen Dynasty, you could take a taxi to visit tombs of Minh Mang and Khai Dinh one by one. Both are located in the northern suburb of Hue.

Accommodation: Overnight sleeping bus
Day 13 Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, Hanoi
Upon arrival in Hanoi, please hail a taxi to the recommended 3-star Noble Boutique Hotel to get some rest. Afterwards, you may go to the first destination of your independent Hanoi tour, Ba Dinh Square. You can reach there by taxi.

To the west of the square, you will find the tomb and former residence of Ho Chi Minh, the Father of Modern Vietnam. There is also a museum to help you have a good understanding about this great leader. Near the museum is a unique temple, One Pillar Pagoda, which is famous for a temple built on one single stone pillar in the middle of a pond.

Then walk southwards for about 10 minutes to the Temple of Literature, located on Quoc Tu Giam Street. Here local people usually pay homage to the Confucius, a well-known ancient Chinese educationist and ideologist, and celebrate the Vietnamese New Year in January or February.

The next spot is a French-style building, St. Joseph's Cathedral. You may take a taxi or motorbike to go there. It is the oldest church in Hanoi, built in 1886.

After a short break, walk eastwards for 200 yards to Hoan Kiem Lake to spend a leisure time. Then head northwards for the last spot of today's backpacking tour, the 36 Streets. Each street only sells one kind of products and you can buy satisfactory souvenirs there.

Today's Hanoi independent tour is over. Please book the tickets for the 2-day Ha Long Bay cruise at the Sinh Tourist Office before going back to the hotel.

Sinh Tourist Office Branch 1:
Location: No. 64 Tran Nhat Duat Street
Tel: +84.4.39290394
Opening Hours: 06:00 - 20:30

Sinh Tourist Office Branch 2:
Location: No. 52 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, and opposite A25 Hotel
Tel: +84.4.39261568
Opening Hours: 06:30 - 22:00

Accommodation Suggestion: Noble Boutique Hotel Hanoi (3 stars)
Day 14 Hanoi - Ha Long Bay
Cruise on Halong Bay
Arrive at the tourist office during 7:45-8:15 and then reach Ha Long Bay by a 4 hours' bus ride. You will get onboard the Golden Lotus Garden Cruise Ship at 12:15. The ship will take you cruise the Ha Long Bay and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

After lunch, you will be transferred to the Surprising Cave to view stalactites in various shapes. Here are some evening activities after dinner, like singing karaoke and squid fishing.

Accommodation Suggestion: Golden Lotus Garden Cruise or Golden Lotus Premium Cruise (3 stars)
Day 15 Ha Long Bay - Hanoi
Today, you will be transferred to Titop Island to discover more beauty and fun. You can swim, climb mountain or enjoy the sun-bath on the beach. Then the ship will take you to go on cruising and return to the dock at 12:30. After lunch, a car will pick you up to Hanoi.

Upon arrival, have a rest in the hotel. After that, you may watch a puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theater, at the northeast corner of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Accommodation Suggestion: Noble Boutique Hotel Hanoi (3 stars)
Day 16 Departure from Hanoi
Your Vietnam independent tour is over today. After checking out the hotel, you can set out to the airport by taxi at a cost of VND 250,000. Please make sure to reach the airport 2 hours in advance for your flight. Have a good time!
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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
Full Impression of Vietnam: 20 Days Hanoi - Hue - Hoi An - Nha Trang - Da Lat - Ho Chi Minh City

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