In the mountains above Da Nang, Vietnam sits a unique piece of bridge design – The Golden Bridge
“How many days in Vietnam?” – You hit enter and then receive 195 million results within 0,48 seconds. Now you’re bombarded with a huge number of articles in which there are different points of view. Some of the posts are not updated, the season when each person traveled to Vietnam varies and the regions they chose to visit are different.
In this article, I will give you some advice on planning a trip to Vietnam in regard to the region you want to visit, the length of your trip and how to make the most out of your holiday. To do so, I’ll separate this article into 3 parts:
- Northern Vietnam
- Southern Vietnam
- From North to South
Hope this will help!
North Vietnam - How many days? (Hanoi, Halong, Ninh Binh, Sapa)
Mua Cave in Ninh Binh – How Many Days In Vietnam?
Hanoi, Halong, Ninh Binh, and Sapa are the 4 precious gems in Northern Vietnam and undoubtedly included in almost all Hanoi itineraries you’ve read. While it’s possible to spend 4 days or less discovering the highlights of Hanoi, I still strongly recommend you spend at least 5 days in order to have a more relaxing time and have a deeper insight into each place you visit.
The Hanoi itineraries below include things to do both:
- In Hanoi
- Out of Hanoi (Halong Bay, Ninh Binh or other options)
If you want a personalized trip, click here and you will chat directly with a local guide. She will help you out.
Long Bien Bridge
In a Hanoi 5 day itinerary, the Old Quarter and Halong Bay are the 2 places that you should never miss. Here I’ll give you 2 brief options:
Option 1: (2 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay, 1 day in Tam Coc)
- Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (morning) – Hanoi City Tour
- Day 2: Hanoi – Halong Bay
- Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi
- Day 4: Hanoi – Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Hanoi
- Day 5: Hanoi – Departure
Option 2: (3 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Sapa)
- Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Afternoon)
- Day 2: Hanoi City Tours
- Day 3: Hanoi – Sapa
- Day 4: Sapa – Hanoi
- Day 5: Departure from Hanoi
- No more than 3 days in Hanoi city. (1 day for Halong Bay can be a bit short)
- For all the places in Hanoi (Hanoi Old Quarter, French Quarter, City), you can consider doing Hanoi free tour
- If you are planning less than 5 days in Hanoi, Here is for you: 2 days in Hanoi, 3 days in Hanoi and 4 days in Hanoi
6 days in Hanoi
Sapa with its idyllic golden rice paddies
Option 1: ( 2 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay, 2 days in Sapa)
- Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Old Quarter)
- Day 2: Hanoi – Halong bay
- Day 3: Halong Bay – Hanoi
- Day 4: From Hanoi to Sapa (Lao Cai – Sapa – Cat Cat Village)
- Day 5: Sapa – Muong Hoa Valley – Lao Chai – Ta Van — Back To Hanoi at night.
- Day 6: Hanoi Free and Easy day
Option 2: (3 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong Bay, 1 day in Ninh Binh)
- Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi (Hanoi Old Quarter, Hanoi Nightlife)
- Day 2 – Halong Bay overnight
- Day 3 – Halong Bay back to Hanoi
- Day 4 – Hanoi Around the City (Ho Chi Minh Complex, Hanoi Citadel, Temple of literature) + French Quarter + Enjoy Food to prepare for the next day
- Day 5 – Day Trip: Trang An/ Hoa Lu / Tam Coc / Bich Dong Cave
- Day 6 – Hanoi Free & Easy day
7 days in Hanoi
Option 1: (3 days in Hanoi, 3 days in Halong Bay, 1 day in Ninh Binh)
- Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
- Day 2: Hanoi City
- Day 3: Ninh Binh
- Day 4, 5, 6: Hanoi – Halong bay – Hanoi
- Day 7: Departure from Hanoi
Option 2: (2 days in Hanoi, 3 days in Sapa, 2 days in Halong Bay)
- Day 1: Hanoi
- Day 2, 3: Halong Bay
- Day 4,5,6: Sapa
- Day 7: Departure from Hanoi
Now I will give you a detailed Hanoi itinerary for 7 days:
Day 1: Explore Hanoi Old Quarter or French Quarter + Around the city
Sunset at Hanoi Old Quarter
After your arrival in Hanoi, explore the area called the Old Quarter as I mentioned at the first half.
At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade. There are many little temples, including Bach Ma, honoring a legendary horse, plus Đồng Xuân Market, selling household goods and street food.
Another choice for the first day is walking around Hanoi French Quarter with a local guide which will undoubtedly make your day. The area is full filled with European style buildings and contains historical stories of Hanoi that can bring you back in time.
- St. Joseph’s Cathedral which is also known as the Great Church to locals. After admiring its beautiful structure, having a fresh lemon iced tea at some street stores nearby is another must-do.
- Along the way to Hoa Lo prison, you will probably see some luxury hotels which are also an iconic image of the French Quarter. In contrast, Hoa Lo prison will guide you to a different world representing the French colonial period through impressive artifacts inside. You are noted to spend about 1 hour here.
- The next stop should be Hanoi Opera House that was inspired by the Paris Opera House. It is free to visit outside. Once you want to visit further inside, the ticket price is about $20/pax
- Hanoi Nightlife
Hanoi Opera House
Day 2: In Hanoi
- Then, do a city tour for all main sites of Hanoi such as Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature, Hanoi Citadel, or Museum of Ethnology
- Taking a food tour cause you know what they say “indulging yourself in local cuisines is one of the best ways to get fantastic travel experiences”
Day 3: Ninh Binh (Trang An – Bai Dinh or Tam Coc, Mua Cave)
Halong Bay is a top must-check in any travelers’ bucket list. This World’s heritage site never disappoints tourists for its fascinating landmarks.
A budget of a trip to Halong Bay is higher than other destinations’ since all tourism services are mainly served on a cruise. But don’t worry, it costs more, but not too much and of course, it’s worth the money.
*If you choose Cruises:
Halong Bay nightlife on the Bay has become both domestic and foreign tourists’ preference. With an overnight cruise trip, you will spend at least one night on the boat with many activities like watching the beautiful sunset or dawn on the sea, kayaking, swimming at some fascinating beaches of the Bay, going midnight squid fishing on a boat or visiting floating fishing villages.