Vietnam Itinerary 9 Days - Recommended for foreign travellers

Lê Ngọc Minh Châu - October 26, 2018

Vietnam Itinerary 9 days is quite enough to cover major tourist destinations for international visitors.

Questions:

“I fly to Ho Chi Minh City on Easter and plan to spend 9 days in Vietnam. Was thinking of Halong Bay, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Sapa. Can someone recommend where all to go (we like beaches, quaint towns and a bit of history) and how to travel between cities?”

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Answer:

That's a lot to fit into 9 days. In order to really enjoy your time I think you need to try and cut down your destinations a bit.

You don't mention anytime in HCMC or visiting the Delta so I'm not sure why you are flying into HCMC rather than Hanoi. It seems like you'll save time and money by flying into Hanoi.

 

So let's say you fly into Hanoi, then Day 2 you could leave for Halong Bay. It is much better to spend 3 days in Halong rather than 2 and if you decide to do that you'll return to Hanoi from Sapa on Day4. You could catch the night train to Sapa arriving in Lao Cai on Day 5. If you spend three full days in Sapa you'd leave Lao Cai on the evening of Day7 and arrive back in Hanoi the morning of Day8. That would leave you Day 8 and 9 for Hanoi. 

-- See more: Other Itineraries you may be interested in the Vietnam Itinerary - 3 days - 4 days - 5 days 6 days - 7 days - 8 days - 9 days - 10 days - 11 days - 12 days - 14 days  - 3 weeks 

9 days in Vietnam Hanoi Lang Bac

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi Vietnam 

If you cut down Halong to 2 days with one overnight and cut down a day from Sapa then you could fit in a quick Hoi An trip. But cutting down on Halong and not giving yourself time in Hanoi is not something I would recommend.

2 main options for 9 days in Vietnam

Itinerary #1: North Vietnam

  • Day1- Arrive Hanoi
  • Day2- Hanoi Tours
  • Day3- Leave for Halong
  • Day4- Halong Bay Tours
  • Day5- return from Halong; night train to Sapa
  • Day6- Arrive Sapa
  • Day7- Day in Sapa; night train from Sapa to Hanoi
  • Day8- Arrive in Hanoi about 4:30 am
  • Day9- Depart from Hanoi

Itinerary #2: (From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh)- North to South Vietnam

  • Day 1: Saigon Arrival.
  • Day 2: Saigon City Tour
  • Day 3: Saigon – Mekong Delta – Saigon.
  • Day 4: Saigon – Danang – Hoian
  • Day 5: Hoian – Danang – Hue
  • Day 6: Hue City Tour – Fly to Hanoi
  • Day 7: Hanoi City Tour
  • Day 8: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruise
  • Day 9: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Departure.

This itinerary could be turned around starting from Ho Chi Minh

Detailed itinerary for 9 days in Vietnam

Day 1,2: Ho Chi Minh City

Visit the War Remnants Museum

Learn about Vietnam’s recent history at Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)

Visit neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral

Visit Saigon Central Post Office

Once stepping inside Saigon Central Post Office, you will immediately be wowed by the French-impacted architecture.

Drop by Opera House

This is known as the counterpart of Hanoi Opera House.

Shop at Ben Thanh Market

Besides traditional goods and handicrafts, food vendors are also varied at Ben Thanh Market.

Day 3: Mekong Delta

Pay a visit to Cai Be floating market

The floating market is a typical market form in Mekong Delta. You definitely should include it in your Vietnam Itinerary 8 days.

Have lunch at a local food stall on An Binh Island

Take a traditional rowboat deeper into the countryside

See: 3 days in Hanoi

Day 4,5: Hoi An, Dan Nang, Hue

  • Hoi An Ancient Town
  • Immerse yourself walking around this sleepy riverside town
  • Peaceful Hoi An Ancient Town in the morning
  • Visit Chua Ong Pagoda
  • The architecture of Chua Ong Pagoda, bearing classical Chinese style, is the most typical among others in Hoi An.
  • Visit Phuc Kien Assembly Hall
  • This is also the meeting place of Fujian people. Here you will admire the unique architecture as well as magnificent carved sculpture.
  • Visit Tan Ky ancestral house
  • Cross Japanese Covered Bridge
  • Hue City Tour

See: 4 days in Vietnam 5 days in Vietnam

Day 6, 7:  Hanoi arrival

Vietnam Itinerary 9 Days - Recommended for foreign travellers

Ho Chi Minh Complex

It is hard to say that you have come to Hanoi without paying a visit to this top national historic site. Just grab your chance to gain an understanding of the Vietnamese leading figure as well as part of Vietnamese history.

Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum only opens in the morning. Therefore, you should notice this before planning your trip.

The architectural combination of both Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow and distinctive Vietnamese features will impress you a lot.

Visit Ho Chi Minh Stilt House

The modest stilt house demonstrates a frugal life of President Ho Chi Minh. Through that, you can understand why he has won the heart and respect of all Vietnamese generations.

The cozy atmosphere prevailing in this lovely house makes this my favorite destination in the complex.

Visit One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda is one of the two most iconic Buddhist temples in Vietnam.

Besides, the unique architectural feature which gave the pagoda the name One Pillar makes it unforgettable.

Temple of Literature

A lot of students particularly flock here before examinations to pray for luck. Temple of Literature is also a common spot for students to shoot photos for their yearbook.

9 days in Vietnam Van Mieu

Noticeably, Ong Do (Vietnamese calligraphers) sit patiently inside or around the Literature Temple to produce great meaningful handwritings on red paper.

Hanoi French Quarter

Vietnam wars against French colonists are known in the world. The French colonial rule no doubt expanded effects on several aspects such as architecture.

There are reasons for the French Quarter to be called A Little Paris in Hanoi.

9 days in Vietnam Opera House

Visit Hanoi Opera House

The exterior of Hanoi Opera House follows many different architectural styles: Roman, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau and French neoclassical.

This theatre in central Hanoi was modeled after Opéra Garnier (Opéra de Paris). Yet there is an argument that it has even more aesthetic merits than the original.

Visit Hoa Lo Prison

Hoa Lo Prison (also known as Maison Centrale) was built by French colonists. As a representative of the period of the Vietnamese resistance war, the prison still maintained a lot of torture tools.

As a representative of the period of the Vietnamese resistance war, the prison still maintained a lot of torture tools.

Day 8,9: Halong Bay (Back to Hanoi to depart)

I have already recommended detailed Things to do in Halong Bay in my previous blog. Please read it for further information.

9 days in Vietnam Halong bay

My plan includes highlighted features of this world natural wonder: Sung Sot Cave – Titop Island – Luon Cave.

Following this itinerary, you will have a relaxing cruise trip. As a result, no worries upon overwhelming your two days!

In the late afternoon of Day 3, you return to Hanoi and take a domestic flight to Da Nang.

You then transfer to Hoi An Ancient Town and have a free night there.

==> Tips: Things to do in Hanoi - Hanoi Travel Agency - Hanoi Day Trips - Halong Bay Cruise - Things to do in Halong Bay - Things to do in Sapa - Vietnam Travel Agency

Other destinations that are not mentioned in 9 days itinerary above

Da Nang

Da Nang is a center of culture and tourism in Central Vietnam. From here, you can combine with other destinations of Central, such as Hoi An ancient town, Nha Trang beach, Ba Na Hill, Hue ancient capital,... However, Da Nang city has too many sites to visit.

Following is my experiences with Da Nang travel.
- If your time is tight, only 1 day, you should main attractions such as: Dragon bridge (cầu Rồng ), Champa museum, Linh Ung pagoda (chùa Linh Ứng), 1 of some beaches: Non Nuoc, My An, My Ke, Han river bridge (in night) and 1of 2 following places: Son Tra peninsula (bán đảo Sơn Trà) or Ngu Hanh Son mountain (Ngũ Hành Sơn), these places are far apart so you must choose 1. 
- If you have 2 days, you should add Ba Na hill. You can go to Ba Na by car or motor (rent in Da Nang city). I prefer going by a motor, it's freedom and convenient for taking photos. 
- If you have more time, about 6 days, you should combine 3 adjacent places: Hue-Da Nang-Hoi An. 3 days in Hue, 2 days in Da Nang and 1 day in Hoi An.

9 days in Vietnam da nang

*** Detail for 1-day schedule in Da Nang**
- Early morning, driving to Son Tra peninsula (cross Han river bridge and go straight AH17 highway ). Driving up the mount. I like sitting in the cafe, drinking a coffee and watching the bustling city. You should drive around the peninsula and relax with sea wind, then back to the city according to Hoang Sa road. Don't forget to visit Ling Ung pagoda on this road, where is very beautiful and peaceful. If going early, you will have enough time to visit the Dragon bridge and return to the city to lunch late. 
- Afternoon, visit the Champa museum (in the city), then bath at 1 of 3 beaches: Non Nuoc, My An, My Ke. 
- Evening, circling the city, eating famous snacks of Da Nang, watching Han River bridge. Last, sleeping in a hotel and dreaming about Da Nang. ^^

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