small village in front of mountains with rice paddies in the forefront

The Best 10 Days Vietnam Itinerary for First Timers

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Discover the best 10 days Vietnam itinerary with unique experiences and expert recommendations. Plan your perfect trip now!

Vietnam is one of the most popular Southeast Asian countries to visit and is the perfect country for exploring during a 10-day trip. Known for its rivers, beaches and bustling cities, Vietnam has so much to offer to all kinds of travellers. Whether you prefer natural or cultural sites, the country has many fascinating attractions.

Vietnamese people are renowned for their kindness and hospitality towards tourists and so the country is sure to feel welcoming. You’ll likely find that locals are quick to offer assistance, particularly in main tourist areas. It’s easy to feel like you’ve found a home away from home in Vietnam!

Although quite small, Vietnam has such a large activity range that you could easily spend weeks on end exploring – but in 10 days you can fit in all of the top sights and visit lots of off-the-beaten-track sights. This article will give you a fantastic, jam-packed Vietnam 10 day Travel itinerary which can easily be extended or shortened according to your travel schedule.

Planning your trip to Vietnam last minute?

Below are some of the top tours, hotels and more! Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Vietnam and nearby!

1. HALONG BAY CRUISE (#1 selling Vietnam tour!)
2. MEKONG DELTA (another top-seller!)
3. CU CHI TUNNELS IN HCMC (great for history lovers!)
4. VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS (for the foodies!)
5. HANOI STREET FOOD TOUR (come hungry!)

1. LA SIESTA CONTRAL HOTEL & SPA IN HANOI (we stayed here and recommend it!)
2. LYS HOMESTAY IN NINH BINH (we also stayed here – recommended for budget travellers!)

Your 10 Days in Vietnam Itinerary from North to South

A 10-day trip to Vietnam promises to be an exciting and unforgettable experience. You can fit so much into just a short amount of time and you are guaranteed to be exhausted from your everyday adventures – in a good way, of course!

The best way to travel Vietnam is to travel from the north to the south of the country, starting in the location where you’ll most likely touch-down – Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi. From here, there are many exciting locations along the coast and inland with fantastic sightseeing opportunities before completing your trip in Ho Chi Minh City (sometimes called Saigon).

Here is an overview of how we recommend you best spend your 10 days in Vietnam:
* Day 1 & 2:
* Day 3 & 4:
Halong Bay
*Day 5:
Ninh Binh
*Day 6:
*Day 7:
Hoi An
*Day 8 & 9:
Ho Chi Minh City
*Day 10:
Mekong Delta

Day 1 & 2: Hanoi

Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city and is probably where most travellers will begin their Vietnamese adventure since it is so well-connected. The city never sleeps and is full of wonderful attractions and landmarks. This is why it’s the perfect place to begin travelling Vietnam solo – it’s so easy to meet great people. 

famous-red-bridge-in-the-Hoan-Kiem-Lake-Hanoi, a must visit on 10 days in vietnam itinerary
The famous red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi

What to Do in Hanoi

  • The Old Quarter: The Old Quarter is one of the most popular areas to visit in the capital city, infamous for bustling side streets and a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Hoan Kiem Lake: Hoan Kiem Lake is a peaceful area in the city centre, popular with travellers that need a bit of time away from the hustle and bustle. Keep an eye out for turtles swimming in the lake! Ngoc Soc Temple is located right at the centre of Hoan Kiem Lake and is the top-visited temple in the city – you simply can’t miss it.
  • Hanoi Weekend Night Market: No matter where you go in Southeast Asia, it is simply impossible to not be enticed into night market visits and Vietnam is no exception – the weekend night market is a must-visit location in the city.
  • Hoa Lo Prison: Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” was used by French colonists and then later by the North Vietnamese government to house political prisoners. The prison is popular among history buffs especially.
  • Water Puppet Show: One of the most unique experiences you can have in Hanoi is watching a water puppet show. The traditional shows are a great way to draw your evening to a close.
  • One Pillar Pagoda: The One Pillar Pagoda is one of Hanoi’s most beautiful authentic buildings and provides a wonderful cultural experience. 

Popular Tours in Hanoi

  • Old Quarter Walking Tour: Immerse yourself in local life by exploring Hanoi’s vibrant Old Quarter on a walking tour. Stroll through narrow streets lined with colourful buildings, bustling markets, and traditional shops. Experience the hustle and bustle of daily life as you observe locals going about their routines. Don’t forget to sample some delectable street food along the way!
  • Vietnamese Cooking Class: We took THIS cooking class in Hanoi and loved it! Once choosing the 3 dishes we were going to cook (Bun Cha, Pho Bo/Ga, Hanoi Fresh Roll) we went to the nearby local market to buy fresh ingredients for the class. This was a great way to learn more about the flavours of Vietnamese cuisine, the foods they use, and how to use them.
  • Hanoi Old Quarter Walking Street Food Tour: What better way to get to know the city than eating your way through local street foods whilst exploring unknown parts of the city? This tour has been recommended by friends whose advice was ‘turn up hungry!!!’.

Where to Stay in Hanoi

Looking for a place to stay during your 10-day Vietnam itinerary? If it is your first time visiting Hanoi, we recommend looking no further than Hanoi’s Old Quarter. This vibrant neighbourhood is known for its charming atmosphere, bustling streets, and rich cultural heritage. With its narrow alleys, traditional shops, and colourful buildings, the Old Quarter offers a unique experience that will immerse you in the local culture, and have walking distance to most major attractions.

Best Hanoi Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Ultimate TreatPeridot Grand Luxury Boutique Hotel is considered to be one of the best luxury hotels in Southeast Asia!

🏨Luxury (70 USD and Up)Bespoke Trendy Hotel Hanoi receives exceptional reviews by guests, as does Hanoi La Siesta Premium Hang Be.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 70 USD)Babylon Premium Hotel and Spa in the heart of the Old Quarter in Hanoi and La Storia Ruby Hotel.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)Hanoi City Backpackers Hostel and Hanoi Golden Charm Hotel are centrally located in Hanoi Old Quarter.

Check availability on accommodation options in Hanoi below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Day 3 & 4: Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is around 3 hours east of Hanoi and has been designated UNESCO World Heritage protection status. The bay is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful regions and the perfect destination for relaxation and experiencing natural beauty. Whether you’re taking a Vietnam group tour, visiting for a honeymoon or winging it for yourself, Ha Long Bay is an unmissable stop. 

limestone karst mountains jutting out of the water in Halong Bay

How to Get to Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is around 3 hours from Hanoi and the best way to reach it is by bus. There are many transfer companies that can take you to the bay for affordable prices. Bus is the most convenient, quickest and most popular transport option between the two destinations. You can buy tickets any travel agency in Hanoi before you set off, or reserve seats online beforehand. For the most basic bus services you can expect to pay only $5-$10 for the journey.

A private car transfer is another option for travelling between Hanoi and Halong Bay but can be expensive. Train is also possible but the journey time is much longer than by bus.

What to Do in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay has so much to offer in terms of activities and makes this UNESCO World Heritage Site definitely worth visiting. The most popular way of spending time in the area is to take a full-day or multi-day cruise to explore all of the islands and rock formations. Overnight options make the experience so much more immersive but a one-day cruise will be sufficient to give you an unforgettable memory. 

Opting for a cruise through Ha Long Bay will give you the opportunity to marvel at incredible cave formations, explore floating fishing villages and dock at many of the islands for activities like kayaking, swimming or sunbathing.

Popular Tours in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Exit45 Travels Top Tip: If you are only planning a full day cruise, we highly recommend staying in Cat Ba rather than Halong City as it is more directed towards tourists with various other things to do such as exploring the Cat Ba National Park, great restaurants and bars.

Best Halong Bay / Cat Ba Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Ultimate TreatHotel Perle dOriente Cat Ba-M Gallery is considered to be the #1 hotel in Cat Ba!

🏨Luxury (70 USD and Up)Flamingo Cat Ba Beach Resort on the beach and Cat Ba Paradise Hotel which has amazing views of the bay.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 70 USD)Cat Ba Island Resort Spa with lots of facilities including an amazing pool and Cat Ba Eco Lodge Hotel.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)Cat Ba View Hotel and Cat Ba Island Hotel  are centrally located in Cat Ba Town right near everything you need!

Check availability on accommodation options on Cat Ba Island below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Day 5: Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is a relatively small city in northern Vietnam and is home to some magical experiences. It is bursting with cultural sites and wonderful activities and is one of Vietnam’s most serene spots – perfect for travellers in need of a reset.

small village in front of mountains with rice paddies in the forefront

How to Get to Ninh Binh

Once again, the best mode of transport to Ninh Binh from Ha Long Bay is the bus. Whether you opt for a shuttle bus, privately booked to transfer you from your hotel or a public bus is up to personal preferences on comfort and convenience. Both will take around 4 – 5 hours. 

What to Do in Ninh Binh

  • Take a Boat Ride Through Trang An Grottoes: Explore the wonderful limestone formations that pierce through the water and tower above you.
  • Visit Bich Dong Pagoda: Trek through a scenic mountain to reach the infamous gate and then immerse yourself in Buddhist culture in the temple just beyond.
  • Explore Hoa Lu Village: Left preserved from the 10th and 11th Centuries, Hoa Lu Village once served as the first capital city in Vietnam. The remaining structures from the citadel allow you to transport yourself back in time.
  • Climb Hang Mua: If you aren’t still exhausted from the rest of your Vietnamese adventure, then climbing Hang Mua may be one of the most rewarding treks of your trip. On top of the very steep mountain awaits a 360 degree viewpoint of Tam Coc valley.

Popular Tours in Ninh Binh

  • Trang An Boat Ride: Embark on a boat ride through the enchanting Trang An Grottoes, where you can marvel at the caves and limestone cliffs. The tranquil waters and lush surroundings create a serene atmosphere as you glide along the river. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery!
  • Tam Coc Boat Ride: Discover the charm of Tam Coc, also known as “Halong Bay on land,” by taking a unique boat ride. Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance while passing through picturesque rice fields and towering karst formations. This unique experience allows you to soak up the beauty of nature at your own pace.

Where to Stay in Ninh Binh

Exit45 Travels Top Tip: We recommend staying in Tam Coc rather than Ninh Binh City as it is more directed towards tourists with easy access to all the main attractions, great restaurants and bars.

Best Tam Coc Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Luxury (100 USD and Up)Tam Coc Garden Resort with amazing viws of the rice fields and Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel and Resort which is a high-end luxury results with modern facilities.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 100 USD)Liberty Hall Tam Coc Hotel and Villa with mountain views and Tam Coc DiBi Villas.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)LysHomestay (where we stayed and loved!) and Tam Coc Victoria Hotel are very centrally located in Tam Coc.

If you prefer more accommodation options, consider checking out Ninh Binh city or Trang An.

Check availability on accommodation options in Tam Coc below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Day 6: Hue

After an enjoyable few days, you will have to embark on a rather longer journey in order to reach your next destination. Hue is quite a distance from Ninh Binh but it is well-worth exploring as it is one of Vietnam’s most historic cities.

the top of a pagoda in vietnam against a beautiful blue sky

How to Get to Hue

The most logical way to get around the 7 – 8 hour journey between Ninh Binh and Hue is by night-bus which is a very popular way to travel long distances in Vietnam. The buses may be basic but they are convenient, allowing you to rest and recharge and not miss out on any daylight sightseeing hours.

What to Do in Hue

  • Hue Imperial City: Constructed in 1803, the walled Imperial City is a marvel to wander through and transports you back to the ruling of Emperor Gia Long. Book a private tour for a more informative experience.
  • Royal Tombs: The Royal Tombs are a great location to gain an understanding of the cultural meanings of death in olden Vietnam.
  • Royal Palace: Housed inside the citadel, Hue Royal Palace is modelled after the great Forbidden City in Beijing. A trip to ancient Hue would not be complete without touring the palace.
  • Bach Ma National Park: If you’re not much of a history buff then taking a day trip to Bach Ma National Park would be a great way to spend your time. Full of waterfalls and towering mountain scenery, the park is the perfect place to get some amazing pictures.

Popular Tours in Hue

  • Visit the Imperial City: One of the must-visit attractions in Hue is the Imperial City. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it holds immense historical significance. This ancient citadel was once home to Vietnam’s emperors and royal families. This private walking tour will take you for a stroll through its grand gates and intricate palaces to get a glimpse into the country’s imperial past.
  • Easy Rider Private Tour Via Hai Van Pass: Embark on an unforgettable full-day private tour, riding on a motorcycle alongside a skilled driver, as you journey from Hue to Hoi An (or vice versa) and explore the remarkable highlights of the Hai Van Pass. Whether you choose to head north or south, this incredible adventure promises breath-taking views and exciting stops at Tam Giang Lagoon, Suoi Mo Waterfall, Lang Co Beach, and the Marble Mountains.

Where to Stay in Hue

We recommend choosing accommodations near the Perfume River provides easy access to many of Hue’s popular tourist spots. Staying in this area allows you to enjoy picturesque views and take leisurely walks along the riverbanks. You’ll also be close to attractions such as the Imperial City and Thien Mu Pagoda. Alternatively, if you would like some beach time, consider staying at one of the beachfront resorts located just outside the city.

Best Hue Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Ultimate TreatRose Villa Beach is a private villa with a guest rating on Agoda of 9.9!

🏨Luxury (100 USD and Up)Melia Vinpearl Hue and Azerai La Residence Hue which are high-end luxury resorts with modern facilities.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 100 USD)La Vela Hue Hotel with exceptional guest reviews and TTC Imperial Hotel.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)Tam Homestay and Hue Tho Homestay are very centrally located in Hue.

Check availability on accommodation options in Hue below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Day 7: Hoi An

There are many reasons to visit Hoi An including its wonderful heritage and festivals. The town is full of charm and history and is a fantastic stop off on your 10 day journey through Vietnam.

a street in hoi an with coloured lanterns strung across, a must visit on 10 days vietnam itinerary

How to Get to Hoi An

Hoi An is yet another location best reached by bus. This transport option is the most convenient and comfortable. In total the journey takes around 3.5 hours.

However, travelling by train could be considered for this journey due to the wonderful coastal scenery the route offers. Trains run from Hue to Da Nang – the closest train station to Hoi An. Getting to the town from there is easy using a taxi or bus shuttle service which take around 30 minutes.

What to Do in Hoi An

  • Lantern Festival: Hoi An holds lantern festivals every month, attracting thousands of visitors to the town. Hundreds of brightly coloured lanterns are released into the sky to celebrate every full moon. 
  • An Bang Beach: An Bang Beach is a wonderful beach near the town of Hoi An and the perfect place to relax in the sun.
  • Hoi An Old Town: Hoi An Old Town has been beautifully preserved and is a real melting pot of cultures. The Old Town is full of many different architectural styles including Japanese bridges, French colonial buildings and wooden Chinese temples.
  • Hoi An Market: The market in Hoi An is a brilliant place to stop off for a souvenir to take home from your incredible trip. The market sells everything from clothes to fresh produce.

Popular Tours in Hoi An

  • Walking Tour through Hoi An Ancient Town: Take a leisurely stroll through its narrow streets and be captivated by the well-preserved architecture that reflects the town’s rich history. From ancient houses to Chinese temples, your local guide will tell a story at every corner. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you explore the local markets, where you can find unique souvenirs and traditional crafts.
  • Full Day Tour of Hoi An Old Tour and My Son Sanctuary: Spend a whole day exploring two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Begin your adventure by visiting the ancient ruins of My Son Sanctuary, which was once the capital of the Cham Dynasty. Then, join a walking tour of Hoi An Ancient Town led by a knowledgeable guide. Marvel at the well-preserved landmarks that have stood since the 15th Century.

Where to Stay in Hoi An

To make your exploration of Hoi An Ancient Town easy and convenient, it’s best to find accommodations within walking distance. This way, you can easily access the charming streets, historic buildings, and vibrant markets without having to rely on transportation.

If you’re looking for a more relaxing stay by the beach, consider booking a room at one of the beachfront resorts along Cua Dai Beach or An Bang Beach. These areas offer pristine stretches of sand where you can soak up the sun, take refreshing dips in the ocean, and indulge in water sports activities.

Best Hoi An Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Ultimate TreatRose Villa Beach is a private villa with a guest rating on Agoda of 9.9!

🏨Luxury (100 USD and Up)Allegro Hoi An and Grandvrio Ocean Resort which are high-end luxury resorts with modern facilities.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 100 USD)Almanity Hoi An Resort & Spa with fantastic resort facilities and Little Oasis.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)Triple Riverside Villa Hotel and Hoi An Vi Khoa Villa are very centrally located in Hoi An.

Check availability on accommodation options in Hoi An below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Day 8 & 9: Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most popular stops in Vietnam and cannot be missed off of a 10-day trip. The city has such a lively atmosphere and is always bustling with locals and tourists alike.

How to Get to Ho Chi Minh City

Unless you feel like spending 18 hours on a train, then the best way of reaching Ho Chi Minh City from Hoi An is by flying. The flight is a very short 1.5 hours which is nothing in comparison to the alternative.

the skyline of ho chi minh city at night, a must visit on 10 days vietnam itinerary

What to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

  • War Remnant Tunnel: The War Remnants Tunnel offers a heart-wrenching look into the Vietnam War and the impact that it had on the people. There is a huge collection of photographs and objects which allow you a glimpse into the impact that the war had in Vietnam.
  • Cu Chi Tunnels: The Cu Chi Tunnels would be a day trip in itself. The underground network of tunnels were used by the Viet Cong in the war. Visitors are offered to crawl through the tunnels to experience soldier life in war time. You can learn all about the tactics used by the army and gain an understanding of the historical background.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral: The Notre Dame cathedral is the heart of Ho Chi Minh city has is known for its beautiful French colonial architecture. The interior is just stunning and is matched by the beautiful facade.
  • Reunification Convention Hall: Also known as the Independence Palace, Reunification Convention Hall played an integral role in the Vietnam War. The palace has been beautifully preserved with highly decorated rooms available for visitors to explore. 

Popular Tours in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Highlights and Hidden Gems With Locals Private Tour: Discover the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City during this delightful 3-hour private walking tour. With the assistance of a friendly local guide, you’ll have the opportunity to explore renowned landmarks such as the Saigon Opera House, Saigon Central Post Office, and Independence Palace. Unveil hidden gems and insider secrets as you wander through the city’s bustling streets.
  • War Remnants Museum + Ci Chi Tunnels Day Tour: First, get a look at preserved artefacts and documents from the Vietnam War, then go underground to explore the vast network of tunnels at Cu Chi. The peaceful rural scene belies the area’s violent history, and visitors will find it hard to imagine the destruction, damage, and defoliation that took place over the area in the 1960s.
  • Street Food Tour By Motorbike at Night: When we were in Ho Chi Minh City, we did this food tour by scooter at night. The food was amazing, but we recommend you go very hungry!

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is a very large city, so it is really important to choose the right area to book accommodation. We always stay in District 1 in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City as it is home to most of the popular tourist attractions. Staying in this area will give you easy access to historical sites like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, and War Remnants Museum. It is also a bustling hub with plenty of shopping and dining options.

If you’re a shopaholic or a food lover, staying near Ben Thanh Market is a great choice. This iconic market offers an array of local products, street food stalls, and restaurants.

For those seeking a more local experience and quieter surroundings, District 3 is worth considering. This district offers a mix of residential areas and small businesses. You’ll find charming cafes, local markets, and authentic Vietnamese street food here.

Best Ho Chi Minh City Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Ultimate Treat: The Reverie Saigon is known for its exceptional service and attention to detail!

🏨Luxury (100 USD and Up)Lotte Hotel Saigon and Hotel Nikko Saigon which are high-end luxury hotels with modern facilities.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 100 USD)Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel and The Hammock Hotel Ben Tanh both get amazing guest reviews.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)Nicey Boutique Hotel and G9 Homestay are very centrally located in District 1.

Check availability on accommodation options in Ho Chi Minh City below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Day 10: Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is well-known for its naturally beautiful landscapes and unique way of life that its people lead.

How to Get to Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is best reached by bus or boat. In this instance, boat would be the more luxurious option and the cruise along will allow you to take in some of the wonderful scenery along the delta. You can opt for a speed boat or slower river cruise depending on how much time you have. Multi-day packages are also available for a slow, but high-end experience.

What to Do in Mekong Delta

  • Floating Markets: The Mekong Delta is best known for its floating markets. Boats full of wonderful fresh produce and goods are displayed for trade by the locals and the experience is unforgettable. Cai Rang and Cai Be are two of the most well-known markets.
  • Can Tho: Can Tho is a wonderful city in the Mekong Delta and great for its market. You can take a boat ride through Can Tho to enjoy the scenery and absorb the atmosphere best.
  • Tra Su Indigo Forest: Tra Su Indigo Forest is a wonderful spot for exploring the outdoors and viewing the natural side of the Mekong Delta.

Popular Tours in Mekong Delta

  • Mekong Delta Boat Tour: Have a relaxed and enjoyable day exploring the Mekong Delta on this full-day sightseeing tour. Visit all the top sites and activities including a cruise on the Delta, a visit to a pagoda, a local musical performance, and a ride on a hand-rowed sampan through beautiful palm-fringed waterways.
  • Authentic Mekong Motorbike Tour: Take a ride through a small village and discover some authentic places, such as the largest monastery in Mekong called Thien Vien Truc Lam Phuong Nam. You can also visit a cocoa plantation where handmade chocolates are produced, explore a 150-year-old ancient house, and venture to an islet with orchards and seasonal fruits. Additionally, you can try your hand at making traditional cakes and even cross monkey bridge.

Where to Stay in Mekong Delta

Can Tho is the largest city in the Mekong Delta and offers a wide range of accommodations and amenities. This bustling city has plenty of hotels, guesthouses, and resorts catering to different budgets and preferences. Staying here puts you right in the heart of the action, with easy access to popular attractions like the Cai Rang Floating Market and Binh Thuy Ancient House.

Best Can Tho Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨Ultimate Treat: Azerai Resort Can Tho is known for its high-end resort facilities!

🏨Luxury (100 USD and Up)Victoria Can Tho Resort is in a great location with lovely facilities.

🏨Mid-Range (30 USD to 100 USD)Sheraton Can Tho and Mekong Silt Ecolodge both get amazing guest reviews.

🏨Budget (Up to 30 USD)KP Hotel and Midmost Boutique Hotel are very centrally located in Can Tho.

Check availability on accommodation options in Can Tho below:
Agoda | | Hostelworld

Planning Your Trip to Vietnam

When planning a trip to Vietnam it is most important to logically plan your route and transport. Accommodation and activities can be sorted later and having a travel plan should be your base for these. The best way to travel in Vietnam is to head from north to south, starting and ending in big cities.

How to Get to Vietnam

The most likely way that travellers arrive in Vietnam is by flight. Most airlines will fly into Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. A top tip for finding the cheapest flights is to look on Skyscanner and use a VPN. Being flexible with your dates and stop-overs is also a great way to lower your prices. 

You could also reach Vietnam by bus if you’re travelling from a bordering country such as Laos or Cambodia. Many people choose to take night journeys to Vietnam’s main cities via bus from these countries.

How to Get Around Vietnam

an overnight bus in vietnam with 2 stories and sleeping compartments
A Double-Decker Sleeping Bus in Vietnam

Getting around Vietnam is pretty easy and a lot cheaper than European countries for example. Buses are the most affordable method of transport and are often the quickest too. You’ll often find direct connections between locations, even if they’re quite far away, making travelling by bus a lot more convenient than train.

You could consider renting a car or scooter for journeying around Vietnam but with such long distances to travel, it’s probably best to leave all of the driving to an expert seeing as the traffic can be pretty hectic!

Exit45 Travel Top Tip:
Our go-to site for booking transportation on-line in Vietnam is 12Go.Asia. They have all transport services covered including vans, buses taxis, trains and ferries.

By booking with 12.Go Asia you can read the reviews and see what other travellers have said about their journey with different companies. Once you have booked your ticket through their website, they will email you a copy of your booking. It’s super easy!

When is the Best Time to Visit Vietnam

Vietnam is a wonderful country to visit all year round but each season has its perks. If you follow my 10-day itinerary then you’ll be visiting all of the stops in Vietnam from North to South at the same time of year, but should you choose to travel certain parts of the country individually, then here are the best times to visit.

When to Visit Northern Vietnam

Spring is one of the most popular times to visit Northern Vietnam, but it isn’t quite ram-packed with tourists, making it easier to explore. The months of February to April offer very good weather, with light showers and warm temperatures.

Daytime temperatures can range from around 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F) in low-lying areas such as the city of Hanoi. In the more mountainous areas such as Sapa temperatures will be lower – approximately 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).

Rainfall is only very occasional in these months, particularly in April and showers are often light and last not much longer than a few minutes.

With nature starting to come back to life after a winter hiatus, Vietnam blooms with colourful vegetation and outdoor activities are at their peak. Trekking in forest parks and visiting open-air temples are one of the best things you can do in Northern Vietnam in spring.

a lady standing rowing a boat in halong bay

When to Visit Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam typically experiences only two seasons rather than four – the wet season and the dry one. The dry season is of course preferable for visiting and lasts for around eight months.

The dry season in central Vietnam extends right through from December to August, however, March – June can be very, very hot. I’d recommend a visit to central Vietnam between January and February or July and August.

In central Vietnam, day time temperatures average around 18°C to 24°C (64°F to 75°F) for the months of January – February making a visit very pleasant. Rainfall totals are expected to be quite low at around 10 – 30 mm per month.

For visits between July and August you can expect higher temperatures, reaching up to 35°C (95°F). Rainfall totals are a lot higher as the area begins to prepare for the rainy season. You should probably expect upwards of 150 mm per month.

When to Visit Southern Vietnam

Southern Vietnam also experiences wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit is the dry season of December to May. Temperatures aren’t too hot for exploring and the rain is light if at all.

Temperatures vary throughout the dry season with the coolest month being January. Temperature can be as ‘low’ as 21°C (70°F) with highs of 33°C (91°F). Temperatures rise as the months pass to have a range of around 26°C (79°F) to 35°C (95°F) in April.

Rain is heaviest in the later months of the dry season with up to 70 mm per month. During the peak of the dry season there can be less than 10 mm a month in southern Vietnam.

While it may seem wise to pack lightly for a southern Vietnam trip in the dry season, bring a light raincoat just in case as it will offer good protection from colder temperatures in higher altitudes and from bug bites.

The Best Group Tours in Vietnam

If you’re looking to explore the top attractions of Vietnam while making new friends along the way, booking a small group tour is the way to go. These tours offer a fantastic opportunity to experience the country’s rich culture and history with like-minded travellers. Expert guides will provide valuable insights into Vietnamese traditions, ensuring you have a memorable and educational journey.

One of the major advantages of joining a group tour is the hassle-free travel experience. With pre-planned itineraries, transportation arrangements, and accommodation bookings taken care of, you can sit back and relax while enjoying your adventure. You won’t have to worry about organizing every detail yourself; everything is conveniently arranged for you.

We have joined quite a few group tours over the years and we can recommend booking through G Adventures and Intrepid Travel.

If you prefer to book a group tour, here are some Vietnam tours that may be of interest:

  • Historic Cities and Halong Bay Cruising: This affordable 12 day tour will allow you to savour your way through Nha Trang on a street food crawl, step into turquoise-coloured paradise in Ha Long Bay, and get some good stories to take back home in bustling Hanoi.
  • Vietnam Hike, Bike and Kayak: This action packed 10 day Vietnam tour package is suited for the more active and adventurous traveller. Kayak through Halong Bay’s towering limestone karsts, trek the Mai Chau area, and cycle through small towns for an authentic taste of Vietnam. When you’re not pedalling or paddling, you’ll visit the country’s cultural highlights like the Cu Chi Tunnels and Emperor’s Tomb, or overnight at a local family’s homestay.
  • Ultimate Vietnam – Big Cities, Beaches and the Best Views Ever: This 16 day, hostel-based adventure covers it all. Embrace the city hustle and bustle in Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City with street eats, insider tours, and street bars. You’ll cruise back roads, wander along rice fields, crawl through historic tunnels, and trek over soaring mountains for photo ops like your Instagram feed has never seen. Close out your adventure by hitting not one, but two beach hotspots for some fun, relaxation, and nightlife.
  • Premium Vietnam in Depth: This 15 day tour will uncover the beauty of Vietnam from South to North. Learn the mysteries of the Viet Minh in Ho Chi Minh City, explore the beautiful lakes and boulevards of Hanoi and get a glimpse of rural life as you cruise through the Mekong Delta. Experience historic temples, spend a night beneath the stars on Halong Bay, enjoy delicious banquets and learn what it means to be local. 
  • Vietnam Family Holiday: This is the ideal 13 day tour for families. With great food, lush scenery and lots of warm, friendly locals, the whole family will fall in love with Vietnam. Sail beautiful Halong Bay. Delight at water puppets in Hanoi. Learn about rich emperors in Hue. Get a new outfit tailor-made in Hoi An. Maybe even take a dip in the Vietnam East Sea. With so much to share and do together, you’ll experience the culture, flavours, and highlights of a Vietnamese adventure your family will always remember.

To check out more group tours offered by either of these companies, click on the links below:
G Adventures  Intrepid Travel

FAQ’s: 10 Day Vietnam Itinerary

Is 10 days in Vietnam enough?

No, 10 days in Vietnam is not enough to fully explore the country’s rich culture, history, and natural beauty.

Can I visit all these destinations in just 10 days?

While it may be challenging to cover all these destinations thoroughly in only 10 days, it is possible to get a glimpse of each place and experience their unique offerings.

Is it safe to travel solo in Vietnam?

Vietnam is generally considered safe for solo travellers. However, as with any destination, it’s important to take precautions such as staying aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and keeping important documents secure. Joining group tours or connecting with other travellers can enhance safety and provide valuable local insights.

What is the best time to visit Vietnam?

The best time to visit Vietnam depends on which regions you plan to explore. Generally speaking, spring (March-April) and autumn (September-November) offer pleasant weather across most parts of the country. However, do note that weather patterns can vary significantly between regions due to Vietnam’s diverse geography.

Do I need a visa for Vietnam?

Most visitors will require a visa to enter Vietnam. However, some nationalities are eligible for visa exemptions or can obtain visas on arrival. It is recommended to check the specific visa requirements based on your nationality and consult with the nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate.

What currency should I use in Vietnam?

The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND).

How to get a SIM card in Vietnam?

To get a SIM card in Vietnam, visit a local mobile phone store or purchase one at the airport. Make sure to bring your passport for registration.

In Summary: Vietnam 10 Day Itinerary

Vietnam is an incredible country to visit and should be up there on your bucket list of places to visit in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has so much to offer in terms of nature, culture and history and there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Travelling through Vietnam is typically done best when starting in the north and going south but the 10 day itinerary can be reversed easily to fit around your other travel plans.

Stop offs at big cities and smaller, hidden gems make for the perfect trip which will make you want to go back and explore the country again and again.

While you’ll likely leave the country absolutely exhausted from all of your enjoyable experiences, you’re guaranteed to leave with some unforgettable memories!

Trip Planners For Vietnam: Related Blog Posts

Want more info to help you plan your Vietnam holiday? Check out all the articles we’ve written on travel in Vietnam below and continue planning your trip.

Essential Travel Planning Resources for Vietnam

These are our favourite companies to use when we travel to Vietnam. They consistently turn up the best deals and offer great customer service, and overall, are better than their competitors. These companies are always our starting point when we need to book a flight, hotel, tour, transportation etc.

Book a Tour:
We mostly travel independently, however, some places are better to visit with a guided tour. We use both GetYourGuide and Viator to find great deals on tours in Vietnam.

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