Exploring Vietnam in 17 Days

  • icon-date17 DAYS
  • icon-date22 Meals

Get a taste of Vietnam in 17 days. This escapade from north to south takes you from charming Hanoi to bustling Sai Gon on an adventure that balances freedom and independent exploration with local guidance. Discover the history in the ancient Hue, enjoy the poetic beauty of Da Lat, kayak between limestones karsts off the World Heritages Ha Long Bay, and many more!

Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi! 

Our guide and driver will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for check-in and drop off your bags and get some rest. (Our first-day schedule could be created and modified to meet your time of arrival)

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour (B, L)

After having your complimentary breakfast at your hotel, our guide will take you to the various Government offices which are the preservation of colonial French residences. Then make our way to Ho Chi Minh Complex to check out Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square where President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence on September 2, 1945. Another signature place in the complex is One Pillar Pagoda- a unique architectural style pagoda built-in 1049. Head to the Temple of Literature, Quoc Tu Giam which are the most iconic place in Hanoi. Continue to West Lake to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple. After lunch, visit the Ethnology Museum which is not only a museum but also a research center, specializing in exhibiting the ethnic people and culture of Vietnam. There will be other activities on the side such as traditional festive and water puppet show to participate in. After that will head back to Hoan Kiem legend lake to visit Ngoc Son Temple. The day ends beautifully with 1 hour on the cyclo to discover the alive Hanoi 36 streets in the Old Town and a delicious welcome dinner.

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Day 3: Hanoi – Mai Chau (B, L, D)

We begin our day with a 3.5-hour drive from Hanoi to Mai Chau. The short journey offers many beautiful passes and some panoramic views down to the valley. Arrive at Mai Chau around midday and head to a traditional stilt house where your lunch is served by local people. In the afternoon, we will cycle around the town, and visit small stilt houses of the Thai minority to learn about their cultures, customs, and lifestyles. There will be a workshop at the local handicraft house for you to observe and make one for yourself. Dinner will be served with “Ruou Can” which is made of fermented glutinous rice mixed with several kinds of herbs from local forests. We don’t drink Ruou Can with a glass or cup, we use slim bamboo tubes! How exciting!

Day 4: Onwards to Ninh Binh (B)

Today, we will head to Ninh Binh, first, visit temples of the two Vietnamese dynasties of Dinh and Le with unique architecture, and pick up impressive historical information about the ancient culture of the Royal Palaces’ ground dated the 10th century. After that, head to Van lam village where our bamboo boat rowing to Tam Coc- a World Natural Heritage Site since 2014. Keep rowing along the Ngo Dong River where you could see the “Indochine” film set. The boat ride offers an outstanding view of thousands of astonishing limestone cliffs and an exciting experience going under Hang Ca and Hang Ba caves. Spend the night in Ninh Binh.

Day 5: Spectacular Ha Long Bay (B, L, D)

One of the “cannot miss” destinations when visiting Vietnam is Ha Long Bay the wonder of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, get on a cruise ship to start the journey around Ha Long Bay. It is no need to describe how amazing it is to see the spectacular landscapes with approximately 1600 limestone islands scattering the emerald green water surface and numerous natural caves. You will immerse yourself in nature by floating in the middle of the sea with a kayaking adventure. After kayaking, watch the sunset. I am sure being there at that magical hour will be a memorable experience for your trip. There will be drinks at the desk or interesting activities such as fishing with local people in the evening

Day 6: Farewell Ha Long Bay- off to Imperial Hue

Your breakfast will be served while floating on the sea giving you another opportunity to capture the beauty of Ha Long Bay before disembarking time. Join a cooking class that shows you how to make Vietnamese spring rolls and other traditional food if you wish. We will get back to Hanoi in the afternoon for your flight to Hue.

Day 7: Hue- Emperor’s tombs (B)

If you are passionate about Vietnamese cultures and heritages, Hue is the place for you! The day starts with a boat trip along the Perfume River, from here, we will be on and off the boat to see different places, starting with Thien Mu Pagoda which is one of the oldest ancient architectural religious structures in Hue, located on a hill overlooking The Famous Perfume River built-in 1601 by the first founder of the Nguyen Family in Central Vietnam, then Kim Long village. Get back to the city and make our way to the fine and sophisticated mausoleums of Tu Duc and Khai Dinh Emperors- the most famous King’s Tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty.

Day 8: Discover Hue- Hello Da Nang and Hoi An

We stop at the Imperial Citadel which was built by the Nguyen Dynasty between 1802 and 1945. The Citadel consists of many attractive places such as Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace, etc. By the afternoon, we will head to Hoi An via the Hai Van pass along the coastline and through the jungle-covered mountains. Along the way, we will stop at Lang Co beach, Cham Museum, and Marble Mountain, the mountain is a group of five limestone peaks situated seven kilometers from downtown Da Nang and is a network of caves, tunnels, towers, and pagodas built by Mahayana Buddhists and the Nguyen Dynasty Kings. Arrive in Hoi An at the end of the day.

Day 9: Dive into the charming Hoi An (B)

The boat takes us to Kim Bong carpentry village that established in the 15th century. After a century, Kim Bong was known for home appliances and shipbuilding products. The village is no longer known for those products because skillful craftsmen now make handicraft products that meet the market demands. The next stop is Thanh Ha Pottery village which is formed in the 16th century and is the oldest in Vietnam. we’ll visit a local home on the outskirts of Hoi An to learn about the family’s long tradition of lantern-making and have our welcome dinner afterward. Next, visit a Japanese Covered Bridge which was first constructed in the 1590s by linking it with the Chinese quarters. Following Tran Phu street, we will get to The Assembly Halls. There are 4 Assembly Halls in Hoi An, each of those Halls has belonged to a Chinese community that has its own beliefs, different assembly halls worship different gods and goddesses. Before heading to our last stop- Phuc Thanh Pagoda, make sure we have time to see the vibrant market and ancient port to taste the rhythm of local daily life.

Day 10: Hoi An’s Rural village- fly to Da Lat

Go past the countryside through beautiful narrow roads, rice paddle fields, old temples, and water palm forests we get to Cam Than Coconut Forest. Once we get to the Cua Dai river, get on a bamboo basket boat and learn how to catch purple crabs, and explore the seven hectares of water palm forest. Then ride to An My Paddy Field, and Tra Que village where you learn how to make traditional rice milk, and have our delicious homemade lunch with a local family before heading to the airport for your flight to Da Lat.

Day 11: Da Lat and its signatures

After having your complimentary breakfast at your hotel, we will explore the signatures of Da Lat such as flower and coffee plantations. You might hear about Vietnamese coffee before but you might not know that Da Lat is a paradise for high-quality coffee and a place for coffee lovers in Vietnam. Visit a rice wine-making and silk-making workshop then make our way to Elephant Waterfall, one of the biggest waterfalls of the highland central. Wind Cave with its deceptively narrow entrance between two cliffs will be our last stop of the day.

Day 12: Discover Crazy House- Datanla Waterfall (B)

Crazy House is the number one attraction in Da Lat and it is listed as one of the strangest architectures in the world. Allow sufficient amount of time to explore and feel the “wild, weird and wonderful” house as the word from CNN once described. Make our way to Datanla Waterfall which has a wonderful deep natural pool in the middle of a pine forest and is surrounded by flowers. Those who are looking for thrills should try the mini roller coaster ride from the top of the falls, if you are not that adventurous, take an easy 15 minutes to walk to the bottom. Return to the city and prepare for your flight to Sai Gon afterward.

Day 13: Welcome to Sai Gon and Cu Chi tunnels (B)

Our first destination in the city is the War Remnants Museum where we can be informed about the US invasion of Vietnam, and its absorbing exhibits give visitors an invaluable insight into a defining chapter in the Vietnam war’s history. Departure to Reunification Palace which was named in global history in 1975 and was built for the South Vietnam Government during the Vietnam-American War. After that, we will visit the famous French architecture Notre Dame Cathedral, and General Post Office. Cu Chi tunnel is one of the best things to do while we are in the South, not only for its location but also for its location with an extraordinary history. Allow half an hour for the introduction to the history of Cu Chi and its creation and purposes. Enjoy a guided walk in the jungle, crawl into the tunnels and visit some permitted areas of the systems including living areas and martial facilities before heading back to Sai Gon.

Day 14: Mekong Delta- Ben Tre- Back to Sai Gon (B, L)

After having breakfast, we travel to Hung Vuong Pier in Ben Tre. Take a boat at Ben Tre River for sight-seeing lively activities along the river such as fishing, and water transfer. We will stop at the most popular places for handicraft workshops including a craft brickyard where the locals still use centuries-old traditional methods to handmade bricks, process coconut into many different forms, and weave mats with the aid of dried reeds and a huge loom. A local Xe Loi (motorized rickshaw) will take us into a tropical garden where we can taste the exotic tropical fruit and enjoy our homemade lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon lounging on a sampan boat rowing through Ben Tre’s iconic backwaters with water palms and coconut trees.

Day 15: Sai Gon- Phu Quoc/ Nha Trang (B)

After enjoying your complimentary breakfast at your hotel, we will take you to the airport for a short flight to one of the best beaches in Vietnam. Either Phu Quoc or Nha Trang will offer you a wonderful experience with the best beaches and water activities in Vietnam. Please let us know your selection!

Day 16: Explore Phu Quoc/ Nha Trang (B)

The day is your free time to explore the islands independently. Please feel free to ask our guide for hot tips whether for a diving spot, beautiful beaches for sunbathing, or a great place for a seafood feast.

Day 17: Goodbye Sai Gon (B)

Enjoy your last hearty breakfast at the hotel and your last hours in the beautiful area. Say farewell to your travel companions before your flight home with wonderful memories.