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Spend your 10 days in Vietnam

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Vietnam is a wonderful country of beautiful landscape spreading from the northern region to the southern region. Coming to Vietnam, most tourists are impressed by the contract beauty of this land.  Vietnam has both modern cities and ancient towns. You can enjoy the bustling atmosphere in the big cities and admire a diverse natural landscape like mountains, rivers, rice terraces, cave, waterfall and forest. So is there any way to explore this beautiful country in just 10 days? Are 10 days enough? Actually, I don’t think 10 days are enough. However, if you have a detailed plan, you still can visit all the highlights of Vietnam. And here is our 10 day Vietnam itinerary for you.

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, also called as Sai Gon by many locals, is one of the most bustling cities in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City has many attractions, which may be hard for tourists to choose from.  Here are our suggestions:

Binh Tay market (Cho Lon Chinatown market)

Binh Tay market has fresh foods at reasonable prices

Binh Tay market has fresh foods at reasonable prices

Binh Tay market or Cho Lon was constructed in the 1880s. Many tourists and even Vietnamese people just know about Ben Thanh market in District 1 when it comes to a popular market in Ho Chi Minh City. When visiting Binh Tay market, you might not see many foreigners like in Ben Thanh market. For the first reason, it is not mentioned in multimedia much like the Ben Thanh market. The second reason is that Binh Tay market mainly serves the locals. Therefore, there are extensive ranges of fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, clothes, etc. from all regions across Vietnam.

Besides, as for locals mainly, the price at Binh Tay market is much more reasonable than the price in Ben Thanh market. And once coming to Binh Tay market, don’t forget to try some traditional Vietnamese foods (pho noodles, spring rolls or broken rice) and some different China-influenced foods.

Bitexco tower

Ho Chi Minh’s Bitexco Financial Tower and Sky Deck is another place that we highly recommend to you. Standing 262 metres high at the centre of the city, Bitexco tower has houses offices, restaurants, shops and a helipad. The tower also ranks 5th in the list of the world’s 20 most iconic skyscrapers and receives an “Excellent in Structural Engineering” award from NCSEA in 2011. It would be regretful if you visit Ho Chi Minh City without admiring the city view from the tower.

Besides the modern offices, restaurants and shops, the Sky Deck is the one that attracts many people every day, especially the young. Enjoying the dramatic views of the bustling city below is such an amazing experience that most of us want to go through at least once. In the Sky Deck, the owners also install several binocular stands so that visitors can take a closer look to not only the city view but also the Sai Gon River.

The Sky Deck opens daily from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm. And it is suggested that you should admire the city from this Sky Deck at night. The stunning views, the light from houses and vehicles and the bustling atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh when the night comes are just so great that you never should miss.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City

After the first day experiencing the bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, the riverine tapestry of Mekong Delta will be a perfect escape. Mekong Delta is the rice bowl of Vietnam. Every year, the rice production of this delta is not only for domestic consumption but also for export.

When it comes to Mekong delta, many tourists who have never come to this delta just think about its floating market – the delta unique feature. However, it is much more than that. Mekong delta is actually home to unique ecosystems and diverse communities that you might not witness anywhere else in the world. Mekong delta is between Ho Chi Minh City and Cambodia.

The Mekong River starts in the Himalayas, the highest mountain in the world. It passes through several countries, including China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is its last stop. This is the reason why in the river’s part in Vietnam, the water is so murky, contributing greatly to the country’s rice production.

Village tour

Visiting Mekong delta to row between green trees

Visiting Mekong delta to row between green trees

Many tourists place village tour at the top priority when it comes to Mekong Delta. Visiting local villages will never disappoint you because the people and their land here are just incredible. It is extremely interesting to see how they live, how they sustain and how they eat. Locals in this Mekong delta have their unique ways to prepare foods and drinks. If you are lucky, you will have a chance to drink their shots. Insider a large pot full of alcohol, the locals keep venomous dead snakes and other reptiles. It is extremely strong shot of alcohol and it will be your life-long experience.

Boat tour

Besides the village tour, boat tour is another thing that you should experience. Sitting in a small boat and rowing between the green bamboos with a traditional Vietnamese hat on your head are so amazing. When exploring Mekong delta in a boat, remember to bring your camera to take the stunning photos. Ideally, you also can film your journey and it will be a memorable experience for you.

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels – Flight to Da Nang – Hoi An

In your third day in Vietnam, you should pay a visit to Cu Chi tunnels. Cu Chi tunnels are about 55 km from Ho Chi Minh City. They are complicated underground tunnel system which contributed enormously to the victory of Viet Cong guerrillas in Vietnam War. Before visiting Cu Chi tunnels, it will be much better to know about the brief history of it. The reason is that this attraction is extremely meaningful and sacred to not only the locals here but also all Vietnamese people.

Cu Chi tunnels are a complicated underground tunnel system

Cu Chi tunnels are a complicated underground tunnel system

The complicated construction was started in 1948 – during the war of Vietnam against the French. The construction continued to develop and spread underground and after 25 years, it became the major means of communication between villages and the home for Vietnamese soldiers in their war to defend their country. The length of Cu Chi tunnels is about 250 kilometers. In the extraordinary tunnel system, Vietnamese soldiers cooked, ate, slept, worked and held meeting. Add to that, to prevent the enemies from exploring the tunnels and killed Vietnamese soldiers, many trenches, bunkers, booby traps and bomb shelters were made.

Although Cu Chi tunnels are potential for tourism exploitation, there are only 2 parts of them you can visit. Only Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc are opened to the public. Ben Dinh is closer to the city centre so many tourists decide to visit this section. Ben Duoc, on the other hands, is further from Ho Chi Minh City. However, for tourists who want to go through the most authentic experience, it is strongly recommended that you should spend your time visiting Ben Duoc.

Day 4: Hoi An half a day

Hoi An is an attraction that you really should spend your time on. That is the reason why we suggest you should spend both day 4 and day 5 in this town. In day 4, spend your time exploring the Old Town.

Hoi An used to be the major trading port of Southern Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hoi An developed dramatically this time. Now, this gradual development is still in many things in Hoi An that it is perceived as a living museum of old-town architecture. Hoi An authority has succeeded in preserving and restoring its charming roots to attract more and more tourists. In December 1999, Hoi An was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hoi An is not as big as Ho Chi Minh city and you might get around the town just on foot. Besides, traffic is quite slow-moving. There are several streets in Hoi An town just allow bike and motorbike so the traffic is not like a mess even in the rush hour like in some big cities.

Hoi An’s architecture is a unique combination of architecture of Vietnam, China, France and Japan. Just walk around the town and feel.

Japanese Bridge

Japanese Bridge was built by the Japanese settlers in the 17th century to facilitate trading with the locals in the residential area. Then, the bridge was restored by the Vietnamese and the Chinese. They built a small temple in the bridge which was dedicated to the God of the North. That is the reason why you can feel a perfect blend of Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese culture when visiting this bridge.

Waterfront

Many tourists claim that waterfront is the most charming part of Hoi An. The banks of the river are so beautiful and taking a walk along the banks will make you feel relaxed and peaceful. One thing you should not forget when walking along the river banks is your camera. There are many cafes and restaurants with colonial styled houses, simple boats sway in the water. And it even becomes more stunning when the night comes. If you visit Hoi An on some special occasions, you will have a chance to admire the colourful lanterns floating in the water. This is so special but still peaceful.

Ancient houses

And once you arrive at Hoi An, buy a couple of tickets to visit the ancient houses as you will have an insight into the history and culture of Hoi An. It is so interesting to see how Vietnamese people used to live in the past. And there are some houses where owners turn their houses into profits by offering living experience for curious tourists. It is fun and, of course, it will cost you a particular amount of money.

Day 5: Hoi An – free day

After admiring the beauty of Hoi An ancient town, you have a day free to visit other incredible sites near Hoi An. Here are our suggestions about the attraction that you should consider. As you cannot visit all the perfect destinations here, just pick one to visit.

My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary with stone sculptures, towers, temples and tropical jungle

My Son Sanctuary with stone sculptures, towers, temples and tropical jungle

My Son Hindu Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Hoi An. Located in the southern part of Vietnam, My Son is a great sample of the ancient Champa civilization. Before being occupied by Vietnam, My Son was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century. Visiting My Son Sanctuary, you will be impressed by the beautiful stone sculptures, towers and temples as well as the tropical jungle around them.

My Son Sanctuary is not only a historical, political and natural attraction. The sanctuary construction proved clearly the extraordinary skills use of red bricks and sandstone of locals. With more than 70 complex structures devoted to Hindu gods and goddesses, My Son Sanctuary was considered the protector of the Champa’s kings.

Hoi An central market

Hoi An central market is on the banks of Thu Bon river. Visiting this central market will give you an authentic look into Vietnamese life. The central market becomes busy from 7am in the morning when the locals start bargaining hard along the riverside. Most foods sold at the central market are fresh (vegetables, fruits, flower) and even live (fish, chicken, ducks). And another thing you should not miss is to try Vietnamese tradition foods in the small vendors near the Thu Bon River.

Day 6: Hoi An – Da Nang – Flight to Hanoi

Da Nang is actually an ideal destination which includes both manmade structures and natural beauty: old pagodas, French colonial buildings, gothic-style cathedrals, tranquil beaches, spectacular mountains and verdant national parks.

Beautiful beaches in Da Nang

Admire the spectacular view on the Marble Mountains from My Khe beach

Admire the spectacular view on the Marble Mountains from My Khe beach

There are many beautiful beaches in Da Nang. However, if you have limited time, you should pay a visit to My Khe beach – the most famous one in Da Nang. Coming to Da Nang from May to August is the best as the waves are mild at that time. Also, it is the summertime and there are not many tropical storms. Not only swimming, but you can also take part in fishing, water-skiing, diving and yachting. Besides, remember to take some photos of the incredible views of the Marble Mountains near the beach.

Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge is currently the longest bridge in Vietnam. Like what it is called, the bridge was constructed in the shape of a golden dragon that you can even see it clearly in the daylight. For the best experience (and maybe the most stunning pictures), you should visit the bridge when the night comes. The dazzling display of lights, fire and water will never disappoint you.

Day 7: Hanoi Half day City Tour

Hanoi is over 100 years old and its wealth of history is everywhere, from temples, ancient citadels, unique theatre,… It is impossible to explore Hanoi in just one day, so, we list some of the best places that you can consider for a visit.

Temple of Literature (Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam)

The Temple of Literature has always been one of the top historical and beautiful sightseeings in Hanoi. This historical attraction not only attracts tourists but also attracts many students who come to pray for their studying career. One of the 5 courtyards in the Temple of Literature displays turtle statues carved out of bluestone. In the blue stones are the names of 1,307 graduates from 82 royal examinations. Vietnamese people believe that rubbing the head of the turtles here will bring you good luck in the exams. However, for maintenance purpose, the authority decides to forbid touching the head of the turtles.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Dress with respect when visiting Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

Dress with respect when visiting Ho Chi Minh mausoleum

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh. He is the most iconic and popular leader of Vietnam, the one who spent his life for the independence of the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese people perceived him as their father and preserve his body in a glass case at the mausoleum. The construction started in 1973 and it opened to the public in 1975. When visiting the mausoleum, remember to dress with respect. That means that you are not allowed to wear shorts, sleeveless shirts and miniskirts. Besides, the security is tight and everyone has to deposit their bags and no cameras are allowed.

Water puppet show

When coming to Hanoi, you will get many chances to explore Vietnamese culture. The water puppet show is a famous Vietnamese art with more than 800 years of history. Seeing the colourful puppets performing traditional folklore, legends and historical tales are extremely exciting.

Day 8: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Overnight on Cruise

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage and it is also voted as a Wonder of Nature by the New7Wonders Foundation. Ha Long Bay will bring you a brand new experience which is different from what you get in your trip. Let’s embark on the boat and set sail on a cruise to explore the mystical and magnificent islands of this world heritage.

Ti Top Island

Besides the beautiful nature views like other 2000 tourism spots in Ha Long, Titop island also has an outstanding beach called Vang Trang beach. The beach is not so big but it is its shape which is like the moon hanging onto the island mountain that attracts many tourists each day.

Sung Sot cave

Sung Sot cave will make you amazed – as its name

Sung Sot cave will make you amazed – as its name

Sung Sot means “amazed feeling” and the name of this cave clearly describes the feelings of travellers when exploring Sung Sot cave. Located in the centre of the bay, Sung Sot cave is one of the wildest caves in Ha Long bay. The cave has small gate but the space inside is just so large and the view is so spectacular. You will be amazed by the stunning sight created by Mother Nature.

Day 9: Ha Long Bay – Ha Noi

After visiting the most spectacular destinations in Halong, you will take a rest in your cruise to wake up by the sounds of the sea. Having breakfast and continue to explore the best parts of Ha Long Bay. Along your way, you can see more fascinating formations and take wonderful pictures of this wonderful bay.

Day 10: Hanoi departure

After exploring Ha Long Bay, it’s time to back to Hanoi. The day 10 you can take a rest at your hotel or discover Hanoi on your own. If you still feel good after 9 days exploring this beautiful country, on the 10th day, maybe you should spend your time exploring Hanoi cuisine. Hanoi is well-known for its excellent cuisine and here are the foods you really should try.

Barbecued pork with rice vermicelli

Start your food tour in Hanoi with barbecued pork with rice vermicelli

Start your food tour in Hanoi with barbecued pork with rice vermicelli

Most tourists coming to Hanoi admit that this dish is the best Hanoi food specialty not to be missed. The simple things: grilled pork strips and balls, rice vermicelli noodles, some types of Vietnamese herbs, dipping sauce make incredible food. In Hanoi, there are many restaurants and vendors which specialize in making barbecued pork with rice vermicelli. Some of the best restaurants you should give a try are Huong Lien (where Obama had bun cha), Hung Lau, Hang Manh – Dac Kim, Bun Cha Tuyet, Bun Cha Cua Dong,…

Pho – Vietnamese noodle soup

Vietnamese noodle soup is a classic Hanoi food. You might hear about the deliciousness of this dish which spreads internationally. However, nowhere can you feel the real taste of pho like in Hanoi – where it is originated. The three main components include broth, rice noodles and meat (beef or chicken). There is also a plate of herbs to eat with this Vietnamese noodle soup. The best restaurants where you should try pho are Pho Suong, Pho Vui, Pho Ly Quoc Su and Pho Bat Dan.

Egg coffee

Egg coffee is a Hanoi speciality in which when drinking, you will feel a creamy soft, meringue-like egg white foam and dense Vietnamese coffee. Egg coffee has been a part of the capital life but it truly becomes internationally famous after the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit Vietnam when the Vietnamese government decided to treat international journalists this special drink. There are two versions of this coffee: the hot version and the cold version. The best places to get egg coffee: Ca Phe Giang (prepare egg coffee for the summit), Dinh Cafe, Oriberry Coffee, Leu Coffee and Loading T.

In general, 10 days may not be enough to explore Vietnam – a country with a diversity of culture, natural sight and cuisine. That is the reason why it is important to design a detailed plan so that you can better enjoy your trip to this amazing country. Follow our 10 day itinerary through a planned tour here to enjoy your trip in Vietnam.

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