Vietnam Itinerary 12 Days: Definitive Guide from North to South
Wanna explore Vietnam in nearly two weeks? This article is for you. With our Vietnam 12-day itinerary, it’s possible to spend only 12 days in Vietnam to learn more about the people, culture, and history of three different regions.
- Day 1: Welcome To Hanoi Capital
- Day 2: Have A City Tour Around Hanoi
- Day 3 & 4: Halong Bay Exploration
- Day 5: Say Hello To Hoi An
- Day 6: Explore Hoi An Ancient Town
- Day 7: Head to Hue City
- Day 8: Have a City Tour in Hue
- Day 9: Take A Flight To Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 10: Discover Cu Chi Tunnels
- Day 11: Get A Glimpse of Saigon
- Day 12: Enjoy the Vibrant Saigon
Are 12 days enough to explore Vietnam thoroughly?
Vietnam is a beautiful country with countless famous landmarks and unique cultures in each region. However, don’t worry if you only can travel to Vietnam for less than two weeks - our 12-day Vietnam itinerary is specially designed for those who don’t have much time to visit this lovely country. Let BestPrice Travel help you make some great memories and adventures you will probably never forget through this short but exciting journey.
This Highlights of Vietnam 12 days is an ideal tour for nature goers and culture seekers who prefer to experience Vietnam's diverse landscapes and immerse themselves in the local culture alongside friendly locals. So, let's get into the details!
Day 1: Welcome To Hanoi Capital
Your Vietnam 12-day itinerary will start in Hanoi, which is the capital of Vietnam with long-lasting history and culture. You will be picked up at the international airport and taken to your hotel by our guide.
After the check-in, you can optionally use the rest of the day. If you are tired after a long flight, taking a nap and recuperating to prepare for the next day's journey is a good idea.
If the rest is unnecessary for you, you can explore the city by taking a tour to understand the culture better here.
Taking this tour, you will have a chance to explore the Hanoi Old Quarter by getting on a cyclo. Witnessing the bustle and hustle of local life in this ancient city will be an unforgettable experience for you.
Then you are taken to the Thang Long theater, which is located near Hoan Kiem Lake. Enjoying the traditional water puppet show will bring you exciting fairy tales or historical stories about this country. Many documents say this art performance is about 1,000 years old, born in the Ly Dynasty.
Get On A Cyclo and Watch The Traditional Water Puppet Show
As its name suggests, the water puppet show is a puppet show but on water. If you attend one of these shows, you will have the opportunity to see the most confusing but amusing show of puppets jerking their way across shallow pools of water with the master puppeteers hidden behind stages and curtains.
Thanks to its rich and unique cuisine, Hanoi is a must-see destination in Vietnam for food lovers. There is no better way to become well-versed with local recipes than by making them yourself. So if you are a food enthusiast, taking a cooking class tour is an ideal choice, which will allow you to learn how to cook some simple traditional dishes that are simple but delicious.
Visit a local market and learn cooking techniques from skillful chefs
Day 2: Have A City Tour Around Hanoi
The first destination of the Hanoi sightseeing tour today is the Temple of Literature. Unlike other religious temples, the Temple of Literature was Vietnam's first University - the Royal Academy for members of the royal family and descendants of aristocratic families. You can witness the ancient architecture of historic buildings inside the attraction, which is built during the Ly dynasty period.
Pay a visit to the most well-known attractions in Hanoi
After a meaningful tour at the Temple of Literature, you'll move on to the One Pillar Pagoda, an iconic temple of Hanoi and often considered one of the unique symbols of Vietnam. From One Pillar Pagoda, you will have a quick move to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - the resting place of President Ho Chi Minh, the greatest leader of Vietnam.
After that, our guide will take you to Ho Tay, Hanoi's largest lake - which is considered "the green lung of the capital" before visiting Tran Quoc Pagoda, which was awarded as one of the most beautiful pagodas in the world by many famous blog websites.
- Enjoy a cup of coffee in a lake view cafe near West Lake.
- Rent a swan pedal boat for a boat trip over the lake. The price is from US $4 per hour.
- Best time of day to enjoy the beauty of West Lake: Sunrise and Sunset.
Day 3 & 4: Halong Bay Exploration
You will have breakfast at your hotel before our driver picks you up and takes you to the port to embark on a Halong Bay cruise, one of the most beautiful bays globally and was twice recognized by UNESCO as one of the world heritage sites.
You will have a chance to admire the pristine natural beauty of the bay with numerous unique-shaped limestone islands and islets. Moreover, depending on each cruise itinerary, you can join various interesting activities such as kayaking, swimming, Tai Chi, etc.
Join numerous fun activities in Halong Bay
However, if you are a relaxation lover and prefer to relax on board, it is okay to skip these activities.
- The guide will not accompany you on the cruise but don’t worry, the crew members fluent in English will take good care of you instead.
- We suggest you choose the cruises from 4 to 5 stars for better services and facilities on the cruise.
- Some people miss the Tai Chi class because they cannot wake up early, but this activity is highly recommended. Practicing Tai Chi will reduce stress, and enhance the flexibility and balance of your body.
- Halong Bay is an ideal place for relaxing. Savoring cocktails made by professional cruise bartenders while enjoying the great bay view on the sundeck will be an exceptional experience for you to try.
Day 5: Say Hello To Hoi An
You will have a domestic flight from Hanoi to Danang. After landing at Da Nang Airport, the driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel in Hoi An ancient town. The rest of the day is up to you, so you can take a small tour to relax after the flight.
You can book a food tour around this city by motorbike. You will get on a motorbike ride by a local and pass by many buildings, including Vietnamese wooden shop houses and pagodas, Chinese temples, Japanese bridges, and French-colonial houses. You can admire the unique and romantic scenes, such as when thousands of lanterns are lit up at night.
Gorgeous Hoi An town in the morning and by night
Besides enjoying the town’s beauty, you will have an opportunity to try many signature dishes of this area, such as White Rose Dumplings, Beef Noodle Soup, Banh Khot, etc. The trip will definitely be an unforgettable experience for anyone who is a foodie.
Remember to try the Hoi An culinary
Day 6: Explore Hoi An Ancient Town
You will spend half a day walking through the old streets of Hoi An to admire many ancient houses with unique architecture and observe the daily life of local people. The first famous place you visit is the Japanese Covered Bridge, which is a small bridge crossing a small canal into the Thu Bon River and now has become a typical symbol of Hoi An.
Inside and outside the Japanese Covered Bridge
Fujian Assembly Hall was the next spot you would pay a visit to. This assembly hall features a similar design to other Chinese assembly halls. Compared to other assembly halls, such as Hai Nam and Guangdong, the Fujian Assembly Hall is the largest, with many unique lacquered broads, murals, and pictures.
- During your Hoi An tour, do not miss the chance to taste a cup of “Mot Drink” - the famous herbal drink that you can purchase from little tea shops.
- If there's time, you can go to some handicraft shops, which lets you see how to make unique traditional crafts, and then buy some as souvenirs.
Day 7: Head to Hue City
From Hue to Hoi An is not too far, about 138 km so you will be taken to Hue city by private car or shuttle bus. After check-in at a hotel in Hue city, the rest of the day can be used to explore this poetic city freely.
Hue city is considered home to some of the best food in Vietnam. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to book a food tour in Hue to make sure you sample all the delicacies during your visit here.
Don’t miss the chance to taste Hue cuisine
- If you are a fan of cake, let’s try some special cakes that only this area has:
- Banh Beo (Water Fern Cake)
- Banh Nam (Flat Steamed Rice Dumplings)
- Banh Bot Loc (Rice Dumpling Cake)
- Banh Uot (Steamed Thin Rice Pancake)
- Hue is famous for its signature dish called “Com Hen”, which is made of clams from Con Hen island on the Perfume River.
- If you prefer a sweet treat, it is wise to check out the local candy made of sesame seeds. This sesame candy can also be a small gift to your friends after returning home.
Day 8: Have a City Tour in Hue
Your half-day Hue city tour will start with a visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is located on the side of the charming and poetic Perfume River, less than 5 km from the center of Hue city.
Thien Mu Pagoda is considered one of the oldest pagodas in this ancient capital, with a long history spanning various feudal dynasties and wars. In addition, it also comes with an interesting legend, which our guide will tell you when visiting this place.
Thien Mu Pagoda - A Famous Buddhism Attraction In Hue
After leaving Thien Mu Pagoda, the Imperial Citadel will be the next destination on your half-day Hue city tour. This place was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty, the dynasty that put an end to the feudal period in Vietnam.
You will visit some most critical sites inside the citadel, such as the King's Palace, the Museums of Royal Antiquities, and the Flag Tower. The guide will also tell you fascinating stories related to the last dynasty of Vietnam and many other historical stories.
Hue Imperial Citadel - An Ideal Destination For Culture Seekers
Dong Ba Market will be the last place of your half-day Hue city trip. This market is one of the biggest commodity trading places in Hue and has always been one of the must-visit places for travelers who want to experience the culture and history during their trips around Hue.
This place brings you many delicious foods from street vendors and various local goods at reasonable prices. Coming to this place, you can observe more closely the daily life of local people.
Don't forget to buy some souvenirs here
- When visiting this place, reverence and respect are required. So decently dressed is essential when visiting such a solemn religious place. You need to avoid wearing tank tops, shorts, short skirts, or anything similar.
Day 9: Take A Flight To Ho Chi Minh City
This day is the day you catch a flight from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. It is one of the biggest and busiest cities in Vietnam.
As soon as you arrive at the airport, our dedicated guide and driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel in the city. The rest of the day is to relax, and you can use this 9th day to explore this magnificent city by joining in some Saigon city tours:
In this tour, you will get on a motorbike ride by a local, then will be taken through many streets to experience the bustle and hustle of this “never sleep” city. After getting a glimpse of the dynamic local life, you have a chance to taste delicious street food as a light dinner of the tour. The tour ends with a visit to the largest flower market in Sai Gon - Ho Thi Ky Market, where you can see many types of colorful flowers that vendors sell in this market.
Exciting Night Tour On A Motorbike
If you prefer having a luxury dinner on a cruise, this is a perfect choice for you. You will have a lavish meal on board while witnessing many famous attractions of Saigon that the boat passes by.
Enjoy The Vibrant City View On The Saigon Princess Cruise
Day 10: Discover Cu Chi Tunnels
One of the must-see attractions when you come to Sai Gon is the Cu Chi Tunnels, which is 70 km from the city. The Cu Chi Tunnels are part of a complex underground tunnel system. It was built during the Vietnam War and used by the Vietnamese Army. When you visit this place, you will experience crawling along the tunnels.
Besides, our guide will tell you the historical stories behind the tunnels to help you better understand the horrors of the Vietnam War.
Explore Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi tour will end with lunch at a local restaurant before returning to Saigon City. Your afternoon itinerary will be an inner-city tour of Ho Chi Minh City, which begins with a visit to the Reunification Palace - a famous architectural work built by the French.
After leaving the Reunification Palace, our guide will take you to Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office. You can witness the impressive French colonial architecture of these famous structures.
The Most Representative Landmarks Of Saigon City
Your afternoon itinerary will end with a visit to a local market. Here, you will have the opportunity to observe the daily life of the locals and buy some unique souvenirs.
Day 11: Get A Glimpse of Saigon
The 10th day of your Vietnam itinerary for 12 days to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Mekong Delta. Taking part in the Mekong Delta tour, you will get an insight into the fascinating local life of the people of Southwest Vietnam.
Here, you will be able to participate in many impressive activities, such as visiting a coconut processing workshop and a mat weaving house, picking fruits directly at the orchard before tasting them, and having a chance to get on the most popular local transports here - Sampan and ‘Xe Loi’.
Discover Mekong Delta By Local Vehicles
Day 12: Enjoy the Vibrant Saigon
For travelers who love to explore this lively city more, we recommend participating in one more last tour of your trip. By taking our Good Morning Saigon! tour, you will have the opportunity to experience life as a Saigonist: wandering around the morning wet market and then savoring a bowl of Pho as breakfast with other locals.
However, if your time is limited, you can enjoy your last moments in the city on your own and pack your bags before our driver takes you to the airport and wraps up the best of Vietnam in 12 days.
Pho - A Remarkable highlight of Vietnamese culinary
So we have provided you with details about our Vietnam 12-day itinerary. This itinerary will take you to some of the most exciting locations from the North to the South of Viet Nam, one of the most beautiful countries in Asia.
So what are you waiting for? Contact BestPrice Travel now for a great consultation and get the best deals on Vietnam tour packages.
(Image source: Internet)