Vietnam Travel Guide for First-Timers

by | May 18, 2021 | Uncategorized

Top Vietnam Experiences in 10 Days

Vietnam is a backpacker’s paradise. From the natural beauty of Sam Mountain and Halong Bay to the man-made artistry of the sacred temples and pagodas to the rice terraces and beaches, it has a lot to offer. And of course, all the yummy food!

Vietnam Travel Tips

How to get there: Vietnam has two main international airports- Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City
Best time to travel: Weather varies across different parts of Vietnam. But, it would be best to pick a time between September-December and March-April.
Traveling in Vietnam:

Vietnam is well connected by air, rail, and road. Opt for trains if you want to travel slowly through the countryside.

For shorter distances, you can just hop on to a cycle rickshaw or a motorbike taxi, both of which are pretty cheap.

Language: Vietnamese

The currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong. 1 EUR is equivalent to about 28.038,92 

Daily Expenditure (Food+Accomodation+General Expenses)
  • Backpacker: 35 EUR
  • Mid-Budget: 50 EUR+
  • Luxury: 100 EUR+

Days 1 & 2: Hanoi

Hanoi city during the sunset with high buildings in the distance.

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is known for its striking architecture and culture. It’s a great food destination, too! 

It’s always great to learn the history of the country you are going to be touring. So your Vietnam lessons start in Hanoi. While exploring Hanoi, visit the Ho Chi Minh Museum and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the first communist leader of Vietnam and is often referred to as Uncle Ho by the locals.



Hanoi is all about the food!



Remnants of French-colonial architecture



Watch the sunset at Hoan Kiem

One of the best things to do in Hanoi is eat! You can take part in food tours through the city to sample a variety of delicious dishes.

You can also just hang out by Hoan Kiem or Turtle Lake and watch the sunrise or sunset.

While walking through the Old Quarter Ba Dinh District, you can see remnants of French-Colonial architecture.

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Day 3: Ninh Binh


Ninh Bin is a popular day trip from Hanoi. You can easily get here by train or bus. It’s not on most tourists’ radar but is known for its beautiful rivers, caves, and pagodas. 

You can take a boat tour through Trang An (a UNESCO World Heritage site) or Tam Coc. Because Tam Coc is more tranquil than Trang An, it’s an even better destination for some relaxation. 

Another must-visit spot is the Bich Dong Pagoda, which is nestled in the jungle and surrounded by a sea of lovely lily pads.

If you have more time on your hands, then do climb up to the Mau Caves vantage point for a scenic view of the land.

Day 4: Halong Bay

A view of Halong Bay, Vietnam with ships in the blue water and high cliffs.

Your next stop is Halong Bay. It is easily accessible from Hanoi by bus. Here you can book an overnight cruise over the emerald waters of the bay. Treat yourself to some Vietnamese cuisine while onboard and participate in water activities. Halong Bay is the perfect place for SCUBA diving and kayaking.

If you would like to know more places where you can go scuba diving check out our blog on the 10 best diving spots in the world here. 

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 Days 5 & 6: Huế

Hue, Vietnam with a building and blue skys.

Huế is just an overnight train ride away from Halong Bay. Huế was previously the capital city and home to the Complex of Huế Monuments. This marvel of urban planning that was born in 1802 is a must-visit.

Make sure to visit the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda or take a boat trip down the Perfume River. If you just need a breather from all the traveling, you can bike around the villages lined by paddy fields.

Days 7 & 8: Hoi An

Hoi An, Vietnam with people sitting in boats.

You’ll now be heading south to the ancient town of Hoi An. Spend your day wandering around the streets and visit the Japanese-covered bridge. 

Hoi An is a great place to shop for souvenirs like paper lanterns and silk.

Another very popular activity is getting custom-made cloth at the boutiques in Hoi An.



The Golden Bridge



Celebrate the Lantern festival

If you are here during the 14th of the Lunar month then you are in for a treat. Hoi An hosts the lantern festival, where people light lanterns and place them on the Thu Bồn River and wish for happiness.

In case you do happen to be attending the Lantern festival then check our festival packing list for a great time here!

Quick Stop: A short cab ride away is the Golden Bridge (Hand Bridge) in Ba Na Hills. Recently opened by the government, this place is all over Instagram. You should see it up close if the weather’s good, so you can have a clear view of the place.

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Days 9 & 10: Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during the sunset.

Your final stop is Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Once you land in the city, you can visit Cha Tam Church, Bến Thành market, and the War Remnants Museum to learn about the Vietnamese war.

But, the real highlights of Ho Chi Minh are the day trips you can take from here:

  • Mekong Delta: You can make your way through a maze of rivers, swamps, and islands, floating markets, Khmer pagodas, and villages surrounded by rice paddies.jack-young-B87VRCWmpqU-unsplash
  • Cu Chi Tunnels: This large network of tunnels under the city was used during the Vietnamese War and is part of a larger system that runs under much of Vietnam. You can climb through several tunnels and explore for the rest of the day.

You can easily and quickly travel to Ho Chi Minh city by air. An affordable rail system connects Ho Chi Minh City to the rest of the country.

Vietnam is not just a place. It provides you with a new way of seeing things. This Vietnam travel guide is a great place to start planning because Vietnam will not disappoint. 

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