Vietnam is an unmissable destination in Asia. Affordable, exotic, diverse, and gorgeous, its hassle-free tourist visa makes it very popular even among travelers from developing nations. The Indian passport holders, for example, can avail an e-visa which is stamped upon arrival and you are good to go. Good infrastructure like railways, bus routes, and accommodations also help and it is a destination suitable for all sorts of visitors. Whether you are a backpacker, a discerning traveler, or a family on the move, Vietnam has something for everyone. Though one can quite easily touch bases with all the important destinations of Vietnam in 10-14 days, I recommend slow travel for this beautifully diverse country. This way, you can savour the countryside which is one of the loveliest in the world, savour the changes of mountainous Sa Pa, the beach towns like Mui Ne, heritage sites of Hue and Hoi An, enjoy the Central Highland forests, and explore the grand Mekong Delta. Though you still have to pick and choose the spots where you wish to linger longer, I can guarantee that you will truly appreciate Vietnam to the fullest. So presenting my Vietnam itinerary for 3 weeks of slow traveling through this stunning country. Please note that this is a very linear itinerary which goes straight down from South to North. It can be done in reverse and easily modified by adding or reducing the number of places you wish.
Table of Contents
Breakdown of the offbeat Vietnam itinerary for 10 days
Day 1. Arrive at Hanoi, stay at the French Quarter and catch the evening water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Day 2. Explore Hanoi: The French Quarter, Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Pagoda, and the Vietnamese Woman’s Museum.
Day 3. Go on a day trip to Perfume Pagoda which is combined with Hoa Lu.
Day 4. Visit the UNESCO Heritage Site of Tam Coc in Ninh Binh province. Overnight train to Sa Pa
Day 5. Sa Pa (explore the beautiful nature, drive around the little villages and/or go for single/multi-day mountain tribe trek)
Day 6. Sa Pa
Day 7. Sa Pa
Day 8. Sa Pa. Overnight train to Hanoi
Day 9. Hanoi (optional Halong Bay trip or head down to the Central Highlands by bus/train/motorcycle)
Day 10. Fly down to Da Lat
Day 11. Da Lat day trip and start your motorbiking trip to HCM
Day 12. Stop overnight at Phan Thiet and relax by the beach
Day 13. Arrive at Ho Chi Minh City. Explore, rest, go for free walking/photography tours or join cooking and street food tours.
Day 14. Fly/Drive out of Ho Chi Minh to your next destination.
This is an offbeat Vietnam itinerary of 13N/14D. You can pack in more popular destinations like Hoi An instead of choosing to travel slow. If you want to absorb and experience civilization, take it easy. If you have more time, then consider the following…
The Add-Ons to your Vietnam itinerary
- Son Doong Cave in the Central Highlands
- Offbeat Mekong Delta trips and homestay experience
- A guided motorbiking trip through Central Highlands to enjoy nature and local cottage industry
- Include visits to Hoi An, Hue, and Phu Quoc Island
Useful references and links
- Hanoi free walking tour
- Hanoi street food tour (vegetarian options are available)
- Hanoi cooking class
- Da Lat Easyriders (for guided motorbike cross country trips)
- Ho Chi Minh City free tours
- A comprehensive Vietnam guide
Required travel Information for this Vietnam Itinerary
This information is most relevant to Indian passport holders.
Visa – E-visa (apply online here and get your visa before your trip)
Currency – Vietnamese Dong (1 USD=22815.75 VD)
Time Difference – 1 hour and 30 minutes
Points of Entry – From Phnom Penh in Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City (land crossing and Cambodia offers visa on arrival), Hanoi, HCM, and Da Nang have international airports. I use Cebu Pacific and Air Asia quite a lot and find them to be affordable and reliable.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE