My friend and I traveled to Vietnam many years ago. This was the time when Vietnam was still not so famous touristy destination, at least in India. We had surprised and shocked reactions from people when we said we were heading to Vietnam for our annual Christmas trip. But Vietnam was beautiful then, Vietnam is beautiful now.
Many have approached me asking me to share my itinerary and the details of my 7 days travel in Vietnam. So, I have shared as much information as I can remember (as it was a long time ago), so please do message me if you want more details so I can search in my archives to get more info if required.
Note: We had Hanoi as our base throughout our travel.
My 7 days Itinerary in Vietnam
Travel to Vietnam has all the information that one needs to know before traveling to the spectacular country of Vietnam.
Day 1: Hanoi
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam. Known for its handicrafts and architecture, this city is surely one of the favourites among the tourists and travelers.
We arrived at Hanoi on day 1. I flew from Sydney and my friend flew from Bangalore. As we had arrived on the day, we did not do anything on this day.
- Jetstar is the budgeted airline that connects from Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City and then there are local Vietnam flight providers that connect Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. However, I flew with Virgin Australia. The flight ticket one way costed me around AUD 675.
- Stay – The entire time we were in Hanoi, we stayed at Hanoi Legacy Hotel. I loved our stay as the room was clean, and the staff were friendly.
Day 2: Ha Long city
After our breakfast, we headed to Ha Long city to board Paragon Cruise. We were staying in Ha Long Bay for the night. Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site with more than 1600 islets in the bay.
The places we explored in Ha Long city were:
- Drum and Virgin caves. The Drum and Virgin caves are considered the symbol of love and faithfulness.
- Man’s head islet. Also known as Dau Nguoi islet, the islet is around 25 metres high. It is famous for its man’s head shape form.
- Turtle islet.
- Fairman’s cave.
And then we headed to Van Gia fishing village for kayaking where my friend and I got lost. Read Appendix section below for our story.
Hanoi also has many surrounding places that are truly spectacular and beautiful that can be done in a day trip, read best day trips from Hanoi.
Day 3: Bai Tu Long Bay
On day 3, we started our morning late and it was a relaxed day. Our boat passed through the spectacular Bai Tu Long Bay where we also enjoyed lunch watching the beautiful islets and the bay.
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After lunch, we headed back to the Ha Long city where we took the bus to Hanoi. Along the way, we stopped in Hai Duaong province. The Hai Duaong province is a province in the north of Vietnam in the Red River Delta. Its name derives from Sino-Vietnamese “ocean sun”.
Day 4: Hanoi
We took a day tour of Hanoi city. The places we explored as part of our day tour were:
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
- Ancient Temple of Literature. The temple was built in 1070 at the time of the Emperor Ly Thanh Tong.
- Lake of the Restored Sword.
- One Pillar Pagoda.
- Hanoi Opera House.
- History Museum.
- Fine Arts Museum.
My favourite place from all the above was the Temple of Literature. There was something magical about this place.
Day 5: Hao Lu
We explored the ancient city of Hao Lu. Hao Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. We also traveled to Tam Coc to see the three limestone caves stretching along Ngo Dong River.
Day 6: Ho Chi Min City
We took flights to Ho Chi Min City in the morning and explored the city by walk mostly. After viewing some of the famous museums and touristy spots, we took a flight back to Hanoi on the same every day. We were at Ho Chi Min city only for one day.
Day 7: Yen Stream, Thien Tu Pagoda
We took Ben Duc boat travel down the Yen Stream. This was beautiful, and we also trekked up the main Pagoda. Our last spot for our tour was the Thien Tru Pagoda.
Vietnam is a cheap country to travel in. I had bought a voucher that costed AUD 399 per person (assuming the twin sharing) from OurDeal that included the package for 7 days, with transfers and accommodation.
- The additional cost that we had to bear were the flight tickets return between Sydney and Vietnam and the Ho Chi Min city tour with the flight tickets return between Hanoi and Ho Chi Min city.
- Unfortunately, I do not remember these additional expenses.
Vietnam is undoubtedly amazing and beautiful country. I would definitely want to go back there one day as I have grown as a traveler and would want to explore the country with my new perspective in life. Vietnam has many more things than what I saw during my travels.
And we were lost.. in Halong Bay
Time: ~3:30 PM
“I think we need to go this way, Akshata”, I told my friend Akshata.
“No Raksha! Trust me, we are going the correct way”, said Akshata.
As I trust Akshata’s judgement and decisions more than mine, I quietly followed.
We kayaked and kayaked. God! How do people kayak? We couldn’t figure it out – None of our strategies worked :/ We were literally fighting with our paddles and with our kayak. After half an hour, we saw the kayak meeting point – Yes! We had finally reached.
Why were we kayaking? – Time: ~2 PM
As part of our tour in Halong Bay, we had 2 hours of kayaking. Our guide briefed us about kayaking and instructed us to return to the meeting point at 4 PM. This was Akshata’s and my first kayaking experience and we were excited – super excited. We decided not to go too far and make our way to the Kayaking meeting point after 1 hour of kayaking at around 3 PM. Yes, as usual, our plans are always perfect!
When we started kayaking, we thought it was so much fun. The views were amazingly beautiful and we clicked some pictures – well, I clicked some pictures :/ .
After 5 to 10 minutes of kayaking, we registered this was hard work – like really hard work. Fine, we agree we are not super fit!
Time: ~4 PM
We had reached the Kayaking meeting point. Right on time – the sky was changing colours. And the place was getting darker.
We tried to look for familiar faces – Not even a single one. Initially, we thought that our boat had left us behind. After carefully examining, we realised we had reached the wrong kayaking meeting point. Come on man! Like seriously? Why do they have two kayaking meeting points? We were exhausted after 2 hours of kayaking – and we had to go all the way back to the other Kayak meeting point.
Time: ~5:30 PM
“We thought you girls had drowned”, said our guide. After giving an apologetic smile, we entered our boat.
“We were about to send a rescue team”, said another fellow passenger. Damn! We were so embarrassed that we wanted to hide ourselves under the table or a chair. We had become a laughing stock.
Our boat was waiting for us to return. And all of the other passengers and our guide had reached on time and had waited for us 😀 for good 1.5 hours. After this incident, my friend and I, for sure, had become famous among all others.