As we have mentioned in our previous Vietnam blogs, our trip to Vietnam in 2017 is when we officially caught the travel bug. It was from that trip we knew we wanted to travel full time.
When trying to work out an itinerary, Vietnam has one advantage for travellers – it’s long and narrow. You can either travel north to south or south to north. You just need to decide where to stop off along the way. Our three week trip in Vietnam began in Ho Chi Minh City and ended in Hanoi.
Here is the route we took back in 2017 that inspired us to travel.
Day 1 Arrive in Ho Chi Minh
We arrived into Ho Chi Minh late at night. After a long 24 hour travel day flying from Dublin to Dubai and Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City we just headed straight for our hotel to try get some sleep and beat the jet lag.
Day 2 – 4 Ho Chi Minh
We spent a total of three full days exploring Ho Chi Minh. We allocated two full days to city sightseeing and one full day for a tour to the Cu Cui tunnels.
During our two days of city sightseeing we visited many of the must see sights in Ho Chi Minh. From the busy Banh Tay Market to the historical War Remnants museum and the Reunification Palace. Our evenings were spent enjoying the delicious Vietnamese food at the street stalls, along with a few beers.
On our third day in Ho Chi Minh we decided to book a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels. We booked our trip on Get Your Guide. The trip included transfers, a tour guide, lunch and entrance fees. The Cu Chi Tunnels is a interesting and worth while day trip that is a must see for any Vietnam itinerary.
The Cu Chi Tunnels are a large network of underground tunnels which were used by the Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam war. The tunnels were used as a supply route and to store weapons. You can explore a small portion of the tunnels during your visit – Book your tour here!
Day 5 Travel to Mui Ne
On our fifth day in Vietnam we made the journey to Mui Ne. Mui Ne is a small laid back fishing village easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City. We traveled to Mui Ne by bus with The Sinh Tourist. We got the bus at 7am and it was supposed to take 5.5hours. However, please note when traveling in South East Asia by bus you will never arrive at your destination on time. Our bus to Mui Ne took about 7 hours.
We got dropped right outside our hotel (Bamboo Village) around 2pm. Just in time to check in and chill out for the rest of the day.
Day 6 – 7 Mui Ne
We spent two full days in Mui Ne but honestly we could have spent so much longer. We fell in love with the little town.
We stayed at Bamboo Village. It was a beautiful and affordable resort with a private beach, two pools, spa, gym etc.
On our first full day we hired a bike and traveled out of the town to the sand dunes. If you want to explore the area, there is no better way to do it than by renting a bike. This will give you the flexibility to explore and discover hidden gems.
On our second day we made the most of the beautiful hotel grounds and facilities. We soaked up some sun on the private beach and relaxed in the spa. It was paradise!!
Day 8 Travel to Hoi An
Traveling with The Sinh Tourist we got the bus to Hoi An. This felt like the longest travel day ever as there was no direct bus. We first had to get the 1am bus from Mui Ne to Nha Trang. We arrived in Nha Trang at around 7am. After getting very little sleep on the bus we then had to wait in Nha Trang until 7pm that evening to catch our bus to Hoi An.
Day 9 – 11 Hoi An
Hoi An is one of the most beautiful towns in Vietnam. You cannot come to Vietnam and not visit Hoi An. We spent three full days exploring cute streets lined with beautiful yellow/ orange buildings. The lantern lined streets of this UNESCO ancient town provides for a stunning setting and Hoi An quickly became one of our favourite spots in Vietnam.
One of the reasons this town has been made famous is the wonderfully talented and affordable tailors. If you are planning to take advantage of the highly skilled tailors and get some hand made clothing we recommend you allow yourself two full days minimum.
Brian got a suit made so on our first day we headed to Four Seasons tailor so he could get measured up, choose his style and fabric. We then returned that evening for a fitting and the suit was collected the next morning. We were both so surprised by he quality of this suit. The two piece hand made suit only cost $80.
Every month Hoi An celebrates a Full Moon Lantern Festival on the 14th day of each lunar month. We were very lucky that without planning we were in Hoi An for this occasion. The electricity and lights are all turned off in the Old Town and no vehicles are allowed into the town either. Candles lit lanterns are then placed on the river and float down stream. It is a beautiful festival and is well worth scheduling your visit to Hoi An to coincide with this beautiful festival.
Day 12 Travel to Hue
Again with The Sinh Tourist we traveled from Hoi An to Hue. The bus took about 5 hours. We departed Hoi An at 8am and arrived in Hue at 1pm. Allowing us half a day to explore the city.
Day 13 – 14 Hue
We spent two full days exploring the charming old imperial capital. Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 – 1945. Hue is rich in history and there was lots to see.
Our first day in Hue was dedicated to the old imperial city. This walled fortress and palace was once the home to the emperors of Vietnam.
A lot of the structure was damaged during battles. When you enter the walled city you can see the different buildings. Some of the original buildings are still standing, others have been restored.
Our second day in Hue was spent exploring the city. Hue is located on the Perfume River. There are beautiful walking paths along the river with many shops and restaurants.
People gather here for meet ups. Street food vendors selling delicious meals and sound of local musicians makes for the perfect backdrop.
Day 15 Travel to Hanoi
To save some time we decided to fly from Hue to Hanoi. Domestic flights in Vietnam are pretty affordable. So we made our way to Hue airport and began our travel day to Hanoi.
Day 16 – 18 Hanoi
We spent three full days exploring Vietnams capital city. We allocated two days to city sightseeing and one day for a day trip to Ninh Binh.
The Old Quarter of Hanoi was our favourite area of the city. With many narrow alleys, local street vendors, quaint bars and restaurants marked by tiny plastic stools on the streets.
Vietnam’s capital city has quite a few sights. During our two days of city sightseeing we visited many of the must see sights in Hanoi. From the Hoan Kiem Lake, the stunning Bach Ma Temple, taking in the best views of the city at the Lotte Tower Observation Deck, visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, touring the National Museum of Vietnamese History and exploring the narrow streets in the Old Quarter.
One of our favourite spots was Hanoi’s famous Train Street. Located between Le Duan and Khan Tien street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter this narrow residential street has a train track running right through it. Twice a day (around 3pm and 7pm) the train passes only inches from the homes of this neighbourhood.
Drying clothes are taken inside, children ushered off the tracks, and bikes are pulled in off the street just before the train passes through. It is a fascinating sight!
On our third day in Hanoi we decided to get out of the city and explore the surrounding countryside of Ninh Binh. This region is located about 100km south of Hanoi. We booked our tour on Get Your Guide. Our tour included a local row boat tour around the caves, a cycling tour through the beautiful rice fields.
Day 19- 20 Halong Bay
You cannot go to Vietnam without visiting Ha Long Bay. We went on a two day one night cruise and it was amazing. We booked our cruise with Signature Cruise.
Our day began with a transfer from our hotel in Hanoi. The journey took about four hours.
Once we boarded the boat we enjoyed a delicious lunch as we cruised through the stunning limestone formations that make up Halong Bay.
After lunch we set sail for Bai Tu Long Bay passing the towns of Hon Gai and Cam Pha. We visited the Vung Vieng fishing village by rowing boats to discover the interesting daily lives of the local people.
That evening we enjoyed a delicious multi course dinner and a cooking demonstration where we learned how to prepare traditional Vietnamese food.
We began day two of our cruise with a delicious breakfast followed by a stop off to visit the beautiful Thien Cung Cave. After exploring the caves it was time to make our way back to the boat and sail in the direction of the main land.
We got back to the main land around 1pm where a car was waiting to take us back to Hanoi. That evening we enjoyed one last night in Hanoi before it was time to make our way to the airport the next day.
Day 21 Travel to Hanoi Airport
Unfortunately our trip in Vietnam had to come to an end. On our final day we grabbed our last Banh Mi from a street food vendor across the road from our accommodation. Packed our bags and made our way to the airport.
If you have any questions regarding traveling in Vietnam or any extra tips, comment below 🙂
Make sure to check out our Instagram to stay up to date with all our travel adventures.
Never miss a blog again by signing up below: