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10 Days in Vietnam: Rich Culture, Delicious Food & Much More

10 Days in Vietnam: Rich Culture, Delicious Food & Much More
Lauren Fokas
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Lauren is an avid traveler and freelance writer. Over the past 15 years, she has explored over 45 countries by volunteering, working abroad, and writing about her incredible and wild experiences. Her expertise can help you find out more about how to travel, where to go, and even some of the best off-the-beaten-path experiences.

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If you only have 10 days to spend in Vietnam, don't worry! That's plenty of time to see so many of the country's incredible sights, enjoy delicious food, and dive into the unique culture of this beautiful country. 

Vietnam is one of the most underrated countries in Southeast Asia. Whether you're heading out on a backpacking adventure or are planning a more luxurious vacation, the best aspects of Vietnam are the same for everyone. 

For instance, everyone should check out the street food on the streets of Hanoi, admire the ancient architecture of Hue and Hoi An, and explore the Mekong Delta outside of Ho Chi Minh. 

There's so much to see and do, and there's never enough time. Let me help you decide what to add to your bucket list while spending time in Vietnam.  

It's going to be a jam-packed 10-day itinerary for Vietnam, but you'll come back with unforgettable memories!

How to Plan a 10-Day Trip to Vietnam

Vietnam's geographical layout is extraordinarily long and thin. In the northernmost corner sits the capital city of Hanoi. In contrast, the famous metropolitan of Ho Chi Minh is over 1,000 miles away in the south. 

While my itinerary for Vietnam starts in Hanoi and heads south to Ho Chi Minh, you could also use this plan in the opposite direction! 

Either way, you must decide what aspects of this incredible country are most important to you. Do you want to spend more time in the cities? Is taking a bike tour not really your thing? 

It's okay if you want to switch it up a little! This 10-day trip to Vietnam is to give you an idea of what you can get done, with plenty of wiggle room to make it your own. 

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

When you arrive in Hanoi depends on the flight option you choose. As you only have 10 days in the country, I recommend attempting to get an overnight flight and arriving as early as you can on day one to use this day to explore. 

But whether you arrive at 10 AM or 7 PM, the first thing you want to do in Hanoi is to explore the streets for authentic street food! 

Consider taking a guided street food tour, especially if you're still tired from your flight and want to learn from the locals.

traditional structure in Hanoi, Vietnam
Photo by Anh Hoang on Unsplash

Day 2: Explore Hanoi

Then, when you wake up on day two in Hanoi, there are tons of fantastic options for things to do in Hanoi. That article is extensive, but if you want to know some of my top favorites, I'll go through the experiences:

  • Learn about the Vietnam war at the Hoa Lo Prison
  • Enroll in an authentic cooking class
  • Explore the Old Quarter
  • Wisit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long

Day 3: Float Through Ha Long Bay

Next on your adventure is Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. 

To get there, you can take one of the dozens of buses that go every day from the city, and luckily, with the new express driveway. It only takes about 2.5 hours to get there!

When heading to Ha Long Bay, there are two options: You can create your overnight itinerary yourself, or you can opt for a boat tour

Looking for an even more unique experience? Many companies even offer an overnight cruise in and around the famous bay! This would be a very exciting option with excellent prices and the ability to see many different spots in one go.

Day 4: Back to Hanoi & Down to Hue

On day four, you will wake up in Ha Long Bay, return to Hanoi, and head directly to the airport for your flight down to Hue. 

When choosing the best domestic flight in Vietnam, you should search on Skyscanner. Usually, you can find an affordable flight with Vietnam Air or VietJet

Day 5: Hue & the Ancient Citadel

On your first morning in Hue, you'll likely already be overwhelmed with the beauty and rich culture of the small ancient city of Hue. 

You'll absolutely want to walk through the Imperial Citadel, visit the Forbidden Purple City, see a performance at the Royal Theatre, check out the Royal Tomb of Minh Mang, and visit as much of the other incredible architecture as you can! 

Traditional vietnamese building
Photo by Supanut Arunoprayote on Wikipedia

Day 6: Experience the Hai Van Pass

Next on the adventure, it's time to take the 4-hour drive along the Hai Van Pass from Hue to Hoi An. 

While you can take public transportation, renting and driving your own motorbike is another option! 

As many tourists opt to rent a motorbike in Vietnam, the system is super easy to use. You can rent the bike in Hue and return it to another shop when you arrive in Hoi An. 

Although it's a popular and fun way to get where you're going, you should be aware that the Hai Van Pass can be dangerous, so you should only rent a bike if you're confident in driving it safely.

Day 7: Stop in Hoi An

Visiting Hoi An isn't on everyone's Vietnam itinerary, but it's an adventure that's worth it! 

With French influence, the architecture in Hoi An is unique and extraordinary for your photo album. 

During your one day in Hoi An, you should be sure to hit the Quan Cong Temple, walk across the iconic Japanese Bridge, and enjoy the chaos of the Hoi An Market. Don't forget to stop at the famous Night Market as well! 

Day 8: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh

It's time again to hop on a short flight to your next destination: Ho Chi Minh City. 

Depending on your flight, it may take most of day 8 to get to Ho Chi Minh and get settled. Still, if you arrive early enough, you can spend the afternoon and evening exploring this huge metropolitan area. 

Take it from me... You'll want to make time for a bike food tour, to see the Cu Chi Tunnels, and visit the Ben Thanh Market.

Photo by Tron Le on Unsplash

Day 9: Tour of the Mekong Delta

Touring the Mekong Delta is one of my absolute favorite activities in Vietnam. 

And luckily, because it is such a popular tourist attraction, there are a lot of Mekong Delta tour options to choose from, so you can find the one that offers the services you're looking for at the perfect price.  

Day 10: Depart Ho Chi Minh

Finally, your time in Vietnam has come to a close, and it's time to head home or wherever your next destination is! 

Flying out of Ho Chi Minh City is convenient as it's one of the major international airports in Southeast Asia, so you should be good to go! 

Is 10 Days in Vietnam Enough?

While you could spend more time in Vietnam and see even more of this extraordinary country, 10 days is considered enough time to hit the highlights at least. 

I don't recommend spending less than 7 days as the country is so big that you simply won't have enough time to see everything on this list!

But realistically, you will enjoy every moment you spend in Vietnam, whether it's for 5 days or 500!

Lanterns in Vietnam
Photo by Steffen B. on Unsplash

Make Vietnam Unforgettable With Pilot!

Planning an itinerary is just one part of the puzzle for your next trip. You'll also need to know what to pack, when to pack, and even where else you might want to go while you're away. 

Luckily for you, Pilot is an excellent way to make sure you plan the trip of a lifetime!

Pilot is your brand-new trip planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! 

Pilot makes it fun and easy to share and relive your favorite travel memories with many useful features!

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Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

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