If you’re looking for a trip consisting of museums, civilized crosswalks and a calming atmosphere, this isn’t the trip for you and you should probably look elsewhere.
However, if you’re looking for an adventure, amazing food, kind people and beautiful scenery this is the trip for you!
Vietnam is unlike any other place we’ve ever been, which is a good thing (most of the time). Not only are there endless delicious local foods to try, you’ll also have fun just by trying to cross the street.
We spent 10 days in this beautiful and chaotic country and had an amazing time. If you’re looking to go there for a similar amount of time (or even longer), check out our itinerary for suggestions on where you should go and how long you should spend there.
Day 1-3: Explore Hanoi
Ah Hanoi! We write this one month after our visit to this crazy city and we still aren’t sure how to describe it. As the capital of Vietnam, it’s a great place to start your trip. Since it’s located in the north you’ll be able to easily move on to other areas of the country without back tracking.
How to get there: There are three ways to get from Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) to Hanoi’s Old Quarter:
- First, the easiest and most comfortable option, is taking a private taxi. If you’re arriving late at night/early in the morning this will be your only option since public transportation doesn’t run during these late hours. That being said, we highly recommend reserving a private car with your hotel in advance since drivers at the airport will likely try to charge you a higher price and may not know where your hotel is. A taxi should cost you around $21 CAD and take approximately 1 hour.
- The second option is taking the airport shuttle bus. It takes about 1 hour and costs $3 CAD. Just keep in mind that the shuttle bus doesn’t leave until it’s full so you may need to wait a bit if you’re the first one there.
- Lastly, if you arrive during the day you can take the public bus for about $0.25 CAD. Bus 7 will take you to Kim Ma Bus station and bus 17 will take you to Long Bien bus station. This option also takes about an hour and from the station you can either walk or take a taxi, depending on how far your hotel is.
Where to stay: We stayed at the Hanoi Old Town Hotel. We highly recommend this place since it was both inexpensive (about $21 CAD/night for a private room) and centrally located. The only thing to note is that there is hardly any soundproofing from the outside so the traffic can be a bit loud at times.
What to do: We made this handy list of 10 Awesome Things to do in Hanoi for you guys, so you check it out if you aren’t sure where to start.
Day 4-5: Discover Halong Bay
Probably our favourite two days of the trip, Halong Bay is about a 4 hour drive from Hanoi. It’s the perfect antidote to the capital’s chaos, with its calm turquoise waters and amazing limestone islands.
How to get there: If you plan on doing an overnight cruise in Halong Bay, be sure to ask your cruise company if they provide complimentary transfers to and from Halong Bay. Ours did and we got to ride in a nice air-conditioned van for free! Alternatively, plenty of travel agencies all around Hanoi offer cheap buses to Halong Bay.
Where to stay: We did an overnight cruise with Signature Halong Cruise and it was AMAZING! We highly recommend going with this company if you’re looking to splurge a little (which we did and would do again). In our opinion, an overnight cruise isn’t something you want to cheap out on, although there are tons of cruise companies out there that are also quite good and less expensive.
Things to do: Halong Bay is so incredible, you’ll probably be too busy taking pictures to do anything else. That said, our cruise company had quite the itinerary planned for us which included sunrise tai chi, a visit to a floating village and pearl farm, a visit to a cave, and swimming on a beautiful beach. Curious to know more? Read about our experience in Halong Bay with Signature Halong Cruise here.
Day 6-10: Chill Out in Hoi An
Probably the chillest town in Vietnam, and again such a contrast to Hanoi, Hoi An is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy life. This cute little town offers the chance to walk around a former trading port dating back to the 15th century, get some custom-made clothing and walk along the beach.
How to get there: The easiest and fastest way to get to Hoi An from Hanoi is to fly from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) to Da Nang International Airport (DAD). The fight lasts approximately one hour and will cost around $25 CAD. From Da Nang airport you can take a taxi to Hoi An for approximately $21 CAD, which we highly recommend booking through your hotel. Though there are cheaper ways to get to Hoi An (i.e. train or sleeper bus), we found this to be the best balance between time and money since we were only in Vietnam for 10 days.
Where to stay: Most hotels/guesthouses in Hoi An are a 20 minute walk to the Old Town. We absolutely loved our guesthouse, The Hoi An Cottage Villa. It was inexpensive ($20 CAD/night), clean and offered cheap breakfast, bike/motorbike rentals and laundry service for a small fee. Plus the owner is the sweetest lady so we highly recommend this place!
Things to do: We made this handy list of 3 Fun Things to Do in Hoi An for you guys, so you check it out if you aren’t sure where to start.
Have a few extra days?
Have you been to Vietnam?
What was your favourite part?
If you plan on visiting Vietnam and have questions, please comment below and we’ll try to help as best we can!
We’d like to thank Signature Halong Cruise for generously sponsoring our experience in exchange for this review. As with all articles, you can be assured you are getting our honest opinions.
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