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My 8 day Itinerary to explore Vietnam

8 day travel itinerary to explore Vietnam

I've crafted a mesmerizing 8-day adventure through the diverse landscapes of Vietnam, where ancient traditions seamlessly blend with modern marvels. Follow this carefully crafted itinerary as we explore the best of Vietnam - walk through the vibrant streets of Hanoi, gaze at the natural wonders of Ninh Binh, cruise through the breathtaking Ha Long Bay, wander through the charming streets of Hoi An, ascend the heights of Ba Na Hills, and experience the dynamic energy of Danang. Let's dive in!

Day 1-2: Hanoi

My husband and I touched down in Hanoi bright and early, ready to dive into the heart of the bustling capital. Our initial hours were spent navigating around Old Quarter, the Ngoc Son Temple, and the famous Train Street. Pausing at a quaint cafe, we enjoyed some Vietnamese coffee while watching the trains pass by right next to us. Embracing the local charm, we opted for a ride on Cyclos, aka rickshaws, transporting us from the temple to the lively Train Street—a truly exhilarating experience even though it wasn't that different from an auto ride in Mumbai. But... when you're wearing your holiday outfit with a Vietnamese hat riding on unknown streets; it definitely is Exhilarating! Keen on keeping our first day relaxed, we made a conscious effort to immerse ourselves in the vibrant culture and local cuisine.

As the sun set, we found ourselves at the Diamond Sky Bar, treating our senses to the panoramic views of the Old Quarter.

On our second day of exploration, we kicked off the morning with a visit to the Quang Ba Flower Market, immersing ourselves in the kaleidoscope of colors and fragrances. Our next stop was the Temple of Literature, where we delved into the rich history and cultural significance of this Hanoi gem.

We didn't want to miss out on any must-visit spots, so we made our way to the The Note Coffee, crowned as the fourth most 'Instagramable' cafe in the world. Sipping on coffee, we enjoyed a breathtaking view of Hoan Kiem Lake, capturing the essence of Hanoi's beauty in every moment.

Wrapping up the day on a serene note, we treated ourselves to a superb body massage—an absolute necessity after a day filled with walking. The relaxation was undeniably worth it.

Day 3: Ninh Binh

We set out for Ninh Binh, a picturesque gem in Northern Vietnam celebrated for its limestone mountains and lush landscapes. The options were enticing: a boat trip through either Tam Coc or Trang An, both promising a glimpse into the natural wonders of the region. We opted for Tam Coc, and it turned out to be a serene paradise, with the only sounds being the gentle rowing of the boat against the tranquil waters.

Following the boat excursion, we embarked on a hike to the Hang Múa Viewpoint that has 500 stones steps carved into the rock to reach the summit. Admittedly, I found myself succumbing to fatigue and decided to pause halfway. However, my husband persevered and reached the summit, rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas that were nothing short of insane. Ninh Binh had treated us to a day of natural beauty and unforgettable landscapes for sure.

Day 4 - Ha Long Bay

I was buzzing with excitement for Ha Long Bay throughout the trip, and the big day was finally here! We snagged a 2-day, 1-night cruise with La Casta Cruises, and you can snoop around our room in a quick tour linked below. Once we hopped on the cruise, it was all action-packed.

We kicked things off with some cool stuff like kayaking, exploring caves, and getting into the groove with on-board activities—think cooking class, tai chi, plus a bit of fishing and diving action. It was like a non-stop adventure, and Ha Long Bay totally lived up to the hype.

Day 5: Hoi An

So, we strolled through the Ancient Town, checking out lovely spots like the Japanese Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall, and the Quang Trieu Cantonese Assembly Hall. And then, we hopped on those bamboo basket boats for a bit of excitement before kicking back at one of the chill beaches in Hoi An.

As the day turned into night, we dove into some local street eats, savoring the flavors of the town. The icing on the cake? A sweet lantern boat ride that added a touch of magic to the night. Unfortunately, rain decided to join the party and cut our evening short, but it brought its own poetic charm to our time in Hoi An.

Ancient Town - Hoian

Lantern city - Vietnam Hoian

Day 6: Ba Na Hills

We headed straight to Ba Na Hills—a mountain resort with swanky restaurants, cool attractions like the famous Golden Bridge, and a rad theme park. It turned into an all-day affair because there's just so much to see and do. The castles give off major French village vibes, with cobblestone streets and Euro-style buildings that are well-crafted and 1,500 meters above sea level.

Once you hit the mountain peak, brace yourself for the sight of those colossal hands cradling the iconic Golden Bridge. It's like taking a stroll through the hands of God, no kidding! The bridge, stretching 150 meters, hangs out in Morin Station, a lofty 1,400 meters above sea level. Those giant hands popping out from the hillside create a breathtaking scene, and standing on the Golden Bridge treats you to a killer view of Da Nang city and the jaw-dropping mountain landscape. And oh boy, when the clouds decide to blanket the entire mountaintop, the illusion gets even more mind-blowing.

Day 7: Danang

So, our game plan for the day was all about hitting up The Marble Mountains, chilling at My Khe beach, and catching the Dragon bridge spittin' fire (only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 9 pm). We balanced things out with a good mix of strolling around and kicking back for some solid relaxation time.

Day 8 : Cham Island

Our final stop was Cham Island for more beach vibes, snorkeling, and stuffing our faces with delicious seafood. Didn't snap too much on this day since we were basically in and around the water all day, just soaking in the beauty of the place one last time. To cap off the day, we hit the hotel pool, catching the gorge sunset.

Note- If you have few more days to spare for your trip, I would advise you to explore Hue (2.5 hours from Danang) and Quang Phu Cau (an hour from Hanoi). Hue is a less touristy place with a lot to discover especially the Perfume river and Quang Phu Cau is known for its photographic incense village.

Thank you for reading. You can leave your suggestions, recommendations or add on to this list in the comment section below.




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