Incredibly diverse landscapes from pristine beaches and mangrove forests to complex cave systems and undulating mountain ranges span the spine of Vietnam; each destination in Vietnam brings with it unique local taste, culture and scenery. In addition to its famous northern and southern metropolis’, Vietnam boasts its fair share of ancient towns, charming villages and remote hill tribes. When choosing a destination in which to spend 10 days, Vietnam should be your number one choice.
Whether you are a seasoned Southeast-Asia traveller or have never stepped foot on the continent, Vietnam offers an experience that its neighbouring countries cannot compete with. Embarking on a 10-day Vietnam tour will invite you to experience a country that has lived through a turbulent history and come out the other side with some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet.
Of course, if you could spend months there, you would. Still, a Vietnam itinerary of 10 days is enough time to enable you to experience the charm, the staggering natural beauty and the exoticism of the country. Being in such proximity with excellent connecting routes, you could embark on a Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos itinerary if you want to see more in less time.
However, for the benefit of experiencing the best of Vietnam, we invite you to take a peek at this 10-day Vietnam itinerary suitable for every traveller.
- 10 Highlights of 10-Day Tour of Vietnam
- #1 Indulging in Hanoi’s Street Food Scene
- #2 Hoi An’s Yellow Town
- #3 Taking Part in Vietnam’s Coffee Culture
- #4 Incredibly Scenery in Halong Bay
- #5 Hue’s Ancient Citadel
- #6 Endless Motorbikes
- #7 Life on the Water in the Mekong Delta
- #8 French Colonial Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City
- #9 Spectacular Temples
- #10 The Hai Van Pass
- Things You Need to Eat in Vietnam
- Things You Need to Know Before Your 10-Day Vietnam Tour
- A 10-Day Vietnam Itinerary Every Traveller Will Love
- Day 1 – Begin Your Vietnam Itinerary of 10 Days
- Day 2 – Explore Hanoi
- Day 3 – Discover the Magnificent Scenery of Halong Bay
- Day 4 – Final Morning of Cruising & Back to Hanoi
- Day 5 – Fly to Hue in Central Vietnam
- Day 6 – Take the Hai Van Pass to Hoi An
- Day 7 – Discover Hoi An Ancient Town
- Day 8 – Fly to the Southern Vietnam Metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City
- Day 9 – Cruise Through the Mekong Delta
- Day 10 – End of Your Vietnam Culture Tour
- Looking for Something Else? Consider These 10-Day Vietnam Itineraries
- Customise Your Own Vietnam Itinerary for 10 Days
10 Highlights of 10-Day Tour of Vietnam
As such a spectacular country, it is difficult to whittle down the highlights of a 10-day Vietnam trip to just 10; there is an endless list of things you must experience in Vietnam so make sure to read this while keeping in mind the possibilities that await you.
#1 Indulging in Hanoi’s Street Food Scene
Think of the freshest ingredients, mouthwatering flavour combinations and a little added chilli that makes you sweat just a little more than the humidity; if Vietnam is the kitchen of the world, then Hanoi is the head chef at the helm. Embarking on a Hanoi Street Food Tour is an experience like no other.
#2 Hoi An’s Yellow Town
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An’s pedestrianised centre can’t help but bring a smile to your face with its charming streets topped with colourful swaying lanterns, bright yellow walls and beautiful architecture.
For the ultimate travel inspiration, local insight straight from our expert Local Designers and exclusive offers you won’t find anywhere else from Designer Journeys, sign up today! Don’t miss out.
Don’t Miss Our Exclusive Offers! Subscribe Today!
For the ultimate travel inspiration, local insight straight from our expert Local Designers and exclusive offers you won’t find anywhere else from Designer Journeys, sign up today! Don’t miss out.
#3 Taking Part in Vietnam’s Coffee Culture
A favourite pastime of locals, drinking a caphe sua da (Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk) on a tiny plastic chair on the side of the road is the epitome of local life in Vietnam.
#4 Incredibly Scenery in Halong Bay
Limestone karsts covered in lush rainforest which seem to shoot out of the water and tower over your little boat are what awaits you in Halong Bay. Add to that, the charming floating villages, ancient caves and pristine beaches, and you have yourself a unique paradise.
#5 Hue’s Ancient Citadel
Once the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue is home to a beautifully preserved UNESCO-listed ancient citadel offering visitors the chance to gain an insight into Vietnam’s vast history.
#6 Endless Motorbikes
The endless thrum of motorbikes is something every traveller to Vietnam will take away as a lasting memory. Once you have experienced it, you’ll never know anything quite like a city of 7.5 million motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City.
#7 Life on the Water in the Mekong Delta
Known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Vietnam’, the Mekong Delta is a sprawling region home to small islets with tiny communities linked by narrow canals. A crafting region, in the Mekong Delta you can experience how the savvy locals use what’s around them to make sweets, jewellery, kitchenware and more.
#8 French Colonial Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City
No 10-day itinerary in Vietnam would be complete without experiencing some of the gems that the French left in their wake: Saigon Central Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral and even the spectacular recipe for bread.
#9 Spectacular Temples
As one of Vietnam’s oldest religions, Buddhist temples punctuate Vietnam’s diverse landscapes offering an opportunity for every visitor to learn of the country’s Chinese heritage, cultural beliefs and consistent superstition.
#10 The Hai Van Pass
Officially put on the tourist map following a season of the UK television series ‘Top Gear’, the incredibly scenic coastal road which stretches from Da Nang to Hue has become a must-see. Whether you choose to see it by motorbike, car or bicycle, the Hai Van Pass will leave your mouth agape at its views.
Things You Need to Eat in Vietnam
Known as the ‘Kitchen of the World’, Vietnam cuisine continues to reach the far corners of the world as we obsess over its noodle soups, delicious take on sandwiches and mouth watering flavour combinations. Here are five dishes that you must make sure you try on any north to south Vietnam itinerary;
#1 Pho (pronounced ‘furr’)
A relatively simple dish, pho consists of a steaming broth which has often been simmering for several hours with the addition of pork, chicken or beef topped with freshly cut spring onion. Served with a plate of basil, bean sprouts, salad leaves and freshly sliced red chilli, it’s up to you how you customise this long-standing favourite.
#2 Banh Mi (pronounced ‘ban me’)
Very few countries in Asia nail breadmaking in the way that the Vietnamese do; that’s why one of their staple foods is a delicious sandwich made with baguettes which are perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Typical fillings include marinated pork, pate, fresh chilli, pickled vegetables and salad leaves but there are many variations of this classic.
#3 Banh Xeo (pronounced ‘ban xay-ow’)
One of the most famous street foods, banh xeo is a Vietnamese savoury pancake made from rice flour, coconut milk and turmeric. Fried in a hot skillet, the pancake is filled with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts and spring onion. How it is typically eaten, either wrapped in a rice paper roll or salad leaves, is largely dependent on which region of the country you are in.
#4 Bun Cha (pronounced how it sounds)
A dish made famous when Barack Obama famously dined with Anthony Bordain on his TV show exploring the depths of Vietnamese food, bun cha is the heartwarming soul food of Vietnam. Composed of grilled pork balls accompanied by a plate of white rice noodles, mixed herbs and salad leaves, these ingredients are combined and dipped in a dish of sweet sauce before hitting your lips.
#5 Egg Coffee
While it’s not exactly a food, egg coffee is so iconic that no Vietnam 10-day itinerary should be without an opportunity to sample this whipped-egg delight. If you’re turning your nose up as the thought of the combination of egg and coffee, then this is a ‘don’t knock it ‘till you try it’ moment.
Things You Need to Know Before Your 10-Day Vietnam Tour
You’ve established that a 10-day itinerary in Vietnam is something you’d like to experience, but there are some essential things you should know before you travel.
You can find a guide to getting a Vietnam visa sorted here and here are some tips on staying safe on your trip, when is the best time to travel to Vietnam, and whether you need vaccinations for your trip.
Staying Safe on Your Trip to Vietnam
Vietnam is a relatively safe country as compared to other Southeast Asian countries, especially so if travelling alone. However, it is always wise to be aware of your surroundings as pickpocketing, common scams and petty theft still happens.
In Vietnam, you should drink bottled or filtered water instead of tap water. The warning about ice in Asian countries has become less of a concern to travellers in the last decade as most establishments, even street food vendors, use filtered ice in their drinks. However, if you want to be extra careful, you should avoid ice in your drinks.
A huge part of travelling through Vietnam is indulging in the incredible street food which can be found on every corner in Vietnam. Street food should be embraced and enjoyed on any 10-day Vietnam trip, but be mindful stalls which aren’t busy as the food may have been sitting out for longer.
Roads work differently in Vietnam; a lack of official road rules means locals often drive in their unique way – the wrong way on one-way streets, highways and more. However, this unique way works in Vietnam and should, therefore, be respected. Be careful when crossing the road as traffic may come from any direction. The traffic flow will often not stop to allow you to cross, so it is best to cross the road slowly and let the bikes go around you.
It is also wise to keep your bag close to you with your hand over it and make sure not to cross the road with your phone in your hand to avoid motorbike thieves.
Do You Need Vaccinations To Visit Vietnam?
When planning your Vietnam 10-day itinerary, you must research what vaccinations -if any- you will need for your trip. Whether certain vaccines are required to enter a country, may depend on where you have been recently or where you’re coming from.
Generally, there aren’t any vaccines that you need for Vietnam. However, these are the vaccines that are recommended (not essential) by the World Health Organisation:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
Most of these vaccinations you would have had as a child but you should look into each one to check if you need it. For the rabies vaccination, it is only recommended if you are going somewhere very remote and rural as the vaccine gives you extra time to reach a hospital if bitten.
Unlike other countries, a yellow fever certification is not required to travel to Vietnam. While malaria is present in Vietnam, it is very low risk so you shouldn’t need to worry about taking malaria tablets and the adverse effects they can cause.
When travelling to any country, you must visit your doctor or nearest travel clinic to tell them about your trip and see if there are any vaccinations they recommend for you.
When is the Best Time to Take a 10-Day Trip to Vietnam?
Choosing the best time to visit largely depends on your Vietnam travel itinerary and where you plan to go during your 10 days:
- For a Northern Vietnam itinerary, the best time to go is between March and May or September and November when the weather is comfortable and dry. If you’re looking for individual beauty, between March and May, Vietnam’s entire northern region is in bloom.
- For a Southern Vietnam itinerary, the best time to go is from December to February when the rain is minimal, and the temperatures are milder and much more comfortable than the summer months.
Vietnam’s long, narrow shape means that the north, central and southern regions experience different seasons and different weather throughout the year. Often in Ho Chi Minh City, it will be blazing hot while at the same time in Hanoi, you’ll need a jumper and a coat to walk around.
The best time to plan an itinerary for 10 days in Vietnam is between February and April or August and October if you plan to explore destinations across the whole country. During this time, rainfall is relatively low, and the temperatures are moderate.
If you’re planning on visiting multiple countries such as a Vietnam and Cambodia itinerary of 10 days, then November to March is the best time. For Thailand and Vietnam 10-day itineraries, the best time is between November and April. Between these times for all of the countries surrounding Vietnam, the temperatures will be comfortable and the rainfall low.
A 10-Day Vietnam Itinerary Every Traveller Will Love
Beginning in the northern capital city of Hanoi, this 10-day Vietnam trip takes you from north to south through the central region of the country while learning all about its cuisine, customs and culture.
On this trip, you’ll experience the friendliness of the local people and marvel at UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Hoi An Ancient Town, the Hue Citadel, Halong Bay and Thang Long Citadel in Hanoi.
Immersing yourself in the local culture is a huge part of travelling to any new country, as well as sampling the local food. On this 10-day trip to Vietnam, you’ll head out on street food tasting tours in the cities and learn all about local life – you’ll discover a side to Vietnam that is entirely different from what you may have imagined!
Day 1 – Begin Your Vietnam Itinerary of 10 Days
You’ll begin your trip in the best place possible for instant immersion into the Vietnamese culture – the capital city of Hanoi in Northern Vietnam. Every traveller to Hanoi is charmed by this thousand-year-old city and its unique attractions.
While bursting at the seams with life, Hanoi manages to retain its small-town provincial charm. Combine this with excellent street food, a French colonial legacy, beautiful lakes, sprawling parks and vibrant cafe culture and you have a wonderful city to explore.
You’ll have the first day to get acquainted with this beautiful city on your own.
Day 2 – Explore Hanoi
Today it is time to explore Hanoi’s most exciting sights in the company of an expert local guide. Beginning at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, you’ll spend the day visiting key attractions throughout the city.
You’ll visit the One Pillar Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple and also the oldest pagoda in the city which was initially constructed in the sixth century, Tran Quoc Pagoda. After visiting the famous Temple of Literature, you’ll take a stroll around the Sword Lake, one of many lakes in the city known as the ‘city of a thousand lakes’.
You’ll end the day in style at a street-side cafe, seated on plastic chairs enjoying a traditional caphe sua da (coffee with milk and ice).
Day 3 – Discover the Magnificent Scenery of Halong Bay
With so many wonderful places to see, your Northern Vietnam itinerary could take up your whole 10 days. However, to see the best of the best, you’ll zip off to the Gulf of Tonkin today to spend a night in the magnificent scenery of Halong Bay.
Covering an area of over 43,000 hectares and boasting 1,600 islands and islets, Halong Bay is a spectacular landscape of limestone karsts, tropical forest and naturally beautiful bays and coves.
Upon arrival in Halong City, you’ll board the Rose Cruise, which will be your hotel for the night. You’ll set sail and spend the rest of the day kayaking through natural caves, visiting a pearl farm and cruising between limestone karsts.
Day 4 – Final Morning of Cruising & Back to Hanoi
Beginning the day with a Tai Chi class on the top deck of the boat, you’ll be invigorated for your morning of exploring. After a delicious breakfast, you’ll set off to discover the hidden secrets of Halong in Surprise Cave before heading back to the boat to brush up on your Vietnamese cooking skills as the boat makes its way back to the pier.
You’ll then hop in a minibus and make your way back to Hanoi arriving in the early evening.
Day 5 – Fly to Hue in Central Vietnam
You could spend your entire 10 days on a Central Vietnam itinerary. It is often a section of the country that is passed through, with travellers stopping in one or two places to see the highlights of this region. If you have time, it’s worth staying a little longer.
Today, you’ll head to the airport and take a short flight to Hue in Central Vietnam. Founded as the capital of Vietnam in 1802, Hue was the political, cultural and religious centre of the country under the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945.
Upon arrival, you’ll go straight into the heart of the city on a street food tasting tour. You’ll learn about the unique cuisine that developed here as a result of rulers often having superb chefs invited here to cook for them. You’ll also head off to explore the impressive Tu Duc Tomb and the Tomb of Minh Mang.
Day 6 – Take the Hai Van Pass to Hoi An
Sliding its way through the Hue Citadel and the city itself, the Perfume River adds to the natural beauty of this once-thriving capital. After gliding along the river on a morning boat cruise, you’ll explore Hue Imperial City and the Hue Citadel with your Local Designer guide.
In the afternoon, you’ll leave for Hoi An, one of the oldest towns in Southeast Asia. South of Hue, to reach Hoi An, you’ll take on the famous Hai Van Pass. High up in the mountains, this stretch of road connects two key coastal cities, Da Nang and Hue, through a series of switchbacks and incredible views at every turn.
Before arriving in Hoi An, you’ll have the option to stop and explore the Marble Mountains, five limestone and marble outcrops topped with pagodas.
Day 7 – Discover Hoi An Ancient Town
A glorious blend of Vietnamese, French and Chinese architecture, Hoi An Ancient Town makes you feel as though you have stepped back in time. As you wander through streets topped with swaying lanterns and houses painted yellow complete with vibrant blue shutters, you’ll be in awe of its beauty.
Once a major trading port of Vietnam, Hoi An specialised in silk, spices and ceramics; these crafts are still present in Hoi An today. After exploring the town, you’ll don a bicycle (the traditional way of getting around Hoi An) and go on a tasting tour of Hoi An’s most famous street foods followed by a visit to the Tra Que Vegetable Village.
Day 8 – Fly to the Southern Vietnam Metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City
Today, you’ll jet off south to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known -and commonly referred to- as Saigon. Full of beauty, unique cities and beautiful countryside, you could easily spend 10 days on a South Vietnam itinerary instead of going anywhere else in Vietnam.
Your time in Ho Chi Minh City begins with the most important thing – street food! You’ll wander the city’s elegant boulevards, past historic French colonial buildings on a city tour tasting your way through Southern Vietnam’s delights. With your guide, you’ll observe how the cuisine differs throughout the country as you compare the tour to previous street food tasting tours on your trip.
Day 9 – Cruise Through the Mekong Delta
Known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Vietnam’, the Mekong Delta is a labyrinth of rivers, islands and clusters of local life along the palm-fringed channels. Today, you’ll venture to My Tho, a local town on this unique waterway two hours from the city to observe the local way of life.
Travelling by boat, you’ll make your way to local villages, farms and craft factories to learn about the many innovative ways that people make a living on this fragile waterway.
Day 10 – End of Your Vietnam Culture Tour
Today, your 10-day trip to Vietnam comes to an end. You’ll have some free time to do some last-minute shopping or to explore any sights around Ho Chi Minh City that you have not had a chance yet to. The Cu Chi Tunnels are just a 1.5-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City and make for an intriguing morning outing.
Looking for Something Else? Consider These 10-Day Vietnam Itineraries
Instead of trying to see all the major sights of Vietnam in 10 days, you could instead focus on one region to delve deeper and experience the richness of the culture. These customisable trips give a little insight into the kind of itinerary you could embark on:
Alternatively, you could choose to split your 10-day itinerary between Vietnam and other neighbouring countries:
- Vietnam & Cambodia 10-Day Itinerary
- Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos Itinerary of 10 Days
- Thailand & Vietnam Itinerary 10 Days
Customise Your Own Vietnam Itinerary for 10 Days
With Designer Journeys, any trip can be made a reality. Regardless of your travel style, interest and budget, our Local Designers in Vietnam and our 56 other launched countries across the globe are experts at designing trips tailored to you.
If you are looking for the perfect trip, connect with one of our in-destination Local Designers and design your Vietnam trip!