Vietnam is known as one of the best country of the wonderful landscape and world heritages that are the perfect blend of cultural and historical values. Planning a trip for 10 days in a country with as much variety as Vietnam, you probably are confused by the very long list of must-do things. For such a short 10-day trip, many of you have the same question what are the best choices to do with the limited time frame. Therefore, we highly recommend the list of top things to experience in Vietnam tours below which most tourists try to check it out during the trip.
Cruising Halong Bay
One of the most wonderful landscapes you must spend a couple of days in Vietnam itinerary 10 days is Halong – World natural heritage. Fortunately, Bach Dang bridge opened recently shortens the time for transferring Hanoi-Halong route from 3 hours and a half to 1 hour and a half. Therefore, you can save your time for more experiences in Halong Bay.
What brings Halong Bay to Vietnam’s must-see places is the charming beauty, which is the gift Mother Nature has given preferential treatment. The karst topography makes a unique ecosystem with thousands of islands and caves.
It’s an ideal place to cruise through, relax your mind under a mix of sun and wine with “breath of sea”. You can enjoy the best romantic dinner ever on the deck of a boat with wine, seafood, music and wave.
If you are a kind of people desiring challenges yourself with sea sports, it also offers a bunch of recreational activities like kayaking, snorkeling, diving and swimming in “the heart of Halong Bay”. So, you can try on the next day.
Trekking in Sapa
Do not hesitate to leave 2-3 days of your Vietnam itinerary 10 days in Sapa. It is located in the north of Vietnam, among the area owning the highest mountain ranges. That’s a reason why trekking in Sapa is one of the top things on the must-do list. It is a pity if you don’t come there when exploring the country.
Best time to visit and how to get to Sapa?
The best time to visit Sapa is from March to May or from September to November, when the weather is mild and dry, and the rice terraces are in their most beautiful green and golden colors. If your North Vietnam tours start in September, you are definitely the luckiest traveler. The immersing rice terraces covered by the yellow color of the ripe rice field makes you unable to stop talking “wow, amazing”.
Remember to avoid the rainy season from June to August as landslides can occur, and it can be dangerous for trekking. Winter from December to February can be very cold, and sometimes snow can occur, trekking becomes difficult.
From Hanoi, you can take a night train departing at 7 pm-10pm and arriving at Lao Cai station at 5am-7am. Alternatively, there are many shuttle buses from Hanoi to Sapa which take 8-9hours for your transfer.
In Sapa, the most prominent feature in the landscape is Fansipan Mountain – the physical challenges ideal for fit trekkers. It reaches thousands of feet and creates the tallest pinnacle in Vietnam. Sapa offers a wide range of trekking spots from easy to hard levels. You should choose the most suitable routes relying on your trekking skills and abilities.
- It’s recommended that you should hire a local guide who is familiar with the terrain, weather. Thus you don’t need to keep in mind about the language barrier, because of their good English speaking skill.
- Your trekking will pass with flying colors if you have thorough preparation for your luggage before departure. Scrambling up the mountain requires to have a good footwear to avoid unexpected injuries.
- Moreover, one small tip for you is that packing some snacks and double of water you think you will need. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring the camera to capture the stunning scenery.
Where to stay?
Aside from trekking, staying in Sapa homestay is an ultimate cultural experience to have an opportunity for delving the life of Black Hmong communities – the local people in Sapa. You can chat with the locals, eat some specialties with home-brewed wine. For sure, these activites will make a unique memory.
Hanging out in Hanoi Old Quarter
There is a “big mistake” to keep Hanoi out of the 10-day itinerary in Vietnam. Leaving your memorable trip of 2-3 days in Sapa, you then come back to Hanoi for an amazing excursion. When you first set your foot in Hanoi, you will be surprised at a riot of local color, a lifestyle of people, noise from traffic and commerce. If you have only 1 day in such a bustling capital like Hanoi, “how to make the best use of it”.
Best things to do in Hanoi
In the morning, after having an excellent breakfast of Pho, it’s a common choice for tourists to take a Hanoi cycling tour around the Old Quarter area. This tour will pass through many famous attractions in Hanoi such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Opera House, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, etc. Especially, visitors have an opportunity to admire the ancient beauty of a bit narrowed streets with unique features in architecture.
Hanoi is also known as a paradise of delicious food which can satisfy the most fastidious people like Noodles with grilled pork, Spring rolls, etc. It’s worth trying.
One of the must-do things in Hanoi is to stop at any coffee shop. You can order a cup of egg coffee (made with egg yolks, condensed milk and coffee) and observe how the world is going by. Alternatively, if you are in love with “noisy atmosphere”, go to Ta Hien street. It is where there are full of bars, pubs, say “cheers” with the “friendly strangers” and enjoy some cool beers. Finishing 1 day of excursion in Hanoi, you probably want to come back the peaceful capital as soon as possible.
Hanoi is generally a safe city for travelers, but it’s always important to take precautions to ensure your safety. By following these tips and using common sense, you can have an enjoyable trip in Hanoi.
- Watch your belongings: Be mindful of your surroundings and keep your valuables in a safe place since pickpocketing and theft can occur in crowded areas.
- Be careful when crossing the street: Hanoi’s streets can be chaotic and bustle, so be cautious when crossing. Look both ways, be patient, and follow the locals.
- Take reputable taxis: Make sure to only use reputable taxis that are clearly marked with a company name and phone number. Avoid unmarked taxis or those that do not have a meter. Here are some highly recommend taxi brands: Mai Linh, Vinasun, and Vinataxi. Besides that, you can download Grab – which is the most popular taxi app in Vietnam.
- Be cautious with street food: While Hanoi’s street food scene is a must-try, be careful where you eat. Stick to busy stalls with a high turnover and make sure the food is cooked thoroughly.
Sightseeing Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An is a great city to spend at least 2 days in your Vietnam itinerary in 10 days. It is considered as the “City of light” in Vietnam.
Therefore, the first thing you must do after arriving in Hoi An is to explore the ancient beauty of the riverside town by walking along the pedestrian-friendly street. You can find many century-old Buddhist pagodas and temples, colonial shop houses, handicraft shops with famous lanterns and over one thousand well-preserved timber frame buildings that have brick or wooden walls.
Visiting Hoi An, you shouldn’t miss taking a full-day or half-day countryside bicycle tour. You will have chances to discover the beautiful areas surrounding Hoi An, ride on quiet roads passing by rice fields. One more interesting experience is learning how to make some local food.
If you’re into local experience and want to see the real daily life of people here, let’s take a look at our suggested tours:
Exploring the floating market on Mekong Delta
A Vietnam itinerary 10 days can’t be perfect until you reach floating market on Mekong Delta. It is where you can find one of the best days in your life. Your trip has almost gone behind. So let’s spend the rest of your 10 days itinerary relaxing in the amazing land. All you need to do is booking a boat and start to enjoy an amazing Mekong Delta tour.
Floating market is crowded with thousands of boats selling all kinds of product from agricultural items to modern commodities. Every single boat has a high bamboo stick put in front of the deck where sellers post the samples on. If you want to buy something, just look around and get closer. It’s worth tasting amazing local dishes like a hot bowl of crap noodles in the middle of the river.
Besides the list of 5 things to do above, there are many other options tourists may want to do. However, one thing for sure is that whether you are walking around in Hanoi, cruising on Halong Bay or cycling in Hoi An, you’ll be amazed how quickly your Vietnam 10 day trip will fly. So, let’s make the most of time to experience “the real Vietnam”.
Le Huu Dan – Travel Blogger