Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang Bay – Hanoi
Vietnam is growing in popularity among tourists that admire its natural beauty and breathtaking mountainous scenery, but more so because it is one destination where tourism is quite affordable. It is easily reachable from the South East Asian hotspots such as Thailand, so a vacation here is a great choice for the low budget traveller and is definitely worth a visit whilst you are touring this wonderful part of the world.
To help you see the best of Vietnam in such a short space of time, I have put together this travel itinerary that will hopefully make your trip as easy as possible.
So, how do you spend 6 days in Vietnam?
Depending on your option, you may arrive by flight to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) in the south and head north, or you can begin in the capital city of Hanoi in the north and head south and do the trip backwards. Arriving at Ho Chi Minh City involves a couple of days here, then on to Nha Trang, and finally on to the capital city of Hanoi and the nearby stunning Ha Long Bay. If you have more than 6 days, be sure to hit up the delightful ancient town of Hoi An.
2 DAYS IN CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh is the largest city in the country and has many historic and cultural locations to explore. The city alone is a wonder to behold because of its French colonial structures and would require more than 2 days to see the whole of it, but in two days you can really catch the best bits. Plus, if it is your first time here, you may be a little overwhelmed by the chaos of the traffic, motorbikes on pavements, and the soaring heat!
After resting the morning of the first day, spend the remaining time touring the city. Some intriguing places to see are the independent palace, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, the city hall and the film theatre. The best means of transportation within the city is by taxi and it’s often best to arrange with your hotel to ensure the best price.
On the second day, round up your Ho Chi Minh tour by visiting Bên Thành market where you can experience local food and pick up souvenirs. Be sure to bargain with the locals for a discount as you can often get 50% knocked off the initial price.
The next stop is the coastal city of Nha Trang, located in the south central of Vietnam. From Ho Chi Minh you can reach Nha Trang by the overnight sleeper train or bus but be sure to book in advance on 12go as they are often a sell-out. If you are short on time it is best to book a flight as they are much quicker and easily affordable. That way, you can really make the most your time at this stunning location that is characterized by scenic beaches and islands, and the perfect destination for a great adventure of water sports, nature tours, lazy beach days, and crazy nightlife.
On the first day, take to the water and explore the bay on a kayaking or rafting tour, as you can really get to explore the various islands including the popular Monkey island, Bamboo island, Silkworm island and Ebony island. Other attractions in this city are the biennial sea festival by the locals, scuba diving, picturesque beaches, resorts, spas and a thrilling water park.
Of course, don’t miss your chance to party at the exclusive rooftop Skylight Bar that is often home to famous DJ’s. You can party all night whilst admiring the wonderful skyline from the 360-degree skydeck. A good idea is to get here early and enjoy dinner with a view at the clubs on-site restaurant, Chefs Club, that serves international asian fusion cuisine, and overlooks the bay’s magnificent coastline from 43 floors up – this one is not to be missed.
After a 2 day-stay at Nha Trang, make your way to the capital city of Hanoi. There is a train route from Nha Trang to Hanoi that can be done on the night of the 4th day to arrive in the morning of the 5th day, or feel free to book a cheap flight.
In Hanoi, begin your tour by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a popular attraction in the city that does not cost a dime. At the Mausoleum you will see the remains of the Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, preserved in a glass. Be sure to wear appropriate dress as shorts, short skirts or sleeveless blouses are not allowed in the Ho Chi Minh complex, nor are cameras inside the mausoleum.
Next, head on to other attractions such as the one pillar Pagoda, the Presidential Palace, the Pen Tower, the Fine Art Museum, Hoàn kiên lake and the park of unification. If you are keen on tasting foreign cuisines then a tour of the food streets will expose you to the various Hanoi dishes.
Your vacation has not quite come to a great end if you have not taken a trip to Ha Long Bay. So cap your Vietnam vacation by taking an excursion to Ha long Bay on the 6th day with one of the many tour operators. The trip is a good 3 and a half hour drive each way so take plenty of water and snacks, and a hand held fan wouldn’t go a miss as great air con on the bus is never guaranteed.
The tour includes a boat ride to Tit Top island where you can view the bay from a summit, sunbath, swim, kayak, raft, and interact with the locals. Aboard the cruise you will be served an authentic vietnamese buffet style dinner where you can expect fried tofu, rice, fish, and vegetables. My favourite part is admiring the boat village, where whole families are permanent residents on small fishing boats in the Ha Long Bay area. The scenery here is truly breathtaking, and kayaking through the caves is something you expect to see on the discovery channel! You will be absolutely blown away.