This page exists because I often get asked about info for organizing trips to Vietnam. Everything I know is on this page.

  • Vietnam has a lot of tourist attractions. You cannot cover everything in a week or even two weeks.
  • For booking tours, lookup the links in the last section after reading rest of this page.

What to expect on the trip?

  • Scenic views.
  • Lots of limestone caves.
  • Beaches.
  • Beautiful cafes (with wifi).
  • Good food.
  • Bespoke suits.

If you have one week and prefer to travel slow:

  • Land in Hanoi.
  • Go to Ninh Binh for a slow 2-day or 3-day trip.
  • Book a cruise for Ha Long Bay.
  • Exit via Hanoi.

If you have one week and prefer to see as much as you can:

  • Land in Hanoi.
  • Go on a Ninh Binh day trip with a tour group.
  • Go on a Sapa trip with a tour group.
  • Book a cruise for Ha Long Bay.

If you have more than one week:

  • Go on a trip to the places mentioned above.
  • Then checkout more places in Central Vietnam.

I haven’t visited all the places in Vietnam. This page also includes recommendations I’ve received from other people. This page is only a starting point for your research. Look up places mentioned below on the internet.

North Vietnam


  • Land in Hanoi. Treat this place like a juncture to travel to other places.
  • Old Quarter is the tourist area close to a lot of places (+ tourist traps).
    • Beer street is located there too.
    • Book some walking tours.
  • Where to stay?
    • Hostels are good if you are ok with dorm beds.
    • If you prefer private rooms, checkout Airbnbs and hotels.
    • If you like to stay in hotel chains, there are Mercure La Gare, Grand Mercure, Pullman, InterContinencal, Movenpick, Sofitel and Novotel.

Ninh Binh:

  • If not going with a tour group, then taking a 2hr train from Hanoi is an option.
  • Where to stay?
    • If your trip is more than a day trip, then you can stay at any of the homestays/hotels.
    • Look these up on These are not exactly “homestays”. They have well-furnished rooms with air-conditioning.
  • For getting around in Ninh Binh,
    • Your hotel can rent you a motor bike.
    • It’s a small town. Most places are nearby. The drive to far away places are scenic and quiet.
  • Trang An boat tour
    • 👍 Highly recommend this.
    • About 2-3hrs of boat tour with scenic views. One of the route options include going through a 1km cave by boat.
  • Mua Cave (a bit of a misnomer, because this is a mountain to climb).
  • Thung Nham Bird Park - Get a map. This bird park has a lot of limestone caves.
  • Look up the pagodas/templates you want to visit.
  • Avoid the Tam Coc boat tour. Not worth going for this one. The Trang An boat tour is much better organized.

Ha Long Bay:

  • Book a cruise for 2 days and 1 night.
  • Which cruise to book?
    • A friend of mine booked Erina cruise (2023). He loved it. The pictures looked great.
    • I went by Bhaya cruise (2018). I loved my experience too.
    • There are a lot of cruises. Feel free to find others too. Most cruise operators seem to have websites with online bookings.
  • The cruise operators will pick you up and drop you back in Hanoi’s Old Quarter area.
  • If you have dietary restrictions, please ensure to inform the cruise operator well ahead if your trip so that they can prepare to serve you appropriate food.


  • Trekking, rice fields, etc.
  • Go with a tour group. A day trip is possible. 3 days would be better.

Central Vietnam

Da Nang has an international airport.

Da Nang:

  • SunWorld Ba Na Hills
    • Amusement park.
    • World’s longest nonstop cable car.
  • Marble mountains
  • Lady Buddha temple
  • Museums
  • Beaches

Other places:

  • Hoi An
    • Town with a UNESCO heritage site.
    • 1hr from Da Nang.
  • Hang Son Doong Cave
    • World’s largest cave.
    • 5hrs from Da Nang.
  • Hue
    • Ancient Citadel.
    • 45min from Da Nang.
    • If you are from India, this places offers the similar value for tourists like Mysore does (I would skip).

South Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Land in Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
  • What to do? Good food, good cafes and good night-life. Safe city.
  • Where to eat? District-1, District-2 (Thao Dien), District-3
  • Cu Chi Tunnels - 70km from the city.

Other places:

  • Mekong Delta
  • Phu Quoc island
  • Da Lat
  • Nha Trang

Notes on food in Vietnam

  • Tropical fruits. Consider yourself lucky if you are travelling during the Durian season. I love the RE6 variety (too sweet). Checkout other varieties too.
  • Iced Coffee and Iced Tea is more common here. You will have to request for hot if you want it so.
  • Checkout Salt Coffee, Egg Coffee and Garlic Coffee.
  • Meat in food is common here. But there are both Vegetarians and Eggetarians in Vietnam.
  • Chay means vegetarian food (this includes milk products). Use this keyword to look for places that serve vegetarian food. Check if the place or dish serves egg in your dish.
  • Will I find vegan food? Sure. Look it up.
  • Will I find Indian food? Find - Yes. Plenty. Good? I don’t know. I haven’t tried Indian food in Vietnam. But I’ve heard there are good restaurants. Beware: Not everything that has good reviews on Google is true. Read the bad reviews too to judge places
  • Use to lookup bus and train bookings.
  • Checkout Airbnb Experiences for booking tours.
  • A friend went with for Sapa tour and he enjoyed his trip.
  • Whichever airport you land, get a SIM card before exiting the airport.
  • Install Grab on your phone for booking cabs.


  • Ensure to get atleast 5 million VND (Vietnamese Dong) if you have a debit/credit card with zero forex charges.
  • If do not have a zero/low-markup forex card, then bring your expenses as VND with you.
  • How much will you need? Probably 0.5 million VND per-person-per-day if you prefer having local cuisine for food (doesn’t include hotel bookings and airline tickets).

Visa to Vietnam:

  • Apply for Vietnam e-Visa on the immigration portal -
  • Takes about 5 days to get your evisa. Please carry a printed copy of your evisa when you travel.
  • Indians can get visa on arrival to Phu Quoc island. But you need a valid vietnamese visa to enter mainland Vietnam from Phu Quoc or elsewhere.