12 Days in Vietnam: Inspiring 2024 Itineraries

Vietnam is considered a hidden gem in Southeast Asia, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, offers a unique experience for every type of traveler. From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the tranquil waters of Ha Long Bay, spending 12 days in Vietnam is an opportunity to explore the depth and diversity of this fascinating country. Whether you’re a backpacker seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures, a family looking for a mix of relaxation and cultural exploration, or a couple in search of romantic settings, Vietnam’s diverse regions cater to all. Our following article will take you through the best places to visit in Vietnam and provide suggested itineraries tailored for different types of travelers, ensuring your Vietnam 12-day tour is filled with unforgettable experiences.

Vietnam 12 Days Itinerary For Backpackers

Places to Visit

For backpackers exploring Vietnam, the entire country, from north to south, offers a plethora of experiences. While Northern Vietnam is known for its cultural richness and natural beauty, Central and Southern Vietnam should not be overlooked. The central region, with its historical sites, vibrant cities, and stunning beaches, and the bustling, dynamic Southern Vietnam, with its unique delta and urban experiences, both offer a range of adventures that are ideal for backpackers.

  • Northern Vietnam: Known for its breathtaking landscapes, ethnic diversity, and rich history. Key destinations include Hanoi, the culturally rich capital, and the spectacular Cat Ba – Ha Long Bay, known for its emerald waters and limestone islands. Sapa is also a ca n’t-miss destination with villages on high mountains where ethnic people live.
  • Central Vietnam: This region is famed for its historical significance, pristine beaches, and culinary delights. Highlights include the ancient town of Hoi An, the historic city of Hue, and the vibrant coastal city of Da Nang.
  • Southern Vietnam: Characterized by the bustling Ho Chi Minh City, the lush Mekong Delta, and the vibrant coastal cities. This region offers a blend of urban excitement and serene natural beauty, perfect for backpackers seeking diverse experiences.
Backpacking Vietnam

Backpacking Vietnam

Must-Try Activities

Backpacking in Vietnam offers an array of must-try activities that cater to a range of interests, from cultural exploration to adventure sports. Here are some key activities that backpackers should consider adding to their Vietnam itinerary:

  • Trekking in Sapa: Head to the northern mountains for trekking in Sapa. Explore the terraced rice fields, meet local ethnic tribes, and enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery.
  • Motorbiking the Hai Van Pass: For the more adventurous, motorbiking the Hai Van Pass offers breathtaking coastal views. This scenic route between Hue and Da Nang is known for its winding roads and stunning landscapes.
  • Sandboarding in Mui Ne: Experience sandboarding on the red and white dunes of Mui Ne. This unique activity is a fun way to enjoy the desert-like landscape of southern Vietnam.
  • Snorkeling or Diving in Nha Trang or Phu Quoc: Explore Vietnam’s marine life by snorkeling or diving in the clear waters of Nha Trang or Phu Quoc Island. Both destinations offer vibrant coral reefs and a variety of sea life.
  • Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels: Discover the history of the Vietnam War by visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels. This vast network of underground tunnels offers a glimpse into the ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese soldiers.

Suggested Itinerary

Discovering Tour to Colorful Northern Vietnam in 12 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi.

Day 2 – Hanoi – Yen Bai – Nghia Lo: Take your journey to Nghia Lo, where you can observe a picturesque mountain range with lush greens, tea plantations, and rice terraces.

Day 3 – Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen: Discover the local market and then ascend to Mu Cang Chai to reach the villages of H’mong, La Ha, and Dzao people.

Day 4 – Than Uyen – Binh Lu: Transfer to Binh Lu along the base of Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, where you can discover gorgeous tea plantations and rice terraces.

Day 5 – Binh Lu – Sin Ho: Travel across limestone karts to reach and discover the home of Red Hmong, Kho Mu, Mang, and Dao ethnic minorities.

Day 6 – Sin Ho – Muong Te: Stop at untouched villages for photography.

Day 7 – Day in Muong Te: Meet and talk with local people for many cultural lessons.

Day 8 – Muong Te – Lai Chau: Drive to Lai Chau and take a stroll around the diverse communities’ villages.

Day 9 – Lai Chau – Son La: Take a boat ride to discover Pa Uon island.

Day 10 – Son La – Mai Chau: Take your way to Mai Chau and visit the Red H’mong village of Hang Kia.

Day 11 – Mai Chau – Hanoi: Transfer to Hanoi and be free to explore the city on your way.

Day 12 – Departure: End of Vietnam itinerary 12 days.

>>> For the detailed tour program, please check here. Don’t forget to check out more thrilling activities at our North Vietnam tours.

12 Days in Vietnam Itinerary For Families

Best Places to Visit

For families visiting Vietnam, several destinations stand out for their unique blend of cultural richness, natural beauty, and engaging activities.

  • Hanoi, the capital, is perfect for those interested in history and culture, offering the Old Quarter, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and traditional water puppet shows.
  • For a natural retreat, Ha Long Bay provides a stunning backdrop of limestone karsts and islands, ideal for family cruises with activities like kayaking and island exploration.
  • Hoi An, with its pedestrian-friendly ancient town and lantern-lit streets, offers a charming and relaxed atmosphere, plus the opportunity for cycling tours and beach visits.
  • Da Nang is a hit for families seeking a mix of beach relaxation and entertainment, featuring attractions like Sun World Ba Na Hills and the iconic Golden Bridge. Each of these destinations in Vietnam offers a unique experience, ensuring that every family member, regardless of age, will find something enjoyable and memorable.
Family holiday adventure in Vietnam

Family holiday adventure in Vietnam

Must-Try Activities

Vietnam is an amazing spot for family vacations. It’s got everything – cool cities full of history, like Hanoi’s bustling streets and Hoi An’s lantern-lit alleys. Then you’ve got these incredible natural sights, like Ha Long Bay’s limestone cliffs and Sapa’s green rice fields. And let’s not forget the beaches in Nha Trang and Da Nang – perfect for chilling out. Plus, the food is awesome, and everything’s pretty affordable, which is always a bonus. It’s the kind of place where everyone in the family finds something they love, making it a great choice for a trip with the kids.

Below are some must-try activities in 12 days in Vietnam for families:

  • Exploring the Old Quarters in Hanoi: Wander through the bustling streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, a perfect place to experience the city’s culture, history, and cuisine. Don’t miss trying the famous Vietnamese coffee and street food like pho or banh mi.
  • Watching a water puppet show in Hanoi: A traditional water puppet show is a fun and culturally enriching experience for children and adults alike. These unique performances are a fantastic way to engage with Vietnamese folklore and history.
  • Cruising in Ha Long Bay: Take a boat cruise through Ha Long Bay to admire the stunning limestone karsts rising from the emerald waters. Many cruises offer kayaking, swimming, and visits to caves and local fishing villages.
  • Exploring Hoi An’s Ancient Town: Hoi An is a charming and pedestrian-friendly ancient town. Families can enjoy walking through the colorful streets, trying a lantern-making workshop, and taking a boat ride on the Thu Bon River.
  • Joining cooking class: Participating in a family-friendly cooking class, particularly in cultural hubs like Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City, can be a delightful and tasty way to bond and learn about local cuisine.

Suggested Itineraries

Family Holiday in Vietnam 12 days

Day 1 – Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City Tour: Check out famous tourist destinations like the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Saigon Central Post Office, etc.

Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho: Get on a boat to visit Cai Be Floating Market.

Day 4 – Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City: Discover a local market and take a walk along the quiet countryside.

Day 5 – Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang: Fly to Nha Trang and join a city tour in the afternoon. Check out Cham tower and Long Son Pagoda.

Day 6 – Free day in Nha Trang.

Day 7 – Nha Trang – Da Nang – Hoi An: Fly to Da Nang and onward travel to Hoi An. Afternoon discover Hoi An Ancient Town.

Day 8 – Hoi An – Hue: Move to Hue via Hai Van Pass. In Hue, you will visit the Imperial Citadel and Perfume River.

Day 9 – Hue – Hanoi: Fly to Hanoi. Afternoon visit the Old Quarter and watch a water puppet show.

Day 10 – Hanoi – Ha Long: Embark on a cruise to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vietnam.

Day 11 – Ha Long – Hanoi: End of the cruise itinerary and return to Hanoi. Free time at your leisure.

Day 12 – Departure: End of 12 days in Vietnam tour.

>>> Check out the full itinerary at our Family Holiday in Vietnam 12 Days.

Similar tours:

12 Days in Vietnam For Honeymooners and/or Luxury Travelers

Places to Visit

Vietnam’s diversity ranges from bustling, historic cities to tranquil countryside locales, offering newlyweds a myriad of experiences. The country’s remarkable blend of historical significance, embodied in centuries-old architecture and traditions, intertwines seamlessly with the natural beauty of its landscapes – from majestic mountains and lush rice terraces to sparkling seas and sun-kissed beaches. This creates a romantic setting that’s both culturally enriching and deeply relaxing. Vietnam’s culinary delights, known for their exotic flavors and fresh ingredients, add another layer of enjoyment to the honeymoon experience. The warmth and hospitality of the Vietnamese people will also further enhance the welcoming atmosphere. Couples seeking a balance between adventure and relaxation, cultural immersion and luxurious comfort in Vietnam can check out:

  • Ha Long Bay: Renowned for its breathtaking scenery, Ha Long Bay is ideal for couples seeking a blend of adventure and relaxation. Imagine cruising on a traditional junk boat amidst towering limestone karsts and emerald waters, with opportunities for kayaking, swimming, and secluded beach visits.
  • Da Lat: Often referred to as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Da Lat captivates with its cool climate, French colonial architecture, and picturesque landscapes. It’s a paradise for couples who enjoy nature, with its beautiful flower gardens, waterfalls, and scenic hikes.
  • Hoi An: For beach-loving couples, Hoi An offers gorgeous sandy beaches and a vibrant nightlife. The city is also known for its luxury resorts and spas, providing a perfect blend of relaxation and indulgence.
  • Phu Quoc Island: This island paradise, known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxurious resorts, is ideal for honeymooners looking for a tranquil and intimate setting. Activities include snorkeling, sunset cruises, and exploring the island’s natural beauty.
Romantic honeymoon in Vietnam

Romantic honeymoon in Vietnam

Must-Try Activities

  • Watching the sunset in Ha Long Bay: Embark on an enchanting cruise through Ha Long Bay. The sight of the sun setting over the limestone karsts creates a magical atmosphere, perfect for a romantic evening.
  • Indulge in spa and wellness retreat: Indulge in a couple’s spa session, available in many luxury resorts, offering a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
  • Dining in unique settings: There is a variety of dining experiences to enjoy during your Vietnam 12-day tour, from beachfront restaurants to dining in caves or on river cruises, providing a memorable culinary experience for couples.

Suggested Itinerary

Romantic Honeymoon Package in Vietnam 12 Days

This tour is designed mainly for beach lovers looking for spa relaxation in Vietnam. You will visit famous cities of Vietnam with different experiences: ecotourism in the Mekong Delta, beach relaxation in Hoi An, and sunset watching over Ha Long Bay.

Day 1 – Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City Tour & Spa: Join a half-day Ho Chi Minh City tour and the rest of the day is for spa and wellness treatment.

Day 3 – Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta: Move to My Tho, discover a fruit market, and enjoy traditional music played by local artists.

Day 4 – Ho Chi Minh City – Da Nang – Hoi An: Fly to Da Nang and onward travel to Hoi An. Enjoy a 1-hour spa package in the afternoon.

Day 5 – Free day in Hoi An.

Day 6 – Discover Hoi An at your leisure.

Day 7 – Beach time in Hoi An.

Day 8 – Hoi An – Da Nang – Hanoi: Fly to Hanoi; in the afternoon, discover Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Day 9 – Hanoi – Ha Long: Transfer to Ha Long & embark on an overnight cruise.

Day 10 – Ha Long – Hanoi: End of the cruise itinerary and transfer back to Hanoi.

Day 11 – Hanoi city tour: Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and Vietnam National Museum of Ethnology.

Day 12 – Departure: End of Vietnam 12-day tour.

>>> The comprehensive tour program is presented at this link. For other Vietnam honeymoon tours & vacation packages of different destinations and durations, please check here.

In conclusion, there are many ways to spend 12 days in Vietnam, whether you are an adventure lover seeking to discover one region or want to travel throughout the country. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a tailor-made tour program if you still are not satisfied with the above-mentioned itineraries. Our travel experts at IDC Travel are always eager to help.

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Frequently Asked Questions

For an enjoyable backpacking experience in Vietnam, consider budgeting approximately $50 per day. This budget is for meals, beverages, activities, and lodging. If you’re aiming for a comfortable mid-range experience in Vietnam, it’s advisable to allocate a budget ranging from $60 to $100 per day, covering all your expenses during your stay.

Nearly two weeks in Vietnam is enough for you to discover the country thoroughly. However, if you want to get a deep insight into each region, consider spending 3 weeks in Vietnam.

Passport holders from 25 countries and territories in the world are allowed to stay in Vietnam from 14 to 45 days without a Visa application. So, depending on your nationalities, you can decide whether you are eligible for this Visa exemption policy or not. In case of ineligibility, you can apply for a Vietnam E-visa with very simple steps.

Check out more information on Vietnam visa policies here.

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Alice Pham

Hello, I'm Alice Pham - a travel blogger at IDC Travel. I have traveled to almost places in Vietnam and gained numerous useful experiences. I'm here willing to help you plan the most wonderful trip to our stunning S-shaped country.

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