Vietnam 15-day tour: Complete guide and best itineraries

Vietnam stretches from north to south for more than 2000 km with the capital Hanoi in the North and the big economic capital Ho Chi Minh City in the South. A Vietnam 15-day tour is an ideal duration to discover all the beauty of the Land of Dragons. In this good plan to spend 15 days in Vietnam, we list the must-sees that you should travel to for a first trip to Vietnam, with the activities to do at each destination. An ideal itinerary links all these destinations for a Vietnam 15-day tour. This will allow you to get a first idea of the visit to succeed your first trip to Vietnam.

Highlights of Vietnam 15-day tour

  • Exploration of the essentials of North and South Vietnam with some special visits to the ethnic market, local villages in Lao Cai with overnight stay.
  • Heritage of Vietnam: Relaxing cruise in Halong Bay on a luxury boat, Forbidden and Imperial City of Hue, Old Town of Hoi An
  • Experiences to live the local life of the peasants in Tra Que village
  • Discovery of the Mekong Delta and its floating markets, birthplace of the movie “The Lover”

Brief itinerary of the Vietnam 15-day tour

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Night train to Lao Cai

Day 3: Lao Cai – Coc Ly market (Tuesday) – Sapa

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Day 4: Sapa and its valley – Return to Hanoi by night train

Day 5: Hanoi – Ninh Binh

Day 6: Ninh Binh – Ha Long Bay – Cruise on board

Day 7: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Hue

Day 8: Hue – City tour

Day 9: Hue – Danang – Hoi An

Day 10: Hoi An – City tour – Tra Que Village

Day 11: Hoi An – Danang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) tour

Day 13: Saigon – Ben Tre – Can Tho

Day 14: Can Tho – Cai Rang floating market – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Departure

Detailed itinerary for a Vietnam 15-day tour

Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

Upon arrival, you will be picked up from Noi Bai airport and transported to a hotel in Hanoi for a break (check-in from 1:30 pm).

In the afternoon, it will be the visit of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnography (closed on Monday). You will discover the ways of life and the customs of the 54 ethnic minorities living in Vietnam.

Vietnam Museum of Ethnography

Vietnam Museum of Ethnography

Welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Night in your hotel.

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – night train to Lao Cai

The Hanoi city tour will be the 2nd day in your Vietnam 15 day itinerary.

This day will start with the visit of a local market.

Visit the capital to discover the history of the country that Vietnamese are very proud of through cultural and historical destinations: the Temple of Literature, or the sanctuary of Prince propagator of Letters, the first university of Vietnam dating from the 11th century. Then, you visit the Tran Quoc Pagoda, located on the island of the West Lake, built in the 6th century and considered as the center of Buddhism in Thang Long under the Ly and Tran dynasties.

Tran Quoc Temple

Tran Quoc Temple

The afternoon will be reserved for the stroll on foot and then by cyclo in the heart of Hanoi’s old quarter, the 36-street quarter (old houses of Ma May, Dong Xuan market, Bach Ma temple). Stroll along the silk street, the tinsmith street, the musical instruments street, the confectioners street… around the Lake of the Restituted Sword and finally the Ngoc Son temple, built on the Jade Island, and dedicated to the great Confucian and Taoist masters.

Free meal in the evening.

Drive to Hanoi station for the night train to Lao Cai.

Overnight in air-conditioned cabin with soft beds (4 persons/cabin).

Day 3: Lao Cai – Coc Ly market (Tuesday) – Sapa

After arriving early in the morning at Lao Cai train station, you will be welcomed with a breakfast in a local restaurant.

You will leave for Coc Ly, a very colorful market, by a beautiful mountain road (about 3h30 from Sapa and 1h30 from Bac Ha). This market is known for its buffalo and horse trade and also for its remarkable geographical position on the Chay River. Every Tuesday, many ethnic minorities gather here, including the Flower Hmong wearing their impressive costumes.

Coc Ly Market

Coc Ly Market

After lunch at a local restaurant, you will drive to Sapa. Pass through the Hmong village where you will discover the daily life of this ethnic group, surrounded by the wonderful gardens and pine forests.

Continue your walk through the rice terraces and spectacular scenery before visiting a local school.

Then leave for Ta Phin, a Red Dzao village. You will stay with local people. Despite the minimalist comfort, you can expect a rich experience that you will never forget.

Dinner and overnight with the locals.

Day 4: Sapa and its valley – Return to Hanoi by night train

After breakfast at a local’s house, discover the village of Y Linh Ho, passing by Lao Chai, village of the Black Hmong. Along the road, the beautiful landscapes of the Muong Hoa Valley await you. This valley is entirely created by human hands, offering an incredible landscape of rice terraces and small villages that follow one another. From village to village, meet a new ethnic group and discover how their costumes and traditions change with each ethnic group.

Trekking Y Linh Ho

Trekking Y Linh Ho

Lunch at the local’s house then drive back to Sapa.

You will be free to walk around the streets of Sapa to explore the market, the central square and the stone church before heading to Lao Cai train station to catch the train back to Hanoi.

Evening at leisure and overnight on the night train.

Day 5: Hanoi – Ninh Binh

After arrival at Hanoi train station in the morning, you will have a welcome lunch in a small and friendly hotel.

Then leave for Ninh Binh which is located at 2h30 drive from the capital (120 km), one of the attractive destinations of Vietnam. This place is also considered as the terrestrial Ha Long Bay thanks to its steep relief and limestone hills resembling Ha Long Bay, covered with dense vegetation and home to natural streams and caves dug by erosion.

Continue your trip by visiting the ancient capital of Hoa Lu and its temples dedicated to Emperors Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-980), and Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). Travel to Tam Coc then have lunch in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, enjoy a two-hour sampan boat ride through the incredible karst landscape of Thung Nham, a place as beautiful as Tam Coc and much less touristy. Cycle through the surrounding villages, including Hai Nham village. Discover the life of the inhabitants and the typical landscapes of this region.

Thung Nham Bird Park

Thung Nham Bird Park

Evening at leisure. Night at the hotel.

Day 6: Ninh Binh – Ha Long Bay – Cruise on board

After breakfast at the hotel, you will drive to Ha Long in 4 hours (200 km between Ninh Binh and Halong).

The day will start with a 24-hour cruise on Ha Long Bay aboard a beautiful wooden junk, one of the best things you should do if you visit Vietnam.

Halong Bay

Ha Long Bay

You will be greeted by a welcome cocktail and then meet with the crew. After the presentation of the program of your cruise, you will settle in your cabin. Swim in the turquoise waters of the bay and relax on the beach.

Continue to visit the Thien Canh Son cave. Take a boat ride to Hon Co Island, where you can enjoy another relaxing moment on the beach, kayaking or just watching the sunset.

Then, you will return to the boat and have free time in the late afternoon.

Seafood evening and overnight on board the boat in air-conditioned cabin, equipped with private bathroom.

Day 7: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Hue

Wake up early to watch the sunrise over the bay. Then have breakfast on board the boat while the crew raises the anchor and heads to the floating village of Vung Vieng.

You will then discover the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng by small rowing boat and the village school.

Continue the cruise in the bay. An à la carte lunch will be served on board while the boat heads to the port.

Leave around noon at Hon Gai harbor before heading back to Hanoi, 170 km away (3h30 drive). On the way back, you can visit the But Thap pagoda.

But Thap Pagoda

But Thap Pagoda

We will drive you to Hanoi airport for the evening flight to Hue.

After arrival in Hue, your local driver will welcome you and drive you to the hotel located 20km away (40mn drive).

Evening and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: Hue – City tour

Breakfast at your hotel. After that, you will start the day by visiting the local market of Dong Ba.

Then discover the Imperial City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a real walled city built on the same plan as the Forbidden City in Beijing, its Palace of Supreme Harmony, its Royal Theater and its Palace of Longevity, or a garden house, an ancient traditional house surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Imperial City in Hue

Imperial City in Hue

Visit the tomb of King Tu Duc, near Hue, probably the most beautiful and majestic tomb you can see in Vietnam. Designed in harmony with nature, surrounded by lotus ponds. Around the tomb are statues of lions, elephants and mandarins.

You will stop for a while to discover the secrets of making the emblematic conical hats of Vietnam.

On the way back, visit Tu Hieu pagoda.

Evening at leisure.

Day 9: Hue – Danang – Hoi An

Breakfast at the hotel then leave for the visit of Thien Mu pagoda (also known as the Heaven Fairy Lady Pagoda).

Go on with the Perfume River excursion to Thuy Bieu village where you can walk or bike around the village to discover the way of life of the inhabitants.

In the afternoon, drive to Hoi An. Along the My Khe Beach, you will be amazed from the top of the Cloud Pass (Hai Van) or the panoramic view of Lang Co beach in the north of Danang and its surroundings in the south.

Upon arrival in Danang, you will discover the My Khe Beach and the Museum of Cham Sculture.

Museum of Cham Sculpture

Museum of Cham Sculpture

You will settle down at the hotel after arrival in Hoi An.

Day 10: Hoi An – City tour – Tra Que Village

After breakfast at the hotel, you will go to Hoi An, a historical city and former major trading port in Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries. You will be surprised at the classical Vietnamese architecture while walking in the old town. Then, visit Quan Cong Temple, Tan Ky House (200 years old), Japanese Covered Bridge (400 years old) and the lively market where you will find all kinds of traditional products. The low tile covered houses along the small streets and the meeting halls testify the multicultural past of the city.

Cycle to the vegetable village of Tra Que, which is known for its cultivation of aromatic herbs, such as mint and basil. The leaves are smaller than usual, with a distinctive aroma. On this morning, explore the life of the farmers and you will have the chance to learn their techniques. Follow them into the fields and try your hand at digging and picking vegetables. You will return to Hoi An and then have the rest of the day to admire the charms of this peaceful town.

Tra Que Village

Tra Que Village

Day 11: Hoi An – Danang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free time before your transfer to the airport for the afternoon flight to Saigon.

Upon arrival, the guide and driver will meet you at the airport and drive you to the hotel. The evening is free for you to use.

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) tour

After breakfast, a half day is for a visit of some important places: the Reunification Palace (former residence of the President of South Vietnam until the end of April 1975), the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the Old Saigon Post Office and the War Museum.

In the afternoon, you will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground network built by Vietnamese soldiers during their long struggle for independence. The underground city has hospitals, housing, schools that were used as the military base of the Viet Cong during the war against the Americans.

Cu Chi Tunnels - Vietnam 15 day tour

Discovering Tunnels system

Day 13: Saigon – Ben Tre – Can Tho

After breakfast at your hotel, depart for the Mekong Delta and Ben Tre, stopping along the way at My Tho village. At Ben Tre, embark on a river cruise to immerse yourself in the culture and daily life of the Mekong people, discovering the techniques of brick making and salt processing. This river cruise in this exceptional natural setting will take you to the islands of Cai Son and Nhon Thanh, where the locals specialize in mat production. Taste seasonal fruits and for the rest of the day, ride a bicycle through rice fields and vegetable crops.

Lunch at a local’s house. You will start the afternoon with a boat cruise along the Mekong Delta. On board a boat, you will head towards the Cai Coi creek.

You will take the road to Can Tho. After the arrival, you will settle down at the hotel.

Day 14: Can Tho – Cai Rang floating market – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Take a boat ride on the canal to the floating market in Can Tho, the largest wholesale market in the Mekong Delta. Mangoes, pineapples, bananas and other fruits and vegetables are arranged in pyramids on sampans. A life of full colors really will delight the passionate of photography. The hike will continue through canals along arroyos dotted with coconut trees. You will be able to make a stop in an orchard for a tasting of seasonal fruits in the shade of the high palm trees.

Floating market- Cai Rang

Floating market- Cai Rang

Then continue the bike ride to Binh Thuy where you will find an old 19th century house built 130 years ago and its setting was used for the filming of the movie “The Lover”.

Return to Saigon.

Arrival and check-in at the hotel.

Day 15: Ho Chi Minh City – Departure

Breakfast at your hotel.

You will have free time before transferring to the airport for your flight home or for your onward journey to another destination (the room is at your disposal until noon).

Other Itinerary Vietnam 15 days

During your 15 days in Vietnam, you can have many interesting itineraries, among which it is our program above. In addition, you can also choose other market to discover the North Vietnam, like Bac Ha Market and spend more time to visit Ta Phin Village instead of Ninh Binh. Please see our itinerary as follows:

Example Vietnam 15-day Tour

Example Vietnam 15-day Tour

Bac Ha Market nestled in the hills of northern Vietnam, there is one of the best ethnic markets in all of Southeast Asia! On Sundays, ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages and hills come on foot, by scooter, on horseback and by water buffalo for the opportunity to socialize, eat, drink, smoke, have their hair cut and buy produce and meat for the next week.

Ta Phin Village is one of the most famous ecotourist spots in Sapa. Coming to Ta Phin, you will have chance to meet 2 Vietnamese ethnic: Red Dao and Hmong, to admire the spectacular mountains and rice terraces surrounding this village.

>>> See our itinerary in detail at: Vietnam Ecotourism and Adventure Tour in 15 Days

Furthermore, IDC Travel provide you with another Vietnam 15 day tour: Wonders of Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi in 15 Days that allow you to travel from South to North. With this itinerary 15 days in Vietnam, you will spend more time in the Center at Da Lat and Nha Trang beach city instead of travelling to the Northwestern Vietnam.

Example Vietnam 15-day Tour

Example Vietnam 15-day Tour

You can choose a Vietnam 15-day tour covering 1 or 2 regions of Vietnam in order to discover the hidden beauty of the country. IDC Travel offers different tours for you to travel in Vietnam according to your desires, your available time and your budget. Check out Vietnam Tours to see which suits you best. Or if you still haven’t found the itinerary you’re looking for, feel free to contact us to create a talor-made tour to Vietnam. Our team is always ready to help you so that you can enjoy your trip to Vietnam.

Best time to visit Vietnam

Vietnam is suitable for year-round travel. The best time is winter, while in summer, during the rainy season, there are often storms, but the price will be cheaper. So the best time really depends on your needs.

If you want to enjoy nice weather during your trip, November to April is a better time. But if you want a summer vacation, you can choose the summer period to travel at a relatively lower price. Indeed, air tickets, accommodation and tourist packages are much cheaper from April to June.

>> Click Best time to visit Vietnam to have an overview of Vietnam weather.

Useful information before travelling to Vietnam

Vietnam Visa

For a Vietnam 15 day tour, you can benefit from Vietnam visa exemption. The beneficiary countries are Germany, France, Italy, Spain, UK, Russia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Belarus. Under the policy, citizens of the above countries will not need to apply for a visa if the duration of stay does not exceed 15 days from the date of arrival.

>>> Learn more about Visa to enter Vietnam: Vietnam Visa

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential for visiting any country, including Vietnam. This is probably the most important travel tip to remember in Vietnam.

Although Vietnam is a relatively safe country, it is important to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. And that doesn’t just include flights. Food poisoning, an injury during an adventure activity, losing your valuables or even a missed flight are just some of the things that can really ruin your trip to Vietnam.

The thing is, you never know what can happen. And being prepared for unexpected situations is highly recommended.

Packing List for 15 days in Vietnam

In any case and to be prepared for any eventuality without weighing yourself down, bring with you:

  • Some loose and long clothes to protect yourself from sunburn, mosquitoes and cold evening. Moreover, the visit of the temples and pagodas requires the arms and the legs covered.
  • Short clothes, to enjoy the sun and be comfortable. Swimsuit if you plan to swim in the East Sea.
  • A hat or cap with a wide brim to protect yourself from the sun (Vietnam is in a tropical zone, the sun is strong. Bring a good pair of sunglasses and remember to hydrate very regularly).
  • A comfortable pair of shoes, easy to take off and put on: people often take off their shoes in Vietnam when entering pagodas, private homes, etc.
  • Closed-toe shoes or walking shoes if you are planning a short hike
  • A waterproof jacket if you do not plan to buy a raincoat on the spot.

Vietnam Currency

The unit of currency in Vietnam is the dong. And cash is preferred throughout the country. However, dollars are also very popular in Vietnam. Vendors, drivers, hotels and restaurants accept US dollars. Some hotels, merchandise and airline tickets are even priced in US dollars.

>>> Discover also Vietnam itinerary: Ideas, Schedule, Budget, Tips

You are looking for a Vietnam Tour? Don’t hesitate to contact us for a tailor-made tour in Vietnam! Our team is at your disposal to create your own itinerary according to your style and your rhythm!

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Amelie Nguyen

Hello, I'm Amélie NGUYEN. I was born, raised in Hanoi and have been to almost all places in Vietnam and Asia. Let me share with you more interesting information about travel !

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