Vietnam route: 3 weeks trip from north to south

Creating an itinerary in Vietnam is not exactly one of the simplest things to do, and that’s just for one reason: there is so much to see, the country is definitely big and the distances to cover are not few … But we know that it often happens.
In my case, however, since I had the desire to see Vietnam as much as possible at one time, I opted for a full immersion. From north to south, a 3-week journey with a few dead times.
Some pre-departure tips
Allianz Global Assistance for Safe Travel Insurance, in my opinion, is essential in this trip and not so much because we are talking about 3 weeks, no. And not even because I have planned trekking and mountain biking on my path, not just at least … But for the hard work it does whenever you have to cross a road in Hanoi, to say it! Have you seen photos around?
Before leaving, terrified, I thought it was the case to protect me, a minimum.
Other advice: I personally do not consider the dollar obligatory when you go to Vietnam. Not at all.
I’ve always changed the euro almost everywhere without any problems. Keep in mind that local currency in Vietnam is the Dong and there are so many places where you can change in local currency.
Banks, post offices and even hotels in some cases, but everyone also accepts the euro and not just the dollars.
Notes about this Vietnam itinerary
1. The great flaw for me on this itinerary is that it does not include the most famous caves, namely the Phong Nha – Ke bang National Park recognized Unesco Heritage! You should change something on this itinerary so I would add these caves by taking time off to Sapa, but now that I’ve seen it is easy! With the hint of then we all can not?
2. What’s important to keep in mind: This is a private-made itinerary for most of us being a group trip to which I was the Vagabonda Doc alias, the one that coordinates. As a result, take the cue for evaluating your chosen destinations, but some are not easily accessible by public transport, others are yes.
Vietnam 3-week route from north to south
Day 1: Europe – Vietnam (Milan – Hanoi)
I really do not remember the trip. I took flight from Milan to Frankfurt airport and then crashed on the flight to my destination: I slept all the time. And I know, I have a big ass to fall asleep all the time. So far all right.
Day 2: Hanoi
Arrive the morning in Hanoi and having slept all the time I am quite ready to live the day! Hanoi is exactly that big chaos that you expect, even if it is capable of having a great charm. I have the terror of crossing the street after everything I read on the web, but I try to give me courage and “launch” as everyone advises. And then I begin to visit: Temple Literature and Ethnological Museum (I was not hit) and I find myself in the afternoon to see the Puppet Show or one of the typical shows with the puppets I would like to explain, but I slept almost all the time (the Jet lag, it felt like it). I wake up entirely at the moment of the “cycle” or the Hanoi rickshaw, in the rain, alone with my crazy Vietnamese pedal: this is a beautiful experience! It’s worth to do. Even with rain.
Day 3: Hanoi – Ha Giang
I was very much anxious about this moment and I will talk about it again, but today I visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, a very interesting visit. Then take the private bus to Ha Giang 5 hours away from Hanoi. I sleep in a “home-stay” or a home of a village with the local family who hosts tourists (it is home to payment of course). Dinner sitting with them, floor mat and mosquito net: I sleep divinely.
Day 4: Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Yen Minh – Dong Van
The journey goes north and I say to you immediately that it goes to what is for me the least touristic part of Vietnam I’ve visited: the far north, bordering on China and its villages still linked to ethnicities and traditions. Very beautiful! The landscape that you can see during your trip really deserves. We arrive at Dong Van, and still today I feel the place I loved in Vietnam, still devoid of mass tourism. Recommended for those who have this need.
Day 5: Dong Van – Meo Vac Yen Minh – Ha Giang
Since Dong Van is quite “isolated” it’s great to get up here, but it is necessary to go back to Ha Giang to continue the journey. The journey is long enough as the roads are not as we obviously do: many curves in this case and a few pieces a bit discouraged, it takes time.
Stage at Meo Vac is another tiny, definitely not touristy and fascinating country. Nice to look at these places. Then I continue to Ha Giang visiting this town this time. I only know that I have rarely seen so desert places. Even karaoke, present and open, were deserted. A joy …
Day 6: Ha Giang – Bac Ha
In Vietnam to do 200 km can also serve 6/7 hours, this is the time I took by bus to get to Bac Ha. The roads are broken and the coach can certainly not run. Bac Ha is a very nice and super-famous village for its local market: they organize tourist buses to come here to see the local market with the many Vietnamese ethnicities displaying their products.
It is also very nice to take a walk and savor the intense green landscape that lives here in northern Vietnam.
Day 7: Bac Ha – Sapa
Who keeps it: it gets up at dawn! In order to live it in its pure dimension, tourists arrive after 10 pm, but instead the situation is controlled. I do not like the markets in general (I do not know, I did not have to tell you but it is reality), but I must admit that this place is definitely uncommon and for those who love to understand cultural customs, a place to be missed. Then head for Sapa and return to the modern era.
Day 8: Sapa – Trekking Taphin
I was so keen to visit Sapa and I’m happy to see her, but I’m telling you everything in the post dedicated to Sapa, things to do included. Today for me is a day of trekking, Sapa is famous for its surroundings and I head specifically to Taphin to spend the night in a village again in a home-stay. Beautiful experience, it’s worth to do.
Day 9: Taphin – Sapa – 15 km
I wake up early with the scent of fire as my hostess is cooking breakfast pancakes and even though over the course of the night it rained on me (the roof I suppose was laundry), I am very happy with this home-stay. Walking (talking about trekking to Sapa is a controversial concept) and I go back to Sapa to visit things around and enjoy my free time.
Day 10: Sapa – Hanoi – train
From Sapa at night on the 19th night train to get to Hanoi: he travels well. The berths are comfortable, clean and I found the comfort comfortable as compared to what I remembered on my European trips. Certainly better to have a sackcloth and I also slept dressed for my comfort, but experience very pleasant and then save time.
Day 11: Hanoi – Long Bay
Definitely one of the most anticipated stages of the trip: the Halong Bay, here I am referring to the dedicated post. From Hanoi to Ha Long are 3 hours with quite comfortable and newly refurbished paved road, very easy trip. Arriving at Ha Long in my case I took the boat for the cruise along the bay, called Junk: true luxury! They are different and they all have similar prices, so it’s worth choosing the really comfortable ones. You spend the night on this beautiful boat.
Day 12: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi
Return to Hanoi after having spent a half day cruise. Hanoi is particularly alive so I take advantage of it to enjoy the evening with friends in these narrow streets, pubs and pubs, definitely fun and the climate that breathes involves.
Day 13: Hanoi – Hué with night train
I dedicate the day back to Hanoi but this time with no precise goals, I find it always nice to be able to run a little at random in the cities to get a little sense of it and obviously take advantage of it to resume the rickshaw having loved this means of transport. In the evening for the 19 pm night train to Hué, you change the Vietnam area: downtown / south direction, another wonderful train ride
Day 14: Hue
Arriving at Hué for 10am, the train was about an hour late and he was paying attention to figure out when to get off. The climate changes immediately as it is much warmer here: Hué is an ancient imperial city and there are things to see there, the citadel in the first place.
Day 15: Hue – A Luoi
Bicycle and so on, I said that I wanted to experience this experience as well, and as far as initially putting me on the problem of how to cross, I soon find myself on totally isolated roads and have no problems. In the afternoon, however, we head to Aluoi to sleep again in a home-stay. Nearby there are natural and accessible spas.
Day 16: A Luoi – Hoi An
In the morning you go looking for the Ho Chi Minh path trapped in the jungle (these were the paths used during the war). To this day, there is a jungle path with a high risk of leaking and high humidity, and here it is just a decapitated stopping. Direction Hoi An in the afternoon: the famous lantern town.
Day 17: Hoi An
Cities to visit and above all to enjoy. To see in the area is also the ruins of My Son, but I think that for those who have already seen Cambodia or even just Thailand, it does not matter much, but do your evaluations. Hoi An is small and turns it easily and does not take so long to see it all.
Day 18: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon (inner flight)
As said Vietnam to be visited from north to south is not easy and therefore an internal flight is necessary, in this case up to Saigon, another world in all directions as Vietnam changes. Keep in mind that here is the south to be richer than the north. While before you arrive, it is a must-have for the Cu Chi tunnels, tourists, but the story they tell is not.
Arriving in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City there is everything! You arrive in the great metropolis of Vietnam.
Day 19: Saigon – Can Tho
Visiting the Mekong Delta on a bicycle is definitely a thing I recommend: the little streets are very simple, there are some climbs and those who are not trained as I must go down to walk, but for the rest it is nice to observe the scenery by pedaling .
At night, home-stay in the heart of these naturalistic scenery.
Day 20: Can Tho – Saigon
Can Tho is the floating market just because of the importance the river has in these areas: a whole series of boats that sell as in a normal market, only that they are on the river. Another very special market I’ve never seen so. Then return to the metropolis at Saigon.
Day 21: Vietnam – Europe (Saigon –Milan)
Returning to Europe, with both flight and night cancellation at the airport … but this is another story and not even the original ones.

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