Planning a road trip in Vietnam but you don’t know where to start? You came to the right place. Underneath you can find an overview of the places we visited, how long we stayed & our final thoughts on our itinerary.
Quick overview of our itinerary
Ho Chi Minh: 3 nights
Hotel: Alagon D’Antique Hotel & Spa
Hoi An: 5 nights
Hotel: Odyssey Hotel
Hué : 2 nights
Hotel: Vinpearl Hotel
Hanoi: 1 night
Hotel: The Palmy Hotel & Spa
Halong Bay: 1 night
Cruise company: Paradise Luxury Cruise
Ninh Binh: 2 nights
Hotel: Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort
Hanoi: 3 nights
Hotel: Oriental Suites Hotel & Spa
Where to begin
Vietnam was one of the more challenging roadtrips to plan for me. It is such an extensive country & there is so much to see. Fitting this into only 3 weeks was kind of a struggle. Especially since traveling from one place to another takes a lot of time. I changed the route a staggering total of 3 times! Eventually it came down to the itinerary below.
Ho Chi Minh – Da Nang – Hoi An
Our trip started by flying to Ho Chi Minh, with a stopover in Doha. You can choose to travel from north to south or like we did from the south to the north. We flew with Qatar Airways,one of my favourite airlines. Whenever it is a possibility to fly with them, I will.
After 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh, we chose to fly to Da Nang airport with Vietnam Airlines. By plane it only took us 1h opposed to the approximately 14 hours on a train. As a rule, we would opt for the more ecological option. But the flight was actually cheaper than the train and we did not have that much time to spare. From Da Nang we booked transport through Viator to our hotel in Hoi An.
In Hoi An we visited the city, the beach, but also My Son, Ba Na Hills (Sunworld) and Da Nang. Hoi An really is the perfect starting point if these stops are on your list as well!
Hoi An – Hué
From Hoi An we booked transport through Viator again to Hué, combined with some stops along the way. It took us around 3,5h and we drove the Hai Van Pass with some stops along the way. Driving the scenic route offers beautiful views but it takes longer than driving through the Hai Van Tunnel. We also stopped at Lang Co lake. The stops were very much worth it. If you would love to see them but you are short on time, incorporate them into your transportation time!
Hué – Halong Bay – Ninh Binh
After 2 nights in Hué, we flew to Hanoi and stayed there for one night. The day after, the day after a Halong Bay cruise was on the schedule. The cruise sent transport to pick us up (the drive was approximately 2 – 3h) and we spent the night on the boat. Afterwards we booked transport through the cruise immediately to Ninh Binh. Again to save time, but it probably was not the cheapest option. Transport took us around 4h.
We stayed in Ninh Binh for 2 nights and then we arranged our last transport through the hotel. This got us to our last stop, which was Hanoi, for 3 nights.
Thoughts on the itinerary
In the end our route worked out well and the amount of days we spent per stop was quite accurate. We would recommend this itinerary although it did not provide us with much spare time to relax. We always had a lot of things we absolutely wanted to see.
Are you looking for a good hotel to stay at in Ho Chi Minh City? Read all about our hotel here.