Vietnam 9 days itinerary

by Arjun
Vietnam 9 days itinerary by toads on the road

Ahh, Vietnam.

Every time I think about my spent with your beauty, it leaves a smile on my face. So far, most of you have been wondering whether it’s worth or not to visit Vietnam? Or have a limited number of days, so confused between so famous Thailand and Vietnam?

Well, the time spent on this making this decision is worth it. I can’t forget my Vietnam experiences, in deep love with them. So, here I am today to share some of those experiences with you. Just made a small effort of putting all the details together by making this Vietnam 9 days itinerary.

So, you did all your research about going someplace offbeat, old school, close to nature, beautiful yet less crowded(By tourists) ON THE TOP MOST AFFORDABLE and WORTH. I must say that you already hit the bull’s eye halfway through by giving a thought about Vietnam.

Vietnam offers you everything right from beauty, unique country destinations, affordable stays, affordable yet finger licking food, exhilarating views, not so crowded destinations, kind-hearted Vietnamese people, great roads, and railways, etc.

My love towards Vietnam has been evident from all my previous posts on Vietnam, my Instagram feed. So, quite a few friends reached out to prepare one such itinerary for them. I did already. It acted like a charm for them. So, I decided to make that itinerary public. So, that more and more of you people can experience this underrated beauty. Check this nine days Vietnam itinerary

  1. Hanoi
  2. Halong Bay
  3. Ninh Binh(Tam Coc)
  4. Hue
  5. Hoi An
  6. Da Nang
  7. Ho Chi Minh

You can add:

  • Sa Pa
  • Nha Trang
  • Phú Quốc
  • Cat Ba Island

Especially for people who:

  • Love nature.
  • Loves to travel more on smaller budgets.
  • Prefer calm and less crowded over touristy places.
  • Are competent to travel to locations not so famous around.
  • Wants to experience the local culture.
  • Love places which haven’t been worked on from a tourist point of view.

Approx Expenses for itinerary below

  1.  Stay:  It would be around INR500-2000 for two(Lowest being backpackers hostel, highest being a 3-star hotel).
  2. Food: INR200 – 600 for two(Lowest being the local food like Pho Soup,  fast food meals will be between it, highest being the Indian food).
  3. Drinks: INR60 – 180( All good lagers, lowest being a liquor store, highest being the restaurants.
  4. Bike Rental: INR 800-1200(For one-way rental + luggage drop at your destination)HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR BUDGET ROAD TRIP BETWEEN TWO CITIES.
  5. Local Flights: INR 1000-2000 (For domestic flights inside Vietnam, without check-in baggage)

Approx budget for Vietnam trip: Number of days * INR 3700-4000

Inclusions: Road Travel, Air Travel from and to the home country, Local air travel, Train travel, three meals a day, budget stay, GrabTaxi, Beer in drinks, visa fees, souvenir shopping, activities, bike rental, Halong Bay cruise, misc.
  1. Booking.com for booking hotels.
  2. Agoda.com for booking hostel, hostels
  3. Hostelworld.com for booking hostels
  4. Baolau.com for train, bus, ferry and air bookings through south-east Asia

Getting a Vietnam Visa is a two-step process.

1. Authorisation letter: The first step you have to do when you are still in your home country. That is arranging a VISA APPROVAL LETTER. Logically it’s just a formality of getting certified by some Vietnam local travel agent to acknowledge that a person with this name and identity from this country with this passport number is arriving in Vietnam.

  1. How to get it: You will find numerous websites offering the same, but the cost will vary from the number of days they will take, how fancy their website is. Fees start from 5$ and goes up to 50$. Well, I ordered it from a site not so elegant. This is where I ordered it. It arrived in decent 3-4 days in fair price. So let me tell you what exactly it is, just a pdf document with hundreds of names, passport number, and their corresponding nationalities. These websites send all of us all the same authorisation letter. They all can use it. I know you must be thinking about what a great business it is. Indeed, but leave it that’s a story for some other day.

2.  The second step has to is done on arrival in the country. For which you would need

  1. Get the visa approval letter printed.
  2. Prepare 02 passport-sized pictures (photos of your face) (4*6cm)
  3. Take the letter with you to show the Airlines when boarding the plane.
  4. Prepare the Visa Approval letter for visa stamp when you arrive at the Immigration Office in the international Airport Vietnam (Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat airport in Hochiminh city, or Danang airport in Danang city)
  5. Prepare some money per person by cash for visa stamping fee (paid by yourself upon arrival: 25$ for one month and 3-month single entry, 50$ for 1-month multiple entries, 50$ for 3-month multiple entries)
  6. Passport with blank pages and validity.

All expenses in VND, check the latest exchange from VND to INR

Day 1: Hanoi
  1. Land in Hanoi:
    1. Take a bus(30,000VND) to Hanoi Old Quarter(City Center) or Grab Taxi(345,000 – 375,000 VND)

      Disclaimer: Photos are taken from here just for informative purposes, visit this site to know more.

    2.  Reach your hostel/hotel, take some rest and leave for some local self-guided walking tour. Explore the Old Quarter area. You will find all kind of international fashion brands and fast food chains in this area. If you are going there at the weekend, you can see some great activities around the Hoan Kiem lake, some street performers, and lively nightlife. The hostel we stayed at Central Backpacker Hostel (Free on the house beer every evening)
Day 2 – Day 3 evening: Halong Bay Cruise 2Day 1Night tour
  1. Leave for Halong Bay Tour( You can book some great Halong Bay tours here, book it beforehand to avoid overpriced disaster later)
Day 3, Evening: Hanoi
  1. Enjoy some souvenir shopping in Hanoi and a drink in the old quarter as it will be your last day in Hanoi.
    For this part of our stay in Hanoi, we booked this hotel. The only place I could recommend after wasting a lot of time for souvenirs is Amazing Hanoi. Click Here to visit their facebook page
Day 4: Hanoi – Ninh Binh
  1. Catch a train to Ninh Binh. It’s a short train. You can book that train from this site. Ninh Binh is a small city with heavenly views, friendly people, magnificent landscapes, countryside, nature at its best and raw form. Rest you can google, as this blog is more about the itinerary and less about the introduction of places.
  2. For the first day in Ninh Binh walked around this hostel we stayed. Its a beautiful and calm place with a lot of in-house restaurants with great food and the most humble service you can ever witness on this planet. At those ridiculously competitive prices, if one will give you beer and snacks for FREE, other would SPONSOR your cab, or some would give you meals for FREE for your train journey if you are going ahead.
Day 5: Ninh Binh
  1. Rent a scooter, explore the countryside, enjoy Tam Coc boat ride. Hire a bicycle if you want to stroll through paddies. You can spend some more days exploring the landscape here in Ninh Binh. But as we are short on time. We took a night train around 9 PM to Hue.
Day 6: Hue
  1. Huế is a city in central Vietnam. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century Đại Nội Citadel. It encompasses the historical town with palaces and shrines. Again history lovers can spend some more time here, but we spent a day exploring the history, market. We spent very less time in this city. Majorly because I wasn’t doing well.
  2. If your Indian taste buds are craving for something Indian, without any hesitation you can go to Ganesh Indian restaurant
Day 7: Hue to Hoi An road trip
  1. On the second day morning, we hired a bike for one-way rental(that is picked it up in Hue and will leave it at Hoi An). The best part of this is that you could go with your rucksacks in Hue only, you will get them at the location in Hoi An where you will leave the rental bike. It will cost somewhere around 400,000 VND for a motorcycle. BUT what I can assure you is, it is worth a lot more than that. The views and the places you can visit on your way to Hoi An, the city of lanterns including the destination is so picturesque and soothing. Some areas you can cover on your way is Da Nang city, Marble Mountains, Elephant falls. Below are some of our memories from this road trip.
  2. You will reach Hoi An in the evening, contact your hotel. Your bags might be waiting for you there or will arrive soon. Check-in and relax and move out to see Japenese covered bridge, A Landmark 18th-century wooden bridge featuring elaborate carvings & a pedestrian passageway. This place has a small entry fee of 6$ or 120,000 VND for the foreigners  (included 5/ 22 sightseeing spots to visit). But its worth a visit more than once. A tremendous and happening place to spend your evening.
Day 8: Explore Hoi An
  1. Rent a bicycle, or if you stay in a fantastic hotel like us, they will give one you for free. Check this place called Vaia Hotel, Hoi An.
  2. Spend a day seeing all these places :
    a. An Bang Beach: Tranquil, tree-lined beach featuring white sand, palapas, lounge chairs & eateries.
    b. Fukian Assembly Hall: Ornate Chinese-style temple founded in 1692 & upgraded by Fujian traders in 1759.

    c. Hoi An Ancient Town: Bustling heritage site with a preserved port city & commercial centre reflecting foreign influences.
  3. Take some rest chilling at some good restaurant in the old Hoi An or Japenese bridge area. You will also find some good Indian restaurants in that area. I can not assure it is the best Indian food you have ever had, but one of the best among all the Indian restaurants Baba’s Kitchen.
4. Don’t forget to book a bus or cab from your hotel to Da Nang airport for the next day. It’s little far, and I would prefer spending a bit extra and booking a taxi from hotel only, that will save some time as well as it will be comfortable as they will provide Toyota Fortuner for very competitive prices.
Day 9: Take a flight to Ho Chi Minh from Da Nang
  1. Reach this city called Ho Chi Minh. I assure you will feel a different vibe than Hanoi in this part of Vietnam formerly known as Saigon.
  2. First of all, book your stay somewhere near District 1, or you can easily Click Here and find a great place to stay in Ho Chi Minh.
  3. Already said enough in my Instagram feed, Visit Cafe Du Mien at any time of the day. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it is enchanting at all time of the day. But the evening is the most beautiful time to cherish some Baileys with a snack. Their jasmine tea(complimentary welcome drink) made me fall in love with it in such a way that I brought three packets of that jasmine tea home. Also, last but not the least coffee is something Vietnam is famous for. So don’t forget to bring some home.
  4. Book a tour to Mekong Delta here for the next days; you can decide how long you want to make it. Go for a 1-4 days tour as per your preference.
  5. Spend a night in any suitable place you find in District1. I must say Ho Chi Minh is a city with a great nightlife.

So, this is all about a short nine days trip which requires 4-5 days leave depending on you are travelling in a week with the long weekend or a regular week — of course, clubbing the weekends all along.  Happy Travelling.

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