What To Do In Vietnam For 5 Days: 6 Best Itineraries For You
“What to do in Vietnam for 5 days?” The question at hand presents a challenge, sparking excitement to uncover as much as possible of the captivating country of Vietnam in a tight timeframe.
Vietnam boasts of its labyrinthine streets, undulating rice terraces, and echoes of history, which demand more than a brief sojourn. However, for those on a tight schedule, a different kind of travel magic is needed. Asia Pioneer Travel has created some diverse and dynamic experiences in a singular 5-day itinerary that stitches together vibrant highlights from Hanoi’s ancient charm to the buzzing streets of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a curated sprint through Vietnam’s best, with each day being a new chapter in a fast-paced adventure. If you are ready, let’s dive in!
Best Suggestions For Vietnam Itinerary In 5 Days
Itinerary 1: Northern Charms – Halong Bay to Ninh Binh Discovery
An exhilarating journey with our Northern Circuit and the perfect blend of urban dynamism, tranquil seascapes, and awe-inspiring landscapes are what you can expect. This circuit will take you through the vibrant Hanoi city, the magnificent Ha Long Bay, and the serene rice fields and towering limestone cliffs of Ninh Binh.
From breathtaking Halong Bay to the limestone cliffs of Ninh Binh
Day 1: Hanoi – Capital City Charms
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant chaos of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, brimming with timeless streets and local markets.
- Experience the scholarly serenity of the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first national university.
- Stroll around the peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake and end your day with a traditional water puppet show, followed by an exploration of Hanoi’s famed street food.
Day 2: Hanoi to Ha Long Bay – Seaside Wonders
- Set off early to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, a surreal seascape dotted with limestone karsts.
- Board a luxury cruise to navigate between islands, savor fresh seafood, and kayak in emerald waters.
- Sleep aboard amidst the bay’s tranquility, with a tapestry of stars overhead.
Day 3: Ha Long Bay to Ninh Binh – Limestone Landscapes
- Greet the dawn with Tai Chi on deck, followed by a hearty brunch.
- Transition from the coast to the terrestrial majesty of Ninh Binh, often referred to as ‘Ha Long Bay on Land.’
- Cap off the day with a serene boat ride through the cinematic landscapes of Trang An or Tam Coc.
Day 4: Ninh Binh Exploration
- Marvel at the grandeur of Bai Dinh Pagoda, Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist complex.
- Cycle past idyllic rice fields to reach the dramatic Mua Cave, ascending for a breathtaking sunset.
- Spend the night in Ninh Binh, soaking in the rural ambiance.
>> Read More: Top 12 Things To Do In Ninh Binh
Day 5: Ninh Binh to Hanoi – Return Journey
- Visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu to witness Vietnam’s deep-rooted history.
- Take a leisurely afternoon drive back to Hanoi to catch your departing flight, enriched by the northern splendors.
>> You Might Be Interested In This Tour: Best of Hanoi & Halong Bay
Itinerary 2: Northern Heights & Hill Tribe Heritage – Hanoi, Sapa & Ha Giang
Experience the raw beauty and cultural depth of Vietnam’s highlands with the Northern Trail, a journey that weaves through the vibrant streets of Hanoi, the terraced hills of Sapa, and the rugged landscapes of Ha Giang.
From bustling Hanoi to the picturesque Sapa and the adventurous Ha Giang
Day 1: Hanoi – City Discovery
- Start your adventure soaking in the architectural blend of the Old and French Quarters.
- Spend your evening experiencing the city’s dynamic nightlife, offering a fusion of local and international flavors.
Day 2: Hanoi to Sapa – Mountain Gateway
- Journey by train or bus through the picturesque landscapes en route to Sapa.
- Spend your afternoon trekking to the Black H’mong village of Cat Cat and meandering through Sapa’s charming town.
- Rest in Sapa to prepare for the next day’s highland adventures.
Day 3: Sapa – Ethnic Villages and Terraces
- Embark on a full-day trek to visit the various ethnic minority villages nestled amongst Sapa’s iconic rice terraces.
- Board the overnight train or bus, returning to Hanoi enriched by the cultural tapestry and lush scenery.
Day 4: Hanoi to Ha Giang – Remote Beauty
- After an early return to Hanoi, set forth to the remote beauty of Ha Giang province.
- Discover the local lifestyle by visiting Ha Giang‘s ethnic markets and the historical Palace of the H’mong King.
- Spend the night in Ha Giang, a gateway to the region’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Day 5: Ha Giang to Hanoi – Scenic Routes
- Explore the geological marvels of Dong Van Geopark and the awe-inspiring Ma Pi Leng Pass.
- Conclude your journey with an evening transfer back to Hanoi, your soul full of the raw beauty and cultural richness you’ve encountered along the trail.
>> See Tour: Discover Ha Giang & The Far North
Itinerary 3: Central Legacies – Hue’s Imperial Majesty & Hoi An’s Ancient Lure
Central Vietnam’s history, culture, and architecture are all included within this itinerary, which might take you through the imperial elegance of Hue, the natural grandeur of Da Nang, and the timeless charm of Hoi An.
From imperial Hue to unspoiled Da Nang and the ageless appeals of Hoi An
Day 1: Arrival in Hue
- Step back in time as you wander through the storied halls of the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City, once the epicenter of the Nguyen Dynasty’s power.
- Conclude your day with a tranquil evening boat ride on the Perfume River, where the reflections of Hue’s landmarks shimmer on the water.
Day 2: Hue’s Royal Heritage
- Discover the spiritual essence of Hue at the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, overlooking the Perfume River.
- Pay homage to the Nguyen emperors at their ornate royal tombs, set amidst lush landscapes.
- Delight your palate with Hue’s royal cuisine, a legacy of the city’s imperial past.
Day 3: Hue to Da Nang and Hoi An
- Depart for Da Nang and ascend the Marble Mountains to uncover a world of caves, temples, and panoramic views.
- Visit the Cham Museum to gain insight into the ancient Cham civilization.
- Arrive in Hoi An as the lanterns begin to glow, illuminating the enchanting Ancient Town.
Day 4: Hoi An’s Countryside
- Venture to My Son Sanctuary, a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and the 14th century by the Kings of Champa.
- Spend the afternoon cycling through Hoi An’s lush countryside or partake in a hands-on cooking class to learn about local culinary traditions.
Day 5: Hoi An to Da Nang for Departure
- Enjoy a leisurely morning in Hoi An, perhaps visiting a local market or enjoying a final stroll through the old streets.
- Transfer to Da Nang to connect with your departing flight, taking with you memories of central Vietnam’s stunning cultural landscape.
>> Read More: Essential Things To Do In Hoi An Of Vietnam
Itinerary 4: Southern Stories – Ho Chi Minh City’s Vibrancy & Mekong’s Lively Waters
Take a journey through the energy of Southern Vietnam, its war-time history, and the serene waterways of the Mekong Delta region. The adventure begins in the vibrant and energetic streets of Ho Chi Minh City, promising a colorful mosaic of sights, sounds, and smells, from the tantalizing aromas of delicious street food to the rhythmic beat of traditional music.
From the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh to the historic Cu Chi Tunnels
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City’s Urban Pulse
- Dive into the city’s rich history with visits to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, then witness the poignant legacy of conflict at the War Remnants Museum.
- The evening comes alive at Ben Thanh Market, a perfect spot to savor street food and local buzz.
Day 2: Cu Chi Tunnels and City Highlights
- Traverse the underground network of the Cu Chi Tunnels, gaining insight into the guerilla warfare of the Vietnam War.
- Spend your afternoon enjoying the cosmopolitan flair of District 1 or take in panoramic city views from the Saigon Skydeck.
Day 3: Mekong Delta Discovery
- Set off on a full-day excursion to the Mekong Delta, where you’ll float along the river, visit local workshops, and engage with the riverine culture.
- Return to Ho Chi Minh City, carrying the tranquil rhythms of delta life with you.
Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho
- Travel to Can Tho, the beating heart of the Mekong Delta, and immerse yourself in the bustling activity of its floating markets and riverfront life.
- Overnight in Can Tho, allowing the gentle flow of the river to lull you to sleep.
Day 5: Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City
- Wake early to experience the Cai Rang floating market at its most vibrant, and visit a local rice noodle factory to see this staple food being made.
- Journey back to Ho Chi Minh City for your departure, with memories of Southern Vietnam’s spirited charm.
>> See Tour: Southern Vietnam Discovery
Itinerary 5: Southern Wonders – Urban Vibrance, Island Serenity & Delta Dawn
Let’s escape to a tropical paradise, intertwining leisurely beach days on Phu Quoc Island with the cultural richness of Ho Chi Minh City and the lively river scenes of Can Tho, creating a varied tapestry of Southern Vietnam’s allure.
Ideal beach getaway at Phu Quoc island
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City’s Dynamic Blend
- Begin by exploring the historical depth of Ho Chi Minh City with visits to the Independence Palace and the bustling historic district.
- Conclude your day with a delightful dinner on a river cruise, basking in the city’s illuminated skyline.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc Island
- Take an early flight to the serene beaches of Phu Quoc Island, a tropical haven for relaxation.
- Revel in the island’s sunset at Dinh Cau Rock, a stunning natural and spiritual landmark.
Day 3: Phu Quoc’s Natural and Cultural Sites
- Discover the island’s treasures with visits to a pearl farm, a pepper plantation, and the pristine shores of Sao Beach.
- As dusk falls, immerse yourself in local flavors and crafts at the Duong Dong Night Market.
Day 4: Phu Quoc to Can Tho
- Spend your morning snorkeling in the clear waters or enjoying a fishing trip, exploring Phu Quoc’s aquatic wonders.
- Fly to Can Tho in the afternoon and take an evening stroll along the Ninh Kieu Wharf, embracing the city’s lively riverfront atmosphere.
Day 5: Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City
- Embark on an early morning visit to the famous Cai Rang Floating Market to capture the bustling trade of the delta’s waterways.
- Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the afternoon, ready for your onward journey or departure, with the soulful memories of Southern Vietnam’s diverse experiences etched in your heart.
>> See Tour: Splendours of Vietnam & Pristine Beach
Itinerary 6: Ultimate Vietnam Trip From North to South
Having 5 days is still flawless to have an unforgettable adventure through Vietnam, from the northern region to the southern part of the country. This perfect journey of discovery would take you on a path that explores the diverse landscapes, rich culture, and fascinating history of this beautiful country.
You are given the chance to explore the must-visit places in Vietnam
Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi and City Highlights
- Land at Noi Bai International Airport and get settled in your chosen accommodation. Begin your Vietnamese adventure by paying respects at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and marveling at the historic One Pillar Pagoda.
- Savor authentic Vietnamese flavors with a lunch that introduces you to the culinary delights of Hanoi.
- Meander through the maze-like streets of the Old Quarter, absorbing the buzz and history, and visit the iconic St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
- Delight in the cultural spectacle of a water puppet show, a unique art form hailing from Northern Vietnam.
- Dine amidst the vibrant atmosphere of the Old Quarter, with a choice of local favorites such as Pho or Bun Cha. Return to your hotel to rest up for the adventures ahead.
Day 2: Hanoi to Ha Long Bay
- Set off on a scenic drive to the World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, a jewel in Vietnam’s crown. Board your cruise, your home for the night, and embark on a breathtaking voyage amongst thousands of limestone islets.
- Enjoy a delectable lunch on deck while navigating the emerald waters. Explore the magnificent Sung Sot Cave or paddle a kayak to secluded corners of the bay.
- Relish a sumptuous dinner on the cruise, accompanied by a stunning sunset backdrop. Sleep soundly on calm waters, under the stars of Ha Long Bay.
Day 3: Ha Long Bay to Hoi An
- Greet the day with a Tai Chi session as the sunrise paints the sky, a moment of tranquility amidst the natural grandeur. A brunch buffet awaits as you cruise back to the mainland.
- Disembark and travel back to Hanoi to catch a flight to Da Nang, the gateway to Hoi An. Transfer from Da Nang to the enchanting town of Hoi An, known for its well-preserved Ancient Town.
- Settle into your Hoi An hotel before taking an evening amble through the lantern-lit streets, visiting landmarks like the Japanese Covered Bridge. Dine by the river, enjoying the serene ambiance and tasty local cuisine. Night at Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 4: Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
- Opt for a sunrise excursion to the My Son Sanctuary or engage in a hands-on cooking class to learn about Hoi An’s culinary secrets. Enjoy a leisurely brunch and take a final wander around Hoi An’s charming pathways.
- Transfer to Da Nang and fly to the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City. Explore the poignant War Remnants Museum and the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the city.
- Experience the dynamic flavors of southern Vietnamese cuisine at a local eatery. Browse the bustling stalls of Ben Thanh Night Market for souvenirs and snacks. Overnight in the electric atmosphere of HCMC.
Day 5: Ho Chi Minh City and Departure
- Embark on an early morning journey to the Cu Chi Tunnels, delving into an underground world of wartime history. Enjoy a bowl of Pho for lunch, a fitting last taste of Vietnam’s rich culinary tradition.
- Squeeze in some last-minute shopping or ascend the Saigon Skydeck for panoramic views of the cityscape. Prepare for departure and check out from your hotel, reflecting on the whirlwind of experiences.
- Transfer to Tan Son Nhat International Airport, bidding farewell to Vietnam with a heart full of memories and a promise to return.
>> See Tour: Vietnam Overview
What To Know When Planning A Trip To Vietnam
Essential tips when traveling to Vietnam
Visa Requirements: Before you travel to Vietnam, check the latest visa requirements. Many travelers may need to apply for a visa in advance or qualify for a visa on arrival or e-visa, depending on their nationality and the length of their stay.
Best Time to Visit: Vietnam’s climate varies from the north to the south. The best time to visit generally falls between November and April, when the weather is more likely to be clear and mild. However, regional differences can affect this, so plan according to the areas you wish to explore.
Health and Vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all necessary vaccinations are up-to-date. Consider vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis, depending on your itinerary. Also, remember to bring any prescription medications and maybe some for traveler’s diarrhea or altitude sickness if you’re heading to the mountains.
Currency: The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency. While credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist spots, cash is king in rural areas. It’s wise to carry a mix of both and inform your bank about your travel plans to prevent any issues with your cards overseas.
Language: Vietnamese is the official language, and while English is increasingly spoken in tourist areas, it’s not universally understood. Learning a few basic Vietnamese phrases can enhance your experience and help you navigate local interactions.
Cultural Etiquette: Vietnam is a culturally rich and diverse country with its own set of social norms. Dress conservatively when visiting temples or religious sites, and be mindful of local customs such as removing shoes before entering someone’s home.
Transportation: Vietnam has a range of transportation options, from domestic flights to buses, trains, and motorbikes. Consider your comfort level and safety when choosing how to get around, as road conditions and traffic can be challenging for those unaccustomed to the local driving style.
- Accommodations: Vietnam offers a broad spectrum of accommodations, from luxury resorts to budget hostels. Booking in advance can secure better rates and availability, especially during peak tourist seasons.
- Connectivity: Invest in a local SIM card for mobile data access. Wi-Fi is widely available in tourist areas, but having your own data can be invaluable for navigation and in case of emergencies.
- Travel Insurance: Always travel with insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen property. It provides peace of mind and protection against the unexpected.
- Local Laws and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local laws, especially those regarding photography, drone usage, and cultural preservation. Drug offenses carry severe penalties, including the death penalty.
- Environmental Awareness: Vietnam is home to delicate ecosystems and historic sites. Be a responsible traveler by minimizing your environmental footprint and respecting the cultural heritage of the places you visit.
- A Local Travel Agency Is Preferable: Consider the benefits of employing a local travel agency like Asia Pioneer Travel. Our team can offer valuable insights and customize your itinerary based on your group’s interests and requirements. With our expertise and connections, you can enjoy a stress-free holiday, with the logistical details and potential language barriers managed by professionals who are experienced in catering to international travelers.
Your Vietnam Holiday Starts From Here
If you’re ready for an unforgettable five-day adventure through the gorgeous Vietnam, don’t miss out on this curated sprint of vibrant highlights. Let Asia Pioneer Travel be your guide with the best experiences, from Hanoi’s ancient magic to the buzzing streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Craft Your 5-day Trip with our travel designers and prepare to be captivated by the beauty and charm of this remarkable country.