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In 2019, I traveled to Vietnam for a month and had such an unforgettable time right here. From Southern Vietnam to Northern Vietnam, I attempted to cowl as a lot as doable.
Nonetheless, Vietnam is a large nation and I couldn't go to all of the superb locations that this nation has to supply.
I began my journey from Ho Chi Minh and coated a couple of locations on the best way earlier than reaching Hanoi after which flying again to India.
On this article, I'll share my Northern Vietnam itinerary for you if you're planning for a brief 9-day journey to Vietnam.
The Final Northern Vietnam Itinerary to Discover in 2022
With majestic mountain ranges, beautiful rice terraces, attractive bays, and fascinating ethnic teams, Northern Vietnam differs from the laid-back and beach-centric Southern Vietnam.
Not in simply phrases of sceneries however meals too, the northern area indulges in bolder and scrumptious dishes like Bun Cha, Pho, and many others. which is able to simply make your mouth water.
On this Vietnam journey itinerary, I've coated three principal locations on this area that you would cowl in a relaxed and comfy method.
Day 1: Ninh Binh
Situated in North Vietnam, Ninh Binh is called the Halong Bay of the Land and is a good place to be in contact with nature.
Once I was touring from Phong Nha to Ninh Binh, what struck me essentially the most about this place is the greenery and the small hills scattered everywhere in the city.
One of many prettiest and least spoilt areas in Vietnam, Ninh Binh is a good place to cease by and benefit from the limestone surroundings.
There's additionally a UNESCO World Heritage Website right here the place you may go for a boating tour to benefit from the surroundings and discover the quite a few water caves which can be discovered on this area.
Truthfully, I do really feel that Ninh Binh is among the high locations to go to in Vietnam and it could be a tragedy in the event you miss this place.
Ninh Binh Rice Fields
Top-of-the-line issues to do in Ninh Binh is to drive together with the rice fields right here or take a ship tour in Tam Coc to watch the attractive rice fields on this area. And the most effective half is that you just don't need to go far to witness these rice fields as a result of your entire area is roofed with them.
Why so many rice fields?
Properly, due to the extraordinarily fertile right here and is wealthy in soil and water vitamins which is sweet for rising rice. Your entire subject seems to be yellowish-green and with the green-covered limestone rocks because the backdrop, your entire place seems to be simply attractive.
Though, I went when the rice fields have been already harvested the sight wasn't any much less mesmerizing. In the event you want to see the rice fields in full glory, then plan a visit to Vietnam between June and August.
Trang An Boat Tour
After exploring the rice fields, you merely need to take a ship tour of the Tam Coc rice fields or the Trang An Panorama Advanced.
Trang An Panorama Advanced is a UNESCO World Heritage Website and the most effective half is you could take pleasure in a ship tour right here. What's most spectacular about Trang An is that there are a number of limestone mountains right here however they don't seem to be linked. Sure, that's proper!
As an alternative, these mountains stand individually and are solely linked through rice paddies. Though you may entry some components of Trang An through a cycle, automobile, and even on foot, one of the best ways to expertise the surroundings right here is thru boat excursions.
This boat tour takes you thru the panorama of Trang An, protecting fields which have been submerged and can't be used for rising rice now.
Ideally, every boat has 4-6 individuals, most of whom are native vacationers as this place just isn't so standard. You should buy the ticket for the boat tour on the Ticket Counter for 9 USD per individual (200,000 VND = 650 INR).
The boat excursions begin at 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., you may have the final boat leaving for the tour for the day.
There are three routes to select from and the boat tour often lasts between 2 to three hours. What I beloved about this boat tour is you could even paddle the boat for a novel expertise and also you even have an opportunity to go to the location the place King Kong was shot right here. How superb, proper!
Additionally, just be sure you carry a hat and sunscreen as a result of it may be sweltering scorching on the boat. And attempt to go for the night or early morning experience as a result of the temperature is cooler and you may take pleasure in your self higher.
The place to Keep in Ninh Binh
A well-liked vacation spot in Vietnam, Ninh Binh gives a whole lot of attractive lodging choices so that you can select from.
Since I used to be backpacking in Vietnam, I stayed at Dangle Mua Valley Homestay which is ideal for minimalistic backpackers.
They provide each dormitory beds and personal rooms and the value ranges between 5 USD and 25 USD. Plus, they even offer you bike leases and free breakfast choices.
Learn how to Attain Ninh Binh
Since I reached Ninh Binh from Phong Nha, I took an in a single day bus to Ninh Binh that prices between 10 USD – 25 USD (750 – 1900 INR). This bus takes round 7 – 8 hours and you'll attain the early morning in Ninh Binh heart by 5 a.m.
Nonetheless, if you're planning to begin your journey from Hanoi, then you may depart from Hanoi or Cat Ba to Ninh Binh.
Day 2: Ninh Binh Tour
After resting on day 1 and doing a bit exploring, you can begin early on day 2 to discover the opposite superb locations round right here.
I beloved the early morning hike to Dangle Mua Peak which is well top-of-the-line locations to go to on this area. In the event you go to throughout the best season, you may simply catch a dawn or sundown from this peak.
Dangle Mua Peak
Top-of-the-line viewpoints in Ninh Binh, Dangle Mua Peak contains two peaks that may be climbed via the laid-out steps.
The taller peak has a stone-carved dragon that watches over the Tam Coc valley. This dragon is of nice significance in Vietnamese tradition as a result of Vietnamese persons are mentioned to be the descendants of a fairy and a dragon.
The dragon peak is 500 steps away and may take roughly between 20-40 minutes to climb. The climb is a bit sleep however it's manageable.
Nonetheless, whether it is humid or scorching, you may be sweating through the climb in only a few minutes.
Nonetheless, the view from the height makes up for all of the climb as you may see Ninh Binh stretched out on one aspect of the height and the Tam Coc rice fields together with the Pink River Delta on the opposite aspect of the height.
The limestone mountains, the greenish-yellow rice fields, every little thing simply seems to be so magical from this peak.
If you wish to keep close to the height and the cave, then there may be Dangle Mua Eco Lodge additionally obtainable right here. Nonetheless, it may be fairly crowded through the daytime as everybody comes to go to the height and the cave.
Additionally, the entry to the Dangle Mua Peak begins at 7:00 a.m. and you want to pay 4.5 USD (100,000 VND = 325 INR) for the entry. The place is open until 5 p.m. and there's a free parking space right here.
A variety of locals will inform you there isn't any free parking and to park exterior their outlets however don't imagine them.
Bich Dong Pagoda
After Dangle Mua Peak and Cave, you can also make your solution to the Bich Dong Pagoda in your Vietnam journey itinerary. This pagoda is previous the Tam Coc fields and is the most effective pagoda within the area.
Situated on the aspect of a mountain, Bich Dong Pagoda has three ranges and gives superb views of your surrounding area.
These temples are built-in with the caves so it's fairly thrilling as properly. However since there are a number of ranges, the trail is a bit steep and there are a whole lot of bats residing contained in the caves, so watch out.
Nonetheless, in the event you love to go to peaceable locations then it is best to pay a brief go to right here.
One other excellent spot to go to in Ninh Binh is the Van Lengthy Nature Reserve, near Ninh Binh. This wetland nature reserve is the right place for hen watchers and nature lovers.
And since only a few vacationers come to this place, it is possible for you to to benefit from the stunning surroundings right here with out worrying in regards to the crowds.
Additionally, that is protected land so you will see a variety of natural world right here. This can be a excellent spot so as to add to your Vietnam trip if you're searching for an offbeat vacation spot or are focused on watching the Vietnam wildlife.
Since it's simply 29 km from Ninh Binh, you may plan a few hour's go to right here and luxuriate in it.
Now, though I wasn't fortunate sufficient to witness the yellow rice fields of Tam Coc, it's true that the Tam Coc surroundings is simply too attractive to skip.
One of the crucial superb sceneries in northern Vietnam, Tam Coc is a good place to take pleasure in drives beside the rice subject and you may take within the calm and peaceable nature round you.
Other than that, there may be the Tam Coc city space as properly which is house to many occasion locations and eating places.
That is additionally the principle hub for vacationers. Additionally, you may have the choice of taking a Tam Coc tour on a ship which will probably be as thrilling because the Trang An boat tour, simply with a special scenic view.
If one way or the other you handle to not go to Van Lengthy or Tam Coc, then you may at all times embrace Hoa Lu, the traditional capital of Vietnam within the tenth century, in your itinerary.
Right here, you will see an enormous citadel that's house to many scenic temples you could select to discover.
So, if you're a historical past buff, you then would love to go to Hoa Lu to study the tradition and historical past of Vietnam.
Day 3: Ninh Binh to Cat Ba Island
After exploring Ninh Binh and Tam Coc, I made my manner from Ninh Binh to Cat Ba Island to proceed on my deliberate itinerary.
Cat Ba was considered one of my favourite locations and I ended up extending my keep on this island attributable to an sudden storm.
What I really like essentially the most about Cat Ba is that it has many superb actions so that you can take pleasure in right here like mountain biking, boat excursions, massages, bar hopping, mountain climbing, and so forth.
Most significantly, together with the seashores, you even have the Cat Ba Nationwide Park to discover which gives a number of trails for mountain climbing and trekking fans.
Cat Ba City
Once you take a ferry + van to Cat Ba Island, you may be dropped on the Cat Ba City heart. Whereas the city itself doesn't supply lots, it's a good base and you will see it simpler to search out outlets and eating places round.
One in every of my favourite issues to do within the Cat Ba City was to sit down on the boat pier and watch the town lights at evening.
That's not all, you can even take a ship to succeed in one of many floating eating places right here for a novel eating expertise. These ferries between the floating restaurant and the shore are freed from price and one other expertise that you just wouldn't wish to miss.
Other than that, you may have many bars and golf equipment right here the place you may occasion if that's what you're into.
For sundown lovers, Cannon Fort close to Cat Ba City gives a tremendous viewpoint. It's a quick, windy street to the highest and you may benefit from the view of the encompassing bays and islands from right here.
The place to Keep on Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is an offbeat vacation spot so, you will see fewer lodging choices obtainable right here. Since I used to be backpacking in Vietnam, I stayed at Cat Ba Countryside Homestay which is ideal for finances vacationers.
This property gives each dormitory beds, non-public rooms, and even full bungalows for keep. Plus, they even offer you bike and bicycle leases and also have a pool contained in the property that can be utilized by the company.
Learn how to Attain Cat Ba Island
Since I reached Cat Ba Island from Ninh Binh, I took an early morning bus after which a ferry to succeed in Cat Ba Island that prices between 10 USD – 25 USD (750 – 1900 INR).
This bus + ferry service takes round 4 – 6 hours and there are a number of departure instances obtainable for Ninh Binh to Cat Ba. You possibly can both ebook this journey out of your homestay proprietor or you may ebook your tickets from Ninh Binh to Cat Ba on-line too.
Nonetheless, if you're planning to begin your journey from Hanoi, then you can also make your manner from Hanoi to Cat Ba.
Day 4: Lan Ha Bay Boat Tour
One of many high issues to do in Cat Ba Island is to take the Halong Bay, Lan Han, or Bai Tu Lengthy Bay cruise from right here.
Nonetheless, if you're on a finances journey like me however nonetheless wish to benefit from the tour of the bay then, the Lan Ha Bay day tour is the right manner to do this.
Lan Ha Bay
Whereas Halong Bay is extra standard and a UNESCO World Heritage website, it's too crowded as properly and has misplaced its allure. Lan Ha Bay is a tremendous various because it gives the identical scenic view however with barely any crowds.
Sure, that's proper! You continue to can see a number of limestone cliffs everywhere in the ethereal inexperienced waters which can be lined with white sandy seashores.
This is among the high areas to go to in Vietnam and the most effective half is you could take a day boat tour for simply 25 USD!
On this boat tour, you not solely benefit from the Lan Ha Bay tour but in addition get an opportunity to take pleasure in actions like swimming, kayaking, mountain climbing, and so forth.
Plus, additionally they provide you with scrumptious Vietnamese lunch that can make your mouth water.
Top-of-the-line issues in regards to the Lan Ha Bay boat tour is that you just additionally get an opportunity to kayak in Lan Ha Bay. You possibly can go from the water caves and simply profit from the 1 hour that's supplied to you together with the important kayaking gear.
Though you do get an opportunity to take pleasure in a 1-hour kayaking tour in your Lan Ha Bay boat tour, you may go for kayaking in any other case as properly.
You possibly can simply lease a kayak after which exit to benefit from the ocean whereas being surrounded by the gorgeous but secluded Lan Ha Bay.
Lastly, your Lan Ha Bay boat tour ends with a cease at Monkey Island. Right here, you may both select to benefit from the seaside and swim within the ocean or you may hike to the highest of the island to benefit from the bay views and the island views.
Keep in mind, the stones on the Monkey Island resulting in the point of view are jagged so, put on an excellent pair of mountain climbing footwear right here. Additionally, you solely get 1 – 1.5 hours at this island so use it judiciously.
Day 5: Cat Ba Island Tour
After the Lan Ha Bay tour, it's a good suggestion to maintain one other buffer day in Cat Ba in your northern Vietnam itinerary.
It's because there are nonetheless a couple of locations and actions left you could take pleasure in right here. You possibly can select to calm down on the seashores or go on an thrilling mountain climbing journey, it's utterly as much as you.
You may also go for the Cat Ba Island tour from Hanoi itself. Be sure you ebook your tickets from Hanoi to Cat Ba beforehand for a handy and comfy journey.
Cat Ba Seashores
It's no secret that Vietnam gives a whole lot of attractive seashores for sunbathing and water actions. And the identical is true for Cat Ba Island as properly.
You possibly can lease a motorcycle or use the electrical van to succeed in one of many three seashores of Cat Ba – Cat Co 1, Cat Co 2, and Cat Co 3.
Top-of-the-line issues about these seashores is that it's flanked by mountains on either side and you may benefit from the bay view from the seashores.
Additionally, all three seashores are linked by a small strolling path so it's simple to entry them. You possibly can stand up early to take pleasure in a dawn from considered one of these seashores or pathways.
Cat Ba Caves
After spending a few hours on the seaside, you can even discover the quite a few caves on Cat Ba Island. There are a number of giant and small caves right here, out of which Hospital cave and Trung Trang cave is the most well-liked amongst vacationers.
As these caves are positioned close to Cat Ba Nationwide Park headquarters, it's an effective way to discover each the caves and the nationwide park if you go to this space.
Cat Ba Nationwide Park
One of the crucial distinguished nationwide parks within the nation, Cat Ba Nationwide Park is a paradise for nature lovers and mountain climbing fans.
You may get the entry ticket from the nationwide park gate after which can discover on foot the natural world of this area.
One other fascinating factor to notice about Cat Ba Nationwide Park is that it's a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
There are a number of trekking routes obtainable right here. You possibly can select the 1.8 km typical trek path to take pleasure in a brief stroll or you may take the 16 km trekking path to the Viet Hai Village.
Cat Ba Pier
Lastly, considered one of my absolute favourite locations to go to in North Vietnam is the winding street close to the Cat Ba pier.
This is among the least visited spots by vacationers and you will see solely a few native households coming right here through the night. This place gives essentially the most mesmerizing sundown views from the island and is a must-visit in the event you like peace and tranquility.
Day 6: Cat Ba Island to Hanoi
Subsequent, you may proceed your journey from Cat Ba to Hanoi to finish your Vietnam journey like I did. Identified for its wealthy tradition and lovely outdated structure, Hanoi is among the hottest cities to go to.
It's also the capital of Vietnam and exhibits the influences of French, Chinese language, and Southeast Asian. You possibly can plan a one-day keep in Hanoi or may even put aside a few days to correctly discover this metropolis.
Other than the tradition, what I beloved essentially the most about Hanoi is the meals right here.
Hanoi has distinct dishes than southern Vietnam and in the event you don't thoughts occasional non-vegetarian meals, then there's a lot to check out right here.
Temple of the Jade Mountain (Ngoc Son Temple)
Once you attain from Cat Ba to Hanoi, you're more likely to be a bit drained from the journey. So, take it to mild on the primary day right here.
You possibly can head to the Hanoi metropolis heart to go to the well-known Temple of the Jade Mountain, aka Ngoc Son Temple, which is located on the Jade islet of Hoan Kiem Lake.
This small temple is devoted to the Taoist and Confucian philosophers and Tran Hung Dao, a nationwide hero. The temple is linked to the mainland through a small bridge and the entry payment to enter the temple is 1 USD (20,000 VND = 65 INR).
This place seems to be particularly attractive through the sundown and dawn instances, so ensure you go to the temple round that point to benefit from the surroundings.
Hanoi Outdated Quarter
Hanoi Outdated Quarter is among the high locations to go to in Vietnam which is discovered to be essentially the most conventional space in Hanoi.
These densely packed streets have their allure and supply a whole lot of outlets, eating places, avenue stalls, and many others. you could take pleasure in. In the event you want to purchase souvenirs for house, then that is the right place for that.
Other than that, you can even take pleasure in a stroll within the Hanoi evening market that's held through the weekends right here.
The place to Keep in Hanoi
Hanoi is among the main locations on this nation so, you will see a whole lot of lodging choices obtainable right here.
Once I was backpacking in Vietnam, I stayed at RedDoorz Hostel close to Dangle Chieu Avenue which is ideal for backpackers. This property is near Hanoi Occasion Avenue and is near most different sights as properly.
Learn how to Attain Hanoi
Since I made the journey of Cat Ba to Hanoi, I took an early morning bus after which a ferry to succeed in Hanoi that prices between 10 USD – 25 USD (750 – 1900 INR). This bus + ferry service takes round 4 – 6 hours and there are a number of departure instances obtainable for this route.
You possibly can both ebook this journey out of your homestay proprietor or you may ebook your tickets for route Cat Ba to Hanoi on-line too.
Day 7: Hanoi Metropolis Tour
The subsequent day, you can begin a bit early to your Hanoi metropolis tour if you wish to escape the touristy crowd.
I might recommend having fun with a strolling tour in the event you don't thoughts the bodily exercise. You would additionally lease a cycle to cowl extra locations shortly within the metropolis space.
Hoan Kiem Lake
Top-of-the-line locations to go to early morning can be the Hoan Kiem Lake which is a well-liked hangout spot for each locals and vacationers.
What's fascinating about this lake is that it's mentioned to be the house to a legendary turtle who's a Vietnamese legend's hero.
A number of locals say that this turtle nonetheless swims within the lake however even in the event you don't imagine these tales, it's a excellent spot to benefit from the stunning vistas throughout the lake water.
Tran Quoc Pagoda
One of many oldest Buddhist temples in Hanoi, Tran Quoc Pagoda was constructed within the sixth century and is a well-liked vacationer attraction in Hanoi. This pagoda is located in the course of West Lake and is linked through a small causeway to the mainland.
Additionally, you will discover a stupa right here with 11 flooring which can be stuffed with statues which can be coated with gems. And this pagoda seems to be particularly on the evening when your entire pagoda will get superbly lit up.
Hoa Lo Jail Relic (Museum)
In the event you love historic monuments and are focused on studying the historical past of Vietnam, the Hoa Lo Jail in Hanoi is among the finest locations to take action.
Through the Vietnam battle, this jail was used to maintain the US prisoners. Right here, you examine Vietnam's battle for Independence together with a whole lot of grisly element as properly.
So, in case you have the abdomen for the cruel actuality then it is a must-visit place in Hanoi.
Dong Xuan Market
One of many largest markets in Hanoi, Dong Xuan market is held inside a 4-story Soviet-styled constructing. This place is stuffed with a large assortment of attire, souvenirs, and many others. at the most effective costs! Sure, you heard me!
And although you won't wish to take pleasure in procuring over right here, it's fairly fascinating to observe the native merchants go about their enterprise over right here.
Hanoi Avenue Meals
In case you are in Hanoi, then one factor that you could do is style the scrumptious meals right here. Keep in mind, since Vietnam has entry to seafood most, you will see only a few vegetarian choices right here. However in the event you don't thoughts consuming seafood or different delicacies, then they've lots to supply.
In North Vietnam, you will see snails being predominantly eaten by the locals. Though I used to be not a fan of snails, many individuals occurred to love it over right here.
Personally, Bun Cha, Banh Mi, and Banh Xeo have been my absolute favourite. However what took my coronary heart was the moveable pancakes that they make within the stalls right here.
It's small, it's scrumptious, and it prices simply 5,000 VND (15 INR).
In the event you don't want to spend 2-3 days at Cat Ba, then you will see day excursions from Hanoi to Cat Ba as properly.
Day 8: Hanoi Metropolis Tour
On day 8 of your journey, you may discover the remaining locations in Vietnam together with the famed Prepare avenue as properly.
Once more, you would select to stroll or rent a cycle to discover the realm by yourself.
Located in Outdated Hanoi Quarter, between Le Duan and Kham Tien avenue is the well-known Prepare Avenue of Hanoi.
One of the crucial standard spots to go to in Vietnam, this avenue remains to be practical and the prepare passes via this rail monitor twice a day.
What's fascinating about this trains Avenue is that there are homes on either side so individuals shut their properties through the prepare timings.
One can go to right here to observe the prepare cross by and marvel at this Vietnamese locality.
Thang Lengthy Imperial Citadel
A UNESCO World Heritage Website, Thang Lengthy Imperial Citadel has nice historic and cultural significance for the Vietnamese.
This citadel was the middle of historical and was the political heart for round eight centuries. You could find this citadel located within the Ba Dinh sq. and may entry different close by sights as properly.
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
In fact, most of you could have heard about Ho Chi Minh who was an vital determine in shaping Vietnam's historical past.
One of many best leaders to be thought-about in Hanoi, his preserved physique has been safely saved in a glass case within the Binh Dinh area. Sure, that is the ultimate resting place of Ho Chi Minh and a well-liked attraction to go to.
Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature is one other well-known attraction in Hanoi that dates again to 1070. This can be a enormous complicated and you will see a whole lot of constructing to discover and study in regards to the literary historical past of Vietnam.
Probably the most fascinating factor about this place is the Stele of Medical doctors the place there are round 82 carved blue stone turtles.
As talked about earlier, these turtles are thought-about holy in Vietnam. Additionally, many budding native writers go to this place to hope that sooner or later they may be capable of publish a masterpiece.
Thang Lengthy Water Puppet Theatre
One of many high issues to do in Hanoi in your Vietnam journey is to attend the Thang Lengthy Water Puppet Present.
A novel theatrical expertise, you will see that you're trying on the puppets which can be being manipulated to maneuver on high of a waist-high water pool stuffed with water.
In these exhibits, they inform you the native legends and customary Vietnam myths which can be extraordinarily fascinating to listen to. They use bamboo canes to function the puppets that are fairly neat.
There are each day exhibits within the night and the entry ticket is 4.5 USD (100,000 VND = 325 INR) for a present.
This type of puppet present began in rural Vietnam when the rice subject obtained flooded. So, to entertain themselves, the locals began dancing puppets on the water.
Day 9: Departure from Hanoi
That is the final day of your Vietnam journey so, ensure you are all packed up. And in case you have a while to observe the dawn, then do head to the Hoan Kiem Lake and watch a fantastic dawn in Hanoi for one final time.
From the town heart, you'll get a cab or the Airport Bus to succeed in the Noi Bai Worldwide Airport.
From Hanoi Outdated Quarter, you'll get the Hanoi Airport Bus Categorical (Bus Quantity 86) that takes 45 – 60 minutes to succeed in the airport.
It prices 1.5 USD (35,000 Vietnamese Dong = 115 INR) and is a secure and handy solution to attain Hanoi Airport. You will see one bus each 20 – half-hour on this route, so plan your departure accordingly.
In the event you select to take a taxi to the airport, then you'll have to pay round 14 USD (320,000 Vietnamese Dong = 1100 INR). It's going to take you round half-hour to succeed in.
And properly, right here your 2 weeks in Vietnam finish and you allow again for house with some stunning recollections.
When you have extra time at hand or in the event you want to see extra of this stunning area, then ensure you add Ha Giang Loop, Sapa, and Mai Chau to your itinerary too!
Did you want our Vietnam journey itinerary? If sure, then do tell us within the feedback!
Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE
This post is originally published at Meander Wander blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!