Itineraries and travel plans for the North 📖

vietnam-itinerary-travel-plan

Itineraries and travel plans for northern Vietnam.


Prepare a plan for at least part of for your trip to northern Vietnam.


A lot of people prepare a travel itinerary wherever they go. If you have limited time and want to use it effectively, it is really useful. Northern Vietnam is a large part of the country and transport in some places is a little slow or tricky to arrange. On the basis of questions I have received, I’ve created 9 suitable travel itineraries with maps and routes with the various numbers of days spent. If you want to get to know northern Vietnam more intimately and want more things to see I recommend you rent or buy a motorbike.

If you want to get to know northern Vietnam take at least 3 weeks.


“I got a question”, somebody asked me “what is it possible to see in Vietnam in 2 days.” In 2 days! Yes I have had this question! From what I read and see, most people allow about 10-14 days for exploring northern Vietnam. Less commonly some people spend about 3-4 weeks on their trip. 3-4 weeks is a good time to explore this area and for planning an itinerary. I would say, in my opinion , allow 10 days as a minimum. At least a third of the time gets taken up by transportation and traveling. I think it doesn’t really make sense going along a main road, then sleeping on that same road and then just continuing the next day? Better to have the time to be able to stop at places and look around.

vietnam-itinerary-travel1

Horses in the farth of the northern Vietnam.


Important information for planning your itinerary:


> generally allow time for 2 days in one place
> keep in mind, we all travel differently (some go quicker, some slower)
> some routes can be travelled in a shorter time (eg. if you stay one day in one place)
> most routes can be planned with bus travel , but also by motorcycle
> some routes are suitable only for traveling by motorcycle (especially in the far North)
> buy your bus or train tickets you can use Baolau or 12go.asia (these are special websites for foreign tourists)
> e-tickets on Baolau you can are online and you pay with a credit card (Mastercard, Visa…)
> accommodation – book your accommodation on Agoda (big deals and promos)
> The Baolau company is recommended in the new Lonely Planet 2016
> sometimes you will need to ask about the local minibuses in town or in the hotel
> you will find Hanoi bus stops mapped in the article about Hanoi
> I recommend taking a reserve of petrol in a plastic bottle if you are on a motorcycle
> exceptions are the major routes from one place to another with a length of at least 100 km
> read here for information on transportation in Vietnam
> all routes begin in the capital of Vietnam – Hanoi
> Cat Ba island lies in Ha Long Bay (an alternative to Cat Ba Island worth visiting is Quan Lan Island)

Legend on the map:

Bến xe – bus station, Bến phà – ferry / boat, Bến tàu – pier / boat dock, Ga – train station

vietnam-itinerary-travel2

You will come in the way of a number of obstacles on the road.


1. Itinerary – 10 days – For the less experienced travelers:


1. HANOI
2. CAT BA Island
3. NINH BINH
4. MAI CHAU
5. HANOI


– simple circuit for 10 days near Hanoi, for those who do not have much time
– for those who do not want to trudge with the buses to the North and do not like riding on a motorcycle
– places suitable for cycling (except Hanoi)
– you can ride on a motorcycle on this route, but also with the bus (on the Cat Ba Island – ferry/boat)
– swimming, nature, light trekking, villages, cycling, a bit more tourist places
– it is possible to make a trip to the Perfume Pagoda (Thien Tru) from Ninh Binh
– most of the time can take visiting of the Cat Ba Island (Ha Long Bay)
– what to visit and see, read these articles – HanoiCat BaNinh BinhMai Chau


2. Itinerary – 12 days – Northwestern part on a motorcycle:


1. HANOI
2. NINH BINH
3. MAI CHAU
4. MOC CHAU
5. SON LA
6. MU CANG CHAI
7. YEN BAI
8. HANOI


– not so hard route prepared for traveling on a motorcycle
– for those who do not want to trudge with buses, but they want to see something
– nature, light trekking, villages, ethnic minorities
– except Hanoi, Ninh Binh and Mai Chau less visited places
– Mai Chau and Moc Chau can be combined as a single place (Moc Chau – trip from Mai Chau)
– in the route Mu Cang Chai > Yen Bai it is possible stopover in Nghia Lo town (a longer route)
what to visit and see, read these articles
HanoiNinh BinhMai ChauMoc ChauSon LaMu Cang ChaiYen Bai


3. Itinerary – 15 -18 days – Northwestern part:


1. HANOI
2. CAT BA Island
3. NINH BINH
4. MAI CHAU
6. HANOI
7. YEN BAI
8. MU CANG CHAI
9. SAPA
10. LAO CAI – HANOI


– a little bit more challenging circuit, for those who want to see and experience something
– the entire route you can ride on a motorcycle, but you can go also with a bus (on the Cat Ba Island – ferry/boat)
– from Mai Chau to Mu Cang Chai – you need to go back to Hanoi if you go with a bus
– Lao Cai > Yen Bai> Hanoi – trains, buses
– nature, swimming, light and challenging trekking, cycling, ethnic villages, homestay
– what to visit and see, read these articles –
HanoiCat BaNinh BinhMai ChauYen BaiMu Cang ChaiSapa


4. Itinerary – 25 -30 days – The best from the Northwest:


1. HANOI
2. CAT BA Island
3. NINH BINH
4. MAI CHAU
6. MOC CHAU
7. SON LA
8. DIEN BIEN PHU
9. MUONG LAY
10. LAI CHAU
11. SAPA
12. MU CANG CHAI
13. YEN BAI
14. HANOI


– this itinerary is one of my personal tipes
– an challenging circuit, for those who want to see and experience something
– except Hanoi, Cat Ba, Ninh Binh, Mai Chau and Sapa there are non-touristic places
– the entire route you can ride on a motorcycle, but you can go with a bus (on the Cat Ba Island – ferry/boat)
– traveling on a motorcycle for experienced travelers
– Mai Chau and Moc Chau can be combined as a single place (Moc Chau – trip from Mai Chau)
– nature, swimming, light and challenging trekking, ethnic villages, homestay, history
what to visit and see, read these articles
HanoiCat BaNinh BinhMai ChauMoc ChauSon LaDien Bien PhuLai ChauSapaYen Bai


5. Itinerary – 12 days – The far and authentic Northeast:


1. HANOI
2. HA GIANG
3. DONG VAN + MEO VAC
4. BAO LAC
6. CAO BANG
7. BA BE National Park
8. HANOI


– a little bit more challenging circuit, for those who want to see and experience something
– fascinating mountains and Dong Van Karst Global Geopark in Ha Giang province
– tourists are mainly in Ba Be National Park (but it is not so cruel)
how to get from Cao Bang to Ba Be National Park and back to Hanoi, read article about Cao Bang
– the entire route you can ride on a motorcycle, but you can also go with a bus
– on the route from Dong Van town to Bao Lac town (through Meo Vac) by local minibuses (or by mototaxi or taxi)
– if you’re traveling on a motorcycle it will be necessary to spend the night in Tuyen Quang (140 km from Hanoi)
– there is a night and day bus on the route from Hanoi to Ha Giang (about 300 km)
– nature, authenticity, light and challenging trekking, ethnic villages, homestay
what to visit and see, read these articlesHanoiHa GiangDong VanCao BangBa Be National Park


6. Itinerary – 25 -30 days – The best from the Northeast:


1. HANOI
2. YEN BAI
3. BAC HA
4. HOANG SU PHI
6. HA GIANG
7. DONG VAN
8. BAO LAC
9. CAO BANG
10. BA BE National Park
11. YEN LAC (only stopover)
12. LANG SON
13. HA LONG BAY / CAT BA
14. NINH BINH
15. HANOI


– this itinerary is one of my personal tipes
– an challenging circuit, for those who want to see and experience something
– route is intended primarily for traveling on a motorcycle – experienced travelers
how to get from Cao Bang to Ba Be National Park and back to Hanoi, read article about Cao Bang
– Yen Lac and Bao Lac – stopover
– on the route from Dong Van town to Bao Lac town (through Meo Vac) by local minibuses (or by mototaxi or taxi)
– except Hanoi, Cat Ba, Ninh Binh, Ba Be National park – non-touristic places
– nature, swimming, light and challenging trekking, ethnic villages, homestay, history
what to visit and see, read these articles
Hanoi – Yen BaiBac HaHoang Su PhiHa GiangCao BangBa BeLang SonCat BaNinh Binh


7. Itinerary – 10 days – Mountains and ethnic minorities:


1. HANOI
2. SAPA
3. HA GIANG
4. TAM SON (stopover)
5. DONG VAN / MEO VAC
7. HA GIANG
8. HANOI


– for those who want to see the beautiful mountains, ethnic minorities and try a homestay
– Sapa – a tourist destination, Ha Giang – in this moment without the foreign tourists
– this route is prepared for transfer by bus from one place to anoter place
– rent a motorcycle in these places and explore the surroundings
– nature, mountains, light and hard trekking, villages, ethnic minorities, ethnic markets
– the route from Sapa to Ha Giang – you need to go to Lao Cai town (25 km from Sapa) and take another bus
– a return journey with the day or night bus from Ha Giang directly to Hanoi (up to 10 hours)
what to visit and see, read these articlesHanoiSapaHa Giang


8. Itinerary – 20-25 days – North on a motorcycle:


1. HANOI
2. YEN BAI
3. MU CANG CHAI
4. SAPA
5. BAC HA
7. HOANG SU PHI
8. HA GIANG
9. YEN MINH
11. DONG VAN
12. BAO LAC
13. Ba Be National Park
14. DINH HOA
15. HANOI


– this itinerary is one of my personal tipes
– for those who want to see the beautiful mountains, ethnic minorities and try a homestay
– tourist places – Sapa, Ba Be National Park, Sunday market in Bac Ha
– this itinerary is prepared for traveling on a motorcycle, demanding route
– nature, mountains, light and hard trekking, villages, ethnic markets
– Dinh Hoa district is only a stopover, the road from Ba Be National Park to Hanoi is over 200 km long
– what to visit and see in articles – HanoiYen BaiSapaBac HaHa GiangBa Be National Park


9. Itinerary – 10 days – The most visited places without a motorbike:


1. HANOI
2. SAPA
3. NINH BINH
4. HA LONG BAY (Cat Ba)


– the most easily accessible tourist sites in northern Vietnam
– for those who do not want or are afraid to travel on a motorcycle
– transportation with a bus, train or ferry, possible use mototaxi (Xe Om)
– possibility of renting bicycles in Ninh Binh but also on the island of Cat Ba
– to Sapa you can go with a direct bus or train to Lao Cai (25km from Sapa), take a public bus in Lao Cai town
– ferry or boats from Hai Phong to the island of Cat Ba
– trekking and homestay in Sapa, ethnic minorities
– what to visit and see in articles – HanoiSapaNinh BinhHa Long Bay

The most visited places in northern Vietnam – Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay. A lot of tourists arrive in Hanoi, then they continue to Sapa, back to Hanoi and then go to Ha Long Bay. And this is the end of their traveling in northern Vietnam. For one week this route can be finished. In all these places you will meet many tourists who want to experience northern Vietnam. Yes , it is true, these places are beautiful, but only in these three most visited places you will not see the all beauty, that is northern Vietnam hiding.


Where to accommodate in these places in Vietnam?

>>> Read this article – Accommodation in Vietnam

How to move and transport, where to buy bus and train tickets?

>>> Read this articleTransportation and traffic in Vietnam

What weather in Vietnam waiting for me, what should I prepare?

>>> Read this articleWeather in Vietnam


If you want to see village life of ethnic minorities, fantastic mountains and valleys, it is necessary to rent a motorbike or scooter (unless you have a private mototaxi) for traveling in northern Vietnam outside the cities. It does not make sense to stay only in the cities, because there is almost nothing to see.

AccommodationTransportMarketsHomestayMoneyWeatherTrekkingAirbnbNinh BinhTam CocDong HoiSapaVung TauSiem Reap

Practical information

Led 10, 2017 | Posted by | Komentáře nejsou povolené u textu s názvem Itineraries and travel plans for the North 📖
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