Vietnam UNESCO road trip crafts the perfect Vietnam itinerary for you. The itinerary starts by flying into Hanoi and flying out of Da Nang, either back to Hanoi or internationally. Da Nang connects with many of the major hubs such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.
Overview Vietnam UNESCO Road Trip
Vietnam UNESCO road trip offers such an amazing must-see places in Vietnam. Starting from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, you discover the most charming vibrant city in Southeast Asia, mixed culture influences of French, Chinese and Asian architecture and cuisine. All is harmony transition into Hanoi.
Halong Bay: World natural UNESCO site with thousands islands, crystal water, take a cruise to Halong Bay
Ninh Binh: Known as Halong Bay on land, Tam Coc – Trang An composing a World Natural Heritage site, lust green karst mountains and rice paddy fields, real rural landscape cultivating land, take a rowing boat to amazing cave and tunnels
Phong Nha – Ke Bang: The most impressive longest cave in the world, Natural world heritage site
Hue imperial city: dated back one century capital of Vietnam, old citadel remains as world heritage site for culture and history
Hoi An: The most beautiful tranquility city port in central Vietnam, ranked as World heritage site of ancient town Hoi An.
Is this Vietnam UNESCO road trip best for you?
- The Vietnam UNESCO journey of 10 -Day road trip by private car starts from Hanoi and finish in Hoi An.
- The most scenic road along the lowland and coastline of Vietnam via world natural heritage sites.
- The road trip combines stopover in between to explore the best attractions on the way.
- The UNESCO road trip covered local authentic experiences on travelling in rural part of Vietnam by private car.
- The trip is customizable on the go whilst you can add some interesting spots if you would like to see.
- You will go on your own pace with private tour drive with local driver guide that keep you hassle and worry free.
- Cost of the UNESCO road trip is reasonable and saving by number of your group: By air, train and bus.
Why you’ll love this UNESCO road trip
- Best of Vietnam trip with must see places: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Ninh Binh – Phong Nha – Hue – Hoi An
- Local authentic travelling experiences with local driver guide by private car
- Customizable journey as you wish to go based on your interests.
- Take a cruise in Halong Bay and Trang An/Ninh Binh
- Visit Phong Nha cave, Hue imperial city, Hoi An ancient town
- The ride will be off the beaten track all the way along the coastline of Vietnam.
Vietnam UNESCO Road Trip Itinerary: The Route
Hanoi -> Halong Bay -> Ninh Binh -> Phong Nha -> Da Nang -> Hoi An
- Day 1:Hanoi arrival
- Day 2: Hanoi exploring
- Day 3: Hanoi to Halong Bay
- Day 4: Halong Bay to Ninh Binh
- Day 5: Ninh Binh exploring
- Day 6: Ninh Binh to Phong Nha
- Day 7: Phong Nha exploring
- Day 8: Phong Nha to Hue city
- Day 9: Hue to Hoi An
- Day 10: Hoi An exploring
Day 1- 2: Flying to Hanoi |Hanoi airport to hotel
The streets of Hanoi| Old Quarter
The streets are busy and you’ll see many of the five million motorbikes that are currently on the streets of Hanoi (almost a motorbike for every man, woman and child)
The best thing to do first is the Old Quarter to get a feel for the capital. The streets here get quieter and you’ll be able to stop in Giang for some egg coffee (seriously, try it!) and Banh Mi 25 or one of the many other street vendors for a baguette – a local favourite.
Head over to the remarkable Train Street for the 3.30pm train (arrive a good half hour before). This remarkable place is a tiny narrow street where the locals live within millimetres of the trainline
Try the local speciality Bun Cha at the now world famous Bun Cha Huong Lien. This place hit the limelight when Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain turned up, sat on plastic chairs and devoured this delicacy with a Beer Hanoi. Read more: 20 Best Things To Do In Hanoi
The History of Vietnam, Hanoi
Begin with an early start at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh was the leader of the Communist revolution of Vietnam
Head to the Temple of Literature for a taste of the more ancient side of Vietnam
It is time to see some of the Vietnam War close up at Hoa Lo Prison (otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton). This prison was originally built by the French to incarcerate Vietnamese dissidents
To finish the day, head to the famous Water Puppets show. Every day there are several showings, with the puppets submerged in water to the backdrop of traditional Vietnamese music
Exclusive Hanoi Tour with Locals:
Day 3: Hanoi to Halong Bay
It’s time to see one of the wonders of the world: Hanoi to Halong Bay transfer. This huge area of limestone karsts is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Whilst we’re not cruise fans, sailing through this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the highlights of any trip to Vietnam.
The only way to see Halong Bay is by boat and you’ll have millions of different options including 1 day, 2 days or 3 days as well as Halong, Bai Tu Long or Lan Ha Bay. Read more: What to do in Halong Bay
Duration with stops: 3h 30 min
Exclusive Private Transfer:
Day 4 – 5: Halong Bay to Ninh Binh – natural wonders
Ninh Binh has been described as “Halong Bay on land”, it’s a very beautiful area to explore for a couple of days. In this rural, green countryside, you’ll see a quieter part of Vietnam and experiences like the boats in Trang An and the ancient pagodas make this one of our favourite spots in Vietnam.
The quiet roads outside of the city are really beautiful and you’ll feel like you’re seeing a more traditional and rural side of Vietnam, different to what you have seen so far
The roads go through rural villages, next to rice paddies and around the limestone mountains. It’s the kind of place where an hour on the motorbike was a preference, rather than a chore.
Tam Coc – Trang An – Mua Cave
Trang An is a series of waterways that wind around and through epic mountains (yep, you’ll paddle through caves) that are also covered in dense forests. The area is one of the few that is made even more stunning with a bit of mist and cloud.
The journey takes about 2.5 – 3 hours and you can choose one of three routes. The majority of tour groups choose no.1, desperate to tick off every pagoda, cave and spot in the area. Route 2 and 3 will offer you a quieter experience whilst still stopping to see a spot or two
A place tucked away in the limestone karsts near Tam Coc. Alongside Trang An, Mua Caves is the big draw for visitors to Ninh Binh
The main attraction is at the top of a pretty long and steep staircase. Start climbing and take a left at the drinks/souvenir shop. This will take you to Lying Dragon Mountain and stunning view no.1 towards Tam Coc. In the wet/winter season, the river overflows, but in Spring and Summer the landscape turns a vivid green. No matter what time of year you go, it’s a beautiful sight.
Once you’ve taken in the views, head back down to the shop and go straight on (don’t head down to the bottom yet) to the other peak. At the top you’ll see a beautiful little pagoda and some more views to the countryside with Ninh Binh in the distance. It’s a different landscape with the farmers in the rice paddies and a few more mountains to take in. Read more: Things to do and see in Ninh Binh
Duration with stops: 4h 30 min
Exclusive Road Trip:
Day 6 – 8: Ninh Binh to Phong Nha – Ke Bang
Phong Nha-Ke Bang may not be as famous as the likes of Halong Bay, Sapa or Hoi An, but it it should be as it is home to the biggest caves in the world as well as others that make the top 10. Many were only “discovered” recently and it’s staggering to think that places like Phong Nha are still being explored in the modern day.
For the traveller, Phong Nha is a simply stunning area and offers one of those chilled and scenic areas that you look for in South-East Asia. The area is surrounded by huge limestone karsts with a stunning river, but it is a lot quieter than anywhere else on the itinerary which means you can explore the area in relative tranquility.
Phong Nha Cave
To see Phong Nha Cave by boat or include the option to walk around Tien Son, a cave that is a lot less busy. Trips to both caves take about 3 hours in total.
The trip starts with a ride on the boat along the river. In the morning this is a beautiful scene with the locals fishing from their boats among the mountains. The river soon turns to an emerald colour before entering the cave where the boat engine is turned off and paddling begins.
You’ll paddle for about 20-30 minutes before being dropped off on a landing to explore. The cave is huge and you can take in the stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over millions of years.
One of the other main attractions in Phong Nha – Paradise Cave. This is another monster of a cave that was discovered in the last 20 years by someone hunting in the mountains and looking for a cool spot to rest in he found the opening.
Duration with stops: 6h 30 min
Day 9: Phong Nha to Hue
The city known for being the former capital of Vietnam, UNESCO site, the Citadel. Temper your expectations as the vast majority of it was destroyed during the Vietnam War
The complex is set with some huge walls and is entered by a beautiful temple entrance. Once inside it gets a bit greener with trees, grass and ponds. There are only a couple of buildings to explore now as well as the foundations of buildings destroyed during the war. In its day it would have been very impressive.
The highlight is The Long Corridor, a Chinese styled corridor which lets in beautiful light through the shutters. It’s strikingly painted red and gold, a glimpse of some of the former opulence of this site. Read more: Central Vietnam Guide You need to Know
Duration with stops: 4h 30 min
Day 10: Hue to Hoi An
The journey from Hue to Hoi An is full of places to explore and you can really explore the Hai Van Pass, Da Nang Beach and the Marble Mountains at your own pace
Hai Van Pass – Marble Mountain – Danang Beach
Take the Hai Van Pass on the way to Da Nang. This stunning coastal mountain road was popularised by Top Gear who rode along it on a collection of rusty motorbikes. Whilst the roads were quite empty back then, they certainly aren’t now.
There are several lookouts, our favourite was towards Da Nang and was commonly known as “the rocks”. It has a lot of drinks stalls outside it and you can get some epic views down to the coast.
After the Hai Van Pass, head for some lunch and a beautiful view at Da Nang Beach. The long white sand beach is very pretty and also very quiet, a winning combination!
Whilst it is flanked by skyscrapers, you can also see the mountain ranges in the distance.
Hop back in the car and head to one of the most popular attractions around Da Nang – the Marble Mountains.
This is a series of cave temples set high up in mountains made of marble. It’s a really beautiful site to explore, with Huyen Khong Cave being our favourite. Inside the cave is a small temple that sits under a shaft of golden light. It’s very atmospheric.
Duration with stops: 4h 30 min
Exclusive: Vietnam UNESCO site Hoi An
Hoi An is made for exploring at a slower pace with a beautiful old town that is fully pedestrianised.
Head into the Old Town and explore the traditional buildings on foot. You won’t have to worry about the motorbikes trying to run you over here – well apart from the odd few that break the rules! Make sure you take in the beautiful Japanese Bridge and then meander through the lantern lined streets which have retained the same style and feel for centuries.
Hoi An is world famous for its tailors, so why not head to one of the most famous and get yourself some customised clothes
Exclusive: Hoi An – The Golden Bridge
It’s your final day in Vietnam, so let’s finish on a high! a couple of favourite things in the whole country until last.
Get up before sunrise to ensure you miss the crowds at the Golden Hands Bridge in Ba Na Hills. This stunning place is tucked away in Sun World – a theme park just outside Da Nang – and is a 45 minute drive from Hoi An. It opens at 7am and we advise getting there for the second it opens as it is very crowded by even 8am!
Hop on the longest cable car in the world – 5km in total – to the summit of the nearby mountains which has a completely different climate to the rest of the area. Even on the clearest day, the Golden Bridge can have thick fog and cold temperatures. This just makes the place more interesting
Hoi an Lanterns in the evening
Rest up in the afternoon before heading out in the evening for one of the highlights of Hoi An. This old trading town is also famous for the colourful lanterns that light up the streets after dark. It is really beautiful walking around streets and seeing everywhere lit by lanterns.
Head towards the night market to snag a bargain, grab some street food or even a massage. There’s a great buzz and its worth walking around and seeing what’s going on even if you don’t want to buy anything!
Duration with stops: 1h 00 min
Do you love this Vietnam UNESCO Road Trip: 10-Fabulous Day Hanoi to Hoi An? Please contact us to book a private car transfer, so you can sit back and enjoy the Vietnam beautiful scenery.
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Questions About Vietnam Road Trip Travel?
Do you have any questions about traveling to Vietnam? Ask me anything in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to help!