Tours By Locals Vietnam customizes Vietnam personal experiences that connects travellers with private tour guides and drivers. Plan your Vietnam Destination Itinerary
Hanoi: 2-3 days
Sapa: 2-3 days
Halong Bay: 2-3 days
Tam Coc & Cuc Phuong National Park: 1-2 days
Phong Nha: 2-3 days
Huế: 1 day (or half-day)
Hoi An: 3-6 days.
Hanoi • 3 days
One of Vietnam’s most major cities, full of outdoor markets, coffee shops, and bustling neighborhoods.
- See more get your own ideas about best things to do in Hanoi: Click here
Where to Eat
Bun Cha Huong Lien – made famous by a visit from President Obama and Anthony Bourdain.
Pho 10 – great pho in this unassuming spot in the center of the city.
Jalus Vegan Kitchen – the perfect fix if you’re looking for something a bit different (or for a great interior).
Cong Ca Phe & Giang Cafe – for egg coffee, one of Hanoi’s coffee specialties
La Vong Grilled Fish – recommended by our guide as the best ‘local’s spot’ for grilled fish.
- See more best way from Hanoi airport to city: Click here
Dishes to try in Hanoi:
Cà Phê Trứng (egg coffee, in Hanoi @ the original Giang Cafe est 1946)
Cà phê dừa (coconut coffee)
Jackfruit & Mangosteen fruits!
Bánh Xèo (sizzling pancakes)
Bánh Cuốn (thin savory rice crepes)
Chả Cá (fish with turmeric & dill)
Bánh Mì ốp La (fried egg sandwich)
Bún Chả (pork & noodle dish)
What to Do
Explore the local temples. There are a handful of temples in Hanoi, including one situated on an islet on the lake (Tran Quoc Pagoda). Ngoc Son Temple but opted to admire it from the outside – it’s the busiest during the day. The Temple of Literature is one of the more photogenic temples
Hit up the night market. Starting around 7:00pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the streets of the Old Quarter are transformed to host Hanoi’s night market. The atmosphere leading up to the market as well, as the streets are blocked off as the city starts to come to life at night.
Visit the old train tracks. Catching a glimpse of the train speeding through the heart of Hanoi city while local residents pull up chairs, duck into doorways, and grab their coffee is a sight in itself. Go early — it gets crowded. Here is a great place to start from and walk north-east toward the city center. *Update October 2020: There are two entrances to these tracks, one of which is now closed. The other (located at 222 Le Duan) is said to still be open to visitors eating or drinking at one of the local restaurants
Try all the local cuisine. This one speaks for itself! One of the best parts of Hanoi is the endless food and restaurant options. Booking a food tour is one of the most popular things to do in the city.
- Recommended Hanoi car rental with English speaking driver: Private tour click here
Tam Coc • Day Trip or overnight stay from Hanoi
Book Ninh Binh Day trip from Hanoi: Click here
Limestone mountains and surreal rice fields, plus caves, located 1.5 hours south of Hanoi.
A lush, mountainous region north of Hanoi dotted with local villages and rice paddies.
- See more things to see in Ninh Binh: Click here
Tips for Tam Coc
Hike in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds. You can buy a hat for a couple dollars from vendors on the way to the rice paddies. It’s hot and there is little shade, and the hat makes for a fun photo!
The boat ride is quite long (almost 3 hours). While beautiful. Don’t be afraid to ask the person rowing your boat to turn around as you will be sweating from the start.
Don’t underestimate the power of traveling with a local. Since on a private tour with a guide, spoke Vietnamese and saved from an hour-long line in the sun waiting for a boat.
Try the local cuisine, and opt for the no-frills spots.
Sapa • 2 Days
Book your Sapa tour from Hanoi: Click here
5 hour drive from Hanoi, Vietnam
See more in details: Sapa travel guide click here
Hoi An • 3 days
A charming ancient town and UNESCO world heritage site, featuring thousands of lanterns and lazy boats, with a beach close enough to bike to.
- Read more things to do in central Vietnam: Click here
Where to Eat
92 Station Restaurant & Cafe – amazing rooftop with views of the old town,
Rice Drum – in the evening and ordered the local specialties: rose dumplings and cao lau (pork noodles). Delicious!
Pho Xua – known for their pho, of course.
Madam Khanh (The Banh Mi Queen) – the most basic cafe with the tastiest Banh Mi you’ll have on your trip.
Secret Garden –
Little Faifo Restaurant – perfect for fine dining dinner in the heart of the ancient town.
Coffee & Tea houses to try in Hoi An:
Faifo Coffee – the best view of Hoi An’s rooftops, a great spot to visit on day one (note: the rooftop gets busy).
Cocobox – known for the coconut coffee in particular.
Reaching Out Teahouse – the most serene spot, run by a hearing impaired staff. Unique and beautiful – don’t miss it.
Hoi An Roastery – a classic coffee house, with many locations throughout the city.
T’Aroma Coffee – if you need to get some work done, this is the best spot to bring a laptop and grab some tasty coffee.
Dishes to try in Hoi An:
Cao lau (Hoi An’s pork and noodle dish)
Rose Dumplings (original at White Rose Restaurant)
Hoi An Banh Mi (locally famous sandwich)
Mi Quang (noodle dish)
Bánh Bèo (water fern cake)
Xi ma (sweet black sesame soup)
Bánh Xoài (mango cake)
What to Do
Explore Hoi An at night. Right before sunset, head to the town to see the lanterns light up and the streets come to life. It’s beautiful at this time, and many shops stay open late so you can shop before grabbing a table outside.
Take a cooking class
Head to the beach. Grab a towel, sunscreen, and a hat and head to the nearest beach by bike. There are loads of restaurants dotting the shoreline so you can easily spend a day here.
Ha Long Bay • 3 days
Book your Halong Bay tour from Hanoi: Click here
Surreal limestone rocks jut out of the water in this area, perfect for exploring by boat.
- Read more what to do in Halong Bay: Click here
4.5 hour drive from Hanoi, Vietnam
This unmissable part of Vietnam is made up of thousands of little islands off the northern shore. There’s two main ways to explore it: from the mainland, which offers local beaches and local points; or by boat on a multi-day trip. Though, a highlight was getting to have lunch on our own private beach one day!
1 Day and Multi Day Cruises in Ha Long Bay:
A few places during a trip to Vietnam: Lan Ha Bay, Ban Gioc Falls, Pu Luong, Mekong Delta, and Ho Chi Minh City. There is a lot to see in Vietnam – and endless reasons to come back! Read tripadvisor reviews
- See more where to stay in Halong city: Click here
Customizable Northern Vietnam Itinerary from Hanoi
Hanoi Itinerary 7 Days (one week) Halong Bay – Ninh Binh – Sapa Tour: Click here
North Vietnam Itinerary 7 Days from Hanoi: Click here
Amazing Vietnam Road Trip Northern Loop: Click here
Vietnam road trip private car from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh: Click here
Vietnam UNESCO Road Trip: 10-Fabulous Day Hanoi to Hoi An: Click here
Vietnam Backpacking 3-week Itinerary Road Trip: Click here
The Best 10-Day Vietnam Itinerary: Click here
Questions About Vietnam Itinerary?
Do you have any questions about traveling to Vietnam? Ask me anything in the comment section below. We’ll do our best to help!