Backpacking Vietnam: Our Backpacking Itinerary

What would you say if I told you that for the whole month of October we were backpacking our way around Vietnam?

Would you hesitate? Would you jump at the chance? Would you have any doubts?

Well I hope not, because guess what: we are spending the whole month of October backpacking Vietnam!

Vietnam is one of my favourite countries in the world: the people, the food, the landscape, the contrasts… We are going to experience it all. So get your backpack packed and get ready to step into my shoes. We are going tomorrow! I’ll meet you here bright and early.

Oh, and I almost forgot; here’s our itinerary:

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Click on any of the headings below to be taken to the category of posts about that place. Or click here to be taken to my Backpacking Vietnam page where you can find all the posts about this trip in order of the route we took.


We are starting our backpacking itinerary in Hanoi, Vietnam’s crazy capital, where we will have our first introduction to the country. We will meet the people, taste the food, learn to cross the road and live to tell the tale.

Backpacking Vietnam

The Streets of Hanoi

In Hanoi we will see more motorbikes than we ever imagined existed. We will try bia hoi. We will visit a temple or two. Oh, and we will go shopping!

Halong Bay

We will be awestruck by the sheer beauty of Halong Bay, as we sail among the dream-like rocks and cliffs that rise straight out of the water.

Backpacking Vietnam

Halong Bay

We will go kayaking, discover caves and stay on a paradise island.

We are going on a three-day cruise around Halong Bay so make sure you have your camera ready and plenty of spare batteries.

Ninh Binh

We will have an adventure on a crowded public bus to get from Halong to Ninh Binh. We will have an even bigger adventure on the back of motorbike taxis driven by local tour guides as we discover the beauty and uniqueness of Tam Coc.

Backpacking Vietnam

Tam Coc

Tam Coc is a stunning place where we will be rowed down the river by expert locals who navigate with their feet! And we will see more amazing karst landscape than we ever knew existed.

In Ninh Binh we will have such fun with street food and street restaurants: it will be a night to remember!


Next we will go to UNESCO town, Hue, the old Vietnamese capital, which is famous for its citadel and old palace. We will visit the tombs and we will pay a visit to the optician! Yep, you read that right.

Backpacking Vietnam

Citadel, Hue

Hoi An

Backpacking Vietnam

River Boats in Hoi An

We will spend five peaceful and fun days in Vietnam’s most beautiful town, where we will spend a lot of time in the tailor’s shop, go to the beach, hire bicycles and discover Cao Lau, Vietnam’s best dish.

And how do you fancy joining a cooking school to learn how to make those amazing fresh spring rolls?

We will also hire a driver to take us to Marble Mountains on a fantastic trip with a steep hike and amazing views.

Backpacking Vietnam

Marble Mountain

Nha Trang

In Nha Trang we will have an unfortunate run-in with local petty crime.

But don’t worry; we will also visit the photo studio of a local black and white street photographer and we will have a delicious seafood barbecue on the beach.

Nha Trang’s beach is the most famous in Vietnam for being the longest, and it is also considered the most beautiful. (Not by me, I have another amazing Vietnamese beach to show you that tops Nha Trang).

As well as getting covered in sand, we will also get covered in mud when we have a fun experience at a local mud spa.


Next we will move on to Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, another old capital. This is a place steeped in history from the last century and the Vietnam-America war.

We will visit the Reunification Palace and learn about the history of Vietnam and America. But our first introduction to Saigon will be a more modern one, in its backpacker district.

Backpacking Vietnam

Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City

Mekong Delta

An amazing adventure will take us rowing down the Mekong River and will take us to places that we have only read about in books and seen in films.

Backpacking Vietnam

Cruising on the Mekong River

In the Mekong we will spend time in the jungle, stay in a flooded town and experience a local floating market. We will discover the local gastronomy and culture and we will have an absolutely unforgettable night out at a local street food restaurant.

Phu Quoc

It will be a well deserved rest and a luxurious retreat when we spend six lazy days on Phu Quoc Island enjoying paradise.

Backpacking Vietnam

Sunset on Phu Quoc Island

We will dance over the burning sand to the refreshing sea and we will have beach barbecue feasts of fresh fish every single night right there on the beach. There’ll be no need to even put our shoes on.


From deepest south in the Mekong Delta to the furthest north, we will spend time in freezing temperatures with the Hmong hill tribes of Sapa.

We will hike through the rice paddies, mingle with the Hmong and even attend a local funeral!

Backpacking Vietnam

Rice Paddies, Sapa

And we will experience Vietnam’s overnight sleeper trains. Yawn!

So, dig your passport out, get a good night’s sleep, and we’ll set off bright and early tomorrow morning…

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

Are you ready to find out what happened next on this trip? Next up is: How to Cross the Road in Hanoi.

Or you can visit my Vietnam Backpacking page where you’ll find all the posts about this trip in route order.

Or if you have any questions, drop me a comment.

Filed Under: asiafeaturedvietnam

About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. susan sykes says:

    Can’t wait if these photos are anything to go by it looks fantastic

  2. dant says:

    I am going in a few days!! Vietnam is gorgeous. If you can go GO really you will not regret it.

  3. Mark Young says:

    Interesting read. I visited Vietnam in 2012/2013 and am returning in 2014. Wonderful country and beautiful people. I will be there for a couple of months, mainly in the south but I do want to go to Ha Long bay so I will spend a bit of time in the north.

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