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5 Days Itinerary: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Sapa (for the first timers)

If you’ve got 5 days to explore Northern Vietnam and you’re not quite sure what to do, we’ve got your back. This itinerary will take you from the ancient streets of Hanoi to the towering mountains of Halong Bay to come to an end in the hills and mountains of Sapa.

5 Days Itinerary: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Sapa (for the first timers)
IN A NUTSHELL
  • Spend the first day exploring Hanoi’s highlights.
  • On day two, head towards Sapa where you will explore Ham Rong mountain.
  • Day three takes you to Cat Cat village, where you will learn about H’mong culture.
  • The final destination is a 2-day/1-night cruise to Halong Bay.

Day 1: Hanoi

Day 1: Hanoi
  • 8:00: Leave your hotel and go to Tran Quoc Pagoda, a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, near the West Lake.
  • 9:45: Take a stroll towards Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Ba Dinh, grab a traditional Vietnamese breakfast along the way.
  • 11:15: Next up, drop by the One Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s most iconic temples.
  • 12:00: Stop to have lunch in a nearby local restaurant.
  • 13:30: For a blast from the past, visit the ancient Temple of Literature, built in 1070 AD, it’s also Vietnam’s first university.
  • 15:00: Head towards Hoan Kiem Lake, do as the locals do and walk around the lake and generally chill out. Visit Ngoc Son Temple and try some ice cream from one of the nearby gelaterias.
  • 17:00: Return to the hotel and get ready for dinner.
  • 18:30: Explore the Old Quarter, find somewhere for dinner - perhaps Bun Cha or Bun Bo Nam Bo?
  • 20:00: Return to hotel and get lots of sleep in preparation for day two!

Summary: Visit 5 attractions including Tran Quoc Pagoda,Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son Temple and Hoan Kiem lake.

Day 2: Hanoi to Sapa

Day 2: Hanoi to Sapa
Ham Rong Mountain, Sapa
  • 8:00: Board the shuttle bus headed for Sapa. Enjoy the beautiful scenery on the way.
  • 13:00: Arrive in Sapa and have some lunch.
  • 14:00: Head for Ham Rong mountain, climb to the summit (takes 20 minutes) and explore the Indochina Orchid Garden.
  • 17:00: Go back to the hotel and freshen up for the evening.
  • 18:00: Find somewhere to have a delicious dinner!
  • 19:30: Explore Sapa town by night.

Tip: You can also catch an overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa. Train departs Hanoi at 22:00 and arrive Lao Cai (for Sapa) at 06:10 in the morning. it costs about 800,000 VND/person for one-way ticket.

Day 3: Sapa to Cat Cat Village to Hanoi

Day 3: Sapa to Cat Cat Village to Hanoi
Cat Cat ethnic village landscape, Sapa
  • 08:30: Wake up and enjoy breakfast in Sapa Town.
  • 9:30: Go to Cat Cat Village, close to Sapa Town. Meet the Hmong people and learn about their distinctive customs and traditions.
  • 12:00: Go back to Sapa to have lunch.
  • 13:30: Explore Sapa’s market and buy some souvenirs.
  • 14:30: Head back to Hanoi by shuttle bus.
  • 19:30: Return to your Hanoi hotel and relax for the evening, or get dinner around the Old Quarter.

For train lovers: An overnight train from Sapa departs Lao Cai station at 21:40 and arrive Hanoi at 05:30.

Day 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay

Day 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay
Overnight cruise ships in Halong bay.
  • 8:00 - 8:30: Get a Banh Mi on-the-go for your breakfast, then board the shuttle bus heading for Halong Bay.
  • 12:15 - 13:00: You should aim to arrive at Halong Bay ferry port by midday. Check-in and board your cruise.
  • 13:00: Enjoy a set-menu lunch onboard the cruise boat.
  • 14:00: First stop, visit Titop Island. Take some time to swim, sunbathe or explore the island.
  • 15:30: Head to Sung Sot Cave, one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay.
  • 16:30: Go back to the boat and freshen up in time for dinner. Have a shower and relax on the deck while you wait.
  • 17:30: Enjoy the set-menu dinner.
  • 19:00: Once the sun has gone down partake in squid fishing, karaoke singing and games.

Important Note: Passports are required for onboard stay, remember to take your passport with you.

Day 5: Halong Bay to Hanoi

Day 5: Halong Bay to Hanoi
Bo Nau cave in Halong Bay, Vietnam
  • 07:00: Wake up nice and early to enjoy breakfast on board the ship.
  • 07:40: Visit the pearl farm. Learn all about the cultivation of pearls in Halong Bay.
  • 08:30: Try some kayaking, explore the area surrounding your cruise boat independently.
  • 10:30: Have brunch on the boat and then take in Halong Bay as the boat travels back to Tuan Chau Harbor.
  • 12:00: The shuttle bus will take you back to Hanoi’s Old Quarter. 16:30: Return to your Hanoi hotel.

Recommended hotels for Hanoi: The Oriental Jade Hotel & Spa and Apricot hotel (2 minute walk from Hoan Kiem lake)

Questions and Answers (30)

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Yoyoh yohana 4 days ago

Hi, i planning to explore hanoi, halong bay and sapa ( including fansipan) in April for 5 nights. I’m traveling with my families. Can you give us some tips or perhaps itinerary. We thinking to try night train to Sapa From hanoi or from Sapa to Hanoi is it possible ? We plan to have night flight, I think we’ll be arrive in Hanoi in the morning, thank you so much

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Visithalongbay Team 1 day, 20 hours ago

@Yoyoh Yohana, Thank you for contacting us. Our consultant has sent you an email to assist you better. Hope to hear from you. Regards,

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Jerene 6 days, 17 hours ago

i planning to gg in May for 5 days . is ther weather hot in May. Any tips. ?

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Harzel 5 days, 16 hours ago

Dear Jerene, Answering your questions, in May the weather in Halong Bay is around 15 degrees to 25 degrees. It's kinda hot but not like June from August. I also wonder which type of cruise you are interested in (budget, mid-range or luxury)? We have many different cruises with different costs so it is helpful to know your budget range? How many people (adults, children)? Your trip dates as well. I look forward to hearing back from you so I can send you our best offer. If you have any other questions please let me know any time! Best regards, Harzel
 

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Ariff 1 month, 1 week ago

Hi I want to visit Vietnam at the end of August, me and my friend, we both want to go on a trip to Ho Chi Minh and Fansipan (because of the cold weather), it is possible to do it ?, because we both plan to be in Vietnam for 5 days only, can you give us some tips. Thank you.

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Visithalongbay Team 1 month, 1 week ago

@Ariff, Thank you for your questions. We have sent you an email for better assistance. Please kindly check it. Looking forward to hearing from you. Regards, Visithalongbay Team

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Maheenthran 1 month, 1 week ago

I would like to get a quote for 9 people for a 5D trip in mid May 2024. Can you provide the available package and itinerary

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Melissa 1 month, 1 week ago

@Dear Maheenthran,

Thank you for your email and I would like to send you the itinerary below.

Day 1: Hanoi Airport - Hanoi City - Hotel in Hanoi
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour 1 days - Hotel in Hanoi
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight cruise
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi. Return to Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi departure, trip ends. 

Does this match your preferences? If you wish to add any other destinations please let me know!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Melissa
 

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claire burns 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I would like a quote for 8 people taking over night train to Sapa and back please

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Visithalongbay Team 1 month, 2 weeks ago

@Claire Burns, Thank you for contacting us. We have sent you an email for better assistance. Please kindly check it. Regards, Visithalongbay Team.

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Vaishali Parihar 2 months, 1 week ago

Hi. I am also interested in witnessing the Vietnamese New Year along with the above itinerary. Can you provide complete itinerary for 2 adults for new year 2024

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Visithalongbay Team 2 months, 1 week ago

@Vaishali Parihar, We have sent you an email about the suggested itinerary. Please check it and reply to us for better assistance. Regards,

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Carol Ong 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi, am trying to plan an itinerary for 4 for 5 full days. Arrive Sun evening. Mon Day 1 in Hanoi and on Tue, Day 2 to Sapa and stay one night there. Day 3 in Sapa then travel back to Hanoi. Day 4 day tour to Halong Bay. Day 5 in Hanoi. Next day depart Hanoi for home. Any other suggestion?

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Visithalongbay Team 2 months, 2 weeks ago

@Carol Ong, Thank you for your inquiry. Please check the email we have sent you for better assistance. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Regards,

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Janice 10 months ago
Hello, I’m looking at similar itinerary for a family of five (2 adults, 1 senior and 2 kids) in October. Possible to provide more details/ recommendations, including transport?
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Lan 9 months, 4 weeks ago
@Janice, We have emailed you with itinerary details, accomodation and transportation options for the tour. Thank you
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Xuan Viet Mai 11 months, 2 weeks ago
I am interested in the above itinerary. Please share the quote for 4 adults on Jun 25, 2023. Thank you
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Lan 11 months, 2 weeks ago
@Xuan Viet Mai We have just sent you an email containing a detailed 5-day, 4-night itinerary for Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa, along with accommodation grade options. Please check your email inbox and let us know if you have any questions or would like to make any changes. Thank you.
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Edgar Diaz 1 year, 1 month ago
Looking for 5 days Halong Bay and Sapa please
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Karen 1 year, 1 month ago
Hi, I am interested in the above itinerary. Please share the quote for 4 adults and 2 kids
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Mia Nguyen 1 year, 1 month ago
@Karen Thank you for your inquiry. We have emailed you with detailed itinerary and price information! Kindly check your email.
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Abdul Hakim Amir bin Nazri 1 year, 2 months ago
Hi, I am interested in the 5 days Hanoi - Sapa - Halong Bay for my family (2 adults and 2 children). Can you recommend the options including transport/guide? Thank you
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Mia Nguyen 1 year, 2 months ago
@Abdul Hakim Amir bin Nazri Sure, we just emailed you to ask for more information about your date of travel and children ages because it may affect itinerary and price. Have a good day!
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Sushanth 1 year, 3 months ago
Hi, I am in interested in a 5 day Hanoi => Sapa => Halong Bay trip for 4 persons from 1st - 5th December. Can you pls suggest options?
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Mia Nguyen 1 year, 3 months ago
@Sushanth Thank you for your interest in our itinerary! I just emailed with a few itinerary options for Hanoi / Halong Bay and Sapa. Kindly check your email and let me know!
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Jordan 1 year, 3 months ago
Hi, I am in interested in a 5 day Hanoi => Sapa => Halong Bay trip for 2 persons from 1st - 5th November. Can you pls suggest options?
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Mia Nguyen 1 year, 3 months ago
@Jordan November is the best months to visit all three Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa for its great weather conditions (Sunny and less rainfall). We just emailed you with options and itineraries for the trip. Kindly check your email for more information!
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Souvik 1 year, 4 months ago
Hi, I am in interested in a 5 day Hanoi => Sapa => Halong Bay trip for 2 persons from 24th to 28th Dec. Can you pls suggest options?
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Mai Nguyen 1 year, 4 months ago
@Souvik Thank you for visiting Halong bay. We have just emailed you with detailed itinerary and price for the 5 day trip for Hanoi, Halong bay and Sapa! Kindly check you email!
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