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Travel Itinerary for Vietnam and Laos

  • August 24, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 38 Comments
Travel Itinerary for Vietnam and Laos

I normally have a rule about travel destinations and that is I don’t visit the same place more than once. So rules are meant to be broken – right? That is why when my husband suggested we return to Vietnam and also take in Laos, on a Luxury Escapes travel deal, this was too good to resist, so I said yes! Our travel itinerary for Vietnam and Laos includes Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hoi An, Hanoi and Sapa in Vietnam and then four days in Luang Prabang in Laos.

If you’ve never been to Vietnam then I can highly recommend it as an interesting and cheap holiday destination. We travelled here in 2012 and again last year on our South East Asian cruise that took in Nha Trang and Vung Tau. There were a couple of places in Vietnam that we vowed we would return to see and they were the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue and Da Nang (not far from Hoi An), more of Hanoi sights and the mountainous area of Sapa.

Our travel itinerary for Vietnam and Laos will be as follows:

Ho Chi Minh City

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

Ho Chi Minh Statue in the city named after him

We only have two nights in this dizzying city in the south of Vietnam so we intend to spend our time wisely. Due to a mini-cyclone (torrential downpour) last time we were here, we missed out on seeing the War Museum, which is largely located outdoors. But I would also like to see some of the charming French colonial buildings that the city is famous for, including including Notre-Dame Cathedral and the 19th-century Central Post Office.

We are staying at the very swish Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City a five-star hotel located right in the heart of the city. Our deal includes an afternoon tea experience, a foot massage, airport transfer, poolside drinks and a half day guided tour of the city.

Hoi An

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

Relaxing on the beach at Hoi An

We have six heavenly nights booked at the Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort, described as an oasis of tranquility located directly on Cua Dai Beach. If I can extract myself from my beach sunlounge, there are many little extras that we have included with our deal. Luxuries like: an afternoon tea experience, two free daily meals, a daily spa treatment, shuttle service to Da Nang Airport, daily shuttle bus into Hoi An and a Vietnamese cooking class. Do I need to go on!!

With its location on the Thu Bồn river and the seaside, the charming old town of Hội An is a delightful place to stroll around as there are no vehicles allowed. There are many sights in town including temples, ancient houses, chapels and the famous covered Japanese bridge.

If you head south over the central footbridge to An Hội islet, the riverfront is lined with bars and restaurants which are perfect for sipping a cold beverage at the end of the day. At night the riverfront is ablaze with colourful paper lanterns that reflect light onto the river.

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

The colourful river in Hoi An

Hội An is also known for its diverse and excellent food: a legacy of the many nationalities, including Japanese, Chinese and Portuguese, that lived or traded here. Shopping in Hoi An is a shopoholic’s dream with extensive markets, tailors who will make you anything from silk fabric and leathersmiths who will make you anything from soft leather.

My wish this time around is to take a day trip to Vietnam’s former imperial capital Huế, that has sights including temples, tombs and the Purple Forbidden City. We would also like to check out China Beach, a long, sandy beach that stretches 30 kilometres south from Da Nang, that was used as a destination for American soldiers for R&R during the Vietnam War.

Hanoi

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

During our last visit to Hanoi we used it as a transition point to access Halong Bay, so we never really got to sightsee in this thriving city in the north of Vietnam. This time around we are doing a similar thing because we intend heading off to Sapa on a tour the following day after our arrival. However we will get an afternoon and evening here to do some sightseeing.

There are many historical sights in this 1,000 year old city including the Imperial Citadel, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Perfume Pagoda, Hanoi Opera House, Temple of Literature, Hanoi Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake, to name a few.

Our accommodation in Hanoi is located in the Old Quarter at the Hanoi Elite Hotel which is just a few minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi’s heart.

Sapa Tour

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

One of the Hill Tribe women with her children in Sapa village

From Hanoi we are heading off on 3 day tour of the Sapa region in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains of northwestern Vietnam. We’re travelling by bus to Sapa and doing a short trek to Cat Cat village the first day; a Sapa discovery tour and a long trek to Y Linh Ho, Lao Chai and T Van village on the second day; and lastly a visit to Bac Ha Market in Sapa and returning to Hanoi via Lao Cai in the afternoon on the third day.

The mountain countryside is verdant and lush with terraced rice fields into the hillsides and tiny little rural villages that haven’t changed much in over a hundred years. Sapa itself is a colourful town thanks to the H’mong and Dzao people in their unique ethnic dress, who come from the local hill tribes and head into the town’s market every day to trade their produce.

We’re very much looking forward to this part of Vietnam for the spectacular scenery that abounds in the region and meeting the colourfully dressed hill tribe people.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

Monks walking along the Mekong River in Luang Prabang

After returning to Hanoi for one night, and more than likely being exhausted after trekking in Sapa for a few days, we fly out to Luang Prabang in Laos. Only an hour’s flight away, Luang Prabang was once the heart and soul of the ancient Lao Kingdom and is a designated World Heritage site. It apparently is endowed with a rich legacy of historic red-roofed temples and French-Indochinese architecture, and some amazing cuisine.

Our Luxury Escapes hotel is at the Sofitel Luang Prabang for four nights, a former old colonial mansion surrounded by lush botanical gardens. Built in the 1900’s as the governor’s residence, the property boasts fortified walls and watchtowers, and was eventually transformed into a luxury all-suite hotel. We are once again getting a few luxuries included like: daily buffet breakfast, multi-course dinner, interactive cooking class, 90 minute Lao wisdom massage, afternoon tea, bike hire and airport transfers.

Travel Itinerary for Vietnam & Laos

The Sofitel Hotel at Luang Prabang

Other things to do and see around Luang Prabang include Kuang Si Falls and Butterfly Park, The Living Land Company, Elephant Village, Wat Xieng Thong, Ban Xang Hai village, Pak Ou Caves and Mount Phu Si. If we’re willing to get up early one morning we can see the amazing procession of saffron-robed monks on their daily outing. I can’t wait to see this!

Don’t you think our 18 day holiday to Vietnam will be amazing? I can barely wait to get there! Naturally I will be capturing some stunning images during our travels and I will bring it all to you when we return.

If you are interested in holiday packages like this one that includes 5-star accommodation and lots of added extras then click on the Luxury Escapes logo on the sidebar of my blog.

Have you been to Vietnam or Laos? I would love to hear what you think of these places as a holiday destination.

This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset. The Lovin’ Life Team includes:

Lyndall from Seize the Day Projectlovin-life-linky
Deb from DebbishDotCom
Min from Write of the Middle.
Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit
Jo from And Anyways
and of course me, Kathy from 50 Shades of Age


By 50 Shades, August 24, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 38

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

38 Comments
  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    August 24, 2017

    Hi Kathy! Thanks for the itinerary. My husband and I visited Vietnam briefly on a cruise back in 2012. He hadn’t been back since he was 21 and had been called up for national duty in the Vietnam War. Being a Vietnam Vet he wasn’t that keen to revisit but after we had visited where he was stationed and he saw positive changes in the area he was glad he went. We hope to go back one day and I’ll be using your tips as we haven’t been to Laos either. Have a great day!

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Yes I understand how difficult it would be for Vietnam Vets to return to this place. But it is a fabulous travel destination these days and so affordable. #TeamLovinLife

  • Lydia C. Lee
    August 24, 2017

    Looks so lovely!

  • Deborah
    August 24, 2017

    Oh Kathy, stunning photographs and it sounds AMAZING! I stopped in Vietnam briefly in 1997 as I’d been living in Cambodia for 7mths with there was a ‘coup’. I flew into Vietnam but at that stage there were only weekly flights to Australia and I’d missed it by a day so did a little travelling around for 6 days.

    I never made it to Laos and though I went back to Cambodia for work in 1998 didn’t really get any touristing done there and went nowhere else in the region. I suspect it’s changed much since then.

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Oh wow, you lived in Cambodia? I think Vietnam and Laos are now very much trying to attract the tourist dollar. We have enjoyed both our visits to Vietnam and we are very eager to return. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo Tracey
    August 24, 2017

    Oh how fabulous! I loved Vietnams when we were there in April – and look forward to reading your posts on your return. Travel safely and enjoy. #TeamLovinLife.

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Thanks Jo. You will be able to recognise a lot of the places I’m going to blog about then! #TeamLovinLife

  • Vanessa
    August 24, 2017

    I could go a week at Hoi An right now. That looks fantastic. Just need a stack of books :)

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Oh yes Hoi An is very much a chill out place. I can’t wait to get there either. #TeamLovinLife

  • Little Wandering Wren
    August 24, 2017

    Hi Kathy – talk about great minds think alike! We were on the Luxury Escapes break Luang Prabang – Sofitel in April loved it! We are off in November on their Vietnam Holiday!

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Ha ha! Are we stalking one another? Yes I think it is “great minds think alike”. Vietnam is a superb holiday destination and I’ve also heard good things about Laos. #TeamLovinLife

  • jodie filogomo
    August 24, 2017

    Those are amazing photos!! You really make me want to visit this place that I had never even considered, Kathy!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Thank you Jodie. Vietnam is a great holiday destination and very affordable. #TeamLovinLife

  • Di from Max The Unicorn
    August 24, 2017

    I’d love to visit this part of the world, and your photos make it looks so beautiful!

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Yes it a beautiful part of South East Asia. I can highly recommend Vietnam as a holiday destination. #TeamLovinLife

  • Estelle Anderson
    August 24, 2017

    Wow Kathy a great itinerary. We visited Vietnam & Cambodia in 2014. We thoroughly enjoy this holiday. I totally understand your decision to return. I’m jealous you are going to Sapa. If I return, and this is very possible, I would definitely go to Sapa. And I wouldn’t mind Loas either. Enjoy your trip :)

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Thanks Estelle. I think it will be a fabulous trip and I’m looking so forward to seeing Sapa and visiting Laos. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo
    August 24, 2017

    It looks a fabulous itinerary. I’m going to check out Luxury Escapes right now.

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Luxury Escapes have some great deals on 5-Star hotels and resorts all over the world. We have purchased a few vouchers over the years and have never been disappointed. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    August 24, 2017

    Oh I am drooling over my laptop, Kathy. Vietnam is a country I’ve wanted to visit for the longest time. The culture, history, people and food as well as a curiosity to see what modern Vietnam looks like are all big reasons for me.

    SSG xxx

    • Kathy
      August 24, 2017

      Yes you would love Vietnam. There is so much on offer, from the history of the Vietnam War, the Mekong River, beautiful beaches, mountainous terrain to the magical Halong Bay. I can highly recommend it! #TeamLovinLife

  • Jan Wild
    August 24, 2017

    Kathy that sounds wonderful. We haven’t been to Laos but we loved our visit to Vietnam several years ago; particularly lovely Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. So much to see and do. Will you get some tailoring done in Hoi An?

    • Kathy
      August 25, 2017

      Yes I’m looking forward to it Jan. Last time I was in Hoi An I had a couple of things made and I was extremely disappointed, so no I won’t be doing this again. #TeamLovinLife

  • Life Images by Jill
    August 24, 2017

    We’ve not been to Vietnam or Laos, though our much travelled friends have. It’s not been on my list. Perhaps I need to rethink my list. I loved your photo of the hill tribe woman with her children. Thanks for the link up Cathy. Happy travels.

    • Kathy
      August 25, 2017

      Thanks Jill. Unfortunately I can’t take credit for that photo, but I’m hoping to get some great shots when we visit. Vietnam is a fabulous place for a holiday. #TeamLovinLife

  • Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
    August 24, 2017

    Absolutely and I’m jealous!!! I think we have the same sort-of rule: about not visiting the same destination again. But then again, if it whets your appetite to go back for more, why not.

    • Kathy
      August 25, 2017

      Yes well Vietnam has whetted my appetite second time around, so it should be great. It’s a great place for a holiday. #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    August 25, 2017

    Oh wow!!! That photo of the colourful river and the one of the hill tribe women. Both look like award winning photos to me. Amazing!

    • Kathy
      August 25, 2017

      Thanks Leanne, but they’re not my photos! Hopefully I’ll be able to emulate them though. #TeamLovinLife

  • budget jan
    August 25, 2017

    Wow, I am so envious of your visit to Luang Prabang. I just love the way the golden robed monks are everywhere, the laid back vibe, delicious food and friendly people, Kuang Si waterfall, a Mekong River trip and eating in restaurants along the Mekong River bank. This post is very enticing.

    • Kathy
      August 25, 2017

      Yes I’m very much looking forward to Luang Prabang and also just chilling in Hoi An. We will certainly visit the waterfall and do a Mekong River trip. I’m sure we will also sample those restaurants along the river! #TeamLovinLife

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    August 27, 2017

    Kathy it all looks so gorgeous – like Bali but nicer! You’ll have a wonderful time I’m sure and I think I might have to add it to my list of possible future destinations because it’s a lot prettier than I had thought it would be.

    • Kathy
      August 28, 2017

      Yes there are some very pretty spots in Vietnam, however the cities are still a little unclean and crazy busy. Most people that travel to Vietnam really enjoy it. #TeamLovinLife

  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com
    August 29, 2017

    Hi Kathy! When are you going? Vietnam is on my list along with Cambodia but we can’t figure out the best time to visit. When were you there last time and when do you plan to go this next time? Your photos were great and I look forward to your post about your trip. ~Kathy G

    • Kathy
      August 29, 2017

      Hi Kathy. We’re actually heading off in a week’s time. The best times to visit Vietnam is in the Dry Season Feb-Apr or Aug-Oct. It is very hot in the southern parts of Vietnam and a little cooler in the north. The first time we visited in April and it was hot, but mild in the north. The second time was in February and it was also hot. I can highly recommend it as a cheap and interesting travel destination. It has lots to offer. :)

  • Natalie
    September 1, 2017

    Hi Kathy…I visited Vietnam independently for six weeks a while ago, traveling from North to South with stops along the way. Have a wonderful trip! #TeamLovinLife

    • Kathy
      September 1, 2017

      That sounds like it was a fantastic trip. I’m really looking forward to returning here and seeing some of the places we haven’t visited before. #TeamLovinLife

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