We recommend three itineraries from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa. These routes require at least 15 days to complete; however, we encourage a timeframe of 3 weeks to 1 month for a more immersive experience. If you have more time for your journey, experiencing and savoring the beauty of landscapes and people will be much more rewarding.

The three routes share quite similar paths in the central region, with some common destinations such as Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, etc. However, each route still possesses unique characteristics. The coastal route is suitable for those starting out with a more relaxed journey. If you enjoy the feeling of controlling speed and a bit more challenge, the mountainous route would be an excellent choice.

The coastal route

This route closely follows the coastal route along the eastern part of Vietnam, passing through most of the coastal provinces and cities. From Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, the journey is picturesque as it traverses numerous towns and beautiful southern beaches like Nha Trang, Quy Nhơn, and Khánh Hoà. However, a limitation is avoiding this route during the complex developments of monsoon and storm seasons in Vietnam from June to October.

In general, this remains an ideal itinerary for those wanting to spend the majority of their trip enjoying the beauty of Vietnam’s beaches. Additionally, the inclusion of Đà Lạt in the journey is noteworthy. This city is famous for its mild and pleasant climate, romantic and picturesque natural landscapes, and an abundance of resorts, entertainment, and recreational activities, making it an unmissable destination.

the mountainous route

We suggest two routes for this more challenging itinerary.

Route 1: Two-thirds of the route comprises mountainous terrain.
After passing through Mai Chau and Pu Luong, you continue along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Ho Chi Minh Trail is a network of military supply routes that traversed the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. While many sections are now more accessible, some areas remain remote and challenging, characterized by rugged mountains and dense forests. For those seeking exploration and historical discovery, navigating these trail segments presents a challenging adventure, demanding skilled driving and thorough preparation.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang Cave is a recommended stop along this route. From here, you proceed towards Hue and Da Nang, where the terrain becomes much more manageable. Both cities are ideal destinations for their historical significance and resort offerings, providing ample opportunities for exploration.

From Da Nang, you head towards the Central Highlands of Vietnam, known for its association with elephants and being the largest coffee-growing region in the country. The landscape in this area is diverse, ranging from high mountains to vast plateaus and valleys with lush, fertile fields.

If you’re not seeking beaches and want to avoid crowded tourist areas, this is a good option.

Route 2: One-third of the route is along the coastal road.
This route shares similarities with the one above from the start until reaching Da Nang. Afterward, instead of continuing to the plateau, the route changes direction, with the next destinations being coastal provinces with beautiful beaches, such as Quy Nhơn and Nha Trang.

If you’re seeking a balance between challenge, mastering the steering wheel, and a relaxing experience, then this is a perfect choice. In the end, you have time to fully enjoy the journey with countless stunning beaches in the southern part of the country.