This trip takes you to the main UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Vietnam, including Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, and My Son.
Day 1: Hanoi
After you arrive and settle in to your hotel, take a cyclo tour or walk around Hanoi's busy Old Quarter. See the Thang Long Water Puppet show in the evening.
Day 2: Hanoi to Halong
In the early morning, take a walk around central Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter, and then visit the Hanoi Citadel -- with Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, House, and Museum, as well as the One-Pillar Pagoda. In the late afternoon, head to Halong City for an overnight. (Note: My preference is to overnight on one of Halong's better boat trips, but this journey requires a full 2 days.)
Day 3: Halong to Hanoi
Take an early morning boat cruise on Halong Bay, stopping at some of the main cave sights. Check out Thien Cung Grotto (Heavenly Cave) or Surprise Cave, and enjoy lunch aboard the ship before returning to Hanoi in the late afternoon.
Day 4: Hanoi to Hue
Take a morning flight to Hue, the old Imperial City in central Vietnam. Visit the Hue Citadel, the Thien Mu Pagoda, and the tomb of Tu Duc or other tombs outside of town. Enjoy Hue cuisine at one of the popular downtown tour restaurants.
Day 5: Hue to Hoi An
Take a morning to catch any sights you might have missed on the previous day, or visit the more far-flung temples like the Tomb of Minh Mang. In the afternoon, leave by car or minivan for Hoi An. Along the way, stop at Lang Co Beach and Hai Van Pass. Overnight in Hoi An. (If you get here in time, place an order for your tailored clothes.)
Day 6: Hoi An
Take an all-day tour of the Ancient Town, stopping at Chinese pagodas and congregation halls, the Japanese Bridge, and the many museums and old shop houses. In the afternoon and evening, take in the old town or scoot out to Cua Dai Beach to dip your toes in the sand. Shop 'til you drop in the evening.
Day 7: Hoi An to My Son
Set out in the morning for an all-day trip to the hilltop temples of stunning My Son before returning to Hoi An.
Day 8: Hoi An to Hanoi (via Danang)
Head to Danang in the morning, making stops at the Marble Mountains, China Beach, and the Cham Museum, where you'll see all the relics that were removed from My Son, before flying from Danang to Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi
Spend your last morning before departure in Hanoi (maybe doing some last-minute shopping).