You might have known that Vietnam is a beautiful country with a lot of things to do and places to see from North to South. But how much time should you spend for your Vietnam itinerary? 1 week is enough to see most of the country or you must spend at least 15 days? You fancy for a 30-day, but is the length is necessary this long? Indochina Trends knows that planning a trip to Vietnam is a tough job, especially for first-timers to the country. It is even harder to determine how long you should stay – an issue of no small matter since it affects how much should you spend for your Vietnam trip.
Here is our attempt to sort out the best Vietnam Itinerary for different groups of travelers with different interests. We hope that this article will help you, however small, in making your perfect trip to Vietnam
1, Vietnam Itinerary for Classic Travelers
As a classic travelers, you’ll have many options to visit Vietnam. A tour with proper length would suit you the most, both your time and money budget. Either you are a first-time visitor to Vietnam or you have visited the country before, your needs might differ. We suggest two itineraries based on how familiar you’re with Vietnam. For first-timers, you might want an ‘introduction’ trip which can tell in the most essential sense what Vietnam is about. For multiple visitors, a more in-depth trip which can give you more insights into the life of Vietnamese people would be a better choice.
Itinerary for First-time Visitors to Vietnam
For first-timers, you would want a trip to feature all the Vietnam classic bits in all three main regions in the country. The perfect length for an introductory trip is about 9-10 days with main attractions are Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta. These destinations are all considered the best places to visit in Vietnam.
Here is our recommended Vietnam 10-day Itinerary for First-time Visitors:
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
First day in the country, you can spend to rest or walk around the 1000-year-old capital on your own accord.
Day 2: Hanoi full day city tour
Spend your second day in Hanoi for a full-day city tour. There are some of Hanoi’s most remarkable cultural and historical monuments:
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the first political stronghold of the millennial capital.
Continue to Temple of Literature – the first university of Vietnam under Ly and Tran dynasties. This ancient site offers a chance to take unique photos of turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty.
Ba Dinh Square, the complex of former Indochina Governor Palace which is close to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his stilt house.
Vietnam Museum of Ethnology – the collection of 25,000 ancient and contemporary ethnic objects from all corners of Vietnam.
At night, you can freely explore around the famous Hanoi Old Quarter – the liveliest and bustling part of the capital or enjoy a show of water puppetry performance.
Stay overnight in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Halong Bay is located 180 km to the East of Hanoi, and is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Known for its spectacular scenery of thousands of limestone islands and islets on the greenish water bay, Halong is a real treat of nature.
Enjoy your lunch while cruise passing by some of the most scenic locations mountains and a floating village. Do not miss the chance to capture breath taking and glorious sunset scene on the bay. In the evening, dinner is served while the cruise anchored in quiet water area.
Overnight on board.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi and take short flight to Hue
In the early morning, greet the morning as the first ray shines through thousands karst of the bay. It’s time for a visit to the splendid caves of Halong such as Surprising Cave or Dai Go Cave. Have lunch on board.
Return to Hanoi at the end of the afternoon then transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Hue. Overnight at hotel in Hue.
Day 5: Hue full day tour
Today is a day dedicated to explore Hue – the last imperial capital of Vietnam between 1802 and 1945.
Hue Imperial City – the residence and workplace of 13 Nguyen kings for 143 years. This Imperial City was finally completed under the reign of Minh Mang, making it the most massive structure being built in the history of modern Vietnam involving thousands of workers.
Gia Long Tomb – the founder of Nguyen Dynasty or of Ming Mang Emperor who was famous for fathering 142 royal offspring with his 43 concubines.
You can also spend time to visit a garden house – a specialty of Hue. The garden system contains various types of gardens: house garden, tomb garden, pagoda garden, palace garden and royal garden.
Day 6: Hue at leisure and transfer to Hoi An
Unlike other bustling cities, Hue is the most poetic place in the country. Spend your full morning in this city and experience the slow movement of life and vehicles on road. In the afternoon, drive from Hue to Hoi An town.
Day 7: Hoi An full day tour
Have a full day in one of Vietnam’s most atmospheric and historical town. Once a major port in the Central coast of Vietnam, it inherits the ancient architecture and beguiling riverside setting that offers tourists a throwback to the past.
Best sites to see in Hoi An: Phuc Kien temple, Phuc Thanh pagoda, Japanese bridge
Shops where colorful silk and lantern can be found. Tourists might me amazed by the speedy service for tailor made clothes.
In the rest of the day, it’s time for a lazing time on the beach. Another option of visiting countryside area or traditional village are available to choose.
Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.
Day 8: Hoi An full day at leisure
Today is your free day in Hoi An.
There are many suggestions of activities you can do in this lovely town:
- Cycling through the peaceful rural area of Hoi An along beautiful green rice field,
- Enjoy the candle light and roses in the most romantic restaurants in Hoi An along Thu Bon river,
- Soak up the sunshine on beautiful nearby beaches (Cua Dai and An Bang),
- Taste famous street food in Hoi An sold in street vendors to explore the harmony combination of spice used in local culinary culture…
Overnight at hotel in Hoi An
Day 9: Hoi An – Da Nang – Saigon
In the morning transfer to Da Nang International Airport for flight to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the capital of the South.
Cathedral of Notre Dame: which was built by the French in 1880, the first basilica of Vietnam,
Central Post Office which is an iconic symbol of Saigon mixing of Gothic, Renaissance and French architecture,
Cho Lon (Chinatown) with the Temple of the Celestial Lady and Ben Thanh Market – the representative image of Ho Chi Minh City.
Overnight at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta (Ben Tre – Vinh Long)
Visit Mekong Delta, an amphibious landscape to the south of the country. There’re a lots of things you can do in Mekong Delta. Come to Ben Tre to truly understand the life on water of the people here.
In the afternoon, transfer to Vinh Long‘s An Binh Island (Cù lao An Bình) in the middle of Mekong River. Greet your host family in whose house you will participate preparation of your dinner. Overnight at homestay.
>>Click to see our detailed 10-day Vietnam itinerary
If you’ve visited Vietnam before, you might want this trip a little more special, which can give you a perspective you’ve never seen before. A classic Vietnam trip for second-time travelers would be longer and featured with more activities.
Main destinations are: Hanoi, Sapa, Halong, Hue, Ninh Binh, Hoi An, Danang, Ho Chi Minh and Mekong Delta in-depth
Our recommended itinerary for this tour is a Vietnam 15-day Itinerary or Vietnam Grand Tour 18 Days.
2, Best Itinerary for Active and Adventurous Travelers
For those who are looking for an itinerary that focuses on a specific series of activities or discovers a region in-depth, remember that each region in Vietnam offers different types of landscape and culture, hence different activities.
A North to South tour for active travelers would be quite exhausting and lacking in either natural or cultural features. We suggest active travelers to Vietnam choose an itinerary that offers special activities and adventures that would help understand the land and the people even more.
Vietnam Destinations for Active Travelers: Sapa, Mai Chau, Pu Luong, Phong Nha – Ke Bang, Mekong Delta….
Northern Vietnam Trips have the diversity in types of activities from cruising to trekking activities. For example, a suggested Northern Vietnam itinerary:
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour, Water Puppetry Show
Day 3: Hanoi to Ninh Binh
Day 4: Ninh Binh – Mai Chau
Day 5: Mai Chau – Mai Hich – Pu Luong
Day 6 : Pu Luong Trekking (5 hours)
Day 7: Pu Luong Rafting Tour – Back to Hanoi, departure
3, Vietnam Itinerary for Family Holiday
Vietnam is a great destination for family holidays. The country is known for providing safety for international travelers. Vietnamese people are friendly, helpful, especially towards children and pregnant women.
In any major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, you’ll easily find shops that cater products for infants and babies and accommodations that are kid-friendly. Means of transportation are also adequately developed.
The only things you should pay more attention when traveling in Vietnam with kids is the street food and the traffic. However, these issues can totally be under your control.
A Vietnam family holiday should be educational and exciting while not too taxing for the kids. It should be a trip where you kids can learn while enjoy themselves.
Destinations for a family holiday in Vietnam: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Lat, Danang, Hoi An…
We suggest a 10-day Vietnam family holiday:
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour
Day 3: Hanoi – Bat Trang Village halfday
Day 4: Hanoi to Halong Bay
Day 5: Halong Bay – Hanoi
Day 6: Flight to Danang – My Khe Beach
Day 7: Bana Hills
Day 8: Danang – Hoi An
Day 9: Tra Que village
Day 10: Danang Departure
> If you’re prefer shorter family holidays, we suggest a Ho Chi Minh City – Da Lat – 5 Day Itinerary.
4, Recommended Itinerary for Couples and Honeymooners
Often overlooked when it comes to holidays for honeymooners and couples, Vietnam is the hidden gem for a romantic stay. Having both the dreamlike natural landscapes and the cultural richness, Vietnam can never bore you out.
There is a lot for couples to discover in the country – the secluded beaches, the green islands, golden terraced rice fields, the glamorous cities and more awaiting to indulge you in the trip of your lifetime.
Best Vietnam destinations for couples: Halong, Con Dao Island, Phu Quoc Island, Hoi An, Hanoi…
Our recommended 1-week Vietnam itinerary for couples:
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
A peaceful time for you and your loved one to enjoy the cultural charms of this 1000-year-old capital city. Visit Hanoi Old Quarter, Ma May Old House and the French Quarter.
Day 2: Hanoi morning cooking tour – afternoon city tour
Spend your time together enjoying a cooking class in Hanoi. Walk around to see the vivid colors and sounds of a local wet market.
Back to the cooking class to start learning how to cook some Vietnamese delicacies. The lunch will be served with all the dishes you have made.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay
A Vietnam honeymoon isn’t a Vietnam honeymoon if without a luxury and romantic Halong Bay cruise. You and your loved one will have the chance to enjoy the most breathtaking natural landscape in Vietnam while enjoy a luxury ambiance of the cruise.
Day 4: Halong Bay cruising and kayaking
In the morning, exercise with Tai Chi class while enjoy the bay in the dawn of the day. Enjoy the next day with even more activities like kayaking and swimming. There’s nothing like exploring around the most beautiful bay on your own leisure.
Day 5: Hanoi – Phu Quoc
Visit the Sung Sot Cave – the most impressive cave in Halong Bay. Have an excellent brunch and spend the last moments in Halong Bay.
Return to Hanoi to catch your flight to the paradise for couples and honeymooners.
Day 6: Phu Quoc full day boat and snorkeling tour
Enjoy your romantic time on the green Phu Quoc Island. Diving, swimming, snorkeling on the best beach in Vienam – Sao Beach.
At night, a small walk to Duong Dong town’s night market would be a fantastic experience.
Day 7: Phu Quoc – Ho Chi Minh city
Enjoy your own time on Phu Quoc island. Some advised activities are visiting market, looking for some jewelry made from pearl or just simply sit on the balcony with a cold cocktail in hand.
5, Vietnam Itinerary for Food Lovers
More than breathtaking landscapes and enriched culture, Vietnam is known even more for its flavorful and colorful cuisine. Considered as one of the best cuisines in the world, Vietnam has gained the fame with dishes like Pho, Banh Mi and Bun Cha. Vietnamese cuisine enchants many souls who have come here because of curiosity but stay for the food. Like the loyal devotee of Vietnam has once said, the country didn’t let him go.
Best Vietnam destinations to enjoy food: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Danang, Hue…
Our suggested 12-Day Vietnam itinerary for food lover:
Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Street Food Tour
Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City Tour & Cu Chi Tunnels
Day 4: HCMC – Mekong Delta
Day 5: Flight to Danang – My Son – Hoi An
Day 6: Hoi An Cooking Class – Fishing village, Coconut Forest
Day 7: Hoi An – Hue via Hai Van Pass
Day 8: Hue full-day City Tour
Day 9: Hanoi Cooking class
Day 10: Hanoi – Halong Bay overnight cruise
Day 11: Halong
Day 12: Hanoi departure
>>> See our best Vietnam Culinary Tour in 12 Days
Obviously Vietnam has something for anyone, no matter what you’re looking for in your journey, Vietnam can surprise you. The nature can be beautiful, dramatic and peaceful at the same time. The culture is the glorious blend of Asian traits with a portion of Western influence. The food is just as amazing as it can get, always plentiful, flavorful and diverse.
The most correct answer to the question ‘how to plan a perfect Vietnam trip’ lies in the ability to make an itinerary that suits your needs with a proper length. Our travel experts are ready to help you to solve that question. Contact us now or send us your request to start planning your Vietnam trip today.