Have you already reserved your flight tickets for the Vietnam itinerary for 3 weeks? Are you wondering where to go, what to see, or how to spend your time and money? Hop on the journey with the Indochina Voyages Team, here is what exactly you are looking for to plan and enjoy the highlights that Vietnam can offer.
A Glimpse of Vietnam
With a population of over 97 million people, which includes 54 different ethnicities, Vietnam is a vibrant nation that showcases the beauty of unity in diversity. Spanning an area of approximately 331,212 square kilometers and owning marvelous beaches and mountains, Vietnam’s breathtaking scenery ranges from towering mountains and lush valleys to pristine coastlines and picturesque rice terraces, offering a diverse and captivating landscape for travelers to explore.
Vietnam has an S-shaped shape and is divided into 3 different regions. You will be addicted to the magnificent mountains of the Northern, charming beaches in the Central and the vibrant plateaus in the South Let’s take a glimpse into the highlights of each region:
- Discover the charm of Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling capital, with its historic Old Quarter and iconic Hoan Kiem Lake.
- Cruise through the mystical beauty of Halong Bay, where limestone karsts rise from emerald waters, creating a surreal landscape.
- Delve into the magnificent mountainous and fascinating unique cultures of ethnic minorities.
- Immerse yourself in the ancient town of Hoi An, known for its well-preserved architecture and lantern-lit streets.
- Explore the imperial city of Hue, home to grand palaces, picturesque pagodas, and the scenic Perfume River.
- Witness the most beautiful beaches of Vietnam in Danang, Nha Trang, etc.
- Dive into the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), where modern skyscrapers coexist with colonial architecture.
- Cruise through the Mekong Delta, a labyrinth of waterways, floating markets, and lush greenery.
Where to go if you have three weeks in Vietnam?
2 weeks and 3 weeks in Vietnam, which one is better? It can be a dilemma when deciding. It depends the most on your available time and your budget. However, with 3 weeks, you can truly delve deep into the country’s wonders. What can you expect when embarking on a 3-week Vietnam journey?
- Immerse yourself in the captivating charm and vibrant atmosphere of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city.
- Discover the enchanting beauty of the waterways in Ninh Binh, as you explore either the scenic Tam Coc or Trang An ecological areas.
- Indulge in the natural splendor of Halong Bay by embarking on an unforgettable overnight cruise.
- Witness the breathtaking landscapes of Sapa and its surrounding areas, offering an authentic glimpse into the daily lives of people in the mountainous regions.
- Unearth the rich history and ancient architectural marvels of Hue’s old capital, which dates back to the 18th century.
- Stroll through the captivating streets of Hoi An Ancient Town, a place that exudes a nostalgic and evocative ambiance.
- Step back in time as you wander amidst the historic ruins of My Son, a testament to the once glorious days of the Champa Kingdom.
- Unwind and soak up the sun at the pristine white sandy beaches of Nha Trang.
- Experience the laid-back atmosphere of Dalat, a charming French-built town nestled in the mountains.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Far East,” and explore the vast network of tunnels at Cu Chi, a significant site from the Vietnam War.
- Engage in various hands-on experiences that allow you to delve into the local way of life in the Mekong region.
Here’s our suggested Grand Sensational Vietnam 20 Days Tour itinerary for your perfect 3-week adventure:
Week 1: Nothern Charm – From Hanoi Old Quarter to Vietnam’s mountainous
Day 1 – 2: Hanoi City Tour and explore the vibrant streets of the Old Quarter, visit iconic landmarks, and savor delicious street food.
Day 3: Blend in the local life and rhythms of life in the tranquil Ninh Binh. Immerse in the serenity of lush rice paddies and peaceful villages.
Day 4 – 5: Embark on a cruise through the ethereal beauty of Halong Bay, immersing yourself in its captivating scenery.
Day 6 – 7: Reach Vietnam’s Mountainous to join a trekking tour to explore the unique life of ethnic minorities, and witness the magnificent landscape through Vietnam’s iconic – terraced fields.
Week 2: Central Vietnam’s Cultural Treasures – From Hoi An Ancient Town to Charming Beaches
Day 8 – 9: Explore the imperial city of Hue, visiting its historic sites and indulging in its culinary delights.
Day 10 – 11: Discover the ancient town of Hoi An, wander through its charming streets, and experience its rich cultural heritage. (On the way to Hoi An, we pass through the wonderful Hai Van Pass and stop to admire the breathtaking Cham Museum and the Marble Mountains in Danang).
Day 12 – 13: Refresh yourself with one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam in Nha Trang.
Week 3: Southern Wonders with City Life and Unique Culture on the Mekong Delta
Day 14 – 15: Embark Dalat – a city known for its romantic and charming highland with 4 seasons in one day. Discovering Dalat City Tour and observing how dried persimmons are made at a nearby farm.
Day 16 – 17: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh City, explore its historical landmarks, and dive into its bustling street food scene. Learn more about Vietnam’s history at Cu Chi Tunnel
Day 18 – 19: Venture into the Mekong Delta, cruise through its enchanting waterways, visit floating markets, and experience its serene rural life.
Day 20: Come back to Ho Chi Minh City. Your free time to shopping and exploring many narrow alleys. It is also the end of the journey.
Besides our available Grand Sensational Vietnam 20 Days, you absolutely customize your own tour with Indochina Voyages Travel Expert. Depending on your preference, the IV Team will give you suitable advice and tailor 3 weeks of Vietnam for you perfectly.
What do you need to know before going?
Before embarking on your Vietnam adventure, there are a few essential questions to keep in mind:
Do I need a visa to enter Vietnam for 3 weeks?
To enter Vietnam, you must have your own passport which is valid for at least six months; and depending on each nationality, the visa is required in advance or is exempted.
Here is the list of countries with visa exemptions for each period (Updated 2023):
- 30 Days for Free: Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia
- 21 Days for Free: The Philippines
- 45 Days for Free: Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, France, Germany, Italy & Spain, and Norway.
- E-visas for 3 months: USA, Canada, and Australia
For the rest of the countries, you should contact the Vietnam Embassy/ Consulate in your country before traveling to Vietnam; apply Visa on arrival with a trustworthy travel agency; or arrange an E-visa on your own to be well prepared for traveling to Vietnam within 3 weeks.
For travelers who plan to visit Phu Quoc Vietnam for the whole period of 3 weeks, you will find this policy great. It is that foreign passport holders are exempt from visa requirements to Phu Quoc island for no longer than 30 days. If you transit through other international airports in Vietnam before arriving at Phu Quoc, you are still eligible for the exemption.
When is the best time to visit?
From my own experience, the best time to visit Vietnam is from December to April with less rainfall and milder temperatures in almost all places.
Due to the long and thin S-shape of the country, the weather in Vietnam differs greatly among the regions: North, Central & South. To enjoy the most of each place, you should be more prepared to research the weather in each place and choose the period that fits for all places within your Vietnam itinerary 3 weeks.
Normally, there are high season & low season when you travel to Vietnam:
- The high season (October to April the next year): Dry and cool weather
- The low season (May to September): Hot and humid summertime.
But if you only have summer time to relax from April to October; so is this feasible to visit Vietnam? The answer is Yes. This is the monsoon/rainy season of our country but also a great time for our domestic tourists when the family can enjoy together. Traveling in this period, you should be more aware of trekking or adventurous activities to avoid any dangers, but it will favor any beach lovers in the Northern and central parts with pristine beaches of shiny weather.
For the other places with daily showers in the wet season, you are advised to prepare a flexible itinerary in case of any delays caused by the weather.
Along with the tropical monsoon climate, Vietnam is sometimes affected by typhoon season which can see severe storms attacking the Central coast from October till early December including Quang Binh, Hue, Da Nang, and Hoi An. So by knowing clearly about the weather facts, you can plan for a smooth trip.
Internet, Calling & Electronic Voltage in Vietnam
Here are some essential tips regarding the internet, calling, and electronic voltage for foreigners traveling to Vietnam:
- Internet Access
- Purchase a local SIM card: Buying a local SIM card upon arrival is a convenient and cost-effective way to access the internet. Major providers like Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphone offer various data packages suitable for tourists.
- Wi-Fi availability: Most hotels, cafes, and restaurants in tourist areas provide complimentary Wi-Fi. However, the connection speed and reliability may vary, so having a local SIM card as a backup is recommended.
- International roaming: Check with your mobile service provider about international roaming options and rates for calls and text messages. This can be convenient if you need to make occasional international calls.
- VoIP apps: Utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, or Viber to make free or affordable international calls using Wi-Fi or mobile data.
- Electronic Voltage
- Power plugs and voltage: Vietnam typically uses Type A, Type C, and Type F power plugs. The standard electrical voltage is 220V, and the frequency is 50Hz. If your devices use a different voltage, you may need a voltage converter or adapter to ensure compatibility.
- USB charging: Many hotels and accommodations provide USB charging ports, which can save you the hassle of carrying multiple adapters or converters. However, it’s still advisable to have a universal adapter as a backup.
- Power outages
- In some remote or rural areas, power outages may occur occasionally. It’s advisable to carry a portable power bank to keep your electronic devices charged during such situations.
Travel Tips for three weeks in Vietnam
- Finding ATMs in Vietnam is quite easy in almost all cities except for very remote and rural areas. The fee is applied for any withdrawal but it is much better than bringing cash with you for such a long travel time.
- You can find ATMs at any airport, around the streets, near restaurants, or your accommodation. And of course, ATMs only dispense Vietnam Dong as our official currency.
- As Vietnamese is the mother tongue of the country while English is not widely spoken among the citizens, you can only find basic English spoken at tourist sites, hotels, souvenir shops, etc. So it is important to learn some popular phrases that help you throughout the trip.
- Do not forget to have a hotel business card from the reception desk that will make it easier for you to return after going around.
- Bring tissues with you everywhere in case many toilets have no toilet paper.
- Laundry service can be found everywhere from your hotels/hostels or outside the hotels so you only need to pack your clothing for one week and let the laundry take care of the rest. When you come back from busy day tours, the perfectly folded clothes are ready for you.
- There are a lot of places to explore without much guidance on the spot but if you are short on time and seeking a detailed insight into the cultural and natural values of the tourist sites, an organized tour is a good option. Having your all-inclusive package prior to departure will be perfect.
- But if you prefer a few leisure days on your own, you can totally book the day trips or short package tours that may fulfill your time and experience; such as the Halong Bay overnight cruise, the full-day city tours, biking/motorbike tours, or home-stay in Mekong Delta.
Beyond the Ordinaries of Asia
If you have 3 weeks and a desire for further exploration, consider combining your Vietnam adventure with neighboring countries:
- Vietnam and Laos: Experience the tranquility of Luang Prabang, the natural wonders of Vang Vieng, and the vibrant capital city of Vientiane.
- Vietnam and Cambodia: Discover the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor Wat, explore the bustling city of Phnom Penh, and relax by the pristine beaches of Sihanoukville.
- Vietnam and Thailand: Indulge in the bustling streets of Bangkok, explore the historical city of Ayutthaya, and unwind on the idyllic islands of Phuket or Krabi.
Besides, if you’d like to combine Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos for your Indochina Tours, this Far East Discovery 22-day tour could be a perfect option. Hopefully, this ultimate travel guide will help you plan a perfect Vietnam itinerary for 3 weeks. Also, it will certainly give you plenty of fun things to do and to see for your wonderful holiday.
Indochina Voyages Travel Specialist