Vietnam is a long country with many beautiful destinations and it could take about one month to deeply discover its landscape and culture. It would be a very difficult job to choose which places to go as one week is probably not enough. Still, you can have a good insight into the country with different itineraries. I have listed here below 3 plans that you can consider for your Vietnam itinerary one week.
Classic one-week itinerary – A glance at Vietnam
This itinerary will be suitable for guests who want to get a bit of everything and to basically understand and experience the country. Your trip will start from Hanoi, the capital with rich history and culture to breathtaking landscape Halong, from the lovely peaceful town of Hoi An to modern and Ho Chi Minh city, enjoying specialties of all the areas.
Day 1: Hanoi arrival
Your first stop in Vietnam is to fly into Hanoi, the capital, and also the main airport for flights coming into Vietnam. You can also start your trip from the South by flying into Ho Chi Minh.
After arriving Hanoi, a free day to rest and relax is highly recommended. However, if your flight lands early in the morning, you can easily take a Hanoi walking tour in the Old Quarter or sit on a relaxing cyclo tour to discover the vibrant streets of Hanoi. After that, enjoy a water puppet show (about one hour), a traditional folklore art of the country which will surely entertain you for the night.
Day 2: Spend a full day discover the historical sites of Hanoi
It is very necessary and important to arrange a Vietnam guided tour with a private transfer and English speaking guide (or another language you’d like) to understand more about these places and be able to visit more.
Here below are the most popular destinations that you should visit during your city tour in Hanoi.
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh – the national hero who devoted his life to the Independence of Vietnam. The visit can be combined with a visit to President Palace, House on Stilts, One Pillar Pagoda.
- Temple of Literature, a temple dedicated to Confucius, was also recognized as the first national university in Vietnam.
- The Museum of Ethnology displays many artifacts of different ethnic minorities in Vietnam.
- Hoa Lo Prison was a prison used by the French colonists in French Indochina for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for U.S. prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay
You will drive about 3 hours from Hanoi to Halong Bay and then get on a Halong overnight cruise. There are 3 bays that cruises operate tours: Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and many types of cruises from budget to luxury cruises that suit your need and interest. Whichever bay/cruises you choose, you can basically experience activities such as visiting Halong Bay caves, kayaking, and enjoy the breathtaking of the bay.
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da Nang
You will disembark the cruise about 11:30 am – 12:00 pm. Then you can join in the shuttle bus to be back to Hanoi and then get a taxi/private car to Hanoi airport and flight to Da Nang. Actually, there is a closer airport to Halong Bay which is Hai Phong airport with only one flight departing around 15:30 pm from Hai Phong to Da Nang. From Da Nang, you take a private taxi/car to Hoi An. Since arriving early around 18:00 pm, you can spend the night discover this peaceful small town.
Day 5: Spend a day in Hoi An
You can spend a day relaxing and discovering the town or join a biking tour of the countryside area of Hoi An.
Day 6: Da Nang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh half day tour
There are many flights from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh per day and I think the one at 10:00 am is the most suitable one. Upon arrival Ho Chi Minh, discover the highlights of the city such as the War Museum, Independence Palace, Post Office, Cathedral Church, and Ben Thanh market.
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh
Mekong Delta is definitely worth visiting even if you have one day. You can discover the lush delta with many activities such as visiting fruit gardens, local cottage industry, enjoying a local rowing boat through a small canal. A Mekong Delta day trip often arranges activities at My Tho/Vinh Long/Ben Tre which is about 2,5 or 3 hours drive from Ho Chi Minh city.
You will be back in Ho Chi Minh city around 18:00 and you will be able to fly home if your flight is around midnight.
Vietnam one week itinerary for family
The family may not want to travel too much by plane, so focusing on typical areas such as North Vietnam tours is the best option.
Day 1: Hanoi arrival + Cyclo tour
Upon arrive Hanoi, take a good rest before discovering the busy streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter. Your kids may tired to walk, let’s book a cyclo ride (about 1 hour), meandering through vibrant streets and watching the world go by.
Day 2: Half day city tour or Bat Trang ceramic village – Street food tour
You can choose one or two below suggestions:
- Half-day Hanoi city tour: Visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature & Hoa Loa Prison.
- Bat Trang Ceramic village: Having fun with clay and mold under the instruction of craftsmen. Visiting a workshop to understand how traditional ceramic made in Vietnam.
- Hanoi street food tour: Embarking on a culinary adventure, biting into the flavors of northern Vietnam, discovering local markets, and wandering through the alleys of Hanoi Old Quarter, trying different specialties of Hanoi from Pho, Bun, Hanoi egg coffee and other snacks.
Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Night train to Lao Cai
After disembarking cruise, you will drive back to Hanoi and then get on an overnight train to Sapa. Train leaves at 21:00 pm or 21:40 pm.
Day 5: Sapa
After 8 hours on the train, your family will arrive at Lao Cai station which is 30 km Sapa. Booking a private car/taxi beforehand is highly recommended as you will reach Lao Cai quite early in the morning (5:00 am – 6:00 am). Sapa is a great place to enjoy the most beautiful landscape in northwest Vietnam. Also, it is so interesting to learn about different ethnic groups who live on the mountain, trek to the village of Lao Chai and Ta Van. Then back to your hotel in Sapa for rest. There are many local Sapa homestays if your family wants to have a more authentic experience.
Day 6: Sapa – Hanoi
You will spend half-day to discover the other attractions in Sapa such as Fanxipang Mountain, Silver Waterfall. There are more routes for people who like to do more trekking.
There are several options to go back Hanoi: by private car, by night train, or Limousine shuttle bus. I would highly recommend taking the shuttle bus as it is very comfortable and cost-saving. Bus leaves around 15:00 pm and costs around US$ 15-20/per person.
Notes: The best time to travel to Sapa is from May to September when rice is planted on the field. If you travel in March/April, Mai Chau/Pu Luong is an alternative.
Day 7: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hanoi – Flight home
If you still have one more day in Hanoi, Ninh Binh (100 km south of Hanoi) is really worth visiting. Taking a Trang An boat trip and biking around the village are the main activities that the area offers.
Vietnam one week itinerary for adventurers
For adventurers, Vietnam is the ideal destination with diverse kinds of landscapes, mountains, hills, ocean, island, karst caves, and deltas. North Vietnam is often praised for its unique natural and cultural features. For nature, the most famous one is the world heritage Halong Bay. However, many other places such as Sapa, Ha Giang, Ba Be, Cao Bang are all worth to visit with magnificent landscape and culture.
- Ha Giang is home to many ethnic minorities including Hmong, Dao, Tay, and famous for the most rugged territory of Vietnam. This area is located closer to the China border. Dong Van Plateau, Meo Vac, Ma Pi Leng pass are highlighted.
- Cao Bang is the most famous attractions with Ban Gioc Waterfall, Nguom Ngao Cave
- Ba Be Lake is the biggest freshwater lake in Vietnam. Enjoying a relaxing boat trip and hiking to the local village are the main activities here.
Note: Be expected to spend a long time on the car/bus when you decide to travel to this region. Even though, the view on the mountain will never disappoint you.
All above are the 3 suggestions for Vietnam itinerary one week for different groups with different interests and recommended tours. When planning your Vietnam tours 2021, it is always better to look at the weather and other factors to customize your trip. If you find the itinerary above doesn’t match your trip, please share with us your expectation, and then we will design the trip just for you.
Van Do – Travel Specialist