5 suggestions for Vietnam 1 week itinerary from classic to adventure

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 plan how to spend 7 days in Vietnam since is probably not enough. Still, you can have a good insight into the country with different itineraries. I have listed here below 5 plans that you can consider for your Vietnam 1 week itinerary.

Itinerary 1: Classic one-week itinerary – A glance at Vietnam

This itinerary will be suitable if you want to get a bit of everything and to basically understand and experience the country. Since you have a limited time to visit all major attractions of Vietnam, this will be a rushed itinerary so be prepared for it.

DayRoute & PlaceTransportationOvernight
Day 1Hanoi arrivalInternational flightHanoi
Day 2Hanoi city tourCarHanoi
Day 3Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight on cruiseCar, CruiseHalong Bay
Day 4Halong Bay – Hanoi – Flight to Da NangCar, Domestic flightHoi An
Day 5Hoi AnCarHoi An
Day 6Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh Domestic flightHo Chi Minh
Day 7Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh DepartureCar, International flight
Vietnam 1 week itinerary covering major attractions

Day 1: Hanoi arrival

Your first stop in Vietnam is to fly into Hanoi, the capital with a rich history and culture. After arriving Hanoi, a free day to rest and relax is highly recommended. However, if your flight lands early in the morning, here are a few things I’d recommend you do.

– Take a Hanoi walking tour in the Old Quarter or sit on a relaxing cyclo tour to discover the vibrant streets of Hanoi

– 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 discovering 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. During your city tour, you should visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, the Museum of Ethnology and Hoa Lo Prison. Those are the most popular historical destinations of Hanoi.

Hoa Lo Prison
Hoa Lo Prison

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 where cruises operate tours: Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay, and many types of cruises from budget to luxury cruises. 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. 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. Or if you are a foodie, joining Hoi An cooking class is a must-try experience.

Hoi An
Peaceful Hoi An town

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.

Itinerary 2: 7 days in Vietnam for family

The family may not want to travel too much by plane, so focusing on typical areas such as North Vietnam is the best option.

Day Route & Place TransportationOvernight
Day 1Hanoi arrival + Cyclo tourInternational flight, carHanoi
Day 2Hanoi half-day tour CarHanoi
Day 3Hanoi – Halong BayCar, CruiseHalong Bay
Day 4Halong Bay – Hanoi – Night train to Lao CaiCar, TrainLao Cai
Day 5SapaCarSapa
Day 6Sapa – HanoiCar/ Train/ Shuttle busHanoi
Day 7Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Hanoi – Flight homeCar, local boat, international flight
Vietnam one-week itinerary for family

Day 1: Hanoi arrival + Cyclo tour

Upon arriving in 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

Halong Bay is one of the greatest Vietnam holiday destinations for everyone. If you have kids, it is great to choose cruise offering Halong Bay kayaking activities. Overnight on cruise.

Halong Bay kayaking
Kayaking in Halong Bay

Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Night train to Lao Cai

After the 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.

Rice terraces in Sapa
Rice terraces in Sapa

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.

>> Suggested Vietnam tours: Tonkin Elegance 8 Days

Itinerary 3: 7 days Vietnam itinerary for adventurers

For adventurers, you should take a journey to the north of Vietnam which 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.

DayRoute & PlaceOvernight
Day 1Hanoi – Ha GiangHa Giang
Day 2Ha Giang – Quan Ba – Dong VanDong Van
Day 3Dong Van – Meo VacMeo Vac
Day 4Meo Vac – Bao Lac – Cao BangCao Bang
Day 5Cao Bang – Ban Gioc – Nguom Ngao CaveCao Bang
Day 6Cao Bang – Ba Be LakeBa Be Lake
Day 7Ba Be Lake – HanoiHanoi
7 days in Vietnam for adventurers

>> Check out our detail itinerary, updated price and accomodation: Spirit Of Northeast Vietnam Adventure 7 Days

By exploring these off the beaten track Vietnam destinations, this itinerary offers amazing adventures of Vietnam’s stunning northeast. Over seven days you will trek through the mountains, valleys and rice terraces surrounding Ha Giang, interacting with local ethnic minorities, drive through some of Vietnam’s most rugged territory and visit the magnificent Ban Gioc Waterfall that lies on both Vietnam and China. The trip ends up in the verdant karst mountains with a relaxing boat trip at Ba Be Lake- the biggest freshwater lake in Vietnam.

Ba Be Lake
Relaxing boat trip on Ba Be Lake

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.

Itinerary 4: Southern Vietnam Discovery 6 Days

The Southern Vietnam itinerary is an easy and interesting schedule to visit the bustling Ho Chi Minh City, explore the Cu Chi Tunnels and take your time cruising around in the small canals of all the Mekong delta tours have to offer. This trip offsets the best look at local lives in the area with the choice of luxury or deluxe taste of overnight onboard a Mekong cruise. This is the best itinerary for those who are looking for an effective South Vietnam private tours in a reasonable timeframe.

DayRoute & Place TransportationOvernight
Day 1Ho Chi Minh arrivalInternational flightHo Chi Minh
Day 2Ho Chi Minh city tourCarHo Chi Minh
Day 3Ho Chi Minh – Cao Dai – Cu Chi CarHo Chi Minh
Day 4Ho Chi Minh – Mekong DeltaCarMekong Delta
Day 5Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh CruiseHo Chi Minh
Day 6Free day

Itinerary 5: Hidden Charms Of Hoi An & Luang Prabang 8 Days

If you’ve been on a long flight and want to explore Vietnam and beyond, but have a short time, taking a journey to Hoi An and Luang Prabang is also a good choice. In one week, this tour takes you to the most charming towns in the region. It includes Luang Prabang in Laos and Hoi An in Vietnam. Both destinations are often requested by travelers to the Indochina region. The trip is a good fit if you are into the history and local lifestyle.

DayRoute & Place TransportationOvernight
Day 1Luang Prabang arrivalInternational flightLuang Prabang
Day 2Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave – Kuang Si WaterfallCruiseLuang Prabang
Day 3Luang Prabang cycling tripCar, bicycleLuang Prabang
Day 4Luang Prabang – Flight to Hanoi – Da Nang – Hoi AnInternational & domestic flightHoi An
Day 5Hoi An Ancient Town – My Son SanctuaryCarHoi An
Day 6Hoi An relaxationCarHoi An
Day 7Hoi An Cooking classCarHoi An
Day 8Hoi An – Da Nang – DepartureInternational flight

>>> Looking for detail information about itinerary, prices and accommodations? Check out the Hidden Charms Of Hoi An & Luang Prabang 8 Days

All above are the 5 suggestions for Vietnam itinerary one week for different groups with different interests and recommended tours. When planning your Vietnam tours in 2024, 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 expectations by leaving us a message through the form below, and then we will design the trip just for you.


    Trang Nguyen – IV Travel Specialist

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