If you’re visiting Vietnam and only have 7 days to explore this fabulous country, then you’re at the right place. The 7 days in Vietnam will go by super fast, so you’ll need to plan ahead of time the places and attractions that you want to see.
Since this country is S-shaped and the cities are spread out, we suggest that you focus your week in Vietnam on specific regions in the North, Central, or Southern areas. If you want to go from North to South Vietnam or vice versa, it is possible.
In this post, we’ll provide you with 11 different itineraries to spend 7 days in Vietnam. We currently live in Vietnam and know that the opportunities are endless. Feel free to adjust the number of days in each of the locations based on your interests.
One thing to know is that you’ll need to factor in the transportation time especially to return to your departure city. There aren’t any high-speed bullet trains yet so taking local transportation and/or domestic flights will take some time and it’s accounted for in the itineraries.
Before you read this post, check out our other handy Vietnam posts to help with your travel plans:
- Vietnam budget tips
- Visiting Vietnam for the first time
- What to pack for Vietnam
- Vietnam travel apps to have
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North Vietnam Itineraries for One Week
Itinerary #1: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Halong Bay
This route is considered a typical 1 week itinerary to explore the best of Northern Vietnam.
Stop #1: Hanoi (2 Days)
Hanoi (Hà Nội in Vietnamese) is the capital of Vietnam and it’s a great introduction to Vietnam. It has a rich history with iconic buildings and museums, tons of street foods and cafes, and fun attractions to check out.
You’ll land at Hanoi International Airport (airport code: HAN), which is about 40 minutes away from Old Quarter, the main area of Hanoi.
We recommend that you stay nearby the Old Quarter as it’s a touristy spot with easy access to cafes and restaurants. Try the egg coffee as it originated in Hanoi.
Old Quarter is a bustling area with lots of shopping opportunities to buy souvenirs. You’ll find a street that focuses on lanterns, another on stuffed animals. It’s pretty random but cool to walk around and explore.
If you like museums, check out the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (where Ho Chi Minh is embalmed), or the National Museum of History.
One of the Instagram-worthy photo spots is visiting Hanoi train street. The train squeezes through a narrow residential area. Hang out at one of the cafes to see the train pass by.
For some quietness, take a walk around Ho Kiem Lake. It’s around 1.2 miles and is located in the center of town.
You can also watch a water puppet show in the evening. It’s a fun show to learn about Vietnamese stories and folklore but with puppets in the water.
Stay overnight in Hanoi. Click here for hotel options in Hanoi.
Stop #2: Ninh Binh (1 or 2 Days)
Ninh Binh (Ninh Bình) is a gorgeous place with limestone karsts, riverways, and rice fields. It’s often called “Halong Bay on land.” (Halong Bay is a UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site with over 1,600 limestone karsts islands.)
From Hanoi to Ninh Binh, you’ll take either a private car or a bus. Or, take a tour. Expect to take 2 hours.
Once you’re in Ninh Binh, take a relaxing ride boat on a sampan through the Trang An Grotto. Trang An is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The boat ride is 1.5-2 hours long. You’ll get to see tall limestone karsts, local fishermen checking their traps, and beautiful scenery. One of the coolest things to see is your sampan driver paddling the boat with their feet.
Fun fact: Did you know that the Kong movie was filmed here?
Afterward, visit the temples such as Hang Mua and Bich Dong Pagoda. Climb to the top for the photogenic views of the rice fields and the limestone karsts.
If you can either visit Ninh Binh as a day trip and return to Hanoi for the evening or stay overnight in Ninh Binh. Click here to see accommodation options in Ninh Binh.
Stop #3: Halong Bay (3 Days)
Halong Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long) is one of the prettiest destinations to visit in Vietnam. It’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site to add to your visit. There are over 2,000 small limestone islands around the bay. Some of these islands have caves inside.
To get to Halong Bay from Hanoi, you can take a bus or hire a driver. It’ll take 4 hours to get to the Halong Bay port. Or, you can take a tour which may include transportation.
The best part about visiting Halong Bay is the chance to stay overnight on a junker boat. It’s much nicer than it sounds as these boats are retrofitted and have a luxurious feel. You can get a private room with an ensuite bathroom. You’re also served fresh seafood during your stay.
Since the boat moves slowly across the bay, the water isn’t choppy. Hang out at the boat’s rooftop to see the small islands and awe at the turquoise water pass by.
Other activities include taking a sampan to go to a floating village, kayaking or swimming off of a small beach area, and exploring caves.
Stop #4: Return to Hanoi or Haiphong (1 Day)
On your last day in Vietnam, take a minivan or bus to Hanoi or Haiphong
Depending on the time of your flight, you can spend some time in Old Quarter in Hanoi or head directly to the airport, Noi Bai International Airport.
Ask your transportation agency if you can arrange a drop-off at the airport. This is a convenient option so you can hop onto a plane.
You can also head directly to Haiphong’s Cat Bi International Airport (airport code: HPH) to take limited international flights. Domestic flights are available from here.
Itinerary #2: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Sapa
For this 7 day in Northern Vietnam itinerary, we’re adding a visit to see rice terraces in the gorgeous Sapa area.
Stop #1: Hanoi (2 Days)
With two days in Hanoi, you can pick a few of the attractions in Itinerary #1 to focus on.
Stop #2: Ninh Binh (1 Day)
With this itinerary, you’ll spend 1 day in Ninh Binh. Feel free to pick a couple of attractions to visit from Itinerary #1 to check out on your Ninh Binh day trip.
Stop #3: Sapa (3 Days)
Sapa (Sa Pa) is a popular spot in the Lao Cai Province. It’s located in a mountainous area and is famous for the golden and green rice terraces and pretty sceneries.
From Hanoi to Sapa, it’ll take 5-6 hours by bus, minivan, or limousine van. There isn’t any airport transportation here yet. Check out our post on various transportation options from Hanoi to Sapa and vice versa.
Once you’re in Sapa, wander through the center of town to check out the souvenir shops and try roasted chestnuts or chestnut bread.
Fansipan Mountain is one of the highlights of Sapa. It’s a staggering 3,143 meters (10,312 feet) high. Take the cable car and funicular to the summit from Sapa’s city center. Or, take the challenge and hike to Fansipan peak in 1-2 days. (We did it in one day!)
Trekking is a popular activity in Sapa. Take 1-3+ days to wander through the rice terraces and stop by ethnic minority villages and stay overnight at homestays. Cat Cat Village and Lao Chai Valley are popular trekking spots. Check out where we trekked for 2 days. We recommend that you also read our Sapa trekking tips here.
Read our Sapa in 3 days itinerary for more information.
Sapa has plenty of guesthouses and boutique hotels for your overnight stay. Click here for accommodation options in Sapa.
Stop #4: Departure to Hanoi (1 Day)
On your 7th day in Vietnam, take a bus or minivan from Sapa to Hanoi or directly to the airport.
Itinerary #3: Hanoi – Ha Giang Loop
This 7 day Vietnam route is for those who want to go on an adventure and explore a less-touristy spot. If you’ve already been to Northern Vietnam before, then this is a good option.
Stop #1: Hanoi (1 Day)
Follow the Hanoi itinerary above for ideas on what to do. We only have 1 day in Hanoi so choose a couple of attractions to focus on.
Stop #2: Ha Giang Loop (5 Days)
Ha Giang Loop (Hà Giang) is considered one of the fun bucket list things to do in Vietnam. It’s an opportunity to explore an off-the-beaten path and take a motorbike trip through an untapped area of a northern Vietnam province.
From Hanoi to Ha Giang, take a bus or minivan. Expect 6-7 hours to get there.
Afterward, join a tour and wander through various areas of the province. You’ll need to know how to ride a motorbike or hire a driver/Easy Rider who can ride the motorbike (or car) on your behalf. The roads are windy yet offer beautiful views along the way. Most people tend to go in a clockwise route to explore the loop.
Stop by places such as Thac Ba Lake, wander through ethnic villages, and visit Ba Be National Park (one of the top national parks to visit in Vietnam).
Stop #3: Go back to Hanoi (1 Day)
It’s time to return to Hanoi on your last day in Vietnam.
If you have a flight scheduled on this day, you may consider taking a later flight. The traffic from Ha Giang to Hanoi may have delays so you don’t want to miss your flight.
Itinerary #4: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Cat Ba Island
Stop #1: Hanoi (2 Days)
We suggest that you follow the Hanoi things to-do list in the Itinerary #1 section.
Stop #2: Halong Bay (2 Days)
Halong Bay is doable to explore in 2 days. When making a reservation for a Halong Bay tour, ask for a 2 day / 1 night trip. Reserve this 2 day Halong Bay trip here.
Refer to Itinerary #1 regarding transportation options to get to Halong Bay. If your tour includes transportation, then that is even better!
Stop #3: Cat Ba Island (2 Days)
For a quieter and less touristy area of Halong Bay, check out Cat Ba Island (Cát Bà). It’s considered one of the best islands to explore in Vietnam.
From Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island, it can be easily reached by ferry or speedboat. More information is here.
Rent a motorbike to explore the island and take pretty photos along the coastline. You can also explore the Cat Ba National Park and go hiking around the island. There are a few beaches to relax on.
Stop #4: Departure to Hanoi (1 Day)
Central Vietnam Routes
Itinerary #5: Danang – Hoi An – Hue
If you plan to focus on Central Vietnam, then there are plenty of places to explore. Below is a typical Central Vietnam itinerary where you can learn more here.
Stop #1: Danang (3 Days)
Danang (Đà Nẵng) is the largest city in Central Vietnam and the fifth largest in Vietnam. Tourists and local visitors love coming to Danang for the nonstop sunshine, beaches, temples, and theme parks.
You’ll land at Danang International Airport (airport code: DAD) and then head to your destination.
The beaches are one of the highlights of Danang. You can’t go wrong with the My Khe Beach which has golden sand that stretches for miles.
For temples, check out one of the Lady Buddha statues at Linh Ung Pagoda on Son Tra Peninsula. You can climb up the peaks of Marble Mountain to also see gorgeous views of Danang and visit the smaller temples.
We can’t forget about the hottest European-style theme park in Danang – Sun World Ba Na Hills. It’s home to the Instagram-worthy Golden Bridge, two stone hands holding up a golden bridge. There are dance performances, alpine coasters, indoor games, and more. Read our Ba Na Hills guide here.
Another theme park to check out is Sun World Danang Wonders. This is the place to visit for the thrilling theme park rides. Read our Danang Wonders guide here.
For more information, check out our Danang 3 days itinerary here.
As for accommodations, stay at a 5-star resort or hotel or a guesthouse. Stay nearby the beach for easier access. Click here to check out availability for places to stay.
Stop #2: Hoi An (1 Day)
Hoi An (Hội An) is easily one of the tourists’ favorite towns to visit in Vietnam. It’s another UNESCO recognized site and known as a former port town.
Many visitors love the Ancient Town vibe with the yellow buildings, cobblestone roads, historic buildings, and the gentle river flowing between the town.
Purchase an entrance ticket to have access to temples, museums, and local attractions such as the pretty Japanese bridge. The cost helps preserve the local area.
In the evenings, the city lights up with colorful silk lanterns. Wander through the Night Markets for souvenir shopping or have dinner along the river.
From Danang to Hoi An, take a taxi or ride-hailing vehicle. It’ll take 30-40 minutes to get there.
Return to Danang in the evening to stay overnight.
Stop #3: Hue (2 Days)
Hue (Huế) is another awesome spot to visit for a few days. It’s known as the Imperial City where the Nguyen Dynasty lived from 1802 to 1945.
To get to Hue from Danang, hire a driver, take a car tour, or consider taking a motorbike tour along the Hai Van Pass. Expect to take 2 hours one-way.
The ancient Imperial City houses the collection of buildings and is surrounded by a moat as the “Complex of Hue Monuments” which is another UNESCO site. Either hire a guide or wander through the Hue Monuments. It’s a large area so you can easily take a full day here.
We can’t forget about the food. Central Vietnam’s food has unique flavors compared to other areas. Try the bún bò Huế (beef noodle soup) and bánh bèo (steamed rice cakes topped with dried shrimp).
Stay overnight in Hue for 2 nights. Find your perfect accommodations here.
Stop #4: Return to Danang (1 Day)
It’s time to head back to Danang from Hue and head directly to the airport, Danang International Airport, to return home.
Itinerary #6: Danang – Phong Nha
This itinerary focuses on a visit to Phong Nha to see the beautiful caves and go trekking through the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.
Stop #1: Danang (2 Days)
Choose a few attractions to visit on your two days in Danang from Itinerary #5.
Stop #2: Phong Nha (4 Days)
Phong Nha is a sleeper town within the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. It’s another recognized UNESCO recognized site and has tall limestone mountains and underground caves.
From Danang to Phong Nha, take a train or domestic flight. The train will take at least 6 hours. While will be easier, there isn’t a direct flight from Danang to Dong Hoi (airport code: VDH), the nearest airport to Phong Nha. You would need to fly back to Hanoi and then take a flight from Hanoi to Dong Hoi. This will take 7 hours or so.
Once you’re in Phong Nha, you’ll need a few days to explore this quiet town and area.
One day will be spent exploring the national park loop and stopping by Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave, and the Botanic Garden.
Another day is focused on Bong Lai Valley, the rural villages and area outside of Phong Nha main town. Either explore by motorbike or bicycle. Read more about our Bong Lai Valley experience here.
The last few days in Phong Nha are where you can go on a 2-day trek through the National Park. We did the trek to Hang En Cave with Oxalis Adventures and had the opportunity to stay overnight in the third largest cave in the world. There are other 2 day treks that you can explore from Oxalis or Jungle Boss Adventure.
A bucket list experience would be to visit Son Doong Cave, the largest cave in the world. (Technically, Hang En Cave is the first two days of the Son Doong Cave tour).
Check out our Phong Nha itinerary for a detailed breakdown of what to do here.
Stop #3: Departure (1 Day)
Return to Dong Hoi Airport and take a flight either back to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
South Vietnam Itineraries for 1 Week
While 7 days in South Vietnam is a decent amount of time, we suggest taking at least 2 weeks. Click here to see our South Vietnam itinerary for 2 weeks.
Itinerary #7: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta – Mui Ne
This 7 days in Vietnam itinerary is perfect for visitors who want to explore a large city, Ho Chi Minh City, and then head to the countryside of the Mekong Delta. We end the itinerary with a visit to a beach town.
Stop #1: Ho Chi Minh City (3 Days)
Ho Chi Minh City (also referred to as Saigon, HCMC, or Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh in Vietnamese) is a bustling city in South Vietnam. As the largest city in Vietnam, there is non-stop action here from the motorbike traffic, nightlife, shopping, and good eats.
You’ll land at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (airport code: SGN). It’ll take about 20-30 minutes to head into District 1 Downtown area.
You’ll need to spend 1 day in HCMC to visit the main attractions such as the Saigon Cathedral, Post Office, and include a visit to the War Remnants Museum or Independence Palace.
There are other things to do in HCMC for your other days. If you want a full day of relaxation at your hotel pool, getting a massage, or any beauty care with manicure/pedicures, go for it! You deserve a day to relax. We love getting massages at Miu Miu Spa.
If you want to go shopping or go cafe hopping, then the main Downtown area has lots of opportunities.
On your third day, consider taking a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. You can visit Cu Chi Tunnels to see the underground tunnels that the Viet Cong soldiers lived through in the Vietnam War. Or, head to Can Gio to see the monkeys.
Check out our detailed Ho Chi Minh City 3 days itinerary here.
Stop #2: Mekong Delta (1 Day)
Mekong Delta is an important river for the Vietnamese people. It’s used for transportation and buying/selling fresh produce on the floating markets. There are small towns and cities specialized in certain agricultural products so each place has a unique ambiance.
Since you have 1 day in the Mekong Delta, the closest place to visit is Ben Tre Province. Ben Tre (Bến Tre) has the tastiest young coconuts to try. Find dừa xiêm (fresh young coconut) from a local vendor and enjoy this delicious drink.
Many of the Ben Tre tours will take you to a coconut candy factory so you can see how this confectionary is made, a honey farm, and a rice cracker factory. You get the chance to ride a sampan along the river and see what a traffic jam is like with boats. Your tour may also include a chance to fish for snakeheads in a river and have it for lunch.
Return to Ho Chi Minh City for the evening.
Stop #3: Mui Ne (2 Days)
It’s time to head to the beaches and escape to a coastal town. We’re off to Mui Ne (Mũi Né), a small town part of Phan Thiet City.
To get to Mui Ne from Ho Chi Minh City, take a sleeper bus. It’ll take 5-6 hours depending on traffic.
There are lots of fun things to do in Mui Ne. Go on a Jeep tour to explore the red and white sand dunes, walk through a Fairy Stream, and see the fishing village either at sunrise or sunset. You can also learn how to kitesurf as the winds are strong. Don’t forget to try the delicious seafood here!
If you want to go on a hike, consider hiking Ta Cu Mountain to see a reclining white Buddha. Taking the cable car is also another option.
Stop #4: Return to Ho Chi Minh City (1 Day)
Ask your accommodation to arrange a bus ride back to Ho Chi Minh City. Or, stop by one of the bus companies along the main street to make a booking.
Itinerary #8: Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc
Want to go on an island? Head to Phu Quoc, south of Cambodia, and is the closest island from Ho Chi Minh.
Stop #1: Ho Chi Minh City (3 Days)
Refer to Itinerary #7 to get ideas on how to spend 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City.
Stop #2: Phu Quoc (3 Days)
The next destination is Phu Quoc Island (Phú Quốc). Many locals and visitors love visiting Phu Quoc for a weekend trip to hang out at the beaches and relax.
To get to Phu Quoc Island, take a flight from Ho Chi Minh City. The flight takes only 1 hour.
Most people stay at a 5-star resort and hang out at the pool and private beaches. You’re here for a relaxing vacation! Don’t worry, there are plenty of guesthouses available, but you’ll need a motorbike to travel around the island.
There are tons of things to do in Phu Quoc. Hang out at Sao Beach and visit the Starfish beach during your visit here. You can also visit several factories and see how fish sauce and sim wine are made. You can also ride the longest cable car ride according to Guinness World Record and visit Hom Tom Island (or Pineapple Island)
If you only have 2 days in Phu Quoc, check out this itinerary on what to do here.
Stop #3: Departure (1 Day)
You can either take a flight back from Phu Quoc or Ho Chi Minh City to your next destination. Some international flights land in Phu Quoc so it’ll reduce extra traveling costs and time.
Itinerary #9: Ho Chi Minh City – Dalat
If you need fresh air and cooler temperatures, head to Dalat. It’s located in the Central Highlands and has many outdoor adventures to do.
Stop #1: Ho Chi Minh City (3 Days)
Check out Itinerary #7 for ideas on what to do in HCMC.
Stop #2: Dalat (3 Days)
Dalat (Đà Lạt) is one of the prettiest spots to visit in Vietnam. Since the city is located in mountainous areas and is known for the cooler weather, Dalat has lots of trees and plants, waterfalls, and forest areas to enjoy. It’s no wonder why this city is called the “City of Eternal Spring.”
You will need a few days in Dalat to explore the incredible waterfalls. Check out Elephant Waterfall, Pongour Waterfall, Dantala Waterfall, and Prenn Waterfall. For a non-touristy waterfall, consider hiking to Tam Tham Waterfall.
The main Downtown area has adorable cafes with French architecture. In the evenings, check out the Night Market to buy snacks, hot soy milk, and produce.
Another funky place to visit is the Crazy House with unique and whimsical architecture. You can even stay overnight in one of the themed rooms.
There are also fun hiking routes around Dalat. Langbiang is an easier route. Or, you can join a hiking tour to go to Bidoup Nui Ba National Park.
Read more on how to spend 3 days in Dalat here.
If you have the chance, consider taking a side trip to Bao Loc for more waterfalls and to see tea plantations.
Stop #3: Departure to Ho Chi Minh City (1 Day)
Schedule a bus ride to go back to Ho Chi Minh City.
Itinerary #10: Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang – Dalat
Looking for a combination of beach and nature experiences? Then this 7 day Vietnam itinerary is for you!
Stop #1: Ho Chi Minh City (Day 1)
One day in Ho Chi Minh City will go by quickly so you can refer to Itinerary #7 and choose the best attractions that you want to visit.
Stop #2: Nha Trang (3 Days)
Head to Nha Trang for some beach and relaxation. Nha Trang is a popular beach destination in the South Central part of Vietnam.
To get to Nha Trang from Ho Chi Minh City, either take a domestic flight or an overnight train. If taking a flight, you’ll fly to Cam Rang Airport (airport code: CXR). The flight is 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then, you will need to take a bus or taxi to Nha Trang. If taking an overnight train, it’ll take around 9 hours.
It’s easy to find a spot along Nha Trang Beach and soak in some sunshine. You may consider renting a lawn chair from one of the beach hawkers so it’ll be more comfortable.
Soaking in mineral springs and mud baths is a must-do in Nha Trang. There are three locations – 100 Eggs Theme Park, Thap Ba Hot Springs, and I-Resort – yet other places around Nha Trang offer these. Check out our I-Resort review here.
Check out our 3 days Nha Trang itinerary here.
Stop #3: Dalat (2 Days)
Dalat is doable to do in 2 days. It can be as relaxing or adventurous as you want it to be. Check out Itinerary #9 for ideas on what to do.
From Nha Trang to Dalat, take a bus. It’ll take 3-4 hours depending on traffic.
Stop #4: Go back to Ho Chi Minh City (1 Day)
From Dalat, you’ll take another sleeper bus to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City.
From North to South Vietnam Itinerary in 7 Days
Itinerary: #11: Hanoi – Danang – Ho Chi Minh City
For this route, we’re traveling across the country and utilizing domestic flights for transportation. This itinerary has the highlights of visiting the three biggest cities in Vietnam.
Stop #1: Hanoi (2 Days)
You’ll need to fly directly into Hanoi to start this itinerary. Afterward, choose a few attractions to visit from Itinerary #1.
Stop #2: Danang (3 Days)
As mentioned in the Central Vietnam section, Danang is a beach city with tons of local attractions to visit.
Choose a few activities to check out above during your two days in Danang. Refer to Itinerary #5. If you prefer to just hang out at the resort, then that’s perfectly fine too! You could also do a day trip to Hoi An on one of the days.
To get to Danang from Hanoi, take a domestic flight. It’ll take 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Stop #3: Ho Chi Minh City (1 Day)
The last stop is Ho Chi Minh City. Since it’s your last day here, you can visit a few of the local attractions or get a massage. Check out ideas on what to do in Itinerary #7.
From Danang to Ho Chi Minh City, take a domestic flight. The direct flight is 1.5 hours.
Stop #4: Departure (1 Day)
It’s time to return home. Take a taxi or ride-hailing car to the airport.
One week in Vietnam will fly by quickly! With prior planning, you can easily squeeze in a jam-packed itinerary.
Which of these itineraries do you want to experience on your next trip to Vietnam? Let us know in the comments below.
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