Don’t let limited time put you off visiting Vietnam. If you’re clever with planning and get the itinerary just right, here’s everything you can see, do and experience during 7 days in Vietnam.
Day 1: Hanoi
As many international flights arrive in Hanoi – Vietnam’s capital – there couldn’t be a better place to dive straight into an amazing Vietnamese trip. Many of Hanoi’s key attractions can all be reached on foot in the city centre, so stretch your legs while taking in the Opera House and the weaving and winding Old Quarter, as well as Hoan Kiem Lake and the stunning Ngoc Son Temple. In the evening, have a beer by the lake and watch a traditional water puppet performance before exploring Hanoi’s exciting food scene.
Day 2: Hanoi and Halong Bay
After exploring Hanoi on foot by yourself the previous day, spend the morning on a guided tour of the city to get a local’s perspective on the best bits. You’re likely to visit spots such as the Ho Chi Minh Complex and the mausoleum of ‘Uncle Ho’ himself, the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature and the Fine Arts Museum. In the afternoon, set off for Halong Bay – the UNESCO World Heritage Site of emerald waters and mystical limestone karsts – which is a three to four hour journey from Hanoi. Spend the night out on the water on a traditional junk boat – pure bliss!
Day 3: Halong Bay and Hoi An
Make the most of your amazing surroundings in Halong Bay today by embarking on a cruise. Spot islands and caves, find beaches and snorkelling spots, and enjoy a delicious seafood lunch aboard the boat. In the afternoon, make your way back to Hanoi to catch an internal flight to Da Nang, before transferring to Hoi An for a good night’s sleep.
Day 4: Hoi An
Waking up in this gorgeous riverside town is a real treat. With Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arab influences, Hoi An is a melting pot of culture. Known for silk and excellent tailoring, this is also a place to go shopping. Mix this in with a walking tour to take in all the popular hotspots, including the Chua Ong Pagoda, the Chinese Assembly Hall and the Japanese Bridge. You’ll even have time to take a boat trip to one of the river’s islands known for handicrafts and ceramics. Spend a leisurely evening enjoying Hoi An’s laidback cafés and food scene.
Day 5: Hai Van Pass and Hue
Set off from Hoi An in the morning to travel through the mountains to Hue. Part of this postcard-perfect journey will take you along the Hai Van Pass – the dividing line between north and south Vietnam offering spectacular views. You’ll also have time to stop off in a traditional fishing village – Lang Co – for a taste of a more remote life in Vietnam. After arriving in Hue – Vietnam’s ancient capital city – explore the many incredible ancient buildings on foot, including the Royal Citadel, the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Mausoleum of King Tu Duc. Be sure to stop at Dong Bar Market for a treasure trove of crafts and for an insight into local life. Explore the local eateries and bars in the evening – you can’t go far wrong for quality in Hue.
Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City
Hue’s local Phu Bai Airport runs internal flights down to Ho Chi Minh City, so catch a flight in the morning to arrive in Vietnam’s buzzing metropolis before lunchtime. After an amazing lunch – Ho Chi Minh City has internationally recognised foodie credentials – embark on a guided tour of the city to get some fascinating insights from locals. This should include a visit to the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Be sure to stop at Ben Thanh Market for more shopping and thrumming local life, then choose from your pick of restaurants in the evening.
Day 7: Mekong Delta
On your final day, a day trip to the Mekong Delta on Vietnam’s southernmost coastline is possible. This is the region of islands and waterways, with agricultural land, handicrafts and floating markets the norm. Visit the Cai Be floating markets and local craft workshops, have a traditional lunch served in a local person’s house, and traverse the narrow canals to get under the skin of the place.
Just 7 days in Vietnam will feel like a lifetime when you squeeze all of this in! Mr Linh’s Adventures runs tours such as this
to Vietnam – get in touch for more information.