Vietnam travel itinerary for 3 weeks

 

I am not saying this is THE BEST you can do in Vietnam as I don’t believe there is something that is “best for everyone”. It really depends on your interests, type of travel, whether you are an adventure searching type of traveller, backpacker, luxury traveller and so on. But I think it is an itinerary that is suitable to many styles of travel and which you can of course adjust and customise. It is always easy to have a starting point. This was actually PERFECT for me! …and I suffer of FOMO! yup!

⇒ For an extended itinerary through Southeast Asia you should check my most popular post here.

So if you are reading this, you are either thinking about going or you know you are going and just need an idea of a Vietnam travel itinerary. First of all, you made the right choice by choosing to visit Vietnam, which is one of my favourite countries now. And… you came to the right place here to get an idea about an itinerary. So thank you for your trust! ‘

But let’s just get straight into it. Here you go: my PERFECT 3 weeks Vietnam travel itinerary:

Hanoi (3 days)

Hanoi, Vietnam

The flight from Vientiane, Laos to Hanoi was approximately one hour. Arriving in Hanoi, was quite a shock to my system. Whilst Vientiane is known as the sleepiest city of Southeast Asia (although it is a capital city!), Hanoi is one of the most hectic ones. You must have seen a few scenes with motorcycles going in all directions and alongside people, rickshaws, bicycles and god knows what else.

I spent 5 days in Hanoi out of which, 2 days in Halong Bay, but being based in Hanoi. I really enjoyed my time in Hanoi and I would certainly love to go back, but, after 3 days of hectic traffic I was ready to move on.

Halong Bay (2 days)

Halong Bay, Vietnam

As I said, I was based in Hanoi, from where I took a bus to Halong Bay where I took a cruise for 2 days and one night. The road  from Hanoi and back was terrible because of the traffic and mostly because of the very uncomfortable seats in the bus.

I would say a cruise like this is perfect for Halong Bay as you get to see and enjoy this unique place properly. There are a lot of debates as to which cruises are better or even whether you should take one or not but I was really happy with my choice.

Hoi An (5 days)

Hoi An, Vietnam

There are many ways to reach Hoi An from Hanoi and one of the most popular is by mortobike. You usually either rent one and ride yourself or you hire someone and ride with them. However my rolling suitcase was not the best for a motorbike ride so that was not an option for me. Another option was to take a bus or a train, but you never know how long they take (even if they give you a timing). And because the flights are really cheap in Asia  with loads of options, I decided for the plane. The closest airport to Hoi An is in Da Nang, about 20 km from Hoi An. The flight took 3.5 hours, so quite a bit.

5 days in Hoi An was the right amount of time for me. Initially I had planned to stay for 3 days but I really loved the city. It was actually my favourite place in Vietnam!

Check here to see what to do in Hoi An and why it is such a charming place!

Hue (2 days)

Hue, Vietnam

Many people go to Hue as a day trip from Hoi An and if you are short on time you can certainly do that. It is better than skip it altogether as some people do and it is a pity. Hue is totally different than the rest of Vietnam as it is where the Imperial City is located, home of emperors, palaces, shrines and a Forbidden Purple City.

You can easily reach Hue by bus from Hoi An. Your hotel or guest house can organise that for you.

Da Lat (3 days)

Dalat, Vietnam

From Hue I stopped in Da Nang, where I spent the night and took a flight to Da Lat (also spelled Dalat) the next day. The flight took approximately 1.5 hours. Da Nang is really nothing to write home about and I just wanted to spend a night there to rest but I am sure you can also find some things to do  there as well.

Dalat is not amongst the most popular destinations in Vietnam, but in my opinion this place is very underrated. Many people don’t know that Vietnam has many waterfalls and that most of them are around Dalat.  And this was my reason for going there. I have been looking at a photo on my wall, dreaming to go to that place and photograph it myself one day. You know that photo with 4 monks walking over the waterfall? That place was Pongua waterfall in Da Lat.

But waterfalls were not the only interesting thing in the region. I discovered a very interesting city with beautiful surroundings. In fact the Dalat region is the so called “the breadbasket” of Vietnam. It is where all the fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown and shipped throughout the whole country.

More pics of Dalat here and here

Ho Chi Minh City (4 days)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This was one place in Vietnam which I knew I would for sure not skip. I have been intrigued by Saigon (the former name of HCMC) since a long time. Because of its appearances in movies or reading about it or hearing about it, I don’t know exactly where from, but I knew this was one of the highlights of my Southeast Asia trip! And it did not disappoint. I think I would have stayed longer there had I not bought my ticket to Japan already. I was flying out to Tokyo in 11 days, which left me with only 7 days to visit Cambodia as well. And I could not cut Cambodia itinerary shorter than that!

But I would say 4 days should be enough to get a taste of the city, unless you fall in love with it just like me.

So there you have it: my 3 weeks Vietnam travel itinerary!

As you can see, I chose to skip Sapa valley, which is a very popular destination. I guess you can squeeze it in these 3 weeks, but I preferred to actually take my time and get to really know and experience the places I visited, rather than ticking items off my list.

Mekong Delta is another big item missing from my list, as well as the popular beach resort of Mui Ne, which I would have liked to see mainly to take some pics, as I heard that otherwise is packed with tourists.

But then again, I need to keep some places for next time too right? 😉

Like I said, Vietnam was one of my favourite countries from my Southeast Asia trip and I had a great time there.  And usually I do not post pics with me in my post, but….oh well!

I think  that if you really want to see Vietnam, 3 weeks is a good amount of time to spend there. You get to see a lot and at a decent pace. I would not recommend doing this itinerary in less than 3 weeks.

If you are planning to go there and  have any additional questions or need any tips just let me know in a comment below or send me an email

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15 Comments:

  1. I’ve never been too intrigued by Vietnam but recently my interest has spiked by posts like yours and others! Plus I love Vietnamese food 😀

  2. Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer

    I did near enough this same trip a few years back and loved it. I did however visit Sapa an I cycled from Dalat to Mui Ne whic was tiring but fun. My favourite place was Hoi An!

  3. It is a dream of mine to get to Vietnam. And from there I would love to fly to Taiwan…don’t ask why, it’s just something I wanted for ages. So tell me then, is the food amazing?

  4. I do not know why, but since I can remember Vietnam has been on my list and I have always wanted to make it my honeymoon destination. Since there is no honeymoon in sight I am stuck – I seriously wanna visit and hopefully will soon. Funnily, I do not know many places, so your recommendations are very interesting. Halong Bay, it is time for me to come 🙂

  5. Very true…they are bad stories of foreigners in Vietnam. Thing is, Vietnamese see foreigners as a means to make money (this is relative to many countries). They’ll charge you more for small purchase and charge less to the locals. I got a shirt 3 times more than the local price…I realized this because I was with my Vietnamese friend who explained this to me while in at a street shop. A 5 minute motorbike ride to the famous Hanoi night market was $20, of course I didn’t pay that. I also had a lady in shop throw the “f” word at me because I didn’t buy any clothes she was selling. 🙁

    You should always not rush into booking tours online, half the time you’ll regret because they’re cheaper alternatives when you arrive. For hotels, well lets not even go there, they are dirt cheap. Look up Saigon Aristo Hotel, spent over a week there, loved it! They’re cheaper options though, just do your research. Air travel from Saigon to Hanoi for example was like $65 with Jet Air. The train was more expensive and would have taken 3-5 days.

    I would advise anyone travelling to VN to get to know someone before going, I did that and had a lot of fun with my friends who will remain in my life for a long time.

  6. Vietnam is so high on my list of places to visit so I am definitely keeping this itinerary for a reference later! I really want to visit Hue. My boyfriend served on a US Navy cruiser named after this city and its the only one named after a battle that took place in the Vietnam War. I think that’s pretty interesting haha. Great photos too!

    • Hey Sam. First of all, thanks for stopping by! Good plan to visit Hue (and interesting story indeed). Like I said, many people skip it and it is such a shame as it is a beautiful place and really special!

  7. How fortuitous! My cousin just emailed me yesterday about wanting to travel to Vietnam. But she’s around 20 years old and this would be her first trip overseas, so I was erring on the side of suggesting she book a tour. I’ll tell her to make sure that Ha Long Bay and Hoi An are both on her list though!

    • Hi Katherine. Thank you for reading and using this. She can still book tours in each locations she goes to. I actually recommend that because you really get to see and experience much more. I took food tours, photography tours, motorbike tours and so on :)))

  8. This is such a helpful itinerary!! I especially love that you’ve included how many nights to stay at each place – it’s always so hard for me to figure that piece out. Halong Bay looks so unreal, I almost died when I saw your Insta pic of it. I have got to go there! Pinning this for when I do finally visit 🙂

    • Thanks Christie. I love itineraries like this too and I consider them very helpful. So, happy to hear you feel the same. And yes Ha Long bay is out of this world!

  9. I seriously need to get to Vietnam ASAP! Can you recommend a Halong Bay tour operator? I’d love to go on an overnight cruise.

    • I was in Vietnam last December for 3 weeks. Landed in Saigon then went up to Hanoi (Hoa Lu Tam Coc + Ha Long Bay day trips). Flo you don’t need to worry about having a tour operator, they are plenty to choose from, especially when you get to Hanoi. I can’t remember the one I used. My Vietnamese friend, arranged the trip for me.

      I loved VN so much that I will back next year.

      • yes I agree about tour operators. But like I said, you have to be really careful when choosing. I would also love to go back to Vietnam one day! I miss the food so much!

    • I had mine arranged by my hotel. I think it was called Christina or something like that. Be careful what you choose though as not all of them are good. heard some really bad stories. I can look it up for you if you want though.

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