Hanoi

When you perform a Google search for one week in Vietnam, what comes up? You’re probably not surprised that searching this phrase brings about millions of results, but you might be surprised by what you find as you begin browsing. It will quickly become apparent that spending one week in Vietnam can be done in a variety of ways. There are several top-rated routes to choose from, but which one is the right one?

The answer to this really depends on your travel preferences, like whether you consider yourself to be an adventurer at heart or you just want some laid back beach time in your life. No matter your preferences, though, there is one weeklong route that rules all when traveling to Vietnam. Read all about the 7-day adventure that awaits you below. 

Day 1: Begin in Ho Chi Minh

The best thing you can do when traveling to Vietnam is to begin the trip in Ho Chi Minh. The city, also known as Saigon, is located in southern Vietnam and it once played a major role in the Vietnam War. No matter how jetlagged you may be feeling, try and explore the most famous walking street here called Nguyen Hue. 

While you meander along Nguyen Hue, you’ll have plenty of chances to try authentic Vietnamese street food. After Nguyen Hue, grab a taxi to the local spot called Ben Thanh Market. Walking through the market is the best way to truly get a feel for just how crazy and hectic Vietnam can be. You’ll find stall after stall featuring trinkets, clothing, food, and artwork. 

Day 2: Take a Trip to Cu Chi Tunnels

Just outside of Saigon there is a network of historic tunnels. Getting to the Cu Chi Tunnels takes about 90 minutes and can be done by car, but it is suggested that you add a boat ride into the mix. Once at Cu Chi, you can take a guided tour to learn about how the tunnels played a role in the war. Then, head back to Saigon for the evening before venturing to your next destination. 

Day 3: Explore Hanoi

It is time to move from one major Vietnamese city to another. Hanoi is home to fun cultural events and festivals and it is perfectly located for access to other sights and attractions. The Old Quarter in Hanoi is the best place to stay and explore, so look for hostels or hotels in that area. 

Day 4: Travel to Ninh Binh

Getting to Ninh Binh province from Hanoi is simple. This is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the country, if not in SE Asia as a whole, so don’t miss out on Ninh Binh. Here you can explore temples dating back to the 10th century, meander through rice fields, and float through caves on the Ngo Dong River. 

Tam Coc is also found within Ninh Binh, which some travelers have referred to as a world different from anything found on Earth. You’ll understand what they mean as soon as you set eyes on towering limestone structures shooting towards the heavens. You may choose to travel from Tam Coc to Phong Nha from there, but it is suggested that Halong Bay is next on the itinerary. 

Days 5 & 6: Get Your Tan on in Halong Bay

So far on the itinerary you have experienced city life, rice terraces, and cave exploration. The next activity to check off of any Vietnamese To-Do list is to hit up the beach of course. Halong Bay is the ultimate place to make this happen. This UNESCO heritage site is located in Vietnam’s East Sea and is revered for the limestone mountainous structures found throughout the bay. 

Spend your time in Halong Bay as you wish, especially since the trip is nearing an end and you may be in need of relaxation before heading home. Or, go all out with adventure activities like diving, snorkeling, boating, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding. No matter if you choose to chill out in a hammock with your favorite book or go all out with adventure, Halong Bay is the ultimate end to a Vietnamese vacation. 

Day 7: Travel Home

In order to travel home, you’ll most likely have to make your way back to Hanoi. This is fairly easy (and cheap) from Halong Bay, but always make sure you give yourself enough time to catch your flight. You may come to realize that one week in Vietnam is not nearly enough time. Your goodbye from the country does not need to be a goodbye forever, just until next time.