But how long should you spend in this gorgeous destination? Known for its captivating landscapes, delectable cuisine, vibrant metropolises, and centuries-old architecture, there is much to do in Vietnam.
An ideal itinerary would include an exploration of the Northern regions, Central Vietnam, and the South. The longer the trip, the more small towns, coastal villages, and islands you can explore.
How long you spend in Vietnam will depend mainly on your available time and budget. Let’s explore what you can do in Vietnam in one week, two weeks, three weeks, and a month.
One week – Explore the Main Highlights of the North or the South
If you have a week in Vietnam, it’s best to decide between exploring the North or exploring the South. Both locations have much to offer travelers, and picking between them will largely depend on what you’re after. Let’s explore both in a little more detail.
If you love history, ancient architecture, and stunning, lush landscapes – and want to immerse yourself in culture – the North is probably your best bet. The North of Vietnam is typically cooler than the South. However, summers are very hot and humid. An ideal time to visit the North would be in the Spring months (from March to April) and the Autumn months (from September to November.) December and January, however, can get pretty cold, especially far up in the mountains.
If you have a week in North Vietnam, start your trip exploring the capital of Hanoi. Here you can meander around the charming Old Quarter, explore classic temples, and learn about Vietnam’s fascinating history. It’s also a delightful place for foodies and has a thriving night scene.
After a few days in Hanoi, head to iconic the Ha Long Bay – where limestone islands emerging from emerald waters. Explore the islands by Kayak or boat and swim in the whimsical waters.
Next, you can travel up to the Mountains of Sapa. You can reach this mountainous region via overnight train from Hanoi and spend a day or two trekking in the mountains, meandering through rice paddies, and exploring the village of Cat Cat.
Top locations to see: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa
If you’ve got a week in Vietnam and you’re looking to explore some of Vietnam’s stunning beaches, Ho Chi Minh City, and the breathtaking Mekong Delta, the South is the place to be.
Start your trip in bustling Ho Chi Minh City (once known as Saigon), and explore the political and economic hub of Vietnam. The city has much to offer for history lovers, foodies, and those who love a thriving nightlife. There are also several gorgeous beaches nearby, meaning that you can mix city bustle with seaside relaxation.
After you’ve lapped up all that Ho Chi Minch City has to offer, head to the Mekong Delta to experience floating markets, stilt houses, and age-old Buddhist temples. You can then pop into the fascinating temples in Sam Mountain (near the Cambodian border) before heading to the tropical paradise on Phu Quoc Island. This itinerary gives you a great mix of history and culture, as well as some brilliant downtime at the beach.
Top Locations in the South: Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Sam Mountains, Phu Quoc
Two weeks – Explore the Highlights of the North and the South.
Two weeks in Vietnam enables travelers to explore the highlights of both the North and the South. If you have two weeks available, you can spend a week in each, getting a real feel for Vietnam and its diverse landscape by exploring the destinations above.
Three weeks – Explore the North, Central Vietnam, and the South
Three weeks in Vietnam will allow you to revel in the highlights of the North and South above, plus some additional extras in Central Vietnam. Spend a couple of days exploring the towns of Hoi An and Hue in the center of the country before embarking down South. Hue is a stunning city known for its ancient citadel, ancient pagodas, and delectable cuisine.
Then it’s on to Hoi An. This charming city in the center is famous for its stunningly preserved ancient town, iconic yellow buildings, and the eclectic mix of architecture from the east and west.
Top Locations: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Sam Mountains, and Phu Quoc
1 Month – Explore the North, Central, and South Vietnam, and Do Some Island Hopping
If you’re lucky enough to spend a month in vibrant Vietnam, you’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in the culture, taking in everything from the mountainous regions of the north right to the balmy coastal towns of the South. A month in the country allows you to slow down a little, taking in the gorgeous landscapes and quaint towns with a little more flexibility. If you have a month, you can also explore some of the country’s stunning islands, including Hon Tre, Cham Island, and Cat Ba. You could also go further North with more time to spare and visit Da Lat, Mai Chau, and the Perfume Pagoda Complex.
There is so much wonder to behold in Vietnam, making it a top contender on many travel bucket lists. Whether you have one week, two weeks, three weeks, or an entire month, the country’s verdant beauty, bustling charm, and fascinating history are sure to delight you.
If you’ve been to Vietnam, we’d love to hear from you! How long did you spend in this magical country, and where were your favorite spots? Be sure to check out these other existing destinations in Asia!