The Best of Vietnam in 7 Days: A Comprehensive Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Last updated :
March 10, 2024
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If you're planning a trip to Vietnam and are short on time, a 7-day itinerary is the perfect way to experience some of the best destinations in the country. This comprehensive itinerary takes you to some of the best destinations in Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta, Hoi An, Hue, and Halong Bay. Each destination offers something different, from the bustling city life in Ho Chi Minh City to the tranquil waters of Halong Bay.

Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City

Your journey begins in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam and the country's economic hub. After arriving at the airport, take some time to settle into your accommodations before heading out to explore the city.

Ho Chi Minh City is known for its vibrant energy and bustling streets. One of the best ways to experience the city is to take a walking tour, which will take you to some of the city's most iconic landmarks, such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.

Another must-visit attraction is the War Remnants Museum, which provides a sobering look at the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese perspective. For those interested in shopping, the Ben Thanh Market is a popular destination for souvenirs, clothing, and local street food.

Speaking of food, Ho Chi Minh City is famous for its street food, which is some of the best in Vietnam. Some of the must-try dishes include banh mi, pho, and com tam. Be sure to also try some of the delicious fresh fruits that are available throughout the city.

Day 2: Exploring the Mekong Delta

On day two, leave the city behind and head to the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is a vast network of rivers and canals that is often referred to as the "rice basket" of Vietnam, as it is responsible for much of the country's rice production.

One of the best ways to experience the Mekong Delta is to take a boat tour, which will take you to local villages, floating markets, and fruit orchards. You'll get the chance to see how locals live and work along the delta, and you'll also get to try some of the fresh fruits that are grown in the region.

Getting to the Mekong Delta from Ho Chi Minh City is relatively easy. You can take a bus from the city center or book a tour, which will include transportation, a guide, and lunch.

Day 3-4: Hoi An Ancient Town

On day three, it's time to head to Hoi An, a charming historic town that is UNESCO World Heritage-listed and renowned for its well-preserved architecture. Hoi An is located in central Vietnam and is known for its lantern-lit streets, colorful buildings, and bustling markets.

Hoi An is a pedestrian-friendly town, so the best way to explore is on foot or by bike. Some of the must-visit attractions include the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Hoi An Museum, and the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation.

In addition to its historic landmarks, Hoi An is famous for its local cuisine, which includes dishes like cao lau and banh mi. Be sure to also visit the local markets, which are a great place to buy souvenirs and sample some of the local street food.

One of the best times to experience Hoi An is at night, when the town is lit up with colorful lanterns and has a romantic atmosphere. Take a stroll along the riverfront or book a lantern-making class to create your own souvenir to take home.

Day 5: Hue Imperial City

On day five, it's time to head to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Hue is famous for its historical sites and beautiful architecture, including the Imperial City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Imperial City is a walled fortress and palace complex that was home to the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Today, visitors can explore the various buildings and gardens within the complex, including the Forbidden Purple City and the Throne Hall.

Another must-visit attraction in Hue is the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is located on the banks of the Perfume River. The pagoda is famous for its octagonal tower, which is the tallest in Vietnam.

While in Hue, be sure to also try some of the local cuisine, such as bun bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup that is a local specialty. Hue is also known for its vegetarian food, which is influenced by the Buddhist culture in the region.

Day 6-7: Halong Bay

On day six, it's time to head to Halong Bay, one of the most beautiful and iconic destinations in Vietnam. Halong Bay is located in the northeast part of the country and is known for its towering limestone cliffs and emerald waters.

The best way to experience Halong Bay is to take a cruise around the bay, which will take you to some of the most stunning locations, such as Sung Sot Cave and Ti Top Island. You can also go kayaking or visit a floating village to get a closer look at local life on the bay.

There are many different cruise options available, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury. Some of the most popular options include the Signature Halong Cruise and the Paradise Luxury Cruise, both of which offer stunning views and luxurious amenities.

Accommodations

When it comes to accommodations in Vietnam, there are plenty of options available to suit every budget and preference. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can choose from budget-friendly hostels like The Common Room Project or luxurious hotels like the Park Hyatt Saigon.

In Hoi An, you can opt for a charming homestay like the Little Riverside Hoi An or a luxurious resort like the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai.

In Hue, you can choose from budget-friendly hotels like the Hue Serene Palace Hotel or luxury options like the Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa.

In Halong Bay, you can choose from a range of cruise options, from budget-friendly to luxurious.

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Transportation

Getting around Vietnam can be a bit challenging, but there are several options available. Domestic flights are a popular option, as they are fast and affordable. Trains are also available, and while they may take longer than flights, they offer a unique experience and stunning views of the countryside.

For those who want more flexibility, hiring a private driver is a great option. This allows you to create your own itinerary and travel at your own pace. Some recommended companies for hiring a private driver include GoAsiaDayTrip and Klook.

Food and Drink

Vietnamese cuisine is world-famous for its fresh and flavorful dishes, which are influenced by a blend of Chinese, French, and Southeast Asian flavors. Some must-try dishes include pho, banh mi, and bun cha.

In Ho Chi Minh City, be sure to visit street food vendors like Banh Mi Huynh Hoa and Pho Hoa Pasteur for some of the city's best dishes. In Hoi An, try the local specialty cao lau, which is a noodle dish made with pork and fresh herbs.

Vietnamese coffee is also a must-try, as it is often served with sweetened condensed milk and has a unique flavor. Some of the best coffee shops to try include Cong Caphe and The Note Coffee.

Conclusion

With a little bit of planning, a 7-day itinerary in Vietnam can be an unforgettable trip that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. From the bustling city life in Ho Chi Minh City to the tranquil waters of Halong Bay, Vietnam offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Don't miss out on this amazing destination and book your trip today!

Questions and Answers

What are the must-visit destinations in Vietnam for a 7-day itinerary?

Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City are popular choices.

How can I make the most of a 7-day Vietnam itinerary?

Plan ahead, prioritize the places you want to visit, and book in advance.

Who should consider a 7-day itinerary in Vietnam?

Travelers who want to experience the highlights of Vietnam in a short amount of time.

What are some unique experiences to include in a 7-day Vietnam itinerary?

Take a street food tour, visit the Cu Chi tunnels, or go on a motorbike tour.

How much should I budget for a 7-day Vietnam itinerary?

Prices vary, but a budget of $500-700 USD is reasonable for accommodations, food, and activities.

What if I want to stay longer than 7 days in Vietnam?

Consider extending your trip or focusing on specific regions such as the north or south.

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Shuaib Azam
Shuaib is a Marketing & Growth lead at Hubble. When he isn't working on growth initiatives, Shuaib writes fiction and doodles space monkeys.

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