7 days in Vietnam itinerary with the best highlights

Looking for a 7 days in Vietnam itinerary? I’ve rounded up all the essential places to visit in Vietnam in a week, including where to stay.

Plan your trip to Vietnam

🏡 Where to stay in Vietnam

👩🏻 Best guided tours in Vietnam

So, you’re planning a trip to Vietnam?

This one-week plan has all the good stuff. We’re talking Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the old-world charm of Hoi An, and the jaw-dropping beauty of Halong Bay.

Vietnam is amazing. You’ll experience diverse landscapes, rich culture, friendly locals, and some of the most delicious food on the planet.

The best part?

It’s very affordable to travel around, so you get a lot for your money.

Here’s the perfect 1 week Vietnam itinerary.

Read next: 2 week North Vietnam itinerary you should grab

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About Vietnam

Vietnam is home to more than 97 million people.

It’s shaped like an S, measuring 1650km (1025 miles) from the Chinese border in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south. 

Vietnam has been under French colonial rule, which you can still see today in the buildings (particularly Hanoi) and the delicious food where you’ll find baguettes (banh mi) and crepes (banh xeo) with a Vietnamese flair.

Map of Vietnam

Below is a map of Vietnam. Use the map by zooming in and out on the + and – in the corner.

Check the visa options

You might need a visa to visit Vietnam. So, make sure to visit the Vietnam tourism board site to find out if you do.

Always do it well in advance before you lock in your flights. That way, you won’t end up paying more than you have to or getting stuck in bureaucratic stuff.

There are electronic visas and visas on arrival for lots of nationalities, which is much easier than showing up at the embassy in person.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary

Vietnam’s a huge, so if you want to make the most of it, you need do some prep work.

If you only have a week, you need to figure out your must-see spots. The below Vietnam itinerary is perfect if you want to see as much of Vietnam as possible.

If you prefer to stay in North Vietnam or South Vietnam, that will give you more time in each place.

7-day Vietnam itinerary

  • Day 1-2: Hanoi and Quảng Phú Cầu
  • Day 3: Halong Bay
  • Day 4-5: Hoi An
  • Day 6: Ho Chi Minh city
  • Day 7: Mekong Delta and Cu Chi tunnels

Join an organised 7-day Vietnam tour

Would you rather experience Vietnam the easy way?

Book an organised tour. That way, everything is taken care of – your itinerary, transportation, accommodation and even meals. You’ll be picked up at the airport, and your guide will take you to all the important sites for the next week.

This tour with Viator (⭐ 5/5) includes domestic flights, meals and has a 5-star rating because it’s so great. Just check out this review:

It was a great experience, my first solo trip and everything was very well organized. You really get to see the essence of Vietnam in only a week. It’s a very complete tour, and you get a free day so that you can chill if you want or you can do more tourism if you wish to do so.

Reviewer, Nov, 2022

How to get around

Since you’re on a tight schedule, I’d suggest catching flights to your destinations.

They’re usually around 2 hours and will set you back about 50 bucks per person if you book ahead.

You’ll need to pre-book two flights:

  • Hanoi – Hoi An
  • Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh
Day 1-2


First stop on your 7-day adventure in Vietnam is the capital, Hanoi.

Although it’s not the largest city in Vietnam (that’s Ho Chi Minh city), Hanoi is packed with historic sites, local experiences, and food that’ll make you wish for more.

When you arrive, I recommend you head over to the old quarter of Hanoi, a 500-year-old neighbourhood that’s also a foodie paradise. Don’t miss the skinny Hanoi Tube Houses and Bach Ma Temple while you’re there!

To make the most of your time, this city highlights tour will take you to Hanoi’s top spots like the Ho Chi Minh complex, Tran Quoc Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature.

Don’t forget to check out St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Dong Xuan Market, the one pillar pagoda and Train Street. And how about catching a show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre?

Hanoi’s got a bunch of awesome museums too. Some of the best ones are the Vietnam Military History Museum, Hoa Lo Prison, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, and the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.

There’s so much to see in the city, so rise and shine early!

Where to stay in Hanoi

La Nueva Boutique Hotel Hanoi & Spa (⭐ 9.0) The modern rooms, the helpful staff and the breakfast is what makes this hotel a favourite in Hanoi. Plus – you can literally walk to all of the places of interest in Hanoi. Check rates and availability here.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Hanoi old quarter

Quảng Phú Cầu

On day two, I recommend taking a day trip to Quang Phu Cau. This incense village is a must-visit destination because it’s so unique and you won’t see this anywhere else in the world.

On a half day tour (about 1 hour drive from Hanoi), you’ll get to see every step of the process, from splitting the sticks to dying and drying.

Your guide is a professional photographer so they’ll know the best angles and the rhythms of the village. Check availability and rates here.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Quảng Phú Cầu

Day 3

Halong Bay

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam, so it’s a must-see on your 7-day itinerary.

Its green waters, tall limestone karsts, and jungle-covered islands makes it a magical place. 1,600 islands and islets, can you imagine that?

Halong Bay covers a massive 150,000 hectares and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To get the full Halong Bay experience, you should take an overnight cruise (⭐ 5/5).

But since you’re short on time, I recommend a day tour from Hanoi (⭐ 5/5). During the day, you can soak up the views and join in on various activities like kayaking, swimming or hiking.

If you stay overnight, you can enjoy a good meal and a few drinks at the bar while chatting with other travelers. It’s a great way to spend your time here.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Ha long bay
Day 4-5

Hoi An

Once you’re back from Halong Bay, catch a flight from Hanoi to Hoi An. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Hoi An has been on the UNESCO list since 1999. It’s famous for its countless tailors, colourful lanterns, art places, and coffee shops.

Hoi An might be relatively small compared to other Vietnamese cities, but it’s brimming with activities and attractions.

Its history as a significant trading port linking China and Japan with the rest of Asia is easy to see in its architecture. The 16th-century buildings, particularly in the Old Quarter, are a testament to this rich history.

Day 1 in Hoi An

Start your day in the Old Quarter, where the buildings show a blend of French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese architectural influences. Pay a visit to historic homes like Tan Ky and Duc An, which have been converted into museums that show a glimpse into Hoi An’s past.

Don’t miss the Japanese Covered Bridge, one of Hoi An’s most photographed landmarks.

When I was there, I got some clothes custom-made at a local tailor’s shop. It’s more or less a must when you’re in town, and it’s really cheap.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Hoi An

Day 2 in Hoi An

On day two, consider joining an authentic cooking class (⭐ 5/5). It’s the best way to learn about Vietnamese cuisine and culture.

And speaking of cuisine, make sure you try the  “white rose” dumplings and Cao Lau noodles at one of the restaurants. You’ll only find them here so give them a try!

End your visit with a trip to the Night Market for some shopping and a boat ride down the Thu Bon River. Or take an iconic basket boat ride (⭐ 5/5) for a fun experience.

Where to stay in Hoi An

Little Riverside Hoi An (⭐ 9.3) Convenient location right by the river and just a 10-minute walk from the Old Town. This boutique hotel has spacious rooms with large bathtubs and a lovely rooftop pool with beautiful views. Check rates and availability here.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Hoi An cooking class
Day 6

Ho Chi Minh city

It’s time for your last domestic flight, and you’re going to the largest, most modern city in Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City – or Saigon, as the locals call it.

Ho Chi Minh is so different from North Vietnam and it’ll give you a nuanced view of Vietnam. You’ll see what I mean.

Start your adventure with the big hitters: the War Remnants Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Post Office, and the Reunification Palace.

If you’ve got some time to spare, just wander around the city streets and check out the local vibe.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Ho Chi Minh

Now, let’s talk food.

The Ben Thanh Street Food Market is your go-to spot for amazing local food. It’s got everything from pho to banh mi and more.

For a good night out, hit up HCMC Pub Street. It’s got a bunch of funky bars where you can chill and soak up the atmosphere.

To wrap up a perfect day, hop on a dinner cruise down the Saigon River (⭐ 4.5/5). It’s super relaxing and a great way to see the city lights.

Even though Ho Chi Minh is a big city, you can cover most of it on foot. But if you’re not into walking, there’s a solid public transport system.

Buses are dirt cheap and they go everywhere.

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh city

Silverland Jolie Hotel (⭐ 8.7) Great location close to the major sights! Modern rooms and a rooftop bar with an amazing view makes this one of the best hotels in Saigon. Check rates and availability here.

Day 7

Mekong Delta and Cu Chi tunnels

The last stop on your 7 day Vietnam itinerary is these two iconic sites: the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong Delta.

Both can be explored on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City, saving you the hassle of arranging transportation. I recommend this full day tour with Viator (⭐ 5/5) which has the Badge of Excellence because it’s so great!

First up, the Cu Chi Tunnels. These aren’t just any ordinary tunnels; they’re a network spanning around 124 miles (200 km), used during the Vietnam war.

As you delve into their depths, you’ll learn about their intricate design and the harsh conditions endured by those who used them. It’s a powerful testament to the resilience of the Vietnamese people and a real eye-opener.

You might even get to crawl through a section of the tunnel. But be warned, they’re narrow and dark – not for the claustrophobic!

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Cu Chi Tunnels

Next up is the Mekong Delta.

This vast network of tributaries spreads out from the mighty Mekong River, covering an impressive 40,500 square kilometres. It’s known as the ‘rice bowl of Vietnam’ because such an enormous amount of rice is produced here.

The best way to experience the Mekong Delta?

By boat, of course. Many tours include a boat trip, and some even offer the chance to visit local farms, so you can get a glimpse into rural life in Vietnam.

7 days in Vietnam itinerary - Mekong Delta

Pack for the climate

So, Vietnam is a big country, and the climate changes throughout. So, you need to pack for that.

The south of the country is more humid, and the climate becomes increasingly temperate as you head north – the highlands around Sapa can be downright chilly in winter.

If you plan to visit both halves of the country (like in this itinerary), bring some clothes for the cooler highlands as well as the steamy Mekong Delta. 

Read next: What you should pack for Southeast Asia

FAQ about this Vietnam itinerary

Is 7 days enough in Vietnam?

7 days in Vietnam is enough to see most of the main sights, but it’ll be a bit rushed.

To really soak in the culture and attractions, consider staying in Vietnam for 2 or even 3 weeks.

If you’ve only got a week, maybe focus on just one region like Northern Vietnam or Southern Vietnam.

How can I cover Vietnam in 7 days?

Here’s an overview of the Vietnam itinerary in this post:

Day 1-2: Hanoi – Start your journey in the capital city. Visit the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, and take a Street Food Tour. Take a day trip to Quảng Phú Cầu incense village.

Day 3: Halong BayEnjoy a cruise in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Try activities like kayaking and cave tours.

Day 4-5: Hoi An – Fly to Hoi An. Explore the Ancient Town, Japanese Bridge, and enjoy the local cuisine.

Day 6-7: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Fly to Saigon. Visit the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, and explore the vibrant nightlife at Bui Vien Street. Take a day trip to Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi tunnels.

This itinerary makes for a tight schedule and involves domestic flights, but you’ll get to see the best of Vietnam!

How much money do I need for 7 days in Vietnam?

For a 7-day trip in Vietnam, you can expect to spend around $455 to $665 as a mid-range budget traveler.

This estimate includes daily expenses of about $65 to $95, which covers accommodation, meals, and activities.

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