Vietnam is one of the top destinations in South East Asia. The country has something for every type of traveler. From various historical sites where you can learn more about its rich culture and history to sampling the exquisite local cuisine to its scenic beaches and natural scenery. With so many things to do in Vietnam and many unique experiences awaiting you, here is a list of what one can do in a one-week visit to Vietnam.
One week Vietnam itinerary
After landing in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, you can visit the Hanoi Old Quarter where you can walk around and browse the colorful shops and try out the local food. You can also join a walking tour or even one of the numerous food tours provided by tour companies and even some hostels and hotels. In the evening, you can visit Hoan Kiem Lake to relax and take in the breathtaking sunset.
On day two, you can visit the various historical and cultural landmarks located around Hanoi. You can visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the body of the famous Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh has been preserved. There is also a museum here where you can learn more about his life. From there you can visit One Pillar Pagoda which is just a few minutes walk away. From there, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also just a few minutes away. The Temple of Literature is also nearby.
While visiting various cultural landmarks, the Hanoi Opera House, an example of French colonial architecture, should not be left out. And speaking of colonial architecture, St. Joseph Cathedral, a Neo-Gothic building, is also a must-visit. Another site that cannot be forgotten is the historic Hoa Loa Prison which showcases the difficult history of the region.
From Hanoi, you can catch a flight to Danang Airport and from there get on a taxi to Hoi An. The town of Hoi An is one of the most popular tourist sites in Vietnam. The town is one of the best well-preserved towns in the country. its architecture is still reminiscent of its heyday as a merchant town during the 15th to 19th centuries.
On your first day in Hoi An, you can take a walking tour of the Hoi An Old Town. The buildings here are well preserved and are a blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architecture. And if you are lucky, you might even get to see the full moon festival held on the 14th of every lunar month. While you are in Hoi An Old Town, you can go to the iconic Japanese covered bridge, built by the Japanese community during the early 1600s, which is a sight to behold with its heavily ornate roof. If you are there during the 14th of the lunar moon, you can even participate in the free calligraphy class held there every lunar month during this time. This magnificent bridge is not the only historical site Hoi An has. You can also take a tour of the Old House of Tan Ky, which has been preserved by the same family for generations. The Fujian Assembly Hall is also a historical site you have to visit. Hoi An doesn’t just have historical sites to offer, there are also many delicacies that you can try like Cau Lau, a rice noodle dish found only here. You can also walk along the riverside in the evening and try out the street food from the night market.
On your second day in Hoi An, you can visit a few handicraft villages like the Hoi An Silk Village and Thanh Ha Pottery Village. While visiting, you can even attend the handicraft classes held in these villages. You can also visit the historical sites you missed out on the other day like the Ong Pagoda, Quang Cong Temple, and Phung Hung House. Another place you can visit is the Museum of Sa Huynh Culture where you can learn more about Vietnamese history and culture.
After your tour of the historical sites, you can try out local dishes that Hoi An is famous for like the Quang Noodles and White Rose dumplings. By the end of your jam-packed day, you will need to relax, which you can do by taking a boat ride and viewing the sunset over Hoi An or going to An Bang Beach to end your day.
After Hoi An, you can go back to Danang to catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. This is a bustling city with lots of things to do and sites to see. One of the must-see landmarks in the city is the Independence Palace. Close by it is the historic Saigon Central Post Office, which still functions as a post office. Another iconic building in the same vicinity is the Saigon Opera House, modeled after the Opera Garnier in Paris. From here, you can walk to the famous Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. You can also visit the War Remnants Museum to learn about the various wars that have ravaged Vietnam. After which you can take some time out to visit the various pagodas and temples around the city to cleanse your soul and mind after the visit to the War Remnants Museum. The Thien Hau Pagoda, Giac Lam Pagoda, and Tortoise Pagoda are some great options. Another place you cannot miss out on is Ben Thanh Market. Here you can get your shopping done as well as try out some street food.
On your second day in Ho Chi Minh City, you can take a day tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. This is a network of tunnels located about 60 km northeast of the city. It was once used as a base by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The Cu Chi Tunnels are located a short 2 hours drive away from Ho Chi Minh City. To get to the Cu Chi Tunnels, you can either take the bus, taxi or even a speed boat. Once you reach Cu Chi Tunnels, you can explore the tunnels and learn more about the brutal war that ravaged the country.
From Ho Chi Minh City, you can catch a quick flight to Dalat. Also known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’, this city is famous for its hills, greenery, and coffee. Once you land in Dalat, you can book a food tour beforehand or visit a local cafe and try out Da Lat coffee. After which you can visit Xuan Huong Lake and the central market followed by a walk to St. Nicholas Cathedral. From here, you can go to the French Quarter after which you can visit Van Thanh Flower Village. You can also visit Tung Ha Lavender Farm and Linh Son Pagoda. Another landmark that cannot be missed is the Bao Dai Summer Palace, the palace of the last king of Vietnam. Alternatively, you can book a tour where you can visit coffee plantations and flower farms.
Vietnam is an amazing country and there are so many interesting places to discover here. The country has something to offer all kinds of travelers. However, to visit Vietnam, you will need to apply for a Vietnam visa. Which you can do online at a government-approved resource like BDATrip, or if you are from France, you can directly apply for a Vietnam visa here.