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How to spend 1 week in Vietnam for first-time travelers

Vietnam has become so well known all over the world as a perfect destination to have the holidays of a lifetime. It is the land of thousand year history and diverse culture, stunning natural landscapes and mouthwatering food. In fact, one week is definitely not enough to enjoy all the best places and things that Vietnam has to offer. However, finding time to have a longer Vietnam private tours with the busy working schedule today can be an obstacle for some people. In this article, we would like to provide a guide to arrange a travel itinerary to have the best of Vietnam in 7 days, especially for first-time travelers to the country. 

Halong Bay

How to spend 1 week in Vietnam for first-time travelers

Before getting to next part with the itinerary for one-week tour in Vietnam, let’s take a look at essential conditions to travel to Vietnam. Firstly, you need to check if your passport has at least 6 months validity left to board the international flight to Vietnam. Then, you will need obtain a tourist visa to enter Vietnam. Currently, there are three different ways to get visa entry to Vietnam (there is also a list of countries that are granted visa exemption). Find more information about visa to Vietnam here:

Vietnam Visa Guide

How to fill in the Vietnamese Visa Application Form

6 common questions when applying for Vietnamese Visa

It is also a good idea to check the weather of Vietnam before travelling to find out when it is the best time to visit Vietnam. Normally, it is recommended to travel in Vietnam during September to next April (dry season).

Check more here: When is the best time to travel to Vietnam?

Because you only have a short time, it is better to start each day early in order to have the most of each destination you visit. Otherwise, you will be left with just little time to see the all the attractions. Now, let take a look at our suggested itinerary for your trip in Vietnam:

Day 1: Start your trip in Hanoi

After arriving at Hanoi, spend some time to refresh after a long flight to Vietnam. It is recommended to stay in the Old Quarter of Hanoi to discover the culture, traditional lifestyle and delicious food easily. Spend the rest of your day to explore the vibrant streets and colorful wet markets of Hanoi Old Quarter. You may take a cyclo ride to have the overview of local life. Pho is the best dish that you should try while visiting Hanoi. 

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour

Spend the whole day to visit the most famous attractions in the city such as Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, Hoa Lo Prison. For lunch, “Bun Cha” – the specialty of Hanoi will be a wonderful choice. In the afternoon, you can visit West Lake – the biggest lake in the city and have a stroll around the central Hoan Kiem Lake (on weekend, the streets around the lake are closed, only for pedestrians). Then, attend a unique Water Puppet Show to learn more about Vietnamese traditional music and culture. Enjoy the exciting night-life of Hanoi at famous beer corner in Ta Hien Street will make a complete day of capital city exploration. 


Hanoi can be a perfect start for your Vietnam customized holiday

Day 3: Hanoi to Halong Bay

The UNESCO World Heritage Halong Bay is always a must-visit destination for any Vietnam customized tour. Spending one night on a cruise is also recommended to have the best experience in Halong Bay. Besides the spectacular scenery when cruising among thousands of limestone islands, there are many activities to join such as kayaking, swimming, cooking class. You need to leave Hanoi in the morning to catch the overnight cruise departing at noon from harbor in Halong City. 

It is worthy to note that Halong Bay can be busy and crowded sometimes during the high season (from September to April). So, choosing wisely the comfortable cruise that match your budget is a key point here. Alternative to Halong Bay, you can select the cruises that are operated in Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay where it is less crowded but the scenery is still amazing. 

Day 4: Halong Bay to Hanoi, fly to Ho Chi Minh City

Wake up early to enjoy the sunrise and take part in Tai Chi class on sundeck of your Halong cruise will be a great memory of the Vietnam private tours. Spend the morning to explore the beautiful cave or visit local fishing village before the cruise head back to pier at noon. Find your way to Hanoi airport for flying to Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest city in Vietnam. 

In Ho Chi Minh City, District 1 is the suggested place to stay as you can easily find many good hotels and most of the best attractions are just walking distance from here. Spend the evening to walk around and try the delicious street eats of Sai Gon. You can visit Nguyen Hue walking street to enjoy the city by night with many locals. If you want something special for the evening, get to the rooftop bar at Bitexco Building to have the panorama views of the city while having your favorite drinks. 

Ho Chi Minh city

Day 4 - Fly to Ho Chi Minh city

Day 5: Travel to Cu Chi Tunnels

Today, it is best to leave the city early before other tour groups to have the best experience of Cu Chi Tunnels. The Cu Chi Tunnels are an underground labyrinth of passageways, used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War as protection against American air raids. Those inclined are invited to crawl through selections of the tunnels to better understand what life was like for the Vietnamese soldiers during wartime.

Back to the city in the afternoon for visiting the famous tourist attractions such as War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace, Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral or Ben Thanh Market. The day seems to be busy and you can spend the evening leisurely to recharge the energy. 

Day 6: Mekong Delta Exploration

The impressive Mekong Delta should not be missed on the itinerary of a Vietnam private tour. Leaving early from Ho Chi Minh City to have a full day exploration of the delta is recommended. Enjoy the boat ride to visit floating markets, local workshops and tropical orchards. Have lunch at a local riverside restaurant and spend some time to explore the local areas by bicycle. Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon and have the rest of the day to relax. 

Mekong Delta

Day 6 - Mekong Delta Exploration

Day 7: Make your way back home

By now, you have already explored the highlights of Vietnam and had a glimpse of the local life. Enjoy some free time before moving the airport to catch your departure flight back home. We hope that this suggested itinerary is helpful for you to have a good impression of the country and hope to see you again in the next holidays in Vietnam

Note: This itinerary can start in Hanoi and end in Ho Chi Minh City or vice versa, it can be customized to meet your needs also.

Read more: 

The 9 easy steps to plan your Vietnam trip

Best tips to stay healthy during holidays in Vietnam

Best family-friendly destinations in Vietnam

View tour: Glance At Vietnam Tour 8 days


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