Suppose you want to spend a week in Asia to enjoy culture, colonial history, diverse cuisine and natural landscape; you should consider a trip to Vietnam! This South East Asian country is shaped by various influences, such as Chinese, American and French, making it a diverse place to explore.
To enjoy the country’s beauty and adventure, you’ll need a well-planned 1 week itinerary for Vietnam. This is why we will share all the details you need, including things to do, places to see and tours to try while in Vietnam.
During your 7 days in Vietnam, you will explore the country’s different regions and cities. In Northern Vietnam, you will explore the bustling streets of Hanoi, the natural wonders of UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay, and the picturesque landscapes of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Hanoi is also a city of contrasts, where ancient temples like Ngoc Son Temple stand alongside French colonial architecture in Central Vietnam.
Other famous destinations in Vietnam include Phong Nha, Mekong Delta and Ninh Bihn. If you want to enjoy the food scene of Vietnam, you can head to the local markets, such as Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh, for the best street food tour experience.
Meanwhile, the best way to spend a week in Vietnam is when the weather is pleasant – meaning you don’t have to worry about heavy rainfall and sweaty days. We highly suggest you visit from March to April or September to November.
For a convenient and authentic experience, consider staying in each city’s central neighbourhood. You’ll need to travel from one city to another, so it would be convenient if you’re near transportation hubs and have easy access to major attractions.
All these are just a tiny part of your 1 week Vietnam itinerary because there’s so much more to explore in the country. Just keep reading because this comprehensive guide is packed with Vietnam travel tips you’ll need for your trip.
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Overview of 7 Days in Vietnam Itinerary
Without further ado, here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do during your self planned 1-week stay in Vietnam. Otherwise you can also select to join a tour to show you the sights without having to worry about anything:
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- Simply Vietnam In 7 Days – From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City
- Vietnam Cambodia 10 Days
- 7 Days Package Hanoi- Ninh Binh – Sapa – Ha Long
- Authentic of Vietnam & Cambodia Tour – Fully Package linked Vietnam and Cambodia
- 15 Days Majestic Vietnam FULL package – 68% OFF + Bonuses
Day 1: (Hanoi)
- Breakfast at Pho Bat Dan
- Explore Hoan Kiem Lake
- Visit the Ngoc Son Temple
- Explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter
- Lunch at Bahn Mi 25
- See St. Joseph’s Cathedral
- Check out the Hanoi Train Street
- Wander through Dong Xuan Market
- Watch a traditional Water Puppet Show
- Dinner at Hanoi Social Club
Day 2: (Hanoi & Halong Bay)
- Breakfast at Pho Cuon Hung Ben
- Learn at Ho Chi Minh Museum
- Visit the One Pillar Pagoda
- Lunch at Bep Prime
- Check out the Temple of Literature
- Stroll around Hanoi’s French Quarter
- Set off for Halong Bay
- Cruise Ship Dinner in Halong Bay
Day 3: (Halong Bay & Hoi An)
- Get Breakfast at Eco Cafe
- Explore Halong Bay by Boat
- See the famous Fighting Cock Rocks
- Pass by Dinh Huong Islet
- Explore Thien Cung Cove
- Lunch on the Boat
- Catch a flight to Da Nang
- Travel to Hoi An
- Get take-out food for dinner
Day 4: (Hoi An)
- Catch the sunrise at Cua Dai Beach
- Get Bahn Mi for breakfast
- Get something custom Tailored at Hoi An
- Have lunch at Miss Ly
- Try pottery making at Thanh Ha Pottery Village
- Stroll around Hoi An Ancient Town
- Hop aboard a Lantern Boat Ride
- Street Food at Hoi An Night Market for Dinner
Day 5: (Hue)
- Drive to Hue
- Breakfast at Ca Phe Muoi
- Explore the Imperial City
- Check out the To Mieu Temple Complex
- Lunch at Hanh Pancake
- Visit the Hue Royal Museum of Antiquities
- See the Thien Mu Pagoda
- Pass by the Royal Tombs
- Dinner at Phu Bai International Airport
Day 6: (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Have breakfast at The Vintage Emporium
- Visit the War Remnants Museum
- Pass by the Reunification Palace
- Lunch at Dim Tu Tac
- Send a postcard from Saigon Central Post Office
- Snap pics at Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral
- Check out Ho Chi Minh’s Pagodas
- Shop at Ben Thanh Market
- Dinner at Cuc Gach Quan
Day 7: (Ho Chi Minh City)
- Breakfast at the Hotel
- Go on a Cu Chi Tunnel Tour
- Lunch at Hoa Su Restaurant
- Head to the Mekong Delta River
- Climb the Bitexco Financial Tower Skydeck
- Dinner at Anan Saigon
- Enjoy the nightlife at Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Day 1 in Vietnam
Breakfast at Pho Bat Dan
To kickstart your 1 week in Vietnam, have a delightful breakfast at one of the most famous spots in Hanoi to have the world-known pho, Pho Bat Dan!
Every local possibly knows about Pho Bat Dan because of the daily long lines in the restaurant, but don’t let this stop you from visiting.
Pho is Vietnam’s iconic noodle soup, and this eatery is renowned for serving one of the best versions in the city.
Their soup broth is sweet and rich, thanks to the beef bones stewed for several hours. It opened first back in 70 years, and until now, the restaurant queue is still long.
They are open as early as 6 AM, so it’s a perfect spot to have your first breakfast meal in Vietnam.
Explore Hoan Kiem Lake
After breakfast, stroll to Hoan Kiem Lake, also known as Sword Lake. This freshwater lake is a picturesque gem in the heart of Hanoi, surrounded by greenery and historical landmarks.
Hoan Kiem Lake attracts thousands of visitors annually, including locals and tourists worldwide. Aside from the scenic pathways and picturesque lake, Hoan Kiem Lake also holds a long history in Hanoi.
It is also home to tortoises that you can spot swimming at the lake or maybe going on a sunbath beside it. There’s much more to do at the lake, including seeing your next stop, Ngoc Son Temple.
Visit the Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple, meaning Temple of the Jade Mountain, is located at the centre of Hoan Kiem Lake. It symbolises Buddhist architecture built in the 18th century, dedicated to Tran Hung Dao.
It is accessible via a red-painted bridge called the Huc Bridge. This bridge was built to connect the Ngoc Son Temple to the lake bank, using fine wood and red paint. During your visit to Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple is a must-see!
Explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter
The Old Quarter is Hanoi’s most famous neighbourhood, especially among tourists. Considered the city’s business hub, it is an area that is home to a mix of Vietnamese architecture, green spaces, street food stalls, and ancient shops, making the vibe here bustling and vibrant.
The Old Quarter, also known as 36 Street Hanoi, can be explored on foot. You can find it at the west and north of Hoan Kiem Lake, consisting of 36 streets, thus the name.
One of the most common sights of the Old Quarter are streets packed with scooters, bicycles and cars that swarm around pedestrians. You’ll find many sidewalk vendors selling all kinds of stuff and restaurants of all cuisines.
Lunch at Banh Mi 25
Banh Mi 25 is a restaurant at Hang Ca Street in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Since you’ve already had the famous beef pho for breakfast, we highly suggest you get a bite of Vietnam’s famous Bahn Mi for lunch!
This restaurant is the most known Banh Mi restaurant in Hanoi, so it’s a safe pick to try your first-ever Bahn Mi. Since the restaurant is well-known, you can expect long lines and a pack of crowds swarming over the place if you’ll dine there.
If you wish to have your banh mi for takeaway, they have this small takeaway stall, too, so you don’t have to wait in line for a seat.
See St. Joseph’s Cathedral
As you wander through the Old Quarter, take advantage of the opportunity to visit St. Joseph’s Cathedral. This stunning neo-Gothic Catholic church is a prominent architectural landmark in Hanoi, only 10 minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake.
St. Joseph Cathedral was one of the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina. Despite the long wars that destroyed most of Vietnam’s colonial buildings, this remains intact and is still in good condition.
When you visit, just admire its grand façade and intricate stained-glass windows and take a moment to appreciate the peaceful exterior.
Check out the Hanoi Train Street
When you think of Vietnam, most significantly its capital city Hanoi, one thing that will probably pop into your mind is the famous Hanoi Train Street. This unusual attraction has been iconic to Vietnam because of the surreal sight you can witness when a train passes by a narrow street between buildings.
Not surprisingly, Hanoi’s Train Street has been dubbed the most dangerous street in Vietnam. It was closed for a few years since 2019 but is now (2023) open to the public.
The reason why it’s an exciting sight for tourists is because this street, in particular, is so narrow that when the train passes, it’s just a meter away from the houses. You must stand within the yellow mark 20 centimetres from the building if you don’t want to get hit by the swift train.
Plus, it’s an exciting experience because before the train comes, locals rush into their houses, and street-side vendors keep their belongings safe.
Wander through Dong Xuan Market
Don Xuan Market is Hanoi’s largest indoor market. This is where you can find an incredible array of goods, from fresh produce and traditional handicrafts to clothing and electronics.
Since you’ll be moving to other cities for the next few days of your 1 week in Vietnam itinerary, this is the best time to visit if you want to shop for a few souvenir items to bring with you.
There are also many food stalls inside that are open till midnight, where you can get a few street foods to snack on.
Watch a traditional Water Puppet Show
After exploring Hanoi’s busy districts and major tourist spots, head back to Hoan Kiem Lake and get ready to witness a spectacular water puppet show.
The traditional water puppet show will show you how Vietnam’s cultural heritage.
It will allow you to immerse in Vietnam’s ancient art form from the rice fields and celebrate rural life through intricate puppetry, music, and storytelling.
The show usually starts when the sun sets, so you can enjoy a Vietnamese coffee or dessert nearby while waiting for it.
Dinner at Hanoi Social Club
Hanoi’s Social Club is one of the most popular dinner restaurants in the city, known for its welcoming ambience and delectable fusion cuisine. Spread over three floors; this vast restaurant offers a rustic yet modern space for diners to enjoy great food.
Their menu comprises a selection of fresh organic salads to light western-inspired dishes. Accordingly, chefs at Hanoi Social Club also combine traditional Vietnamese techniques when preparing food to ensure you still get a local experience when dining with them.
Day 2 in Vietnam
Breakfast at Pho Cuon Hung Ben
Continue your journey in Vietnam by spending more time in Hanoi for your second day. For breakfast, head to Pho Cuon Hung Ben, a local eatery known for serving one of the best-rolled noodles.
Rolled noodles are a classic and staple dish in Vietnam, and this restaurant makes it the best. Each of their rolled noodles is hand-made, stuffed with leathery and thornless noodles.
The restaurant also serves stir-fried beef noodles and deep-fried noodles. They’re already open as early as 7 AM, just right in time for your first meal.
Learn at Ho Chi Minh Museum
After filling up with a hearty meal, head to your day’s first stop – the Ho Chi Minh Museum. This museum displays many documents, artefacts and heritage about former President Ho Chi Minh. It’s divided into 3 floors, each with various displays and exhibits.
During your visit, immerse in Vietnam’s history while gaining insight into the life of the country’s iconic leader at Ho Chi Minh. By visiting, you can see how much sacrifice he had made for the government and fellow citizens.
The museum is open only in the morning, from 8 AM to 11:30 AM, so arrive early. It’s a fascinating and educational experience for history enthusiasts. You can also pass by the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum nearby if you have more time.
Visit the One Pillar Pagoda
Just a few minutes walk from the museum; you’ll find the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, a must-visit site in Hanoi. Also known as Dien Huu Pagoda, this pagoda has served as an architectural wonder, standing on a single stone pillar amid a lotus pond.
The pagoda is located in the Ba Dinh District and is believed to have existed ever since Ly’s dynasty in Vietnam. Aside from being an iconic tourist destination, it still serves as a religious stop for local pilgrims, so expect the place to be serene and calm.
During your visit, respect the place while you marvel at the elegant design and discover the pagoda’s religious significance.
Lunch at Bep Prime
Enjoy an elegant and serene time for lunch at Bep Prime, a restaurant hidden within the bustling city. This dining establishment is known for its three-storey loft building, filled with art decor and a chich bohemian interior.
Bep Prime’s menu offers various Vietnamese dishes, including their best-selling roasted duck, noodle dishes and seafood. You can also accompany these with a glass of wine since they have an extensive collection of wine.
Check out the Temple of Literature
Aside from the bustling streets of Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam is also a place where you can enjoy endless history and magical tales. One among these entangled with the country’s rich heritage is the first national university, the Temple of Literature.
This historical complex in Hanoi is dedicated to Confucius and education. Although it goes way back to 1070, the site is well-preserved. Some areas to check out are the courtyards Dai Trung Mong, Khue Van Cac, Thien Quang Well, Dai Thanh Mon and the Grounds of Imperial Academy.
The Temple of Literature is easy to get to. From Hoan Kiem Lake, it will only take 15 minutes to walk. You can also hop into a cyclo if you think it’s too far.
Stroll around Hanoi’s French Quarter
Before leaving Hanoi, visiting the city’s French Quarter is a must. In this neighbourhood, traces of the city’s colonial past are still evident. Admire the charming architecture characterised by French-style buildings, tree-lined boulevards, and quaint cafes.
It’s a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon and soak in the unique blend of Vietnamese and French influences. You can also check out quaint temples, street markets and local boutiques here while enjoying some iced cold Vietnamese coffee.
French Quarter is just southeast of Hoan Kiem Lake, so getting to it is easy. Unlike Old Quarter, this part of the city is less crowded, especially since it’s considered the most luxurious corner in the town where most 5-star luxury hotels are situated.
Set off for Halong Bay
In this one week Vietnam itinerary, we included all the famous cities you can visit during your trip. This is why, before day 3, you should already head out to Halong Bay.
Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of Vietnam’s most breathtaking natural wonders. This part of Vietnam is known for its stunning seascape, featuring thousands of limestone karsts and islets rising dramatically from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.
There are several ways to get to Halong Bay from the capital city. But, keep at least 3 hours for travel time if you’re travelling by car through the new express driveway.
Depending on your preference, you can rent a private car or ride a bus from Hanoi. These two choices are the most convenient way to get to Halong Bay.
Dinner in Halong Bay
Once you check in at your hotel and settle down at Halong Bay, head out for a few hours to get dinner. One famous restaurant in Halong Bay is Papa’s BBQ. They offer an extensive international menu prepared using fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Their food is also affordable compared to other known restaurants, plus it’s close to the beach! We recommend you get their schnitzel and pair it with a pint of German beer. A great way to end the day!
Day 3 in Vietnam
Get Breakfast at Eco Cafe
Before heading out on a day tour to see islands, caves and the vast Gulf of Tonkin aboard a boat or cruise ship, first, fuel yourself with some good food at Eco Cafe.
Eco Cafe is a charming and eco-friendly brunch place in Halong Bay. Here you can enjoy a cup of rich Vietnamese coffee, famous for its bold flavour and unique brewing style. They also have various delectable breakfast menus such as pastries, fresh fruits, and traditional dishes.
Explore Halong Bay by Boat
Halong Bay is about exploring caves, islands and majestic limestone karsts at sea. This is why, to start your unforgettable journey, book a boat tour that will take you around iconic spots at the bay.
You have several choices: hop aboard a luxury cruise ship, take a half-day boat tour, or rent a private boat for a custom trip around iconic landmarks. For this Vietnam one week itinerary, we highly suggest you book a customisable tour since you’ll only be in Halong Bay for less than a day.
See the famous Fighting Cock Rocks
For your first stop at Halong Bay, keep an eye out for the famous Fighting Cock Rocks. These iconic limestone formations resemble two fighting roosters and have become symbolic of Halong Bay.
Although it’s not as massive as the other islands in Halong Bay, it’s something to look forward to in Halong Bay. Your boat’s guide will point them out, allowing you to admire and capture this unique natural wonder.
Pass by Dinh Huong Islet
As you continue your boat journey through the bay, don’t miss out on the iconic Dinh Huong Islet. This is one of the most distinctive islets in Halong Bay because its shape resembles an incense burner, adding to the bay’s mystique and charm.
You cannot visit it on foot, so just enjoy the picturesque view and learn about the local legends of this intriguing islet.
Explore Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung Cave is one of the largest and most beautiful caves of Halong Bay. It is popularly known as Heaven Cave because of its appearance.
To enter the cave, you’ll need to alight from your boat. You’ll be welcomed by stalactites and stalagmites, which have formed into unique shapes. There will also be fluorescent lights that illuminate three ponds.
Lunch on the Boat
Your Halong Bay tour will only be complete with a delicious lunch aboard your boat or cruise! Get to delight in a sumptuous spread of freshly prepared seafood, Vietnamese specialities, and international dishes that your tour provider will prepare.
While you savour your meal, don’t forget to enjoy the bay’s picturesque scenery, making your lunchtime an exceptional dining experience. If you still have time to spend, you can also ask your boat guide to bring you somewhere in the bay where you can go for a swim.
Catch a flight to Da Nang
While it may seem your stay at Halong Bay is too short, there’s much more to explore in Vietnam, so it’s time to catch a flight to Da Nang. After having lunch at the bay and touring around the sea, catch an afternoon flight to transfer cities.
Da Nang will not be your end destination, but Hoi An is. You just need to hop on a plane going to Da Nang since this is the nearest town to transfer from going to Hoi An. You can also explore the city as it offers a mix of modern and historical attractions.
Travel to Hoi An
Depending on your budget, you can take several travel options from Da Nang. Hoi An is 29 kilometres from Da Nang, which will take at least an hour or more of travel.
There are two travel options that you can take, either via coastal route or inland. If your ride takes the inland road, it will only take 45 minutes by car. The inland road takes a little bit longer, approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
Why Hoi An? This city is renowned for its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage. Aside from the famous Hanoi, Halong Bay and Saigon of Vietnam, this is also one of the most visited cities in Vietnam by tourists.
Get take-out food for dinner
You’ll probably arrive late at Hoi An and must check in at your hotel or accommodation. You can explore plenty of cafes and restaurants in Hoi An, but we highly suggest you get take-out food for this dinner meal to have more time to rest.
Some famous takeaway and food delivery options in Hoi An are Urban Fresh, Artspace and Dingo Deli.
Day 4 in Vietnam
Catch the sunrise at Cua Dai Beach
Hoi An is an ancient coastal town influenced by traditional Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and European heritage. So, spend your 4th day in Vietnam differently by walking on Hoi An’s famous beach, Cua Dai.
Cua Dai Beach is renowned for having the best sunrise in the city. Although it’s a few kilometres from the city centre, the early travel here will be worth it. This beach is consistently listed as one of the top beaches in Vietnam because of its pristine soft white sand and crystal clear deep blue water.
Despite thousands of tourists and locals visiting the beach, it remains unspoiled and undisturbed, making it a great place to start your day.
Get Bahn Mi for breakfast
A trip to Vietnam means endless Bahn Mi, and we’re not complaining. After a walk on the beach and watching the sunrise over the endless blue sea, head to a restaurant or takeaway shop for breakfast.
Hoi An is most famous for its Bahn Mi because of the unique flavours and techniques they use to create one. The fusion of French and Vietnamese flavours, this crusty baguette is filled with various savoury ingredients, making it a filling yet easy meal to have while on the go.
Get something custom Tailored at Hoi An
Vietnam, Hoi An, in particular, is renowned for its skilled tailors and affordable custom tailoring services. Take advantage of this opportunity during your one week in Vietnam and get a tailored outfit made just for you.
Head over to the Old Town, where you’ll find most of the famous tailoring shops in the city. We suggest you visit early because they’ll need at least 4 to 8 hours to create your custom clothes, depending on what you’ll ask them to make.
Whether it’s a traditional ao dai, a stylish suit, or a casual dress, the tailors in cities like Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City will work their magic to create a personalised garment that perfectly fits your style and preferences.
Have lunch at Miss Ly
Miss Ly Cafeteria is one of Hoi An’s best places to eat. It’s a legendary dining spot you should include in your itinerary, and you can visit it for lunch.
Local and foreign visitors know the restaurant, which has been running since 1993. They have over 20 years of experience serving authentic Vietnamese food like cao lau, a Hoi An speciality featuring noodles, pork, and greens. Another must-try at the restaurant is their famous white rose dumplings.
Aside from great food, it attracts hundreds of diners because of its favourable location. Meanwhile, the restaurant doesn’t have a grandeur architecture; instead, it offers a comfortable and casual set-up, having only 17 tables. Ancient shop houses surround it, and it is on a busy street, so expect lines during your visit.
Try pottery making at Thanh Ha Pottery Village
After enjoying good food, head to Thanh Ha Pottery Village. Located just a few minutes from the Hoi An ancient town, Thanh Ha offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s pottery-making industry that has been passed down for several generations.
The village is said to be the oldest pottery hub in Vietnam, and unlike many pottery studios, the artisans here shape each piece with their hand foot pedal, which gives them a unique touch.
During your visit, learn more about the history and process of pottery-making. You can also unleash your creativity and get hands-on with pottery making when you book a workshop with them.
Skilled artisans will teach you traditional techniques and allow you to mould clay into various shapes and create your unique pottery masterpiece, providing an enriching experience.
Stroll around Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Ancient Town is a must-visit when in the city. This part of town is the busiest and liveliest, even declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has been well-preserved since it was built in the 15th century and used as a Southeast Asian trading port, where goods, ideas and cultures were exchanged.
With its old-world architecture, cobbled streets and distinct yellow shops, this neighbourhood showcases different cultural influences. You can now explore quaint shops, art galleries, and charming cafes and find shophouses to purchase silk and other valued items.
Hop aboard a Lantern Boat Ride
Hoi An’s most iconic symbol is the lantern. It was introduced by Chinese and Japanese traders years ago, and since then, lanterns have always been hung in the town, most especially in the yellow-front shops in the ancient city.
If you visit Vietnam during the Lantern Festival, the 14th day of every lunar month, the town reduces its electricity usage and uses candle-lit lanterns to light up the night sky.
While you can enjoy this by the sidewalk, it would be an excellent experience to board a boat at the riverbank with a lantern and let it afloat. Accordingly, letting your lantern drift in the water will make your wish come true!
Street Food at Hoi An Night Market for Dinner
Head to Nguyen Hoang Night Market for dinner and indulge in a vibrant and diverse array of street food delights.
It is located in front of the Japanese Bridge in the Ancient town and is considered the most famous market in the city.
Since Vietnam is home to plenty of unique street foods that only you can find in their country, this gastronomic experience is a must-try.
You can sample various street food dishes, such as banh xeo (savoury Vietnamese pancakes), grilled seafood skewers, and delectable desserts. If you feel more adventurous, you can even try some exotic foods!
Day 5 in Vietnam
Drive to Hue
As early as 4 AM, be prepared to embark on a scenic journey as you drive to Hue, a historic city in central Vietnam. From Hoi An, you’ll need to take a bus or rent a private car that will bring you straight to Hue.
If you decide to ride the bus, you’ll head back to Da Nang. At Da Nang, hop aboard a train going to Hue, and during this scenic ride, you get to see the famous Hai Van Pass. The travel time is 6 hours, and you can either use the time to rest or enjoy the picturesque landscapes.
Breakfast at Ca Phe Muoi
Since this is only a day trip and you’ll need to fly to another city again at night, fill your stomach with some hearty meal. As soon as you arrive in Hue, head straight to Ca Phe Muoi, a local cafe known for its delicious coffee and pastries.
Try their best-selling Vietnamese iced coffee paired with a tasty Bahn mi or muffin to energise yourself for the busy day ahead.
Explore the Imperial City
Hue’s most iconic spot is the Imperial City, and it’s a must-visit for your day tour. This UNESCO World Heritage site was once the political and cultural centre of the Nguyen Dynasty, now a famous tourist destination.
The Imperial City occupies quite a large area of central Hue and is undoubtedly the most essential place to see. You’ll see historic citadel gates, courtyards, and palaces within the city’s walls.
While most of the structures inside the Imperial City were already damaged during wars in the past, they were restored and are being preserved well. So, during your visit, enjoy walking through the city’s paths while marvelling at the intricate architecture and learning about the country’s royal history.
Some things to see inside are the Ngo Mon Gate, Thai Hoa Palace, Can Thanh Palace, Dien Tho, Royal Treasury, Hien Lam Pavillon and much more!
Check out the To Mieu Temple Complex
One particular complex inside the Imperial City is the To Mieu Temple. This complex is a site for worshipping kings and queens by the previous generations of the Nguyen Dynasty.
It comprises four temples: the Trieu To Mieu, Thai To Mieu, Hung to Mieu and The To Mieu.
While you can also check out other sites inside the city, this area, in particular, lets you discover the typical architecture of Vietnam while learning more about the Nguyen Dynasty.
Late Lunch at Hanh Pancake
After a long morning, head to one of the most famous restaurants in Hue, Hanh Pancake. This restaurant specialises in serving traditional dishes, most especially local pancakes.
Pancakes in Vietnam are not your typical breakfast pancake waffle; they are savoury fired treats filled with pork, shrimp or chicken. They also have other menu dishes that are vegan-friendly, such as noodles soup and spring rolls.
Friendly tip, they have a set menu that already includes five items. This is a great deal if you want variety for your meal!
Visit the Hue Royal Museum of Antiquities
Continue exploring Hue’s rich history by visiting the Hue Royal Museum of Antiquities. This museum, initially named Khai Dinh Museum, was established in 1923 and is one of the first museums in Vietnam.
The main display hall of the museum, Long An Palace, is considered one of the most beautiful royal structures in Vietnam and is listed as a UNESCO heritage site.
Most displays here are royal antiquities in ranges of porcelain, enamelled bronze wares, royal attires, royal seals and musical instruments used in offering ceremonies. It also houses glass paintings, red lacquered and mother-of-pearl inlaid woodwork, each sharing stories about ancient Hue.
See the Thien Mu Pagoda
Hue houses many temples and pagodas, but since you’re only in town for less than a day, you should see Thien Mu Pagoda. This religious site is famous for its beautiful and ancient architectural structure that attracts hundreds of tourists daily.
Located at Ha Khe Hill, Thien Mu Pagoda’s tower has become the unofficial symbol of Hue. Phuoc Duyen is an octagonal tower seven storeys high, dedicated to a Buddha that appeared in human form. This is the tallest stupa in Vietnam, making it a subject of folk rhymes and cadao.
Pass by the Royal Tombs
Another must-see in Hue is the Royal Tombs, located southeast of the citadel. There are seven known royal tombs in the city, but three of them are significantly more popular than the other four. Minh Mang, Tu Duc and Khai Dinh are well-preserved and easily accessible.
You can pass by each tomb, depending on which you want to visit. These tombs each have something different to offer, from historical heritage to architectural structures.
Meanwhile, the other four tombs, Gia Long, Thieu Tri, Duc Duc and Dong Khanh, are worth checking out if you stay longer at Hue.
Dinner at Phu Bai International Airport
We included Hue in this Vietnam itinerary 7 days because this is where the Phu Bai International Airport is. Here you can catch a night flight to your next destination in South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, known as Saigon.
We believe visiting the famous Ho Chi Minh City is a must no matter how many days in Vietnam you’ll be staying. Although it’s miles from Hanoi’s capital, it’s worth travelling to!
Before flying to Ho Chi Minh, you can have dinner at one of the airport restaurants. You can find various dining options inside, including Cococlub Restaurant, Serene Cuisine Restaurant and Cherish Hue Restaurant.
Day 6 in Vietnam
Have breakfast at The Vintage Emporium
Start your day with a good Ho Chi Minh City restaurant and head to The Vintage Emporium. They have two locations in the city, one centrally located in District 1 and the other in District 2. Choose the nearest one among these two locations.
The Vintage Emporium is famous for its interior, which is similar to Paris restaurants and cafes. They have black-and-white tile floors combining it with traditional Vietnamese artwork and decor. Grab some coffee or tea, and bite into their best pastry before heading out to tour Ho Chi Minh City.
Visit the War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum is one of Vietnam’s most famous and oldest museums. It holds a lot of knowledge of Vietnam’s history, especially the Vietnam War.
The exhibits inside the museum showcase war-related artefacts, photographs, and documents, providing a sombre but essential perspective on the country’s past.
As you go through each display, you’ll be able to learn more about the brutal realities that took place during the Second Indochina War and how the people of Vietnam were affected. The museum is open 7 days a week, as early as 7:30 AM.
Pass by the Reunification Palace
After learning more about Vietnam’s history, you should visit the Reunification Palace, also known as Independence Palace. It is just a few minutes from the War Remnants Museum.
The Reunification Palace is a historical relic used for less than 8 years. It holds significant historical value as it was the site of the end of the Vietnam War.
While you may have little time for a full tour, passing by this iconic landmark allows you to witness its distinctive architecture and learn about its role in Vietnam’s history.
Lunch at Dim Tu Tac
Dim Tu Tac is another famous franchise restaurant in Vietnam. While you’ve had your share of authentic Vietnamese food for the past 5 days, head over to this Cantonese restaurant to enjoy more Asian cuisine.
Over the city, there are four branches you can visit. You can pick the one nearest to your daily stops to avoid the hassle of travelling.
This restaurant is usually busy, particularly at lunchtime, but it’s worth queuing for. They serve traditional dim sum, which you can enjoy with local beverages.
Send a postcard from Saigon Central Post Office
A visit to Ho Chi Minh City will only be complete with visiting the famous Saigon Central Post Office, an architectural gem designed by Gustave Eiffel. The post office was built around 1886, becoming one of the city’s oldest and most iconic buildings.
During your visit, you can admire the grand interior, with its high-arched ceilings and intricate detailing. Saigon Central Post Office is a typical colonial French building that even foreigners would think they’re not in Vietnam when inside it.
Many travellers from Europe marvel at the architecture and interior of the post office, considering it a perfect blend of neo-classical European ad Asian decorations.
This is also an excellent opportunity to send postcards to your loved ones from one of the oldest post offices in Vietnam, creating a meaningful and nostalgic gesture.
Snap pics at Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral
Right beside Saigon’s Central Post Office is the Notre Dame Cathedral. The basilica was constructed back in the 1800s by the French. Since then, the cathedral has become an iconic city symbol (aside from Ben Thanh Market).
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is a must-visit attraction, not only because of its architectural structure but also because of its importance to the Vietnamese Catholic community. It is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Saigon, where plenty of locals attend church.
Its intricate design has attracted many tourists, including the diverse stained glass windows depicting Saints and Bible stories. It is also the only church in Vietnam with a real pipe organ, although it has been severely damaged and can no longer be used.
Check out Ho Chi Minh’s Pagodas
Ho Chi Minh is a city that has many religions, such as Caodaism, Buddhism, Christianism, Islam, Fascism and Confucianism. With this, hundreds of big and small churches, pagodas and temples surround the city; some are famous tourist destinations.
Now that you’ve seen the Notre Dame Cathedral head onto some of the city’s pagodas to admire the more beautiful architecture works while learning about different religious practices and cultures.
Some of the most famous pagodas in the city are Ngoc Hoan Pagoda, Xa Loi Pagoda, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Giac Lam and Mariamman Hindu Temple. These temples have their architectural style and serve different purposes for each religion they stand for.
You can check out Ngoc Hoang Pagods to see one built after the Chinese pagoda styles. Meanwhile, Xa Loi is the pagoda with the second-highest bell tower in Vietnam. You can also check out Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, which is the one that has the highest stone tower in the country.
Additionally, the Giac Lam Pagoda is the oldest in the city, while Mariamman Hindu Temple is one of the most sacred pagodas in Saigon.
Shop at Ben Thanh Market
As mentioned earlier, Ben Thanh Market serves as the icon of Ho Chi Minh City. This is the central market of the city, home to an array of stalls that sells a wide range of foods such as clothes, souvenirs, local delicacies and fresh produce.
This is your time to look for unique finds and gifts to bring home to your loved ones. It’s also an excellent opportunity to observe locals hustle while exploring the market. Although you should be aware that most stalls are already closed at 6 PM, be sure to arrive earlier!
Dinner at Cuc Gach Quan
In this travel guide for Vietnam, we’ve already recommended local eateries, franchise restaurants, cafes and street food for your meals. Head to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Saigon, Cuc Gach Quan, this time.
Cuch Gach Quan is a paradise within the bustling streets of Saigon. You’ll eat in a tranquil space, surrounded by a leafy garden and koi pond.
The restaurant is famous for its traditional Vietnamese menu, and one of its signature dishes is the canh chua cá hú fish soup, rich in tangy sweetness. You’ll need to book a reservation beforehand to ensure you get a seat when dining here too.
Day 7 in Vietnam
Breakfast at the Hotel
For the last day of your trip to Vietnam, spend your breakfast eating at the hotel with some room service. Depending on where you’re staying, you can enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast to energise you on your last-day tour in Ho Chi Minh City.
You also have the option to go around the neighbourhood of your accommodation and look for early-morning eateries where you can get some takeaway food to eat at the hotel. This is a convenient choice since you’ll head to a nearby town for today’s tour.
Go on a Cu Chi Tunnel Tour
You’ll need to travel by bus or car from Ho Chi Minh City to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. If you’re going on a self-guided tour, you can hop on a bus at the western end of Ho Chi Minh in District 1 and ride Bus Nº13, which will take you to the area where Cu Chi Tunnels is.
Meanwhile, if you’ve decided to book a day tour to take you to Cu Chi tunnels, you can either have them pick you up at the hotel or meet them at a spot in the city.
Cu Chi Tunnels is the most famous tourist attraction among Ho Chi Minh City travellers. It holds great historical value about the war against Vietnam’s French and American armies.
In the area, you’ll find an extensive labyrinth of underground tunnels that stretches to the Cambodian border. These networks of tunnels were built during the war, serving as a means of communication between the villages and helping the locals evade French soldiers.
Before, the tunnel network stretched over 520 kilometres, but 120 kilometres of tunnels are preserved up to this day. These are the tunnels that you would see in photos. You can try to enter the tiny passageways of tunnels to experience and learn how they were used back in the day.
Lunch at Hoa Su Restaurant
Hoa Su Restaurant is a well-known dining place near the Cu Chi Tunnels. It has a unique ambience, where huts are standing at a waterway. Enjoy local delicacies in the restaurant, including Vietnamese and Asian cuisine.
While there are other good restaurants in the area, you can enjoy dining here because of its ambience. It also has become a favourite among locals and visitors because of its friendly and welcoming service.
Head to the Mekong Delta River
Another iconic landmark near Ho Chi Minh City is the Mekong Delta River. This area has unique ecosystems and attractions; spending a day here is possible. However, for this itinerary, we’ll only share what you can do for at least 3 to 4 hours in the Mekong Delta River.
The Mekong Delta is a network of tributaries in southern Vietnam, between the border of Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City. The river passes through the Himalayas, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia, which explains why the waters are murky.
The river serves a great deal in Vietnam’s rice and fish industry, but it is also a factor in why Mekong Delta is a famous destination.
Going on a Mekong Delta cruise is the best way to enjoy your time here. This will provide you with an experience to go sightseeing and learn more about the region’s history and importance to Vietnam.
There are also plenty of floating markets that you can visit in the Mekong Delta, where you’ll be riding aboard a motorised boat and experiencing how people exchange goods on the water. You can check out Cai Rang floating market or Cai Be floating market if you want to visit one.
Lastly, this is also where you’ll find the famous Vietnamese boats. You can opt not to ride one, but we highly recommend it for a great experience.
Climb the Bitexco Financial Tower Skydeck
Head back to the city centre of Saigon and climb to the top of the Bitexco Financial Tower. This is the highest building in Ho Chi Minh City, where a 49th-floor observation deck is located. When you reach the tier, you’ll enjoy a view of the city from a different perspective.
Bitexco Financial Tower Skydeck is a famous destination, not only among tourists but also locals. Plus, with the building’s unique architecture, it also makes a picturesque background for photos.
The building is open till 9:30 PM, so you can spend the rest of your afternoon taking photos and enjoying the skyline view turned into city lights.
Dinner at Anan Saigon
Considered one of the best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, you must dine in at Anan Saigon. This restaurant is headed by a Vietnamese-American chef that trained at world-famous restaurants. It has made a name in the city since it pioneered the creation of Vietnamese and Asian cuisine.
A must-order at Anan Saigon is their Caviar Bánh Nhúng, a traditional waffle cake often found at street food markets but combined with a French tart preparation. You should get their classic One Bite Pho for your main meal, which is uniquely different as it has black truffle and wagyu beef.
Enjoy the nightlife at Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Spending the rest of your 7th night at Nguyen Hue Walking Street is a great way to end your one-week Vietnam trip. This is the cultural hub of the city, home to unique culinary delights, lively bars and entertainment venues.
Located in Central District 1, this bustling and lively street is a hub for excitement and energy. You have many options on what you would want to do here; you can enjoy street foods, go on a bar hop or relax at a chill bar.
So, whether you’re looking to dance the night away or just spend your last night learning more about the local food scene, Nguyen Hue Walking Street is the best place to visit.
Tours in Vietnam
Hanoi Jeep Tour
Experience Hanoi from a different perspective by joining a Hanoi City Jeep Tour. You’ll board a Soviet-era GAZ-69 Jeep while exploring Hanoi’s major attractions and landmarks. A tour guide will also be aboard, sharing information about each location.
What makes this tour special is you can choose whether you want to go on tour in the morning, afternoon or evening.
Some of the locations you will be visiting are Hai Ba Trung Temple, Ba Dinh Square, Train Street, Long Bien Bridge and Old Quarter. Also included in the tour is an experience to eat local street food and a drink at a rooftop bar.
This cruise tour along Ha Long Bay is perfect for those short in time. This Luxury Day Tour offers a private and customisable tour around Halong Bay, one of the top attractions in Vietnam. This also includes a transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay for a hassle-free experience.
Some stops in Ha Long Bay include Bo Hon Island, Sung Sot Cave, Luon Cave, Titov Island and sightseeing of thousands of limestone islands and islets. Lunch will be provided aboard the cruise, as well as a drink and sunset party.
Vietnam’s most iconic symbol is coloured lanterns, and one of the best experiences you can have during a trip to this country is to create one of your lanterns.
During this Lantern Making Class in Hoi An, an instructor will teach you how to create a foldable lantern from scratch. You will start by creating the bamboo frame and then choose the colour and design of the silk you will use to create the cover.
What’s great about this is you can bring home the lantern you’ve created since it’s foldable and easy to tuck on your luggage. A special Vietnamese tea tasting is also a bonus to this class.
1 week Itinerary for Vietnam Wrap-up
Enjoying a week in Vietnam is something you can look forward to. You’ll want to return with everything Vietnam offers – natural landscapes, historical heritage and modern attractions. But for now, you can use this one week Vietnam itinerary and surely enjoy your trip to this magical country!
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