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Vietnam 3 Week Itinerary North to South – Your Ultimate Vietnam Expedition

Vietnam, a country of mesmerizing landscapes and rich cultural heritage, beckons travelers with its diverse attractions from north to south. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a foodie, Vietnam offers an unforgettable journey through its vibrant cities, tranquil countryside, and stunning coastlines. In this comprehensive three-week itinerary, we guide you from the bustling streets of Hanoi to the serene waters of the Mekong Delta, ensuring you experience the very essence of this enchanting nation. 

Discover ancient temples, bustling markets, and scenic landscapes, while indulging in the local cuisine and connecting with friendly locals. This meticulously planned Vietnam 3 week itinerary North to South is designed to maximize your time and immerse you in Vietnam’s unique charm and beauty. From trekking in Sapa’s lush mountains to exploring Hoi An’s ancient town, and relaxing on Phu Quoc’s pristine beaches, this guide is your key to exploring Vietnam to the fullest. Join us on this epic adventure and uncover the heart of Vietnam!

Vietnam 3 Week Itinerary North to South you need to explore the country to the fullest

From bustling cities to stunning landscapes, dive into the rich culture and natural splendor of this diverse country. Uncover iconic landmarks, relish delectable cuisine, and create unforgettable memories together. As you plan your trip, our meticulously crafted 2 week Vietnam itinerary from South to North guarantees an epic adventure that caters to all ages and interests. Read on and let the journey begin!

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

Welcome to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, known for its centuries-old architecture and rich cultural heritage. Upon landing at Noi Bai International Airport, you’ll navigate through immigration and make your way to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the bustling Old Quarter, where narrow streets are named after the trades practiced there centuries ago. Savor a delicious dinner at a local restaurant and enjoy your first night in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour

Hanoi in the night
Hanoi in the night

Begin your day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, where the body of Vietnam’s revered leader is preserved. This solemn and significant site offers a deep insight into the nation’s respect and admiration for Ho Chi Minh. After paying your respects, explore the nearby Presidential Palace and the humble stilt house where he lived and worked, providing a stark contrast that highlights his modest lifestyle.

Next, head to One Pillar Pagoda, an iconic and historic Buddhist temple known for its unique architecture and serene atmosphere. In the afternoon, immerse yourself in Vietnam’s rich cultural history at Temple of Literature, the country’s first university. This beautiful complex of traditional courtyards and ancient buildings offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s scholarly past and Confucian heritage.

As evening falls, conclude your day with a traditional water puppet show, a captivating performance that showcases Vietnamese folklore and artistry through intricately designed puppets dancing on water.

Day 3: Halong Bay

Depart early for HaLong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands crowned with lush rainforests. Upon arrival, board a traditional junk boat cruise and set sail through the tranquil bay. The day’s adventures include exploring magnificent caves adorned with stalactites and stalagmites and kayaking around the scenic islands, allowing for close-up views of the bay’s natural beauty. Indulge in a fresh seafood lunch and dinner on board, savoring the flavors of the sea while surrounded by breathtaking vistas. As the sun sets, the bay transforms into a serene, mystical landscape, perfect for relaxation and reflection. Spend the night on the cruise, gently rocked to sleep by the calm waters, with the stars illuminating the sky above. This immersive experience offers an unforgettable glimpse into one of Vietnam’s most stunning natural wonders.

Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi

Ha Long Bay Tai Chi Class
Ha Long Bay Tai Chi Class

Wake up to the serene beauty of Ha Long Bay and join a Tai Chi session on the deck. After a refreshing breakfast, continue exploring the bay’s breathtaking landscapes. Return to the harbor and drive back to Hanoi. Spend the evening at your leisure, savoring local street food such as pho and banh mi or wandering through the vibrant night market in the Old Quarter. Discover unique souvenirs and soak in the lively atmosphere, blending tradition and modernity, as you wrap up a day filled with natural beauty and cultural immersion.

Day 5: Hanoi – Sapa

Travel to Sapa via a luxury bus or train, immersing yourself in the scenic journey to this enchanting mountain town. Known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant hill tribes, Sapa offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and take some time to unwind and absorb the serene atmosphere. Begin your exploration by visiting the local market, where you can browse colorful stalls brimming with handmade crafts, textiles, and fresh produce, providing a glimpse into the daily life of the hill tribes. Next, visit the charming Church of Sapa, an iconic stone structure that stands as a testament to the town’s historical heritage. As evening falls, enjoy a leisurely stroll through the town, taking in the breathtaking views of terraced rice fields and misty mountains. Spend the night in Sapa, embraced by the tranquility and splendor of this captivating destination.

Day 6: Sapa Trekking

Sapa valleys

Embark on an unforgettable Sapa trekking adventure through the picturesque terraced rice fields and ethnic minority villages. This journey takes you through breathtaking landscapes, where vibrant green paddies stretch as far as the eye can see, and the air is filled with the earthy scent of nature. Visit the Hmong and Red Dao villages, where you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in their unique cultures and traditions. Learn about their traditional crafts, clothing, and daily life, gaining a deeper appreciation for their rich heritage. Enjoy the warm hospitality of a local family as you savor a home-cooked meal, experiencing authentic flavors and heartwarming stories. As the trek concludes, return to Sapa in the late afternoon, feeling enriched and inspired by the day’s experiences. Back at your hotel, take time to relax and reflect on the vibrant cultures and stunning landscapes you’ve encountered, making for an enriching and memorable adventure.

Day 7: Sapa – Hanoi

Sa Pa Love Waterfall

Spend the morning exploring Cat Cat Village, a charming Hmong village renowned for its stunning waterfalls and traditional crafts. After a delightful lunch, journey back to Hanoi by bus or train. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and unwind. Enjoy a leisurely evening, perhaps strolling through the city’s vibrant streets or relaxing at a local café. The contrast between the serene village and Hanoi’s bustling atmosphere offers a perfect balance to your day, providing both cultural enrichment and relaxation.

Day 8: Hanoi – Hue

Inside The Citadel. Imperial Forbidden City. Hue, Vietnam / Source: Smoke666 - YayImages
Inside The Citadel. Imperial Forbidden City. Hue, Vietnam / Source: Smoke666 – YayImages

Begin your day with a morning flight to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, known for its rich history and cultural heritage. Upon arrival, immerse yourself in the past by visiting the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through its ancient palaces, temples, and gardens, each telling a story of Vietnam’s dynastic history. In the afternoon, take a leisurely boat ride along the serene Perfume River. The gentle flow of the river leads you to the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda, a historic temple offering stunning views and spiritual tranquility. As the day draws to a close, treat yourself to a delightful dinner at a local restaurant, savoring Hue’s renowned cuisine, which includes dishes like Bun Bo Hue and Banh Khoai. Finally, unwind and enjoy a peaceful overnight stay in Hue, reflecting on the day’s discoveries and preparing for more adventures to come in this captivating city.

Day 9: Hue City Tour

Spend a captivating day exploring the royal tombs of the Nguyen emperors, immersing yourself in Vietnam’s rich history and cultural heritage. Begin with the tomb of Minh Mang, renowned for its traditional Vietnamese architecture, tranquil gardens, and serene lakes that reflect the grandeur of the past. Next, visit the tomb of Khai Dinh, a striking blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles, adorned with intricate mosaics and imposing statues that showcase the emperor’s unique vision. 

After soaking in the historical grandeur, head to the bustling Dong Ba Market. Here, experience the vibrant local life as you navigate through a maze of colorful stalls offering everything from fresh produce to traditional handicrafts. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor Hue’s culinary specialties, such as Bun Bo Hue, a flavorful beef noodle soup, and Banh Beo, delicate steamed rice cakes topped with savory toppings. As the day winds down, return to your hotel, carrying with you the memories of Hue’s historical and cultural treasures for an overnight stay.

Day 10: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

Da Nang Bridge / Credit: FOX - Pexels
Da Nang Bridge / Credit: FOX – Pexels

Embark on a journey to Da Nang, making sure to stop at the breathtaking Hai Van Pass. This scenic route offers panoramic views of the coastline, with lush mountains on one side and the azure sea on the other. Once in Da Nang, visit the Marble Mountains, a cluster of limestone and marble hills filled with caves, tunnels, and Buddhist shrines. Explore the Cham Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Cham artifacts, providing a fascinating glimpse into the region’s ancient history. Afterward, continue to the enchanting town of Hoi An. Check into your hotel and as evening falls, venture out to explore the lantern-lit streets of this ancient town. Wander through its narrow lanes adorned with beautifully preserved architecture, vibrant markets, and charming riverside cafes. The magical ambiance of Hoi An at night, with its colorful lanterns casting a warm glow, creates an unforgettable experience.

Day 11: Hoi An Ancient Town

Immerse yourself in the enchanting charm of Hoi An with a guided walking tour through its historic streets. Begin your journey at the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, an architectural gem that dates back to the 18th century. Stroll through the narrow lanes, discovering the well-preserved ancient houses that offer a glimpse into the past. Visit the Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation, a vibrant testament to the town’s multicultural heritage, adorned with intricate carvings and statues.

In the afternoon, unwind with a tranquil boat ride on the Thu Bon River, watching as the setting sun casts a golden glow over the water and the surrounding countryside. As evening falls, spend your time at leisure, exploring the local markets brimming with unique souvenirs, from handcrafted lanterns to intricate ceramics. Indulge in the culinary delights of Hoi An, sampling local delicacies such as cao lầu and white rose dumplings, making your day a perfect blend of culture, relaxation, and gastronomy.

Day 12: Hoi An – My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary

Begin your day with a journey to My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled in the lush greenery of central Vietnam. This remarkable site features the evocative ruins of Hindu temples constructed by the Champa kingdom between the 4th and 14th centuries. As you explore the intricate stone carvings and majestic towers, you’ll be transported back in time, marveling at the Cham people’s architectural prowess and spiritual devotion. After soaking in the historical ambiance, return to Hoi An in the early afternoon. Treat yourself to a leisurely day of relaxation. Head to An Bang Beach, where you can lounge on the golden sands, take a refreshing swim in the azure waters, or simply enjoy the gentle sea breeze under the shade of a palm tree. Alternatively, unwind by your hotel pool, savoring the tranquility and perhaps indulging in a refreshing drink. This perfect balance of cultural exploration and relaxation makes for an unforgettable day in Vietnam.

Day 13: Hoi An – Da Nang – Nha Trang

Take a flight from Da Nang to Nha Trang, a stunning coastal city renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Upon arrival, you’ll immediately feel the city’s lively energy and warm coastal breeze. Check into your hotel, where comfort and ocean views await, then set out to explore or unwind. Spend your afternoon basking in the sun on Nha Trang’s powdery sands, taking refreshing dips in the turquoise sea, or strolling along the picturesque promenade. For those seeking adventure, visit the city’s bustling markets, charming cafes, and historical sites like the Po Nagar Cham Towers. As the sun sets, Nha Trang transforms into a nightlife hub, with beachside bars, lively clubs, and seafood restaurants offering fresh catches of the day. Whether you choose to relax by the waves or dive into the city’s vibrant scene, Nha Trang promises an unforgettable blend of relaxation and excitement.

Day 14: Nha Trang Island Tour

Embark on an unforgettable island-hopping adventure in the stunning Nha Trang Bay. Start your journey at Mun Island, renowned for its vibrant coral reefs and crystal-clear waters, making it a paradise for snorkeling enthusiasts. Dive into the azure sea to discover an underwater world teeming with colorful marine life. After a refreshing swim, set sail for Mot Island, where a sumptuous seafood lunch awaits. Relish the fresh, locally caught seafood while enjoying the island’s serene ambiance. Next, continue to Bamboo Island, a tranquil haven with pristine beaches and lush greenery. Spend your leisure time lounging on the soft sands, taking in the picturesque surroundings, or swimming in the gentle waves. As the day winds down, return to Nha Trang, carrying with you memories of the sun-kissed islands and the tranquil beauty of Nha Trang Bay. This island-hopping tour is the perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and culinary delight.

Day 15: Nha Trang – Ho Chi Minh City

Start your day with a morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, the dynamic and bustling metropolis of southern Vietnam. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and take some time to refresh before heading out to explore the city’s vibrant streets. Begin your afternoon with a visit to the War Remnants Museum, where you’ll gain deep insights into Vietnam’s tumultuous history. Next, explore the Reunification Palace, a key site in the country’s modern history, before heading to the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, an architectural marvel that reflects the city’s French colonial heritage. As the sun sets, make your way to a stylish rooftop restaurant, where you can enjoy a delectable dinner with panoramic views of the city skyline. The combination of historical exploration and contemporary dining offers a perfect introduction to the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 16: Ho Chi Minh City – Cu Chi Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh city Cu Chi tunnel
Ho Chi Minh city Cu Chi tunnel

Start your day with a hearty breakfast before embarking on a journey to the historic Cu Chi Tunnels. This extensive network of underground tunnels was ingeniously used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. As you crawl through the narrow passages, you’ll gain a profound understanding of the resilience and ingenuity of those who lived and fought here. After an enlightening morning, return to Ho Chi Minh City for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant, sampling traditional Vietnamese dishes.

In the afternoon, head to the bustling Ben Thanh Market, a vibrant hub of activity where you can shop for souvenirs, local crafts, and fresh produce. The market’s energetic atmosphere provides a perfect glimpse into the daily lives of the locals. As the day winds down, explore the lively streets of Ho Chi Minh City, soaking in the sights and sounds of this dynamic metropolis. Cap off your day with a relaxing overnight stay in the city, ready for more adventures tomorrow.

Day 17: Mekong Delta

Embark on a captivating full-day excursion to Mekong Delta, where the rich tapestry of Vietnamese culture and natural beauty unfolds before you. Begin your journey by cruising along the winding waterways of the delta, surrounded by lush greenery and tranquil landscapes. Visit local villages and immerse yourself in the daily lives of the residents, gaining insights into their unique traditions and crafts. Witness the fascinating processes of making traditional products such as coconut candy and rice paper, marveling at the skill and dedication involved. 

Pause to savor a fresh lunch featuring local specialties, offering a true taste of the region’s culinary delights. Relish dishes made from the freshest ingredients, highlighting the vibrant flavors of the Mekong. As the day draws to a close, relax on the return journey to Ho Chi Minh City, reflecting on the rich experiences and memories created during your exploration of this enchanting region.

Day 18: Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho

Travel to Can Tho, the vibrant heart of the Mekong Delta, where the lifeblood of the region flows through its intricate network of rivers and canals. Upon arrival, check into your hotel, then embark on an enchanting boat trip to the Cai Rang Floating Market, one of the largest and most dynamic markets in the Mekong Delta. As you glide through the waterways, you’ll witness a bustling hub of trade, where vendors on boats laden with fruits, vegetables, and local goods sell their wares to eager buyers. The lively atmosphere is a feast for the senses, with vibrant colors, fragrant scents, and the harmonious sounds of market chatter. Spend a leisurely day exploring the winding canals, observing the daily lives of the locals who call this water world home. Discover hidden corners of Can Tho, visit traditional workshops, and savor the unique flavors of delta cuisine, making for an unforgettable cultural immersion.

Day 19: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City

Banh Mi Vietnam
Banh Mi Vietnam

Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the morning, greeted by the bustling energy and dynamic atmosphere of this vibrant metropolis. After settling in, head out to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage, starting with a visit to the Jade Emperor Pagoda. This beautiful temple, with its intricate carvings, detailed statues, and serene ambiance, offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. After soaking in the spiritual tranquility, make your way to the lively district of Cho Lon, also known as Chinatown. Here, the streets are alive with activity, vibrant markets, and a fusion of Chinese and Vietnamese cultures. Wander through the bustling Binh Tay Market, where you can find everything from exotic fruits to traditional medicines. As the day winds down, relax and enjoy your final evening in Ho Chi Minh City, perhaps with a leisurely dinner at a rooftop restaurant offering stunning views of the cityscape, reflecting on the memorable adventures of your journey through Vietnam.

Day 20: Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc

Fly to Phu Quoc, an idyllic tropical island paradise known for its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery. Upon arrival, check into your luxurious beach resort, where you can unwind and soak in the tranquil ambiance. Spend the rest of the day lounging by the pristine beach, feeling the soft sand between your toes and listening to the gentle waves. If you’re in the mood for exploration, take a leisurely stroll or bike ride to discover the island’s hidden gems at your own pace. Visit the bustling night markets for local delicacies, or explore the serene fishing villages to experience the island’s authentic charm. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to snorkel or dive in the vibrant coral reefs, teeming with marine life. As the sun sets, enjoy a delicious seafood dinner by the beach, basking in the warm, tropical evening and the serene beauty of Phu Quoc.

Day 21: Phu Quoc Island Tour

Embark on an island tour to uncover the enchanting beauty of Phu Quoc. Start your adventure with a visit to Phu Quoc National Park, where lush tropical forests and diverse wildlife await. Hike through verdant trails and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Next, explore the island’s famous pepper farms, where you can learn about the cultivation process of this renowned spice and perhaps take some home as a flavorful souvenir. Continue your journey to the Vinpearl Safari, Vietnam’s largest wildlife conservation park, home to a variety of exotic animals in naturalistic habitats.

In the afternoon, dive into the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island. Snorkel or dive among vibrant coral reefs, encountering colorful marine life. As the sun sets, make your way to one of the island’s beachside restaurants. Savor a delectable seafood dinner, featuring the freshest catches of the day, while enjoying the soothing sound of waves and the stunning view of the sunset over the horizon.

Day 22: Phu Quoc Free Day

Phu Quoc fish sauce factory
Phu Quoc fish sauce factory

Spend a leisurely day on the captivating Phu Quoc Island, where the possibilities for relaxation and adventure are endless. Start your morning with a tranquil stroll along the pristine beaches, feeling the soft sand between your toes and listening to the gentle waves. Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment at one of the island’s luxurious resorts, where you can unwind with a traditional Vietnamese massage or a soothing aromatherapy session.

In the afternoon, venture out to explore the vibrant local markets, where you can find an array of fresh seafood, exotic fruits, and handmade crafts. Visit the charming fishing villages to witness the daily life of local fishermen and perhaps even join them on a fishing expedition.

As the day draws to a close, embark on a breathtaking sunset cruise. Sail along the coast, watching the sky transform into a palette of vibrant colors as the sun dips below the horizon. Savor the serene beauty of your last night in Vietnam, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Day 23: Departure from Phu Quoc

Spend a leisurely day on the captivating Phu Quoc Island, where the possibilities for relaxation and adventure are endless. Start your morning with a tranquil stroll along the pristine beaches, feeling the soft sand between your toes and listening to the gentle waves. Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment at one of the island’s luxurious resorts, where you can unwind with a traditional Vietnamese massage or a soothing aromatherapy session.

In the afternoon, venture out to explore the vibrant local markets, where you can find an array of fresh seafood, exotic fruits, and handmade crafts. Visit the charming fishing villages to witness the daily life of local fishermen and perhaps even join them on a fishing expedition.

As the day draws to a close, embark on a breathtaking sunset cruise. Sail along the coast, watching the sky transform into a palette of vibrant colors as the sun dips below the horizon. Savor the serene beauty of your last night in Vietnam, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Final thoughts

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with our Vietnam 3 week Itinerary North to South, designed to help you explore this captivating country to the fullest. From the bustling streets of Hanoi and the serene landscapes of Ha Long Bay to the ancient charm of Hoi An and the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City, this itinerary offers an immersive experience in Vietnam’s rich culture, history, and natural beauty. Each day promises new discoveries, from hidden temples and traditional markets to pristine beaches and lush rice terraces.

At Viland Travel, we pride ourselves on crafting bespoke tours that cater to your unique interests and desires. Our expert guides and carefully curated experiences ensure that your journey through Vietnam is not only seamless but also deeply enriching. Whether you’re a history buff, a culinary enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, our personalized approach ensures that you will make the most of your time in this enchanting country. Join us and uncover the heart and soul of Vietnam on an unforgettable adventure.

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Lucas Luong
Hi, my name is Lucas, and I proudly describe myself as a traveloholic since I have always had a great passion for travel. When I was a child, I had the opportunity to experience many lands in Vietnam. My parents are lovers of adventure travel, so I think I also inherited that spirit from them. Growing up with a love of travel and diverse cultures, I have been constantly traveling throughout Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and many countries in Europe for the opportunity to find and experience the cultural differences between countries. Traveling is an important part of my freedom-driven lifestyle, so working in the travel industry is something I've always wanted to do.