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We’ve all been travelling where we feel like we are running out of time and want to cram something in. But what about packing in a country where you usually spend 2-3 weeks there, in just a week? Yes – this article will be showing you how you can see the very best of Vietnam in a matter of 7 days. It is possible to see a lot of Vietnam in just a week and this suits people who are on limited holiday from work or those who want to see four countries in Southeast Asia in just one month.

As you’ll know by now if you’ve read my other articles on Vietnam, that this is one of my favourite countries – it’s one of the most popular dream destinations. There are so many excellent places, that just offer so many different things. Every time I go to Vietnam, I always wish I had more time. 

I know some people may prefer not to go to a country than rush their experience. But Vietnam is a country that everyone needs to go to, so if you only have a week, let’s make it your best week ever! So here goes our Vietnam Itinerary 1 Week…

Vietnam Itinerary 1 Week

Day 1: Hanoi

Like in the other Vietnam itinerary articles, I find it’s always a lot easier if you start your trip in Hanoi. As the trip is so short, it’s probably best to only spend 1 full day here. I would suggest going to some of the old pagoda’s, temples and visiting Hoan Kiem Lake at night time. The lake area is where Vietnam turns into a magical wonderland. Street performers and magicians really make it for an exciting and fun evening. 

There are also games on offer a massive such as tug of war, where 50+ people take part in a titanic struggle to claim victory. You can also take part in human jenger and become volunteers in the street performers show. 

In an ideal world, it would be nice to spend longer in Hanoi, but with time so short, it’s best to ditch the capital and get seeing the beauty Vietnam has to offer. 

Day 2-3: Halong Bay 

Leave Hanoi as quickly as possible and head straight to Halong Bay. To make things easier, book the trip through Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. You’ll get your own private island (Casteway Island) and party until your heart is content. 

As mentioned before, you’ll also be able to take part in rock climbing, wake-boarding, high-speed tubing, kayaking and much more! There are so many cool activities that you can do while in Halong Bay that you will have the time of your life. 

One of the highlights of your stay will be the booze-cruise where you’ll get to sail through Halong Bay and explore its many islands. Furthermore, you’ll get to chill with music, beer and the sunshine. And if you wish, jump off the boat and swim with the fish!

Kayaking in Halong Bay
Kayaking in Halong Bay Photography: Arian Zwegers on Flickr

Day 4-5: Phong Nha National Park

An absolute must if you are pushed for time! The Quang Binh province where the national park is located is not too far away from Hanoi. The region is a wild barely penetrable jungle. It is also home to one of the largest caves in the world – Hang Son Doong. 

You’ll stay in the small town of Phong Nha, which is the epicentre for all the action. If you’re an adventure lover, then you’ll love this place! The area’s caving adventurers all start here. The cave is also UNESCO-listed wonder which is well worth exploring. You can also kayak through the cave, as mentioned in a previous article here. 

If you’re not a fan of caving or kayaking, then don’t worry! The area is a vast national park with areas famous for trekking. The surrounding jungle is peppered with waterfalls and full of wildlife for you to see. As someone that likes all three main activities here, I believe Phong Nha is an incredible place for any traveller to visit. 

6-7: Hoi An

If I only had a week, then I would probably end my trip visiting Hoi An. Personally, I think Hoi An has a lot more about it than Ho Chi Minh City. I would suggest taking a bus down to the Hoi An region and then hiring a bike to go through the Hai Van Pass. The Hai Van Pass is a brilliant mountain road, where you get stunning views of the mountains! This is personally one of the best things to do in the area. The views and the drive on offer are absolutely spectacular and will allow you to end your week-long trip in style. 

Hoi An Itinerary

If you have made some friends from your trips before coming to Hoi An, then convince them to take the Hai Van Pass with you. I went with a massive group of people, and it made the entire experience second to none!

As you only have a one night stay, then stay at Backpackers Hostel in Hoi An! You’ll have an incredible time here and really get to meet a lot of great people. The hostel is a great little place to enjoy yourself. In the day time, you can relax by the pool, and in the night, the hostel turns into a great party. Everyone gets involved, and they play games like the ‘Beer Olympics’, which are so fun!

As you can see, seven days make it really hard to be able to visit Vietnam, as we’ve missed out so many places and also had to cut our time short. Nevertheless, if you only have seven days, then there is no option – you have to go!

Vietnam offers so many excellent places to visit. In the article, I’ve really tried to provide the best places which are reasonably close together and don’t take a whole day out of your schedule. The areas are hopefully ones that do include a little bit of everything so everyone can enjoy them.

Vietnam Itinerary 1 Week – Further Reading

If you are spending slightly longer in Vietnam and struggling for an itinerary, then click here to read my 10 days in Vietnam Itinerary.

If you’re lucky enough to have even more time in Vietnam, then check out my Vietnam Itinerary 3 Weeks and Best Cities in Vietnam

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