Vietnam is a vibrant and fascinating country that offers travelers a wealth of experiences. With so much to see and do, planning a trip here can be overwhelming. This detailed Vietnam 3 week itinerary will tell all you need to know about the most must-see destinations of Vietnam travel from north to south.
1. A detailed 3-week Vietnam itinerary for first-time visitors
1.1. Week 1 of the 3 weeks in Vietnam itinerary: Northern Vietnam
The first week of the Vietnam 3 week itinerary will take you to some of the most popular destinations in northern Vietnam.
Northern Vietnam is a region of breathtaking natural beauty, fascinating cultural landmarks, and a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The first part of this 3 week Vietnam itinerary will take you to Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, and Ninh Binh.
1.1.1. Day 1 and 2: Hanoi
Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple for the history of Hanoi.
Head to Trang Tien Ice Cream for a sweet treat before visiting the impressive St. Joseph’s Cathedral nearby.
Next, delve into Hanoi's rich history by visiting Hoa Lo Prison. Then, take a stroll through the vibrant Hanoi Old Quarter. Finally, end your day on Ta Hien Street to sample some of Hanoi's famous street food and beer.
In this Vietnam 3 week itinerary, you should try some of the city's specialties.
- Breakfast: Pho or banh mi.
- Lunch: Com tam or bun cha.
- Dinner: La Vong grilled fish or various street foods.
Start at the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, then head to the imperial citadel of Thang Long to admire the architecture.
Make your way to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, which includes the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House.
Next, visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, located on an islet in West Lake, for a peaceful escape.
1.1.2. Day 3 and 4: Sapa
This Vietnam 3 week itinerary will first take you to Sapa Stone Church, a beautiful example of French colonial architecture.
From there, head to Cat Cat Village, a traditional Hmong village in a scenic valley near Sapa. Next, make your way to Thac Bac Waterfall, which is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the region.
Finally, end your day by visiting the Heaven Gate, which offers panoramic views of the stunning Hoang Lien Son mountain range.
- Breakfast: Bamboo sticky rice with grilled pig
- Lunch: Fresh Sapa salmon or Thang Co (stewed horse meat and organs)
- Dinner: Grilled buffalo meat or sturgeon hot pot
Take the cable car up Fansipan Mountain and enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Next, head down to the Muong Hoa Valley and take a leisurely walk to admire the beautiful flowers and terraces.
End your evening by visiting the Sapa Night Market for street food, traditional handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs.
1.1.3. Day 5 and 6: Ha Long Bay
Take a cruise to Sung Sot Cave, also known as Surprise Cave, one of the largest and most impressive in Halong Bay.
Next, head to Ti Top Island for an otherworldly view of Halong Bay from the island's peak. There is also a beautiful beach where you can swim or relax in the sun.
- Breakfast: Com tam, pho, banh mi, etc.
- Lunch: Seafood dishes like shrimp, crabs, oysters, squids, etc. Make sure you try the cha muc Ha Long (Halong squid cakes)
- Dinner: Seafood hot pot or grilled seafood.
The Vietnam 3 week itinerary continues with a ferry ride to Cat Ba Island, where you can enjoy breakfast with a view of the sea.
Next, head to Viet Hai Fishing Village, which is nestled deep in the heart of Cat Ba National Park, to learn about the local fishermen and explore the natural scenery of the park.
After lunch, take a boat tour around Lan Ha Bay to see the towering limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, and floating fishing villages. As the day comes to an end, head back to Cat Ba Island and explore the town's vibrant night market.
1.1.4. Day 7: Ninh Binh
Start your day by visiting Hoa Lu Ancient Capital to learn about the fascinating history of the last Northern city on the Vietnam 3 week itinerary.
Next, head to Tam Coc to experience the stunning natural beauty of the region. After lunch, head to Mua Caves, where you will be greeted with a stunning view of the Tam Coc region.
- Breakfast: Pho or Banh cuon (steamed rice roll)
- Lunch: Fermented pork roll, rice crusts with caramelized fish sauce, and sticky rice with ant eggs
- Dinner: Ninh Binh mountain goat meat, mountain snails, rice field crabs
1.2. Week 2 of the 3-week Vietnam itinerary: Central Vietnam
In the second week, it is time for the second region of Vietnam. The four destinations for this part of the Vietnam 3 week itinerary are Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, and Nha Trang.
1.2.1. Day 1 and 2: Hue
There is a lot to explore in Vietnam’s old capital, so this Vietnam 3 week itinerary dedicates two days to the city.
Hue Imperial City, the most important landmark of the Nguyen dynasty, is the first destination.
Next, head to Lap An Lagoon, which is a tranquil lagoon surrounded by towering mountains and lush greenery. Then, head to Thuan An Beach to relax and soak up the sun with stunning views of the coast and surrounding mountains.
As the day comes to an end, head to the Hue Night Walking Street and try local delicacies and shop for souvenirs.
- Breakfast: Com hen (clam rice), banh beo, and banh bot loc (steamed Hue dumplings)
- Lunch: Spring rolls with grilled pork, vermicelli, and rice paper
- Dinner: Bun bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup)
The first destination for the second day is Khai Dinh Tomb, an opulent mausoleum built for the emperor during the early 20th century.
Next, head to the Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang, another prominent example of traditional Vietnamese architecture and history.
After exploring the tombs, it is time for the tranquil Thuy Tien Lake, an abandoned water park that has been reclaimed by nature.
Continue your journey to the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Perfume River to see the city from a different perspective.
Finish your day by visiting the largest market in Hue, Dong Ba Market for souvenirs.
1.2.2. Day 3 and 4: Da Nang
Da Nang is an unmissable destination for this Vietnam 3 week itinerary.
Start with the majestic Marble Mountains, a cluster of five marble and limestone hills with caves and Buddhist temples.
Up next, My Khe Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Da Nang, is good for relaxing, soaking up the sun, or trying some water activities.
For lunch, head to the Han Market, a bustling indoor market selling everything from fresh seafood to souvenirs.
In the evening, visit the iconic Dragon Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that spans the Han River and is famous for its dragon-shaped design.
- Breakfast: Mi Quang (clam rice) or bun mam nem
- Lunch: Sliced pork with rice papers, banh nam, banh bot loc, and nem tre
- Dinner: Duck porridge or grilled fish cake noodles
The second day starts by enjoying stunning views of the coast and surrounding mountains on the Son Tra Peninsula.
Next, visit the impressive Linh Ung Pagoda to marvel at the architecture and learn more about the religion and culture of Da Nang.
Afterward, make your way to the Museum of Cham sculpture, which showcases a collection of ancient Cham artifacts.
For lunch, head to the Cho Con Market to explore an incredible array of goods, especially local delicacies.
In the evening, you can choose to relax or explore more of Da Nang's nightlife scene, which offers a variety of options, from rooftop bars to night markets.
1.2.3. Day 5: Hoi An
The Vietnam 3 week itinerary offers a plethora of cultural and entertainment experiences in Hoi An.
Start your day by heading to VinWonders Nam Hoi An for some family-friendly fun with a unique cultural experience and high-ranking games.
Afterward, stop by Thanh Ha Pottery Village to witness local artisans creating beautiful pottery pieces, then take a stroll in Hoi An Ancient Town for some exquisite photo ops.
Continue exploring the town with a visit to Tan Ky Old House, an outstanding example of Hoi An's architectural and cultural fusion. Take a stroll to the Fujian Assembly Hall, a temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea.
- Breakfast: Cao Lau
- Lunch: Hoi An chicken rice or banh xeo
- Dinner: Mi Quang, Vietnamese spring rolls, or grilled pork with vermicelli
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1.2.4. Day 6 and 7: Nha Trang
The coastal city of Nha Trang is a staple of most Vietnam vacations, and this Vietnam 3 week itinerary is no exception.
Begin your day with a visit to Hon Tre Island, home to several beautiful beaches, and you can also explore the island’s natural scenery.
Next, head to VinWonders Nha Trang, a popular amusement park with a wide range of exciting rides and attractions, perfect for families and thrill-seekers alike.
In the evening, head back to the mainland and explore the vibrant Nha Trang Night Market, where you can shop for souvenirs, sample local street food, and experience the city's lively nightlife.
- Breakfast: Banh canh Nha Trang
- Lunch: Jellyfish rice noodles
- Dinner: Seafood hot pot or grilled seafood
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Begin your second day with Hon Chong Promontory, a scenic coastal area with towering rocks that offer sweeping views of the sea.
Next, head to Ponagar Cham Towers, a complex of ancient temples built by the Cham people over a thousand years ago.
For lunch, explore Dam Market, a bustling market in the heart of the city. Here, you can find a wide variety of products to learn more about Nha Trang’s local culture.
In the afternoon, visit Nha Trang Cathedral, a beautiful French Gothic-style church and pillar of the city's Catholic heritage.
1.3. Week 3 of the 3-week Vietnam travel itinerary: Southern Vietnam
Southern Vietnam is the last region on this Vietnam 3 week itinerary. Tay Ninh, Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, and Phu Quoc will conclude your experience of Vietnam in 3 weeks.
1.3.1. Day 1: Tay Ninh
Tay Ninh is an interesting small town located in the south of Vietnam, offering a unique vibe to the Vietnam 3 week itinerary.
One of the must-see destinations in Tay Ninh is the Cao Dai Great Temple, known for its fascinating religion and its ceremonies.
Next, visit Ma Thien Lanh, a stunning Buddhist temple located on a hilltop with breathtaking views.
Ba Den Mountain, the highest peak in southern Vietnam, offers scenic views and a peaceful atmosphere. For a more relaxing activity, head to Dau Tieng Lake to explore the peaceful waters.
End your day with a visit to Tay Ninh Night Market to try a variety of local street foods and experience the vibrant nightlife.
- Breakfast: Banh canh Trang Bang
- Lunch: Tay Ninh rice noodles
- Dinner: Trang Bang rice paper with shrimp, pork, and fresh vegetables
1.3.2. Day 2 and 3: Ho Chi Minh City
The bustling Ho Chi Minh City, also known as “the city that never sleeps”, will surely spice up your Vietnam 3 week itinerary.
Start the day by visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels used by Vietnamese soldiers during the Indochina War.
Next, take a stroll at the Hoang Phap Buddhist Temple to learn more about Buddhism while enjoying the serenity inside the temple.
Head to Independence Palace, a historical building with beautiful architecture that once served as the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam.
Make your way to Nha Rong Wharf and end the day by strolling along Nguyen Hue Street, a bustling pedestrian street filled with shops, cafes, and street performers.
- Breakfast: Banh mi or com tam
- Lunch: Bun thit nuong (rice vermicelli with grilled pork)
- Dinner: Pho
The second day of Ho Chi Minh City begins with the iconic Ben Thanh Market, featuring a variety of goods ranging from fresh produce to souvenirs.
Afterward, head to the Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts to admire the impressive collection of contemporary Vietnamese art.
Next, explore the city's rich history and architecture by visiting the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office.
For an eye-opening experience, visit the War Remnants Museum, which displays artifacts of the Indochina War.
Afterward, stroll down the vibrant Bui Vien Street, which offers a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants.
1.3.3. Day 4: Can Tho
Start the Can Tho chapter of this Vietnam 3 week itinerary with Cai Rang Floating Market to enjoy the food and buy something for yourself.
Afterward, take a trip to Binh Thuy Ancient House to enjoy a unique blend of French and Vietnamese architecture.
In the afternoon, head to Con Son to explore the Con Son Pagoda and enjoy the serene atmosphere.
- Breakfast: Noodles at the floating market
- Lunch: Banh xeo and banh cong (Vietnamese fried cakes)
- Dinner: Night banh mi
1.3.4. Day 5, 6 and 7: Phu Quoc
Start the very last destination of the Vietnam 3 week itinerary with a hike through the lush Phu Quoc National Park to watch the plants and animals.
Next, head to Rach Vem Fishing Village to experience the traditional way of life in Phu Quoc.
After lunch, head to Ganh Dau Cape to enjoy the scenery. Finally, end your day with a visit to Grand World Phu Quoc to enjoy thrilling rides and attractions, relax and do some shopping, and enjoy the Quintessence in the evening.
- Breakfast: Stirring rice noodles
- Lunch: Fried fish cake rice noodles
- Dinner: Seafood dishes like sea urchin and lobster
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Phu Quoc is known for its beautiful beaches and islands, and a day trip to May Rut Island, Gam Ghi Island, and Fingernail Island is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area.
Take a boat tour to May Rut Island, where you can relax on the white sandy beach, go swimming, and snorkel.
Next, head to Gam Ghi Island to enjoy the serene environment, go for a swim, and soak up the sun.
Finally, make your way to Fingernail Island to go snorkeling and observe the coral reefs.
Start your day by visiting VinWonders Phu Quoc and trying out various rides and attractions, including a water park, an aquarium, and a zoo.
After VinWonders, head over to Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc to see over 3,000 animals, including rare species like Bengal tigers, African lions, and white rhinos.
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2. 3-week Vietnam travel tips you need to know
2.1. 3 weeks in Vietnam budget for backpackers
Vietnam is a popular destination for backpackers due to its affordable prices.
For this Vietnam 3 week itinerary, a budget of around $30-40 USD per day per person would suffice for basic accommodations, street food, and transportation.
- Accommodations can range from dormitory beds to private rooms in hostels or guesthouses.
- Street food is the way to go for budget travelers.
- Transportation can also be affordable, with buses and trains being the cheapest options.
Budget airlines such as Vietjet and Jetstar also offer inexpensive flights between major cities. Other expenses, such as entrance fees for attractions and activities, should also be taken into account.
2.2. Where to stay in Vietnam?
As one of the leading hospitality brands in Vietnam, Vinpearl can satisfy most travelers’ needs in terms of accommodations. With a variety of hotels and resorts across the country, Vinpearl will be able to make your trip as enjoyable as possible with excellent services and modern facilities.
In this Vietnam 3 week itinerary, you can enjoy a variety of amenities at Vinpearl, like a swimming pool, gyms, fine dining, and more, all across the country.
- In the Northern Vietnam: Vinpearl Resort & Spa Ha Long Bay
- In the Central Vietnam: Vinpearl Hoi An, Vinpearl Resort & Spa Da Nang & Vinpearl Nha Trang
- In the Southern Vietnam: Vinpearl Phu Quoc
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The Vietnam 3 week itinerary offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. From the natural beauty of Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, to the historical significance of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hue, and the beaches of Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc, there is something for everyone. With a moderate budget, you can visit the most gorgeous destinations and taste the most delicious local cuisine in the country. Remember to plan ahead, stay flexible, and take in all the unique sights and sounds that Vietnam has to offer.
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