Only got seven days to do and see it all in Vietnam? Follow this guide and you’ll have a trip of a lifetime in just one week.
The capital city of a country is always a good place to start to get a taste of the region, so begin your trip in bustling Hanoi. Spend a few hours getting lost in the Old Quarter, a popular area comprised of over 40 streets selling wares and trinkets in one of the historic areas of the city. Get a sobering taste of the Vietnam War at the Hoa Lo Prison and finish your day at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre for a lighthearted evening of a puppet stage show set to traditional music.
Take a train or bus a few hours from the city out to Ha Long Bay. The difference between the city and the sea here is striking, with majestic rock formations rising straight out of the water and hundreds of metres into the sky. Take a boat tour to see these up close, and spend the rest of your time lounging on the beaches.
Don’t leave too soon – the rock formations above ground are literally the tip of the iceberg. This area is also famed for its magnificent underground cave systems. On Bon Island in the middle of the Bay you’ll find ‘Surprise Cave’, rumoured to have been named after the amazement of seeing it for the first time. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, spend your second evening in the area at the Bien Mo floating restaurant, where you’ll find the seafood options couldn’t get any fresher.
Get back onto dry land and get active. Mai Chau, a couple of hours from Hanoi, is a great place to do this, but there are dozens of equally stunning scenery dotted around the country. You can spend anything from just a few hours to a couple of weeks doing hikes or cycle tours so see some of the natural beauty of the countryside.
Grab a flight to Ho Chi Minh City in the South of Vietnam. Formerly known as Saigon, the city is the second biggest after Hanoi and has plenty more to offer. For more great shopping try the Ben Thanh Market, get your fill of culture at the Ho Chi Minh Cathedral or visit the stunning Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. It’s easy to spend a day wandering the sites here, so wear your comfiest shoes!
Get out of the city again and make way for the Cu Chi Tunnels. No trip to the country is complete without wriggling your way into the tiny holes in the ground that took about 25 years to build some time from the late 1940s. A guided tour is the best way to see this area as you’ll get the full run down of how and why they were built, and the fascinating stories surrounding them.
On your final day, decide between a serene trip to Lak Lake, a short plane ride from Ho Chi Minh, or a relaxing beach day at Nha Trang, a similar distance away on the coast. The former offers a slow paddle and a chance to meet the elephants, while the latter is a busy and popular travel destination for its picturesque white sand beaches and fantastic nightlife. Both offer the perfect last day attractions in Vietnam!
Virgin Money tips for Vietnam
- The local currency is the Vietnam dong (d), but the US dollar is also widely accepted
- Try not to exchange lots of money in one go, as you’ll end up with a huge wad of cash
- You can only get Vietnam dong from ATMs, which are widespread in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City for major credit cards
- While not expected, tipping is greatly appreciated, even if it’s just a few dollars to your taxi driver or $10 after a meal
- Get your travel insurance sorted, pack your bags and get moving on this seven-day adventure of a lifetime!
Is there anywhere else you’d like to go in your seven days in Vietnam?