3 Week Itinerary for Vietnam

A three week itinerary for Vietnam is perhaps the most ideal to cover the country. Vietnam is a diverse land, with a little bit of everything, from mountains to beaches to national parks, and three weeks is a great way to sample it.

We’ve curated three different routes for you, a coastal route, one that covers Vietnam’s highlights alongside some beach time, and a third that will appeal to the adventure lovers. Read on to plan your three week itinerary for Vietnam.

You can also look at our two week and ten day itineraries for Vietnam.

3 week itinerary for vietnam Vietnam is a diverse land and has a lot to offer. To explore this country properly, spending three weeks would be the most ideal.

Route 1- Along the Vietnamese coast

Vietnam has over 3000 kms of coastline, and several of its beaches are gorgeous and unspoilt. You get to experience the best destinations along the coastline on this three week itinerary for Vietnam. You spend plenty of time in nature and at the beach, but also absorbing the riches of culturally interesting towns

Suggested route: Ho Chi Minh City- Mekong Delta- Da Lat- Mui Ne- Hoi An- Halong Bay- Hanoi


Your first destination is Ho Chi Minh City- formerly known as Saigon, this buzzing, dynamic city also has an interesting history. Spend two days here before heading to Can Tho, the main city of the Mekong Delta a.k.a. the rice bowl of Vietnam. Wake up the next morning to be greeted by the sight of the floating market, that you will observe from a boat on the river.

Drive back to Ho Chi Minh City on the fifth day and take a car or a bus to Da Lat on the next day. The ‘city of eternal spring’ that stays below 22°C (71°F) consistently, is famous for treks and scenic coffee plantations. Spend two days here before heading to Mui Ne, the first of two beach resort towns, post which you drive to Nha Trang.

You spend a total of four days between both destinations, indulging in some windsurfing, snorkelling, diving and other water sports. Also make sure you catch the famous red and white sand dunes at Mui Ne. Take the overnight train from Nha Trang to peaceful Hoi An on day twelve of your stay. Here, explore its Old Town and the gorgeous surrounding countryside on bicycles– on your own or by going on a bicycle tour. 

Start off week two in My Son, a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples. Dating back to the 4th century, you can see them on a day trip from Hoi An. And on the next day, give in to the nature lover in you as you marvel at the wonders in Bach Ma National Park. Head back to Hoi An for the night and leave for Halong Bay the next day. To get to Halong Bay, take a flight from Da Nang to Hai Phong. Once there, get on a cruise from noon onwards.

You’ll have a pleasant overnight stay on the boat at Halong Bay, and you head to Hanoi on the next day. Spend your last few days in Hanoi, and make sure you go on a food and beer tour to sample some amazing street food and bia hoi, Vietnam’s local brewed beer.


A lot of your inter-city transport can be done by public transport with the one unavoidable Da Nang to Hai Phong flight. Vietnam has no dearth of hostels or comfortable hotels, and travelling along the coast is cheap. The only place that will use up a considerable amount of money is the cruise at Halong Bay. This is something our backpackers need to keep in mind. 

Wondering what is the cost of travel in Vietnam, very affordable indeed!

mui ne , red sand dunes Catch a gorgeous sunset at the famous Red Sand Dunes in Mui Ne.

What you miss: 

Even though we added some cooling hills with Da Lat and the highlands, the mountainous areas of Vietnam are not really in focus. One could skip some time at the beach decide to venture inwards towards the interior of Vietnam instead. The historically significant city of Hue close to Hoi An can also be included if you are able to substitute it well enough.

Alternative routes: 

We can arrange for you to travel part of the trip on the back of a bike. Or by self-driving but accompanied with a guide. The journey from Da Lat to Mui Ne and then Nha Trang is very scenic and can be enjoyed riding pillion. One could also skip some beach time and Halong Bay, instead visiting some places off the beaten path between Hoi An and Hanoi.

hue vietnam- 3 week itinerary for vietnam If you are interested in history then you can also include the historically significant city of Hue to the route.

Route 2- Highlights of Vietnam with beach time

If the sight of a beach fills you with joy, but the lazing around guilts you, look no further. This three week itinerary for Vietnam covers main highlights and beaches. Generous amounts of time at the beach ensure that you get your fill of the sea, sand and surf.

Suggested Route: Hanoi- Sapa- Ninh Binh- Halong Bay- Hue-Hoi An- Phu Quoc- Ho Chi Minh City


Start your trip in Hanoi- visit the ‘36 Streets of 36 Wares’ in the Old Quarter and grab some bia hoi in the evening. The next night is spent aboard a train to Sapa, a gorgeous hill station and trekking base in north Vietnam. Spend two days here, trekking, photographing rice terraces and discovering tribal culture.

Then, head back to Hanoi by either car or bus; spend 2 days sightseeing and maybe take a beer tour. After that is a two-hour drive to Ninh Binh, the ‘Halong Bay’ of the land. Dotted around with karst formations, you spend one night here. This gives you plenty of time to take in the sights, and paddle among the rice paddies or trek up for the view.

Follow this with the real Halong Bay in all its glory, where you will spend the night aboard a junk, cruising to discover hidden lagoons. From Halong Bay, go to Hanoi to catch your flight to Hue. Here we recommend spending the remaining day and the next visiting the Citadel, Imperial Enclosure, and the tombs on the outskirts of the city.

Hue to Hoi An is a 4-hour drive, and we recommend spending a good two days here. You can discover architecture that has an interesting mixture of indigenous and foreign influences, and take a bicycle tour.

Week two has some major beach indulgence as you kick it off by flying into Phu Quoc island, a known beach destination. You have five whole days to move from one resort to the next and make the beach bum in you feel happy.

End your trip by flying into Ho Chi Minh City, an interesting city with some contemporary history and street food we highly recommend you try out. Take a street food tour if the options get too overwhelming. Finally, catch your flight back home from Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport.


This three week itinerary for Vietnam can be a bit heavy on the pocket. The two flights, several car rides and the expensive Halong Bay cruise can make it expensive. However, we can help you modify it by including more public transportation and skipping out on the cruise.

halong bay The world famous Halong Bay is truly a gem of Vietnam. Cruising here can be expensive but totally worth the money.

What you miss: 

To be honest, not much! This three weeks in Vietnam cover it all. The expense that this trip incurs is well worth it as you catch the most important sights of Vietnam. You do miss out on the Mekong delta and its floating markets at Can Tho.

But you have the option of visiting it on one day from your stay in Ho Chi Minh City. This path doesn’t have any secluded destinations off the beaten path, but will definitely give you incentive to visit again. 


Want to avoid flights? Visit the beach town of Nha Trang with its endless beaches and sunny weather with nice temperatures. It is one night train down from Da Nang and then another train to Ho Chi Minh City. However, it has lost its charm a little in recent years. This is due to the recent growth of high rise buildings along the coast, and Chinese tour buses floating in the water. Alternatively, there are beach resorts along the Hoi An coast, but they are not recommended from September to February. It gets rainy and cold in those months.

Let us help you plan your trip to Vietnam!

3 week itinerary for vietnam Explore the beach town of Nha Trang, having a sunny weather with nice temperatures.

Route 3- Adventure itinerary for vietnam

This adventurous three week itinerary for Vietnam is not for the laid back traveler. Filled with treks, caving, and wandering across a national park, the adventure and nature lovers will have the time of their lives. It makes for a great sampling of the rich diversity and beautiful landscapes of Vietnam, and this trip may not be an easy-breezy one, but it definitely is super rewarding! 

Suggested Route: Hanoi- Mai Chau- Halong Bay- Ninh Binh- Phong Nha


Start your trip in the north of Vietnam: land into Hanoi, capital city. Hanoi is a great base for the north, as travelling to other northern destinations is made easy. Unwind or explore Hanoi, and get well rested for the next day. Then, you go off on an interesting village-to-village tour that happens over eight days. Drive four hours to Mai Chau, in the province of Ninh Binh, to kickstart the tour.

You’ll discover Mai Chau and Pu Long, both famous for beautiful mountains. They are bursting with biodiversity, and are home to ethnic tribes and their villages. Every day you will trek for 4 or 5 hours from village to village, and eat local food. Every night will be spent in a warm, hospitable homestay in one of the villages. The treks are challenging, but the experiences are authentic and unforgettable. Get in touch with us to know more. 

Head back to Hanoi on the ninth day, and relax so you can go sightseeing the following day. Follow this up with a scenic, relaxing cruise at Halong Bay. You can stay overnight on one of the junks there, taking in the limestone karsts and their treasures.

Post disembarking from the cruise on day twelve, drive to Ninh Binh and spend the night there. Head to the Cuc Phuong National park the next day. We recommend a two-day activity that involves small treks, a visit to the primate rescue centre, and insect and bird spotting.

The second day also involves an exciting visit to World Heritage site Trang An where you can take a boat ride among the limestone caves.. Head back to Ninh Binh to float some more, this time among the gorgeous rice paddies that flank the river. Take your time sightseeing for two days, and then take the fun night train to Dong Hoi. Post the train ride, you have a short two-hour drive to Phong Nha. 

The Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park is filled with a network of caves, including the biggest cave in the world. You can opt for an overnight trek and caving experience here. Choose where in the Park you would like to stay, we will make the arrangements. Return to Phong Nha on the evening of the eighteenth day of your stay. Relax for a day or two before flying Dong Hoi-Hanoi, and Hanoi to home.


The organisation involved and the unavoidable requirement of guides make the treks and caving expensive. Hence, this three week itinerary for Vietnam needs to be skipped by low budget travellers. Additionally, the cruise at Halong Bay is expensive. The treks are challenging and not to be taken lightly. Hence, this route is highly recommended for adventure lovers who have done similar physical excursions before. Adventurers with a comfort budget are the most ideal for this trip.

hanoi vietnam The best city to land into is Hanoi- the capital city of Vietnam that serves as a great base for the North.

What you miss:

This three week itinerary for Vietnam gets physically taxing and you need to be a bit fit. You only get some proper time to relax on the Halong Bay cruise, and at the end in Phong Nha. Culturally this route is not very fulfilling in terms of stops, but a definite plus is meeting locals in rural areas and tribal villages. What better way is there to truly know a culture?


Shorten the trekking time in north Vietnam, and add some time in central Vietnam. Hue and Hoi An are great for some sightseeing and beach time at the end of your trip.

hoi an - 3 week itinerary for vietnam If you want to take it a little easy, then cut short some time in North Vietnam and head to Hoi An or Hue in Central Vietnam for some sightseeing.


Three weeks in Vietnam are a great way to really experience this gorgeous country- the people are warm and affectionate, and the food is unbeatable. Inspired after reading through ideas for 3 weeks in Vietnam? Hit Plan Your Trip to get started.

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