Vietnam is an absolutely action packed destination. You can find history here, you can find mountain tribes, you can find beautiful bays and idyllic beaches, you can find food you can find ruins. Whether you have just a couple days, or a couple weeks, you will be able to keep yourself busy and entertained in Vietnam.
48 Hours in Vietnam
If you only have 48 hours in Vietnam…. well maybe you need to reconsider your trip plans. You can’t do much in Vietnam in 48 hours. If you only have 48 hours in Vietnam, then I would recommend picking one of the major cities; either Hanoi or Saigon, and just spending your time there.
Each major city in Vietnam is entirely different from the others, so chose which ever city tickles your fancy and head there.
Some guides that might help you are:
1 week in Vietnam
A week in Vietnam will give you a much better opportunity to explore more the country, however I would still recommend picking either North or South and sticking in one region.
If you are spending a week in the north of Vietnam then plan to spend at least two days in Hanoi before heading out on a 2 or 3 day long trip to Halong Bay before perhaps exploring the highlands and tribal villages of Sa Pa.
If you are spending a week in the south of Vietnam then make Saigon your base to explore Vietnam’s largest city, and go on day trips to nearby attractions like the Cu Chi tunnels and the Cao Dai temple. Then head south to Can Tho to explore the Mekong delta and the floating markets of the Mekong.
Or if you want a taster tour of the country then start in Hanoi for two days, then fly to the imperial capitol of Hue, before heading down to Saigon to finish your journey.
2 weeks in Vietnam
If you have two weeks to spend in Vietnam then you have enough time to grab one of the open bus tickets between Hanoi and Saigon, or ride the rails between the major towns and cities of the country. I’m going to describe this itinerary from north to south, but of course you can do it the opposite way as well.
Hop on a bus and head to south to visit the old imperial of Hue. You can see the main sites in one day if you are in a rush, but I would recommend spending at least two days here.
Your next stop is Hoi An. This pretty little town is home to dozens or tailoring shops, all competing for your attention. This is a great place to get clothes made to measure, and you can easily spend several days here.
If you have any time left at the end of your journey, you can also head south to visit the Mekong Delta. The best time to get on the water is first thing in the morning, so you will want to spend at least one night in the town of Can Tho.
3 weeks in Vietnam
If you have three weeks to spend in Vietnam then you can really get the full experience. With three weeks you can follow the 2 week itinerary above, but you will also have the time to stop at some of the smaller destinations in between the main towns and cities highlighted above.
With an additional week in Vietnam, you can spend a few days exploring the highlands of Sa Pa from Hanoi, before heading on the open bus south.
As you head south, as well as visiting all the destinations listed in the two week itinerary, you will also have time to visit the beach and snorkelling town of Nha Trang as well as the quirky mountain town of Da Lat.