Backpacking across Vietnam in 7 Days

By: TM Abbas & Elakkiya Thavadurai

Last Updated: 12- Oct- 2021

Backpacking across Vietnam in 7 Days

Nature, History and Culture - these are the words that come to our mind when we traverse across the beautiful country, Vietnam. The place has some of the best destinations in the world - think of forested highlands, mountainous plateaus, lush delta valleys, stunning beaches, bustling city, to name a few. Reasons are plenty to plan your vacation in this country, and we give you the perfect 7-day itinerary for your next backpacking trip across Vietnam. 

Getting there:

Vietnam stretches beautifully from North to South with Ha Noi being prominent in the North and Ho Chi Minh being prominent in the South. To efficiently tour this enchanting country in full-length, plan your itinerary starting from Ha Noi and give your vacation a perfect end at Ho Chi Minh city (or vice-versa).

Day - 1: Explore Ha Noi 

Ha Noi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a glorious mashup of the old and new. Crossing the millennium of its foundation, the country has a long, rich history of traditional Vietnamese culture as well as french colonization. Walk around the narrow lanes of Old Quarters filled with beautifully preserved heritage buildings and adore the colonial architecture that can take you back to ancient times. But Ha Noi can also charm you with its modern world packed with trendy cafes, restaurants, mouth-watering street food, art museums, nightlife and more.

Water Puppet show near Hoan Kiem Lake

Feel the soul of this city bustling at Hoan Kiem lake with locals going about their life leisurely. While you're here, head to the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre to witness the ancient art of Vietnam, the Water Puppet Show and fill your evening with splendid entertainment. With scores of hostels and dorms scattered across the city, choose your perfect stay for the day, stroll around this historic town and shop for unique souvenirs. 

Food Street in the Old Quarter, Hanoi

Day - 2: Cruising at Halong Bay 

Ha Long offers roundtrip full-day cruise tours to enjoy the picturesque beauty of this bay. Start your day early to plan for a day trip to Halong Bay. Have a quick breakfast in Ha Noi and board your tour bus/van. In just under 4 hours, you will reach Halong pier from where your designated boats will take you on a heavenly ride. Prepare to be blown away by the ethereal beauty of Halong Bay as you sail through rocky islands, rugged limestone formations and caves. Get your camera ready and click away Gram worthy shots. While you're boating on that emerald green waters, enjoy the flavour bombs of lip-smacking fresh seafood prepared just for you. 

Seafood lunch on the boat

The place also offers many activities such as swimming, fishing, snorkelling and kayaking for all those adventure seekers. As the sun goes down, bathe yourself in the view of its warm golden-pink hues on the way to the land. Bid adieu to the place. With your heart full of incredible memories, hop on your tour bus/van and return to Ha Noi for the night. 

Halong Bay

Day - 3: A day at Da Nang & Hoi An 

Take an early morning flight from HaNoi to Da Nang, which takes just under 1.30 hours of travel. Upon landing, the first thing to see on your itinerary should be the famous Dragon Bridge. As the name suggests, the bridge is built over the river Han in the shape of a dragon. When we look at the bridge, it seems as though a dragon is slithering through a concrete structure to cross the river. The next best thing to include is the Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills resort near Da Nang. Designed to look like giant hands holding a bridge across its palms, the bridge offers a panoramic view of lush mountains of the Ba Na Hills.

 Golden Bridge at Ba Na Hills resort

After a quick tour around the Ba Na Hills resort, board on a bus that takes you to the heritage town, Hoi An. Once a busy trading port, the town's architecture is influenced by Chinese, Japanese and European culture. As you crisscross the lanes of this now old town, the view of its alleys, markets and buildings will remind you of an era bygone, of a world in another time. But Hoi An is much more than an old town. Wait until the sun goes down to witness a site that can easily stimulate your mind and vision with its radiantly glowing, colourful lanterns decorating the entire city. As you wander through this brightly lit-up town, it feels as though you're in a magical land of euphoria. So, do not forget to have your camera ready to capture all the gleaming beauty that unfolds in front of you. Swarmed with people, the riverside of Hoi An is one of the favourite spots loved by both the locals and tourists alike for its nightlife - several restaurants and cafes serving succulent local and international cuisines, shopping in the night market, or to simply relax around a flourishing neighbourhood. Finally, call it a night and get to the comfort of your place of stay at Hoi An.

Ancient Town in Hoi An 

Day - 4: Exploring Saigon aka the Ho Chi Minh City Part I

Start your day early and board the first bus that takes you to Da Nang. Accordingly, book your flight to Ho Chi Minh City from Da Nang, which takes just under 2 hours of travel. Plan your stay near Bui Vien Street, the most happening place to entirely experience the local culture, lifestyle and food as you walk through its busy lanes. Because of the number of travellers thronging to this place for its budget-friendly options, the area is also known as the 'backpackers area' of Ho Chi Minh City. 

Bui Vien Street view

Once you've checked-in, it's the perfect day in your itinerary to unleash your street-style and shop around some of the great places to get the best Vietnamese souvenirs. Head to Ben Thanh Market, An Dong Market, Russian market and such market places around Chinatown. Do not hesitate to hop from market to market as these are the places where you get everything - from local handicraft goods to branded goods, quality winter wear to trendy fashion wears. Most importantly, you will find the best places to satiate your food cravings to gorge on deliciously cooked steaming hot traditional Vietnamese street food then, as the sun sets down, head to the Saigon Skydeck to have a 360-degree view of this energetic city and its colourfully lit-up skyline. 

Night View from Saigon Skydeck

Day - 5: Part II of exploring Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

Home to some 10 million people and always packed with bikes crisscrossing the roads full of traffic. Still, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to this city which is full of iconic tourist attractions and bustling local life. It is best to say Ho Chi Minh city is the perfect convergent spot for harmonious existence of old and new. That's why this special place takes 2 days on your itinerary. On day 2 of your stay at Ho Chi Minh, make your first pit stop at this famous part of war remnants, the tunnels of Cu Chi. As one of the iconic tourist attractions of the country, the place sheds a genuine insight into the life of Vietnamese soldiers who operated and waged guerilla attacks from this base during the Vietnam War. These narrow, tightly packed tunnel structures are stretched over 250 KMs, and back in the days, the soldiers had to crawl through them to navigate the tunnels. Exploring these confining tunnels on guided tours make us realize the extent of pain, endurance and sacrifice a war brings upon a soldier's life. But bear in mind that it is not advisable for people with breathing troubles to venture into these underground tunnels due to its cramped structure. The place also offers a shooting range as one of its activities. So, not only tourists get to crawl around but also fire away at the shooting target with guns that were used in the war. But safeguard your ears and stand your ground firm because the shots can be so loud and the recoil can shake you down. 

View inside Cu Chi Tunnel

Next, pay a visit to the Reunification Hall to evoke a feeling of victory and patriotism. Then, visit the War Remnants Museum to be filled with sadness and empathy. Other places of significance to marvel at some beautiful architecture and structural designs are Saigon General Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Opera House. As usual, do not forget to gobble some of the scrumptious local cuisines from one of the many food outlets.

Day - 6 A day trip to Mekong Delta

To plan a perfect day trip to Mekong Delta, catch a flight from Ho Chi Minh city as this is the quickest way to get to our destination in under 2 hours. Once you're there, it is time to relax and unwind, for the place is sublime with its divine beauty. The transfixing beauty of the natural rivers rippling through low lying landscapes, lush green rice fields, beautiful flat plains, and even floating homes and markets makes it an enchanting wonderland for tourists. As the Mekong river traverses through this region before emptying into the sea, several small villages are lined along the riverside dotting the shoreline.  

Sailing through Mekong Delta 

Hop on a boat ride and enjoy the tranquil ripples of water as you effortlessly glide to witness the bustling floating markets of Delta region. Savour the deliciously cooked authentic Vietnamese cuisine served by the local villagers. Wander through the night markets of Mekong Delta and hoard your souvenir collection.

Lunch served by local villagers

Day - 7: A perfect end to your backpacking journey across Vietnam

Energized by tourists, Vietnam is a place of history, culture and more that never fails to dazzle you with its dynamic energy as well as serene beauty. With every step you take, the country in its unfading beauty fills our journey with distinct memories all through the end. Finally, head to the Ho Chi Minh City airport well on time to come back to your reality back home. 

Note: If you can spare an additional day or two, or a week more, explore Sapa Valley and many off-beat locations of Vietnam to witness some of the breathtaking beauty in the world. Travel around to experience this vibrant country's culture, food and much more. From ultramodern tourist facilities to timeworn markets, rugged terrain to elegant shopping outlets, there is plenty to do for everyone in Vietnam.

    Share this blog on social media