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How to Plan a 3-Week Vietnam Itinerary (Top 2 Options)

By CindyUpdated Feb. 4, 2024

Vietnam is a country that offers something for everyone. Whether you're traveling as a family or as a couple, you can explore the ins and outs of what this country has to offer in three weeks.

From exploring the historical sites of Hanoi to relaxing on the beaches of Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam is a country that would leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

It can be overwhelming to plan a 3-week itinerary in Vietnam. In this article, we will provide tips on how to choose where to visit, a well-planned itinerary, and more.

How to Spend Your 3 Weeks in Vietnam

Vietnam is a long, stretched-out country and can be divided into 3 regions: north, central, and south.

It is possible to explore the three regions in 3 weeks. But if you would like to have a more leisurely tour, spending your time in two regions is a good idea.

vietnam top destinations

Here's a general suggestion on how to spend your time in each region:

Northern Region (7–10 days): cultural heritage, rice paddies, karst-island seascape

  • Hanoi: 2–3 days
  • Sapa: 3–4 days
  • Ha Long Bay: 2–3 days

Central Region (8–12 days): historical sites, ancient towns, beautiful beaches 

  • Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park: 2–3 days
  • Hue: 2–3 days
  • Hoi An: 3–4 days
  • Danang: 1–2 days

Southern Region (6–9 days): historical sites of the Vietnam War, floating markets, beautiful beaches

  • Ho Chi Minh City: 2–3 days
  • Mekong Delta: 2–4 days (multi-day trip)
  • Phu Quoc Island: 2–3 days

As the weather varies greatly depending on the region and time of year, you'd better take the weather into consideration when arranging your 3 weeks.

For example, if you go to Vietnam between September and December, you may want to consider a shorter stay in the center, as it is the rainy season there with a risk of floods then, although the rainy season in the north and south is between May and October.

Our team of travel specialists is knowledgeable about Vietnam's different regions and respective climates and can help you plan your trip to ensure the best possible experience. Contact us to start a worry-free travel experience.

Suggested read: How to Plan Your First Trip to Vietnam — 7 Easy Steps

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Itinerary #1. The Ultimate 3-Week Vietnam Tour: From North to South 

This 3-week itinerary, traveling from north to south Vietnam, starts out in Hanoi before moving down the coast to Hoi An, and ending in the "southern capital" Ho Chi Minh City. It spends roughly one week in each region.

In this itinerary, you can experience the diversity of Vietnam's culture, history, and stunning natural landscapes. You would have opportunities to explore Vietnam's ancient kingdoms, stunning beaches, bustling cities, colorful local markets, the famous limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay, and more.

halong bay

Here is a well-planned itinerary for your inspiration:

  • Days 1–2: Hanoi
  • Days 3–4: Sapa
  • Day 5: Ninh Binh
  • Days 6–7: Ha Long Bay
  • Days 8–9: Hue
  • Days 10–11: Da Nang
  • Days 12–13: Hoi An
  • Days 14–15: Nha Trang
  • Days 16–17: Da Lat
  • Days 18–19: Ho Chi Minh City
  • Day 20-21: Mekong Delta, and departure
3 weeks in vietnam itinerary

Week 1: Hanoi – Sapa – Ninh Binh – Ha Long Bay

  • Days 1–2: Hanoi
  • Days 3–4: Sapa
  • Day 5: Ninh Binh
  • Days 6–7: Ha Long Bay

During the first stage of your trip, you would spend your time in north Vietnam, traveling from the bustling streets of Hanoi to the remote hill tribes in Sapa and the stunning natural beauty of Ninh Binh and Ha Long Bay.


Besides popular attractions, our trip includes a variety of special, interactive, and entertaining activities that are very suitable for couples and families, such as:

  • Take a leisurely bicycle ride together through the famed Old Quarter in Hanoi.
  • Embark on an underground private boat ride in Ninh Binh to discover a labyrinth of mystical caves.
  • Embark on our hand-picked more-private junk cruise to discover an unspoiled area of Ha Long Bay and witness a breathtaking sunset from the deck.
  • Interact with locals, and learn about a hill tribe's way of life as you trek through picturesque terraced rice fields in Sapa.

Insider tips: Sapa is accessible by train and car from Hanoi. If you want a richer experience, you could go there by train and return by private car. If you want to save time and be more comfortable, you're recommended to take a private car both ways.

For a more leisurely tour, you're recommended to spend one more night on a Ha Long Bay cruise, with more activities and relaxation time.

Week 2: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An

  • Days 8–9: Hue
  • Days 10–11: Da Nang
  • Days 12–13: Hoi An

These three cities in central Vietnam have their own characteristics and you can spend 1–2 days in each city to see the historical heritage in Hue, the beautiful beaches in Da Nang, and the laid-back ancient town of Hoi An.

hoi an

In Hoi An, we offer many activities suitable for couples and families, such as:

  • Take a romantic sunset cruise along the Thu Bon River.
  • Visit local villages and participate in daily activities like fishing, farming, and traditional crafts, offering a unique insight into local life.
  • Join a workshop to craft your own colorful lantern, or join a traditional Vietnamese cooking class.
  • Enjoy an evening foodie tour to sample local food.

Insider tips: Da Nang and Hoi An are close (about 45 minutes by car), so it is possible to visit one while staying in the other. There are more international hotel options in Da Nang and a great variety of boutique hotels in Hoi An. Hoi An is a better choice for couples and families who are looking for a leisurely vibe and night activities.

Let us know your interests, and we'll tailor-make a tour uniquely suited to you.

Week 3: Nha Trang – Da Lat – Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta

  • Days 14–15: Nha Trang
  • Days 16–17: Da Lat
  • Days 18–19: Ho Chi Minh City
  • Days 20–21: Mekong Delta, and departure

The last leg of your 3-week Vietnam trip would take you to visit southern Vietnam. From the sun-kissed beaches of Nha Trang, through the picturesque hills of Da Lat, to the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City and the enchanting waterways of the Mekong Delta, this trip offers you a range of adventures.

At the end of the tour, you may feel you deserve a romantic and luxurious Mekong River cruise with only one or two cabins. We have specially selected it for couples or families who are looking for private and quality time. Book at least 6 months in advance to secure this limited-availability experience.

This itinerary can be easily customized to meet your preferences, whether you're traveling with your partner or your family.

Itinerary #2. 3-Week Vietnam Adventure Tour: Northern and Central Vietnam

This 21-day Vietnam adventure itinerary will take you through the very best of northern and central Vietnam, from bustling cities and majestic mountains to shimmering coastlines and spellbinding caves.

Designed for travel enthusiasts and adventure-seekers alike, this itinerary offers unique experiences that showcase this remarkable country's unparalleled beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Here is a carefully-crafted itinerary, which balances adventure with leisurely experiences, for your inspiration:

  • Days 1–2: Hanoi
  • Days 2–6: Sapa
  • Day 7: Hanoi free day
  • Days 8–9: Ha Long Bay
  • Day 10: Fly to Dong Hoi
  • Days 11–16: Hang Son Doong cave exploration in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
  • Days 17–18: Hue
  • Days 19–20: Hoi An
  • Day 21: Departure
3 week itinerary in vietnam

One of the most extraordinary highlights of this 21-Day Vietnam adventure itinerary is the 5-night/6-day exploration of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. This is truly an adventure of a lifetime, providing you with the rare opportunity to venture deep into the heart of the world's largest cave, Hang Son Doong. You can also experience the thrill of river crossings and jungle treks.

vietnam adventure

Another remarkable highlight is the 5-day immersive experience in the captivating landscapes of Sapa. You'll get the chance to explore Sapa's vibrant cultural tapestry and majestic mountainous scenery. Hike through the region's iconic multi-tiered rice terraces, interact with local ethnic minority communities, and visit the lively Sapa market.

hiking in sapa

In addition to the thrilling adventures, this itinerary offers some delightful leisurely experiences in the idyllic settings of Ha Long Bay and Hoi An. These destinations provide a relaxed atmosphere for you to unwind, explore, and enjoy the allure of Vietnam's natural and cultural beauty.

Insider tip: It's important to take into account the seasonal weather differences between the north and center of the country. For this itinerary, the optimal travel period is from February to May, as it allows you to evade the coldest temperatures in Sapa while also avoiding the rainy seasons in northern and central Vietnam.

Don't hesitate to ask for a tailored Vietnam itinerary with us, ensuring a personalized and unforgettable journey that caters to your unique needs and interests.

How Much Is a 3-Week Trip to Vietnam?

Vietnam is a budget-friendly destination for travelers. For the same amount of money that you would spend on a small meal at a mediocre restaurant in Western countries, you can enjoy a delicious, top-of-the-range Vietnamese meal that will leave you satisfied.

Here are the costs for a private tour based on 2 travelers:

  • With 4-star hotels, the daily cost per person is around US$200–250, including domestic airfares, accommodation, lunch, entrance fees, tour guides, and transfers.
  • For 5-star hotels or higher, the daily cost per person is roughly US$250–350, inclusive of all the above.

Early booking for transport, accommodation, and tours can result in savings. For peak holiday times such as Christmas and New Year, secure reservations at least 3 months ahead to avoid disappointment.

Contact us to book a worry-free tour. We guarantee a 100% refund (excluding international flight costs to and from your home country) for cancellations made up to 3 weeks before departure (see more details).

How to Travel Around Vietnam

Domestic flights offer a convenient and time-saving mode of transportation for exploring different regions of Vietnam. Key cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue, and Nha Trang are well connected by air travel.

Opting for a private car and driver is ideal for journeys between neighboring cities, offering flexibility, privacy, and comfort to maximize your experience.

Choosing a private tour with us ensures a seamless, enjoyable journey throughout Vietnam. Our team of professionals will handle all your transportation needs, from airport transfers and long-haul trips to uncovering hidden gems. Simply relax and savor your adventure!

You're in Good Hands with Asia Highlights

We have created over 10,000+ big trips for insightful travelers, mostly for families and couples. We truly understand that every single big trip planned for our clients is not just for good holiday memories but also for joyful celebrations of life's milestones.

Get a wonderful Vietnam vacation by sending us a message. Or check out our sample itineraries as below, for inspiration.

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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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