Vietnam in Southeast Asia is a popular travel destination for all travelers. It is possible to travel Vietnam on a budget and backpackers’ top choice for an affordable tour cost. Moreover, you’ll find many untouched and unexplored places to visit. This naturally beautiful destination allured me, and this year I had a fantastic solo trip to Vietnam. I was happy during my seven days tour in Vietnam. And many things I loved within this short period. Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? My Vietnam seven days itinerary will inspire you to visit where I’ve also shared my own travel experiences. Read details inside and get all travel tips to enjoy your first visit.
You’re right to think seven days is not enough for Vietnam. There are many beautiful destinations to explore from Northern to Southern Vietnam. But all destinations in Vietnam are not close to each other. So for a short visit, you’ve to plan wisely to save time. As a first-time visitor Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Ho Chi Minh City are must-visit for all in Vietnam. Your Vietnam tour is incomplete without exploring the natural wonder of the world Halong Bay.
My solo travel guide to Vietnam to explore the historical and cultural places, local life, and food habit in the capital Hanoi and the famous Ho Chi Minh City, exploring the natural and rustic beauty in Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, and Mekong Delta.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Time To Visit Vietnam
- 2 Is Vietnam Safe To Visit Alone
- 3 Where To Stay in Vietnam
- 4 Seven Days Vietnam Tour Itinerary
- 5 Are You On Pinterest? Click To Save These For Later Read!
Best Time To Visit Vietnam
In terms of weather, either spring (February – April) or autumn (September – November) is the best time to visit Vietnam. To avoid the hot temperature and excessive rainfall, it is best not to visit during summer and monsoon. I traveled to Vietnam in the first week of March. The weather was pleasant, but you can expect a sudden rain. For cruising in Halong Bay, it is better not to visit Vietnam in the rainy season (June – August). Overall the yearly average temperature is between 21°C – 23°C.
Is Vietnam Safe To Visit Alone
Traveling solo in Vietnam is safe and common to visit as a solo traveler. Most of the locals are friendly and very cooperative minded to guide you the best. You can communicate in English almost with all in the tourist areas. My one week in Vietnam was completely safe. Even I enjoyed a solo cruise trip in Halong Bay and was glad to be introduced there with some more solo female travelers. They’re backpacking and safely touring around Vietnam.
Most importantly, you don’t have to spend a lot from your pockets to travel alone in Vietnam. You don’t have to compromise with comfort and safety. All possible to manage according to your budget from accommodation to food and transportation. You can go for any group tours; you can stay in a hostel, which is very standard and safe as well for female travelers.
Where To Stay in Vietnam
Hanoi Old Quarter in Hanoi is a popular tourist area to eat and sleep on a budget. Plenty of budget accommodations from hostels to hotels are available and best to stay. You can also explore all top Hanoi city attractions from the Old Quarter. Ta Ho and Ba Dinh are also best if you want to keep yourself away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
I stayed two nights at My Moon Hotel, a 3-star hotel located in Hoan Kiem District, and very close to the Old Quarter. The location is best to enjoy a walking tour, shopping, and taste the best street food. I loved the elegant interior, and my room occupied with all modern amenities and facilities. The tour desk service of My Moon Hotel is excellent, which helped me to save my time and enjoy the tour in Hanoi and Halong Bay. They offer free Wi-Fi and a buffet breakfast for all.
If you’re visiting Ninh Binh, a small city in Northern Vietnam, it is best to stay some days. It takes almost 3 hours by road to reach the town from Hanoi. Many beautiful hotels and hostels offer a lot of facilities at a lower price plus you get the chance to stay very close to nature. I stayed one night at Tam Coc Bungalow. Later regrets not staying more nights. It was my top favorite accommodation in Vietnam.
Tam Coc Bungalow is best for all kinds of travelers. They offer family to single rooms, also dormitory facilities, free Wi-Fi, and standard services for all guests. The restaurant facing the river and mountain views is simply the best to have a complimentary buffet breakfast. You’ll enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, and cycling during your stay in Ninh Binh.
Ho Chi Minh City
District 1 is the best and popular place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City. This famous tourist area is also known as the Backpacker District. All tourist-friendly accommodations, restaurants are located in the district area. All major city attractions are nearby only and best to try many street foods by the roadside open-air stalls.
I had two nights of budget stay at Galaxy Boutique Hotel in District 1. I stayed in a single room, but they also have family and dormitory rooms. Buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi are complimentary for all and have all the standard facilities to stay. Ho Chi Minh City international airport is only 7 km from the hotel. The hotel tour desk nicely arranged my Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta tours.
Seven Days Vietnam Tour Itinerary
My seven days Vietnam tour itinerary will help you to explore mainly Northern Vietnam and Southern Vietnam. I wish to explore the central part of Vietnam in the future where the ancient town Hoi An is the top favorite for many tourists. I started my solo trip to Vietnam from Hanoi and ended up in Ho Chi Minh City. It was great to find a lot of budget-friendly options to explore each of the destinations in Vietnam. It is also more convenient, easy, and fun to join many group tours during your trip to Vietnam.
I traveled to Vietnam from Malaysia via Malindo Air from Dhaka to Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi. The visa policy of Vietnam is not the same for all countries. For majorities, it is a must to obtain a visa; you can even take the facility of electronic visa/E-visa to visit Vietnam.
Walking and motorbike tours are more common and affordable one for touring around the city. You can also go for day tours by bus or taxi in nearby areas of the city. Grab is accessible and popular in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. For long distances, trains and planes are the best transportation to travel around Vietnam.
Get the itinerary along with my complete Vietnam tour experiences. Besides, it is worth and some recommended books to read before visiting Vietnam for more information related to travel, history, and tradition of this country.
Day 1: Hanoi
Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake
The first day my trip to Vietnam started in the afternoon in Hanoi. It was a relaxed experience while passing the beautiful Nhat Tan Bridge over the Red River. The minimal design of the bridge is very eye-catching and the most beautiful bridge in the city. I took a taxi from Noi Bai International Airport to reach My Moon Hotel.
Hanoi Old Quarter is famous for trying much traditional Vietnamese food from the restaurants to the open-air food stalls in the narrow streets. More than three hours of the guided walking tour in a group was one of the best experiences during my solo travel in Vietnam. We were three in a group and enjoyed seeing and eat like a local with Hanoi Street Food Tour from the afternoon tonight. We tried many different types of Hanoi street food.
Don’t ask what to eat in Hanoi? There is plenty of delicious and tasty food options to try during your stay. The street food tour is trendy in Hanoi, and you can also join in a cooking class to learn about Vietnamese culinary. Food tour at night is one of the top things to do in Hanoi Old Quarter.
Rice/Rice Paper is the main ingredient in preparing most of the famous Vietnamese food. Some of the must-try Hanoian food is Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Nem), Banh Mi, Rice Noodles with Meatballs (Bun Cha), Egg Coffee (Cà Phê Trứng), Steamed Rice Pancake (Bánh Cuốn). I liked the taste of Banh Mi, Sticky Rice with Coconut Ice cream (Kem Xoi), and Veggie Spring Rolls the most among various street food in Vietnam.
The striking beauty of the Hoan Kiem Lake is worth to enjoy at night. Hoan Kiem Lake area is one of the popular spots in Hanoi, from locals to tourists around. There is one temple (Ngoc Son Temple) in the middle of the lake but not free to visit. We enjoyed the total view of the lake during our street food tour.
Day 2: Hanoi
Tran Quoc Pagoda, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Presidential Palace Historical site, One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi Citadel
The second day I had a group city tour on a bus with Seven Tours from the morning to the afternoon. Mainly we explored some of the historical and cultural sites in Hanoi. All tourists must have to follow proper dress code (long cloths preferable) before visiting any temples and mausoleum. The lunch and the sightseeing entrance tickets along with the English speaking guide included with Hanoi city tour.
Hanoi blessed with a rich culture and many old architectures. But the traffic is enormous, keeping that mind it is best to start any trip from the morning. And all city attractions are not open every day for visitors.
We started from Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist Pagoda located beside the West Lake. It is free for all to visit. The entire area of the pagoda is scenic, and walking around the West Lake will give you an enchanting experience.
Hanoi offers various museums to visit, and we explored the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Cau Giay District. This unique museum is also a research center. The Museum of Ethnology represents the traditional Vietnamese lifestyle, cultural heritage, and diversity through 54 different Vietnamese ethnic groups.
On the way to the Temple of Literature, we visited one production workshop for disabled people. People with disabilities get the chance to work here, and the workshop helps to showcase their works. You can visit and even buy from them Vietnamese traditional paintings and embroidery materials.
Temple of Literature is the first University of Vietnam to understand better Vietnam’s culture and tradition. Temple of Literature or Temple of Confucius is one of the top attractions in Hanoi and built in the 10th century. The entrance ticket requires to visit this picturesque landmark.
Later we all had lunch with traditional Vietnamese food at Hoan’s Restaurant & Cooking Class, the local restaurant in Hanoi Old Quarter. Alternative food arrangements are there for vegetarians in almost all places in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. I’ve liked this during my one week trip to Vietnam.
The historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the final resting place for Vietnam’s beloved national hero, Uncle Ho or Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh Museum is very close to the mausoleum. Both sites are free for all to visit.
Exploring around Presidential Palace and its historical area is one of the top things to do in Hanoi. There is a lot to explore the most scenic area of the palace. Visitors have first to collect entrance ticket. The yellow-colored Presidential Palace is used to be President Ho Chi Minh’s official residence from 1954 – 1969.
The traditional One Pillar Pagoda is also one Buddhist Temple and located very close to the mausoleum. It built over the water in the middle of a square lake.
Some of the other must-visit tourist attractions in Hanoi are Hanoi Citadel, Hoa Lo Prison, The Perfume Pagoda, Hanoi Opera House, and Dong Xuan Market. Watching Thang Long Water Puppets show is also one of the best things to do in Hanoi at night. Spending two or three days in Hanoi will give you the chance to explore every tourist attraction in the city.
Day 3: Halong Bay
Halong Bay Overnight Cruise
The third day morning, I left for Halong Bay from Hanoi, the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. Within 3.5 hours, we reached our destination. I enjoyed two days Halong Bay cruise on a budget. It was an overnight cruise tour with Cozy Bay Cruise. The entire journey the most exciting part was to discover the different mysterious moods of Halong Bay in a different hour. I was loving to keep looking many limestone isles and karsts of different shapes from the sun deck of the boat. It was truly fascinating and full of wonder.
We were a total of 18 travelers in a group and had many outdoor to indoor activities to do in two days Cozy Bay Cruise itinerary. I always wanted to visit Vietnam to explore Halong Bay, so cruising around Halong Bay was my top favorite things to do during my entire trip to Vietnam.
After lunch with many varieties of Vietnamese cuisine, we went to visit Surprising Cave or Sung Sot Cave, Titop Island, by boat. Surprising Cave is truly the surprising and unique one to explore many different strange shapes of rock formation. You can get the most scenic view of Halong Bay from the top of Titop Island. The relaxing time on the sandy beach of Tiptop is also great, also possible to swim.
We had a sunset party and cooking class to learn the process of making Vietnamese Spring Rolls. We had the yummiest dinner time with delicious Vietnamese food. Many enjoyed fishing at night from the deck. The arrangements for karaoke was there before ending the first day of the cruise tour.
Day 4: Halong Bay, Ninh Binh
Halong Bay, Ninh Binh
The fourth day of my trip to Vietnam was the last day for Halong Bay. You’ll not regret it if you keep two more nights for cruising in the bay, one of the best places to visit in Northern Vietnam.
After a filling breakfast, we started our second day in Halong Bay by visiting Pearl Farm and Pearl House. It was great to see the process of making pearls from the oyster. We had the ultimate fun while kayaking and enjoying some of the best views of Halong Bay in the morning hour. You can enjoy your time according to your way; some preferred only relaxing on the sun deck.
We had our last cruise lunch with the scenic view before leaving for Hanoi. We reached the city by afternoon on the same bus. I went for Ninh Binh from Hanoi by taxi. It was quite dull as it took much time for the traffic in the evening and reached Tam Coc Bungalow at night. I made a mistake and booked the taxi early for Ninh Binh. Later found, I could leave for Ninh Binh from Halong Bay itself, and by doing that, I could save a lot of time.
Day 5: Ninh Binh, Ho Chi Minh City
Ninh Binh, Tam Coc, Ho Chi Minh City District 1
The fifth day started in the early morning by walking around Tam Coc Bungalow in Ninh Binh. It was great to find a slice of Vietnamese village life from the hotel only. It surrounded by abundant and untouched wildlife and built in a traditional Muong Village. Tam Coc is just 1 km away from the bungalow and holds the extreme natural beauty of Northern Vietnam. Therefore, it is possible to enjoy the rustic charm of country life from Ninh Binh.
After breakfast, I went to enjoy boat riding along the Ngo Dong River. It is possible to see this river view from Tam Coc Bungalow. Tam Coc boat tour is one of the must-do things in Ninh Binh. Bich Dong Pagoda and Mua Cave are two more must-visit attractions in Ninh Binh province of Vietnam.
The whole boat trip is very scenic for limestone mountains, and so Tam Coc is also known as Halong Bay on Land. The boatman/woman row the boat in a typical way by foot instead of hand. The boat tour of Tam Coc – Bich Dong duration is 1.5 hours. During the ride, you’ll be surprised to pass through three beautiful mysterious caves (grottos), Ca grotto, Hai grotto, and Ba grotto. You’ll also see green rice fields both sides of the river and overall the combo of natural and rustic beauty is charming in Tam Coc.
At the last moment, I decided to visit Ninh Binh. Later found it was worth in all way to keep this naturally beautiful destination in my Vietnam seven days itinerary. Most tourists skip this destination instead visit Sapa or Hoi An.
In the afternoon, I had a flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City to spend the last two nights in Southern Vietnam. I had a pleasant experience to fly the first time with Jetstar Airways, the world’s popular safest low-cost airlines. The flight duration was 2 hours and also had a complimentary snack during the journey.
I had my first dinner from the roadside food stall nearby Galaxy Boutique Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, which is more popular as Saigon. Vietnamese Noodles Soup (Pho) is popular street food in Ho Chi Minh City, along with many other food options. Saigon, after dark, is quite vibrant than Hanoi.
Most of the shops and local restaurants in District 1 became open till late night and the top popular area among tourists and locals. All love to have street food after dark and merely impossible to imagine the nightlight in Saigon without food. Therefore, walking food tour at night is a must things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 6: Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City
Cai Be, Ben Tre, Mekong Delta, Vinh Long
The sixth-day early morning after breakfast, I joined a group for a day trip to Mekong Delta, a must-visit Southern region during your trip to Vietnam. Mekong Delta day trip from Ho Chi Minh City was my top favorite things to do in Southern Vietnam. Mekong Delta tour is for you if you like the countryside and want to be familiar with the local culture, daily lifestyle, and activities.
It was worth appreciating and love all the simple things during the Mekong Delta tour. The day-long journey started from Saigon by the AC bus. A tour guide, boat trips, lunch, bicycle ride all included with the tour. It takes 4 hours to reach the Mekong River Delta. We took first a boat ride from Cai Be, explored lush vegetations and floating markets. It is also lovely to see the bright rice paddies from the boat. We visited the coconut candy workshop and enjoyed to see the traditional process of making candy, puffed rice, and grated coconut in Ben Tre province.
All in all, it is worth to buy organic produces, handicrafts from the local peoples. The natural process of making eco-friendly straw bags was simply the best. We also visited a bee farm, mushroom farm, local orchard, enjoyed traditional dance and music. They served us honey tea, black garlic, tropical fruits. After a boat ride on the canals, we had lunch from one homestay.
Later riding bicycles/biking to the villages was very interesting and fun. Before leaving Mekong Delta by bus to Ho Chi Minh City, we explored Vinh Long Market where locals sell different river fishes to vegetables, fruits, flowers along with daily commodities.
Day 7: Ho Chi Minh City
Jade Emperor Temple, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Opera House, War Remnants Museum
The seventh day was the last day of my Vietnam tour. A quick trip by motorbike was the cool idea to explore some best landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City. There was less traffic, and I enjoyed four hours motorbike tour with the guide. Cricket Tours nicely conducted the whole trip. This motorbike tour was safe, including travel insurance, entrance tickets, and lunch.
Ho Chi Minh City is mainly famous for many years old French colonial architecture. This city played a vital role during the Vietnam War or the Second Indochina War. Therefore, Cu Chi is one of the must-visit places in the city, which used to be the bitter battlefield for many years during the Vietnam War. But at least half-day requires for the trip to Cu Chi Tunnels.
However, we started the Saigon city tour from Jade Emperor Temple, a beautiful Chinese temple of the 19th century. It is free for all to visit. Notre Dame Cathedral or Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon is another top city attractions and built in the 18th century. It resembles the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and famous as Mini Asia Notre Dame Cathedral Version.
The interior design of the Saigon Central Post Office is exquisite. This historic post office played an important role during the time of the Vietnam War. I’ve also liked the Beaux-Arts architectural style of Saigon Municipal Opera House. It was fun to enjoy photography here facing this artistic French colonial landmark.
War Remnants Museum in District 3 is a must-visit during your solo trip to Vietnam. This unique museum globally supports the antiwar movement. After collecting the ticket, it is worth to spend some quality time inside the museum. It displays anti-war artworks, exhibits, aircraft, artillery and armor, pictures related to the First Indochina War and Vietnam War.
Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, are also popular tourist attractions. Nguyen Hue Street is one of the best and iconic walking street in Ho Chi Minh City. Best for hangouts with friends at night and filled with many shops and local eateries.
On the way came to know about burning monk Thich Quang Duc. There is a memorial on the roadside and worth to visit to know all about Thich Quang Duc Monument.
Later came back to the hotel after a veggie lunch from Giac Duc Vegetarian restaurant. Vietnamese Iced tea with lunch was very refreshing. By afternoon I left the city with all good memories for Tan Son Nhat International Airport. I hope to come back soon. See you, Vietnam!
Are You On Pinterest? Click To Save These For Later Read!
Are you planning a solo trip to Vietnam? Share your top travel tips or for more query comments below!