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The Ultimate 4 Week Vietnam Itinerary

The Ultimate 4 Week Vietnam Itinerary

This 4-week Vietnam itinerary includes a little bit of everything for those working to the 30 day Visa to help them see as much of this diverse country as possible.

Vietnam was one of the most incredible countries we visited during our time backpacking South East Asia, the rich culture and history make it such a culture shock compared to some of its neighbouring countries who have adjusted their ways for tourists.

Yes, you can find touristy places in Vietnam but the country has not changed its ways for visitors, it stands tall and proud in who it is and you can feel the pride of the Vietnamese people running through this wonderful country.

I hope my 4-week South to North itinerary helps you discover Vietnam just as deeply as we did and that you fall in love with its wonder, encouraging you to revisit it over and over again.

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The Ultimate 4 Week Vietnam Itinerary

4-week Vietnam Itinerary Overview

  • Ho Chi Minh — 3 nights
  • Da Lat — 2 nights
  • Nha Trang — 3 nights
  • Hoi An — 2 nights
  • Hue — 2 nights
  • Phong Nha — 3 nights
  • Ninh Binh — 2 nights
  • Cat Ba Island/ Ha Long Bay — 4 nights
  • Hanoi — 3 nights
  • Ha Giang — 3 nights
  • Hanoi — 1 nights

Ho Chi Minh — 3 nights

Starting your Vietnamese adventure in Ho Chi Minh is an experience of all senses, previously known as Saigon, this bustling city is the economic heart of the country and a whirlwind of vibrant energy, business and traffic, lots of traffic.

It is the perfect place to get you set up for your Vietnamese travels and Ho Chi Minh airport has great connections around the world making it an easy starting point for our 4-week Vietnam itinerary.

Its busy streets are filled with honking horns, speeding scooters, rows and rows of lanes, smells from all the different restaurants and food stalls, nature finding its way to grow amongst the concrete and people who both live here and visiting going about their daily lives.

The skyline here is a combination of new highrises and old quarters that showcase Ho Chi Minh’s history and where it is going in the future. With so much to explore and so much to take in, this city is the perfect way to kickstart your 4-week Vietnam itinerary.

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh

  • Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Eat at Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
  • Tao Dan Park
  • War Remnants Museum
  • Bui Vien Walking Street
  • Sushi Tei
  • Go on a Street Food Tour
  • Hungry Pig Cafe
  • The Reunification Palace
  • Send a letter at the Central Post Office
  • Binh Than market
  • Sample the Vietnamese coffee
  • Take a day trip to Mui Ne
  • & Saigons craft beer
  • Ho Chi Minh City Museum
  • Turtle Lake
  • Visit the Mekong Delta

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh

Luxury: Fusion Original Saigon Centre & La Siesta Premium Saigon

Mid-range: REM Rivergate & Leiden Homestay & Cafe

Budget: Vy Khanh Guesthouse & Amango Dorm

💡 When booking accommodation in Ho Chi Minh make sure to book within District 1, this will put you right at the heart of the action ensuring you can easily reach all tourist hotspots and will save on Taxi fees.

Ho Chi Minh ➡️ Da Lat

There are 2 options for getting from Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat, you can either fly or get a bus so this completely depends on your budget and how much time you are happy to spend travelling from place to place.

Buses depart daily from Ho Chi Minh and cost around £15, the journey also ranges from 6.30 hours to 9 hours depending on which bus station you depart from, to check departures and book head to 12go.asia.

Alternatively, you can fly costing you a lot more but leaving you with more time to play with. Flights depart daily and usually start from around £50.

Da Lat — 2 nights

Da Lat is a destination that many miss off from their 4-week Vietnam itinerary but after spending a few nights here and exploring it’s somewhere you must visit!

With incredible countryside around the city, this is where you’ll want to spend most of your time, in the pine tree forests, riding rollercoasters and scaling waterfalls.

Da Lat is a quirky and interesting place to explore, it has many places to eat, monasteries to visit, parks to wander and bustling night markets to stroll around.

Things to do in Da Lat

  • Crazy House
  • Golden Buddha Temple
  • Tokyo Sushi
  • Highland Sports Canyoning in Da Lat – my personal favourite
  • Anna’s Coffee House
  • Take a Cable Car at Linh Puoc Pagoda
  • Valley of Love
  • Ride the Alpine Coaster
  • Xuan Huong Lake
  • De Lat Flower Park
  • Night Market
  • 100 Roof Maze Bar
  • Datanla Falls
  • Go Hiking in the Forests around Da Lat
  • Elephant Waterfall
  • Da Lat Railway Station
  • Go Golfing

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Luxury: Le Macaron Boutique Hotel & Mercure Dalat Resort

Mid-range: California Hotel & Villa Hoa Ly Đà Lạt

Budget: Hoang Lam Villa & Da Lat Stream Hotel

Da Lat ➡️ Nha Trang

The only way to get from Da Lat to Nha Trang is via road so you can either opt for a bus or taxi.

I recommend taking the bus, this is a 3-hour journey with a smaller minivan costing around £20 or 4 hours with a larger sleeper bus costing around £15.

Alternatively, if you are travelling in a group then you can take a taxi, this 3-hour journey usually costs anything from £100 upwards.

You can check out your options on 12go.asia by using the widget below!

Nha Trang — 3 nights

Visiting Nha Trang is like leaving Vietnam and entering a different country, this seaside town has sparkling turquoise oceans, white sandy beaches, seafood restaurants lining the beach promenade, dive sites and tons to explore.

Called the seafood capital for good reason you can find the shores here teaming with life meaning you can get some incredible fresh seafood dishes and have a wonderful time exploring and snorkelling the nearby islands.

Take some time here to relax and rejuvenate before exploring more of Vietnam’s must-see spots.

Things to do in Nha Trang

  • Nha Trang Beach
  • Go Scuba Diving
  • Arrange a Snorkelling Tour
  • VinWonders Nha Trang
  • Ba Ho Waterfall
  • Po Nagar Towers
  • I-Resort Mineral Springs
  • Vinpearl Cable Car
  • Long Son Pagoda
  • Hon Chong
  • Nha Tho Nui Catherdral
  • Doc Let Beach
  • Monkey Island
  • National Oceanographic Museum
  • Yang Bay Eco Park

Where to Stay in Nha Trang

Luxury: Mia Resort Nha Trang & Boston Blue Hotel & Spa

Mid-range: AZ Five Stars Ocean View Apartment & Golden Panorama Luxury Studio

Budget: Mojzo Inn Boutique Hotel & Aaron Boutique Hotel

Nha Trang ➡️ Hoi An

The best 2 ways to get from Nha Trang to Hoi An are either by bus – taking about 9 hours and costing around £15, or by train – taking about 10 hours and costing £20 for a standard seat or £30 for a carriage.

‼️ Note that the train station is located in Da Nang just a 30-minute taxi from Hoi An, if you decide to use the train then you will need to include this in your budget. Alternatively, you could spend a few nights here depending on your timings and itinerary plan!

I prefer to travel by train, I just feel I have a lot more freedom and can walk up and down, use the toilet when I want and they often sell food from trollies.

But you can find more information about both, their schedules and pricing on 12go.asia.

Hoi An — 2 nights

This ancient town is so beautiful, from its winding canals littered with lanterns and boats, it’s vibrant night markets, inviting energy and graceful old town there is something to wonder at and discover around every corner.

The architecture here is a mixture of wooden Chinese shophouses and temples, colourful French colonial buildings and ornate Vietnamese tube houses. This combination creates something to unique to Hoi An and is a true joy to explore.

The ancient town here is one of the main reasons people visit, this UNESCO world heritage site gives you a glimpse of what life would have been like in an Asian trading port.

The buildings throughout are extremely old with some parts dating back to the 15th century, today you can witness the texture of the now crumbling buildings that give this town so much character. You can really feel the essence and history of this ancient space and it’s hard not to be transported back in time.

Things to do in Hoi An

  • Wander the Ancient Town
  • Hoi An Market
  • Hoi An’s Night Marker
  • Eat at Banh Mi Phuong🙋🏻‍♀️ I will gladly award Banh Mi Phuon as the BEST Banh Mi I ate during my 4-weeks in Vietnam, this place is not to be missed
  • An Bang Beach
  • Restaurant & Cafe Tuan
  • Take a Day Trip to Da Nang
  • Catch the Live Music at Shamrocks Irish Bar
  • Dudu Cafe
  • Get some Handmade Clothes
  • Quan Cong Temple
  • Japanese Bridge
  • Take a cooking class
  • Basket Boat Tour

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Luxury: Hoi An Golden Holiday Hotel & Spa & La Charm Hoi An Hotel & Spa

Mid-range: Anio Boutique Hotel Hoian & Cozy Savvy Boutique Hotel

Budget: Hoi An Heart Lodge & PaPa Villa Homestay

Hoi An ➡️ Hue

Getting from Hoi An to Hue is very simple, this short 3 hour journey can be taken by either bus or train.

If you opt for the bus this will be via minibus and you can get collected from Hoi An town. The minibus from Hoi An to hue costs around £10.

Alternatively, if you would like to get the train you will have to travel back to Da Nang train station, the train costs start at around £6 for a seat and £10 for a sleeper. But you will have to also include the additional travel time to Da Nang as well as the taxi cost.

💡 If you wanted to and had time in your 4-week Vietnam itinerary you could add in a few night’s stay in Da Nang here!

To check out the schedules for both means of transport, head to 12go.asia to review and book!

Hue — 2 nights

This former imperial capital, first cited in 200 BCE is packed with history, if the streets could talk they would share endless stories of how it has been shaped and moulded throughout the years.

The seat of the Nguyen family for generations, this magnificent city attracts visitors every year to marvel at its ancient architecture and Citadel surrounded by thick walls and a moat and filled with shrines, palaces and the forbidden purple city.

But the history is not the only reason to visit, Hue’s culinary scene is one of legends, with some of the most authentic and fresh Vietnamese dishes to be found here.

Things to do in Hue

  • Ride down the Perfume River
  • Explore Hue Imperial City
  • Tour the Pagodas
  • Bach Ma National Park
  • Explore the Tombs and Mausoleums
  • Visit the Royal Palaces
  • Thanh Toan Tile Roofed Bridge
  • Hue Museum
  • Dong Ba Market
  • Cycle around the City
  • Visit the Abandoned Water Park
  • Enjoy Local Cuisine
  • Hue’s Walking Streets
  • Incence Village
  • Alba Thanh Tan Hot Springs
  • Enjoy Royal Court Music

Where to Stay in Hue

Luxury: La Vela Hue Hotel & Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa

Mid-range: Nano Eco Hostel & Senna Hue Hotel

Budget: Tiam Homestay & Guest House Maika

Hue ➡️ Phong Nha

Again your best 2 ways of transport between Hue and Phong Nha are either bus or train.

Getting the bus is much more direct as this takes you from Hue directly to Phong Nha where the hotels and hostels are located, this bus takes around 4 hours and costs around £12.

Alternatively, you can take the train but on arrival in Phong Nha you will have to catch a taxi from the train station located in Dong Hoi, this is about 30 minutes from the accommodation and caves.

You can check both bus and train departure times on 12go.asia and book your chosen transport here.

Phong Nha National Park — 3 nights

Phong Nha is a must-see whilst on your 4-week Vietnam Itinerary. The landscape here will be different to anything you have seen so far, finally, you are surrounded by the tropical forest-covered limestone mountains that Vietnam is so famously known for.

Being home to one of the worlds largest caves shot Phong Nha onto the map, now many come to visit every year to either visit the largest or one of the many smaller caves in the area.

Phong Nha National Park is a rugged landscape that will give nature lovers and adventurous souls somewhere epic to discover and explore.

Things to do in Phong Nha

Where to Stay in Phong Nha

Mid-range: Phong Nha Dawn Home & Phong Nha Green Homestay & An An Homestay Bungalow

Budget: Phong Nha Coco Riverside & Funky Monkeys Homestay & Phong Nha Friendly Home

Phong Nha ➡️ Ninh Binh

The only way to get betwen Phong Nha and Ninh Binh directly is to travel via bus.

This 7-hour journey can vary in comfort depending how much you want to spend on the luxury of the bus! You can chose the most basic buses from around £15 or go up to £30 for something a bit more luxurious in one of their VIP buses.

You can discover the bus types, departure times and book your transport on 12go.asia.

Ninh Binh — 2 nights

This luscious and rugged landscape is locally known as Ha Long Bay on Land for good reason, here you can find more of the towering limestone mountains and lush tropical forests you saw in Phong Nha.

With field after field of rice paddies sitting at the bottom of the mountains the best way to get amongst the beauty and explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, is on a paddle boat tour, taking you right amongst the action.

Things to do in Ninh Binh

  • Trang An Scenic Boat Ride
  • Hang Mua Viewpoint
  • Am Tien Lake
  • Cycle the Countryside
  • Tam Coc
  • Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
  • Van Ling Nature Reserve
  • The Duck Stop
  • Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Trang An Grottoes
  • Mua Caves
  • Bich Dong Pagoda
  • Phat Diem Cathedral

Where to Stay in Ninh Binh

Luxury: Tam Coc Garden Resort & ChezCao Rice Field Ecolodge

Mid-range: Amazing View Homestay & Tam Coc Mountain Lake Homestay

Budget: Tam Coc Friendly Homestay & HoangLong Riverside Homestay

Ninh Binh ➡️ Cat Ba Island/ Ha Long Bay

To get to Cat Ba Island and Ha Long Bay you will have to get a bus and ferry from Ninh Binh. This bus and ferry is sold as a complete package and takes around 4.30 hours to reach Cat Ba, where I recommend you start your adventure from here.

There is a mixture of minibuses and normal buses departing daily to Cat Ba Island, these cost anything from £6 to £20 depending on which bus you choose.

You can select your chosen bus and book your tickets on 12go.asia.

Cat Ba Island/ Ha Long Bay — 4 nights

To visit Ha Long Bay I recommend starting at Cat Ba Island, Ha Long Bay is best visited on one of the many cruises that sail its waters every day. To save you from having to go into Hanoi and then back out to Ha Long Bay with your tour operator, many can just collect you along the way from Cat Ba.

You can spend 2 nights on Cat Ba Island exploring this off-the-beaten-path destination, here you can find islands to discover, caves, rock climbing, cycling tours and so much more.

Once you have arranged your tour and it’s time for Ha Long Bay, make sure to marvel at its incredible landscapes.

This glimmering emerald water is a unique colour and the way the limestone cliffs tower over the ocean and the small fishing houses that call this part of Vietnam home is something very special.

I am still to this day in complete awe of Ha Long Bay and its beauty.

Things to do in Cat Ba Island/ Ha Long Bay

  • Arrange a Ha Long Bay Cruise
  • Lan Ha Bay
  • Cat Ba National Park
  • Hospital Cave
  • Viet Hai Village
  • Trung Trang Cave
  • Thien Long Cave
  • Cat Co 1 Beach
  • Butterfly Valley
  • Rock Climbing
  • Bai Tu Long Bay
  • Sung Sot Cave
  • Castaway Island
  • Cua Van Floating Village

Where to Stay in Cat Ba Island/ Ha Long Bay

Luxury: Cat Papillon Garden Bungalows & Resort & Hotel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba

Mid-range: Cat Ba Spring Garden Homestay & Blue Lagoon Cat Ba

Budget: Cat Ba Nhung Hotel & Cat Ba Green Hotel

Cat Ba Island/ Ha Long Bay ➡️ Hanoi

Getting from Cat Ba Island to Hanoi is very similar to your journey from Ninh Binh to Cat Ba, you will have to take a bus and ferry again.

This journey takes around 4 hours with prices ranging from around £10 to £20 depending on which bus option you choose.

If you have booked onto a Ha Long Bay tour the chances are most people on your tour will also be going back to Hanoi, when booking speak to the company and try to arrange collection in Cat Ba with drop off in Hanoi.

This way you can include your transport to Hanoi as part of your package on the cruise and the will take care of all the booking and logistics on the day.

Hanoi — 4 nights

Hanoi is one of my favourite places in Vietnam, its rich history and culture gently wound into every street, its business with bustling markets and people everywhere you go, it is a city that is unapologetically itself and you either love that or hate it.

Like Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi is a city for all of your senses but Hanoi is not as built up and feels more authentic compared to the business feel you get from Ho Chi Minh.

Hanoi is adored and appreciated by the locals who live here, they are so welcoming and want to share a part of their city with you. This you really can feel as you wander through the streets exploring your way around.

There is a lot to do and discover in this wonderful city so if you feel like you want to spend longer, as we did, then adjust your 4-week Vietnam itinerary to accommodate.

Things to do in Hanoi

  • Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Visit Old Quarter
  • Eat & Drink your way around Hanoi
  • Get Involved in the Art Scene
  • See the Temple of Literature
  • Visit Hanoi’s famous Train Street
  • Explore Hanoi Night Market
  • Learn to Cross the Roads — trust me, this is an experience 🤣
  • Visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum
  • Visit Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
  • Go for a Drink on Beer Street
  • Try as many Banh Mi’s as you can!
  • Ngoc Son Temple
  • One Pillar Pagoda
  • Long Bien Bridge
  • Go on a Street Food Tour
  • Watch the Sunset from a Rooftop Bar
  • Perfume Pagoda
  • Watch a traditional performance at Thang Long Water Puppet Show

Where to Stay in Hanoi

Luxury: Peridot Grand Luxury Boutique Hotel & L’Signature Hotel & Spa

Mid-range: Hanoi Calista Hotel & Golden Rooster Hotel

Budget: Hanoi Traveller House & Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel

Hanoi ➡️ Ha Giang

If you include the trip to Ha Giang and the Ha Giang Loop in your itinerary then I would make sure you get a VIP bus from Hanoi included in your package when you book with your tour agency.

This is very easy when you book the Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel, they can arrange everything for you and you can check out how to book in my full guide.

The journey arranged for us with Jasmine Hostel was very simple, they booked a taxi to collect us from our accommodation in Hanoi to the bus station, we also opted for the VIP bus which had laydown seats, privacy curtains, TVs and some even gave you the option of a double space!

However, if you plan to do the Ha Giang Loop alone without a tour agency you can find buses daily from Hanoi’s bus station. There are tons of buses departing every day, when booking on 12go.asia the journey costs around £10 and takes about 7 hours.

The Ha Giang Loop — 3 nights

The Ha Giang Loop with Jasmine Hostel is THE best adventure we went on during the whole of our travels throughout Southeast Asia and we are not alone in this opinion, so it has a well deserved spot in my 4-week Vietnam itinerary.

It is widely thought of as one of the best things you can do whilst travelling Vietnam, when booking you have the option to do either 2 or 3 nights but if you have the chance make sure you do 3 nights!

So many people that we’ve spoken to wish they had stayed on to do the 3 nights because it is an incredible adventure.

Just imagine meeting a group of like-minded people, that will become friends forever, driving the most incredible roads, winding up and down under the dramatic limestone cliffs, surrounded by lush green rice paddies and passing through extremely remote villages.

It is an experience you will not forget quickly, opening your eyes up to how some people live, so happily, with so little. It is truly breathtaking and a memory you will cherish for a long time.

Ha Giang ➡️ Hanoi

When getting back to Hanoi make sure to book your transport with Jasmine Hostel, or your chosen tour agency as a return, this way you won’t have to worry about getting to and from a bus station or arranging it yourself, your agency will arrange everything for you.

💡 If you are booking with Jasmine, the bus will collect you at around 9 pm arriving in Hanoi at around 4 am, they give you an option to book a half-night stay at their sister hostel in Hanoi, I would recommend doing this or making sure you have booked somewhere with a 24-hour reception as the last thing you want to do is being trying to find somewhere to sleep at 4 am!

Hanoi ➡️ Your Next Destination or Home

Then it’s time to head home!

Once you are back in Hanoi, depending on your schedule you can either stay another night or book a flight to leave that day onto your next destination or back home!

I hope you have enjoyed this 4-week Vietnam Itinerary and enjoyed Vietnam as much as we did, it is a truly amazing country with so much to offer.

If you have any questions about the itinerary or any of your travel plans please do let me know in the comments, I am happy to help!

Lita

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

Wow!! This post is seriously incredible, so many great places in Vietnam. I lived there for a while, so I love it so much. I can't wait to go back

IzabelleMartucci

Monday 29th of April 2024

Thank you Lita! Wow I bet that was incredible, you're right it is such an amazing country to explore