This summer I spent some time traveling in South-East Asia. I didn’t have that much time in total, but I knew I wanted to at least spend a bit of time in Vietnam, which meant figuring out how and what to do in one weeks time.
Now, Vietnam in one week is pretty tight, so I’d of course recommend to spend more time there if you can. But for those who are looking to hit some of Vietnam’s highlights in a short amount of time, here is a rough itinerary of what I did!
Day 1: Hanoi
I flew directly into Hanoi to start of the trip there. It was really picturesque taking a taxi into town from the airport and seeing all the tall narrow building with lots of Parisian inspiration! After the 27 hour travel day I was of course pretty exhausted and happy to check into the hotel. After a much needed shower, I took some time to explore the busy streets of Hanoi, found a healthy vegan cafe to hang out at for lunch, and went out for an amazing Vietnamese dinner!
Day 2-3: Ha Long Bay
Of course if your going to Vietnam you MUST visit Ha Long Bay! I was so excited to visit this place since it’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I did the one night cruise through Ha Long Bay. You check in the afternoon, sleep over night, and check out the following day around noon. It’s the perfect amount of time to see this incredible word wonder.
Getting to Ha Long Bay is about a 3-4 hour drive from Hanoi. Once you check onto the cruise ship they pretty much handle everything from there! (Including your room, activities, and meals.) Day one of the cruise included some sightseeing, kayaking, a small hike through an awesome cave, and then free time on the boat to hangout and just watch in awe as you sail by some of the thousands of islands in the bay. Day 2 included bamboo rafting, and of course the obligatory tourist stop to a pearl farm. (Hey, you can’t avoid these things some times while traveling!)
We checked off the ship around noon and it was back to Hanoi for the evening for another great dinner and rest.
Day 4-6: Hoi An
I’m really excited to share this special place! First stop was the Four Seasons Hoi An. This was the first time I actually had the opportunity to really sit down and chill since leaving Canada on the trip! Tucked away in a little tropical oasis, the four seasons is definitely the perfect place if your looking to get away from the hustle bustle of busy Vietnam. Both the property and rooms themselves were stunning, and there was 3 pools to choose to relax and swim. I of course was especially happy to find quinoa salad, tofu, and fresh juices at the breakfast buffet. (Quinoa in Vietnam is definitely a huge win for me!) I also loved experiences their “street food bbq dinner” experience. This was a buffet style dinner featuring different “street carts” with traditional Vietnamese dishes. My favourite was the veggie steamed buns. Delicious!
After the one night of relaxation at the four seasons, I headed into the old city of Hoi An and checked into Anantara for 2 nights. The location of this hotel was perfect, just slightly out of the old city, but about a 15 minute walk, or 5 minute bike ride. (They also provided free bikes to go into the old city!) The hotel was traditional style, and very quiet and peaceful. I got to experience my first massage of the trip here which was so incredibly relaxing, especially after all the walking you do in Vietnam!
The old city was vibrant and filled with culture. There are fruit stands and little markets, tailors on every corner, and cute souvenirs to buy. I loved snacking on all the fresh mangos and mangosteens from the street stalls. You can spend so much time just walking around and getting lost in Hoi An!
For dinner, you can head over to the walking street where you’ll find tons of restaurants and no cars allowed. I went to this restaurant Mango Mango for cocktails and dinner one night, which was more fusion but really delicious! I’d definitely recommend stopping by at least for a Sangria.
Day 7: Ho Chi Min
We flew out on our last day in the morning to Ho Chi Min City. Now, I’m going to be totally honest here, don’t bother going to Ho Chi Min if you don’t have to! I had a flight out of Ho Chi Min to Manila at Midnight this day, so I did not have much choice but to spend the day in this busy city. Now I’m sure you can finds lots of things to do and explore, I’ve heard the Cu chi tunnels are amazing if you have time to visit! However in my short amount of time there, (which also happened to be a day that it was raining) I just rented a cheap hotel room, got some work done on my laptop, went to grab some dinner, and then headed off to the airport.
So that was my quick week in Vietnam. Would I go back? 100% yes, and definitely for longer next time! It’s of course ideal to spend more time in Countries and be able to explore and experience everything they have to offer, but in my short time there I still fell in love with the beauty and culture Vietnam has to offer.
Highlights of Vietnam:
Great restaurants in Hanoi
Kayaking through Ha Long Bay
Shopping in Hoi An
Street food in Hoi An