Vietnam eats a one month visa faster than you'll devour the multitude of street food. Picking your destinations wisely is the key to enjoying all that Vietnam has to offer. Here is our one month itinerary for Vietnam. By taking out a city here or there you can easily make this a two or three week itinerary—but really, that means that many fewer weeks of delicious food and diverse scenery.
To make the best use of your time, plan to enter from either North or South, and leave via the opposite end. Our itinerary is from South to North, but can easily be done in reverse.
- If you are traveling from Cambodia, start your trip in the Mekong Delta. Take a boat tour through the floating markets, and begin eating your way through Vietnam's street food.
- Make your way by bus to Saigon, where you'll spend two days exploring the history of the "American War." Make sure to add on a side trip to the Cu Chi tunnels.
- Travel by bus to Mui Ne and live out your desert fantasies in the red and white sand dunes. This is also a great place to learn to kite surf, but you'll need at least 4 days.
- Get your beach on in Nha Trang, a fun town with plenty of daytime and nighttime parties.
- It's a long trip to Hoi An, but it's worth it for both the food and the UNESCO scenery. Take two days to rent bicycles to explore the area and surrounding offshore islands. See our top tips for sleeper buses on long-haul rides.
- Just a few hours away, Hue offers serveral other UNESCO sites, including a Citadel and not-so-ancient Royal Tombs. One full day here is enough, unless you want to explore the DMZ.
- Another long-haul journey takes you to Hanoi where it's all about the food and Ho Chi Minh... in the flesh.
- Hanoi is the perfect base for side trips, which alone can eat at least one week. The Halong Bay cruise is on every travelers to-do list—see our tips for picking the best Halong Bay cruise. We recommend at least 2 days.
- Ha Giang is unexplored Vietnam at its finest, but it is easy to get to from Hanoi. Take a motorbike tour of the Ha Giang area. The road between Dong Van and Meo Vac is recognized as one of the top drives in the world. This is the least touristy part of the itinerary and we recommend at least 3 days.
- Sapa's rice terraces are not to be missed. Don't listen to those who say they are overrated and make sure you do a trek that has you staying at homestays along the way.
- Head back to Hanoi for your international flight.
For more info, see our tips for backpacking Vietnam.
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