Eight days is enough time to focus on the northern or southern part of Vietnam. Consider northern Vietnam's highlights with Hanoi and Ha Long Bay or see Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta region's floating markets, and Phu Quoc Island in southern Vietnam. Active travelers might enjoy a multiday trek through northern rural villages and homestays with local families; meanwhile, foodies might opt for a culinary adventure with cooking classes in Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Itinerary #1: Vietnam Culinary Adventure

Covering the length of the country, this culinary adventure is foodie-focused and perfect for aspiring chefs and travelers who want a hands-on experience of Vietnam. Go off the beaten path to seek out the best banh mi sandwiches in Hanoi, savor freshly caught seafood on Ha Long Bay, and learn to cook the perfect bowl of pho in Hoi An. Search for Ho Chi Minh City's best street food by scooter, then head into the Mekong Delta for floating markets and countryside cycling.

Bountiful produce at a traditional floating market
Visit a traditional floating market in the Mekong Delta region
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi, Evening Street Food Tour Hanoi
Day 2 Transfer to Ha Long, Overnight Cruise to Bai Tu Long Bay Ha Long Bay
Day 3 Disembark from Cruise, Return to Hanoi Hanoi
Day 4 Hanoi Cooking Class, Transfer to Hoi An Hoi An
Day 5 Red Bridge School Cooking Class & Street Food Walking Tour Hoi An
Day 6 Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City, Nightlife & Street Food Scooter Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 7 Mekong Delta Day Trip: Floating Market & Island Cycling Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 8 Depart Ho Chi Minh City  

Kick off the adventure in Hanoi as you take to its streets on a food tour in the Old Quarter. Feast on local favorites like pho sot vang (noodle soup with pork and herbs) and a banh mi sandwich. Cruise through the karst islets of Ha Long Bay to Bai Tu Long Bay on Days 2 and 3; swim and kayak until you're hungry for the bay's freshest seafood. Visit Chau Long Market to learn about Vietnam's market culture and participate in a cooking class at Hanoi Cooking Center on Day 4. Afterward, enjoy the historic Hoi An's Old Quarter, filled with colorful lanterns and fragrant street food.

On Day 5, begin with a cooking class at Red Bridge Cooking School in Tra Que Organic Village. Wander among landmarks like the Japanese Covered Bridge and Phuoc Kien Pagoda before savoring street food like cao lau noodles. Visit Ho Chi Minh's off-the-beaten-path culinary hotspots, like the banh xeo stall, for delectable pancakes on Day 6. Take a day trip to the Mekong Delta on Day 7, starting at the Cai Be floating market. Cross the Mekong River to reach An Binh Island to make Vietnamese spring rolls in a local home before pedaling past fruit gardens and charming villages on a cycling tour. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Highlights of Northern Vietnam: Hanoi, Ninh Binh & Ha Long Bay

This highlights itinerary focuses on the countryside in northern Vietnam. It's great for travelers who want to sample the city life of Hanoi but prefer to spend most of their time exploring nature and getting off the beaten path. You'll sail in a sampan beside the rice fields of Ninh Binh, cruise among the islets and mountains of the UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay, cycle in the Vietnamese countryside, and learn how to cook traditional dishes with local hosts. 

Rice fields and river in Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Cruise in a sampan boat through the rice fields in Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi Hanoi
Day 2 Transfer to Ninh Binh Ninh Binh
Day 3 Cycling & Sampan Tour in Ninh Binh Ninh Binh
Day 4 Transfer to Hanoi, Evening Street Food Tour Hanoi
Day 5 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Cruising & Kayaking Ha Long Bay
Day 6 Cruise Ha Long Bay, Transfer to Hanoi Hanoi
Day 7 Explore the Vietnamese Countryside on a Ba Vi Eco-Tour Hanoi
Day 8 Depart Hanoi  

On Day 1 in Hanoi, explore the Old Quarter, eat noodle soup at Bun Cha Huong Lien, and enjoy the views over Tay Ho ("West Lake"). Head to Ninh Binh on Day 2, with its limestone peaks and lush green rice fields, before climbing Mua Cave. Or, visit the Hoa Lu district and its impressive Bai Dinh Pagoda—the largest temple complex in Vietnam. Enjoy a biking and sampan tour on Day 3, where you'll visit a local family in Ninh Hai village and admire caves and valleys on your trip down the river. The following day, head to Thanh Ha Market, Dong Xuan Market, and Hang Cot Street to sample Hanoi's best street food. 

On Days 5 and 6, you'll cruise tranquil waters and take in views of limestone karsts at Ha Long Bay. Stop at a secret cove to swim, kayak, and explore hidden beaches and grottoes before a master cooking class with the ship's chef. Take a trip to Ba Vi National Park on Day 7, starting with a tea plantation visit at Ri village. Next, visit local families at Moc village to learn about the lifestyle in the Vietnamese countryside. Learn more 

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Itinerary #3: Explore Vietnam's Mekong Delta & Phu Quoc Island

Travelers who like cycling and boating will enjoy this Vietnam exploration, focusing on southern Vietnam's Mekong Delta region and Phu Quoc Island. Take in the history of Ho Chi Minh City, visit iconic floating markets, cycle through riverside villages, enjoy a sun-soaked beach break in Phu Quoc, and visit Vietnam's largest theme park. 

Tropical Beach on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Take a break on the tropical beaches of Phu Quoc Island
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2 Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3 Transfer to Can Tho, Cai Be Floating Market & Vinh Long Cycling Can Tho
Day 4 Can Tho Tour Can Tho
Day 5 Cai Rang Floating Market & Transfer to Phu Quoc Island Phu Quoc
Day 6 Southern Phu Quoc Boat Trip Phu Quoc
Day 7 Explore the North of Phu Quoc Island Phu Quoc
Day 8 Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City & Depart  

On Days 1 and 2, soak up Vietnamese street life in Ho Chi Minh City with pho (herby noodle soup) and learn about Vietnam's war history with a trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Next, tour the War Remnants Museum, the grand Central Post Office, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Days 3 and 4 are for experiencing Cai Be's famous floating wholesale market, crowded with vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables from their boats, and a bike tour starting from Dong Phu Island. You'll pass traditional villages and exotic fruit orchards before cruising to Vinh Long and Can Tho

Day 5 is for bartering at Cai Rang Floating Market, with its tiny wooden boats piled high with flowers and colorful produce, while Days 6 and 7 are for discovering Phu Quoc island. Explore the islet of May Rut, An Tho Pier, and Namaste Coral Park, where you can snorkel or take an adventurous sea walk using a bubble helmet among 200 varieties of coral. Next, discover the ornate Dinh Cau, a 300-year-old temple, and the UNESCO-listed Vinpearl Safari Park. Walk along its tropical paths, spotting everything from primates to Asian elephants before visiting VinWonders, Vietnam's largest theme park. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Trekking in Rural Vietnam

This active itinerary of Vietnam's north is for travelers who enjoy venturing into rural areas, staying in homestays with locals, and multiday hikes through the mountains. While trekking terraced rice fields and farming villages, you'll stay in the homes of Red Dao, Giay, Black Hmong, Xa Pho, and Tày villagers, appreciating local hospitality along the way.

Hmong woman moving her herd
Hmong woman moving her herd
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa Night train
Day 2 Transfer to Sapa, Breakfast & Transfer to Gaing Ta Chai Village Giay Village Homestay
Day 3 Trek from Giang Ta Chai to Ban Ho Tày Family Homestay
Day 4 Trek from Ban Ho to Thanh Phu Tày Family Homestay
Day 5 Trek from Thanh Phu to Nam Cang Nam Cang
Day 6 Trek from Nam Cang to Lao Cai, Night Train to Hanoi Night Train
Day 7 Free Day in Hanoi Hong Ngoc Dynastie Hotel
Day 8 Depart Hanoi  

Experience your first overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa on Day 1. Then, on Day 2, beginning at the village of the Black Hmong people, known for their shamanistic culture, you'll start your 8-mile (12.8 km) hike with views of Muong Hoa valley and Mt. Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam, before your homestay in Giang Ta Chai. Trek 9.7 miles (15.7 km) on Day 3 to a Red Dao village with people famous for their beautiful embroidery. Next, admire the bamboo forest en route to Seo Trung Ho and climb over Ma Quai Ho, through the Red Dao's homeland in the remote mountainside, before descending to Ban Ho, home to the Tày people. 

On Day 4, hike uphill to the Red Dao village of Nam Toong, visiting a village of Xa Pho people, who have a simple, yet rich culture and lifestyle, and continuing to Thanh Phu. Learn about the farming culture in the mountains before stopping at another Red Dao village, Nam Nhiu. Next, wander through the Nam Cang Valley and rice terraces flanked by mountains. End your trek by putting in 8.2 miles (13.3 km) on Day 6. You'll use local farmers' trails and cross a few rivers to reach Nam Ngan and then the village of My Son, ending near the beautiful Muong Bo River and followed by a train transfer back to Hanoi. Day 7 is a free day to explore Hanoi. Learn more

More Great Vietnam Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Vietnam? Check out these other Vietnam itineraries, with trekking trips, culinary adventures, and highlights tours. 


A note on diacritical markings: In order to support the best technical experience and search functions, diacritical markings have been omitted from this article.


Map of 8 Days in Vietnam - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 8 Days in Vietnam - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas