13 Days in Vietnam: How to Plan a Perfect Trip & Suggested Itineraries

13 days in Vietnam is a perfect duration for you to discover the country, offering a deep glimpse of history, culture, and natural beauty. Within nearly 2 weeks in Vietnam, you can set foot in different parts of the nation, and indulge in the emerald rice fields of the North, picturesque coastal beaches of the Central, and chaotic Southern region. In the following article, let’s delve into how to plan a perfect 13-day trip to Vietnam and check out the most favored tour itineraries.

Steps to Plan a Perfect Trip to Vietnam 13 Days

Decide Where to Go in Vietnam

The northern region presents an alluring starting point for your 13 days in Vietnam. Hanoi, the country’s charismatic capital, is a repository of cultural delights, from the maze-like alleys of the Old Quarter to the tranquil waters of Hoan Kiem Lake. A short drive from the urban bustle, the emerald waters of Halong Bay await, dotted with towering limestone islands. Venturing further inland, the misty mountains of Sapa offer a retreat into terraced rice fields and a patchwork of minority cultures.

Kayaking in Halong Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay

The heart of Vietnam beats in its central region, where the heritage city of Hue stands with regal dignity, home to the sprawling Imperial City and majestic tombs of past emperors. Nearby, the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An enchant visitors with their timeless charm, a perfect blend of rustic architecture and cosmopolitan vibrancy. For those seeking sun, sand, and sea, Da Nang serves as a modern coastal gateway with its picturesque beaches and the cultural richness of the nearby Marble Mountains.

Descending into the southern realm of Vietnam, the dynamic Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) captivates with its whirlwind of energy, historical landmarks, and soaring skyscrapers. A stark contrast to this urbanity is the Mekong Delta to the south, a serene landscape crisscrossed by rivers and canals, brimming with floating markets and lush with rice paddies. Here, the river life is as vibrant as the cities are bustling, offering a glimpse into the enduring traditions of Vietnam’s agrarian heartland.

Choose the Best Time to Visit Vietnam

Vietnam Weather

Vietnam Weather

Let’s start up north, where Hanoi and the stunning terraced fields of Sapa beckon. If you prefer cooler weather where you can enjoy a hot pho without breaking a sweat, aim for the winter months between November and February. But, keep in mind, it can get quite nippy, especially up in the highlands. If you fancy blooming flowers and gentle breezes, March and April are your go-to months – simply delightful for exploring. Summer, from May to August, can get pretty intense with heat and rain – it’s like the weather’s having a bit of a mood swing.

Moving down the map to Central Vietnam, places like Hue and Hoi An shine from January to August. Imagine clear skies and that perfect beach weather – yes, that’s exactly what you get! But if you visit from September to December, Mother Nature flips a switch and it pours, with the occasional drama of a typhoon.

Now, if Ho Chi Minh City is on your itinerary, aim for November to April. It’s as if the rainclouds take a vacation and the days are just picture-perfect. Venture here from May to October, and you’ll be in the middle of monsoon season – though the rain does have a habit of playing just a brief, albeit dramatic, afternoon set.

For the culture enthusiasts, you might want to schedule your trip around Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, usually around late January or early February. It’s when the country bursts into celebrations, though it can also mean a bit of travel mayhem with the local hustle and bustle. Or, catch the Mid-Autumn Festival in the fall, which is particularly charming in Hanoi.

In a nutshell, if your itinerary is stretching the length of the country, you’ll find that March to April and October to November are pretty safe bets for comfortable travel conditions almost anywhere. Remember though, Vietnam’s weather can be as unpredictable as a game of “Go Fish,” so it’s wise to stay updated on the forecast closer to your travel dates. Enjoy planning your adventure!

>>> Read more: The Best Time to Visit Vietnam

Calculate your Budget for Vietnam 13 Days

Calculating a budget for nearly 2 weeks in Vietnam involves several factors, including your travel style, the type of accommodations you prefer, your mode of transportation within the country, the activities you plan to do, and your dining preferences. Here’s how you can go about estimating your budget:

1. Flights:

Start by researching the cost of round-trip flights from your location to Vietnam. Prices can vary significantly based on the season, how far in advance you book, and your departure city.

2. Accommodation:

  • Budget: Hostels and budget hotels can cost as little as $10-20 per night.
  • Mid-range: For more comfort, expect to pay $20-50 per night.
  • Luxury: Upscale hotels and resorts can start at $100 per night and go up significantly.

3. Transportation:

  • Domestic flights: From $30-100 per trip.
  • Trains/Buses: Overnight trains or buses between major destinations can cost $20-50.
  • Motorbike rental: Around $5-15 per day.
  • Local transport: Taxis, ride-sharing, and private car rentals can vary but are generally inexpensive.

4. Food and Drink:

  • Street food: $1-3 per meal.
  • Local restaurants: $5-10 per meal.
  • Western-style restaurants: $10-20 per meal.
  • Beverages: $0.50-2 for soft drinks, $1-3 for beer.

5. Activities and Entrance Fees:

  • Museum and historical site entrance fees: $2-10 per site.
  • Tours: Day tours can range from $20 to over $100, depending on the type and length of the tour.
  • Halong Bay Cruise: Overnight cruises can range from $100 to $300+, depending on the luxury level.

6. Miscellaneous:

  • Shopping, souvenirs, and personal items can add up, depending on your shopping habits.
  • Travel insurance: The cost can vary, but expect to budget approximately $50-100 for peak season.

Example Budget for a Mid-Range Traveler (excluding international flights) for a 13-day tour to Vietnam:

Budget estimate for 13 days in Vietnam

Budget estimate for 13 days in Vietnam

In details:

  • Accommodation: $30 x 13 nights = $390
  • Transportation (mix of flights, motorbike, local transport): $200
  • Food: $10 x 2 meals + $5 for additional snacks/beverages x 13 days = $325
  • Activities: $30 x 13 days = $390
  • Miscellaneous (souvenirs, extras): $100
  • Travel insurance: $75
  • Total Estimate: $1,480

To get a more accurate figure, look up current prices for the elements listed above, as they can fluctuate based on economic factors and the season. Always have a contingency fund for unexpected expenses or emergencies. It’s also a good idea to monitor exchange rates and consider pre-booking some elements to lock in prices.

Check out the Vietnam Visa Policy

Vietnam visa policies

Vietnam visa policies (Updated 2023)

Vietnam has recently updated its visa policies, which took effect on August 15, 2023. The new regulations have notably increased the length of stay for travelers from 13 countries who were previously granted a unilateral visa exemption. These travelers can now stay for up to 45 days, a significant increase from the former 15-day limit. In addition to these 13 countries, there are 12 other nations whose citizens are exempt from needing a visa to enter Vietnam, bringing the total to 25 countries plus Kazakhstan. This list includes Brunei, Myanmar, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Chile, and Panama.

Furthermore, Vietnam has introduced an electronic visa (E-visa) system that is available to citizens of all countries and territories from August 15, 2023. The E-visa allows for a stay of up to 90 days and is valid for multiple entries into the country, including:

  • 13 international airports, such as Noi Bai in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Cam Ranh in Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, and others.
  • 16 land border gates, including Tay Trang in Dien Bien, Mong Cai in Quang Ninh, Huu Nghi in Lang Son, Lao Cai, and more.
  • 13 sea border gates, such as Hon Gai and Cam Pha in Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Nghi Son in Thanh Hoa, Vung Ang in Ha Tinh, and others.

To obtain an E-visa, travelers simply need to apply online. Once approved, they will receive a code via email, which can be used to print the visa or access it through the official website of the Vietnam Immigration Department.

Suggested Itineraries for 13 Days in Vietnam

Itinerary 1: Vietnam 13 Days Over the Northern Region

Northeast Vietnam Tour in 13 days

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi: Check in at the hotel and relax.
Day 2 – Hanoi City tour: Check out Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, the Temple of Literature, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.
Day 3 – Leave Hanoi for Mai Chau: and have lunch at a local restaurant before joining a trekking adventure to beautiful villages. Night at a homestay in Mai Chau.
Day 4 – Hike the Mai Chau Valley: Visit Thai people – a rich cultural and ethnic community in Northern Vietnam. After lunch, embark on a journey to Son La.
Day 5 – Visit Son La’s highlights: Time to visit a provincial museum and the nearby old prison. Then, transfer to Dien Bien Phu over Pha Din Pass. Visit the Dien Bien Phu Museum and an old battlefield.
Day 6 – Transfer to Lai Chau: Travel for a half day to reach Lai Chau Town, where you can take a boat ride to Da River, enjoy beautiful mountain sceneries, and see the local way of life up close.
Day 7 – Move to Sapa: Go on a 180-kilometer journey to Sa Pa, where you can indulge in the cool weather of a hill town.
Day 8 – Hike to Lao Chai – Ta Van village: Meet with Black Hmong and Dzay people.
Day 9 – Lao Cai Market Tour: Visit an ethnic market in Lao Cai province, such as Bac Ha Market, Coc Ly Market, etc.
Day 10 – Transfer from Sapa to Hanoi: Check in at the hotel and enjoy time to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Day 11 – Ha Long Bay Cruise: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, and embark on a 2-day 1-night cruise to discover this World Heritage Site of Vietnam. You will have a chance to indulge in the pristine clearwater with kayaking or swimming, visit gorgeous caves, learn the local way of life at a traditional floating fishing village, get your luck with night squid fishing, etc.
Day 12 – Ha Long – Hanoi: End of Ha Long Bay cruise at noon and return to Hanoi.
Day 13 – Depart Hanoi.

>>> Check here for the detailed tour program. Or, look for similar itineraries at our Best North Vietnam Tours in 2024.

Itinerary 2: Vietnam 13 Days From North to Central

Vietnam 13 Days From North to Central

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi.
Day 2 – Hanoi city tour: Check out Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.
Day 3 – Transfer to Ninh Binh province: Visit Van Long Nature Reserve – which is considered the “Ha Long Bay on land” of Vietnam. After lunch, you head to Cuc Phuong National Park and take a short hike to visit prehistoric caves. Night in the forest.
Day 4 – Discover Ninh Binh highlights: Morning discover nature with many rare trees and animals. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Muong Village before the driver picks you up. If time permits, you can visit Bich Dong Pagoda and take a bike ride through the tranquility of Van Lam village.
Day 5 – Move to Ha Long Bay: Embark on the cruise at noon and start your journey to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vietnam.
Day 6 – Ha Long Bay cruise: Follow the cruise itinerary to explore the magical highlights of Ha Long Bay.
Day 7 – Ha Long – Hanoi – Lao Cai: Disembark from the cruise, return to Hanoi, and night train to Lao Cai.
Day 8 – Market tour: This morning, you will visit an ethnic market in Lao Cai, Coc Ly, or Bac Ha market. Then, transfer to Sapa, check in at the hotel, and rest.
Day 9 – Full-day trekking in Sapa: Discover Cat Cat village, Y Linh Ho, and Lao Chai – Ta Van villages. Night at a local residence in Ta Van village.
Day 10 – Sapa sightseeing: Take the road to Giang Ta Chai, home to the Red Dao Minority. Your final stop is Ban Ho village, visit Muong Hoa and La Ve streams. Night train to Hanoi.
Day 11 – Hanoi – Dong Hoi: Fly to Dong Hoi in the early morning. Afternoon visit famous tourist destinations like Quang Binh Quan, Luy Thay, Tam Hoa temple, and Dong Hoi Shopping Center.
Day 12 – Explore Phong Nha National Park: Observe beautiful limestone formations, caves, and spectacular forests.
Day 13 – Depart.

>>> The detailed tour program is presented at our Authentic Vietnam in 13 days tour.

Itinerary 3: Southern Vietnam 13 Days for Beach Lovers

Luxury Vietnam’s Beach Vacation in 13 Days

Day 1 – Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City: Check in at the hotel, and have time to relax and discover the city’s nightlife on your way.
Day 2 – Saigon – Phan Thiet: Transfer to Phan Thiet by car, passing beautiful roads with dense rubber plantations. Check in at the hotel and relax.
Day 3 – Beach day: Time to relax on the beautiful beach of Phan Thiet. You can also opt to play golf at a nearby golf course.
Day 4 – Phan Thiet – Nha Trang: Depart to Nha Trang, and stop in Phan Rang to visit the Po Klong Jarai Cham Towers.
Day 5 – Discover Nha Trang Bay: Try snorkeling and swimming in the pristine clear water. Afternoon visit Long Son Pagoda, Po Cham Towers, and the local Dam Market.
Day 6 – Beach day: Free time to relax on the beach.
Day 7 – Transfer to Quy Nhon: Say goodbye to Nha Trang and take the way to Quy Nhon.
Day 8 – Beach day: Free time to relax at the resort or discover Quy Nhon’s tranquil beaches.
Day 9 – Beach day: One more day to discover the beautiful scenery on your way.
Day 10 – Quy Nhon – Hoi An: Leave Quy Nhon for Hoi An, and visit My Lai Massacre Memorial on the way. In the afternoon, you will join a walking tour around Hoi An ancient town, visiting the Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky Old House, Phuc Kien Chinese Assembly Hall, and so on.
Day 11 – Explore My Son Sanctuary: This is the ancient capital of the Champa Kingdom. Free afternoon to relax on Cua Dai Beach.
Day 12 – Free day in Hoi An: Free time to relax on the beach or take a bike ride around Hoi An old town, where you can see a lot of art galleries, silk and handicraft souvenir shops, etc.
Day 13 – Depart.

>>> Here is the detailed itinerary of this Luxury Vietnam Beach Vacation in 13 Days. Look for more similar trips, please check out our best Vietnam beach holidays.

Above, we have introduced to you the step by step to plan a perfect trip to Vietnam in 13 days as well as some suggested itineraries. In general, 13 days in Vietnam is enough for you to discover the country throughout or in depth. You can just explore a region or travel along the country. Contact us to plan your trip right now or if you have any questions.

Read more:

Frequently Asked Questions

Two weeks in Vietnam is just the right amount of time for you to discover the major highlights of the country. You can visit the whole nation or just focus on one or two regions.

Vietnam is considered one of the safest countries in the world for tourists. However, keep in mind some health and safety tips against taxi scams, theft, food-related diseases, and heat concerns.

The most picturesque tourist destinations in Vietnam voted by our readers are Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Da Nang – Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, and Mekong Delta.

We are here to help you...

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our specialists

Alice Pham

Hello, I'm Alice Pham - a travel blogger at IDC Travel. I have traveled to almost places in Vietnam and gained numerous useful experiences. I'm here willing to help you plan the most wonderful trip to our stunning S-shaped country.


  1. Is two weeks in Vietnam enough? This is my first time in Vietnam, so I want to visit the major tourist destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An

    1. Hi Evelyn,
      Two weeks in Vietnam is just the right amount of time for you to discover all the major highlights of the country, such as Hanoi, Ha Long, Da Nang, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City & Mekong Delta. With a carefully-planned itinerary, you can even spend sometimes in Sapa or Hue.
      If you are planning a trip to Vietnam in the upcoming time, refer to our best Vietnam tours for some suggested itineraries. Or, contact us right now for a tailor-made trip.
      Thank you so much!
      Best regards,
      IDC Travel Team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published

You might also like

IDC Travel & GolfLux Year End Party 2023 – A Look Back on a Year of Great Success

IDC Travel & GolfLux Year End Party welcomed all company members & their families as well as close partners and guests. This…

14 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia: Ultimate Journey to Southeast Asia

Let’s go for a journey through Southeast Asia, a region where ancient traditions seamlessly intertwine with modern cityscapes. In the heart of…

13 Days in Vietnam and Cambodia: Exploring the Gems of Indochina

Cambodia and Vietnam are unique in terms of culture, religion, history, modern development, and landscapes. In a circuit of 13 days in…

Create My Trip