Vietnam in 18 Days: Ultimate Itineraries to Discover from Mountain to Delta

18 days in Vietnam is an ideal duration for you to discover the country in depth. With smart itinerary planning, you can explore the country from North to South, from the rich culture and natural beauty to the delicious cuisine of all three regions. Now, prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Vietnam 18 days with our suggested itineraries.

Why Visit Vietnam in 18 Days?

Let’s figure out the most compelling reasons to travel to Vietnam. From its fascinating heritage to its spectacular landscapes, discover why Vietnam is a must-visit travel destination.

Visa Exemption for Up to 45 Days

New Vietnam Visa policies allow passport holders of certain countries to stay in the country for up to 45 days without a visa. This regulation comes into force from August 15, 2023. Before this date, the visa exemption policy is eligible for 15 days only. Below is the list of countries that enjoy this favorable policy. If you are not eligible, you can apply for a Vietnam E-visa, which is applied to visitors of all countries and territories and takes effect for 90 days in Vietnam.

Vietnam visa policies

Vietnam visa policies

>>> For more information on Vietnam visas, please check our article here.

A Wide Range of Activities to Join

Vietnam offers you a multitude of options for your trip, whether it is discovering its culture, going hiking, or enjoying its beaches. You can explore trekking trails, and indulge in rowing boat rides or boat cruises. The country is also full of opportunities for historical and cultural discoveries, with activities such as cooking classes, traditional shows, or gourmet scooter tours to taste local street food. And for an unforgettable experience, make sure to spend at least one night in a local homestay.

Beach Holidays

Phu Quoc - the most stunning beach in Vietnam

Phu Quoc – the most stunning beach in Vietnam

A beach holiday in Vietnam offers the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent beaches and coastline of this Southeast Asian country. Popular beach destinations in Vietnam include places like Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Mui Ne, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, and many more. Guests can relax on sandy beaches, swim in the crystal clear waters of the South China Sea, enjoy water sports, taste delicious local cuisine, and explore nearby sights.

Discovery of Cultural Wealth

Girls of ethnic groups in Vietnam

Girls of ethnic groups in Vietnam

Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups, each with its distinct language and culture. This cultural diversity is preserved free from the influence of modernity and mass tourism. You have the opportunity to have an authentic experience by staying overnight with an ethnic family, allowing you to explore their unique lifestyle, customs, and traditions in more depth.

Exploration of Cultural Heritages

Vietnam is home to 8 World Heritage Sites, spread from the north to the center of the country, offering visually captivating landscapes. It’s no wonder why the country regularly features in the list of the world’s most prestigious destinations. The country was awarded the title of Asia’s Top Heritage Destination 2020 by the World Travel Awards, claiming it as one of the must-visit places for cultural lovers.

Kayaking in Halong Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay

  • Ha Long Bay: Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is made up of approximately 1,600 islands of different sizes. You will be dazzled by this breathtaking seascape, characterized by impressive limestone formations. Most of these islands are uninhabited and unspoiled, providing sanctuary to exceptional biodiversity that makes them an irresistible attraction for tourists. During your trip to Vietnam, don’t miss Ha Long Bay, where you can also hear the legendary story of the descent of the dragon.
  • Thang Long Imperial Citadel: It is a historical site that dates back to the 11th century, erected by the Ly dynasty to symbolize the independence of Dai Viet. It was built on the foundations of a 7th-century Chinese citadel, in the arid Red River Delta region of Hanoi. This monument was the center of regional political power for almost thirteen centuries. The architectural elements of the Imperial Citadel and the remains of the archaeological site of 18 Hoang Dieu reflect a culture-specific to Southeast Asia, marked by the influences of China to the north and the ancient kingdom of Champa to the south, which intersect in the lower Red River region.
  • My Son Sanctuary: This is an archaeological site located in the province of Quang Nam, Vietnam. It is famous for its temples and towers built by the Cham civilization between the 4th and 14th centuries. This site is an impressive example of Cham architecture and culture, and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The temples of My Son are dedicated primarily to the Hindu god Shiva and offer visitors a fascinating insight into the history and spirituality of this ancient civilization.

In addition to the destinations mentioned above, Vietnam is home to several other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, demonstrating the country’s rich culture and history. Among these sites is Hue Imperial Citadel, which was once the imperial capital of Vietnam and is renowned for its architecture and imperial history. There are also the gardens of the Imperial City of Hue, which are a beautiful expression of traditional Vietnamese landscape art. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, located in Quang Binh province, is a true natural gem with its spectacular caves and karst formations. Additionally, Hoi An Ancient Town, with its historic charm, traditional wooden houses, and colorful lanterns, is another world heritage site not to be missed. These world heritage sites in Vietnam offer visitors a journey through time through the history, culture, and exceptional nature of the country.

Suggested Itineraries for 18 Days in Vietnam

Vietnam Eco-Tour From North to South in 18 Days

Vietnam eco-tour from North to South in 18 days

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi: Start Vietnam itinerary 18 days.

Day 2 – Hanoi city tour: You will have a chance to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

Day 3 – Hanoi – Ha Long: Leave Hanoi for Ha Long and embark on a cruise to admire the magnificent landscapes.

Day 4 – Halong – Hanoi: Morning visit Vung Vieng fishing village before checking out of the cruise and returning to Hanoi.

Day 5 – Fly to Quang Binh and visit the Paradise Cave: You fly from Noi Bai to Dong Hoi airport in the morning, check in at the hotel, and afternoon visit the Paradise Cave.

Day 6 – Phong Nha Cave – Ke Bang National Park: Visit Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park and explore Phong Nha Cave by boat. Walk 500m inside to see the Cham altars and inscriptions.

Day 7 – Dong Hoi – Hue: Drive to Hue after breakfast, take a city tour, then a bike ride to Phu Mong village and Thien Mu Pagoda, and finish with a boat visit to the Minh Mang mausoleum.

Day 8 – Hue Imperial Citadel – Hoi An: Explore the Imperial Citadel of Hue and then transfer to Hoi An. Admire the beauty of Hai Van Pass and Lang Co Beach on the way.

Day 9 – Tra Que Herbal Village – City Tour: Visit Tra Que Herbal Village on a bike ride in the morning. Lunch here and return for a tour around Hoi An ancient town in the afternoon.

Day 10 – Free time in Hoi An.

Day 11 – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 12 – Saigon city tour – Cu Chi Tunnels: Visit the Reunification Palace, Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ben Thanh Market, and Cu Chi Tunnels.

Day 13 – Saigon – Ben Tre – Can Tho: Explore the peaceful Mekong Delta, enjoy a riverside lunch, and cycle among rural landscapes.

Day 14 – Cai Rang Floating Market – Sa Dec: Wake up early to explore the Cai Rang floating market. Then head to Sadec, visit Trung Vuong School and the old house related to Marguerite Duras.

Day 15 – Sa Dec – Cao Lanh: Enjoy a boat ride through tranquil canals in the morning before transferring to Cao Lanh to explore a natural bird garden.

Day 16 – Tram Chim National Park – Return to Ho Chi Minh City: Observe the beautiful red-head cranes.

Day 17 – Saigon – Cat Tien National Park: Take a 2-hour hike in the forest to see wild animals.

Day 18 – Return to Saigon – Departure: Visit the Rescue Center on Fairy Island by canoe and on foot, have lunch here, and then return to Ho Chi Minh City for your departure flight. End of 18 days in Vietnam with unforgettable memories.

>>> Check out the detailed tour program here. To discover the wonders of Vietnam from North to South while respecting the environment, consult our well-planned itineraries at the best Vietnam eco-tours.

Splendid Vietnam in 18 Days

Splendid Vietnam in 18 days

Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi: If time permits, you will take a tour around the Hanoi Old Quarter.

Day 2 – Hanoi City Tour: Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, the Temple of Literature, and one of the city’s museums.

Day 3 – Hanoi – Mai Chau: Discover the culture and nature in Mai Chau with a visit to the Muong tribe, views from Thung Khe Pass, etc. Night at a homestay in a Thai village.

Day 4 – Mai Chau – Hanoi: Enjoy a morning trekking to beautiful rice fields and ethnic villages. Afternoon return to Hanoi.

Day 5 – Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: Embark on an overnight cruise to explore the islands and caves; enjoy a seafood lunch; go swimming and kayaking; etc.

Day 6 – Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – Hue: Say goodbye to Ha Long Bay at noon and fly to Hue.

Day 7 – Hue city tour: Visit the main highlights of Hue, such as the Imperial City, Forbidden Purple City, Tu Hieu Pagoda, and Dong Ba Market.

Day 8 – Hue – Hoi An: Cruise the romantic Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda in the morning. Lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Hoi An over Hai Van Pass.

Day 9 – Cooking class & city tour: Head to Hoi An’s market to purchase some fresh ingredients for the cooking class; learn to cook some traditional Vietnamese dishes, and enjoy your products. Afternoon join a walking tour around Hoi An Ancient Town.

Day 10 – Free time in Hoi An.

Day 11 – Hoi An – Da Nang – Nha Trang: Transfer to Da Nang airport after breakfast for a flight to Nha Trang. Free to explore the city for the rest of the day.

Day 12 – Nha Trang – Da Lat: Drive uphill to Da Lat and visit the Summer Palace of Bao Dai, Dalat Railway Station, Central Market, Xuan Huong Lake, etc.

Day 13 – Da Lat – Ho Chi Minh City: Visit Truc Lam Zen Monastery of Vietnam and Tuyen Lam Lake before the flight.

Day 14 – Saigon city tour: Visit Chinatown, Ben Thanh market, FITO Museum, War Remnants Museum, etc.

Day 15 – Cao Dai Temple & Cu Chi Tunnels: Travel outside of Ho Chi Minh City to visit Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh province. After lunch, move straight forward to Cu Chi Tunnels, which was used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.

Day 16 – Ho Chi Minh City – Cai Be – Can Tho: Leave Saigon for Cai Be, where you can visit a candy factory and orchard garden, ride a bike to explore the countryside, immerse the beauty of the Mekong Delta on a motorized boat, etc.

Day 17 – Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City: Get up early to explore the Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho before returning to Saigon.

Day 18 – Departure.

>>> See the comprehensive tour program at our Grand Vietnam 18 days tour from Hanoi to Saigon.

18 Days in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia

Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam in 18 days

Day 1 – Arrive in Bangkok.

Day 2 – Bangkok city tour: Visit the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.

Day 3 – Explore Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which is about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok.

Day 4 – Bangkok – Chiang Mai: Fly to Chiang Mai and visit a handicraft village. Enjoy a Thai dinner with traditional music and dances.

Day 5 – Doi Suthep & Elephant Camp: Visit Wat Doi Suthep, which is 1050 meters above sea level, and an elephant camp in the morning. Afternoon join a Thai woodcarving workshop. Night train to Bangkok.

Day 6 – Fly to Siem Reap.

Day 7 – Angkor tour: Begin your journey at the South Gate of Angkor Thom to Bayon, Baphoun, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, etc.

Day 8 – Great Lake: Get up early to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat and then visit the famous temples of this complex, including Pre Rup,  East Mebon, Ta Som, Neak Pean, Preah Khan, and Baksei Chamkrong, etc.

Day 9 – Siem Reap – Hanoi: Take a half-day to the Small Circuit of Angkor before your flight.

Day 10 – Hanoi city tour: Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, the Temple of Literature, and one of the city’s museums.

Day 11 – Hanoi – Ha Long Bay: Leave for Ha Long Bay and embark on an overnight cruise to explore the natural landscapes. Immerse in the natural beauty with a lot of interesting activities such as kayaking, swimming, night squid fishing, etc.

Day 12 – Ha Long – Hanoi – Da Nang – Hoi An: Watch the sunrise over the bay and visit Sung Sot Cave before disembarking from the cruise. Return to Hanoi and fly to Da Nang, onward travel to Hoi An.

Day 13 – Hoi An walking tour: Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Pottery Museum, Tan Ky House, etc.

Day 14 – Hoi An – Hue: Drive through Hai Van Pass, and visit the Royal Citadel and Khai Dinh Tomb.

Day 15 – Hue – Ho Chi Minh City: Morning cruise the Perfume River to see Thien Mu Pagoda and Minh Mang Mausoleum. Afternoon fly to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 16 – Ho Chi Minh City tour: Visit War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, Ben Thanh Market, and Chinatown.

Day 17 – Saigon – Mekong Delta – Saigon: Drive to Vinh Long to explore the Cai Be floating market and visit a Bonsai house for a gourmet delta lunch.

Day 18 – Departure. End of nearly three weeks in Vietnam.

>>> For the detailed tour itinerary, please check out our Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 18 days: A Trip to Remember

A trip to Vietnam in 18 days undoubtedly offers an unforgettable experience. From the northern mountains to the southern beaches, from bustling cities to picturesque countryside, Vietnam promises to offer travelers of all kinds an exceptional cultural, natural, and gastronomic adventure. Whether you’re passionate about history, breathtaking scenery, delicious food, or meeting friendly locals, Vietnam has it all. So, get ready for a memorable trip to Vietnam and set out to explore this gem of Southeast Asia. Do not hesitate to contact us to plan your tailor-made vacation!

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Frequently Asked Question

18 days in Vietnam is not too long. It is enough for you to discover the country from North to South or vice versa and extend to one/two nearby countries like Thailand or Cambodia. If time permits, you can even build up your trip for three weeks in Vietnam.

No, you should not drink tap water in Vietnam. It is not safe for your stomach and may cause diarrhea, especially in some rural areas. Opt for bottled water when you are in Vietnam.

Yes, street food in Vietnam is generally safe. However, you should opt for stalls that are full of local people or follow a local travel guide for a better choice.

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Phuong Khanh

Hello, my name is Khanh, I'm a travel blogger at IDC Travel. After my adventures and what I've learned on my trips and from my research, I will help you with planning your trip to Vietnam & Southeast Asia and make your journey remarkable.

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