19 Days in Vietnam: From Hidden Gems to Famous Sights

Vietnam, a land of astounding natural beauty and cultural complexities, offers an adventure like no other. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil bays of Ha Long, this Southeast Asian gem is a mosaic of contrasting experiences. In this blog, we’ll embark on an epic journey of 19 days in Vietnam, exploring both its hidden gems and popular places.

Why Visit Vietnam in 19 Days?

19 days in Vietnam can seem like a lot, but in reality, it’s just enough time to scratch the surface of this vibrant country. Vietnam’s diversity, from its landscapes to its cultural heritage, means that every day brings a new discovery. While you can’t see everything in 19 days, you can certainly experience the highlights and get a genuine feel for the country’s spirit.

With nearly 3 weeks in Vietnam, you can delve deep into the country’s diverse landscapes, from the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil waters of Ha Long Bay. 19 days in Vietnam allows you to immerse yourself not just in the popular tourist spots but also in the lesser-known locales, offering a more rounded and intimate experience of the country.

Vietnam’s long, slender shape means that a journey from north to south or vice versa can cover a wide range of environments. In the north, the mountainous regions of Sa Pa offer a glimpse into the lives of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities and stunning terraced rice fields. As you travel down the coast, you encounter historical marvels like the ancient town of Hoi An and the imperial city of Hue, each telling stories of a past era.

Hue Imperial Citadel

Hue Imperial Citadel

The central highlands and the southern part of the country present a different aspect of Vietnam’s natural beauty, with the bustling life of Ho Chi Minh City and the serene Mekong Delta. Each region has its unique charm and rhythm, and 19 days in Vietnam give you ample time to soak in these varied experiences.

Moreover, this time frame allows for deeper engagement with the local culture. You can partake in cooking classes while visiting Vietnam in 19 days, enjoy local market tours, and even spend time in rural villages. Such experiences are not just about seeing a place; they’re about living it, even if just for a moment.

>>> You may also like: Top 10 Things to Do in Vietnam.

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in 19 Days

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in 19 Days

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in 19 Days

  • Hanoi – the heart and soul of Vietnam. This city is a blend of old-world charm and modern dynamism. The Old Quarter, with its bustling streets and colonial architecture, is a must-visit. Don’t miss the serene Hoan Kiem Lake and the vibrant night markets.
  • Ha Long Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place is a surreal landscape of limestone karsts rising from emerald waters. A cruise through the bay is a magical experience, with opportunities to explore caves and swim in secluded coves.
  • Sa Pa – In the northern highlands, Sa Pa is a world away from the tropical coast. This region is known for its terraced rice fields and ethnic minority villages. Trekking through the hills offers breathtaking views and cultural insights.
  • Hue – Hoi An – Moving to Central Vietnam, Hue and Hoi An are steeped in history. Hue, the ancient imperial capital, is home to the famous Citadel and royal tombs. A short journey away, Hoi An enchants with its well-preserved Ancient Town, lantern-lit streets, and tailor shops.
  • Ho Chi Minh City – a bustling metropolis in Southern Vietnam. It’s a city of contrasts, with skyscrapers standing alongside historic temples. The War Remnants Museum and Cu Chi Tunnels offer a glimpse into Vietnam’s turbulent past.

Itinerary 1: Explore Vietnam in 19 Days from the North to the South

Itinerary 1 Explore Vietnam in 19 Days from the North to the South

Day 1 – Welcoming day in Hanoi: Arrival in Hanoi, transfer to the hotel, and a guided walking tour through the French and Old Quarter.

Day 2 – Exploring Hanoi’s rich history: Visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Temple of Literature, and National Museum of Vietnam History.

Day 3 – Immerse in Local Culture: Experience local life near railways, take a short train ride across Long Bien Bridge, and explore the market on Hoang Hoa Tham Street.

Day 4 – Journey to the scenic Sa Pa: Drive to Sapa mountain town and explore the Muong Hoa valley with a hiking tour to H’mong and Day ethnic villages.

Day 5 – Explore the natural beauty of Sa Pa: Travel to remote areas, hike to Ban Khoang and Ta Giang Phinh villages, and return to Sapa.

Day 6 – Relax in Sa Pa: Leisure morning in Sapa with optional tours to Cat Cat Village or Fansipan, followed by a drive back to Hanoi.

Day 7 – Ha Long Bay adventure: Drive to Ha Long Bay for a 2-day cruise, including activities like swimming, kayaking, cave exploration, and cooking demonstrations.

Day 8 – Travel to Ninh Binh: Further exploration in Ha Long Bay, disembark, and drive to Ninh Binh to explore the Trang An landscape by rowboat.

Day 9 – Explore Ninh Binh’s landscapes: Visit Bai Dinh Temple Complex and take a cycling tour through scenic routes and Thung Nham Bird Sanctuary.

Day 10 – Historical exploration: Climb Hang Mua for panoramic views, visit Hoa Lu, and fly to Hue City.

Day 11 – Tour of Hue: Explore Hue’s historical sites including the Imperial City, Thien Mu Pagoda, Khai Dinh Mausoleum, and An Hien Garden House.

Day 12 – Journey to Hoi An: Travel to Hoi An, with stops at Lang Co beach, Hai Van Pass, and Marble Mountain, followed by a walking tour in Hoi An Old Town.

Day 13 – Explore My Son Sanctuary: Drive to My Son, visit the museum, enjoy the Apsara dance, and explore the sanctuary, then boat back to Hoi An.

Day 14 – Relax in Hoi An: A leisure day in Hoi An with optional tours like a cooking class or a visit to Bana Hills.

Day 15 – Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City and explore popular sights including the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and War Remnant Museum.

Day 16 – Visit Cu Chi Tunnels: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and learn about their role during the Vietnam War.

Day 17 – From Saigon to Mekong Delta: Travel to the Mekong Delta, embark on a boat journey, visit local workshops, and enjoy local entertainment.

Day 18 – Explore local life in Mekong Delta: Cycling tour in Mekong, visit a floating market and brick factory, then return to Saigon.

Day 19 – Last moments in Saigon: Free time in Ho Chi Minh City before the airport transfer for departure.

>>> Check the full itinerary at our Authentic Vietnam 19 Days Experience.

Itinerary 2: 19 Days in Vietnam Discovering Beautiful Beaches and Mountains

Itinerary 2 19 Days in Vietnam Discovering Beautiful Beaches and Mountains

Day 1 – Explore and dine in HCMC: Arrive at Ho Chi Minh City airport, check in at the hotel, and have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2 – Ho Chi Minh City Tour: Tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s landmarks and dinner on a Bonsai Cruise.

Day 3 – Explore Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple.

Day 4 – Experience the lush Mekong Delta: Travel to My Tho in the Mekong Delta, including a private boat cruise and lunch.

Day 5 – Visit Cai Rang floating market: Boat trip to Cai Rang floating market and return to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 6 – Journey to Nha Trang: Free time and transfer to Nha Trang for an overnight stay.

Day 7 – Cruising in Nha Trang Bay: Full-day cruise in Nha Trang Bay with snorkeling, swimming, and a sunset party.

Day 8 – Leisure day in Nha Trang: Free time at the resort in Nha Trang.

Day 9 – Travel to Hoi An Ancient Town: Flight to Da Nang and transfer to Hoi An for an overnight stay.

Day 10 – Boat Trip in Hoi An and Cooking Class: Market visit, boat trip, and cooking class in Hoi An.

Day 11 – Discover the historic city of Hue: Travel to Hue, a tour of the city, and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 12 – Experience royal heritage: Boat trip on the Perfume River, visit to royal tombs, and a royal banquet dinner.

Day 13 – Cultural immersion in Hanoi: Flight to Hanoi, city tour, cooking class, and welcome dinner.

Day 14 – Hanoi to Lao Cai: Free day in Hanoi and overnight train to Lao Cai.

Day 15 – Visit villages in Sa Pa: Transfer to Sapa, hotel check-in, and walking tour to Cat Cat village.

Day 16 – Enjoy trekking in Sa Pa: Trekking through Lao Chai and Ta Van villages.

Day 17 – Journey to Ha Long Bay: Drive to Ha Long Bay for an overnight cruise.

Day 18 – Natural wonders of Ha Long Bay: Continue the Ha Long Bay cruise, explore Thien Canh Son cave, and return to Hanoi.

Day 19 – Departure from Hanoi: Free time for shopping and leisure until the airport transfer.

>>> Check out this link for the comprehensive tour program.

Itinerary 3: Spending 19 Days in Vietnam and Stopping by Cambodia

Itinerary 3 Spending 19 Days in Vietnam and Stopping by Cambodia

Day 1 – Arrive and settle in Hanoi: Arrival in Hanoi, transfer to the hotel, and a welcome dinner.

Day 2 – Explore Hanoi’s cultural landmarks: Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature, and enjoy a cyclo tour and water puppet show.

Day 3 – Journey to Ha Long Bay: Early morning walk around West Lake, visit Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quan Thanh Temple, then travel to Ha Long Bay for a cruise.

Day 4 – Morning on cruise: Morning activities in Halong Bay, including kayaking and cave exploration, then return to Hanoi.

Day 5 – Travel to and explore Hue: Flight to Danang, then transfer to Hue with a stop at Lang Co beach, and explore Hue’s Citadel in the afternoon.

Day 6 – Hue City Tour: Riverboat journey on the Perfume River, visit Thien Mu Pagoda and Tu Duc tomb, and explore Thuy Bieu village.

Day 7 – Journey to Hoi An with scenic stops: Travel to Hoi An via Hai Van Pass, visit Cham Museum, China Beach, and Marble Mountain, followed by a walking tour in Hoi An.

Day 8 – Leisure and culinary exploration in Hoi An: Free day in Hoi An with an evening food tour to taste local specialties.

Day 9 – Explore the ancient My Son Sanctuary: Visit My Son Sanctuary and spend more time exploring Hoi An, with an optional cooking class.

Day 10 – Travel to Ho Chi Minh City: Flight to Ho Chi Minh City, relax, then visit Cu Chi Tunnels and enjoy a Vespa tour in the evening.

Day 11 – Discover Mekong Delta: Travel to the Mekong Delta, boat journey, visit local workshops, and overnight stay with a local family.

Day 12 – Visit floating market: Boat trip to Cai Be floating market, visit local industries, and return to Ho Chi Minh City.

Day 13 – Discover highlights of Ho Chi Minh City: City tour including Notre Dame Cathedral, General Post Office, Presidential Palace, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh market.

Day 14 – Fly to Siem Reap: Flight to Siem Reap, explore a religious group of temples, and enjoy sunset at Phnom Bakheng.

Day 15 – Explore Angkor Temple Complex: Visit Pre Rup, East Mebon, and Banteay Srey, and explore Angkor Wat.

Day 16 – Discover more of Angkor and local life: Visit Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Sra Srang, Angkor Thom, Tonle Sap Lake, and Siem Reap night market.

Day 17 – Travel to Phnom Penh: Travel by hydrofoil to Phnom Penh, with the rest of the day free to explore the city.

Day 18 – Discover the history and culture of Phnom Penh: Full-day sightseeing including the National Museum, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom, Tuol Sleng, Killing Fields, and Russian market.

Day 19 – Phnom Penh Departure: Transfer to the airport for departure, concluding the tour.

>>> You may need to know: Classic Vietnam and Cambodia 19 Days Tour. If Cambodia is not on your bucket list, why don’t you consider this Essential of Laos and Vietnam in 19 Days.

Must-try Vietnamese Food during 19 Days

Must-try Food during 19 Days in Vietnam

Must-try Food during 19 Days in Vietnam

Pho – Traditional Food in Hanoi

During your journey through Vietnam in 19 days, Pho is an essential culinary experience, especially in its birthplace, Hanoi. This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup combines soft rice noodles and tender slices of beef or chicken in a rich, flavorful broth that’s been perfected over hours. The essence of Pho is its harmonious blend of simplicity and depth, garnished with fresh herbs, green onions, and lime. Each bowl offers a comforting glimpse into Vietnam’s culinary heritage, making it a must-try as you explore the vibrant streets of Hanoi.

Bun Bo Hue – Signature Dish of Central Vietnam

As you venture through Central Vietnam during your exploration, Bun Bo Hue is a dish that stands out with its bold flavors. This spicy noodle soup from Hue is a complex harmony of lemongrass-infused broth, round rice noodles, and tender beef, often accompanied by pork knuckles and unique additions like congealed pig blood. Topped with fresh herbs and banana blossoms, Bun Bo Hue is not just a meal; it’s an aromatic journey through the heart of Central Vietnam’s culinary landscape.

Com Tam – Local Dish of the South

In the southern leg of your adventure to Vietnam in 3 weeks, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City, Com Tam is a dish that embodies the essence of Southern Vietnam’s cuisine. Made from broken rice grains, this humble yet flavorful dish is typically paired with grilled pork, fried egg, and pickled vegetables, all drizzled with a savory fish sauce dressing. Com Tam is a testament to the resourcefulness and richness of Vietnamese culinary culture, offering a unique and satisfying taste experience in the bustling backdrop of Southern Vietnam.

>>> More and more delicious food of Vietnam is waiting for you to discover: Top 30 Popular Vietnamese Dishes Beyond Pho

As your journey to Vietnam in 19 days concludes, you leave with a treasure trove of memories. From Hanoi’s vibrant streets to the tranquil beauty of Ha Long Bay, and from the historical richness of Hue and Hoi An to the lively pulse of Ho Chi Minh City, each destination has left an indelible mark. As you depart, you carry with you a piece of Vietnam, a land that’s as diverse as it is beautiful, as traditional as it is modern, and as welcoming as it is mysterious. Why wait? Plan your trip today and feel free to contact us if you need any help for the best journey.

>>> Read more:

Vietnam is generally safe for solo travelers. However, it’s always wise to follow standard safety precautions like guarding your belongings and being aware of your surroundings.

You can purchase a local SIM card for data and calls. Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, cafes, and restaurants in urban areas.

Respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting temples, remove shoes when entering someone’s home, and always ask permission before taking photos of people.

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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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