Vietnam and Laos in 17 – 20 Days: Suggested Itineraries & Important Travel Tips

Vietnam and Laos in 17 – 20 days trip promises an immersive odyssey infused with a kaleidoscope of experiences. These gems of Southeast Asia offer a harmonious blend of adventure, rich culture, vibrant festivals, exquisite cuisine, and the charm of economical exploration.

In this article, you will find suggested itineraries and the best time to visit Vietnam and Laos, if you have 17, 18, 19, or 20 days of vacation. Let’s discover!

Why Visit Vietnam and Laos?

Wonderful Nature and Adventurous Experience

Embark on thrilling adventures in Vietnam and Laos with treks through the emerald terraces of Sapa, cruises on the enchanting waters of Ha Long Bay, and adrenaline-pumping outdoor escapades in the breathtaking natural landscapes of Vang Vieng.

Kayaking in Vang Vieng

Kayaking in Vang Vieng

Cultural Treasures and Living Heritage

Discover the deep cultural tapestries of Vietnam and Laos by visiting ancient temples, UNESCO World Heritage sites, etc., and engaging in the lives of diverse ethnic communities that reveal century-old traditions and historical treasures.

Festive Vibes and Local Rhythms

Immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of local culture, celebrating Vietnam’s vibrant Tet with dragon dances and lively parades and joining Laos’ Boun Bang Fai, where intricately designed bamboo rockets fill the sky, offering insight into traditional customs.

Colorful lanterns during Tet in Hoi An

Colorful lanterns during Tet in Hoi An

Delicious Local Food

Enjoy the diverse culinary landscapes of Vietnam and Laos, savoring the bold flavors of street food or exploring regional delights hidden in bustling local markets and restaurants.

Budget Travel

Explore the economical side of Vietnam and Laos with great accommodations, efficient local transportation, and a plethora of delicious yet affordable street food options. This ensures a reward trip for budget-conscious adventurers.

Suggested Itineraries and Best Time to Visit Vietnam and Laos

An Overview of Vietnam and Laos in 20 Days

Spirit of Travel

This Vietnam and Laos 20 day trip promises an in-depth exploration of both countries. It covers a host of major attractions, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Vientiane, Vang Vieng, and Luang Prabang. Offering a wide range of experiences, from visits to historical and religious museums to uncovering the mysteries of natural landscapes, to relaxing beach stays, this itinerary guarantees an immersive journey into the heart of these two captivating nations.

If you are yet to explore these countries and want to savor the true essence of Indochina, this itinerary meets your desire. Whether it is a family vacation, a couple’s retreat, or an individual trip, this travel plan is designed to fully immerse you in the vibrant tapestry of Vietnam and Laos.

Itinerary in Brief

An Overview of Vietnam and Laos in 20 days

Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Tour

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Can Tho – Discovery of the Mekong Delta

Day 4: Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang

Day 5: Nha Trang Day Tour

Day 6: Nha Trang island excursion

Day 7: Fly to Hoi An and visit Hoi An Ancient Town

Day 8: Food tour & cooking class in Hoi An

Day 9: Transfer to Hue through Hai Van Pass

Day 10: Hue City tour, visit the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City

Day 11: Fly to Hanoi & watch a water puppet show

Day 12: Hanoi city tour

Day 13: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay

Day 14: Ha Long Bay – Return to Hanoi – Fly to Vientiane

Day 15: Vientiane city tour

Day 16: Transfer to Vang Vieng – Boat trip on the Nam Song River

Day 17: Transfer to Luang Prabang

Day 18: Luang Prabang City tour

Day 19: Boat Trip to Pak Ou Caves & Kuang Si Falls

Day 20: Departure

Best Time to Travel

The best time to go on this tour is spring, from March to April. These months strike a balance, providing favorable conditions for beach experiences in Nha Trang while still providing pleasant weather for exploring cultural sites and urban areas across Vietnam and Laos.

Essentials of Laos and Vietnam in 19 Days

Spirit of Travel

This 19-day tour will introduce you to Laos and southern Vietnam, culminating in a serene beach vacation in Phu Quoc. Discover the wilderness, sacred temples, and rich culture of Laos, and explore the bustling and diverse city of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. However, the highlight of this trip is Phu Quoc, where you spend a third of the trip. Enjoy the stunning beaches and exceptional appeal of the island, which will provide you with a relaxing escape and unforgettable moments during your trip.

This itinerary is ideal for people who want a leisurely vacation blending cultural exploration, natural beauty, and serene relaxation. It is aimed at singles, couples, or families and offers a diverse travel experience, including historical explorations, nature adventures, and peaceful moments on the beach.

Itinerary in Brief

Essentials of Laos and Vietnam in 19 days

Day 1: Arrive in Luang Prabang

Day 2: Luang Prabang day tour

Day 3: Luang Prabang – Nam Ou – Pak Ou

Day 4: Luang Prabang – Xieng Khouang

Day 5: Xieng Khouang – Muang Khoun – Fly to Vientiane

Day 6: Vientiane day tour

Day 7: Vientiane – Pakse – Bolaven Plateau

Day 8: Bolaven Plateau – Champasak

Day 9: Champasak – 4,000 Islands – Pakse

Day 10: Free time in Pakse

Day 11: Pakse – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City Tour

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City – My Tho – Ben Tre – Can Tho

Day 14: Can Tho – Cai Rang – Rach Gia – Boat to Phu Quoc

Day 15: Free time on Phu Quoc Beach

Day 16: Free time on Phu Quoc Beach

Day 17: Free time on Phu Quoc Beach

Day 18: Free time on Phu Quoc Beach

Day 19: Phu Quoc – Ho Chi Minh City – Departure

Best Time to Travel

The ideal time to go on this route to Vietnam and Laos in 19 days is the dry season, from November to March. This period offers pleasant weather to visit Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Pakse, Ho Chi Minh City, and Can Tho. For the Phu Quoc beach holiday, the dry season (November to April) guarantees the best beach experiences, with sunny skies and less rainfall.

>>> Consult the details of this itinerary on Essentials of Laos and Vietnam in 19 Days.

17 Days of Adventure in Northern Vietnam and Laos

Spirit of Travel

This 17-day itinerary through Vietnam and Laos is a thrilling adventure, weaving through captivating landscapes and remote locations. It begins in Hanoi, taking you to explore bustling cities and serene countryside. From the historic charm of Hanoi to cruising the breathtaking Ha Long Bay, trekking through the ethnic communities of Nghia Lo and Mu Cang Chai, and traversing the scenic drives of Dien Bien Phu and Lai Chau, nature and adventure are at the forefront. The journey continues with experiences along the Nam Ou River, interactions with elephant villages, and discoveries in Luang Prabang and Vientiane.

For adventurers, nature lovers, and cultural explorers looking for a trip off the beaten path, this itinerary offers an ideal mix of diverse experiences. It is perfect for a long, immersive vacation where cultural knowledge and appreciation of nature are paramount. It is suitable for individuals, couples, or families looking for a unique and adventurous travel experience, focused on history, rural charm, and a closer connection with nature.

Itinerary in Brief

17 days of adventure in Northern Vietnam and Laos

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi city tour

Day 3: Hanoi – Transfer to Ha Long Bay

Day 4: Ha Long Bay – Return to Hanoi

Day 5: Hanoi – Nghia Lo

Day 6: Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai

Day 7: Mu Cang Chai – Sapa

Day 8: Sapa – Lai Chau

Day 9: Lai Chau – Dien Bien Phu

Day 10: Dien Bien Phu – Muang Khua

Day 11: Muang Khua – Nong Khiaw

Day 12: Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang

Day 13: Luang Prabang city tour & visit Kuang Si waterfalls

Day 14: Luang Prabang – visit the elephant village – Vang Vieng

Day 15: Vang Vieng – Vientiane

Day 16: Vientiane city tour

Day 17: Depart Vientiane

Best Time to Travel

The best time to go on this route, covering Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and mountainous regions in Northern Vietnam and Laos is during the dry season. From October to April, northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Sapa) offers pleasant conditions for city visits and mountain explorations. In Laos (Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, and Vientiane), the ideal period is from November to March, with good weather for nature excursions and city visits. This period ensures comfortable conditions for trekking and adventure-oriented experiences, which promises a more enjoyable and satisfying journey.

>>> Do these three suggestions interest you? For other travel ideas in Vietnam and Laos, please check out our best Vietnam – Laos tours

Essential Travel Tips for Vietnam and Laos in 17 – 20 Days Trip

  • For adventure lovers, discover recommended trekking routes, insider tips for water activities, and expert advice for outdoor exploration in various regions of Vietnam and Laos.
  • Immerse yourself in the historical sites, learn to interact with locals, and discover the various cultural nuances, giving you a better understanding of the rich heritage of both countries.
  • Enjoy an immersion in local festivals, understand the cultural significance of traditions, and learn the etiquette of these lively celebrations.
  • Explore local cuisine with expert suggestions, with a focus on street food experiences, iconic traditional dishes, and bustling markets where travelers can savor authentic flavors.
  • Get valuable tips for traveling on a budget, whether it is finding affordable accommodation, navigating local transportation, mastering the art of bargaining at markets, or employing clever strategies to explore Vietnam and Laos inexpensively.

Discover the exceptional charm of Vietnam and Laos in 17 – 20 days, you will have a chance to uncover a cultural treasure and indulge in many natural wonders. Embrace the culture, explore the landscapes, and savor delicious food. Plan your trip with us now and let yourself be seduced by the beauty of these lands!

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Frequently Asked Question

Traveling from Hanoi (Vietnam) to Luang Prabang (Laos) take about 26 hours by bus and about 1.5 hours by plane. From Hanoi to Vientiane and vice versa, it takes about 25 hours by bus and only 1 hour by plan. Vang Vieng is farther. It takes about 8 – 10 hours to reach here from Hanoi by plane.

17 – 20 days in Vietnam and Laos is just the right amount of time for you to discover both countries in depth. You can spend 7 – 10 days in Laos and the rest amount of time in Vietnam. You even need more time if you want to travel at a leisure pace.

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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. Hi Declan,
      If you stay in Vietnam for less than 45 days, you will not need a visa for tourism or transit. For other regulations on Vietnam visa, please check here or contact us for a private consultation.
      Best regards,
      IDC Travel Team.

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