vietnam travel 3 weeks Vietnam is a country of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and diverse cuisine. It offers something for every traveler, from the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the serene countryside of Sapa and Mai Chau, from the majestic mountains of Ha Giang and Da Lat to the pristine beaches of Phu Quoc and Nha Trang, from the historical sites of Hue and Hoi An to the modern attractions of Da Nang and Ninh Binh.
If you have three weeks to spare, you can experience the best of Vietnam with this comprehensive itinerary. You will visit the most popular destinations, as well as some hidden gems, and enjoy a variety of activities, such as trekking, kayaking, cycling, cooking, and more. You will also learn about the history, culture, and traditions of this fascinating country, and taste some of the most delicious dishes in the world.
In this guide, you will find everything you need to plan your Vietnam travel 3 weeks adventure, including:
- How to get to Vietnam and around the country
- What to pack and what to wear
- How to budget and save money
- Where to stay and what to eat
- What to see and do in each destination
- How to avoid scams and stay safe
- How to respect the local customs and etiquette
- And much more!
Ready to embark on your Vietnam travel 3 weeks journey? Let’s get started!
How to Get to Vietnam and Around the Country
Depending on where you are coming from, you can fly to Vietnam via one of its three international airports: Noi Bai in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, or Da Nang in Da Nang. You can also enter Vietnam by land from neighboring countries such as China, Laos, or Cambodia.
Once you are in Vietnam, you have several options to get around the country. The most common ones are:
- Train: The train network in Vietnam covers most of the major destinations along the coast, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. It is a comfortable and scenic way to travel, especially if you book a soft sleeper berth. You can also take overnight trains to save time and money on accommodation. However, trains can be slow, delayed, or crowded during peak seasons.
- Bus: Buses are cheap and convenient for traveling within or between cities. You can find buses for almost any route in Vietnam, from local minibuses to luxury coaches. Some buses even offer reclining seats or beds for long-distance trips. However, buses can also be noisy, bumpy, or unsafe due to reckless drivers or poor road conditions.
- Flight: Flying is the fastest and easiest way to travel between distant destinations in Vietnam. There are several domestic airlines that offer frequent and affordable flights within the country. However, flying can also be expensive, unreliable, or environmentally unfriendly compared to other modes of transportation.
- Motorbike: Motorbikes are the most popular and fun way to explore Vietnam. You can rent a motorbike for a day or longer and drive yourself around the country. You can also join a motorbike tour or hire a driver if you are not confident or experienced enough. Motorbikes give you the freedom and flexibility to go anywhere you want at your own pace. However, motorbikes can also be dangerous, stressful, or illegal if you don’t have a valid license or insurance.
The best way to get around Vietnam depends on your preferences, budget, time frame, and destinations. You can mix and match different modes of transportation according to your needs. For example, you can fly from Hanoi to Da Nang, take a train from Da Nang to Hue, take a bus from Hue to Hoi An, rent a motorbike in Hoi An, take another bus from Hoi An to Nha Trang, fly from Nha Trang to Ho Chi Minh City, and so on.
What to Pack and What to Wear
Vietnam has a tropical climate with four distinct seasons: spring (February-April), summer (May-August), autumn (September-November), and winter (December-January). The temperature and rainfall vary depending on the region and altitude. Generally speaking,
- The north is cooler and drier than the south
- The central is hotter and wetter than the north and south
- The highlands are colder and foggier than the lowlands
- In spring (February-April), you should pack light clothes for warm days and jackets or sweaters for cool nights. You should also bring rain gear for occasional showers.
- In summer (May-August), you should pack light clothes for hot days and nights. You should also bring sunscreen,
- In autumn (September-November), you should pack light clothes for warm days and jackets or sweaters for cool nights. You should also bring rain gear for occasional showers.
- In winter (December-January), you should pack warm clothes for cold days and nights. You should also bring hats, gloves, and scarves for the north and highlands.
Besides the seasonal clothes, you should also pack some essentials for your Vietnam travel 3 weeks trip, such as:
- Passport, visa, and travel insurance
- Cash and credit cards
- Phone, charger, and adapter
- Camera, memory card, and battery
- Toiletries and personal hygiene items
- Medications and first aid kit
- Mosquito repellent and anti-diarrhea pills
- Water bottle and snacks
- Backpack and daypack
- Sunglasses and hat
- Swimsuit and towel
- Flip flops and shoes
When it comes to what to wear in Vietnam, you should dress modestly and respectfully. You should avoid revealing or tight clothes, especially when visiting religious or cultural sites. You should also wear comfortable and practical clothes that suit the weather and activities. For example,
- In the cities, you can wear casual clothes such as jeans, t-shirts, dresses, or skirts. You can also wear smart casual clothes if you want to visit some upscale restaurants or bars.
- In the countryside, you can wear sporty clothes such as shorts, leggings, tank tops, or shirts. You can also wear hiking clothes if you want to go trekking or cycling.
- On the beach, you can wear swimsuits, bikinis, or board shorts. You can also wear cover-ups or sarongs if you want to walk around or visit some nearby attractions.
How to Budget and Save Money
Vietnam is a relatively cheap destination for travelers, especially compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. However, the cost of your Vietnam travel 3 weeks trip can vary depending on your travel style, preferences, and destinations. Generally speaking,
- The north is cheaper than the south
- The central is more expensive than the north and south
- The highlands are more affordable than the lowlands
- In the north, you can expect to spend around $20-$30 per day on average
- In the central, you can expect to spend around $30-$40 per day on average
- In the south, you can expect to spend around $40-$50 per day on average
These estimates include accommodation, food, transportation, and activities. Of course, you can spend more or less depending on your choices. For example,
- You can find accommodation for as low as $5 per night in a dorm or as high as $100 per night in a luxury hotel
- You can find food for as low as $1 per meal in a street stall or as high as $20 per meal in a fancy restaurant
- You can find transportation for as low as $1 per ride in a local bus or as high as $50 per ride in a private car
- You can find activities for as low as $5 per entry in a museum or as high as $100 per entry in a theme park
If you want to save money on your Vietnam travel 3 weeks trip, you can follow some of these tips:
- Book your flights and accommodation in advance to get the best deals and discounts
- Travel during the low season (May-June and September-October) to avoid the crowds and the high prices
- Travel by train or bus instead of flying or renting a car to save on transportation costs
- Eat at local restaurants or street stalls instead of western or touristy places to save on food costs
- Bargain with vendors or shop around before buying anything to get the best prices
- Join free or cheap tours or activities instead of expensive ones to save on entertainment costs
- Use free or public wifi instead of buying a sim card or data plan to save on communication costs