One Week In Vietnam: Where To Go, What To Do, And Most Importantly Where To Eat

Kristen Konvitz

Forget what you might think you know about Vietnam. Today the country doesn’t resemble how it was depicted in “Apocalypse Now”, “The Deer Hunter”, and “Full Metal Jacket.” This is the Vietnam on the cusp of becoming the jewel of Southeast Asia.
This skinny sliver of land is about two-thirds the size of California and has everything and anything the experienced world traveler’s heart desires. It’s simply intoxicating—complete with two diverse and bustling metropolises, some of the most breathtaking and unusual natural wonders, picture perfect beaches, tons of cultural goodness, and above all, the most tantalizing culinary delights the world has to offer.
Scroll through our guide above on how to spend a week in Vietnam spending time in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City (with a quick cheat sheet below on what you absolutely shouldn’t miss). We’ll forgive you if you never want to come home.
Top 5 Hanoi
1. Get lost in the Old Quarter: Explore the “36 Streets” where each street is named for a specific trade like silk.
2. Food tour with bloggers: Let Van Cong Tu and Mark Lowerson, Hanoi experts, show you how to eat like a local.
3. Hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: Even if you don’t stay here, it’s a perfectly preserved piece of Hanoi history that needs to be seen.
4. Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum: For a window into Vietnam’s Communist past and a view of the beloved leader’s body, make a stop here.
5. Gallery hop: Get a glimpse into the crux of Vietnam’s emerging art scene.
Top 5 Hoi An
1. Visit the Ancient Town: A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that has a plethora of inspired architecture.
2. Taste of Hoi An food tour: A half day immersive experience with Austrian expat Neville Dean will have you falling in love with Hoi An’s food and culture.
3. Experience the Full Moon Festival: Release paper lanterns into the river during this traditional festival when the streets go dark and are devoid of cars.
4. Relax on the beach: Laze out on one of Hoi An’s beaches, Cua Dai or An Bang, and enjoy the fresh seafood being cooked up seaside.
5. Get a suit custom tailored: Have a custom suit (or many suits!) made to order in as little as 24 hours.
Top 5 Ho Chi Minh City
1. Vespa food tour: The perfect way to experience HCMC on the transport method of choice.
2. Cu Chi Tunnels: An eerie step back in time to the Vietnam War.
3. Reunification Palace: Untouched since it was attacked in 1975, this government building is a time capsule of history.
4. Experience café culture: Plop down at one of the city’s thousands of cafes, have a Vietnamese coffee, and take in the atmosphere.
5. War Remnants Museum: See the American War (Vietnam War) through the eyes of the Vietnamese and gain a whole new perspective on how things happened.

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