The Vietnam 16 Day Itinerary: A Journey through Culture, History, and Nature


Vietnam 16 Day Itinerary: Vietnam is a country full of fascinating history, stunning natural landscapes, delicious cuisine, and friendly people. With the Vietnam 16 day itinerary, you can explore some of the best destinations that this Southeast Asian gem has to offer. This itinerary will take you on a journey through Vietnam’s diverse regions and cultural heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, this itinerary has something for everyone. So pack your bags, put on your explorer’s hat, and get ready to discover the beauty of Vietnam.

Follow along on our 16-Day Vietnam travel Itinerary during May with listings of each place that we stayed at. If you have Galapagos Islands on your bucket list, you can also read our guide on Galapagos Islands Itinerary – 7 Days Travel Plan.

Vietnam 16 Day Itinerary

Day 1: San Francisco – Taiwan – Saigon

Lodging: Nhat Ha 1 (District 1)

TPE (Taiwan) has got to be one of our favorite layover spots. What’s not to love about Hello Kitty is everything everywhere, Taiwanese dumplings and enough shopping to launch you into Asian pop star status? We happened to arrive on the very last day of the Soul Saigon Pool Party and dove right in for 50,000 VND per ticket (the electronic music might set you into a catatonic state, but you can’t complain about being in a roof-top pool, having a drink in hand, and climbing the rock wall).


Day 2: Saigon

Lodging: Nhat Ha 1 (District 1)

Meander through the Ben Thanh marketplace and score a pair of knock-off Ray Bans to get your trip started on the right foot. Being friendly but firm will get you far here.


Day 3: Saigon to Vung Tau

Lodging: Lan Rung Resort and Spa

Take a 1.5-hour speedboat from Ho Chi Minh to Vung Tau for 200,000 VND. Purchase your ticket at the dock or try asking your hotel (some have courier services).


Day 4: Vung Tau

Lodging: Lan Rung Resort and Spa

Visit Lan Rung Resort and Spa mid-week to avoid the weekend guest crowd. Do take advantage of their professional spa and opt-in for that much-needed Swedish massage. Nothing says happiness like a fresh durian smoothie poolside. New to durian? Don’t smell it; just eat.


Day 5: Vung Tau

Lodging: Lan Rung Resort and Spa

Climb 811 steps to Tuong Dai Chua Kito Vua (Jesus Statue) to catch a great view of Vung Tau along one of his arms. Don’t be shy about slathering a healthy serving of sunblock and topping it off with a hat. The silver lining can be found in the abundance of stone benches donated by devout worshipers along the entire route.

Vung Tau is one of the best places to learn how to ride a motorbike. Rent a bike or two right outside of the resort, and take in views of the coast, smells of squid drying under the sun, and sounds of merchants calling to one another from their stalls. For the intermediate or advanced riders– head up to the Vung Tau Lighthouse.


Day 6: Vung Tau to Saigon

Lodging: Nhat Ha 1 (District 1)

Take a final motorbike ride and savor the last bite decadent breakfast buffet before departing Vung Tau.

Craving something a little different once you’re back in the big city? Several Japanese restaurants can be found at the intersection of Ly Tu Trong and Truong Dinh. We were delighted to find Murakame’s Udon and Tempura and were even more excited to try their clam broth.


Day 7: Saigon

Lodging: Nhat Ha 1 (District 1)

Take yourself on a walking tour to the Central Post Office, conveniently located in the city center, where you can tack on other famous sites such as the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Opera House. Venture to District 4 to grab dinner; they have a plethora of kick-back eateries at a fraction of the price.


Day 8: Saigon to Dong Hoi

Lodging: Muong Thanh Holiday Quang Binh Hotel

Take a VietJet flight from SGN to VDH (Dong Hoi) to get yourself situated close to Paradise Cave. Spend the evening relaxing at the hotel, and don’t forget to order a few Tiger beers at the pool.


Day 9: Dong Hoi to Hue

Lodging: Orchid Hotel

There’s something to be said about the allure of dark, bat-filled, mysterious caves. We organized a tour with 7km Paradise Adventure Tour for 2,400,000 VND per person, which included transportation to Hue afterward. They only allow one tour group per day, so this certainly makes for an exclusive experience.

Pro tip: These caves have no bathrooms, so do your business beforehand!


Day 10: Hue

Lodging: Orchid Hotel

Hue is jam-packed with historical sites and great food. With only a single day in the city, we opted to visit the Imperial City, paid homage to Thich Quang Duc’s (known for his honorable act of self-immolation to protest Buddhist persecution) at Thien Mu Pagoda, followed by lunch at Les Jardins de la Carambole. Make sure you try infamous Hue dishes such as Banh Khoai, Bun Bo Hue, Banh Loc Goi, and Com Hen. The word “banh” appears quite frequently in the Vietnamese language but manifests itself in so many different ways. But generally speaking, all “banh” dishes are delicious.


Day 11: Hue to Prao

Motorbike tour Hue Adventures in Prao

Try not to crash; within several minutes of departing for a 270km motorbike ride. Like a gang of comrades in Sons of Anarchy, we rode along the Ho Chi Minh road and took in the incredible scenery before stopping in for a night of rest in Prao Town.


Day 12: Prao to Da Nang

Lodging: Diamond Sea Hotel

Vietnam is composed of 54 ethnic groups, so it’s not uncommon to pass by small tribes throughout the country. We stopped for a visit with the Ta Oi (also known as Paco) tribe and continued on toward Da Nang. Our last stop took us up the Hai Van Pass to explore a crumbling bunker used by Americans during the war. Minutes after we set foot into the hotel, a steady rain poured from the sky for several hours. Use these moments as an opportunity for cooking classes, power naps, and slow contemplation.


Day 13: Da Nang

Lodging: Diamond Sea Hotel

Da Nang is home to several quarries, so it’s no surprise that their religious sites boast impressive quantities of stonework. Visit Lady Buddha and get lost in endless carvings and handiwork. Wrap up the evening with a visit to the preserved trading port, Hoi An. It is a beautiful place to visit during sunset but has become quite touristy. Prepare your pockets to pay inflated meal prices and try to get your hands on traditional regional dishes such as Mi Quang, Banh Beo, or Banh Xeo.


Day 14: Da Nang to Saigon

Lodging: Alagon Saigon Hotel and Spa (District 1)

Pay a visit to the Marble Mountains in the early morning before the heat reaches its peak. There are Buddhist grottos of all shapes and sizes, and you can even take a mini adventure detour by climbing the rocks within some of the caves. Vietnam Airlines has multiple, affordable flights flying every one or two hours from DAD (Da Nang) airport to SGN.


Day 15: Saigon

Lodging: Alagon Saigon Hotel and Spa (District 1)

Order up some 333 beers and pull up a chair curbside to people-watch on Bui Vien Street. It’s teeming with nightlife, bars, foreigners, and top-40’s music. Look around on the second-story balconies, and you’ll find the older folks are doing exactly the same thing from their flats.


Day 16: Saigon

Lodging: Alagon Saigon Hotel and Spa (District 1)

If you haven’t tried snails yet, the perfect place exists for you– The Gioi Oc, which literally translates to Snail World. Order up the Oc Len Xao Dua (sea snails in coconut milk) and watch the plate disappear before your very eyes.


Vietnam is fluid and ever-changing, just as the ocean tides do. We encourage you to explore outside of Saigon and sway your feet up in a hammock along a village road. Relish every moment of the breakfast buffet (we have yet to find any other place that offers such a spread), don’t be shy to ask for the price you want in the market, and finish everything that has been put into your bowl. Welcome the brash interactions in the big city– there is nothing quite as liberating as expressing yourself with energy too.

We hope this guide on Vietnam 16 Day Itinerary has helped you a lot. If you have anything to share, please let us know in the comment section.

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