Backpacking in Vietnam for 7 Days

Backpacking in Vietnam is one of the best choices if you’re on a budget.  Vietnam is a land of cultural complexities  which makes it more exotic and compelling to travellers. We got our seat sale round trip tickets (which costs PHP 4,390/person), the next thing we did was to research how to maximize our stay for seven days. Since it’s generally split into two regions and we want to hit both, we did a compressed version of the usual Vietnam backpacking trip. This involves a lot of fly-in’s and out’s to save time instead of traveling by land.

Getting Around

Getting around Vietnam is mainly via motorbikes and taxi. For the most part, we just walked around as we just want to roam around and cut cost too. Sometimes, we take the taxi or Grab if it’s a few kilometers away. Be careful in taking taxis because some will not give you a change, also with Grab some drivers will ask you to cancel for a “certain road emergency”.

To get to other provinces, you can take a sleeper train or a bus, but to save on time we preferred to travel by plane since we only have limited time to explore. We booked our flights using different airline companies such as Jetstar, Air Asia, and VietJet. We also booked a train via

Trip Highlights

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is the start-off point for most travelers. You can take a sleeper bus to Cambodia or explore the whole Southern part of Vietnam. It’s your typical Southeast Asian city and you don’t have to spend more than two days to explore. The night life is crazy, you’ll definitely don’t want to miss it.

What To Do/Visit:

War Remnants Museum

First on the list is to educate ourselves with Vietnam’s history, especially what happened during the war. It helped me understand what Vietnam is today.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Independence Palace

It’s a landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as the Reunification Palace, is the site of the end of Vietnam War. We weren’t able to come inside since it was closed that day.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

Bacpacking in Vietnam

Saigon Central Post Office

Backpacking in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City Hall

Backpacking in Vietnam

Saigon City Opera House

What/Where To Eat:

Pho and Banh Mi

Vietnamese food staple, you shouldn’t miss eating both. It’s so good, best paired with your Iced Vietnamese Coffee!

Ca Phe Sua Da

Don’t forget to get a nice cup of cold Vietnamese coffee by the streets. You can get it for VND 15,000 (PHP 35).

Dau Homemade

We made new friends in Vietnam and brought us here. We got the Bun Dau Mam Tom, it’s a meal set which includes Vietnamese shrimp paste noodle. It’s really, really and surprisingly good! I don’t mind the smell, Filipinos love shrimp paste. I’m actually craving as of writing.

Side Story:

We went to Vietnam back in 2014 and made a friend, Tei. So when we went to Vietnam, we decided to meet her and she tagged along her cousin Hayley! We all had a great time partying and had dinner also on our last day in Ho Chi Minh City. These girls are just awesome! They also brought us “pasalubong” called Banh Pia Durian Mung Bean Cake, it’s a Durian Hopia and we love it so much!

Backpacking in Vietnam

Where To Stay in Ho Chi Minh City:

Hideout Hostels 275-281 Phạm Ngũ Lão, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

6-Bed Mixed Dormitory Room

• VND 183,700 (PHP 421) per person, per night; free breakfast + two free beers at night!


Hanoi serves a great destination to visit the northern part of Vietnam. What I like most about Hanoi is it’s interesting mix off old and modern, more like a vintage city with interesting sights and a vibrant city life.

What To Do/Visit:

St. Joseph’s Cathedral

Backpacking in Vietnam

Hanoi Old Quarter

It’s the heart of Hanoi where you can find alleys and street markets selling clothes, fabric, food, and a lot more.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Hoan Kiem Lake

Backpacking in Vietnam

Ngoc Son Temple

The Hanoi Opera House is a landmark of Hanoi located in the French Quarter.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Hanoi Opera House

The Hanoi Opera House is a landmark of Hanoi located in the French Quarter.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

It’s one of the most visited attractions in Hanoi situated in Ba Dinh Square. It’s the final resting place of Ho Chi Minh “Uncle Ho”, the most iconic and popular leader in Vietnam. Security is very tight and all visitors should come in a proper dress code.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Museum

This museum the works and the life of Ho Chi Minh and has exhibits of Vietnam’s revolutionary struggle.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a Temple of Confucius in Hanoi. I was so amazed by its architecture and a truly must visit when in Hanoi.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Bach Ma Temple

If you intend to visit just one temple, then Bach Ma Temple should be the one. It’s the oldest temple in the city.

What/Where To Eat:

Banh Canh Ghe

This place serves thick crab noodle soup with a cube of pig’s blood. I enjoyed it so much especially the thick and rich crab soup.

Backpacking in Vietnam

Quán gốc Đa

If you want to have a taste of Hanoi’s street food then this should be on the list. They serve a lot of them and it’s very cheap. The location is just near St. Joseph’s Cathedral, nestled under a tree. 🙂

Where To Stay in Hanoi:

See you at Lily’s 16 Ngo Huyen Street in the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam

8-Bed Mixed Dormitory Room

• VND 145,000 (PHP 331) per person, per night; free breakfast

Halong Bay

When you’re in the Northern part of Vietnam, it’s really a must to drop by and experience Halong Bay to witness this UNESCO World Heritage Site. This might be similar to the Philippines’ El Nido in Palawan (I haven’t been there, such a shame!) as most people would say but I’m grateful to visit this first (saving the best for last? *wink*). This is truly a gem! My beau and I would always say “Halong Bay is the dream”.

Yes, this was a dream come true! We wanted to have an overnight cruise in this majestic place so we had to cut off some budget for the other itinerary to make sure we had enough for this. We were able to sail around Halong Bay for 2 days and 1 night with L’Azalee Cruises.

While on the cruise, the team has prepared a lot of activities such as fruit and vegetable carving 101, fishing and shrimping, a tour of the Pearl Farm and hiking/swimming on the next day. Our tour guide, Quang, was the best! He was so funny and very accommodating. You guys, please say hi to us from the Philippines!

Backpacking in Vietnam

What To Do/Visit:

Halong Bay Overnight Cruise (L’Azalee Cruises)

Where To Stay in Halong Bay:

L’Azalee Cruises

2D1N Deluxe Double Room

• USD 195 (PHP 10,285) for two; lunch, dinner, breakfast inclusive

• USD 30 (PHP 1,550) per person; limousine bus round trip transfer from Old Quarters to Halong Bay (optional, but highly recommended)

Da Nang

Da Nang is famous for its beaches. However, we weren’t had much time to explore. We just spent less than 12 hours here, passed by, since we found out the cheapest way to go to Hue is to fly in from Hanoi to Da Nang and take a train going to Hue.

What To Do/Visit:

Halong Bay Overnight

Where To Stay in Da Nang:

Fedora Hostel 294/9 Dien Bien Phu, Da Nang, Hai Chau, Da Nang, Vietnam

Double Room

• VND 250,000 (PHP 572) for two, per night; free breakfast


Hue is the former Imperial capital of Vietnam. Hue is calm and peaceful than in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. If you want to have a truly relaxing travel experience, this is definitely a must-visit city. When we got here, it was raining all day and was really cold (talk about 14°C, and I got clothes meant for 28°C to 32°C). We also got around a bit late in the afternoon so we only had time to visit the Citadel since we’ll fly out early the next day.

A piece of history from the Nguyen Dynasty. Braving the 18° too. #camilexplores 🇻🇳

Backpacking in Vietnam

What To Do/Visit:

Citadel (Hue Imperial City of Nguyen Dynasty)

This complex was the residence of the Nguyen Dynasty until 1945. You can still see its majestic beauty and still gives you that royal era vibe in the remaining ruins despite having it badly damaged during the Vietnam War. You’ll find royal tombs, pagodas, and a lot more. We wish they could’ve restored this UNESCO World Heritage Site a lot better.

What/Where To Eat:

HANH Local Food Restaurant 

Hue is known for having simple yet sophisticated dishes. We were very happy we made a side-trip here to experience this! We were too hungry to take photos so sorry!


Hue is home to the famous Bon Bo Hue – it’s very own Beef Noodle Soup. Just ask the locals and they’ll let you know where is the best one. We just ate ours like the “Pares” style in the Philippines. It was so cold when we got here, so this will help you get warm!  It’s made with noodles, pork and beef bones, sliced brisket, crab, shrimp paste, lemongrass and a cube of pig’s blood, yum!

Where To Stay:

Everhome Hostel 16/154 Ba Trieu Street, Hue City, Hue, Vietnam

Standard Double

• VND 265,000 (PHP 607) for two, per night; free breakfast


The Vietnamese Dong allows you to feel like a millionaire. 1 PHP is equivalent to around 437 VND. Street food are practically cheap. Just a tip, better ask your hostel personnel about the common prices as some vendors tend to add a little if they sense you’re a foreigner in their country. Also for this trip, we did a lot of walking. When I say a lot, that means it could go over a kilometer! We were insanely trying to explore and save up at the same time. No worries if you don’t wanna wander around, there’s always Grab Car and Bike take you around.

Also, try to balance your expenses when doing your budget. Splurge on the necessary and tone down with the basics. Opt for decent hostel rooms not fancy ones, and select places near your area of visit. In our actual expense breakdown, we did not include the budget for food but we had PHP 8,000 combined budget for it.

There is no greater feeling than being able to discover a country with an interesting history and great regional diversity. There is so much to see! My best advice is to make sure you give yourself enough time to see all of the countries. Hope this blog helped you out! Let me know in the comments section about your thoughts!


This is an all-expense paid DIY backpacking trip. All thoughts and experience stated in this post are entirely my own.

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