The Ultimate 2 Week Vietnam Itinerary
Charming cities, breathtaking landscapes, lovely people and amazing food, Vietnam has it all and more. Discover the best that this diverse country has to offer with my 2 week Vietnam itinerary, from the stunning mountains of Sapa in the north to the bustling Ho Chi Minh City in the south.
2 week Vietnam itinerary – 3 nights: Hanoi
Under its facade of hawkers and scooter horns, you’ll find the true allure of this city. From the old quarter street food stalls and coffee culture to the French colonial buildings and peaceful pagodas, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the chaotic charm of the Vietnamese capital.
Top 3 things to do in Hanoi
1. Temple of Literature
Step off the busy streets and into serenity at this ancient temple. Originally a university, this historical landmark has ties to Hanoi’s top scholars, royalty and elite alike. But today it’s open for everyone to enjoy its peaceful courtyards and traditional architecture.
Location: Quoc Tu Giam Street, Dong Da District
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 7.30 am – 11.30 am & 1.30 pm – 4.30 pm
Cost: VND 10,000 per person
2. Do a free walking tour of the Old Quarter
Hanoi’s old quarter is so full of life and energy, but can be pretty hectic too. So the best way to explore it is with a free walking tour. Highlights of the tour include the Dong Xuan Market, Bach Ma Temple and Long Bien Bridge. Afterwards make sure to stop by at one of the street food vendors for a cold Bia Hoi and some Pho.
Location: Pick up and drop off at your hotel/hostel (if it’s in the Old Quarter)
3. Hoam Kiem Lake
Hoam Kiem Lake is another quiet spot to escape the bustle of the city. Lined with leafy trees, it’s the perfect place to go for a stroll or just sit and relax. From here, you can also visit Jade Island, home to the 18th century Ngoc Son Temple and accessible by the iconic Rising Sun Bridge.
Location: Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem
Opening times: Ngoc Son Temple, 8 am – 6 pm daily
Cost: Ngoc Son Temple, VND 30,000 per person
2 week Vietnam itinerary – 2 nights: Halong Bay
A designated world heritage site, Halong Bay is a must in your 2 week Vietnam itinerary. As you navigate a unique world of endless limestone islands, lagoons, caves and lush rainforests, you’ll soon see this is a landscape is like no other. The best way to visit Halong Bay is with a 1 night or 2 night organised boat tour. There are plenty to choose from in Hanoi, but I would recommend the 2-night tour with Vega Travel where you spend 1 night on the boat and 1 on Cat Ba Island.
Top 3 things to do in Halong Bay
1. Visit a floating fishing village
There are lots of floating villages in Halong Bay, and although there is not too much to see at them, they are still very interesting to visit and discover a unique way of living. This is usually included on most of the Halong Bay tours, so make sure to check the itinerary of yours before you book it.
2. Go Kayaking
Kayaking is one of the top activities to do in the calm waters of Halong Bay. Paddle up and spend an hour or two exploring the lagoons and watery grottos hidden amongst the limestone towers.
3. Climb up Titop Mountain at sunrise
Titop mountain is one of the larger islands in Halong Bay. Climb to the top at sunrise and you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful 360 view of the bay below. There’s also a beach at the bottom you can relax on afterwards. This is also usually included on Halong Bay tours, so again, make sure to check the itinerary first!
The details, Vega Travel
Location: Hanoi office – 24a Hang Bac street, Hoan Kiem district
Opening times: Hanoi office – Daily 8 am – 8 pm
Cost: From VND 2,772,925 per person
Your 2 week Vietnam itinerary – 3 nights: Sapa
Set in the far-flung mountains close to the Chinese border, Sapa is the perfect base from which adventure lovers can explore beautiful landscapes of rice paddies, waterfalls and the cultures of the tiny tribal villages that live there. The cooler climate of this old colonial hill station also offers a welcome respite from the humidity of Hanoi. The best way to get to Sapa is on the night train from Hanoi, therefore you’ll spend 2 of your 3 nights on the train.
Top 3 things to do in Sapa
1. Visit an ethnic minority village
One of the top things to do in the Sapa area is visit one of the tribal villages that surround it. Here you can discover all about their cultural traditions and also buy their colourful handicrafts to help support local tourism. I would recommend Cat Cat Village. It’s within walking distance of the town and there’s a great little hike you can do through the village and the surrounding area.
The details, Cat Cat Village
Opening times: Daily 8 am – 9.45 pm
Cost: VND 70,000 village entry per person
2. Go trekking
There’s pretty much endless hiking trails to explore around Sapa. The best way to do this is to hire a guide, who can show you all the natural wonders the area has to offer. And if you’re looking for a tour guide, then look no further than Sapa Sisters, a social enterprise company that provides work for ethnic minority women.
Sapa Sisters, The details
Location: 11 Fansipan Street, Sapa 33100
Opening times: Monday, Thursday, Friday 7am – 8 pm | Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 7 am – 5.30 pm
Cost: From VND 954,644 per person
3. Stay in a homestay
Skip staying in the town itself and choose one of the homestays in the villages instead. Although we stayed in the town, we spent the day with some friends we’d made on our Halong Bay trip at their homestay. This turned out to be one of the most authentic and relaxing experiences of our whole trip, and we really wished we’d stayed there ourselves!
Your 2 week Vietnam itinerary – 3 nights: Hoi An
A 2 week Vietnam itinerary would not be complete without visiting Hoi An. Once an important Asian port, today, the town is a melting pot of culture, history and world-class cuisine. Wander the wonderfully preserved merchant houses in the old town, hang out with locals and tourists alike on the riverbanks. And when it gets dark, you can enjoy the glow of the hundreds of traditional lanterns that lace and light up the streets.
Top 3 things to do in Hoi An
Living up to its old name as a merchant town, Hoi An is fantastic for shopping. Whether it’s their beautiful lanterns or unique handicrafts, it’s hard to resist the temptation to buy at least a few souvenirs from the town’s many night markets and gift shops.
Eat at Morning Glory
Hoi An is renowned for its foodie scene, and Morning Glory restaurant really is the cream of the crop. The food here is so good that we ended up eating here 4 times in 2 days. They also do a cooking school which we didn’t do but heard great recommendations about!
Location: 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc St, Hoi An
Opening times: Daily 9 am – 10.30 pm
Relax on the beach
If you’re a bit of a beach bum and fancy an afternoon relaxing next to the waves, then head to Cua Dai beach. It’s located just 4 km away from Hoi An town centre and can be easily reached by scooter or bicycle. Although it’s not the most beautiful beach in Vietnam, it’s certainly nice enough for getting your sand and sea fix.
Location: Cam An Ward | Hoi An – Quang Nam
Your 2 week Vietnam itinerary – 3 nights: Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
Ho Chi Minh City is a dramatic mix of old and new. Sleek new high rises shape the skyline of a 21st-century city. Yet the colonial buildings, markets and pagodas that sprawl below tell the story of its vibrant past. So whether you come for the culture or the contemporary, HCMC has something for everyone to enjoy.
Top 3 things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
1. Rooftop bar hopping
As the landscape of HCMC has steadily grown upwards, a diverse scene of rooftop bars has grown too. Hop from ultra modern to colonial chic in a matter of blocks, sip on cocktails and watch the sun go down.
Read my full guide to the best rooftop bars in Ho Chi Minh City
2. Jade Emperor Pagoda
The Jade Emperor Pagoda (or Tortoise Pagoda) is one of the city’s most beautiful temples. Filled with intricate statues, paintings and carvings of both Buddhist and Taoist deities, the temple is peaceful sanctuary that draws in both locals and tourists alike.
Location: 73 Mai Thi Luu, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening times: Daily 8 am – 5 pm
Cost: Free, though donations are welcome
3. Cu Chi Tunnels
An afternoon tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels provides a fascinating insight in the guerrilla warfare of the Vietnam-American war. Located just 45 km out of the city centre, on each tour you can physically explore parts of this 120 km underground tunnel network and the grounds above, as well as uncover the experiences of the Viet Cong soldiers who lived there.
Location: 45km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City
Opening times: Sunday – Friday 7 am – 6 pm | Saturday 7 am – 5 pm
Cost: Dependent on tour operator
Although I could have easily spent way longer in Vietnam, I think that 2 weeks is definitely enough to at least get a taste of this amazing country. Have you visited Vietnam before, if so where did you go? Let me know in the comments below!
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