Hey there! Welcome to JetSetting Fools! You will find our best travel tips for destinations worldwide. Some of the links on this site are Affiliate Links and if you use them to make a purchase, we may earn a small commission. For more information, read our Disclosure Policy.
Vietnam ranks as one of the most fascinating countries in the world. For a small country, it packs a punch with buzzing cities, natural wonders, historic temples, mountain retreats and island beaches. We think 2 weeks in Vietnam is just enough time to experience the country. Visitors, like us, who are intent on getting a sweeping view of Vietnam can use our detailed 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary to plan their trip.
Planning a Trip to Vietnam
How to plan a trip to Vietnam can be mind-boggling – but we have already done all the hard work for you! The diverse country is complex and vibrant, making travel within Vietnam both exciting and challenging. Our concise itinerary covers the highlights of the country, including the most incredible cities, phenomenal food and famous sights. In addition to what to see in Vietnam, in this Vietnam travel blog, we offer our top travel tips, alternative itineraries and heaps of other essential information as well.
Vietnam Itinerary 2 Weeks: Overview
Our 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary swiftly moves through the country from north to south. We start in the lively capital city of Hanoi, then set sail on Halong Bay before traveling south to Central Vietnam to see historic Hoi An and modern Da Nang. Next, we visit the Central Highlands with a stop in Dalat, then on to hustling Ho Chi Minh City. Our two weeks in Vietnam Itinerary ends with a couple of days relaxing seaside on Phu Quoc Island.
Pro Tip: Our Vietnam Itinerary includes the best places in Vietnam to visit in a day-by-day format. At the end of the post, we discuss details about what 2 weeks in Vietnam cost to help travelers best budget their trip.
2 Weeks in Vietnam
Spending two weeks in Vietnam is the perfect opportunity to get an introduction to the country. It allows enough time to see the highlights of the country. However, when deciding how long to travel in Vietnam, visitors should consider a few factors – such as personal interests, total budget and available time.
Planning a Vietnam Itinerary – with Less or More Time
Determining how long to spend in Vietnam is one of the biggest hurdles in planning a trip to the country. We understand that some travelers may spend just 1 week in Vietnam (or less!), while other visitors may have a month to explore the country. Therefore, we offer tips for shorter and longer Vietnam trips at the end of the post, as well as multi-country Southeast Asia trip ideas.
Best Vietnam Itinerary…for Who?
We traveled to the country as a couple, but our Vietnam Itinerary can really be suited to any type of traveler with a few tweaks and adjustments. So, whether you are a Vietnam solo traveler, designing a Vietnam honeymoon itinerary or planning a family trip to Vietnam, our guide is helpful in determining what to see and do!
While the country is well-known as an affordable destination, there are plenty of places to splurge – so travelers backpacking through Vietnam on a rock-bottom budget and those arranging Vietnam luxury travel can use our itinerary as a place to start planning their trip.
Budget backpackers will have no trouble organizing an affordable Vietnam Backpacking Itinerary. The most common Vietnam Backpacking Route roughly follows the same path as our two-week Vietnam Itinerary route. That said, it will be necessary to make a few adjustments to our itinerary – like taking trains or buses, rather than flying between cities and staying in hostels, rather than hotels – to help keep the trip on budget.
What To See in Vietnam: The Best Vietnam Route for a Two-Week Itinerary
Our Vietnam North to South Itinerary is the best way to travel Vietnam in 2 weeks. Traveling Vietnam north to south allows for an easy flowing trip to the country’s top destinations, which was a top priority when we created our itinerary. Our Vietnam route planner features the following cities: Hanoi, Halong Bay (or Ninh Binh), Hoi An (or Da Nang), Dalat, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc Island.
Pro Tip: There are multiple methods that can be used to get between the cities; we used planes, trains, minibuses and private drivers for our Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh Itinerary.
Vietnam: South to North
Travelers arriving to the country in HCMC, rather than Hanoi, can just as easily plan a Vietnam South to North Itinerary. In fact, the best way to travel from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi is to simply reverse our route. Although we prefer to travel North to South, it is not necessary for the overall trip plan.
Pro Tip: When booking flights, we recommend flying into one city and out of the other to minimize backtracking. More on getting to Vietnam and how to travel around Vietnam at the end of the post.
Vietnam Cities to Visit in Our Vietnam Two-Week Itinerary
Before we jump into our day-by-day Vietnam travel plan, we are highlighting each of the destinations included in our route. The cities we feature in our itinerary are the best places to visit in Vietnam – especially on a first-time trip to the country. Additionally, we offer a couple of alternate options that may fit better into certain travelers’ budgets and interests.
Located in Northern Vietnam, Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam (and our favorite city in the country!). The city features a historic Old Quarter, a delectable cuisine and a few of the top Vietnam sights. Both motorbikes and walking vendors fill the shop-lined streets, but a peaceful respite can be found around Hoan Kiem Lake. Pro Tip: For more about Hanoi, read our blog post: Hanoi Itinerary!
Halong Bay, Vietnam (or Ninh Binh)
One of the most striking landscapes in the world, Halong Bay is a must-see in Vietnam. The aqueous landscape is dotted with towering karst mountains, creating a scene that is otherworldly. The best way to experience the natural wonder is on an overnight cruise, but there are day trips from Hanoi for visitors who are short on time. Pro Tip: We highlight the experience in our blog post: 2-Night Halong Bay Cruise.
Alternate Option: Ninh Binh
Often called “Halong Bay on Land,” the scenery in Ninh Binh is characterized by karst mountains, meandering rivers, countryside farms and hidden cave temples. Pro Tip: For more information, read our blog post: Things To Do in Ninh Binh!
Hoi An, Vietnam (or Da Nang)
Hoi An, an ancient and picturesque city, sits in Central Vietnam along the banks of the Thu Bon River not far from the East Vietnam Sea. The preserved Old Town is known for its fading yellow houses, paper lanterns and tailor shops. While there is plenty to see and do in the city, it’s also a good jumping off point for other nearby attractions and day trips. Pro Tip: To get a better idea of what to do, read our blog post: Things To Do in Hoi An.
Alternate Option: Da Nang
Just north of Hoi An is the modern city of Da Nang, which boasts a handful of natural sights, modern marvels and a long stretch of beautiful beaches. Da Nang, a major hub of transportation, is even better suited for day trips and regional exploration. Pro Tip: To get a better sense of the city, read our blog post: Things To Do in Da Nang!
Hoi An or Da Nang? The cities of Hoi An and Da Nang are just 30km apart, but drastically different. We have stayed in both cities and appreciated what each of them has to offer. What we liked best about Hoi An was the historic Old Town and the classic Vietnamese restaurants. The top features of Da Nang are the fabulous beaches and amazing eateries. For day trips, Da Nang is closer to Hue (and the Hai Van Pass) and Ba Na Hills, but Hoi An is where Cham Islands Tours depart. Da Nang serves as the transportation hub, so all flights, trains and buses arrive in the city; visitors going on to Hoi An will have to travel an additional 45 minutes to an hour. Pro Tip: In our itinerary, we spend time in both cities, so travelers just need to choose which city they want to stay in.
Situated in the Central Highlands nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, Dalat is a mountain city that offers cooler weather and stunning scenery. While tucked away high in the mountains, it is still very much a city. Some of the highlights include a cable car ride to the mountaintop pagoda, a city center lake, flower markets and unique architecture. Pro Tip: For more about the city, read our blog post: Things To Do in Dalat.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Fast-paced and fascinating, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. Formerly the capital of South Vietnam and called Saigon, today HCMC offers intriguing sights, a combination of historic and contemporary architecture and an incredible choice of local cuisine and craft beer. Pro Tip: Find specific details in our blog post: Ho Chi Minh Itinerary – coming soon!
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Sitting in the Gulf of Thailand off the southern tip of Vietnam is the country’s best island: Phu Quoc. With miles of sandy shoreline, beachfront resorts, fresh seafood and breathtaking sunsets, Phu Quoc Island is an ideal island escape. Pro Tip: The island is suited to both budget and luxury travelers. For more tips, read our blog post: Things To Do in Phu Quoc.
2-Week Vietnam Itinerary: Day-by-Day
Now that you know where to go in Vietnam, use our detailed Vietnam 2-Week Itinerary to plan your day-by-day adventures. Alternate Vietnam itineraries are below – and all of our other essential tips, like where to stay and how to get around, are at the end of the post.
Save, Pin or Bookmark this Vietnam Travel Blog Post so that you can easily access it as you plan (and during!) your trip!
Day 1 – Arrive in Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi and check in to your hotel (recommended: Amber Hotel). Allow yourself to adjust to the chaotic traffic and constantly honking horns. The initial experience can be a bit of sensory overload, so find a cafe or corner restaurant to soak it all in before setting off on foot to explore. (And, be sure to pay attention when crossing the street!)
Navigate the shop lined lanes of the Old Quarter, go to the temple on the island in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, discover the historic French Quarter and visit St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Pro Tip: Use our Hanoi Walking Tours blog post – and follow Walks 1, 2 and 3 for the top places to see on Day 1.
Weave your way back into the Old Quarter. For dinner, feast on a famous Hanoi meal of Cha Ca fish or get a bowl of steaming pho from Pho Bat Dan. For an after-dinner beer, go to the nearby corner bars at Bat Dan and Phung Hung for a local beer, Bia Hoi, and excellent people watching.
Day 2 – Discover More Hanoi Sights
Venture west of the Old Quarter for another day of superb sightseeing. Take in iconic city sights, including the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the yellow Presidential Palace and the ancient Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Then, walk north to see the dazzling Tran Quoc Temple on West Lake and wander through the Truc Bach District (which is famous for creating two delicious Pho dishes!). Pro Tip: Find details of this route in Walk 4 in our Hanoi Walking Tour blog post.
End the day back in the historic Old Quarter. Go to the night market (if it is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday) and enjoy the pedestrian-only street while perusing vendor’s wares and eating street food. If it is a weekday, choose a restaurant for dinner using our Guide to Hanoi Food blog post.
Day 3 – Learn about Vietnam History
Spend the day immersing yourself in the history and culture of Vietnam. After a morning Vietnamese coffee, visit the Temple of Literature educational complex that was established in the year 1070. Then, see a 15th century Buddhist temple, Quan Su Pagoda.
Next, learn about the POWs that were imprisoned at the Hao Lo Prison during French colonialism and the Vietnam War. Make one more stop at the Vietnam Women’s History Museum to learn about the women’s role in society and the history of the country. Pro Tip: Use Walk 5 in our Hanoi Walking Tour blog post for more information, lunch tips and directions.
In the evening, find a seat on a low plastic stool at the famous Ta Hien Beer Corner. Completely chaotic – but highly entertaining – having a beer (or two!) at the corner is a must-do in the city!
Day 4 – Take a Vietnam Excursion to Halong Bay
On Day 4 of your 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary, take a trip to Halong Bay to see the stunning karst landscape. Board a traditional Junk Boat for a day trip or overnight cruise and set sail into the aqueous wonderland. Packages are all-inclusive (even transport from and back to Hanoi is wrapped into the price). Each cruise itinerary will differ, but in general expect included activities, such as kayaking, hiking, swimming, fishing and karaoke.
Pro Tip: Our Halong Bay Cruise was an absolute highlight of our first trip to Vietnam. We opted for a 2-Night Halong Bay Cruise, which we highly recommend because it allows passengers to delve deeper into the karsts while leaving the crowds behind. To put it simply: the second day was magical. Read all of the details of our 2-Night Halong Bay Cruise for more information. Book your Vietnam excursion now! Reserve your spot on a day trip or book your cruise here!
Alternate Option: Ninh Binh Discovery
Rather than going north to Halong Bay, travelers can opt to go south to Ninh Binh. Marked with karst mountains – but on land, instead of water – the Ninh Binh region is utterly exceptional. We organized our own trip to visit Ninh Binh, but in hindsight we would have seen more by booking a Vietnam day tour – Get the details!
Looking for other Vietnam day trips from Hanoi? Alternative options are an overnight trip to Sapa, Vietnam – Find out more! Or, opt to stay in Hanoi and explore the outskirts of the city by bicycle or go further afield to the Perfume Pagoda.
Day 5 – Understand Vietnam Food
On your last day in Hanoi, indulge in some of the country’s best food – it’s one of the top Vietnam Things To Do! Visitors can plan their own route to top eateries using our Hanoi Food Guide or join a local tour guide for a guided walk to the city’s best food – reserve your spot!
Pro Tip: If you really want to learn about the local cuisine, take a Hanoi Cooking Class, like I did! An all-around phenomenal experience, participants visit a local market, learn about pairing flavors and, together, cook a massive feast…and then eat it!
Day 6 – Transfer to Hoi An in Central Vietnam
On Day 6, take a morning flight to Da Nang and continue to Hoi An by bus or private transport. After getting settled in your accommodations (recommended: Waterfront Hoi An Resort), set out to see the city sights.
Purchase a Hoi An City Pass that allows entry into six of 21 historic attractions within the UNESCO World Heritage city. Sights include temples, assembly halls, communal houses, museums and living houses. As you sightsee, visit the frenzied markets and shops that sell tailored suits.
At dusk, walk along the banks of the river watching the fisherman in their boats. Eat dinner at Mermaid Restaurant, where an order of White Rose is a must. End your day walking along the lantern-strung streets and stop for a Fresh Beer at a local bar. Pro Tip: For more top sightseeing tips, use our guide of Things To Do in Hoi An.
Day 7 – Explore Da Nang
Spend Day 7 in Da Nang seeing the sights and swimming in the sea. Explore the cave-ridden Marble Mountain, Linh Ung Pagoda on Son Tra Peninsula and a handful of attractions in the city center (like Dragon Bridge).
In the afternoon, head for My Khe Beach (better known to many as China Beach) and take a swim in the East Vietnam Sea. End your day sampling the unique Central Vietnam cuisine (which you can read about in our Da Nang Food Guide!). Pro Tip: For details on what to see and do, read our blog post, Top Da Nang Attractions!
Day 8 – Take a Vietnam Day Trip: Cham Islands, Hue or Ba Na Hills
On Day 8, join one of the guided Vietnam day tours to one of the regional destinations – like Cham Islands, Historic Hue or the Ba Na Hills Theme Park.
Just off the coast, the Cham Islands are made up of eight islands, only one of which is inhabited by people. Motorboats race tourists across the nine miles of water for day trips. Itineraries will vary, but should include a quick tour of the town and temples, snorkeling, a grilled lunch on the beach and swimming. Read our post, Cham Islands Day Trip or Book Your Tour!
Ancient Imperial City of Hue
Twice reigning as a capital city, Hue is a fascinating city to visit – the Complex of Hue Monuments are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Day trips from Da Nang and Hoi An include traveling along the famous Hai Van Pass, a Hue Imperial City Walking Tour, an included lunch, the Thien Mu Pagoda, a ride on the Perfume River and visiting the Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh. Find out more in our blog post, Day Trip to Hue – or Reserve Your Spot!
Ba Na Hills Theme Park
A theme park mountain retreat, Ba Na Hills features enough activities for a full day of fun! Cable cars are used to transport guests to the mountaintop, where there is a replica French village, a multi-level arcade and the famous Golden Bridge (a mountainside bridge held by two giant hands). Get the details in our post, Ba Na Hills – or Book Your Tour!
Day 9 – Transfer to Dalat in the Central Highlands
In the morning of Day 9, fly to Dalat and check into your hotel (recommended: Villa Pinkhouse). Savor the cooler mountain temperatures and spend some leisurely time outdoors while sightseeing.
Go to the Truc Lam Pagoda by cable car. Visit the many temples on the expansive grounds and enjoy the serenity of the quiet mountain retreat. Leave the peacefulness and enter a bizarre world at the Hang Nga Crazy House. Half-house/half-hotel, the grounds are like Alice in Wonderland meets Salvador Dali in Candy Land.
Next, head to Xuan Huong Lake and – if time permits – walk along the north side to the Dalat Flower Gardens at the opposite end of the lake. For dinner, wander the Dalat Night Market and try whatever tempts you. Pro Tip: Use our guide of Things To Do in Dalat to plan your time in the city.
Day 10 – Central Highlands Tour
On Day 10, embark on a discovery of the Central Highlands on Mr. Rot’s Secret Tour. Not a usual tour, the day is full of adventure! The trip includes a stop at a cricket farm to test-taste the critters, a guided walk through a small-town market, a peek inside a working silk factory, a hike to the base of a thundering waterfall and an exploration of Vietnam’s countryside. The provided lunch is at Mr. Rot’s childhood house and he makes an introduction to lifelong residents of his village. If Mr. Rot offers, accept his invitation to join him for dinner and karaoke. You won’t regret it!
Pro Tip: Get all the details of this one-day trip in our blog post, Vietnam Central Highlands: Mr. Rot’s Secret Dalat Tour.
Day 11 – Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and get checked in to your hotel (recommended: Boholand). Waste no time, lace up your shoes and head out to explore. Use our Ho Chi Minh City Attractions Walking Tour for an easy, self-guided walk or let a guide lead the way on a private tour. In the evening, enjoy drinks from one of the rooftop bars and dine on top Vietnam street food at the Ben Thanh Street Food Market.
Pro Tip: Read more about what to eat in our blog post, Saigon Food: Ho Chi Minh City Restaurants!
Day 12 – Explore HCMC
On Day 12, continue sightseeing in HCMC District 1. Start by getting a better understanding of the Vietnam War at the War Remnants Museum. In the afternoon, navigate through the east end of District 1 to sights like the Tan Dinh Market and Ngoc Hoang Pagoda. If time allows, hop on a river cruise. In the evening, experience Bui Vien nightlife or sip a locally produced HCMC Craft Beer.
Pro Tip: For more tips on what to see, use our blog post, Things To Do in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 13 – Fly to Phu Quoc Island
For the last stop on your trip, fly to Phu Quoc Island for a Vietnam beach vacation. Escape Vietnam’s chaotic cities and sink your feet into the sand. Relax. Watch the sunset. Listen to the waves.
After getting checked into a Vietnam beach resort (recommended: Phuong Binh Guesthouse), go for a swim and watch the sunset. For dinner, head to the popular night market in Duong Dong and feast on fresh seafood.
Day 14 – Phu Quoc Seaside Relaxation
On the final day of your Vietnam trip, spend time on the beach. In the morning, watch the fishermen come ashore in round boats to sell their catch. Take a long walk along the stretch of uninterrupted beach. Get a seaside massage. Marinade in the ocean and reflect on your time in Vietnam.
Pro Tip: There are sights and activities on Phu Quoc Island. For our top tips, use our blog post, Things To Do in Phu Quoc Island.
Tourist Map of Vietnam
Our Vietnam map highlights the destinations featured in our 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary. We recommend purchasing a Vietnam travel map – like this one on Amazon – prior to your trip!
Vietnam Trip Itinerary Suggestions
We think our suggested itinerary for Vietnam is the perfect way to spend two weeks in the country. However, to help travelers with more (or less!) time, we are sharing a few more of our Vietnam vacation ideas.
Keep in mind, any trip that is less than a week in Vietnam is going to be limited to just one or two destinations. While the country is small, destinations are strewn from north to south – and getting between them (even when flying) takes time. Some visitors may be tempted to cram as many destinations as possible into a short trip, but we think the amount of time spent traveling between the cities could better be used to more deeply explore a single destination.
Vietnam Itinerary 3 Days
Visitors limited on time can make the most of 3 days in Vietnam by sticking to one city. We recommend visiting Hanoi and following the first three days of our 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary.
Vietnam Itinerary 4 Days
With 4 days in Vietnam, we would still recommend visiting only Hanoi, which would allow time for a day trip to Halong Bay. (Basically, follow Days 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the above Vietnam 2-Week Itinerary).
Vietnam Itinerary 5 Days
With 5 days in Vietnam, there is enough time to take in the sights of two destinations. Visitors could plan a Hanoi-Hoi An itinerary or a Hanoi-HCMC Itinerary, depending on interests. The best plan would include 2 days in Hanoi, a travel day to the new destination, and 2 days there.
Conversely, the entire trip could be spent in Hanoi, which would be easy to plan by using our 5-Day Hanoi Itinerary.
Vietnam Itinerary 6 Days
Similar to the above 5-Day Vietnam Itinerary, we would recommend picking just two destinations for 6 days in Vietnam. Spend 3 days in Hanoi, a travel day, then the final two days in the next city.
That said, our ideal trip would be to spend 4 days in Hanoi and then splurge for a 2-Night Halong Bay Cruise.
Vietnam Itinerary 7 Days
With one week in Vietnam, visitors can see more of the country…without feeling rushed. There are numerous ways to spend 7 days in Vietnam – from multiple destinations to deeper city exploration. We think the best way to see Vietnam in a week is to stick to one region and see multiple cities within that region (either on day trips or moving from city to city).
Vietnam Itinerary 1 Week: North, South or Central
One-Week Vietnam vacations are best spent in one region. Use our tips for planning trips to the North, South or Central Vietnam.
North Vietnam Itinerary
Our ideal Northern Vietnam Itinerary would include Hanoi (4 nights), Halong Bay (2 nights) and Ninh Binh (1 night or day trip). Other North Vietnam travel destinations are Sapa and Ha Giang. Visitors who don’t want to plan their own trips can take North Vietnam tours with the reliable tour company, like Intrepid Travel.
South Vietnam Itinerary
A perfect Southern Vietnam itinerary would include Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc and the Mekong River. One-week South Vietnam travel plans could be spent in HCMC (3 nights), a Vietnam river cruise on the Mekong Delta (1 night or day trip) and 3 nights in Phu Quoc. Many South Vietnam tours also include Cambodia (which we discuss in a minute!).
Central Vietnam Itinerary
A trip to Central Vietnam can include multiple destinations, like Hoi An, Da Nang and Hue. The cities are in close proximity, so there is limited travel time, but the destinations are drastically different. For this trip, we would recommend basing yourself in one city (whichever is most appealing to you) and then taking day trips to the other destinations.
Vietnam Itinerary 8 Days
With 8 Days in Vietnam, we would still only split our time between two regions. For example, spend 5 days in Hanoi and either 3 days in Hoi An or 3 days in HCMC.
Vietnam Itinerary 9 Days
We think 9 Days in Vietnam is just enough time to visit 3 regions. Visitors could split their time equally between Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam Itinerary 10 Days
Planning a 10-day Vietnam tour allows for a lot more sightseeing! To create a 10 Days in Vietnam Itinerary, we would recommend visiting Hanoi (4 nights), Hoi An (3 nights) and HCMC (3 nights).
Vietnam 12-Day Itinerary
With 12 days in Vietnam, we would add one more destination – either Dalat in the mountains or Phu Quoc for the beaches. Visitors who want to include Dalat can easily follow the first 12 days of our 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary. Travelers who want to go to Phu Quoc can still use our outline…just skip Dalat (and go directly from Hoi An to HCMC).
Vietnam Itinerary 3 Weeks
Spending three weeks in Vietnam allows travelers to slow down and really enjoy the country. Rather than adding any additional destinations, we would simply add an extra day to all of the stops of our outlined 2 weeks in Vietnam. Therefore, our 3 weeks in Vietnam would look like this: Hanoi (6 nights), Halong Bay (2 nights), Hoi An (4 nights), Dalat (3 nights), Ho Chi Minh City (3 nights), Phu Quoc (3 nights).
Vietnam Itinerary 4 Weeks
Travelers who are lucky enough to have one month in Vietnam have a lot of options. A 1-month Vietnam Itinerary could include more destinations – or more time could be spent in one (or more) of the cities already mentioned.
Because Vietnam is chaotic and can feel overwhelming, we would recommend spending a week to 10 days in the first destination to acclimate to the environment and a longer stay at a beach destination. A sample 4 Weeks in Vietnam Itinerary could look like this: Hanoi (10 nights), Halong Bay (2 nights), Hoi An (4 nights), Dalat (3 nights), HCMC (4 nights) and Phu Quoc (5 nights).
Multi Country Vietnam Itineraries
As we already mentioned, with ample time, visitors can plan trips to multiple countries in Southeast Asia. Below we highlight some popular options.
Vietnam Cambodia Itinerary
A combined Vietnam and Cambodia Itinerary is fairly easy to plan. Both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (which is the closest city to Angkor Wat Temples) are well-connected to HCMC, which is what makes a Vietnam-Cambodia trip so popular. Visitors planning 3 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia can use our above outlined 2 weeks in Vietnam and our One-Week Cambodia Itinerary. Guided Vietnam and Cambodia Tours are also organized by companies, like Intrepid Travel.
Vietnam Cambodia Laos Itinerary
Planning a Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos Tour is also quite simple. An easy flowing route would begin with our above Vietnam Two-Week Trip, then continue to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap using our Cambodia Itinerary and ending in Luang Prabang, Laos. Pro Tip: Use our guide of Things To Do in Luang Prabang for sightseeing tips!
Thailand Laos Cambodia Vietnam Itinerary
With 4 weeks, adding Thailand to the overall trip plan can also be done without much hassle. In fact, from Luang Prabang, travelers can take the Slow Boat on the Mekong to northern Thailand (we did this trip in the reverse from Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang…and it was awesome!).
Visitors who have 6 weeks in Southeast Asia can plan a Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao, Thailand Tour using our guides. Simply follow our 2-week outline for Vietnam, our 1-Week Cambodia Itinerary, our guide of Things To do in Luang Prabang (5 days), our tips for the Slow Boat on the Mekong and our complete 2 Weeks in Thailand Itinerary.
Thailand Vietnam Itinerary
Of course, planning a Thailand-Vietnam tour is also possible from major cities (like Chiang Mai). Use the tips in our 2-Week Thailand Itinerary along with the above plan for Vietnam to create an epic trip.
Vietnam and Laos Itinerary
Visitors only interested in touring Vietnam and Laos may want to reverse our Vietnam 2-Week Trip Plan – as Hanoi is better connected to cities in Laos than HCMC.
Vietnam Tour Package
While we prefer to plan our own trips, there are numerous Vietnam travel packages that are organized by professional tour companies. Visitors can opt for a Vietnam trip package that is all-inclusive or one that provides a Vietnam tour guide, but allows plenty of freedom and flexibility.
Below is a list of some of the most popular Vietnam tour packages.
Vietnam Bike Tours
A Vietnam bicycle tour can be an interesting way to see the country. Find the perfect Vietnam Bike Trip here.
Vietnam Culinary Tours
If you are a traveling foodie, consider joining one of the culinary tours in Vietnam. The 12-Day Vietnam Real Food Adventure with Intrepid Travel roughly follows our 2-Week Vietnam Trip Plan…but is heavily focused on food!
Vietnam Private Tours
Travelers looking for private tours have many to choose from! Find the best Vietnam tours with a private guide here.
Cruises are another way to explore Vietnam. Several major cruise companies offer Vietnam cruises, stopping at cities like HCMC, Hue and Halong Bay.
Vietnam Trip Cost
Determining your Vietnam trip budget is an essential part of planning your trip. While the country is considered a budget destination, travelers can visit on a Backpacking Vietnam Budget or splurge on Vietnam Luxury Vacations. Travelers intent on visiting Vietnam on a budget for 2 weeks can easily do so by making simple money-saving choices.
The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency in Vietnam. At the time of our trip, 1 USD was equal to about 23,000 VND.
Creating a Vietnam Travel Budget
We consider ourselves budget conscious travelers; we don’t travel extravagantly, but we are not broke backpackers, either. Vietnam travel costs fit into the following categories: Flights, Getting Around, Accommodations, Food & Drink, Activities and Travel Insurance.
Flights To Vietnam
Flights often account for the largest portion of Vietnam vacation costs – but, of course, it all depends on where you are flying from. To find the best prices on airfare, we recommend starting your search on SkyScanner.
Getting Around Vietnam
Visitors have a choice when it comes to getting around Vietnam. The fastest and most reliable method of getting between cities is by plane (which is what we prefer – we are JetSetting Fools, after all!); but it is also the most expensive way of traveling around Vietnam. Low-cost carriers, like VietJet and JetStar, offer relatively inexpensive flights. Searching fares on SkyScanner and booking in advance can save money.
Many of the cities are also connected by train and/or bus, which are significantly cheaper ways to get around…however, they take a lot longer. Pro Tip: Using the overnight buses and trains to get between two cities is a good way to roll the cost of accommodations and travel into one price.
There is a wide range of Vietnam accommodations – from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. The places we stayed in Vietnam (which we detail in a minute!) fall somewhere in the middle. All of the rooms we booked were air-conditioned, private rooms with ensuite bathroom and most offered an included breakfast. On average, we spent about $40 USD per night for hotels in Vietnam.
Vietnam Food and Drink
Eating in Vietnam is incredibly affordable…as long as you eat local food. Banh Mi sandwiches and bowls of Pho can cost as little as $1 USD. Simple local meals often cost about $3 USD, but local specialties at sit-down restaurants usually cost more (in the $6-8 USD range). Of course, eating Western food will always be pricey – for good burgers or pizza, expect to pay upwards of $12 USD per main meal.
Drinking can be downright cheap – especially in Hanoi, where they have 50 cent USD Bia Hoi. However, bottled beers cost about $2 USD and Vietnam craft beer (which we love!) costs a lot more at $4-7 USD per pint.
Another factor to consider when planning your Vietnam budget is what activities you will include in your trip. Day trips and entry fees can quickly drive up the cost of your trip. To keep your budget in check, we recommend seeking out cheap Vietnam tours (many group tours only cost $30 USD per person…and are often less expensive than attempting to take the trip on your own without a guide!). Fees to enter most museums are priced at less than $5 USD.
Travel Insurance is essential! While budget travelers may be tempted to give it a pass, travel insurance can be used in a variety of situations – from cancelled flights to lost luggage to illness or injury abroad. Check rates and coverage at World Nomads.
Vietnam Travel Tips
Now that you know where to go, what to see and how to plan your trip budget, we have a few more tips for your trip to Vietnam!
Best Time to Visit Vietnam
Honestly, we don’t think there is a ‘bad’ time to go to Vietnam! If you are planning a trip based on the best Vietnam travel weather…well, that can be tricky. The weather can be vastly different in the north and south – and from the sea to the mountains to the cities.
Generally speaking, visitors who want to see the entire country will likely experience the best weather in the spring or autumn. Summers can be humid with heavy rains, while winters can be cold and grey in the north. That said, our trips to Vietnam have been in the autumn and we have endured extreme high temperatures in Hanoi and downpours in HCMC. We think it is best to prepare for inclement weather conditions and go with the flow!
Vietnam National Holidays
Travel plans can be affected by Vietnam holidays, so it is important to know when they are. Some holidays in Vietnam to be aware of are Tet (one week celebration in January or February), Hung Kings Temple Festival (celebrated the 10th day in the 3rd lunar month), Reunification Day (April 30), Labor Day (May 1) and National Day (Sept 2).
Vietnam Travel Visa
A visa for Vietnam is required for entry into the country. Getting a Vietnam Visa used to be a real hassle – complete with scams. However, the country now allows visitors to obtain an e-Visa, which is incredibly easy. The Vietnam e-Visa costs $25 USD. Use this link to read the details and apply online.
Vietnam Travel Vaccinations
There are no required vaccinations for Vietnam.
How To Get Around Vietnam Cities
We love walking – and think it is the best way to explore any city! However, Vietnam can be hot, humid and rainy, which makes walking a chore. Furthermore, in big cities – like HCMC and Hanoi – sights are not confined to one area. When conditions are not ideal for walking or distances are just too far, we use the Grab Taxi to get around.
Like Uber, Grab Taxis are requested using an app. The rides are typically much cheaper than just hopping into a taxi on the street and with the app it is much easier to inform the driver of your desired destination. Before your trip, download and set up the app so you can use it on arrival.
Where to Stay in Vietnam
Accommodations in Vietnam range from dirt cheap dorm beds to pricey opulent hotel suites…and, in most cases, you get what you pay for. That said, affordable rooms with amenities are available – and we made it our mission to find the best places to stay in Vietnam.
We sought out accommodations that offered private rooms with private bathroom. Air-conditioning and free WiFi were also a necessity – and an included breakfast was a priority. As a bonus, some places offered free transportation either to or from the airport, as well.
One important thing to note about hotels in Vietnam (as well as restaurants and tours) is that it is not uncommon for two (or more!) different hotels to have nearly identical names. Furthermore, one hotel is often referred to y two or more names. It can be confusing. Our best advice to avoid being scammed into going to the wrong hotel is to be sure to have the specific address of the accommodations (especially if transportation is not provided!).
Vietnam Hotels by City
We have visited Hanoi twice, both times staying in the Old Quarter, but in different hotels each time. On our first trip, we stayed at the Serenity Diamond Hotel, which had a great location on the edge of the Old Town, included breakfast and an attentive staff. The hotel has seen major changes since our first stay and still receives rave reviews from fellow travelers. Read the Reviews!
On our second trip, we opted to stay at the newly opened Amber Hotel – which was also fabulous! The clean and spacious rooms featured ice-cold air-con. Breakfast was made-to-order with a choice of Western and traditional Vietnamese dishes. While the hotel is in the heart of the Old Quarter, it is located down a narrow, quiet lane. Best of all, the staff was helpful and friendly. Check prices and availability!
For our overnight cruise on Halong Bay, we sailed with Aclass Cruises. The mid-range boat features small, well-decorated rooms with air-conditioning. However, what we loved best about Aclass was the phenomenal food and the fun staff! Book it now!
In Hoi An we stayed outside of the Old Town in a boutique hotel along the river, Waterfront Hoi An Resort (formerly Sun River Hotel). Top features were the modern, bright rooms, refreshing swimming pool and an incredible included breakfast. Check availability!
When we were in Da Nang, we opted to stay in a serviced apartment rather than a hotel – and it worked perfectly for our stay! Located in a quiet neighborhood just a short walk from the beach, Kua Casa Apartments offer clean, spacious rooms with a well-equipped kitchenette and dining table. Get current rates!
During our trip to Dalat, we stayed in the family-run and affordable Villa Pinkhouse. Situated on the fringe of the city in a garden setting, the hotel features clean rooms with balconies and an amazing staff. Although there is no air-con in the hotel (which we agonized over!), we didn’t need it! Read other traveler reviews!
Ho Chi Minh City
In HCMC, we had a wonderful stay at the Boholand Hostel and Cafe. The boutique hotel (not really a hostel at all) is ideally located on a quiet lane in the city center. The air-conditioned rooms are well-decorated and modern – and there is a rooftop lounge for guests to enjoy. Breakfast is prepared daily by the owner, Ms. Ana, who always has time for a chat with guests! Book Your Room!
For our stay in Phu Quoc, we treated ourselves to a beachfront stay at Phuong Binh House on Long Beach. The hotel offers air-conditioned, ocean-view rooms that are literally steps from the beach and an on-site restaurant where you can dine with your feet in the sand. Although the hotel has been renovated since our stay (now with a pool!), basic rooms are still affordably priced. Book Your Stay!
What to Pack for 2 Weeks in Vietnam
Before you go, don’t forget to pack these necessities! For more tips, check out my full Packing List.
We recommend dressing modestly in Vietnam. Many temples and government sights require clothing that covers shoulders and knees. Loose clothing is best for hot weather and it’s also a good idea to have a wide-brimmed travel hat. Our 2-Week Vietnam Itinerary includes a lot of walking and time on your feet – so make sure to pack shoes that are comfortable; I can wear my Reef Flip Flops all day!
It can rain year-round, so it is best to be prepared with a travel umbrella (which can also provide a little shade on sunny days!) and packable raincoat. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen – as it can cost a bundle in Vietnam!
Vietnam is incredibly photogenic! Rather than using your phone camera to capture the sights, we recommend upgrading to an actual camera (one that has a wrist or neck strap is ideal!). We travel with a Canon Rebel fitted with an everyday 18-135mm lens – and carry a smaller Canon Powershot that easily fits into zippered pockets.
Unfortunately, theft is common in some Vietnam cities. While we have luckily never been victims of petty crime in the country, we do keep our valuables tucked away in zippered compartments of our cross-body bags. I carry a Timbuk2 Messenger Bag, which isn’t designed for travel, but is perfect for deterring pickpockets from getting into my bag! Travelon is a company that features a full line of anti-theft bags.
Eating the delectable food in Vietnam is a must! That said, there is a chance of getting sick from something you eat. We recommend using antibacterial hand gel frequently, drinking bottled water (bring a reusable water bottle with a filter) and packing belly meds, just in case! And, don’t forget to buy Travel Insurance for your trip…just in case!
WiFi is essential when touring Vietnam. We needed WiFi when we were looking for walking directions, ordering a Grab Taxi or searching for restaurants. We use a GlocalMe Mobile WiFi device to stay connected while traveling abroad. The device has a slot for SIM cards, but data packages can also be purchased online (which we love…we can be connected from the moment the plane wheels touch down!). Additionally, we can connect up to 5 devices at a time (which is great for families or small groups) and the GlocalMe Mobile WiFi device doubles as a powerbank, so we can charge our mobiles on the go!
Books About Vietnam
Of course, a guidebook can be helpful when traveling through Vietnam, but we also like to read books (both fiction and non-fiction) about the place we are visiting. Two of our favorite books set in Vietnam that we recommend reading are Catfish and Mandala and Up Country.
We want to know: What would you add to our 2-week Vietnam itinerary? What tips do you have for spending 2 weeks in Vietnam? Tell us in the comments!
Like what you’re reading? Join the journey!
Subscribe to JetSetting Fools and get new blog posts and our quarterly newsletter direct to your inbox:
Pin it! See all of our travel pins on our JetSetting Fools Pinterest Board.