Last updated on April 8th, 2024 at 02:43 pm

Vietnam, a country steeped in history and rich in cultural heritage, offers travelers an unforgettable experience. From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City in the south to the charming capital city of Hanoi in the north, a two-week journey promises to be a whirlwind of adventure, discovery, and awe-inspiring sights. Join us as we embark on an exciting itinerary from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, exploring the diverse landscapes, historical landmarks, and vibrant local cultures along the way. Vietnam offers a 15 day visa exemption for many countries – so here is a packed Vietnam 2 week Itinerary to get the most out of your trip to one of the most vibrant and lush countries in Asia.

Visa Requirements:

For most travelers, a visa was required to enter Vietnam. There were various types of visas, including tourist visas, business visas, and visas for longer stays. These visas could often be obtained from Vietnamese embassies or consulates in the visitor’s home country or through online visa application services. You can apply for Vietnam’s Tourist E-Visa Here. (Takes about 4 business days to receive approval email).

Getting Around & Essential Apps

Ok, this itinerary is based around the taking a combination of trains and buses from the South to the North and can easily be done in reverse.
And download theses apps to make your life much easier:
• Grab – Asia’s equivalent of Uber – super affordable and covers taxi and food delivery.
• Bao Lau – Vietnamese booking based app with best price on trains and buses. You can also the
more international 12go but its slightly more expensive.
• Hostelworld or Booking app- to keep all hostel/ homestay related bookings in one place. • XEcurrency App – keep in the loop with the exchange rate so you don’t get ripped off.

Powered by 12Go system

Day 1-3: Ho Chi Minh City – The Southern Metropolis

Our adventure begins in the heart of the south, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. You’ll definitely hear these names being used interchangeably. Spend your first day immersing yourself in the city’s lively atmosphere, visiting iconic landmarks such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon and the Central Post Office, exhibiting a blend of French colonial architecture and Vietnamese influences.

As the biggest city in Vietnam there is no shortage of things to do in Ho Chi Minh.
While it’s an overwhelming city to hit as your first, it’s good to plunge right in the deep end right? One thing you have to accept is that you’re not going to see everything, but the best thing you can do is hit the streets and soak in the city’s unique food and cafe culture.
Top tip: Grab will be your best friend. Order a motorbike grab, a fun to get right in the centre of it without risking you life navigating the traffic.

Ho Chi Minh City

Must do:
• Cu Chi Tunnels – best to go for the morning tour – historical network of underground tunnels
carved by hand.
• Jade Pagoda – 100 year old temples, way to witness local life and place of religion in
Vietnamese society.
• Take in the sights and smells of Ban Co Market – alternative to the crazy busy Ben Thanh
Market, this small, local market is a perfect glimpse into local life.
• Cafe hop – especially visit Song Doan Cafe to witness the locals socialising over a coffee with
their songbirds perched on the table next to them – a long time tradition in the city.

Must eats:
• For the best pho – Pho Le – there’s a few branches in the city, the best pho in Vietnam in my
• For a tasty bahn mi – Banh Mi Bay Ho – was recommend on Street Food, Netflix, definitely right
on this one.
• For bun thit nuong – Bun Thit Nueong Nguyễn Trung Trực – a food stall selling delicious pork
you can located on Google Maps.
• For broken rice with grilled pork chop – Com Tam Tran Quy Cap – open for decades, locals

Best nightlife spots:
• Pham Ngu Lao – known as backpacker district and best spot to party. Rest your head at:
• Bui Vien Street Hostel

Ho Chi Minh > Da Nang
At the end of Day 3 – equipped with plenty of snacks – jump on the overnight sleeper train to Da Nang, leaving at 19h (remember you can book your ticket at the station or on the Bao Lau app!).

Day 4: Da Nang – Tranquil Beaches

Arriving into Da Nang at midday, you’ll find a slight calmer, laid back version of Ho Chi Mihn. As a fast-growing vibrant city, there’s plenty of things to see and do here.
Top tip: hit the beach as the city has 35km of coastline and similar vibes to Miami Beach in Florida.

Must do:
• Play volley and enjoy a beer at My Khe beach
• Ride up to Marble Mountain and visit the White Lady Buddha statue
• At night – walk across the Dragon Bridge on the Han River.
• If you have the time: visit the Golden Hands Bridge – a famous bridge in the Ba Na Hills just
outside Da Nang, you have to get the cable car from Hoi An Station.

My Khe Beach Da Nang
7. My Khe Beach, Da Nang

Must eats:
• For chicken & rice to die for – Xôi, Bún măng gà bà Viu
• For all vegan and vegetarian goodness – Roots Plant-based Cafe
• For the best coffee – Bamboo Bob Coffee Shop – a social enterprise aimed at bridging the gap
of international and Vietnamese locals, prices are low. Must try: a salted coffee

Best nightlife spots:
• For live music and craft beer selection – Section 3
• A melting pot of locals and westerners – Heaven Bar
• For jazz and good cocktails – The Craftsman Cocktail Bar Rest your head at:
• Lighthouse Da Nang Hostel (best location in An Thuong Quarter)
Da Nang > Hoi An:

After one night in Da Nang, take bus 1 (runs every 20 minutes and is only 20VND) to Hoi An.

Day 5-6 HOI AN – Ancient Towns

Continue your journey to Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This charming ancient town boasts enchanting lantern-lit streets, well-preserved architecture, and a vibrant art scene. Take a leisurely stroll through the Old Town and don’t miss the chance to try local delicacies at street-side food stalls.
There’s nothing you won’t like in this quaint, walkable city.

Must do:
• Take a cooking class with Gina Cookery School.
• Bicycle tours with Heaven and Earth Bicycle Tours – join a bicycle tour through the
countryside of Hoi An with a local.
• Go shopping for a tailored ouffit – no better or cheaper place than Hoi An.
• Take a yoga class at Om Yoga studio which overlooks the rice fields.
• Take a free walking tour.
• Wander around Central Market to witness the hustle and bustle of local life.

Must eats:
• For the best Cao Lay – Trung Bac Restaurant
• For Banh Mi – Banh Mi Phuong.
• Try White Rose Dumplings – only one family in Hoi An holds the recipe to these and supply
they supply to all the restaurants. They’re located on 533 Hai Ba Trung Street but you can try them in any restaurant around Hoi An.

Best nightlife spots:
• Dive Bar – live music, friendly atmosphere.
• Woop Woop Bar – friendly, mix of locals and westerners.
• Market Bar – local inspired cocktails, really good happy hour.

Hoi An > Hue:
On Day 6, you have two options:
Head back to Da Nang in the morning to catch a 3hr train to Hue.
Drive the famous Ha Van Pass. Most motorbike rentals allow you to rent in Hoi An and drop off in Hue. This is a really common thing to do, and they’ll even take your big backpack and drop it off for you.

Hoi An Old Town

Day 7-8: Hue – A Glimpse into Vietnam’s Imperial Past

Travel to Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. Immerse yourself in history as you explore the Imperial City, home to ancient temples, palaces, and stunning gardens. Visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, a seven-story pagoda overlooking the Perfume River, and take a serene boat ride to fully appreciate the city’s picturesque surroundings.

Must do:
• Visit Hue’s Imperial city (now a UNESCO site) – best to go in the morning to avoid the sun.
• Visit Dong Ba Market
• Walk along the Perfume River to Trang TIen Bridge
• Feel adventurous? Visit Hue’s abandoned water park that’s now been reclaimed by nature. • Visit Then Mu Pagoda

Must eats:
• For breakfast try the city’s famous noodle soup Bun Ho Hue.
• For popular Vietnamese dessert – Che at Hue Street Food Night Market. • For Com hen and Che Bap – Com Hen Hoa Dong

Best nightlife spots:
• Go to Hue’s folk music show on board a dragon boat on the river (buy tickets at Toa Kham
Boat Station)
• Pham Ngu Lao street – best street for nightlife.

Rest your head at:
• Hue Happy Homestay • Nana Eco Hostel
Hue > Ninh Binh:

Jump on the train on day 8 at 15h to Ninh Binh, expecting an 11 hrs ride and arriving at 3am. It’s no problem for most hotels and hostels for you to arrive at this time as they’re used to it.

Day 9-10: NINH BINH

Expect a less touristy version of Ha Long Bay but equally as stunning with its limestone formations. The town itself feels small and welcoming. This could be excluded from your Vietnam 2 week Itinerary if your short on time.
Top tip: you should definitely rent a bike here.

Must do:
• Rent a motorbike and spend your day riding around enjoying the green and lush views.
• Take a boat tour and explore several caves – depart frequently throughout the day from Tam
Coc, Trang An, and Linh Coc. Prepared to be impressed by the boat rowers skills of rowing with
their feet!
• Hike up to Mua Cave Viewpoint and get the best pictures from your trip.


Restaurant Trung Tuyết – expect big portions and tasty home-made veggie and vegan Vietnamese food.
• If you’re missing western food – Chookie’s Hideaway
• For best pho – Minh Town Restaurant Father Cooking

Best nightlife spot:
• New Wind Blue Sky Bar – sunset drinks and live music. • Aadi Tam Coc Rooftop Bar – cocktails and sunset spot

Rest your head at:
There’s no shortage of stunning hostels and home stays here but two I recommend are:
• Green Mountain Homestay
• Trang An River View Homestay
• Ninh Binh > Cat Ba (Ha Long):

On Day 9 say goodbye to Ninh Binh and late afternoon, take a Vip 9 Express bus to Cat Ba Island taking only 2hrs.

Day 10-11: HA LONG

Halong Bay Vietnam

Sail through the emerald waters, surrounded by thousands of limestone karsts and islets that seem to float on the surface. Engage in various activities, such as kayaking, swimming, and exploring the mesmerizing caves that dot the bay. Cat Ba Island is the best spot to begin your tour of Ha Long Bay rather than busy and less beautiful Ha Long City. Despite the touristic reputation of Ha Long Bay, it’s definitely worth at least a one day tour visiting this iconic USESCO site.

Must do:
• Lan Ha Bay- Ha Long Bay Boat & Kayak tour with Cat Ba Ventures – an 1-day affordable
tour around $30 that includes visiting a typical floating fishing village, learning about the life of the fish farmers on the bay, lunch on the boat, cruising around the less touristy areas of Lan Ha Bay and Ha Long Bay and a kayak tour through the incredible caves.
• Want a 2-day overnight tour? Check the offers on Incredible Asia Journey website.

Must eats:
• Green Mango Restaurant
• Buddha Belly Vegetarian

Best nightlife spot:
• For Asian karaoke – Karaoke Cat Ba Rose KTV

Rest your head at:
• Bui Vien Street Hostel located on Cat Ba Island.
Cat Ba Island > Hanoi:

After your boat trip, you’ll definitely feel sleepy so take one more night in Cat Ba Island and head to Hoi An the next day. You can take the train to Hanoi, but I’d recommend taking the bus in half the time

Day 12-14: HANOI

Arrive in Hanoi, the captivating capital city that blends old-world charm with modernity. Wander through the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, where the city’s rich history is palpable in the narrow alleys and vibrant markets. Don’t forget to savor delicious street food, such as pho and bun cha, that tantalizes the taste buds.

During your stay, visit the Temple of Literature, a tranquil oasis and the country’s first national university, and pay respects to Vietnam’s beloved leader at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Enjoy the serene beauty of Hoan Kiem Lake, where locals gather for leisurely walks and cultural activities.

Unlike Ho Chi Min, Hanoi is a walkable city and you get around mostly on foot, unless you’re brave enough to take on the crazy traffic. Nothing is like the motorcycle traffic in Hanoi I promise you that.

Must do:
Cafe hop around the French Quarter
Visit the popular ‘Train Street’ – It’s probably the most instagrammed spot in Hanoi, but
definitely worth a visit to sit in the quaint cafe and wait for the train to pass.
Take a tour with Hanoi Free Walking Tours.
For the best massage of your life, head to Omamori Spa, a social enterprise that employs
and help the personal development of blind and visually impaired people.


Must eats:
• For the best bun cha – Hoang’s Vietnamese Restaurant • For tastiest Bahn Mi – Bami 25
• For traditional egg coffee – Cafe Giang and Cafe Dinh

Best nightlife spots:
• Visit Bia Hoi Corner, the intersection between Ta Hien and Luong and sink down a few Bia
Hoi’s (freshly brewed Vietnamese lager) with both locals and westerners.
• Blues Bar – for the best music and cocktails.
• Northern Soul Rooftop Bar – views and craft beer

Summary of a Vietnam 2 week Itinerary

From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the enchanting waters of Halong Bay, this Vietnam 2 week Itinerary from south to north promises an unforgettable experience. Vietnam’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality will undoubtedly leave you with cherished memories. Embrace the charm of ancient towns, immerse yourself in vibrant cultures, and behold the breathtaking beauty of this Southeast Asian gem as you journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. So pack your bags, and get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime! If you have more time, I’d recommend reading my full Vietnam Travel Guide and heading north to ride the iconic four-day Ha Giang Motorbike Loop or to Sapa for trekking.


Join Me As I Document My Travel Adventures Through Asia.

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