Ultimate 2 Week Vietnam Itinerary: Everything You Need to Know for 14 Days in Vietnam

by - May 15, 2020


Vietnam, easily the most beautiful country in the world and a place I just can’t get enough of! And even after living in this gorgeous country for the past 2 years it still offers up pure magic. The people, the food, the landscape, there’s always something new and exciting to do, eat and see. From the bustling motorbike filled streets of downtown Ho Chi Minh City, to the untouched islets and towering peaks of Ha Long Bay, to the historical and cultural attractions of Hoi An’s ancient town, to Sapa’s rice terraces fixed into steep hillsides ... this country should undoubtedly be on every traveller’s radar.

Having spent a ton of time in Vietnam over the past couple of years I know this country like the back of my hand, which is why this 2 Week Vietnam Itinerary is the only guide you’ll need!


2 Week Vietnam Itinerary

Here is an overview of an ideal 2 Week Vietnam Itinerary with my recommendations of places to visit:


Vietnam Itinerary - Day 1, 2 & 3
Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, one of the most vibrant and bustling cities in the world and what I’ve called home for the past 2 years. I just can’t get enough of this gorgeous place. And although I agree that living in Saigon is better than visiting it, there is an unparalleled vibe that this city can offer visitors, if they do it right.

Ho Chi Minh City is no doubt all about eating. I’m talking street food, smoothie stalls, high end Vietnamese cuisine, banh mi stands, brunching, lunching, you name it. The coffee scene is also undeniable with tons of rustic cafes scattered throughout the city. Grab a drink down Bui Vien and enjoy the hustle and bustle of this backpacker street and be sure to check out the War Remnants Museum.

But my number one piece of advice would be to get lost and sweaty in this city. Walk around and lose your way through all of the little Saigonese alleys!
How to Get to Ho Chi Minh City:

The most convenient way to get from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to downtown Ho Chi Minh City upon arrival will be to book a taxi through the Grab app (Vietnam’s version of Uber). This is definitely the best and most inexpensive way to get to where you need to be.

First things first, you’ll need to buy a SIM card. They cost about $10 USD (VND 200 000₫ or 200k) outside the international terminal. Download the Grab App and quickly set up your account. Then, like Uber, book a car to your accommodation. You can pay the driver in cash which is nice if you don’t feel like setting up your credit card (they will only accept Vietnamese Dong so make sure you have exchanged some).

Although, this may seem pretty time consuming when you first land it will set you up nicely for the rest of your trip as you’ll constantly be using this app in Vietnam.
What to Do in Ho Chi Minh City:




Ho Chi Minh City Sight Seeing Checklist: 


  • Ben Thanh Market and Street Food Market
  • Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
  • Saigon Central Post Office
  • War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City Opera House
  • Tan Dinh Church (pink church)

Check out My 10 Favourite Street Foods in Ho Chi Minh City for all that Vietnamese deliciousness!

Best Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Vintage Emporium (Mediterranean)
  • Secret Cottage Cafe & Dining (Vietnamese)
  • Bandido (Mexican)
  • Vo Roof Garden (Vietnamese)
  • Quan Bui and Quan Bui Garden (Vietnamese)
  • Pizza 4P’s (Japanese-Italian)
  • Tomatito (Spanish)
  • Cafe Marcel (French Fusion)

Best Cafes in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Cong Ca Phe
  • Banana Mama
  • Café 81
  • Studio Coffee Hoang Thi
  • Nho Cafe
  • The Old Compass Cafe
  • Mocking Bird

Best Bars in
Ho Chi Minh City:


  • Layla
  • Social Club
  • The Deck
  • The View
  • Apt 852
  • Snuffbox
The 100 Year Old Alley in Ho Chi Minh City's District 5
Bui Vien in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1
The Pink Church in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1



Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City:

The Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint is perfectly located directly downtown in District 1. It has a great rooftop pool, hotel bar, gym and a delicious breakfast buffet every morning. The rooms are spacious, sleek and come equipped with air conditioning, wifi and room service which are sure to make this a super comfortable stay.

Swimming pool [outdoor]


Mid Range: Bare Gallery Boutique Stays 

This stylish boutique accommodation is right downtown and will cost you less than $50 a night. Seriously a steal. Each room features a balcony, fully equipped kitchen, fireplace, seating area, wifi and air conditioning.

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The Dorm Saigon is arguably the best budget accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City. Ideally set in the middle of the city, The Dorm Saigon offers air conditioned rooms, a shared lounge, free wifi and a garden. There are dorm rooms, double rooms and single rooms available for as little as $11.

1 Person in 4-Bed Dormitory - Mixed

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN HO CHI MINH CITY SEARCH ON AGODA

Vietnam Itinerary - Day 4 & 5
Da Nang

Da Nang’s tranquil beaches, clear blue waters and verdant national parks are, like me, a sun-seeker’s paradise. Da Nang is known as the tourist capital of South Central Vietnam, which is made totally obvious as soon as you step off the plane. Aside from being a lush beach destination it’s also home to the Vietnam Golden Bridge, also known as the famous Giant Hand Bridge. If you plan to check out the Giant Hand Bridge you’ll want to set aside your second day here to drive out to Ba Na Hills amusement park. Going in the morning as early as possible will help you avoid the massive crowds that usually linger around and it will also give you all day to enjoy the park.


What to Do in Da Nang:

  • Relax and catch sunset on My Khe Beach
  • Climb Marble Mountain for some spectacular views
  • Watch the Dragon Bridge breathe fire and water during weekends from 9:00pm onward
  • Eat Da Nang’s original dish Mi Quang at Mi Quang Ba Mua
  • Spend a day at Ba Na Hills Amusement Park to check out the Golden Hand Bridge
Best Restaurants in Da Nang:


  • Fatfish Da Nang (International)
  • Mi Quang Ba Mua (Vietnamese)
  • Madame Lan’s Restaurant Da Nang (Vietnamese)
  • Pizza 4P’s (Japanse-Italian)
  • Waterfront Restaurant & Bar (International Fusion)


Best Cafes in Da Nang:

  • Golem Coffee
  • Hide Out Café
  • Simple Man Coffee Bar
  • 43 Factory
  • Cong Ca Phe
Best Bars in Da Nang:

  • Waterfront
  • Oasis Tapas Bar
  • Simple Man Coffee Bar
An Bang Beach in Da Nang
Where to Stay in Da Nang:

This beautiful beachfront hotel is only 150m from My Khe Beach. Awesome! It also comes equipped with spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, wifi, air conditioning and a continental or buffet breakfast.

Bedroom


For just under USD $50 you can get a gorgeous beach front property set in the heart of Da Nang City. You can relax in their hot tub, get steamy in the steam room or go for a dip in their swimming pool. The rooms are equipped with wifi and air conditioning making for a very relaxing stay.

Premium River View King Non-Smoking - Room plan



For as little as $10 USD you can book yourself a bed in The Glomad's dormitory or upgrade to a private room. This gorgeous hotel on a budget has a rooftop pool and is right around the corner from the beach. I had a fantastic time during my stay at the Glomad. I especially loved the rooftop pool and bar as well as the delicious breakfast served every morning. The room was extremely chic and comfortable for my friend and I!

Deluxe Double with Window


FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN DA NANG SEARCH ON AGODA



Vietnam Itinerary - Day 6 & 7
Hoi An
Just 45 minutes from Da Nang, Ancient Town Hoi An is perfectly frozen in time with a cafe culture to make any hipster let their man bun down. The narrow alleys interlaced with the two-story shophouses bustling with restaurants, cafes and leather shops make Hoi An an absolute must on everyone’s itinerary! Although a lot of people say to just day trip out to Hoi An from Da Nang, I think you definitely need to stay at least one or two nights in this gorgeous little city! It’s my favourite place in Vietnam and the perfect place to wander aimlessly and enjoy an ice cold cà phê sữa đá! Hoi An is all about custom clothing, tailored leather bags and personalized footwear so be sure to visit the local shops.



What to Do in Hoi An:


  • Ride a bike through the weaving streets of Ancient Town
  • Enjoy at coffee at some of Hoi An’s Cutest Cafes
  • Take a night time boat ride and release a lantern into the river for good luck
  • Have shoes made at Bi 99 amazing quality and ready the next day
  • Check out Hoi An's bustling night markets 
  • Eat Hoi An’s regional dishes Cao Lao and White Rose dumplings
  • Cross the Japanese covered bridge
  • Take a cooking class with Thuan Tinh Island - Cooking Tour

Best Restaurants in Hoi An:

  • Morning Glory (Vietnamese)
  • Secret Garden (Vietnamese)
  • Mango Mango (Vietnmaese)
  • Nostalife (Vietnamese)
  • Red Bean Restaurant (Vietnamese Australian)
  • Ty Cao Lau (Vietnamese Street Food)
  • Banh Mi Phuong (Vietnamese Street Food)

Best Cafes in Hoi An:


Best Bars in Hoi An: 

  • The Shamrock Irish Pub
  • Mango Rooms
  • Soul Kitchen and Soul Beach
  • Hoi An Brewery
Faifo Coffee in Hoi An
Canals of Hoi An
Ancient Town Hoi An



Where to Stay in Hoi An:


The Silk Sense Hoi An River Resort is a perfectly located resort and spa set in the middle of Hoi An. With a fitness center, garden, outdoor pool, spa, restaurant and a 24/7 front desk, you almost wouldn't have to leave. They provide bicycles free for use so you can venture out into beautiful Ancient Town!

Deluxe Pool View Twin - Bed


Mid Range: The Mansion Hoi An
This may just be the most instagrammable place to stay in all of Vietnam! For around $50 USD per night you can curl up in this cute little boutique hotel with all the fixings. Not only is the outside gorgeous, but each room is unique to its own and perfectly placed to make you feel right at home.

Gallery of this property



One of the best chill-out-hostels in town. Hoi An Love Ly runs for about $10 USD a night and is only a 2 minute walk to the old town. They offer up free breakfast, wifi, all day coffee and tea and even free beer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday! 


Standard Twin Room


FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN HOI AN SEARCH ON AGODA



Vietnam Itinerary - Day 8

Hanoi

Flying into Hanoi from Da Nang will be the official start to your Northern Vietnamese itinerary. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, swarming with motorbikes, fruit sellers, the home of egg-coffee, more motorbikes and endless choices of delicious street food. Its old town is beautifully  preserved and holds that traditional Vietnamese atmosphere we all crave. Chipped yellow walls and stunning temples are found on every corner and the tiny alleyways are perfect for getting lost in. Hanoi will instantly absorb you into Vietnamese culture and trust me you won’t want to leave.


What to Do in Hanoi:
  • Take a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Wander through the Old Quarter
  • Try the O.G. famous egg coffee at Giang Cafe
  • Admire Tran Quoc Pagoda
  • Eat some Bun Cha at Bun Cha Nem Chua Be Dac Kim
  • Check out train street
  • Visit the Temple of Literature
  • Take a stroll past the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum or take a look inside

Best Restaurants in Hanoi:

  • The Hanoi Social Club (Mediterranean)
  • Pizza 4P’s (Japanese Italian)
  • Bun Cha Ta (Vietnamese)
  • Home Hanoi Restaurant (Vietnamese)
  • Essence Restaurant Hanoi (Vietnamese American)
  • Bun Bo Nam Bo 67 Hang Dieu Street (Vietnamese)
  • The Hung Snake Restaurant (if you want to try something a little more out there)


Best Cafes in Hanoi:

  • Giang Cafe
  • The Note Cafe
  • Tranquil Books & Coffee
  • Blackbird Coffee Chan Cam
  • Cong Caphe


Best Bars in Hanoi:
  • Grab a table in the Bia Hoi Junction
  • The Atlas - Beer Collector
  • Mad Botanist- The Gin Specialist
  • MK Rooftop Bar & Restaurant
  • Legend Beer Hanoi


Train Street in Hanoi
 Hanoi
The Note Coffee in Hanoi



Where to Stay in Hanoi:


This luxurious downtown hotel has 2 on-site restaurants, 3 bars, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center and spa for guests. You will definitely feel the luxury of this gorgeous contemporary accommodation as soon as you step through its doors.

View



I loved my stay here so much I’ve been back 3 times since! Situated in the heart of Hoan Kiem District the Hanoi Graceful Hotel is a beautiful accommodation for under $50 USD. The rooms are newly renovated and come with wifi, breakfast and the loveliest staff willing to help you in any way possible.

View



I’ve also loved my stays at Old Quarter View Hanoi Hostel. Their dorm rooms are clean, air conditioned and typically go for around USD $10 per night. Plus, they also offer free welcome drink on your first night and they’ve got free beer at their happy hour every evening.

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FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN HANOI SEARCH ON AGODA




Vietnam Itinerary - Day 9 & 10.5 

Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful places in the world, it’s straight out of a movie and neeeeeds to be at the top of everyone’s Vietnam bucket list. The best way to get to Ha Long City and experience all things Ha Long Bay is through booking a 1-night-2-day cruise from Hanoi. This will guarantee you a transfer to and from your hotel in Hanoi, kayaking through the limestones and will allow you to get up close and personal with Ha Long Bay’s beauty! Although this might not seem like a very long time to spend in such a gorgeous place, it is more than enough as the tours typically pack your days full, letting you see as much as possible! It was more than enough time for me.

Make sure to confirm a transfer with whichever company you decide to go with! You shouldn't have to pay extra for a transfer to and from Ha Long Bay, so if for some reason it's not included try calling them or emailing them directly.


What Cruise to Choose in Ha Long Bay:

Here are 3 companies I’ve taken on a 1-night-2-day cruise through the bay. Each one was similar to the next and they all had a great guide, clean rooms, incredible food and amazing activities. I would totally go on any one of these cruises again!

Ti Top Mountain in Ha Long Bay
Oriental Sails in Ha Long Bay
Kayaking with Pelican Cruises

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN HA LONG BAY SEARCH ON AGODA




Vietnam Itinerary - Day 10.5 

Hanoi

After your Ha Long Bay cruise is finished you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel in Hanoi around 4:00pm. Personally, I would just book the same hotel as before the cruise just to make the transition to and from Ha Long Bay smoother. Your transfer home will drop you off around 4:00pm which gives you plenty of time to drop your belongings off and head out for some dinner and adventuring around Hanoi. Take the evening to explore some more of Hanoi before getting ready to leave for Ninh Binh the next morning.





Vietnam Itinerary - Day 11, 12 & 13

 Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh gives you all those quintessential Vietnam vibes you've dreamt about. In the province of Ninh Binh you’ll want to stay in Tam Coc village in order to get those Vietnamese countryside vibes. This is where you get to see the true beauty of Vietnam for miles upon miles and to be honest Tam Coc  just can't be beat, simple as that. 


How to get to Ninh Binh From Hanoi:

The best way to get to Ninh Binh is through booking a bus or private transfer. You can hop on one of the many buses that leaves daily. Or your hotel in Hanoi will be able to help you book a private transfer in advance. One word of advice is to book your transportation to Ninh Binh/Tam Coc while you're in Hanoi. Booking online only seems to be more expensive and with so many buses going to and from, you're bound to find a better deal just by asking the concierge at your hotel, guesthouse or hostel!



What to Do in Ninh Binh: 

  • Visit the Bich Dong Pagoda
  • Climb the Mua Caves to get those breathtaking views over Tam Coc
  • Take a river cruise through Trang An
  • Relax at Chookie's Beer Garden
  • Visit Southeast Asia's Largest Buddhist Complex Bai Dinh Pagoda
  • See the beautiful Thung Nham Bird Park 
  • Take a stroll through Tam Coc Village

Best Restaurants in Tam Coc:

  • Chookies Beer Garden (American Vietnamese)
  • Restaurant Tam Gia Trang (Vietnamese)
  • Bamboo Bar and Restaurant (Vietnamese)
  • T-Pub Restaurant (American)

Best Cafes in Tam Coc:

  • Chookies Beer Garden
  • La Carte Bar and Hotel

Best Bars in Tam Coc: 

  • Gia Minh Beer Garden
  • Chookies Beer Garden
  • DMZ Bar & Fast Food

Bich Dong Pagoda in Tam Coc
Mua Caves in Tam Coc
Trang An



Where to Stay in Ninh Binh:


The Aravinda Resort Ninh Binh provides you with luxury in the countryside. The accommodation features room service, babysitting service, currency exchange, air conditioning, a bar, garden and outdoor swimming pool. A delicious continental or a buffet breakfast is also included every morning!

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If there was one place in Vietnam that I would keep coming back to it’d be Little Tam Coc Homestay. For around USD $50 this homestay comes equipped with a restaurant, free private parking, bar, shared lounge, room service, air conditioning and wifi throughout the property. There’s also a great breakfast buffet with Vietnamese options available every morning. On top of this the owners are absolutely lovely and so accommodating! 

Family 3 Pax - Room plan



Green Mountain Homestay is one of the best budget accommodation in Tam Coc, Ninh Binh. Offering up air conditioned dorm rooms, a shared lounge, pool, free wifi and a garden for as little as $11 per night sounds pretty good! 

1 Person in 8-Bed Dormitory - Mixed - Bedroom

FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN NINH BINH SEARCH ON AGODA



Vietnam Itinerary - Day 14 

Hanoi

You might decide it's best to head back to Hanoi in the evening of Day 13 and stay in the city for your last night in Vietnam. Or, like me, you can jam pack your last day by filling it with transfers and traveling just to enjoy those last couple hours in the Vietnamese countryside. Whatever you choose to do I know you'll be sad to leave such a beautiful country. I mean look at me, 2 years later and I'm still here. So make sure your last day is filled with Vietnamese coffee, buncha and bia Hanoi!





Vietnam Itinerary - Add Ons 

If you're thinking about extending your trip or just have some extra time to spare in this gorgeous country here are 4 places I reccomend that you can add on and work into your itinerary.

Sapa

Sapa is a small, quaint mountain town located in the province of Lao Cai, which is about 350 km northwest of Hanoi taking you 5-6 hours to reach by bus. You can enjoy the cute little town of Sapa and visit Mount Fansipan, the tallest mountain the Hoang Lien Son Range, before heading to a homestay in the valley. Life here is simpler so enjoy being in nature and trekking through Vietnam's infamous rice terraces. The beauty fo Sapa is seriously drool worthy.


Cat Ba Island

If you haven’t had enough of Ha Long Bay you can head to beautiful Cat Ba Island to really experience Ha Long Bay on land! Relax on one of the many beaches on this little island or take a short boat trip to Monkey Island. Rent a motorbike and visit the national park or make a loop around the entire island to soak in all of its glory.


Hue

Hue is one of the most charming towns in Vietnam. From the rambling ancient architecture to the tombs of former emperors this city provides you with a fascinating insight into old Vietnam. Hue is also home to Vietnam's infamous abandoned water park, which is conspicuously creepy and cool at the same time.


Phu Quoc Island

This island is all about the beaches for you to sit back and relax! There's even a starfish beach with tons of little starfish resting all along the shore. Check out the seafood night market, Dinh Cau, in town nightly, as it's some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. And don't forget to watch the sunset at Ocsen Beach Bar & Club.



Best Tours in Vietnam

If you're looking for some great tours in Vietnam during your visit check out some of the very best here! Whether it's a walking food tour of the city or tickets to Saigon's Bitexco Skydeck, Klook has everything you might need to start planning your days in each city!

I also love to book my tours through Viator.com ! I've had nothing but great experiences with their local tours and you can book at any time!
Klook.com


Best Time to Visit Vietnam

There is no wrong time to visit Vietnam! Although, the best time for travel overall is autumn (September to December) and spring (March and April). This just means temperatures are milder and the rain is minimal! Vietnam is a long, narrow country which means all three of its regions (north, central, and south) experience different types of seasons and weather throughout the year! So, these are the most favourable months to visit if you’re planning to cover the whole country.


Flights to Vietnam

I search and book all of my flights through JetRadar.com. It really is the best and easiest online flight directory to help you find the cheapest and most convenient flights to Vietnam and within Vietnam.

Click Here to Search All Flights on JetRadar.com.


Vietnam Tourist Visa

In a nut shell, Vietnam visa-on-arrival is a process of obtaining a pre-approved visa letter (visa approval letter which you can buy online) to check in at the departure airport and pick up the actual visa stamp at an international airport in Vietnam upon arrival.
  • Visa on arrival is for air travel only, so if you enter Vietnam by land or cruise, you must obtain a full visa before you arrive which you can organize with your tour company or previous hotel and travel agent
  • Your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned visit to Vietnam
  • The stamping fee at Vietnam airports is payable in cash only, no credit cards are accepted
  • There is no official website for visa on arrival services meaning that all websites offering the pre-approved visa letter are private agencies

For more information about visas in Vietnam you can head over to MyVietnamVisa.com

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