Vietnam is a land of jungles, beaches and incredible natural beauty on the South China Sea. It is both exotic and compelling, bustling and peaceful. If you’re thinking of going, we’ve created the ultimate two-week itinerary for an unforgettable trip to Vietnam.
Day 1-3: Hanoi
Vietnam’s capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Its streets surge with scooters vying for right of way amid the din of constantly blaring horns, and all around layers of history reveal periods of French and Chinese occupation – offering a glimpse into the resilience of ambitious, proud Hanoians.
Touchdown in Hanoi, Vietnam’s buzzing capital spend your first days in Vietnam exploring everything Hanoi has to offer. Take in the sights before stopping off at the magical Hoan Kiem Lake to marvel at a traditional performance at the famous Vietnamese water puppets. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, take a private cyclo tour through the Old Quarter, squeezing through a maze of narrow streets busting with everything from booksellers to banana traders. Top off your time in Hanoi with a half-day street food tour tasting some Hanoian specialties – be sure to try these five foods when you visit Vietnam.
Day 4-5: Ha Long Bay
Transfer to the enchanting waters of Ha Long Bay for a truly memorable two-day/one-night trip onboard a private or boutique junk. Gliding across the emerald waters, you will be amazed by the myriad of limestone islands, beautiful beaches, fishing villages and mystical grottoes. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of northern Vietnam’s most popular tourist hubs, Ha Long Bay is a vision of ethereal beauty. Spend the next two days swimming, fishing, exploring secret caves, kayaking, and relaxing.
Day 6: Hue
Still packed with relics of its dynastic past, Hue is one of Vietnam’s most engaging cities. It boasts an unparalleled opportunity for historic and culinary exploration, thanks in no small part to its status as the national capital from 1802–1945.
Spend your morning taking in some of Hue’s top attractions before taking a scenic ride down the perfume river to visit one of Hue’s most iconic attractions – the ancient Thien Mu Pagoda. In the afternoon, take a guided tour to the Imperial Citadel of Hue, once the capital of Hue under the Nguyen Dynasty. Wind up your stay with a traditional dinner in a garden house, enjoying a tranquil environment and distinctive Hue cuisine.
Day 7-9: Hoi An
Transfer to Hoi An, a World Heritage Site and harbor town awash with a great mix of culture and natural beauty. Spend your days exploring the Old Town and taking in Hoi An’s top attractions, either on your own or with an experienced guide. If you still have food on your mind, take a culinary journey with a private chef to Hoi An Market to meet the very best vendors and indulge in some of Vietnam’s culinary masterpieces. If you’re looking to relax, spend some time on Cua Dai Beach, where white sand is fringed with palm trees and overlooks the South China Sea.
Day 10-11: Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a blend of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, Ho Chi Minh City breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.
Take on the city’s top attractions on a vintage Vespa, where you can whizz around the bustling city while taking in the exceptional mix of ancient Vietnamese and French colonial culture. Next up visit one of Vietnam’s most unique sites – the Cu Chi tunnels. No trip to Vietnam would be complete without stepping back into history. For a full picture of Vietnam’s past, you’ll also stop by the War Remnants Museum which offers powerful insight into the Vietnamese War years.
On your last day in Ho Chi Minh, head southwest for a few hours, taking in the lush rice paddies and fruit farms, before emerging in Cai Lay where you can stretch your legs a bit and hop on a bicycle for a short ride along narrow village lanes, passing by fruit orchards and local cottage industries. A culinary adventure will then take you through the busy Ben Thanh Market, considered by many to be the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. A chef will be on hand to guide you through the variety of exotic ingredients, before heading to the Mai Home cooking class for a hands-on cooking lesson, where you will learn to cook delicious traditional Vietnamese dishes.
Day 12-14: Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc Island is situated roughly 25 miles away from the south coast of Vietnam. It is an emerald island where modernity meets tranquility. An underpopulated island quietly tucked in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is truly a hidden paradise in the making. Its untouched nature and pristine coastline make it the perfect way to cap off your two-week journey through Vietnam.