The Best Vietnam Itinerary for 2 Weeks of Amazing Adventures

Customizable and extendable itineraries for your amazing Vietnam adventure

vietnam itinerary 2 weeks

Are you ready to plan your ultimate Vietnam adventure? With 2 weeks in Vietnam, you can plunge into a diverse set of experiences and immerse yourself in the culture. Here are our suggestions for your perfect 2-week Vietnam itinerary.

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Vietnam is so diverse that, even though we’ve spent more than 12 months during the last couple of years travelling there, we still haven’t seen everything there is to see!

In Vietnam in two weeks, you can lounge on the beach, trek breathtaking mountains, sail one of the most beautiful places on Earth, sample street food in a buzzing city, or sip coffee in a UNESCO heritage old town.

vietnamese woman making lanterns in hoi an
Experience the UNESCO city of Hoi An, Vietnam.

With plenty of temples, eco-friendly activities, and yoga retreats, Vietnam is an excellent destination for mindful travellers, too.

These Vietnam 2-week itineraries — we have created three options — are designed for mindful and adventure travellers who want to immerse themselves in the local culture, experience the varied landscapes of Vietnam, and, above all, not spend their entire time flying from one city to the next!

Choose From 3 Vietnam Travel Itineraries

There are so many places to explore and experiences to have in Vietnam that 2 weeks is not really enough. To do the country justice, travelling slowly and immersing yourself in the culture, you’d need at least 6 weeks.

That being said, two weeks in Vietnam is plenty to create some amazing memories and have adventures you won’t soon forget.

With only two weeks, it makes most sense to plan your Vietnam itinerary for a specific part of the country. That’s why our three suggested two-week itineraries are divided by geography.

Of course, if you are short on time, there are plenty of fantastic tours of Vietnam that will help you pack a lot into a little time.

Choose between:

If you only have 10 days in Vietnam, it’s easy to cut one or two destinations from our itineraries to fit your schedule. If you have 3 weeks in Vietnam or one month in Vietnam, combine our itineraries into a longer Vietnam adventure.

Vietnam Itinerary Notes

  • Our itineraries are all based around independent travel or backpacking in Vietnam. But don’t forget, the best Vietnam tours can help you get more out of your time and money than if you go it alone!
  • All itineraries assume you will be taking the bus or train to get around (with a few taxis in less-visited areas). If you want more adventure, buy or rent a motorbike — Vietnam is ideal for motorbike travel.
  • These itineraries are pretty packed. We advise you to skip at least one of the recommended destinations and extend your stay elsewhere. Slow travel is always more satisfying!
  • Look for the airplane symbol ✈ for travel details and time between destinations. 
  • To help plan your route, we recommend where you can find transporation times and prices between almost any destinations in Vietnam.
  • For the best Vietnam itinerary, link all three itineraries together and add an extra week or two for spontaneous detours and additions.
  • If you have 3 weeks in Vietnam, or 4 weeks in Vietnam, our itineraries can be easily combined — so pick your favourite parts of each and get planning.
  • If you’re looking for a Vietnam north to south itinerary, this is it. Just combine our three itineraries into one great trip!
  • Don’t forget you’ll need a visa for Vietnam and to get your vaccines sorted out before you come

Are you ready? Read on for our…

Three Itineraries for 2 Weeks in Vietnam

Don’t miss our complete guide to Vietnam travel and our collection of 15 transformational things to do in Vietnam. You’ll also like our quick & easy guide to get your Vietnam visa.

2 Weeks in Northern Vietnam

small farm hut in sapa vietnam with farm animals
Vietnam has an abundance of culture and nature to experience.

We’ve had so many adventures in Northern Vietnam that we absolutely love this part of the country. If you’re new to Vietnam and want to combine outdoor activities with the bustle and culture of Hanoi, our North Vietnam itinerary is perfect.

  • Day 1–2: Hanoi
  • Day 3–5: Halong Bay
  • Day 6–8: Sapa
  • Day 9–10: Mai Chau
  • Day 11–13: Tam Coc
  • Day 13–14: Hanoi

Hanoi – 2 Days

You’ll want at least 48 hours to explore amazing Hanoi. The bustle and frenzy of the Old Quarter is an incredible immersion into Vietnamese Culture.

Don’t miss out on:

  • Hanoi’s food scene is amazing, so make sure to join a street food tour on your first night in the city, so you’ll know where to eat the best food.
  • Learning how to cook Vietnamese food is even better. Taking a cooking class in Hanoi is a don’t-miss experience. Check Cookly to find your perfect one!
  • Take a day tour to Vietnam’s largest national park, Cúc Phương, where you’ll experience a landscape of lush valleys, verdant forests, and mystical grottoes. You’ll also visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center to meet langur monkeys, gibbons, and lorises and learn how they help preserve balance in our ecosystem.
  • Get the true Hanoi experience by meeting young locals on LandedVibe, where you can book activities from bar crawling to skateboarding to calligraphy and more.
More to do in Hanoi →

Where to Stay in Hanoi

There are so many fabulous guesthouses, hostels, and hotels in Hanoi, it’s hard to pick the best one. We highly recommend you look for a place inside the Old Quarter so it’s easy to walk to the best restaurants or bars.

Check out our picks of the best Hanoi hotels for every budget or find your own perfect Hanoi accommodation.

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: Hanoi to Halong Bay by private transfer with your cruise company

(Related: Here’s the most adventurous way to get to Laos from Northern Vietnam)

Halong Bay – 3 Days

Take a cruise on Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay, the quieter alternative. Most cruises in Halong Bay now depart from Got Pier (Hai Phong) which is only 2 hours from Hanoi.

Book your cruise ahead of time or when you arrive in Hanoi, and the cruise company will include a private transfer from your hotel in Hanoi to the departure point in Halong Bay.

✈ Travel Overnight: Return to Hanoi with your cruise company, then go by sleeper train from Hanoi to Sapa. Note: If you book your Sapa trek in Hanoi, they will arrange your train or bus tickets and transfers for you.

More to do in Ha Long Bay →

Sapa – 3 Days

Northern Vietnam’s real treasure is its incredible mountains and the hill tribes who live there. Go trekking in Sapa or try one of the less touristy alternatives to Sapa, like Ha Giang.

tourist taking a photo of the mountains in sapa vietnam
Sapa is a deservedly popular destination in Vietnam for the outdoorsy traveller.

If you like wide open spaces, tiny mountain trails, and hidden villages, make sure to spend 3 days and 2 nights on your trek which will give you the chance to get a little further away from the tourist mobs.

(Related: Don’t miss my first-timer’s guide to trekking in Sapa)

✈ Travel Overnight: Sleeper bus from Sapa to Hanoi, continue to Mai Chau by bus or with a tour

Mai Chau – 2 Days

A short drive from Hanoi, Mai Chau is a world away. This is your chance to stay overnight in a Mai Chau homestay and get a chance to experience village life in Vietnam.

(Related: Enjoy this post about a family adventure in Mai Chau)

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: Mai Chau to Ninh Binh by bus, Ninh Binh to Tam Coc by taxi. Note: This can be a tricky route and you might find it easier to go back to Hanoi and take the train to Ninh Binh.

Tam Coc – 2 Days

Just a one-hour train ride south of Hanoi, Tam Coc is the perfect place to experience Vietnam’s remarkable karst landscapes. Most tourists to Tam Coc are day trippers, but you’ll get to experience the tranquility of the region more fully if you stay overnight.

Do a boat trip in the early hours, before the day trippers arrive and then rent a bicycle to explore the countryside in the afternoon.

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: Ninh Binh to Hanoi by train

Hanoi – 1 Day/Depart

After Tam Coc, it’s back to Hanoi for a final night, or to catch your flight back home!

(Don’t miss: Interested in a Vietnam bike tour? Here’s what you need to know)

Northern Vietnam Itinerary Notes

  • If you only have one week, you’ll have to choose between trekking in the mountains and sailing in Halong Bay.
  • You might not have time to do both Mai Chau and Tam Coc. Choose Mai Chau for culture and Tam Coc for nature.
  • From Tam Coc, you can get a bus to Phong Nha if you want to continue into central Vietnam from the north.
  • If you’re going to Vietnam in winter, be aware that northern Vietnam can get cool and rainy. Come prepared.
  • Here’s a great guide to taking the sleeper train from Hanoi to Sapa by MapTrotting.
  • Use the incredibly thorough site to plan and book your Vietnam bus and train travel.

2 Weeks in Central Vietnam

lights reflect on the water at night in hoi an vietnam
There is plenty of culture to explore in Central Vietnam.

Last year, I took a solo trip to central Vietnam and Stephen was devastated to miss it. Central Vietnam has culture, caves, and some of the best vegan food in Vietnam. Central Vietnam is often overlooked, but it might just be my favourite region of this fabulous country.

If you’re just planning to visit central Vietnam, you can fly into Hanoi and take a sleeper train that night to Hue. Or, for an easier trip, fly into Da Nang and start your central Vietnam 2-week itinerary there.

  • Day 1: Arrive Hanoi
  • Day 2–3: Hue
  • Day 4–7: Hoi An
  • Day 8–9: An Bang Beach
  • Day 10: Da Nang
  • Day 11–13: Phong Nha
  • Day 14: Return to Hanoi

Note: If you look at the map, this route might seem a little strange, since there is some backtracking involved. But it makes the most sense in terms of convenient transport links (and helping you avoid an unpleasant 18-hour bus ride at the end of your trip).

Arrive Hanoi – 1 Day

If you’re flying into Hanoi and you’ve never been there before, it’s well worth a few days of your time to stay and explore the city’s wonderful Old Quarter. You could cut your time in Hoi An a little shorter, or skip Phong Nha to make time for Hanoi.

See our Northern Vietnam 2-Week Itinerary for things to do in Hanoi.

If you’d rather get moving on your central Vietnam adventure, you can hop on the bus or train the evening of your arrival.

More to do in Hanoi →

Where to Stay in Hanoi

There are so many fabulous guesthouses, hostels, and hotels in Hanoi, it’s hard to pick the best one. We highly recommend you look for a place inside the Old Quarter so it’s easy to walk to the best restaurants or bars.

Check out our picks of the best Hanoi hotels for every budget or find your own perfect Hanoi accommodation.

✈ Travel Overnight: Hanoi to Hue by bus or train

Hue – 2 Days

See the Imperial City and then eat your way around Hue which has a fascinating culinary history and is filled with amazing restaurants, many of which are vegan.

Where to stay in Hue

Here are our picks of the best places to stay in Hue for every budget →

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: From Hue to Hoi An by bus or train
✈ OR Travel 1 Day: Hue to Hoi An by easy rider motorbike (highly recommended!)

Hoi An – 4 Days

I can’t quite express how much I love Hoi An.

Yes, it is filled with tourists and no, it can’t really be described as “authentic” — but it has a unique charm which somehow transcends the crowds and transports you to another era. The Ancient Town’s narrow streets, lined with yellow-painted heritage homes, is worth at least a day of exploration.

There are so many other adventures to be had in and around Hoi An.

Find More to do in Hoi An →

Where to Stay in Hoi An

For a budget visit with a central location, the Tipi Hostel works well — it is clean, friendly, and comfortable for a few nights. If you’re looking for a place with a pool, try the mid-range Prince Hotel or the more luxury La Siesta Hoi An Resort and Spa.

✈ Travel 15 Minutes: Hoi An to An Bang Beach by taxi

empty lifeguard chair on the beach in hoi an vietnam
An Bang beach is a beautiful spot for some R&R.

An Bang Beach – 2 Days

After so many days of adventure and culture, a couple of days of restful beach time is the perfect way to recuperate. Book into a resort on An Bang Beach, just a few kilometres from Hoi An, for some much needed R&R.

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: An Bang Beach to Da Nang by taxi or An Bang Beach to Hoi An by taxi and then Hoi An to Da Nang by bus

Da Nang – 1 Day

If you’re a Vietnam War buff, you’ll be interested in Da Nang beach as the famous stretch of sand American GIs used for their R&R. If you like wide sandy beaches, you’ll also want to spend a day or two in Da Nang.

But my favourite attraction in Da Nang is the Marble Mountain temple complex. I have seen a lot of temples but none grabbed my imagination quite like these hidden temples carved into the top of a low mountain range.

Find More to do in Da Nang →

✈ Travel Overnight: Da Nang to Phong Nha by bus or train

Phong Nha – 3 Days

Phong Nha is home to one of the world’s most amazing cave systems. You can spend one day visiting the touristy caves: Phong Nha Cave, Paradise Cave, and Dark Cave. Or take several days to join a more adventurous multi-day cave trekking experience with Oxalis Adventure Tours.

(Related: Here’s everything you need to know before you go cave trekking in Phong Nha)

Where to Stay in Phong Nha

I loved my stay at Ngyuen Shack, a hostel where the rooms are in a long, low bamboo hut. If you want private accommodation away from the, admittedly minimal, bustle of Phong Nha town, the Phong Nha Homestay Community is a great option. There’s limited high-end accommodation in Phong Nha but if you’re looking for a little extra comfort, try Phong Nha Lake House Resort.

✈ Travel Overnight: Phong Nha to Hanoi by bus or Phong Nha to Dong Hoi by taxi and Dong Hoi to Hanoi by train

Return to Hanoi – 1 Day

Your final night is a travel night. You might want to plan an extra day in Hanoi to recover from overnight travel before you have to hop on a plane home!

Central Vietnam Travel Itinerary Notes

  • Even if you can’t drive a motorbike, we highly recommend you make the trip from Hue to Hoi An by motorbike. Here’s Jane’s review of her motorbike adventure from Hue to Hoi An with Le Family Riders.
  • If you’re extending your trip and heading south instead of returning to Hanoi, then do this itinerary in the more geographically logical form: Hanoi > Phong Nha > Hue > Da Nang > Hoi An.
  • From Hoi An, you can take an overnight bus or train to Nha Trang to join our Southern Vietnam Itinerary. Or consider breaking the journey by stopping in Qui Nonh, a gorgeous beach community which doesn’t make it onto most travellers’ Vietnam itinerary.
  • Use the incredibly site to plan and book your Vietnam bus and train travel.

South Vietnam Itinerary 2 Weeks

stilt houses overlook the mekong river in ho chi minh city vietnam
The contrast between rich and poor in Saigon is plain to see from the river.

To be brutally honest, the south is not my favourite part of Vietnam. If you’ve never been to Vietnam before, I would suggest sticking with our northern or central Vietnam itineraries.

If you’ve visited Vietnam before, then by all means, explore Vietnam’s diverse southern region which offers plenty of beach escapes, plus the lush Mekong Delta and vibrant Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Day 1–3: Ho Chi Minh City
  • Day 4–6: Mui Ne or Nha Trang
  • Day 7–9: Da Lat
  • Day 10–12: Central Highlands
  • Day 11–14: Return to Ho Chi Minh City/Depart

Ho Chi Minh City – 3 Days

Here are our favourite things to do in HCMC:

Tours in Ho Chi Minh City →

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is separated into numbered districts and most travellers stay in District 1. At the budget end of the scale, there are plenty of good options, including Cozy House 140 and Town House 373. If you’re looking for something more comfortable, try Christina’s Saigon.

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: Ho Chi Minh City to Mui Ne by bus or train
OR ✈ Travel Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang by train

man walks across white sand dunes in mui ne vietnam
The Mui Ne Sand Dunes are touristy but breathtaking.

Mui Ne or Nha Trang – 3 Days

Just few hours from Ho Chi Minh City, Mui Ne is a popular beach escape for affluent Vietnamese families and couples. Though it’s busy and a little overdeveloped, it’s a convenient place to escape to the beach, try your hand at kite surfing, and visit the Mui Ne Sand dunes.

Nha Trang offers a similar experience to Mui Ne, with a little more city and a little less beach bum vibe. You can safely limit your visit to one or the other. While in Nha Trang, don’t miss a trip to the mud baths.

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

See our guide for a detailed look at where to stay in Mui Ne

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: Mui Ne to Dalat or Nha Trang to Dalat by bus

Dalat – 3 Days

Experience Dalat and head into the surrounding mountains for an unforgettable trek. Don’t miss the Dalat Crazy House! You can even stay there.

✈ Travel 1/2 Day: Dalat to Buon Me Thuot by bus
✈ OR Arrange a tour of the central highlands from Dalat

More to do in Dalat →

Central Highlands – 3 Days

Heading north of Dalat deep into the Central Highlands is guaranteed to take you off the beaten track and away from other tourists. The main attraction of the region is the untouched nature, where elephants, gibbons and bears still roam.

You’ll also be able to visit ethnic minority villages to experience a different type of Vietnamese culture. Since access to some of these villages is still restricted by the government, the easiest way to visit is to join a tour.

For a real adventure in this region, bike the Central Highlands of Vietnam to Nha Trang.

✈ Travel Day: Central Highlands to Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City by bus

Ho Chi Minh City – 2 Days

On your final nights in Ho Chi Minh City, take the opportunity to explore the city’s nightlife from one of the many fabulous rooftop bars.

South Vietnam Travel Itinerary Notes

  • If you only have one week in the south, you might want to skip our itinerary and head west from Ho Chi Minh City where you can explore Can Tho, Ben Tre, and Phu Quoc.
  • Unless you’re thrilled at the idea of mud baths (which are a fun cultural experience), then Nha Trang is not essential. Leave more time for the Central Highlands instead.
  • Though it’s a popular destination, we have not included Phu Quoc in our southern Vietnam itinerary because by most reports it is overdeveloped and doesn’t seem to appeal to people who like adventure, responsible, and mindful travel. If you want adventurous island time in Vietnam, try the Con Dao Archipelago instead. If you’re heading to Cambodia, skip Phu Quoc and visit Koh Ta Kiev.
  • Use the incredibly site to plan and book your Vietnam bus and train travel.

These are our favourite tools and companies for planning and booking your travels in Vietnam. We have used all of them and recommend them for their dedication to providing you great travel experiences.

Want to know our Vietnam secrets?

Let Vietnam Transform You

This FREE don’t-miss list gives you access to the 12 best transformational experiences in Vietnam. Don’t miss out!

More Vietnam Travel Guides

If you have any doubts or questions about your Vietnam itinerary, feel free to get in touch. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Meanwhile, make sure to check out our extensive collection of Vietnam travel guides.

♥  Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen

Plan your ultimate Vietnam adventure! With 2 weeks in Vietnam, you can enjoy a diverse set of experiences and immerse yourself in the culture. Here are our suggestions for your 2-week Vietnam itinerary. #vietnam #travel #itinerary #mindful #myfiveacres
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