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From the grandeur of Ha Long Bay to the wonder that is the Cu Chi Tunnels, two weeks in Vietnam gives you a real taster of what the country has to offer.

At Inspitrip, we’ve mapped a 14-day itinerary for you. This itinerary focuses mostly on the North Vietnam as two weeks perhaps is not enough to cover the entire country. If you want to spend more time here, check our comprehensive guide on how to travel Vietnam in 30 days.

If you are Vietnam  first time travellers, check our tips on what you need to prepare before your trip.

Wondering about the best time of year to travel? Simply check our guide for handy tips and tricks to visit any time of year.


Day 1 – 2: Hanoi

Ultimate Guide To Travel Vietnam In 2 Weeks - Written By A Local

The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi is the political heart of the country, where all government offices are based. Hanoi is known for its French colonial architecture, delicious food and traditional Vietnamese lifestyle. If you are short on time, here is our guide to discover Hanoi within one day.

Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is the city’s centre, and is divided into 36 streets, each specialising in certain types of goods. For instance, if you walk onto “Hang Dao” (Silk Street), you will find the street packed with shops selling silk products and fabrics. You can easily spend an afternoon roaming The Old Quarter alone. One of the most interesting tours offered in Hanoi is to discover old quarter on cyclo (3 wheeled bicycle taxi). Each tour lasts between 1 to 2 hours, carrying customers through around different 50 streets and attractions. These include the 36 streets inside the Old Quarter, Sword lake, Literature Temple and St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church to name but a few.

Food Culture

Pho, Vietnam’s most famous food export, is a fine example of a classic Hanoian dish. There is a local saying that ‘one has never been to Hanoi if you haven’t eaten the pho’. There are several good restaurants on Quan Thanh street, but the best one is an unnamed family business restaurant at 42 Quan Thanh. Don’t forget to try Cha Ca La Vong, a grilled fish dish originating from Hanoi. Cha Ca La Vong constitutes of fish balls, grilled pork vermicelli stuffed pancake, fried tofu vermicelli and eaten with shrimp sauce. If you are particularly interested in the food of Hanoi you can check out our ten hidden specialities of the city here.


Day 3 – 4: Ha Long Bay

Ultimate Guide To Travel Vietnam In 2 Weeks - Written By A Local

3.5 hours away from Hanoi by car, this is usually the must-see on every tourist agenda, and with good reason. Listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Ha Long Bay is known for its stunning bays, natural caves and Limestone Island. Book an overnight stay on the water if you can! The legislation is set to change shortly.

Tuan Chau

Ultimate Guide To Travel Vietnam In 2 Weeks - Written By A Local
Tuan Chau has the biggest artificial beach in Vietnam.

Most people usually head to Tuan Chau, one of a few inhabited islands. You may cruise along the bay and explore its natural caves. Ha Long Bay is surrounded by a dense cave network offering many opportunities for exploration. Among those, Hang Luon and Hang Sung Sot (Grotte des surprises) are the most famous and recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


Day 5 – 8: Sapa

Ultimate Guide To Travel Vietnam In 2 Weeks - Written By A Local

Located in the north west, 8 hours away from Hanoi by car, Sapa is called a “stairway to heaven” thanks to its foggy weather. The average temperature all year round is between 15 – 18 Celsius. If you have the time, try to spend a little more time in Sapa, as this charming town has so many attractions to discover.

Ethnic Minority Villages

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Hire a motorbike, or book a local guide to guide you through Ta Phin minority village to see a different side of Vietnam culture.

Located within 10 kms from the city centre, Ta Van, Ta Phin, Cat Cat and Sin Chai are great villages to visit. These villages are still relatively untouched, offering opportunities to have a closer look at the variety of Vietnamese ethnicities, lifestyle and culture.


Day 9: Fly to Danang

Next, you should get on a flight to Da Nang to experience the laid back beach lifestyle. Take the time time to have a few beers on the beach before heading to the Dragon Bridge. Each night at 9 pm the dragon (which is part of the bridge) spits out fire. Make sure you get there early as this can be busy and you will want the best view. If your interested in theme parks you can also check out Asia park. This large theme park is packed with things to see and do and their Ferris Wheel is beautifully lit up each night. If you have a little more time the Ba Na Hills are worth seeing also. The hills are a mountain resort accessible by cable car and offers some splendid views while you make your way there.


Day 10 – 12 : Hoi An

Ultimate Guide To Travel Vietnam In 2 Weeks - Written By A Local

Any guide to travelling Vietnam would definitely be incomplete without a mention of Hoi An. Located about 30km from Danang city (1 hour flight from Hanoi). This charming old town is well-known for its beautiful beaches, distinct prehistoric architecture, amazing traditional Vietnamese food and talented tailors. Walking around Hoi An, you can often get lost in the feeling that you are in a small fishing village from hundreds of years ago. 

How to get off the beaten track and discover things to do in Hoi An

Hoi An is a historic city in Vietnam that has been largely untouched by the development of the rest of the world. The way of ...

The Ancient Town

Wandering the old town is the best things to do in Hoi An.
Wandering the old town is the best things to do in Hoi An.

The best place to stay in Hoi An is close to the ancient town where you can rent a bicycle to wander around. At night, the whole town is lit with traditional lanterns. Standing on Japanese Covered Bridge, which connects 2 sides of the town and looking down, the entire ancient town looks like a painting. There are also floating lanterns that people put down onto the water wishing for good luck. 

Shopping

If you are into shopping, Hoi An is a great place for a spree. You can stop by one of many local handmade leather shops offering from everything from handbags to suitcases. All the products here are locally made so buying products here is also a way to support the local economy. 

Tailored clothes made here are praised for their high quality and a fraction of the cost of branded ones.

Food

Banh Mi Madam Khanh – best banh mi in Hoi An and perhaps Vietnam

Although Banh Mi can be found anywhere in Vietnam, Hoi An is the home of two world famous Banh Mi stalls- Banh Mi Phuong and Banh Mi from Madam Khanh. Banh Mi Phuong, from 2B Phan Chu Trinh, is Anthony Bourdain’s favourite. Madam Khanh’s (aka The Banh Mi Queen) is on 115 Tran Cao van. 


Day 13 – 14: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

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Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) is one of the most vibrant cities in South East Asia and Vietnam’s largest commercial hub. Saigon is famous for its hustle and bustle lifestyle, exciting nightlife and amazing coffee and food culture. Check our comprehensive guide on how to travel Saigon including the best off-the-beaten-path experiences.

District 1

The best place to stay in Saigon if you are a visitor is in District 1, as all the landmarks are located within the area. Popular hotels can be found around the backpacking area, Bui Vien, and Ben Thanh Market. 

Built in 1863, Notre Dame Cathedral is the most recognisable Saigon’s iconic landmark.

Start your walk around with Ben Thanh market and head to the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office, both built during the French colonial period. The Notre Dame Cathedral is a replica of the one in Paris, and the Central Post Office still functions as one! Also, you’ll be able to buy postcards from the surrounding kiosks and the Book Street right next to the post office. 

Nightlife

Glow Sky bar is has one of the best city view.

In the evening, take advantage of Saigon’s reputation for the best nightlife in Vietnam. Rooftop bars are a Saigon highlight, and locals favourites include Glow Bar (corner Nguyen Du and Pasteur street), Chill Sky Bar (on 76 Le Lai) and Hotel Des Arts (on 76 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai). The best time of the day to visit these rooftop bars is around 6pm.  Sit back with a beer and watch the sunset and look down to the busy streets below.

Coffee Culture

The coffee apartment in the corner of Ly Tu Trong and Dong Khoi Street.

You cannot leave Saigon without exploring its great coffee culture. Many of the coffee shops are hidden in run down buildings built from the French colonial era. L’usine cafe (151 Dong Khoi) is a small French boutique coffee shop with an attached gallery, fashion boutique hidden in an old loft and great spot for relaxing brunching and dining. In order to get to it, however, you have to walk through an art gallery and a parking area

Food

If you crave a hot bowl of Pho soup, Pho Hoa on Pasteur Street is the best place to be. This restaurant is an institution and is unchanged over the past half century. It is revered for its high quality beef, large portions, and fast service. On the other end of Pasteur Street at number 158, Secret Garden restaurant is hidden on top of a crumbling building. A great find for Vietnamese food seekers, the yummy cuisine and countryside atmosphere make the five storey climb to get here worth it.

Cu Chi Tunnel

When in Ho Chi Minh City, don’t forget to spend half a day visiting the Cu Chi tunnel, located about 50 km from the city centre. At the site you can see a network of connected underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong as hiding spots during the Vietnam War. It offers an insight to the reality of the Vietnam war you will not find anywhere else.