A perfect 14-day tour of Vietnam

Here is the perfect 14-day tour around Vietnam, starting in Hanoi travelling down to Ho Chi Minh City, taking in all the best areas and must see sights. So if you are planning a trip, look no further for the perfect itinerary...
The Palace Gate in Hue. Photo: Shutterstock
The Palace Gate in Hue. Photo: Shutterstock

Taking a holiday to Vietnam: how to get started

Insight Guides can help you with planning, organising and booking your trip to multiple destinations in Vietnam. Simply, get in touch and share your budget, interests and travel style. Our local experts will create an itinerary exclusive to you and your requirements, which you can amend until  you are satisfied. Alternatively, browse and modify ready-made holidays to create your dream trip today. Remember, all of our trips are fully customisable. 

Day 1–3 Hanoi

Begin your tour in the northern capital, Hanoi, taking in the French colonial architecture juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers. Absorb the heat and the atmosphere of the bustling city as you walk the crowded streets before taking a breather at the Hoan Kiem Lake. Relax and unwind at this scenic spot which is shrouded in myths and legend. Stroll through the old quarter and visit some of the smaller museums such as Salon Natasha, the house of Natasha Kraevskaia where exhibitions of Vietnamese talent are shown.

The next day experience Ho Chi Minh’s Communist legacy by visiting Ba Dinh. Ba Dinh square is the site where President Ho Chi Minh read the Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on 2 September 1945. Finish the day at the ‘Hanoi Hilton,’ gatehouse museum. The infamous wartime prison was demolished in 1990.

On day three visit the Temple of Literature, opened as a Confucius Temple in 1070, it now hosts the Imperial Academy. Move on to the Ethnology Museum. It has in-depth exhibitions on the 54 ethnic groups that are recognised in Vietnam. Grab Lunch at the Hanoi Social Club. Choose from a wide menu offering world wide cuisine from Asian to Australian. Take an overnight cruise to Halong Bay.   

Day 4 Halong Bay

The Unesco World Heritage Site is made up of thousands of limestone Karsts and Islets jutting out of the South China Sea. Stop off at Cat Ba Island to explore the floating villages of Lan Ha Bay and the caves scattered on the surrounding islets. Jump off the boat into the refreshing water for a swim before returning to Hanoi for the evening.

Tourist Junks and Floating village in Halong BayTourist Junks and Floating village in Halong Bay. Photo: Shutterstock

Day 5 Hue

After a morning flight to Hue, tour the Imperial Citadel of the former capital where Nguyen Anh started his 143-year dynasty. A walled palace sits within the Citadel. You can also visit the tombs of Nguyen Kings which are scattered to the southeast of the citadel; the six tombs honour nine of the 13 kings. Enjoy an evening cruise along the Perfume River, named so because of the flowers falling into the water from the surrounding orchards, giving it a sweet floral scent. 

Day 6 Hoi An

Stroll through the Unesco World Heritage town, a well preserved south east Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Explore the shops which sell traditional, locally made products such as chop sticks, shoes, and silk lanterns. Visit temples and ancient houses and stop in one of the many cafes along the river for a strong cup of coffee, hot or cold, admiring the unique street layout, which has been adapted by foreign influences, as you go.  

Day 7 My Son

Take a morning tour of the ancient Champa holy city of My Son, exploring the ruined Hindu Temples; the majority of the archaeological site was destroyed by carpet bombing in the Vietnam War. Do some last-minute shopping and enjoy some local cuisine in Hoi An before taking the evening train to Nha Trang.

Day 8 Nha Trang

This beach destination offers more than golden sands. Dive to the depths and explore the reefs with a snorkel or full on dive kit. Visit the offshore islands and take part in all the activities they offer or head to the Underwater World Aquarium at Vinpearl Land. Or you can just relax on that golden sand. 

Sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach of Nha TrangSunbeds and umbrellas on the beach of Nha Trang. Photo: Shutterstock

Day 9–10 Dalat

Take a morning bus to the hill resort of Dalat and check into the historic Dalat Palace Hotel. Browse the central market which offers all sorts of grains, vegetables, spices and herbs; then walk around the lake, taking in the colonial architecture. 

On day two, visit some of the minority villages in the surrounding areas of Dalat such as Lanh Dinh An, before returning to town for a gondola ride further up the mountain, soaring over pine forests for views across Dalat. Finally, visit some local Buddhist temples.

Day 11–12 Ho Chi Minh City

Take a shopping spree along Dong Khoi, stopping to admire the Opera House, People’s Committee Building, Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral all built in French Colonial style. 

On day two, soak up some history at the Reunification Palace; home and office of the President of South Vietnam throughout the Vietnam War. Visit the War Remnants Museum which exhibits objects from the Vietnam and first Indochina Wars and enjoy afternoon tea at the Continental Hotel.

Day 13 Ch Chi Tunnels

Take a tour of the Cu Chi war tunnels, a small section of a vast network underlying the majority of the country. They were used in the Vietnam War as hiding spots, offices and hospitals among other things. Drive further west to Cao Dai Temple to see Vietnam’s flamboyant indigenous cult. Return to Ho Chi Minh City for a night bus to Mekong Delta.

People at the Flooting Market on the Mekong River near the city of Can Tho in the Mekong DeltaPeople at the Flooting Market in the Mekong Delta. Photo: Shutterstock

Day 14 Mekong Delta

Spend a day in Vinh Long visiting floating markets, island villages and orchards. Be sure to sample the exotic produce and fresh fish. Take a night bus back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Get lost in a guidebook: Insight Guide Vietnam

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