Vietnam 2-week Itinerary: The Perfect Vietnam Backpacking Route!

Are you planning a dream trip and looking for a perfect Vietnam 2-week itinerary? You are in the right place! Many world travelers have added a backpacking route to their bucket list, and for a good reason. Vietnam is amazing, from top to bottom, with such a diverse landscape, friendly people, rich culture, and yummy food…plus, it is a budget-friendly destination!

Vietnam has over 1,000 miles long to be explored. The good news is that you can visit the best of the country with a well-planned itinerary in Vietnam.

This guide is packed with insider tips, such as the best way to get around the country on your own and the best accommodation options. This Vietnam itinerary begins with the country’s busiest city of Ho Chi Minh, journeying to the UNESCO world heritage city of Hoi An, traveling to the magic city of Hanoi, going hiking the remote mountains of Sapa and ending on a relaxing cruise across the incredible Halong Bay.

I have to say that I was very assertive with my 2-week itinerary in Vietnam and of course, I wish I had more time to explore, but this itinerary is a perfect option, especially if you are looking for the best Vietnam backpacking route!

If you are planning an itinerary in Vietnam, you will love these articles:

2 weeks trip itinerary in Vietnam

Vietnam 2-Week Itinerary Overview

DAY ACTIVITYOVERNIGHT LOCATION
DAY 1: Uncover the organized chaos of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Ho Chi Minh City
DAY 2: Discover the history of Ho Chi Minh, visit the Market and the War Museum Ho Chi Minh City
DAY 3: Take a side trip to Co Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Ho Chi Minh City
DAY 4: Travel to Hoi An and start exploring the Ancient Town Hoi An
DAY 5: Explore the best of Hoi An Hoi An
DAY 6: Visit the village of Cam Nam, explore the markets and the rice fieldsHoi An / My Son Sanctuary
DAY 7: Take a day trip to the Hindy Sanctuary of My SonHoi An / Danang
DAY 8: Take a day tour to Danang/ Marble Mountains Hanoi/ Night Train to Sapa
DAY 9: Travel to Hanoi/ Take a night train to Sapa Sapa (Homestay)
DAY 10: Hike in Sapa and Homestay with a Black Hmong family Sapa (Homestay)
DAY 11: Hike in Sapa / Take a night train back to Hanoi Sapa (Homestay)
DAY 12: Cruise the Halong BayHalong Bay
DAY 13: Cruise Halong BayHalong Bay
DAY 14: Cruise Halong BayDeparture

How To Get Around Vietnam

BY CAR: If you have seen some of my other blogs, you already know I am a big fan of road trips. But not in Vietnam. Remember about the traffic being challenging? Also, an international driving license is not accepted in Vietnam and it is not customary to rent a car.
BY PLANE: It is one of the most popular ways to explore Vietnam. They are normally around a 2-hour journey and will cost around US$50 per person if you book in advance.
BU BUS: This is an option if you have plenty of time and don’t mind about comfort. Also, keep in mind that the traffic in Vietnam is crazy, and traveling via Vietnam’s rickety roads might not be for you. Check here for open tour buses.
BY TRAIN: Trains normally are more expensive than buses in Vietnam. If prefer, you can take the Reunification Express that runs from Hanoi to HCMC, but keep in mind that it takes about 30 hours. There are many segments that you can use as a train. I took the night train from Hanoi to Sapa and it was very comfortable and safe.
Vietnam 2-week itinerary

Itinerary Vietnam 2-weeks

DAY 1 Vietnam Itinerary: Explore the busy Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)

1. Stroll the Busy Streets of HCMC

The best way to start your Vietnam 2-week itinerary is by strolling the busy streets in HCMC. At first, you will get overwhelmed with the people, smells, and especially the traffic. Don’t you worry, it is normal and after a day you should feel more comfortable around this chaotic city!

Take your time to explore and have fun just wandering around, trying street food, drinking Vietnamese coffee, walking the alleys, and getting lost – you will see a lot of interesting things and it is a great introduction to Vietnam.


2. Visit the Ben Thanh Market

You can finish day one of your Vietnam itinerary by wandering around the Ben Thanh Market where you can find all sorts of produce and souvenirs.


DAY 2: Explore the busy Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)

I was well located and walked to the sites in the city. I have found that walking is a great way to explore a city and get to really see it. When needed, I took an Uber and it worked great at a very low rate, I super recommend it. Renting a scooter is an option, but unless you grew up in a major city in Vietnam, I would not recommend it. Traffic rules are very different and the roads are super congested. (Think about walking through a shopping mall during a Christmas rush…now imagine it on scooters instead of walking…that is Ho Chi Minh City).


1. Explore the Ho Chi Ming City Beautiful Architecture

The second I started sightseeing the city with the Ho Chi Minh City Hall, a gorgeous building with a French colonial design. Just a short walk you can see other landmarks from the French, Notre Dame Cathedral, and just across the street the beautiful Saigon Central Post Office.

Just a short walk visit the Reunification Palace, built in the 60s, during the Vietnam War to be the president’s residence. The afternoon I spent visiting the War Remnants Museum, but while the exhibits are very moving in the way to show the reality of the war, it can be difficult to swallow some of the reality.

Just a short walk visit the Reunification Palace, built in the 60s, during the Vietnam War to be the president’s residence.

Notre Dame in Ho Chi Minh City
The old post office is a great site to visit during your 2-week trip itinerary

4. Visit the War Remnants Museum

The afternoon I spent visiting the War Remnants Museum, but while the exhibits are very moving in the way to show the reality of the war, it can be difficult to swallow some of the reality.


DAY 3 Vietnam Itinerary: Take a Day Tour to Co Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta

I booked a private tour – this is the one I recommend –  to visit the Co Chi Tunnels, one of the most popular places in Vietnam related to the Vietnam War, built by the Viet Cong in their fight against US forces, these narrow tunnels allowed soldiers to live supply routes.  Next head to the Mekong Delta, an incredible opportunity to see floating markets, swampy mazes, and rural rice paddies.


1. Visit the Co Chi Tunnels

2. Have an Adventure at the Mekong Delta

2-week trip itinerary in Vietnam

DAY 4 Vietnam Itinerary: Uncover the Atmospheric Hoi An

Next on this Vietnam 2-week itinerary, I took a flight heading south along Vietnam’s coast, and I spent a few days in the wildly amazing city of Hoi An. Smaller and more laid back this end up being my favorite city in Vietnam. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the 15th to the 19th century and it is very well preserved. You can rent a motorbike or a bike and explore the old town, the beaches, and the rice paddies around the town. Traffic here is much calmer and experienced scooter riders will not feel uncomfortable driving.

I flew Vietnam Airlines from Saigon to Danang, it is approximately a 1.5-hour flight. I then took a cab from the airport to my Guest-house (approximately 40 min). For transportation in Hoi An, I rented a scooter as the traffic is much lighter (safer). I also used the scooter to take a side trip to Danang. My Guest-house host arranged for a driver to take me to My Son’s temples and for my return to the airport in Danang. 


1. Explore Hoi An on foot

Hoi An is also well known for tailor-made clothes and shoes – oh, so dangerous for your wallet! Ho An is also very conveniently located on Vietnam’s central coast, making it an ideal location for side trips. 

Take your first day to stroll around the Hoi An Ancient Town and enjoy the ancient yellow buildings, as they are exceptionally well-preserved and you will easily spend time just wandering from one picturesque street to the next without getting bored. 

Vietnam 2 weeks trip itinerary

DAY 5 Vietnam Itinerary: Continue to Explore the Best of Hoi An

Start your day walking by the river, and visit some of the landmarks like the Japanese Covered Bridge, dating from the 17th century. In the town, there are a number of houses you can visit, such as Phung Hung House and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall. Once the sun goes down, the city transforms to the street yellow light and you should make your way to the Hoi An Night Market, where you can find souvenirs, carving and some amazing street food.


DAY 6 Vietnam Itinerary: Continue to Explore the Best of Hoi An

In the morning, take an adventure across to the island village of Cam Nam, it is calmer than the city center and you can see plenty of fruit trees. If you love fresh food and are curious to see where the yummy food in Hoi An comes from visit the Tra Que Vegetable Village and experience the small farming community. Visit the Local Tailors and maybe have some customer clothes and shoes made for you. Go on a bike tour around rice farming. End your day relaxing by the public beach of An Bang Beach or Hidden Beach. 


DAY 7 Vietnam Itinerary: Take a Day Trip to the Hindu Sanctuary of My Son

In the morning I took a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Hindu Sanctuary of My Son, a great example of the ancient Champa civilization with temples dating over 1,000 years, located in the middle of the jungle – Click here for my complete guide.

Back to Hoi An, don’t miss the Precious Heritage Gallery by world-famous photographer Rehahn. His mission to collect and photograph the costumes of each of Vietnam’s native tribes is stunning to behold. For dinner, you have plenty of amazing options for cafes and restaurants for some traditional or fusion food.

My Son Sanctuary tour a day trip from Hoi An

DAY 8 Vietnam Itinerary: Take a Day Trip to the Marble Mountains

I rented a motorbike and took a day trip to the city of Danang, to visit the Marble Mountains – Click here for my complete guide. A group of five limestone and marble mountains several of which you can climb.

The site offers plenty of shrines and pagodas to visit, as well as many caves. On the way back to Hoi An, rent a bicycle and explore the rice paddies around the city and get to enjoy the local experience.


DAY 9 Vietnam Itinerary: Travel to Sapa Town

From Hoi An I flew to Hanoi, which is an approximately 2 hr. flight. Arriving in Hanoi I had my night train already booked to Sapa, so I took an Uber from the airport to the train station. You can check options for the night train here. In Sapa, the only transportation you will need is your feet. The mountains just beckon to be explored and the Hmong tribes are super friendly.

TRANSPORTATION: I flew Vietnam Airlines from Danang to Hanoi. Took a night train from Hanoi to Sapa
READ NEXT: How to do an authentic homestay in Sapa

My night train arrived early morning in Sapa town and my Black Hmong guide was waiting for me. We started hiking to the steep mountains of Sapa. We hiked for about 4 hours, and we arrived at my Homestay at my guide’s house, where she cooked an amazing meal on the fire pit in the middle of the kitchen, while I played with the kids.


DAY 10 Vietnam Itinerary: Hike the Misty Mountains in Sapa and Experience Homestay with Black Hmong

Trekking the mountains/visiting local villages/ shopping at local market/experiencing homestay with local hill tribe

After an amazing homemade and fresh breakfast, we left for another day of trekking, visiting some local remote villages, visiting the local school, crossed bridges and saw some local ladies washing clothes in the river, and visiting the local market to shop for fresh ingredients to cook dinner at my homestay.

2-week trip itinerary in Vietnam

DAY 11 Vietnam Itinerary: Hike the Misty Mountains in Sapa and Experience Homestay with Black Hmong

I was so honored to be invited to a local wedding and I have decided to skip the last day of trekking to participate in a traditional and authentic experience. If you are lucky and stay with a local family, you most likely will have the best experience and will participate on the real life of the local tribes in Sapa. I have written a very comprehensive Sapa Ethical Travel Guide

Trek and homestay in Sapa

DAY 12 Vietnam Itinerary: Travel to Hanoi to continue the trip to Halong Bay

Took a night train from Sapa to Hanoi. My cruise tour operator picked me up in Hanoi with a shuttle to Halong Bay.

 I took the night train in Sapa back to Hanoi, and I was picked up by my cruise company. I rode in a mini-bus with other travelers from Hanoi to Halong Bay. The cruise company also transported us back to Hanoi (round trip Hanoi-Halong was included in the cruise). The drive was 4 hours each way.

Spend the day sailing among the majestic limestone tasks and relaxing on board of the junk boat. Have a drink on the rooftop while appreciating the amazing limestone formations. Visit the floating village and get to see how some local families still live on the bay.

Visiting Halong Bay involves taking a tour, and there are boats of all different budgets, sizes, styles, and with different activities offered, and I recommend doing your research to find the most suitable option for you. Some highly recommended are:

DAY 13 Vietnam Itinerary: Relax on Board a Junk Boat on Halong Bay

The cruise lines offer different tours. The one I took I go to visit a cave which was very intriguing. In the afternoon I grabbed a kayak and explore the Bay taking the time to appreciate the beauty of this unique place. At night enjoy a very fun cooking class on board your junk boat.

Vietnam 2 weeks day by day trip itinerary

DAY 14 Vietnam Itinerary: Relax on Board a Junk Boat on Halong Bay

Last day of my 3-day cruise, lounging out on my balcony while watching the majestic scenery of this place before I get back on the road and continue my amazing journey on the way to Cambodia.


Vietnam Trip Resources

Planning a Trip to Vietnam

Visit my Vietnam Travel Guide for all the details about how to plan a perfect trip to Vietnam. I researched for my trip for months to make sure I would take advantage of the ‘must-visit places in Vietnam in a 2-week itinerary.

Also, visiting at least one big city to get the vibe of the unstoppable lifestyle in Vietnam is a great idea and you can check between Hanoi vs Saigon and see which city fits best for you

I booked almost everything in advance – flights, accommodation, trains, and tours to Sapa and Halong Bay.

An excellent guidebook that I used during my itinerary preparation is the Lonely Planet Vietnam Guidebook, as it has tons of great information.


Arrival in Vietnam

You will need a visa to visit Vietnam. You can either apply for a visa via the Vietnamese embassy/ consulate or via one of the methods below:

  • Visa on Arrival (VOA) – This is the most popular option for visitors arriving by plane. Go to the vietnam-visa.com to fill out an online application and pay for the US$20 fee. You will receive an email with the VOA letter that you print out and show upon your arrival in Vietnam, and you will need to pay for your visa stamping in US dollars, cash only. The single-entry stamping fee is US$25, and the stamping fee for a multiple-entry visa valid for up to 3 months is US$50.
  • E-Visa – Citizens of around 80 countries, including the USA and UK can apply for a single entry e-visa valid for 30 days and costs US$25. Click here for more information.

Where to Stay in Vietnam

While the right accommodation options depending on your travel style, I am providing some recommendations for places to stay in Vietnam for each stop during my 2-week Vietnam itinerary.

Vietnam has plenty of accommodation options from hostel to luxury, as well as between and you will find whatever is suitable for you. Consider if you are planning to visit during the high season and book your accommodation in advance.

Accommodation in Vietnam is generally very affordable, and you have many options to choose from. Check the best options for hotel, B&B, or Villas.

If you value local or unique experiences like me and like to have a more authentic experience in the places you visit, check the options for guest-house.


How Much Does It Cost 2 Weeks Itinerary in Vietnam?

Traveling around Vietnam is very affordable, and prices can vary quite a lot depending on your preferences. Some people can travel around Vietnam spending an average of $30 a day per person – considering if you eat street food and use hostel for accommodation.

My trip to Vietnam was a mid-range budget of $72.5 per day per person. I used a combination of 3 stars hotel, a homestay with a local family in Sapa, with a 5-star cruise in Halong Bay, which was also my biggest expense. I ate street food and also some meals at a restaurant. I opted to fly from one location to another since it saved me time. See below my average price for 2 people to spend 2-week in Vietnam:

ESTIMATED COST FOR 2-WEEKS
LODGING$20 – $40 – per night
STREET FOOD$5 (per meal/ person)
RESTAURANT FOOD$20 (per meal/ person)
FLIGHTS$50 per flight (per person)
HALONG BAY TOUR$300 (per person for 3 days)
ATTRACTIONS$200 (total for 2 weeks/ person)
Vietnam detailed trip itinerary for 2 weeks

When is the Best Time to Visit Vietnam?

The weather in Vietnam can be split by region.

  • In Hanoi & the north, May to October is hot and humid with high rainfall; November to April is cooler and dry.
  • In the far north, December & January can be particularly cold.
  • Central Vietnam experiences hot, dry weather between January & August when temperatures can hit the mid-30°C’s; whilst high levels of rainfall can occur in September, October & November.
  • Southern Vietnam is generally dry and hot from November to April, and warm and wet between May & October, with the highest rainfall in June, July & August.

More Tips for Your Vietnam Itinerary

  • Book in Advance – Especially if you are traveling during the high season. You will have more options to choose from accommodations, and you will have a better plan for activities and transportation options.
  • Halong Bay – I recommend doing the 3-day cruise, as you can see more of the majestic beauty of this place and also, relax during your busy travel schedule.
  • Visit Hoi An – Even if you are short in time, prioritize Hoi An as it has so much to offer and the side trips are amazing.
  • Vietnamese Coffee – In my option, it is the best in the world!
  • Homestay in Sapa is amazing – If you have the time, include Sapa in your itinerary. Read here more about my experience with homestay with a local tribe.
  • Mind the weather – Don’t underestimate the weather, as it can be extremely hot in the summer and very wet.
  • Crossing the streets – In the big cities, the traffic is INSANE. Traffic lights don’t mean they will stop for you. Please, be careful!
  • Cover up – When you visiting temples and pagodas.
  • Bargain – Negotiating price is not rude, it is expected!

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24 thoughts on “Vietnam 2-week Itinerary: The Perfect Vietnam Backpacking Route!”

  1. This is brilliant! Such a perfect itinerary for two weeks. Where is your fave spot in Vietnam? I miss the food sooo much! All the best, Cassie xxx

    Reply
    • Hi Cassie, thank you so much for checking my blog and for your kind feedback. My favorite place in Vietnam is Sapa, I absolutely love horw isolated and I made a great friend there from the H’mong hill tribe. Ohhhh the food, one of the best in the world, right?

      Reply
  2. Do you know what I like about this blog? I don’t need to read any other to have a perfect itinerary! Congratulation, very good reading

    Reply
    • Thank you so much Fernanda. I try to put as much detail as I can into my itineraries and I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  3. This is a great Itinerary. I have been thinking of going at the end of the year if that’s possible or maybe next year. This will come handy.

    Reply
    • Hello Suvarna, I am so happy to hear you found my itinerary handy. Hopefully you will be able to visit Vietnam anytime soon too.

      Reply
    • I hear you! I have been exploring SEA for a few years now and each place I visit, I hold a very special place in my heart. I have been wanting to go and spend a few months on a row next time.

      Reply
    • Hi Karen, first of all I am sorry you had to cancel your trip to Vietnam. But hopefully you will rebook it at a safer time, I cannot wait to go back to explore our wonderful Planet.

      Reply
  4. I needed this! I’m planning to go next year (hopefully the pandemic is over by then). I was there in 2015 for a press trip but only stayed for four days in Halong-Hanoi area. Pinning 🙂

    Reply
    • I am so glad to hear you found my guide useful. Hopefully next year traveling will remain and be safe. I am also planning to go back to Vietnam, as I made some dear friends there.

      Reply
    • Thanks Jiayi for visiting my blog and I am glad you found my guide helpful. I hope you get to visit Vietnam soon, you will love it!

      Reply
  5. What a wonderful itinerary, Paula! I love SEA so I am sure I will use it on my next trip here ? Vietnam has been such a bucket list destination for me and your photos make me wanna go there asap.

    Reply
  6. I absolutely LOVE Vietnam! I spent a month there a couple of years ago and did a very similar route to you! I especially loved Hoi An and Ha Long Bay. I would also recommend stopping at Ninh Binh if you go again!

    Reply
    • Thank you Ellie, I will absolutely keep your advice to visit Ninh Binh next time. I agree with you, Hoi An and Halong Bay are absolutely phenomenal places and I cannot wait to go back to Vietnam.

      Reply
    • Brit, I hear you – Vietnam has a special place in my heart too. Not only the gorgeous landscapes, but the people help to make this place even more amazing.

      Reply
  7. Saving this one for when travel resumes. We’ve been wanting to go to Vietnam for years, and it seems like we should actually try to make it happen. Great post!

    Reply
  8. Such a great and thorough guide 🙂 Thanks so much for all the info! I haven’t been to Vietnam yet, but it’s on my list – hopefully in the future!

    Reply
    • Hi Nele, I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this guide. I hope you get to visit Vietnam one day, it is an amazing destination to explore.

      Reply

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