Travel from north to south as you explore the best of Vietnam on this two-week tour. Start in Hanoi to discover its riches in the city center and outskirts. Cruise on Ha Long Bay to get a feel for rural Vietnam. Meander through the countryside as you discover the villages of Hue, Hoi An, and Cam Thanh before enjoying a basket boat ride in complete serenity. Finish your trip in the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh, where you'll tour the city and experience the floating markets of Cam Rai.


  • Visit the significant sites of Vietnam's ancient capital city, Hanoi
  • Explore northern Vietnam and learn about tea production at a local plantation
  • Discover the beautiful, ocher-colored towns of Hue and Hoi An
  • Get caught up in the food and fervor of Ho Chi Minh City by night

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi, Explore Hanoi
Day 2 Explore the History & Beauty of Hanoi Hanoi
Day 3 Explore the Vietnamese Countryside on a Ba Vi Eco-Tour Hanoi
Day 4 Cycling & Boating In Ninh Binh, Visit Nho Quan Hanoi
Day 5 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise  Ha Long Bay
Day 6 Morning Cruise, Transfer to Hue via Hanoi Hue
Day 7 Hue Full-Day Sightseeing Tour Hue
Day 8 Transfer to Hoi An, Hoi An Sightseeing Tour Hoi An
Day 9 Visit Tra Que & Cam Thanh Villages, Basket Boat Ride Hoi An
Day 10 Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City, Vespa Food Tour  Ho Chi Minh City
Day 11 Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 12 Transfer to Can Tho, Discover the Mekong Delta Can Tho
Day 13 Explore Cai Rang, Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City
Day 14 Depart Ho Chi Minh City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Explore 

Free Day in Hanoi
Aerial view of Hanoi

Welcome to Vietnam! Upon arrival at Hanoi airport, your driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Relax after the long journey, or head out to stretch your legs and get your bearings. Dating to 3000 BCE, Hanoi is one of the world's most ancient capitals. Traditional culture meets modern metropolises in its busy streets filled with motorbikes, outdoor markets, and curbside banh mi vendors.

Spend your free time exploring the maze of narrow streets in Hanoi's Old Quarter at your own pace, or take a cyclo ride in one of the city's traditional three-wheeled bicycle taxis. For lunch, head to Bun Cha Huong Lien to try the beloved Hanoian meal of bun cha (noodle soup with grilled pork). This restaurant's interpretation of the dish is so famous that it's served guests like Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain. To wrap up your evening in style, sip cocktails on a rooftop bar and enjoy spectacular sunset views over West Lake.

Day 2: Explore the History & Beauty of Hanoi

Explore the History and Beauty of Hanoi - Full Day Sightseeing
Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Today, you'll explore some of the city's most remarkable places. Meet your guide in the hotel lobby early this morning to visit Hang Be Market. Located in the heart of the Old Quarter, explore its stalls with various goods and immerse yourself in the daily life of the locals. Head to Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest temple in Hanoi, which dates back to the sixth century. The original name was An Quoc, but in the 17th century, it was renamed Tran Quoc (protecting the country). Visit the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, where you can learn about Vietnamese ethnic groups throughout history.

After lunch, make a stop at the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam and a rare example of Vietnamese architecture back in the 11th century. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of its beautiful garden before visiting the Ho Chi Minh Complex, where the great President Ho Chi Minh rests in peace. See the traditional stilt house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked and the respected One-Pillar Pagoda's unique structure. From here, you'll return to your hotel and spend the rest of the evening as you please.

Day 3: Explore the Vietnamese Countryside on a Ba Vi Eco-Tour

Explore the Vietnamese Countryside on a Ba Vi Eco Tour
A tea plantation near Moc Village

Head out of the city this morning for a guided tour of the beautiful Ba Vi countryside. Your first stop is Ri Village, where you'll have welcome drinks and snacks with Mr. Duoc, a Vietnam War veteran and tea plantation owner. Listen to Mr. Duoc's stories about life during the war and visit his workshop and tea plantation, where you'll learn how to pick the best leaves.

Next, you'll take a short drive to Moc Village, where Mrs. Chin will teach you how to cook Vietnamese dishes, which you'll enjoy for lunch in her tropical garden. Join Mrs. Chin for a walk around the village to visit local families and learn how to make tofu, conical hats, and other regional products. Finish with a cycle through Vietnam's signature rice paddies, followed by a Muong herbal foot bath, before returning to Hanoi.

Day 4: Cycling & Boating In Ninh Binh, Visit Nho Quan

Cycling Farming and Boating In Ninh Binh - Day Trip to Nho Quan
Explore rural Vietnam by rowboat

You'll head two hours north to Ninh Binh province in the morning, known as "Ha Long Bay on Land," thanks to its magnificent riverside landscapes with limestone formations and karst grottoes. Upon arrival at Tho Ha Village in Nho Quan township, hop on the bike and take a leisurely cycling trip for about 3-10 miles (5-15 km). You'll pass by sleepy villages and picturesque countryside landscapes. Continue to the hamlet of Dong Tam to participate in agricultural activities such as catching crabs, fishing, and gardening.

After an hour of fun work, return to the hamlet to learn how to cook local meals and have lunch with a local family. After lunch, board a rowboat at the Nha Le pier and enjoy a trip to the 2,953-foot (900 m) deep Galaxy Grotto, so named for the sea of stalactites growing from the ceiling above, like so many stars. The grotto is also home to a large bat colony that nests near its end. After the boat trip, you'll be transferred back to your hotel in Hanoi.

Day 5: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise 

Cruising & Kayaking in Ha Long Bay
Cruise along Ha Long Bay

This morning, you'll bid Hanoi farewell for now and transfer east to the otherworldly beauty of Ha Long Bay—where you'll board an overnight cruise through one of the great wonders of the natural world. Located where the land meets the Gulf of Tonkin, thousands of karst islets dot the bay's serene emerald waters. Legend has it that the islands originated as precious jewels sprayed into the water by a great dragon.

On arrival at the pier, board your ship and enjoy breathtaking views of limestone rocks and karst grottoes as you leave the harbor. A delicious seafood lunch awaits, and you'll have plenty of free time to enjoy the sun deck as the ship navigates the bay's most beautiful hidden corners. Stop in a secret cove to explore with some swimming or kayaking, then head back to the boat for an evening cooking class, where you'll learn to make nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) before sitting down to a delicious dinner. 

Day 6: Disembark Cruise, Transfer to Hue via Hanoi

Cruising Ha Long Bay
Another day in paradise on Ha Long Bay
Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
The most beautiful sunrise awaits you as you have an early breakfast on board. If you're up for it, join a tai chi class to awaken your mind and body. There's also the opportunity to visit a limestone cave and discover its stalagmites and stalactites. You'll sit down to an early lunch before returning to the dock in Hanoi. Afterward, you'll be transferred to the airport in Hanoi by private car, where you'll take a four-hour flight to Hue. Upon arrival in Hue, your driver will meet you at the airport, holding the signboard with your name, and take you to the hotel. Rest up this evening for more adventures tomorrow.

Day 7: Hue Full-Day Sightseeing Tour

Touch the History of Former Imperial Capital - Hue Full Day Sightseeing  (N)
Hien Nhon Gate in Hue

Meet your guide at the hotel lobby and immerse yourself in the heritage of this former imperial capital. Start with a boat trip along the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hue. Then, visit the Imperial Citadel, where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. You'll also visit the Royal Antiques Museum to see the collection of ornaments from the Nguyen Dynasty. Then, head to the bustling Dong Ba Market to experience the daily life of the locals. In the afternoon, visit the elegant Khai Dinh Royal Tomb, whose architecture combines the elements of Eastern art and Western design.

During your visit, notice the tomb's vivid details, giant dragons forming the side walls, a blackened concrete exterior, and a colorful mosaic interior with elegant murals. Continue to Tu Duc Royal Tomb, the most impressive of all the royal mausoleums built by Emperor Tu Duc between 1864 and 1867. While the complex includes a tomb with pavilions and temples, no one knows where King Tu Duc is buried, as all the servants who buried the king were beheaded to keep his final resting place a secret. After exploring the tombs, you'll be transferred back to your hotel.

Day 8: Transfer to Hoi An, Hoi An Sightseeing Tour

Private transfer Hue and Hoi An
Traditional boats moored in Hoi An village

Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to Hoi An, following the magnificent Hai Van Pass. Also known as "The Cloudy Pass," this winding mountain road overlooks the lush countryside, sandy beaches, and the blue waters of the East Sea. Feel free to ask your driver to stop so that you can take some pictures. Once you've settled in at your hotel, you'll meet your guide for the afternoon.

Hoi An is home to a diversity of ancient streets and homes. Your guide will take you on a leisurely walk around the Old Town to see the ancient houses built in Chinese, Japanese, French, and European architectural styles. Stroll around the unusual cobblestone streets to admire the hundred-century-old Chinese dwellings. You shouldn't miss incredible places like the historic Japanese Bridge, the Phuc Kien Hall, and the local fish market. You can also stop at a tailor shop to get some custom clothes made within a day or two. At the end, you'll be taken back to your hotel.

Day 9: Visit Tra Que & Cam Thanh Villages, Basket Boat Ride

 Hoi An Biking And Fishing Experience
Travel by basketboat

Revel in a genuine escape from bustling city life as you make your way to Vietnam's peaceful countryside. You'll take a detour today by visiting remote and beautiful villages along the Thu Bon River and exploring the daily life of the local people in central Vietnam. Your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and take you on a cycling trip through the countryside and rivers around Hoi An.

This easy bike ride will take you to the charming Tra Que vegetable village, where you'll see the traditional way of planting and growing vegetables. Have a walk around the town, and take some great photos before biking to Cam Thanh fishing village. From here, take a paddleboat trip in a unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat down the waterways of a coconut palm paradise. Enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing. Then hop on the bike and cycle back to your hotel.

Day 10: Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City, Vespa Food Tour

Saigon Food Tour At Night On a Vespa Bike
Get ready for the nightlife in Ho Chi Minh!

A driver will be waiting to take you to the airport, where you'll catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, another driver will take you to your hotel. You'll have the day to discover the city. Despite a turbulent history and devastating war, this city formerly known as Saigon has retained its fascinating mix of Asian and Western traditions, with French colonial landmarks rubbing shoulders with 21st-century skyscrapers. Wander through markets, the Old Town, and the modern sector to get your bearings.

Tonight, you'll explore this vibrant city on the back of a motorbike as you taste some of the region's most famous dishes. Start your journey by zooming through town and seeing some of the city's famous landmarks, scooting through narrow alleys along the way. Your first stop will be at a local restaurant where you'll taste Vietnamese pancakes and spring rolls. After that, you'll try some local seafood at a specialty restaurant. Finally, end the evening with dessert, coffee, and a little jazz at a local nightclub to complete your evening. 

Day 11: Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour

Cu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh City Tour
Bird's-eye view of Ho Chi Minh 

Today, you'll take a deep dive into Vietnamese history and explore the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, used as a shelter for Vietnamese soldiers during the war. Learn about why the tunnels were constructed and how they helped people survive in harsh wartime conditions. Wander the remaining tunnel systems, which include the living areas, kitchens, and martial facilities, as well as hidden doors and dangerous traps. Finish the tour with a serving of special tea and cassava (a typical meal of guerilla food during the war).

In the afternoon, return to the city to visit Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace, built on the sight of the former Norodom Palace. The Independence Palace is a widely known landmark of Ho Chi Minh City and was designed by the architect Ngo Viet Thu. Continue exploring the beautiful buildings from French Colonial times, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the historic Central Post Office. Then, visit Ben Thanh Market, one of the largest markets in Ho Chi Minh City, to see the local life here. After the tour, return to your hotel.

Day 12: Transfer to Can Tho, Discover the Mekong Delta

Discover the Mekong Delta (Ben Tre and Can Tho)
Discover the Mekong Delta and its floating lotus leaves

It's an early start, as a driver will be waiting to take you to Can Tho Village, known for its canal networks and nearby floating markets. After a four-hour drive, get ready to discover the Mekong Delta with a transfer to Ben Tre. At Ham Luong dock, board a boat to cruise along the Ham Luong River, a tributary to the Mekong. Watch tranquil river life pass by as you float past orchards and villages. Visit workshops along the river where Mekong residents produce coconut candy, activated charcoal, and coconut husk brooms. Explore the town by Xe Loi, a motorized rickshaw used by locals.

You'll also get the chance to kayak through the canals to experience the beauty of the Mekong River and immerse yourself in rural life. Have lunch at a local restaurant before continuing your tour. Cycle along village roads, past farmers and kids returning from school. Take time to relax on the riverbank, joining villagers as they fish and cook. The day ends with a transfer back to Can Tho. In the evening, enjoy the town's waterfront with its floating restaurants and bars.

Day 13: Explore Cai Rang, Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City

Can Tho - Cai Rang - Ho Chi Minh City
Cai Rang floating markets

After breakfast, take a leisurely boat trip on peaceful tributaries of the lower Mekong River to Cai Rang Floating Market, one of the largest and liveliest in the region. Watch barefoot traders do business from tiny boats piled with flowers, coconuts, and colorful produce.

Don't miss the opportunity to taste Vietnamese vermicelli soup from one of the vendors and learn how to barter for fruit. There's time to dock and wander around a village on the riverbank, where you'll cross a typical Mekong monkey bridge built with just a single bamboo stem. The tour finishes with an orchard visit and a riverside lunch. Afterward, you'll return to Can Tho and transfer to Ho Chi Minh City for your final evening.

Day 14: Depart Ho Chi Minh City

Farewell Vietnam!!
Farewell Vietnam!

Your Vietnam adventure draws to a close today as you transfer to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Backroads of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An & Ho Chi Minh City - 14 Days
Map of Backroads of Vietnam: Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An & Ho Chi Minh City - 14 Days