Enjoy a romantic escape in Vietnam and Thailand on this 14-day tour. Relish quality time with your beloved as you bask on Ko Samui's white-sand beaches, enjoy Thai treatments at a luxury spa, and take an atmospheric overnight cruise of UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay. Along the way, you'll visit glittering temples and palaces, meet elephants at a jungle sanctuary, and savor romantic dining experiences, from candlelit beach meals to lavish dinner cruises.


  • Take an atmospheric overnight cruise on karst-studded Ha Long Bay
  • Relish romantic dining experiences, from city cruises to candlelit beach dinners
  • Enjoy indulgent Thai treatments and a couple's massage at Dahra Spa
  • Bask on white-sand beaches and visit an elephant sanctuary in Ko Samui
  • Tour sparkling temples and palaces in historic Hanoi, Hoi An, and Bangkok

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Cultural Tour Hanoi
Day 2 Morning Water Puppet Show, Evening Street Food Tour Hanoi
Day 3 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Board Overnight Cruise Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Cruise Ha Long Bay, Fly to Da Nang, Transfer to Hoi An Hoi An
Day 5 Hoi An Ancient Town Tour, Romantic Bamboo Raft Dinner Hoi An
Day 6 Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, City Tour & Saigon River Dinner Cruise Ho Chi Minh City
Day 7 Mekong Delta Cultural Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 8 Fly to Bangkok (Thailand), Rooftop Fine Dining Bangkok
Day 9 Bangkok Palaces & Temples Tour, Luxury Spa Treatment Bangkok
Day 10 Visit Bangkok's Railway & Floating Markets Bangkok
Day 11 Fly to Ko Samui, Romantic Candlelight Dinner on the Beach Ko Samui
Day 12 Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Experience Ko Samui
Day 13 Ko Samui Free Day: Temples, Nature & Beaches Ko Samui
Day 14 Depart Ko Samui  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Cultural Tour

Visit Vietnam's first national university, the Temple of Literature

Welcome to Vietnam! Touch down in Hanoi, the country's high-energy capital and cultural heart. A private driver will take you to your hotel, navigating the motorbike-choked streets of the city. Along the way, take in your first views of Hanoi's tree-lined avenues, which feature a mix of temples and French colonial buildings contrasted with modern, glassy malls and office buildings.

Get oriented with a guided tour of Hanoi's top sights, including the Ho Chi Minh Complex, where Vietnam's revered revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh, lies embalmed in a mausoleum. Wander the grounds to see the humble wooden stilt house where he once lived, as well as the ornate One Pillar Pagoda, which sits in the middle of a lake and resembles Vietnam's national flower, the lotus.

Continue to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first national university built in the late 11th century. Lauded for its striking architecture, the temple is pictured on the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote. Spend the evening as you please, exploring Hanoi's Old Quarter with its tubular houses and street vendors. 

Day 2: Morning Water Puppet Show, Evening Street Food Tour

Experience the traditional Vietnamese art form of water puppetry

Discover the secrets of water puppetry this morning. This northern Vietnamese art form is thought to have originated in the flooded rice fields of the Red River Delta region, where villagers entertained themselves by using bamboo rods to move handmade wooden puppets through the water. The show depicts scenes of rural life and important historical moments set to music.

Visit a village where locals have been preserving the art of water puppetry in its traditional form for generations. Meet artisans, puppeteers, and artists to learn about basic puppetry techniques and then watch a private show and lunch before returning to Hanoi. 

Tonight, you'll dine on Hanoi's fabled street food delights during a guided tour. Wander the streets of the Old Quarter, sampling typical dishes such as cha ca (grilled fish with turmeric), pho bo (beef noodle soup), and bun cha (grilled pork served with vermicelli noodles). If you're feeling adventurous, sample trung vit lon, Vietnam's fertilized duck eggs. Wash it down with Hanoian beer and a cup of the city's unique egg coffee. 

Day 3: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Board Overnight Cruise

Board your boat for an overnight stay on Ha Long Bay's calm waters

Today starts with a three-hour transfer to Ha Long Harbor, where you'll board the luxurious Orchid Trendy Cruise ship for your overnight voyage on this UNESCO-listed landmark. Sail across the paper-flat waters, taking in views of more than 2,000 limestone karsts encased in Vietnamese legend. A seafood lunch onboard awaits, followed by plenty of time to sit on the sundeck as you sail to the most remote corners of Ha Long Bay.

In the afternoon, visit limestone caves and secret coves, where you can swim and kayak to explore hidden beaches and grottoes. Return to your ship to watch the sunset from the deck, accompanied by snacks and drinks. The ship's expert chef will lead a cooking masterclass, demonstrating how to make specialties such as nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls). Dine on French-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, then spend the evening relaxing, having a massage, or squid fishing.

Day 4: Cruise Ha Long Bay, Fly to Da Nang, Transfer to Hoi An

Head south to Hoi An's lantern-lined streets

Wake early for breakfast on the ship's deck, watching the sun rise over the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay, deemed one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. The morning is yours to absorb the view or join a tai chi class or kayak across to a limestone cave full of stalagmites and stalactites. Enjoy a buffet lunch on board while you sail back to the harbor.

Back on dry land, you'll take a shuttle bus to Hanoi, followed by a private transfer to the airport for your flight to the former French colonial port of Da Nang. A driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Hoi An, located an hour farther down the coast. This peaceful port town is loved for its lantern-lined streets, skilled tailors, and UNESCO-worthy architecture.

Day 5: Hoi An Ancient Town Tour, Romantic Bamboo Raft Dinner

Cross Hoi An's famous Japanese Covered Bridge

This morning, explore Hoi An on a half-day walking tour. Strategically located on the Thu Bon River, Hoi An attracted settlers from all over the world between the 15th and 19th centuries. Today, the city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its fusion of architecture and culture, which you'll navigate with a guide. The pedestrian-only streets in Hoi An are perfect for a walking tour.

Visit old merchant houses and the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge built to access the Chinese Quarter. Marvel at the woodcarvings in the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation and browse the colorful market, where stalls brim with local specialties, including silk, which skilled tailors can transform into a custom-made outfit for you in as little as 24 hours.

In the late afternoon, board one of Hoi An's signature basket boats to sail up the serene Co Co River to a luxury bamboo raft. Here, you'll enjoy a candlelit meal served by private butlers. Watch the sunset and dine on fine Vietnamese cuisine as the stars light up the sky. 

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Day 6: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, City Tour & Saigon River Dinner Cruise

Visit Ho Chi Minh City's Reunification Palace

Today starts with a 1.5-hour flight south to Ho Chi Minh City. Settle into your hotel and head out to uncover Vietnam's largest metropolis on a guided tour. Start at the century-old Ben Thanh, one of the biggest markets in the city, where vendors sell everything from meat to seafood and produce. Next, visit the stirring War Remnants Museum, which tells the story of the Vietnam War (known locally as the American War) in Vietnam with haunting exhibits. 

Continue to the Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace, a symbol of the end of the American War when Ho Chi Minh's tanks stormed the complex in 1975. Afterward, you'll discover many of the city's famous French colonial landmarks, like the grand Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, a replica of Paris's famous cathedral, which features spike-topped towers and stained-glass windows imported from France. 

This evening, you'll be picked up for a romantic Saigon Princess Dinner Cruise. Board the chic four-story ship and take in sweeping city views from the deck as you gently glide down the river. Admire views of the twinkling city lights illuminating iconic landmarks like the Bitexco Tower. You'll dine on a set menu of duck terrine with sesame grissini, cheesy sweet potato soup, Australian beef filet mignon, and Greek yogurt panna cotta, accompanied by live music.

Day 7: Mekong Delta Cultural Tour

Watch daily life, and fishing nets, unfold on the Mekong Delta

This morning, you'll transfer two hours south to the lush Mekong Delta. Known as Vietnam's rice bowl, this region is full of mangroves, sugar cane plantations, and waterlogged paddies. Board a boat to sail the Ben Tre River, one of the tributaries of the mighty Mekong. Eventually, you'll switch to a rowboat to paddle to a village where you'll meet the residents and get an insight into rural Mekong life. 

Next, hop on a xe loi (motor cart) to another family home, where you'll witness locals making brooms from coconut fibers and the coconut candy that Ben Tre is famous for. You'll pass lime-green rice fields, vegetable farms, and exotic fruit orchards. Take a boat to a final village where your host will show you how to prepare Mekong dishes, which you'll feast on. Afterward, head back to Ho Chi Minh City for a laid-back evening.

Day 8: Fly to Bangkok (Thailand), Rooftop Fine Dining

Fly to Bangkok and enjoy a rooftop cocktail

Say goodbye to Vietnam this morning and take a 1.5-hour flight to Bangkok, where your driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel in the city's heart. Thailand's capital is beloved for its chaotic energy, delicious street food, buzzing nightlife, and Buddhist sights. Spend today exploring independently. Perhaps visit Chinatown—a city within a city—which is the best place to begin a street-food tour.

For souvenir shopping, head to Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok's most popular shopping malls. If you're visiting during the weekend, don't miss Chatuchak Market. With more than 15,000 stalls, it's one of the world's largest outdoor markets, selling everything from clothes and pets to flowers and antiques. For a different perspective of the capital, board a long-tail boat to ride along the city's klongs (canals), lined with Thai houses and temples.

Dine with panoramic city views this evening at Banyan Tree Bangkok, a rooftop restaurant that offers 360-degree views of the capital. Enjoy a three or four-course menu of high-end dishes: soft-shell crab salad, grilled snow fish, and royal Caribbean bisque. End with cocktails at the Moon Bar while marveling at Bangkok's temples and skyscrapers. 

Day 9: Bangkok Palaces & Temples Tour, Luxury Spa Treatment

Take time to relax at Dahra Spa after a morning of sightseeing

After breakfast, take a tour of Bangkok's Grand Palace. This complex of intricate temples and palaces was built in 1782 and served as the royal family's home for 150 years. Today, the palace is used for royal ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and state banquets. Highlights include the Reception Hall, Coronation Hall, and Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the sacred Emerald Buddha, a 26-inch (66 cm) jade statue of a meditating Buddha.

Relax this afternoon with a trip to Dahra Spa, known for its decadent treatments and experienced therapists. Choose from various rejuvenating treatments based on European and Asian techniques, from aromatherapy massages to green tea body scrubs, seaweed salt Jacuzzis, and facials. The Thai herbal massage is a favorite, using an herbal compress to draw out toxins and promote circulation.

Day 10: Visit Bangkok's Railway & Floating Markets

Practice your bartering skills at the floating market

Today, you'll explore some of Bangkok's sprawling markets on a guided tour. Transfer through the high-rise urban landscape to Samut Songkharm on the rural outskirts of the capital. Here, you'll visit the Mae Klong Railway Market, which sits along the tracks; when a train pulls in or out of the station, the vendors quickly clear their stalls, only to set them up again moments later when the train has passed.

Continue to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, 62 miles (100 km) southwest of the capital. Paddle through the maze of canals past vendors selling fruit and handicrafts from their boats. Hail down the food vendors for a spot of authentic Thai food and witness traders selling fresh produce and handicrafts on their boats. Afterward, return to Bangkok for a final evening in the capital.

Day 11: Fly to Ko Samui, Romantic Candlelight Dinner on the Beach

Dine by candlelight to the sound of gentle waves

Today begins with a one-hour flight south to the blissful island of Ko Samui. Situated in the balmy Gulf of Thailand, the island is loved for its beaches lined with coconut groves. You'll find acres of mountainous rainforest in the island's interior, dotted with waterfalls and wildlife. Ko Samui is also known for its wellness culture, which ranges from vegan eateries to yoga retreats and high-end spas.

Take the afternoon to lounge by the swimming pool or hit the beach to wade into the azure waters. This evening, you'll have a romantic dinner in a private cabana on the soft, white sands of Choengmon Beach at the opulent SALA Samui Resort. Dine to the rumble of waves on a menu of Thai classics: green chicken curry, shrimp, and coconut pudding accompanied by fine wines.

Day 12: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Experience

Get up close to Thailand's national animal, the elephant

Get to know Thailand's national animal today with a trip to Ko Samui's Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. Meet your expert guide and change into traditional Karen clothing for a walk through the sanctuary, home to free-roaming elephants. You'll get an introduction to the history of elephants in Thailand and learn about these gentle giants' behavior, anatomy, and care.

Along the way, you'll stop to interact with and feed the elephants, then watch them have a mud spa. Follow the animals through the forest and bathe with them in the river before returning to base. Here, you'll change into dry clothes and refuel with fresh fruit and snacks before returning to your hotel.

Spend the afternoon as you please. Chill by the pool or laze on one of the island's top stretches of powdery sand, including Chaweng and Lamai, where you can lie in a hammock under the shade of a palm tree, sipping on cocktails or coconuts. More secluded beaches like Laem Yai and Mae Nam offer extra tranquility.

Day 13: Ko Samui Free Day: Temples, Nature & Beaches

Perhaps visit Wat Phra Yai and its Giant Buddha statue

Today is yours to enjoy Ko Samui at your leisure. Soak up the sun at your hotel pool or favorite beach, pamper yourself with a spa session, and stroll by the sea. If you're feeling more active, visit the Bophut Fisherman's Village for shopping and seafood dining, then head to Wat Plai Laem for some temple culture. To discover Ko Samui's waterfalls, take a car to Namtok Hin Lat and Namtok Na Mueang waterfalls, where you can trek through thick forests and cool off in clear pools.

Other Ko Samui activities include cooking classes where you can learn to make typical Thai dishes, yoga workshops, and all kinds of watersports, from jet skiing to kayaking. Finish the day with a romantic sunset cruise or browse one of the island's thriving night markets. 

Day 14: Depart Ko Samui

Say goodbye to island life as you leave Thailand

Today your romantic Vietnam and Thailand getaway comes to an end. Spend a final few hours on the beach or shopping for souvenirs before your airport transfer. Safe travels!

More Great Vietnam Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Vietnam? Check out these other Vietnam itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Vietnam and Thailand, and discover the best time to visit Vietnam.


A note on diacritical markings: In order to support the best technical experience and search functions, diacritical markings have been omitted from this article.


Map of Romantic Vietnam & Thailand Escape - 14 Days
Map of Romantic Vietnam & Thailand Escape - 14 Days
Written by Kelly Lu, updated Oct 19, 2023