Uncover thousands of years of Southeast Asian culture as you explore the ancient ruins and natural wonders of Vietnam and Cambodia. This indelible two-week journey begins with city tours in Vietnam's capital of Hanoi and a hunt for the best street food around. After a cruise amid the karst towers of Ha Long Bay, you'll transfer to the historic river city of Hoi An and the mountains of Da Nang before ending up at Cambodia's legendary Angkor Wat temple.


  • Immerse yourself in rural culture with a visit to herb villages
  • Take an overnight cruise on the jade waters of Ha Long Bay
  • Relax in the ancient river city of Hoi An and walk the Golden Bridge
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh City and travel deep into the Mekong Delta
  • Explore the ancient Khmer temples complex of Angkor Wat

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Old Quarter City Tour Hanoi
Day 2 Pottery Village Experience, Coffee Culture & Street Food Tour Hanoi
Day 3 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Morning Cruise, Fly to Da Nang Da Nang
Day 5 Day Trip to the Golden Bridge  Da Nang
Day 6 Transfer to Hoi An, Cycle to Herb Village Hoi An
Day 7 Countryside Cooking Class, Sunset River Ride Hoi An
Day 8 Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Optional Activities Ho Chi Minh City
Day 9 Ho Chi Minh City Wartime History Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 10 Day Trip to the Mekong Delta Ho Chi Minh City
Day 11 Fly to Siem Reap (Cambodia), Optional Activities Siem Reap
Day 12 Day Trip to Angkor Thom & Angkor Wat Siem Reap
Day 13 Day Trip to Banteay Srei & Floating Villages Siem Reap
Day 14 Depart Siem Reap  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi (Vietnam), Old Quarter City Tour

Hanoi's Old Quarter is filled with historic landmarks, like the Temple of Literature

Chao ban! Welcome to Vietnam! Few countries have captivated foreigners—for better and worse—than this Southeast Asian gem. Its natural beauty, thousands of years of settled history, and long heritage ranging from ancient dynasties to modern revolutions offer equal parts romance and intrigue. And there's no better place to experience it all than the capital of Hanoi, a metropolis at once modern and historic.

A driver will pick you up at the airport for a ride to your hotel. The adventure begins after dropping off your bags, then meet an English-speaking guide for a brisk city tour. Start at the Ho Chi Minh Complex, where Vietnam's revered revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh, lies embalmed in a mausoleum. Amble through the peaceful grounds to see the humble wooden stilt house where he once lived and the ornate One Pillar Pagoda, which sits in the middle of a lake and resembles Vietnam's national flower, the lotus.

After lunch, visit the fascinating Museum of Ethnology, which houses an expansive collection of artifacts from Vietnam's 54 ethnic minority groups. Next up is the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first national university, built in the late 11th century. Lauded for its striking architecture, the temple is featured on the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote. Finish the tour in the historic Old Quarter on the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, where locals come to socialize, practice tai chi, and pray at Ngoc Son, a Buddhist temple perched atop an islet. 

Day 2: Pottery Village Experience, Coffee Culture & Street Food Tour 

Do like the locals and drive right into the street food of Hanoi

Today, you'll visit Bat Trang Pottery Village, a short drive from Hanoi, to learn about the traditional handicrafts of the Red River Delta. Your guide will take you through the village, where you can peruse its many pottery shops. Stop for a workshop where you'll learn to make a piece of pottery, from turning the clay on a wheel to drying and decorating. You can take away your masterpiece as a souvenir.

In the evening, embark on a captivating journey into Vietnam's famed coffee culture during a two-hour workshop. Discover the history, art, and secrets behind ca phe sua da—Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk—as you learn traditional brewing methods under the guidance of a local coffee master. By the end, you'll have the tools to make your own perfect cup at home. Later, you'll enjoy a culinary odyssey of Hanoi's revered street foods. Snack on a classic banh mi sandwich and wash it down with some sugar cane juice or maybe a local rice wine. Afterward, return to your hotel.

Day 3: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise

The Ambassador is the largest luxury cruiser operating in Ha Long Bay

A private van will pick you up at the hotel at 8 am for the transfer north to mystical Ha Long Bay, a land of mythical dragons and emerald seas. The journey takes about four hours, and you'll arrive at the port at Ha Long around noon. In this spot on the Gulf of Tonkin, over 1,000 karst islets rise above emerald waters, resembling the spine of a giant reptile (Ha Long translates to "Descending Dragon"). Here, you'll board the Ambassador, which enjoys the distinction of being Ha Long Bay's largest luxury cruise ship. Once aboard, you'll set off on a two-day cruise you won't soon forget.

After enjoying a welcome drink, sit down for a delicious buffet lunch in the formal dining room and watch through the windows as the spectacular Ha Long scenery passes by. This cruise includes a few activities/excursions, and the first is a visit to Tung Sau Pearl Farm, an area dedicated to growing Ha Long's famous pearls. Here, you'll not only learn the handmade techniques of pearl harvesting, but you can also hit the water on a kayak ride. Another option is a hike up a nearby karst mountain to enjoy panoramic views of Ha Long from 328 feet (100 m) up.

Or, should you choose, stay aboard the ship and enjoy its various amenities. Opt for an afternoon of pampering at the onboard spa, soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi, or treat yourself to afternoon tea at the Piano Lounge. At sunset, the ship will drop anchor at Coconut Tree Island. Head to the bar on the sundeck for a sundowner cocktail, canapés, and live music before returning to the dining room for a multicourse set menu of gourmet cuisine. Afterward, enjoy some live music, sip on different wines from the onboard collection, and perhaps head to the deck for some squid fishing before retiring for the evening.

Day 4: Morning Cruise, Fly to Da Nang

All around Ha Long Bay are floating villages where locals live and work 

Wake up early and get the blood pumping with a tai chi session on the sundeck. After a light breakfast, the ship will cruise to Sung Sot, the bay's largest and most magnificent cave. On a brief excursion, you'll venture into the cave and marvel at its ancient stalactites and stalagmites. Later, you'll return to the ship and cruise to the Ha Long Bay pier, enjoying a late brunch as you go. Then, hop in a vehicle for the 3.5-hour ride back to Hanoi, arriving around 3 pm.

Once back in the city, you'll transfer to the airport by private vehicle and catch a 1.5-hour flight south to Da Nang. Located on the central Vietnamese coast, all around this dynamic and modern city lies the beauty and culture that has made Vietnam a tourism hotspot. Upon arrival, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel.

Day 5: Day Trip to the Golden Bridge

Golden Hand bridge
The Golden Bridge is one of the most famous human-made landmarks in Vietnam

After breakfast at the hotel, you'll meet your driver for a day trip to the most stunning landmark in Da Nang: the Golden Bridge. Located in the misty Truong Son Mountains, this 490-foot (150 m) pedestrian bridge sits at the top of the green Ba Na Hill. This entire region was a popular leisure spot for 19th-century French colonialists due to the incredible views it offers over the countryside and coast.

After driving for one hour to the mountain's base, you'll ascend to the top via the Ba Na Cable Car. Running 19,032 feet (5,801 m), this is the longest nonstop cable car in the world. Once at the top, you'll stand 4,593 feet (1,400 m) above sea level. Enjoy the dizzying 360-degree views with a stroll along the Golden Bridge, whose most incredible feature is the pair of giant stone hands gently cradling it.

The bridge crosses lovely gardens and offers views of nearby French villas, which make great photo opportunities. Another highlight is the Linh Tu Pagoda, a temple dedicated to the Holy Mountain Mother, a kind of patron saint of Ba Na Hill. Return to your hotel in Da Nang in the late afternoon.

Day 6: Transfer to Hoi An, Cycle to Herb Village

Explore the countryside around Hoi An by bicycle and visit the Thanh Dong organic farm

Say goodbye to Da Nang as you meet your driver in the morning for the hour's ride down the coast to Hoi An. Sitting on the Thu Bon River, this historic city was a major trading port with the West from the 15th through the 19th centuries, leaving a beguiling mix of historic Japanese and Chinese architecture in its wake. When you arrive, you'll head to your hotel, which is located near the river, and drop off your bags. 

You'll get to tour Hoi An's famous Ancient Town later in the day. For now, meet a guide and hop on a bicycle for an experience in rural Vietnam you won't soon forget. Pedal about 2 miles (3 km) outside of town to Tra Que Vegetable Village, a model of sustainable farming. For centuries, farmers on this 98-acre (40 ha) plot of land have been growing the highest quality herbs and vegetables through totally organic methods and without electric machinery.

Afterward, you'll return to Hoi An for a city tour, where your guide will lead you to the top sites in Ancient Town. These include Hoi An Market, the Japanese Covered Bridge, and the historic Chinese meeting hall Phuc Kien, which dates to the late-17th century. Afterward, you can participate in a lantern-making workshop. Japanese settlers brought the first lanterns to this region in the 16th century, and they've been a cultural icon ever since. 

Day 7: Countryside Cooking Class, Sunset River Ride

At the end of the day, board a raft and cruise down the Thu Bon River
Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Immerse yourself in rustic Vietnamese cuisine on a combined market visit/cooking workshop. Today's adventure will take you back to the countryside, but not before first visiting a local market to pick up the requisite fresh ingredients. Then, with a full bicycle basket, leave Hoi An and peddle along a riverside backroad, passing shrimp farms, fishing villages, and Cam Thanh. This waterfront village is famous for its lush mangroves and 208-acre (84 ha) coconut palm forests—so don't forget your camera.

Eventually, you'll end up back at Tra Que, where you'll visit a local home and enjoy a welcome drink and brief rest. Then, meet your chef/instructor, who will show you the tricks and techniques for preparing delicious regional dishes. For lunch, sit down with your instructor and enjoy your creations. Afterward, return to Hoi An and take some free time to visit any sites you might have missed yesterday. One fine option is the Sa Huynh Museum, which highlights the culture of central Vietnam over the centuries.

When the sun goes down, you'll enjoy one of the most popular activities in the region: a boat ride down the Thu Bon River through Ancient Town. Complimenting this memorable culinary experience will be the colored lights from the riverbank glimmering on the surface of the water. As you go, do like the locals and light your own paper lantern with a candle and release it into the water, making wishes and offering good health prayers for your loved ones. At the end of the tour, you'll return to your hotel

Day 8: Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Optional Activities

Welcome to Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City!
There's fun and excitement around every corner in Ho Chi Minh City

In the morning, meet your driver for the transfer back to Da Nang and the airport. Then board a 1.5-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon, Vietnam's largest metropolis is a wonderland of contradictions, as famous for its French colonial and wartime history as it is for its modern skyscrapers and captivatingly chaotic streets.

Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, check in, and enjoy free time at leisure for the rest of the day. Perhaps trawl for treasures at Ben Thanh Market, a popular spot for street food and shopping, or stop in at a spa for a massage to relieve the tension after the long flight. When you're ready for a break, grab a beer in a bar at the 861-foot (262 m) Bitexco Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City Wartime History Tour

See American and Vietnamese battlefield relics at the War Remnants Museum

After breakfast, transfer two hours north of the city to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. This immense network of underground passages was constructed in 1948 to protect the Viet Cong guerrillas from French attacks. They also served as living quarters, communications hubs, and supply routes with storage areas and hospitals. A visit here reveals Vietnam's wartime history and the hardships faced by the thousands of soldiers who survived the French and American wars. You'll even get to crawl through a section of the tunnels to experience their narrow dimensions.

Following lunch, you'll return to Ho Chi Minh City, where the journey through its wartime history continues. After visiting historic 19th-century landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, you'll continue to the War Remnants Museum, which features exhibits detailing the Vietnam War (known locally as the American War). Highlights include weaponry and military equipment, as well as historical photos, prison-cell recreations, and tiger cages. Later, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 10: Day Trip to the Mekong Delta

Take a ride down the canals of the Mekong region

It's another memorable adventure as this morning, you'll leave on a full-day tour of the famed Mekong Delta. It begins with a transfer south of Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho, a river city located in Tien Giang province at the doorstep of the Mekong. Here, board a boat for a full-day tour down the Mekong River. During the scenic trip, you'll pass tranquil islands as you sip on fresh coconut juice (the Mekong is famous for its coconut groves). The tour ends with a visit to one of the area's massive floating markets, where hundreds of boats ply the waters selling fresh produce.

At the end of the tour, you'll visit Thoi Son Island. Stretch your legs on a leisurely stroll down the backroads here as you pass orchards, sample tropical fruits, and listen to traditional music coming from the village homes. You'll also see a shrine dedicated to the Coconut Monk, a local religious cult leader who, back in the day, preached adherence to peace, harmony, and coconuts. You'll then return to Ho Chi Minh City, stopping en route at Vinh Trang Pagoda, the largest Buddhist temple in the province.

Day 11: Fly to Siem Reap (Cambodia), Optional Activities

Welcome to Siem Reap
Siem Reap is the main hub for excursions to the Angkor ruins
In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport in Ho Chi Minh City and catch a 1.5-hour flight to Siem Reap. This resort town in northwestern Cambodia is the gateway to the 12th-century ruins of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and the pinnacle of Khmer architecture. Upon arrival at the airport, your driver and private guide will pick you up in a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) and transfer you to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day to relax and rest up for your big day tomorrow at Angkor. 

Day 12: Day Trip to Angkor Thom & Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat in all its splendour
Angkor Wat is in this history books as the largest religious monument in the world

Get ready to discover Angkor, one of the most awe-inspiring archaeological parks in the world. This full-day experience kicks off early with your transfer to Angkor Thom (literally "Great City"), once the most impressive royal city of Cambodia's Angkor period. Construction began on this massive temple city in the 12th century by King Jayavarman VII, and it covers a whopping 3.5 square miles (9 sq km).

A major highlight here is the 12th-century Bayon Temple. This marvel is comprised of 54 Gothic towers featuring 216 stone sculptures of Jayavarman VII's smiling face and glaring eyes. Other structures you'll visit include the Terrace of the Elephants (with sculptures and bas-reliefs of elephants), Phimeanakas (a three-tiered pyramid), and the Terrace of the Leper King, known for its carvings of demons and mythological figures.

Later, you'll tour the most famous temple in Southeast Asia: Angkor Wat. This 12th-century complex covers 200 acres (81 ha), and its five towers are so iconic they're actually emblazoned on the Cambodian flag. On this walking tour, you'll immerse yourself in the ruins as you stroll through its galleries, libraries, pavilions, and courtyards. Cap the experience with a visit to Ta Prohm, a 12th-century Buddhist temple whose crumbling towers have been all but absorbed by the surrounding jungle.

Day 13: Day Trip to Banteay Srei & Floating Villages

Visit the floating villages of Tonlé Sap, where locals live in stilt houses

Meet your guide this morning for a trip back to the ruins. This time, you'll visit Banteay Srey, a 10th-century Hindu temple made of pink sandstone, almost every inch of which is adorned with intricate designs. The name Banteay Srey translates to "Citadel of Women," and it's indeed likely that women completed the elegant carvings depicting scenes from the Sanskrit epic "Ramayana." Whoever built it, Banteay Srey is regarded as the finest example of Khmer art in the world.

In the afternoon, you'll transfer 11 miles (18 km) south to Tonlé Sap. The "Great Lake of Cambodia" is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems. Here, you'll board a traditional wooden boat and travel to the famous floating villages—communities comprised of wooden stilt houses over the water. On a visit to one such village, you'll visit Les Chantiers Écoles. Since 1992, this group of artisans has been providing training to young Cambodians in an effort to revive the ancient Khmer traditions of stone carving and wood sculpting. 

Day 14: Depart Siem Reap

Sunset over a Khmer statue at Angkor
Your grand tour through Vietnam and Cambodia draws to a close today. After breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport in Siem Reap, where you'll catch your flight home or onward to the next journey. 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 Cambodia, or 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 Treasures of Vietnam & Cambodia - 14 Days
Map of Treasures of Vietnam & Cambodia - 14 Days
Written by Tina Oo, updated Dec 4, 2023