Home DestinationsAsia Amazing 2 week Vietnam Itinerary: Hanoi to Hoi An

Amazing 2 week Vietnam Itinerary: Hanoi to Hoi An

by Sam
Views from the riverside in Hoi An - one of the stops on this 2 week Vietnam itinerary

Vietnam is home to a mix of bustling cities, beautiful rural districts, stunning scenery and more! The country’s diversity makes it one of Southeast Asia’s top destinations, with something for everyone to enjoy. With so much to see, it can be a struggle to narrow down your Vietnam itinerary to just 2 weeks. Due to the distances involved, it’s impossible to travel from north to south within 14 days without missing some truly incredible places like Mai Chau, Ninh Binh and Lan Ha Bay. Instead, the best option is to focus your itinerary on North and Central Vietnam, which is a lot more manageable in a 2 week period. To make it easy for you, we’ve come up with the ultimate 2 week Vietnam itinerary, taking you from Hanoi to Hoi An in the space of 14 days perfect for those visiting the country for the first time!

Hanoi (Days 1, 2, 3 and 4)

Day 1

The first stop of your 2 week Vietnam itinerary is Hanoi, the country’s capital city. Direct flights to Hanoi airport are available from across Asia, as well as from some European airports.

If you’re travelling from within Asia then we recommend using 12GoAsia to check for the latest flight deals as they specialise in travel within Asia.

Click here to check for the latest flight deals to Hanoi on 12goAsia!

Once you’ve arrived you’ll need to make your way from the airport to the city centre, which you can do by public bus, shuttle bus or taxi. The cheapest option is to take the public bus, which costs 10,000 VND ($0.43 USD), but if you’re happy to pay a little more then shuttle buses should cost 40,000 VND ($1.73 USD).

We personally opted to pay more for the convenience of a taxi, and if you want to do the same expect it to cost around 300,000 VND ($13 USD). You should be able to use the free airport Wi-Fi to book a Grab, which generally works out as the best value.

Alternatively, you can book a transfer in advance through Klook so that you don’t have to worry about arranging a taxi when you arrive. Private transfers start from around 210,000 VND ($9.10 USD) depending on the area of the city you’re travelling to.

Click here to book yourself a convenient transfer from Hanoi airport to the city centre through Klook!

One of the many laneways in Hanoi, Vietnam

If you want some more detailed information on how to get from Hanoi airport to the city centre then we recommend checking out this helpful guide from Gecko Routes.

Depending on the mode of transport you choose it should take around 1-1½ hours to get to the city centre. Even if you have a morning flight the earliest you’re likely to arrive to Hanoi itself is around midday.

If you do arrive early enough to take a look around then we recommend simply wandering around the streets to get a feel for the city. There are plenty of restaurants and bars around if you fancy some food and/or drink, but if you’re just looking for a snack then make sure to try a Bánh mì – a traditional Vietnamese sandwich.

Spend the remainder of your first day just taking it easy and resting up before properly kicking off your 2 week Vietnam itinerary the following day!

Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
Day 2

There’s no need to wake up too early, as it’s best to take day 2 at a somewhat leisurely pace, especially if you’ve travelled a long way to get to Vietnam. When you’re ready, make your way out onto the streets of Hanoi to begin properly exploring the city by foot.

First up it’s time to discover Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the Hoan Kiem District. The Old Quarter is a cultural hub in the bustling heart of Hanoi, known for its French colonial architecture, temples, pagodas, weekend night market, and a near-endless supply of local Vietnamese eateries.

St Josephs Cathedral in Hanoi - the first stop of your 2 week Vietnam itinerary

You can easily spend a few hours wandering around the many streets and alleys of the Old Quarter. Learning how to cross the hectic roads is a baptism of fire of sorts, as you have to wait for the perfect moment to navigate through a seemingly endless swarm of oncoming motorbikes.

A few spots not to miss in the Old Quarter include the Dong Xuan Market, Bach Ma Temple and St. Joseph’s Cathedral. After you’ve spent some time getting to know the area we recommend grabbing a Bánh mì or some other Vietnamese food to refuel before continuing to discover the city.

Once you’ve given your legs a bit of a rest it’s time to get back on your feet for a pleasant stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s a more peaceful spot amongst the often chaotic streets of Hanoi, and the picturesque Thap Rua tower and Ngoc Son Temple situated on the lake make it well worth a visit.

The peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi

Next up it’s time to visit Train Street – one of the most unique spots in Hanoi. It’s become one of the city’s most popular attractions as twice a day trains pass through this narrow street, just inches away from the houses and cafes either side of the railway tracks.

The street isn’t as accessible as it once was, as police have blocked it off to avoid overcrowding due to safety concerns. Thankfully, it’s still possible to visit if you hang around outside the area as one of the cafe owners will invite you into their cafe to see one of the trains pass by in exchange for your custom.

Although it’s known as Train Street to the majority of tourists, the street’s real name is Ngo 224 Le Duan. It’s worth marking the location on an offline map app on your phone just to make sure you’re heading to the right spot.

The cafe owners will be able to tell you roughly what times trains should pass through, but when we visited it was at around 7pm.

Visiting Train Street in Hanoi is one of the more unique parts of your Vietnam itinerary

There’s no better spot to finish off the first full day of your Vietnam itinerary than Hanoi’s iconic Beer Street. Located in the city’s Old Quarter, Beer Street comes to life at night thanks to its many budget-friendly street-side bars and restaurants.

The street is packed to the brim with both tourists and locals enjoying the cheap drinks in this unique setting. Local beers start from around 20,000 VND ($0.87 USD) depending on the bar, but make sure to check prices in advance as some bars are more expensive than others.

In general the cheapest bars have large seating areas spilling out onto the street, and these are the best seats for soaking up the atmosphere. The only problem with these seats is that you may be suddenly asked to leave if any police appear nearby, as technically the bars aren’t allowed to sell to you whilst you’re on the pavement as it’s public property.

If the police do turn up the vendors will clear the area as quickly as possible and pack away the tables and chairs. It can feel a bit off, but it’s certainly an interesting thing to experience!

Hopefully you can enjoy your drinks without any disruptions before calling it a night!

Beer Street, Hanoi - a must visit on your 2 week Vietnam itinerary!
Day 3

It’s best to have an early start on day 3 of this Hanoi to Hoi An 2 week Vietnam itinerary to visit the famous Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the final resting place of Vietnam’s Communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. The mausoleum gets very busy due to Ho Chi Minh’s status as a Vietnamese hero and icon.

Opened to the public in 1975, 6 years after Ho Chi Minh’s death, the mausoleum is extremely important for locals as it signifies that their much-loved leader lives on forever. The impressive marble mausoleum is one of the most iconic spots in Hanoi, so it’s an essential inclusion on your Vietnam itinerary.

An early start is important if you want to go inside the mausoleum, where you’re able to see Ho Chi Minh’s preserved body encased in a glass casket. Due to the former leader’s popularity there’s normally quite a wait to actually go inside so you may have to queue for a while.

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

The mausoleum is open to visitors from 7.30am-10.30am from Tuesday to Thursday and from 7.30am-11am on Saturday and Sunday, although it is closed to the public between October and November. If you want to avoid queueing for long then aim to be there around opening time.

Admission is free, but please remember it’s important to dress and act respectfully inside the mausoleum and surrounding area. Cameras aren’t allowed inside, so you’ll need to hand them over and collect them once you’ve left the mausoleum.

Your next stop should be the picturesque One Pillar Pagoda, found a short walk from the mausoleum. Originally built in 1049, this Buddhist temple has been rebuilt several times.

The pagoda rises up from a single pillar in the centre of a lotus pond, and the surrounding gardens help to make this one of the city’s most peaceful spots. Take a seat on one of the benches and give your feet a rest whilst you enjoy this pleasant spot.

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

When you’re ready make your way from the pagoda to the Thăng Long Imperial Citadel, which is around a 10 minute walk away.

The Thăng Long Citadel was the political centre of Vietnam for 13 centuries leading to it being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, it’s home to a complex of historical buildings, a military bunker used during the Vietnam war and artefacts dating back as far as the 6th century.

It’s an incredibly interesting place to visit if you want to learn more about the country’s history, and it costs just 30,000 VND ($1.30 USD) to enter. The citadel is closed on Mondays, but on other days is open from 8am to 5pm.

Thăng Long Citadel, Hanoi

If you still have time after your visit to the citadel then you should make your way to the Vietnam Military History Museum, which offers the chance to learn about the Vietnam War as well as other conflicts throughout the nation’s history.

Highlights of the museum include the wreckage of a B-52 bomber from the Vietnam War, as well as other planes and tanks on display. Admission to the museum costs 40,000 VND ($1.73 USD), with an additional 20,000 VND ($0.87 USD) charge if you have a camera.

The museum’s opening hours are 8am-11.30am daily, as well as 1pm-4.30pm on Tuesday-Thursday and weekends. If you do want to visit then you’ll need to allow time to squeeze everything in so that you can arrive before the museum is closed.

Make use of Grab and local taxis to get around throughout the day if you don’t fancy walking. Grab is generally slightly easier if you have internet access as then you don’t need to worry about the language barrier.

Once you’ve finished up for the day it’s probably easiest to use Grab to hire a taxi to get back to your accommodation. It’s up to you how you spend your final evening in Hanoi in this 2 week Vietnam itinerary but we recommend making your way back to Beer Street to enjoy the unique nightlife one more time!

Vietnam Military History Museum, Hanoi

Mai Chau (Days 4, 5 and 6)

Day 4

The second stop on your 2 week Vietnam itinerary is the scenic rural district of Mai Chau, home to lush green rice fields, towering mountains and tiny villages. Many of the locals in Mai Chau are of Thai ethnicity, which gives the area a unique mix of Thai and Vietnamese culture.

Located around a 3 hour drive west of Hanoi, the easiest way to get to Mai Chau is by minivan transfer. Prices do start from as little as 80,000 VND ($3.47 USD) one-way, but personally we recommend opting for one of the ‘limousine’ transfers which start from around 170,000 VND ($7.37 USD) one-way.

The term limousine is a bit misleading as essentially it’s just a spacious minivan with more comfortable seating, but considering it’s a 3+ hour journey it’s worth paying a bit more for the comfort. You can book tickets in advance using the Vexere website.

If you set off at around 10am then you should arrive in time for lunch, and that way you can spend the afternoon exploring the area. One of the best ways to discover Mai Chau is to rent a bike and cycle around the area to take in the wonderful scenery.

Mountain views in Mai Chau, Vietnam

Many of the homestays and hotels in the area offer free bike rental for guests, but if where your staying doesn’t offer this they should be able to advise of somewhere nearby to rent one.

Once you’ve sorted a bike, set out on what we like to call the Mai Chau Loop, which takes you via Lac Village, Poom Coong Village, Mai Chau Town, Hang Chieu Cave and Na Thia Village. Depending on where you start you should be able to figure out a route that takes you via all these spots and then back to where you started.

This route will lead you past seemingly endless rice fields, where you’ll see the locals hard at work. If you’re lucky you can get some lovely pictures of the rice fields during the golden hour before sunset.

Take the time to stop along the loop to take pictures of the beautiful countryside of Mai Chau, one of our personal highlights during this 2 week Hanoi to Hoi An Vietnam itinerary. It’s a relatively straightforward route, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding your way.

Stilt houses in Mai Chau, Vietnam

To get to the Hang Chieu Cave you’ll need to park up your bike and then climb around 1,000 stairs. It’s definitely a tough workout on your legs, but you get some lovely views of the villages and scenery below as you climb up.

The cave itself isn’t particularly spectacular, but there are some interesting rock formations. Entrance costs just 20,000 VND ($0.87 USD) per person, so it’s still well worth a quick visit whilst you’re there so that you can enjoy the views.

By the time you finish the loop it’s likely to be late afternoon or early evening, so we recommend heading for dinner, and a few drinks if you fancy it. If you’re staying in a homestay then they may offer some of the delicious local food, so it’s well worth doing that if you have the option!

View from Hang Chieu Cave in Mai Chau, Vietnam
Day 5

One of the options for your second day in Mai Chau is to take a day trip to the Pù Luông Nature Reserve, which is around a 2 hour drive away. Alternatively, you can have a more relaxed day and just enjoying biking around if you don’t fancy another long journey!

The Pù Luông Nature Reserve is essentially an even more off the beaten path version of Mai Chau. It’s home to stunning scenery in the form of rice paddies, mountains and forest, making it a wonderful place to go hiking.

To get there you can either speak to your accommodation as they may be able to help arrange a taxi, or visit one of the bigger hotels who may be able to help. Alternatively, if you rent a motorbike/scooter you should be able to drive yourself there, but first we recommend reading this guide to riding a motorbike in Vietnam.

We personally didn’t have the chance to visit Pù Luông, but from the pictures we’ve seen and things we’ve heard it’s a truly beautiful spot that’s well worth visiting.

Rice fields in Mai Chau - home to some of the best views on your 2 week Vietnam itinerary

If you’d rather keep it simple then you can just enjoy a relatively leisurely day in Mai Chau. It’s a lovely place to walk around, or you can just take a bike ride and see where the roads take you.

Whether you decide to visit the nature reserve or not, make sure to find time to visit the stunning Thung Khe Pass before you leave Mai Chau. It’s an amazing viewpoint located on the road from Hanoi to Mai Chau, and is home to some of the best views in the area.

The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi, which should cost around 200,000 VND ($8.67 USD) one-way. For more information about visiting this wonderful viewpoint make sure to read our guide to the Thung Khe Pass in Mai Chau.

Once you’re done for the day try to have a reasonably early night if you can as the following day involves a long journey from Mai Chau to Cat Ba Island for the middle of your 2 week Vietnam itinerary.

View from the Thung Khe Pass, Mai Chau

Cat Ba Island/Lan Ha Bay (Days 6, 7, 8 and 9)

Next up on your Vietnam itinerary is a trip to Cat Ba Island to discover the stunning Lan Ha Bay – a more sustainable but equally beautiful alternative to the overcrowded Halong Bay. We recommend avoiding Halong Bay itself as the area is beginning to suffer from overtourism, whereas the nearby Lan Ha Bay is a quieter, cheaper and more sustainable alternative!

Lan Ha Bay is an area home to pristine natural beauty thanks to towering karst limestone cliffs, stunning white sand beaches and breathtaking turquoise-green waters. It’s home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Vietnam, so it’s certainly not to be missed!

Visiting this iconic part is apart of most people’s Vietnam itineraries and rightly so, which is why we included it in this 2 week Hanoi to Hoi An Vietnam itinerary but as a sustainable alternative to Halong Bay.

It’s a long journey from Mai Chau to Cat Ba Island, and there are a couple of ways to cover the distance depending on your budget.

The main budget option is to take a minivan/limousine transfer back to Hanoi, and then to take a bus to Cat Ba Island from there. There are several buses available via 12goAsia, with prices from Hanoi to Cat Ba starting from 253,000 VND ($10.97 USD) which should include the ferry ticket and drop off in Cat Ba town.

Click here to book a convenient bus journey from Hanoi to Cat Ba Island on 12goAsia!

Views in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

If you want to book your minivan transfer back to Hanoi from Mai Chau then you can do so on Vexere’s website, with prices starting from around 80,000 VND ($3.47 USD) for a standard minivan or 170,000 VND ($7.37 USD) for a ‘limousine’ transfer.

If you want to travel directly to Cat Ba then you’ll need to find a taxi driver willing to take you there all the way from Mai Chau. It’s not a route too commonly taken by taxi, so make sure the driver plans the journey around the ferry times and is also willing to take the ferry across to Cat Ba with you to drop you at your accommodation.

Alternatively you can get your driver to drop you off at the ferry and arrange with your accommodation in Cat Ba to have a taxi driver pick you up once you reach the island. If you travel by taxi expect it to be reasonably expensive, but in terms of convenience it’s the best option!

The other option is to take a taxi to Hanoi and then take a bus from there to Cat Ba, but considering the minivan transfers are reasonable priced we’d recommend making use of them if you can.

There are a few options when it comes to arranging your tour around Lan Ha Bay. Local tour companies offer both day trips and multi-night cruises around the scenic bay, so if you want you can book directly through them.

Our recommendation for a local operator is Cat Ba Green Trail Travel. They offer day tours as well as overnight cruises around the Lan Ha Bay area, and in our experience their prices were reasonable and the tours were well-run. You can arrange tours in advance of your arrival via email or Whatsapp using the contact details on their website.

Click here to visit the Cat Ba Green Trail Travel website!

Monkey Island in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

Alternatively you can book a multi-day cruise around Lan Ha Bay. There are a number of different tour operators offering cruises around the bay, giving you the chance to explore its fantastic scenery over the course of several days.

If you’re looking for a budget cruise around Lan Ha Bay then the Sunlight Boutique Cruise is one of the best options going! The cruise allows you to see some truly unforgettable scenery as well as giving you the chance to visit destinations such as Việt Hải Village, Bright Cave and Dark Cave.

During the cruise you’ll have the chance to go kayaking, swimming, take cooking classes and more! All meals are included, and the staff and guides are extremely friendly and helpful, so you’re sure to have a great time!

Prices start from 6,045,000 VND ($262 USD) per night, so expect a 3 night cruise to cost around 18,135,000 VND ($786 USD) for 2 people. Transfers from Hanoi are available at an additional cost, just make sure to request this at the time of booking.

Click here to book a wonderful cruise with Sunlight Boutique Cruise on Booking.com!

Kayaking in Lan Ha Bay - a highlight of any Vietnam itinerary

If you’re looking for affordable luxury then Era Cruises might just be perfect for you! They offer a range of impressive air conditioned rooms, complete with large windows so that you can enjoy the amazing views even when you’re relaxing in bed!

The cruise takes you through Lan Ha Bay’s spectacular scenery, and offers a variety of activities including beach trips, swimming and kayaking. To top it off, the high quality service on board makes the trip an incredible experience from start to finish!

Prices start from 12,800,000 VND ($555 USD) per night, with 3 night cruises generally starting from around 38,425,000 VND ($1665 USD) for 2 people. Meals are included in the price, but drinks and transfers from Hanoi come at an additional cost.

Click here to book one of Era Cruises fantastic trips through Lan Ha Bay on Booking.com!

Cruise in Lan Ha Bay - a highlight of this 14 day Vietnam itinerary

If you want to treat yourself to a truly unforgettable experience then book your trip to Lan Ha Bay with La Theatre Cruises. Their cruises provide a 5-star experience from start to finish, and the ship itself boasts excellent facilities including a lovely swimming pool on deck!

La Theatre Cruises ensure an amazing tour of the bay as you’re treated to breathtaking views both on deck and in the comfortable, air conditioned rooms. There are a variety of activities on offer too, so you’re bound to have an amazing trip!

Prices start from 23,000,000 VND ($997 USD) per night, with a 3 night cruise starting from around 69,000,000 VND ($2,991 USD) for 2 people. All meals are included in the price, but drinks and transfers from Hanoi incur an additional cost.

Click here to book an amazing trip in Lan Ha Bay with La Theatre Cruises!

Unique karst formation in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

If there is no availability with the operators above then you can also find several Lan Ha Bay tours on Get Your Guide. Most of Get Your Guide’s tours include return transport to the area from Hanoi, and you can check reviews before booking to find the best tours.

Click here to see the great Lan Ha Bay tours available through Get Your Guide!

Alternatively, if you still aren’t convinced to visit Lan Ha Bay instead of the more famous Halong Bay then you can always opt to take a multi-day tour there instead. Having visited both bays, we preferred Lan Ha Bay as it’s quieter yet offers equally beautiful scenery!

Some tours do encompass both Lan Ha Bay and Halong Bay, but if you’d prefer to just visit the latter then use the link below!

Click here to arrange a tour to Halong Bay through Get Your Guide!

Whichever tour you end up deciding on, you’re sure to have a great time exploring some of the most beautiful scenery in Vietnam! It’s destined to be one of the highlights of your Vietnam itinerary, so make sure to take plenty of pictures and savour every moment.

Karst formations in Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

Ninh Binh (Days 9, 10 and 11)

Day 9

The penultimate stop of this two week Vietnam itinerary is the small village of Tam Coc in the scenic Ninh Binh province. It’s an area blessed with stunning scenery in the form of lush green rice fields and towering limestone cliffs.

Although you can opt to stay in the city of Ninh Binh, it’s better to stay in Tam Coc as it’s well located for exploring some of the province’s top attractions.

Thankfully it’s possible to get a bus from Cat Ba Island all the way to Ninh Binh, with prices starting from 330,000 VND ($14.31 USD). The journey should take just under 4 hours in total, and if you travel with Cat Ba Discovery they will drop you off in the centre of Tam Coc so you should be relatively close to your accommodation.

Click here to book a bus from Cat Ba Island to Ninh Binh/Tam Coc!

It’s best to take either the 8am or 9am bus from Cat Ba, that way you’ll arrive into Tam Coc early enough to spend the afternoon exploring the area.

Boat on Tam Coc Lake, Ninh Binh

If you’re feeling peckish after the journey we recommend getting a Bánh mì from T Bread – a small Bánh mì stand by Tam Coc lake. The Bánh mìs are delicious and great value, costing between 15,000-30,000 VND ($0.65-1.30 USD).

There is a lovely walk around Tam Coc to discover some of the beautiful scenery. We recommend following the path out of the village towards Hang Thiên Hương – a small temple located in a cave.

As you make your way out of the village you can get some brilliant views of the area’s limestone karst mountains, the Red River Delta and of the lush green rice fields. You only need to walk for around 20 minutes from Tam Coc to get these views, so it’s well worth the effort.

After you’ve finished exploring it’s best to relax for the rest of the day, whether that’s enjoying a few drinks at one of the local bars or chilling by the pool if your accommodation has one!

Tam Coc Lake, Vietnam
Day 10

Start your day with a trip to the Mua Caves where you can enjoy stunning views of Ninh Binh’s amazing scenery. Also known as Hang Mua, the Mua Caves are around a 20 minute bike ride or 45 minute walk from Tam Coc.

The viewpoints at Mua Caves can get quite busy later in the day, so it’s best to arrive by around 8-9am if you want to enjoy the views without the crowds. Once you’ve paid the 100,000 VND ($4.33 USD) entry fee, make your way to the stairs and begin your climb up to the viewpoints.

When the stairs begin to lead in two directions make sure to go left first as this leads to the more popular viewpoint, so it’s best to get there as early as possible before it gets too busy! Once you get there you’ll have some wonderful views of karst limestone cliffs, the Red River Delta and greenery below.

View from Mua Caves - one of the best views of your Vietnam itinerary

Make sure to take the time to properly enjoy the spectacular views whilst you rest your legs from the climb. When you’re ready, make your way back to where the stairs split earlier and take the trail to the right to visit the second Mua Caves viewpoint.

Although the second viewpoint isn’t quite as impressive, it does still offer lovely views of rice fields, villages and karst cliffs. After taking the time to enjoy the views and take some pictures make your way back down the stairs.

If you’re interested there is also a cave to explore near the bottom of the stairs, but the views are the main attraction at Mua Caves.

Mua Caves, Ninh Binh

The next stop is Bich Dong Pagoda, located around 6 kilometres away from Mua Caves – so you might want to take a taxi! Alternatively, you can stop off for lunch in Tam Coc before heading on to the pagoda as it’s only around a 10-15 minute bike ride or 30-40 minute walk from the village.

Known for its beautifully serene location, the Bich Dong Pagoda is made up of three separate Buddhist temples. The Pagoda entrance is particularly impressive thanks to the intricate design of the pagoda archway.

It’s a lovely peaceful spot to explore, and it should be a nice contrast from the Mua Caves which often get quite busy as the day goes on!

Bich Dong Pagoda, Tam Coc

Once you’ve finished up at the pagoda make your way back to Tam Coc to take a scenic boat tour. These boat trips provide wonderful views of the area’s karst cliffs as you make your way along the Red River Delta.

If you’ve already seen the guides rowing boats around Tam Coc at this point then you may have already seen, but the local guides in Tam Coc actually row the boats using their feet! It’s easy to sit and wonder just how they manage to do so, but make sure to enjoy the views too!

Boat trips in Tam Coc take around 2 hours and take you past some stunning landscape and through 3 caves. The tours cost 150,000 VND ($6.50 USD) per boat and an additional 120,000 VND ($5.20 USD) per person.

There’s no need to book in advance, just approach one of the local guides by the lake in Tam Coc and away you go!

Once you’ve finished up your boat trip then you can spend the rest of the day doing as you please, whether that’s enjoying a few drinks, relaxing by a pool or having an early night!

Tam Coc boat tour, Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Day 11

On your last day in Tam Coc you’ll need to check out in the morning and ask your accommodation to look after your bags for the day whilst you do some more exploring as you’ll be travelling overnight to Hoi An.

As the attractions are a bit further outside Tam Coc you’ll want to either rent a scooter/motorbike for the day or hire a taxi.

Your first stop is the Trang An Landscape Complex – a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to karst peaks, temples, caves, pagodas and more. If you enjoyed your boat trip the day before then you’re in for a treat as the Trang An boat trip is one of the best things to do in Ninh Binh!

There are 3 routes to choose from when it comes to the Trang An boat trip, but unfortunately you’ll only have time for one. Whichever route you take you’ll get an up-close look at some of the area’s most beautiful scenery, but it’s worth researching the routes a bit in advance to see what interests you the most.

A boat trip in the Trang An Landscape Complex is a highlight of any Vietnam itinerary

Tickets for the Trang An boat tour cost 250,000 VND ($10.84 USD) per person, with a maximum of 4 people per boat. Tours don’t depart until the boats are full so you may need to wait a few minutes until there are enough people wanting to take the same route as you.

Thankfully it’s a popular spot to visit so you shouldn’t be waiting too long, but if you’d rather not wait you can pay another 250,000 VND for each spare seat if you want a private tour.

We recommend arriving to take the boat trip at around 9am or 10am as that way you should finish up in time for lunch. There are a few restaurants/stalls opposite the entrance if you want to grab lunch, or you can wait until you reach your next stop if you’d prefer.

This place was honestly breathtaking to visit and we highly recommend going as part of this 2 week Vietnam itinerary.

Stunning views in the Trang An Landscape Complex, Ninh Binh

Your next stop is the Bai Dinh Pagoda Complex – an impressive collection of Buddhist temples located around 22 kilometres away from Tam Coc. Covering over 2 square miles the Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in Southeast Asia!

The complex is home to a number of beautiful temples, over 500 statues of Buddha and the magnificent Bao Thap Tower. Standing around 100 metres tall, the tower provides lovely views of the temple complex for those that pay 50,000 VND ($2.17 USD) to visit the top.

If you want a better understanding of the complex we recommend hiring a guide, but otherwise take your time to enjoy the beautiful and intricately designed architecture.

There is no entrance fee for visiting the Bai Dinh Pagoda, so aside from transport costs your visit can be completely free. If you want to take the electric bus between the car park and the complex it does cost 10,000 VND ($0.43 USD) per person, but that’s a small price to pay to enjoy the beauty on offer here.

Bai Dinh Pagoda Complex, Ninh Binh

After you’ve finished up at the complex make your way back to Tam Coc to have dinner and pick up your bags. Once you’re done you’ll need to head to the train station in Ninh Binh for an overnight journey to Hoi An.

We recommend catching the 9.49pm train from Ninh Binh which arrives into Da Nang at 11.19am the following day. Tickets start from just 507,000 VND ($21.98 USD) but if you want a bed then tickets are available from 726,000 VND ($31.47 USD) depending on the class of carriage you select.

The trains are safe and if you pay to have a bed then it’s actually quite comfortable – so you should be able to sleep reasonably well on the journey. Booking tickets is extremely easy via 12GoAsia and in our experience it’s the cheapest way to book!

Click here to book your overnight train from Ninh Binh to Da Nang on 12GoAsia!

If possible we recommend booking bottom bunks as it’s easier to get comfortable and sit up during the journey if you want. For reference, the lowest numbers in the cabin tend to be the bottom bunks so keep this in mind when booking!

For more information on how to spend your time in Tam Coc make sure to check out our 2 day Ninh Binh itinerary!

Bao Thap Tower in the Bai Dinh Pagoda Complex

Hoi An (Days 12, 13 and 14)

Day 12

Once your train arrives into Da Nang we recommend taking a taxi directly to Hoi An. A taxi from Da Nang station to Hoi An costs around 300,000 VND ($13 USD), and should take around one hour.

Click here to book a transfer from Da Nang to Hoi An through Klook!

Alternatively, if you’re not in a rush to get to Hoi An then you can explore Da Nang for the day, but you’ll need to find some luggage storage. There should be a few shops or restaurants in or around the station that will happily look after your bags for a small fee.

One of the main attractions if you do decide to spend some time in Da Nang is the Golden Bridge in the Bà Nà Hills resort. The bridge has become a big tourist attraction thanks to its lovely views and the two giant hands ‘holding’ the bridge in place.

Assuming you do head straight to Hoi An you should arrive around lunchtime, so quickly drop off your stuff at your accommodation and head out for lunch.

Bridge of Lights, Hoi An

If you’re looking for a recommendation on where to eat look no further than Phi Banh Mi. This small local eatery serves up the most delicious Banh Mis we found anywhere in Vietnam, and we found ourselves eating there every day during our stay!

Once you’ve had lunch it’s probably best to take it relatively easy for the rest of the day. Take a wander around the streets of Hoi An and enjoy the colourful colonial buildings, interesting architecture and the atmospheric riverside.

The Old Town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there’s plenty to take in as you walk around. In particular the riverfront is a picturesque area thanks to the beautiful Bridge of Lights and the local rowboats on the river.

Colonial architecture in Hoi An, Vietnam

There are plenty of cute cafes around the Old Town, as well as an array of bars along the riverfront. Allow yourself to have a relaxing afternoon once you’ve finished exploring, whether that be enjoying a coffee or having a few drinks by the river.

Come nightfall you’ll find the Bridge of Lights lighting up the riverfront, as the name suggests! When you start to get hungry there are plenty of restaurants in the area, and if you fancy going local there is a reasonably priced outside food court just beyond the Shamrock Irish Pub.

It’s up to you how you spend the remainder of the evening – there are plenty of nice places to enjoy a few drinks, or you can simply wander the streets again at night to enjoy what the city has to offer. For more ideas, make sure to check out our guide to the best things to do in Hoi An at night!

Sunset by the river in Hoi An, Vietnam
Day 13

It’s up to you how you decide to spend the penultimate day of your 2 week Vietnam itinerary. One option is to take it easy and spend your day in and around Hoi An, enjoying the architecture and the city’s bars and restaurants or even just relaxing by the pool if your accommodation has one!

If you fancy something a bit more active then there are a number of day trips to take from Hoi An. An easy but popular choice is to take a trip to the nearby An Bang Beach, which is around 5 kilometres away from the Old Town.

A taxi from Hoi An Old Town to An Bang Beach should cost around 70,000-100,000 VND ($3.03-4.33 USD) and you can rent sun loungers from around 100,000 VND. If you’ve rented a bike, parking should cost around 10,000-20,000 VND ($0.43-0.87 USD).

If you want to venture further afield then you may prefer to take a day trip to the Cham Islands or to the My Son ruins. A trip to the Cham Islands gives you the chance to go swimming/snorkelling in a protected marine area and to visit some beautiful beaches.

Street in Hoi An, Vietnam

The My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the ruins of several Hindu temples dating back as far as the 4th century. Considered to be a mini version of Angkor Wat, the sanctuary is a must visit for any history lovers!

There are several other day trips and activities to choose from in the area including basket boat tours in the Cam Thanh Coconut Village, food tours, bicycle tours and more! Whatever you fancy doing you’ll find loads of great value options on Klook’s website if you want to plan in advance and book ahead!

Click here to find some great day trips and activities for your last day in Hoi An – from day trips to the My Son ruins to fantastic food tours!

After spending the day how you please we recommend having dinner and drinks by the riverfront in Hoi An Old Town. It’s a lovely way to spend your last evening in Vietnam by having a few drinks to celebrate the end of your trip!

One of Hoi Ans many quaint restaurants and cafes
Day 14

Depending on your travel plans you may not have time to do much on the final day of this 2 week Vietnam itinerary from Hanoi to here in Hoi An! If possible you’ll want to arrange a flight out of Da Nang International airport, but you may need to make your way back to Hanoi to get a flight to the destination you need.

Alternatively, if you want to extend your Vietnam itinerary over 2 weeks then you can head further south. There are some amazing places to visit in the south but due to time constraints and distance it’s hard to fit them into a 2 week itinerary.

Hoi An Riverside, Vietnam

Some of the top places to visit in South Vietnam include Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat and Can Tho – the latter of which is home to an impressive floating market in the Mekong Delta. Considering the distance and transport options it’s generally easiest to fly from Da Nang to either Ho Chi Minh City or Dalat if you want to travel to the south.

If you do have a bit of time to spare before leaving Hoi An then we recommend taking another walk around the quaint streets of the Old Town. Take the chance to visit Phi Banh Mi if you haven’t already, as they serve the best Banh Mis we had during our trip!

Boats in the Trang An Landscape Complex, Vietnam

The easiest way to get from Hoi An to Da Nang airport is by taxi or transfer. Personally we recommend booking a transfer in advance through Klook, with prices starting from 230,000 VND ($10 USD).

Click here to book your transfer from Hoi An to Da Nang airport on Klook’s website!

Now you’ve reached the end of this 2 week Vietnam itinerary it’s probably time to start thinking about where you want to go for your next trip. If you need some inspiration make sure to check out some of our other itineraries!

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