Two Weeks in Vietnam

Advisor - Lauren Van Keulen
Curated By

Lauren Van Keulen

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  • Vietnam

  • Adventure Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • History

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Relaxation

Vietnam is known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture.
Curator’s statement

Vietnam holds a special allure as an ideal destination due to its captivating blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and exquisite cuisine. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the serene waters of Halong Bay, and from the historic charms of Hoi An to the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City, the country offers a diverse range of experiences. Vietnam's deep cultural roots, combined with its warm hospitality, make it a compelling choice for travelers seeking both adventure and relaxation in a place where tradition and modernity harmoniously coexist.

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Where to stay

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Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Neoclassical hotel in the heart of Hanoi with luxury rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An

Sprawling luxury resort with a sophisticated vibe on the shores of Hoi An Beach.

Fora Perks
  • When you book Four Seasons through Fora, you will enjoy exclusive Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits. Your advisor will be pleased to give you more details.

Park Hyatt Saigon

Regal hotel with all of the bells and whistles in Ho Chi Minh City.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Advisor - Lauren Van Keulen

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Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hoan Kiem lake, also known as “Sword Lake,” is a freshwater lake in the center of Hanoi.

Upon your arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam's vibrant capital city, you'll be transferred to the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, an iconic, award-winning colonial and neo-classical luxury hotel located in the heart of the old city nestled near the heart of the historic Old Quarter. This bustling neighborhood will serve as your base for the next couple of days. To start your Vietnamese culinary journey, you'll embark on a local food tour in the evening. Sample iconic dishes like pho, bun cha, and banh mi at colorful street food stalls that come to life as the sun sets. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll around the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Hanoi's night market.

A Note From Lauren

As you explore Hanoi's vibrant street markets, don't miss the opportunity to savor a steaming bowl of pho or bun cha, the city's culinary treasures. These dishes are steeped in history, with pho dating back to the French colonial period, and bun cha famously shared by President Obama and Anthony Bourdain. While indulging in these flavors, take a moment to appreciate the fusion of cultures that shaped Vietnam's remarkable cuisine.

Day 2: Hanoi Unveiled: A Journey Through Time and Tradition

The One Pillar Pagoda is known for its unique, single-column architectural design.

Today, immerse yourself in Hanoi's rich culture and history. Begin your day with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an iconic landmark in the city. This is followed by a tour of the Presidential Palace and the serene One Pillar Pagoda. As noon approaches, treat your taste buds to a delectable lunch at Chả Cá Lã Vọng, renowned for its grilled fish specialty. In the afternoon, discover the Temple of Literature, a homage to Confucius and a symbol of Vietnam's dedication to education. As the day draws to a close, experience the unique art form of water puppetry at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, an unforgettable display of Vietnamese culture.

Day 3: Cruising Halong Bay

Hạ Long Bay is famous for its stunning seascape of thousands of limestone karsts and islets.

In the morning, you'll embark on a journey to the stunning Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on the stunning Stellar of the Seas. A scenic drive will take you to the bay, where you'll board a luxury cruise ship. As you sail amidst the towering limestone karsts that jut dramatically from the emerald waters, you'll savor a sumptuous seafood feast for lunch. The cruise will take you to explore the mesmerizing Sung Sot Cave, also known as Surprise Cave, followed by a visit to Ti Top Island, where you can hike up to a panoramic viewpoint. In the evening, enjoy a delightful dinner on the cruise ship and spend a tranquil night on the bay.

A Note From Lauren

While cruising through the waters of Halong Bay, allow yourself to be mesmerized by the ethereal beauty of limestone karsts rising from the emerald waters. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a natural wonder that has captured the imaginations of travelers for centuries. As you breathe in the fresh sea breeze and soak in the breathtaking views, reflect on the timeless allure of this iconic destination and the ecological importance it holds.

Day 4: Halong Bay to Hanoi

Bun Rieu Cua (Vietnamese Crab Noodle Soup) is a Hanoi street food.

Start your day with an invigorating Tai Chi session on the cruise ship's sundeck, surrounded by the natural beauty of Halong Bay. Afterward, you'll embark on a kayaking adventure, paddling through the serene waters and into the enchanting Luon Cave. As you return to Hanoi in the afternoon, the evening will be yours to explore or relax as you please. Consider trying "bun rieu cua," a delectable crab noodle soup, at one of the city's local eateries for dinner.

Day 5: Explore Hoi An's Riverside

The Thu Bồn River is a river in central Vietnam.

Today, you'll fly from Hanoi to Danang and continue your journey to Hoi An, a picturesque town steeped in history and charm, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Your accommodations at the Four Seasons Hoi An will provide you with beachfront access and an ideal setting to unwind. In the evening, wander through the enchanting lantern-lit streets of Hoi An's ancient town, famed for its tailor shops and atmospheric ambiance. For dinner, savor a taste of the local specialty "cao lau," a flavorful noodle dish unique to this region.

A Note From Lauren

In the charming town of Hoi An, wander through its enchanting lantern-lit streets as the sun sets over the Thu Bon River. Hoi An's tailor shops are renowned for their craftsmanship, offering you the chance to create custom garments that will forever remind you of your Vietnamese adventure. Amidst the glow of lanterns, embrace the artistic spirit of Hoi An and let the town's magic weave its way into your heart.

Day 6: Sanctuary Exploration and Culinary Adventures in Hoi An

My Son Sanctuary is an ancient Hindu temple complex in Vietnam.

Your day in Hoi An begins with a morning visit to the My Son Sanctuary, an ancient Hindu temple complex that offers a glimpse into the region's rich history. Upon your return to Hoi An, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of Vietnam during a hands-on cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional dishes like "banh xeo" (savory pancakes) and indulge in your creations for lunch. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore Hoi An at your own pace, appreciating the town's lantern-lit streets and unique charm.

Day 7: Ba Na Hills Sensation

Ba Na Hills is a hill station and resort in Vietnam

On this day of adventure, you'll embark on an unforgettable day trip to Ba Na Hills, known for its breathtaking mountain views and the iconic Golden Bridge. You'll explore this unique destination, taking in the surreal beauty of the suspended bridge and indulging in a delicious lunch with panoramic mountain vistas. Additionally, you'll have the chance to enjoy the whimsical Fantasy Park and stroll through the charming French Village before returning to Hoi An.

Day 8: Historical Marvels in Hue

The Imperial City of Hue was the capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty.

Today, you'll depart for Hue, Vietnam's former imperial capital, known for its historical significance and architectural wonders. Your exploration of Hue begins with a visit to the awe-inspiring Imperial City, a UNESCO World Heritage site that served as the seat of the Nguyen Dynasty. Here, you'll marvel at the grandeur of the past and explore the Forbidden Purple City. Following that, you'll discover the elaborate royal tombs scattered throughout the city, including the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, a serene and beautifully landscaped mausoleum. For dinner, savor the distinctive flavors of bun bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup renowned in the region, at Bún Bò Mụ Rơi (Bui Tre Vàng). Stay overnight at aNhill Vietnam amongst the lush pine tree's of the famous Thien An Hill.

Day 9: Discover Vibrant Ho Chi Minh City

Sunset in Ho Chi Minh City

A flight will take you to Ho Chi Minh City, the bustling metropolis formerly known as Saigon. Your accommodation will be at the stylish Park Hyatt Saigon, strategically located in the heart of this vibrant city overlooking the Opera House. In the afternoon, you'll delve into Vietnam's complex history with a visit to the War Remnants Museum, offering a poignant glimpse into the events of the Vietnam War. For a taste of local cuisine, don't miss the opportunity to sample "banh mi thit," a delightful Vietnamese sandwich served by street vendors, at Bánh Mì Huỳnh Hoa.

A Note From Lauren

Venture into the heart of Vietnamese coffee culture as you sip a cup of ca phe sua da at a local cafe in Saigon. The robust coffee is sweetened with condensed milk and served over ice, offering a delightful contrast of flavors. Take this moment to experience the bustling energy of the city and appreciate how coffee has become an integral part of Vietnamese daily life, fostering connections and conversations at every corner.

Day 10: Venture into the Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta is where boats, houses and markets float upon the innumerable rivers, canals and streams.

Immerse yourself in the rural beauty of the Mekong Delta today. Your day trip will introduce you to the unique lifestyle of the region's inhabitants. You'll explore local villages, visit a bustling floating market, and embark on a boat ride through narrow canals that meander through picturesque landscapes. The day will be filled with the flavors of fresh tropical fruits and local delicacies.

A Note From Lauren

While exploring the Mekong Delta's lush waterways, relish a meal with a local family in their traditional stilted house. This authentic experience will introduce you to the flavors of the delta, from fresh river fish to tropical fruits. As you share stories and laughter with your gracious hosts, recognize the warmth and hospitality that define the heart of the Vietnamese people, leaving you with cherished memories of your time in this enchanting land.

Day 11 & 12: Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island is a tropical paradise off the coast of Vietnam.

Day 11: Unwind on Phu Quoc Island

Leave the bustling city behind and fly to Phu Quoc Island, a tropical paradise renowned for its pristine beaches and lush landscapes. The Regent Phu Quoc will offer you a serene and tropical retreat. Spend your afternoon relaxing on the island's soft sandy shores or take a refreshing dip in the clear turquoise waters. As evening falls, explore the island's night market and savor a delectable seafood BBQ.

Day 12: Choose Your Own Adventure: Phu Quoc Edition

Today, you have the freedom to choose your island adventures. You might opt to snorkel or dive at one of Phu Quoc's captivating coral reefs, immersing yourself in the vibrant underwater world. To cap off your day, embark on a romantic sunset cruise with dinner served on the water, making for a memorable evening on Phu Quoc Island.

Day 13: Last Evening in Ho Chi Minh City

Stylish and vibrant rooftop bar with spectacular views of the Saigon skyline.

Bid farewell to the tranquil beauty of Phu Quoc Island as you return to Ho Chi Minh City for your final night. Dine at the iconic Phở Phú Vương, known for its Southern-style pho, where traditional flavors meet authentic presentation. After dinner, head to Chill Skybar for an exciting nightcap. This stylish rooftop bar offers panoramic views of the city's skyline and a vibrant atmosphere.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Stephanie Thompson’s guide, Family-Friendly Trip to Vietnam.

Advisor - Lauren Van Keulen

Travel Advisor

Lauren Van Keulen

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Vietnam.