Planning a trip to Vietnam? Check out this unique 14 day road trip itinerary to help you make your plans! Northern Vietnam to Hoi An is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich areas in the country, so even if your trip is short, you can still fit in some of these gorgeous places into your schedule.
The best route of unique 14 day itinerary for Northern Vietnam
Hanoi – Sapa – Halong Bay – Ninh Binh – Pu Luong – Phong Nha – Hue – Hoi An unique 14 day tour
You may think that Hanoi is just your typical traffic-ridden and chaotically colourful SE Asian city, but it is really so much more. There’s something special about the way it combines authentic Vietnamese culture with a splash of modernization.
Hanoi makes a great starting point for exploring the North of Vietnam, because it situated bang in the middle of the all the major attractions. Hanoi is the second biggest city to Ho Chi Minh, with a large international airport.
Sapa is surrounded by small villages, so be sure to research which ones interest you most before you get there. Cat Cat village is very close to Sapa, and is the home of the Hmong tribespeople. Taphin is a Red Dao village with some Black Hmong people staying there as well.
Fansifan mountain peak with cable car is one of the most attractive site
Lao Chai Ta Van is in the south east which can be trekked to in a few hours. On the way you can see Y Linh Ho village of the Black Hmong and trek another 4kn to Ta Van Village. Wherever you choose to go, you’ll be able to catch a stunning sunset over the rice terraces if you make it in time.
One of the best places in the world for doing a boat cruise overnight in middle of Halong Bay, attractive cliffs rock islands and caves. Boat trip itinerary is far away from Halong city to Lan Ha Bay. Great choice is to book one night boat sleeping in a fancy boat with large balcony. So you can watch sunrise and sunset on the day.
Ninh Binh is quite far off the tourist trail and so everything you see here is truly authentic. It is called the Ha Long Bay of the land, because of all the limestone cliffs that emerge out of the rice fields, making for a very other-worldy landscape.
If reach early in the afternoon, be sure to check out some of the nearby villages like Tam Coc, Van Long, and Cuc Phuong. These all boast stunning natural landscapes and traditional temples that you won’t find in the main tourist centres.
Close to Mai Chau is major rice fields and consider a Sapa rice terraced fields, the Pu Luong nature is outstanding for tourists that want to stroll and relax in the nature. This is a place for whose who do not have much time to travel far North end of the border from Hanoi
Designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2003, the remarkable Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park contains the oldest karst mountains in Asia, formed approximately 400 million years ago.
Riddled with hundreds of cave systems – many of extraordinary scale and length – and spectacular underground rivers, Phong Nha is a speleologists’ heaven on earth, and a real treat for anyone who appreciates the sight of nature at its most raw
Being known as home of heritages, Vietnamese traditional rituals and culture, Hue is a must-visit place for anyone interested in national origin. So far, Hue is home to 5 UNESCO-recognized heritages of 3 different types i.e. All of these heritages belong to Nguyen dynasty, the last Monarchy in Vietnam
Hue is a quiet and attractive city in Central Vietnam which is a fantastic natural picture with romantic river and charming mountain & ancient mausoleum.
Hoi An is a haven for expats and jet-setters from different corners of the world. It has everything to enchant any traveler, from romantic scenery and historical architecture to delicious food and hospitable locals. If you are looking for a place for your next vacation, this place is worth a visit!
Places to see and do in the unique 14 day road trip itinerary in Vietnam
Day 1 – 2
On your first day, you probably want to take some rest. But be sure to head out to Hoam Kiem Lake, located in the centre of Hanoi. In the middle of the lake lies Ngoc Son Temple and can be reached via footbridge.
Hanoi is known for its traditional Water Puppet shows, which are conducted from mid-afternoon until around 9pm. They can be seen close to Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Visiting the Old Quarter is a must both at night and during the day.
Grab some locally brewed Bia Hoa in Hanoi’s dedicated beer corner to give you an authentic idea of local nightlife. Apart from this, there are a host of other bars and local pubs in the Old Quarter to unwind after a tiring day.
To get a unique experience of how Hanoi wakes up, you should head to one of the local markets that often run throughout the night. The biggest is Long Bien market. This is a large fruit and vegetable market with produce coming from across various borders. The market peaks in activity at 3am, and starts to wind down before dawn.
Day 3 – 4
When you reach the main town of Sapa, you’ll take a time for a break after 5 hour driving from Hanoi via highway, grab some local food and drinks then stroll around the town.
These are mountain villages who sustain themselves on rice plantations. Apart from this, you can also find Flower Hmong and Red Dzau tribes in the area.
Mean time, you can explore more of the hill tribe villages, or explore the stunning nature in the area. Sa Pa is located near Fansipan Mountain, which is the highest mountain in Vietnam. It is part of the Hoang Lien Mountain range. At the base of the mountain lies Muong Hoa Valley, one of the most beautiful and vast valleys in the region.
Do a Fansifan cable car experiencing the best views from above to the peak 3143 meter high
Around main town of Sapa, you can go and visit the Silver Waterfall which is around 12km from the main town. If you have time, then visit Muong Khuong market which is around 90km from Sapa but well worth the journey. It is the largest market in the area and brings together all the cultural minorities of the region on a Sunday.
Today you can spend the 2 day exploring Ha Long Bay on a boat, take a relaxing moment after Sapa hiking
There are plenty of small islands to see apart from Ha Long Bay itself. These include Tiptop Island and Soi Sim Island. You can also have a look at some of the pearl farms, and purchase some original pearls.
Today will be a full day of travel as you make your way down South again towards Hue and Hoi An. You’ll most likely need to stop overnight in Puluong, before reaching Phong Nha the next day.
The journey will be full of rolling rice terrace views and cute local villages. The scenery across the whole of Northern Vietnam is beautifully lush and green. When you reach Ninh Binh, there are of things to do including Tam Coc boat trip on the river and watching sunset at Mua Mountain peak
On the way head Ho Chi Minh trail, overnight stop in Pu Luong Nature is the best experience of mountain ranges. The place is home of Thai tribe and rich cultivated rice paddy, also overwhelming by stunning landscapes surroundings
Do some short hike to the waterfall and local markets
Today following the scenic road trip of Ho Chi Minh trail to Phong Nha, you will have a full day journey traveling on the go, experiences the beauty of Truong Son mountain ranges coming from the North to South of Vietnam, passing many local tribe villages and its own culture to see.
Do the river boat tour to Phong Nha cave and enjoy the scenery of country rice paddy on the bank of river
Given that you reach Hue today, it will be too late for you to do much. Nonetheless, you can wander around the walking street at night, or catch some nightime waves at Ham Rong Beach. You’ll be able to find whatever you need in Dong Ba market.
There’s a lot to see in Hue, so it’s worth spending a full day here exploring the surroundings. Firstly, there are tons of hot springs around Hue including the My An Hot Springs and Elephant Springs. Other natural attractions include the Nhi Ho Waterfall and Tam Giang Lagoon.
In the main city of Hue, you’ll find the ancient Imperial City. This is a UNESCO heritage site and was the previous imperial capital of Vietnam. From here you can check out the Thien Mu Pagoda, and the two Emperor Tombs.
During sunset, it’s a good idea to head down to the Perfume River which runs through the middle of Hue. There are a few lakes around here including the Trui Lake, as well as Thanh Toan bridge. If you have more time then you can explore Bach Ma National Park which will give you more raw and untouched landscapes.
After catching the sunrise in Hue, you can make a short trip down to Hoi An. The journey is just under three hours and you can reach there before lunch. Hoi An is arguably the most authentic and picturesque towns in Vietnam and the entire Hoi An Old Town is a UNESCO heritage site.
The town is fairly small so it’s possible to motorbike or cycle around, as cars are not allowed in the Old Town. Hoi An is full of cute cafes and shops, and most clothes shops here offer tailoring for very cheap. You can get absolutely anything tailored, from shoes to bags to suits.
In Hoi An, you’ll want to explore the surrounding area in full. Closeby to the town are two beaches, including An Bang Beach and Cua Dai Beach. Around the town itself lie Chuc Thang Pagoda, Van Duc Pagoda, and Phuoc Lam Pagoda which are all stunning examples of authentic Vietnamese architecture.
Two days are just not enough to explore Hoi An, but you can still cover a lot. You should spend one full day exploring the nearby countryside and coconut orchards. Biking into the wilderness will take you away from the tourist dense areas and into secluded villages.
Instead of going with an organized tour, just head out with your bike or motorbike with a map. The directions are fairly clear and locals are always ready to help you out. You’ll stumble upon beautiful lakes, lotus ponds, and can even take a ride in a handmade boat.
Apart from this, you can visit nearby islands including Cham Island and Cam Kim. These will give you more first-hand insights into rural Vietnamese life. Finally, you can find the nearby My Son temple complex which is quite similar to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
This 2 week Vietnam itinerary road trip is the best of Vietnam, experiences as locals full of nature, culture, landscapes from place to place, mountain adventure to beach breaks on a comfort vehicle. you will find the most places to see during your trip flexibility.
Follow the road along the Truong Son mountain range as it snakes its way past sleepy hamlets, where the smell of coffee from nearby plantations hangs thick in the air. From barren plateau rise forested mountains as you reach Central Vietnam, considered the most scenic stretch of this epic road trip. Adventurers will want to stop at Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, home to the world’s largest cave, and Cuc Phuong, Vietnam’s oldest national park, located in the Red River Delta
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Questions About Road Trips In Vietnam?
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