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How to Plan a Thailand and Vietnam Trip (2023/2024)

How to Plan a Thailand and Vietnam Trip (2023/2024)

By Chris QuanUpdated Sep. 12, 2023

Thailand and Vietnam are two of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia. For SE Asia first timers, they are must-visit destinations.

These two countries offer a wealth of cultural and natural attractions, from bustling cities and ancient temples to pristine beaches and stunning landscapes.

For a memorable and hassle-free trip, here are some tips on how to plan your Thailand and Vietnam itinerary well.

How Long to Spend in Thailand and Vietnam

A 2-week trip is what we recommended for a usual first-time Thailand-Vietnam schedule. It would cover the must-visit highlights in the main tourist destinations with some local cultural interaction, e.g. a handicraft experience.

You may want to set aside 8 to 9 days for Vietnam and 5 to 6 days for Thailand. Vietnam offers a wealth of experiential activities, so we suggest spending more time in Vietnam, especially if traveling with children. Thailand is more about entertainment and enjoying relaxation.

If you want to do an in-depth exploration in these two countries, then a trip of three weeks or longer would be better to meet your needs.

Feel free to contact us. We will help you arrange your itinerary based on your interests, available time, and other requirements. If you have a bucket list, we can help you realize it and give you professional advice about what options are available.

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day. Over 50% of our clients complete their bookings within 10 days of submitting their inquiry.

Itinerary Suggestions

Here we offer two itinerary ideas, one for a classic 2-week itinerary and the other for a more in-depth 3 weeks.

Classic 2-Week Itinerary for Thailand and Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam Hoi An Ancient Town

On a 2-week itinerary, it is suitable to arrange three cities with their surrounding areas in Vietnam and one city and one island in Thailand.

Compared to Thailand, Vietnam is better for cultural exploration and local lifestyle experiences, like a local fishing experience. Hoi An is a place you cannot miss if you're interested in Vietnam culture.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are also must-see cities, with foodie tours, key Vietnam War sites, and the famous Halong Bay and Mekong Delta nearby.

The remaining time in Thailand is enough for Bangkok and one island: Phuket or Koh Samui. If you are looking for a variety of activities and cost-effectiveness, then go to Phuket. If you prefer a quiet and luxurious environment, then Koh Samui would be better for you.

Here is the itinerary, starting in Vietnam's Hanoi and ending in Thailand's Phuket:

  • Days 1–2: Hanoi sightseeing at iconic landmarks, plus a rickshaw ride to see local life and explore the city
  • Days 3–4: A Halong Bay cruise with interesting activities on board and water activities on the bay
  • Days 5–6: Hoi An exploration with a basket-boat ride experience, an evening food tour, a Vietnamese fishing experience, and a night boat trip surrounded by colorful lanterns
  • Days 6–7: Discover Ho Chi Minh City by visiting its historic landmarks and Vietnam War relics.
  • Days 8–9: A Mekong Delta tour, visiting a local village, taking a sampan ride on canals, and seeing the most bustling floating market
  • Day 10: Bangkok sightseeing with temples, the Grand Palace, and a long-tail boat ride
  • Days 11–14: Phuket beach time — tropical island free time to do with as you wish

If you are interested in this itinerary, you can view more details on our 14-Day Classic Vietnam and Thailand Tour.

A 2-Week Vacation including Peaceful Vietnam and Colorful Thailand

All our tours can be adjusted according to your needs and interests. Simply contact us to see what we can do for you.

China Highlights, Asia Highlights, and Global Highlights collaborate to provide families and couples with personalized and stress-free experiences in diverse destinations.

3 Weeks in Thailand and Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam Sapa

On the basis of the 2-week itinerary above, a 3-week itinerary would allow time to see the sights in some off-the-beaten-path cities in Vietnam like Sapa and Hue.

Sapa is a town in the mountains of northern Vietnam. If you are interested in Vietnam's countryside life and enjoy trekking, you will enjoy it. Walk among the locals' fields and rice paddies, meet the local ethnic people, and visit their villages.

You could also visit Hue, a historic city in central Vietnam. Learn the story of Vietnam's last imperial dynasty through visiting its remaining palaces and ruins.

An in-depth itinerary for Vietnam could be arranged like this: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Sapa – Halong Bay – Back to Hanoi

For more details, check out our 13-Day Vietnam Classic Tour with Sapa.

In Thailand, in addition to Bangkok and Phuket on the two-week itinerary above, you could also visit Chiang Mai in the north if you traveled for an extra few days.

Chiang Mai, Thailand Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is a great place to visit at a slow pace and experience a variety of activities. You could visit a humane elephant camp, take cooking classes, make Thai floating lanterns, and, if you're visiting in November, celebrate the romantic Yi Peng Sky Lantern Festival.

The Thailand itinerary could be like this: Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Phuket.

For more specifics on the itinerary, see our 10-Day Classic Thailand Tour.

Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day. Over 50% of our clients complete their bookings within 10 days of submitting their inquiry.

Costs for a Trip to Thailand and Vietnam

There is not much difference on the per-day travel cost between Thailand and Vietnam. They are both affordable.

A private tour is even more recommendable in Southeast Asia, where it is "an affordable luxury". You are guaranteed hassle-free, quality service and a first-rate experience.

About 200 to 250 USD per person is the daily cost for a private Thailand and Vietnam tour, including air fares within/between Thailand and Vietnam, 4- or 5- star hotels, authentic lunches, attractions, guiding, and transfers. Kids under 10 would get 30–50% off.

You could enjoy the security of a 100% refund of any payments made to Asia Highlights for any cancellation made up to 3 weeks before departure (see more on our booking policy).

Read more about planning a couple's trip to Southeast Asia>>>

An In-Depth Experience of Southeast Asia at an Easy Pace

Which Country to Enter First

Considering international flights' convenience, starting your journey in Thailand or Vietnam would not make a big difference, as you can easily find international flights to both their capitals.

For a better travel experience, we suggest starting from Vietnam and ending in Thailand, as this winds down from cultural and adventure experiences in Vietnam to the tropical-island vibe and relaxation found in Thailand.

How to Travel between Thailand and Vietnam

Flying is definitely the best and fastest way to travel between Thailand and Vietnam. A direct journey takes about 2 hours. Bangkok, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh are the most-used flight hubs.

Many airlines have flights between Thailand and Vietnam. If you would like a boutique and luxury flight service, Bangkok Airways is the best choice. For good value and service, Thai Airways, Thai Smile, and Vietnam Airlines are the top choices. For budget airline options, you could check out AirAsia, Vietjet Air, and Thai Lion Air flights.

Our private tour service would manage all the transportation in Thailand and Vietnam and also the flight between Thailand and Vietnam, all according to your cost and service requirements.

The Best Southeast Asia Tour for First-timers

Best Time for a Thailand and Vietnam Trip

Thailand and Vietnam are both year-round destinations. Each season has its own advantages.

If you want the best weather, then November to April (the dry season) is the best time for most of Thailand and Vietnam. You could also find more dry places to go in Southeast Asia Weather in December>>>

Christmas and New Year holidays are the busiest period of the peak season. Crowds and the highest prices are expected.

If your travel time is flexible, a smart choice could be the time just before/after the peak season (the periods of early May and late October), with smaller crowds, still reasonably rain-free weather, and lower prices.

Dominated by showers, rather than continuous rain, the rainy season (generally from May to October) actually is not a decisive problem for your tour, if you are prepared to put up with delays/cancellations and on-the-tour adjustments. It is best for a cost-effective trip and quiet attractions.

If you are planning a summer holiday trip, June is a better time to go, due to relatively low rainfall and smaller crowds compared with July and August. See more on our Travel to Southeast Asia in Summer 2023: Places to Go, Costs, Weather.

For more weather details, check the best & worst times to visit Thailand and Vietnam>>>

Recommended Itinerary

Visa Requirements for Thailand and Vietnam

Vietnam requires a tourist visa if you're from the US, Canada, Australia, etc. The most convenient way is to apply for an e-visa online. This is a very simple process that just requires you to fill in some information. If you are from certain European countries, like the UK, France, Italy, and Germany, you can enjoy visa-free entry.

Thailand allows visa-free entry from 64 countries, including the USA, and the UK, Canada, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Norway, etc.

If you have any questions or difficulties in applying, you can contact our experienced travel consultants for help.

Popular Thailand and Vietnam Tours

We provide a customized service for private tours. Our travel consultants will listen to and work to your ideas and answer any questions. We will create your dream trip based on your interests, travel length, and needs.

Here are some of our sample tours:

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Popular tours
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Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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