12 things should do when you travel to Viet Nam
1. Hanoi Vietnam
One of the top things to do in Vietnam is visiting Hanoi. This was my first stop in the country, but I knew very little about it before visiting.
Certainly among the best things to do in Vietnam there’s visiting Hanoi Old Quarter, which is its historic heart and its commercial centre. It is a real maze of tiny alleys, packed with tiny bars and lots of street food places (and one of the top things to do in Vietnam is eating street food)
Take a day trip from Hanoi
One of the most interesting things to do in Vietnam is the visiting the Perfume Pagoda. When we enquired about it in Hanoi, we were actually encouraged not to go and told it is way too touristy.
Sail on Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bay Cruising Ha Long Bay is one of the top things to do in Vietnam and I wholeheartedly recommend it. This archipelago of over 3000 limestone islets in the Gulf of Tonkin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tours of Ha Long Bay normally leave in the early morning from Hanoi (about 5 hours away by car) and consist of a night (or more) on a boat and (for multi-day tours) one on one of the many islands (either Cat Ba or Bai Tu Long, sleeping in bungalows or home-stays).
2. Go to Sapa Valley and Bac Ha love market
Going to Sapa is one of the top things to do in Vietnam. I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere, the views and the people. This is the most indigenous region of Vietnam, an area where the Hmong minorities live following a traditional lifestyle and a place to fully grasp how multicultural the country is Visit Bac Ha Market
Finally, one of the things to do in Vietnam and which is best enjoyed in the region of Sapa is going to one of the traditional markets. We visited Bac Ha Sunday’s market and it was a memorable experience. Men and women from around the region, wearing their traditional clothes, gather early in the day to sell just about anything: from household goods, fruits and vegetables to all sorts of souvenirs.
Bac Ha market bursts with color and life and it is one of Vietnam must see for shopping: we surely didn’t miss on this great opportunity to see a bit of local action, we haggled on the prices and managed to score quite an array of items
3. Ninh Binh tour
There are not many set ‘sights’ in the town on Ninh Binh itself, but this is a great place to visit if you want to get out and about and spend time in some of the prettiest and most unspoilt parts of Vietnam. Ninh Binh town is usually used as a jumping off point to Tam Coc, Van Long and Hoa Lu and although it is not as well known as other places in the country, it is a great spot for anyone with an interest in nature thanks to its craggy limestone scenery. As other parts of the country such as Halong Bay and Sapa become more popular, if you want to take the road less traveled then Ninh Binh is the ideal choice.
4. Puluong national park
Puluong national park 160 kilometers from Hanoi, Pu Luong is recently a new off-the-beaten-track retreat which is chosen by foreign travelers when customizing private tours to discover Vietnam. Located in Thanh Hoa province, this town is famous for imposing mountain peaks, winding rivers, spectacular waterfalls and stunning rice terraces. There are many interesting things to do in Pu Luong and nearby attractions. If you don’t have time for a tour to Sa Pa, Pu Luong is the place for you to enjoy pleasant weather in mountainous regions.
5. Phong Nha - Ke Bang
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is known for its caves. Located about 5 hours from Hue on the northern tip of Central Vietnam, it’s best known for being home to the largest cave in the world.
While there are a lot of tours and caves in the region, there are only 4 most visited caves in Phong Nha that are suitable for all ages and physical level: Phong Nha Cave, the Tien Son Cave close to it, Paradise Cave and the Dark Cave. All the other caves would require a much pre-booking and tours aren’t cheap, either! But if you are interested, I’ve blog post coming out soon about them.
6. Hue old capital Vietnam
Hue is one of my favourite places in Vietnam - but few travellers come away with the same view. It takes some time to settle in. And if you stick to the standard tour, you’ll probably leave a little bewildered and unmoved. This is one of the most photogenic cities in Vietnam. There are old gems lurking on the streets and in the countryside.
And the local cuisine is amazing. The people still have a provincial warmth about them too.Go beyond the “standard” Hue travel itinerary and there’s a good chance it’ll be a highlight for you too.Vietnam’s tourism boom has somehow passed Hue by. The city at the centre of so much of the country’s history and culture - the capital until 1945 - has mostly failed to make a mark on international travellers. It’s a grand failure of storytelling.
Hue’s amazingstories go untold as the city offers visitors an information free, Disneyesque experience of a complicated but riveting past.
7. Hoian ancient town
Most travellers will rate Hoi An close to the top of their list of places to visit in Vietnam. It’s a perfect combination of history, architecture, cuisine and beaches.And then there’s the shopping. Hoi An's been discovered - there can be big crowds at busy times of year.
Walking the atmospheric old streets of a one-time major South East Asian trading centre.Cycling in the surrounding countryside.Savouring delicious local dishes like cao lau noodles, hoanh thanh wontons and chicken rice.
Taking a cooking class and An Bang beach’s laid-back restaurants and bars. Hoi An’s World Heritage listed old streets have been overrun with tailors, trinket vendors, galleries and restaurants all vying for the traveller dollar. And few travellers leave without obliging them. Foreign trade has been the lifeblood of this town for centuries and Hoi An’s tourism onslaught has continued the tradition.
8. Qui Nhon Vietnam
In Vietnam there is one place that deserves to be visited by more people: Quy Nhon. Even though it is not considered a tourist destination, this medium-sized city is bordered by beautiful beaches and the surrounding landscape is also breathtaking. Life here also feels much more authentic.
5 reasons to visit Quy Nhon
Visit local fishing villages
Beach hopping to secluded beaches
Snorkel and swim around the islands
Explore Champa architecture at Cham temples
Enjoy the sunset at Eo Gio. Cross the street or road anywhere one step at a time
9. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is the most popular beach destination in Vietnam. The city has a coastline of six kilometers where you can enjoy a day of island hopping, diving, swimming or just relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset. The vast countryside is great for exploring by bike or motorbike.10. Dalat
1. Diving and snorkeling
Nha Trang is Vietnam’s most popular diving center, although not necessarily the best. There are approximately 25 dive sites in the area.
2. Relax on the beaches
Nha Trang has a beautiful coastline with a wide range of food and accommodation options along the white sandy beaches. The best known beaches are Jungle Beach, Doc Let Beach, Nhu Tien Beach and Bai Dai Beach.
3. Island hopping
With 19 islands in total, island trips are one of the largest activities in the Nha Trang. The most famous islands are Mieu Island, Mun Island, Tam Island, Tre Island, Monkey Island and Yen Island.
4. From Phong Bay
Although not as famous as the Nha Trang Bay in the area, Van Phong Bay is one of the most beautiful bays in central Vietnam.
5. Ba Ho waterfall
The three waterfalls of Ba Ho are a nice sight. Here you can swim in the cool river water and enjoy nature during a walk.
6. Long Son Pagoda and the white Buddha
The entrance and the roofs of this pagoda are decorated with mosaic dragons made of glass and ceramic tiles. Behind the pagoda is a huge white Buddha with a beautiful view.
7. Cho Dam market
The largest market in Nha Trang where they sell electronic devices, jewelry and clothing. Around the market there are stalls selling vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, live chickens, ducks and piglets.
8. Po Nagar
Built between the 7th and 12th centuries, these four Cham towers are still actively used by Cham, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhists.
9. Salt fields
Natural salt is harvested manually from shallow fields. A popular place for photography, where you have a fantastic view of the salt mountains and workers carrying heavy baskets across the fields.
10. Nha Trang Cathedral
The largest church in the city stands on a small hill overlooking the train station. It is an elegant building because it is built with simple cement blocks.
10. Muine beach
Once Mui Ne was an isolated strip of coastline with a small traditional fishing village, where only the adventurous travelers camped on the beach. The original fishing village is still there, but nowadays there are more tourists than locals. It has now become a tourist beach destination with a number of luxury hotels, a few cheap hostels, but above all a midrange hotels. The sights on Mui Ne and Phan Thiet range from beautiful beaches, tropical forests and sand dunes to traditional villages, fishing port and ancient Cham buildings and ruins.12. Ho Tram
1. Relax on the beaches
Mui Ne’s has 15 kilometers of sandy beaches surrounded by palm trees, fishing village, a range of restaurants and shops, as well as luxury resorts.
2. Sand dunes
You have impressive red and white sand dunes that feel like a desert. Good for, among other things, sunrise and sunset, quad biking and sledding.
3. Wind or kite surfing
The constant strong wind is ideal for kite surfing, windsurfing and other water sports. There are lessons in one of the surf schools scattered around the beach at extremely competitive prices.
4. Fairy Stream
The landscape is a kind of miniature of the Grand Canyon and has a red-orange color because of the sand.
5. Mui Ne harbor
In Mui Ne harbor you can see the fishermen coming back with their catches and you can observe the real local life in Mui Ne. The hundreds of colorful fishing boats that lie in the harbor are a beautiful sight.
6. The local fish market
The chaotic morning market offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of local fishermen. Every morning they bring their catch to the coast. Expect fishing nets full of seafood, buckets full of fish and strewn with shells everywhere.
7. Visit the Cham tower
The Po Shanu Cham Towers offer a good opportunity to see some of the remains of the Champa empire.
8. Ke Ga lighthouse
South of Mui Ne along the coast is an area known for the lighthouse on a small island across the street from a beautiful beach.
9. Ta Cu mountain and the reclining Buddha
Ta Cu Mountain consists of a large area with lush rain forests, rare flora and fauna, limestone caves and ornate Buddhist buildings.
10. Sunrise and sunset
Sunsets and sunrises in Mui Ne are among the best in Vietnam. Choose to sit on the beach, from the fishing village or on the white or red sand dunes for incredible skies.13. Ho Chi Minh
11. Ho Chi Minh city
A short trip will give you a quick look through this bustle city (Ho Chi Minh). The Mekong Delta will offer you the rice basket of Vietnam as it produces three harvests per year. The fertile Mekong Delta is also famous for its tropical fruits and flowers. Short trip but value trip.
Read here for Ho Chi Minh travel tips
1. Cu Chi Tunnels
Part of a huge war museum in Ho Chi Minh. They offer visitors a glimpse into the underground life of Vietnamese soldiers during the war.
2. War Remnants Museum
A shocking reminder of the long and brutal Vietnam war. Graphic photos and American military equipment can be seen. There is a helicopter with rocket launchers, a tank, a fighter aircraft, a single-seat attack aircraft.
3. French colonial buildings
Everywhere in the country you will find traces of the French colonial era. The best known in this city are Saigon Central Post Office, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and the Saigon Opera House.
4. Streetfood tour achter op scooter
The best streed food in Vietnam can be found here. With a streedfood tour you sit on the back of the scooter and travel like a true local from place to place to try the best food.
The best going out of Vietnam; a cheap drink in Bui Vien Street, backpacker street, sweep up a club, enjoy a rooftop bar view or watch a traditional show at the opera house.
6. Reunification Palace
The base of the Vietnamese general until his death in 1963. It became world famous in 1975 when a tank from the North Vietnamese army drove through the main gate and ended the Vietnam war.
7. Bitexco Financial Tower
De Sky Deck of this building is 262 meters high and offers amasing views of the city from the Sky Deck.
8. Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Voor een van de beste plekken van het sociale en dating leven in de stad. Duizenden mensen mengen zich hier in de avond en genieten van een koele avond in het centrum, omringd door een indrukwekkende architectuur.
You can experience the daily life of the local population here. The two best-known markets are Ben Thanh Market and Binh Tay Market.
10. Saigon river
Take a boat trip on the river; in the evening you can take a dinner cruise, during the day you can take a boat trip to the secret city canals where the locals live, or longer day trips to the Cu Chi tunnels and the Mekong Delta.
12. Mekong delta
Many tourists think they can see enough of the Mekong Delta during a short day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. However, there is so much more than a pagoda and a floating market. This region is home to unique ecosystems and various unique communities.
The best way to explore the Mekong Delta is zigzagging through the canals with a boat trip. In the shade of coconut trees you have a beautiful view of lush orchards, rice fields and local houses.
2. Floating markets
Although a floating market is just a tourist attraction for us, it is a way of life and business for the residents.
3. Explore the Mekong by bicycle
The reasons is that this place has become an ideal location for cycling because of the quiet roads, a flat landscape, friendly people and a beautiful landscape
4. Tra Su Indigo Forest
A flooded forest with many rare species of faunas, some of which are on the endangered list. While you are sitting on a motorized canoe, you sail through the forest and you can spot birds.
5. Stay in a homestay
Spending a day in a homestay in the Mekong Delta is the best option to relax and enjoy a peaceful life, and you will also learn more about the local culture.
6. Tram Chim National Park
This park is a biological treasure house with no less than a quarter of the bird population in Vietnam.
7. Picking fruit
The Mekong Delta offers 70% of the fruit that is consumed throughout Vietnam, and there are numerous fruit orchards spread across the various provinces that make up the Delta.
8. Climb Sam Mountain
Not only are the views beautiful, with rice fields, pole villages and beautiful greenery, but you also walk past dozens of pagodas, tombs and even a temple on the way to the top.
9. Bang Lang stork garden
One of the best stork reserves in the Mekong Delta. It is surrounded by immense rice fields and the Can Tho canals.
10. Vinh Trang Pagoda
This pagoda dates from 1849 and is a large, quiet Buddhist temple about one kilometer north of the center of My Tho city.
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